Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Attica Brigade

Editorial: The Road Ahead

First Published: Fightback, Volume I, Number 6, May 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The world is always in the process of change. Nothing holds still–not for anybody. And for the masses of people in the world, change is good, because it means an end to oppression and exploitation, the calling cards of imperialism. Put the ruling classes are terrified of change–each passing day brings then closer to their end. The imperialists want to live in the past, and they’d like us to yearn for the good old days also.

But no number of nostalgia movies from “Summer of ’42” to “Class of ’44” can bring back the “golden age” of U.S. imperialism–the years from 1945 to l965 when the U.S. was the undisputed top dog in the imperialist kennel. Rather than live in the past, our job is always to sum up exactly where we are now so we can speed up the wheels of change, not hold them back.

We think the situation of the movement today is like someone who’s been travelling for a long time and finally gets to the top of a big hill; We can look back and sum up the ground we’ve covered and we can look along the road ahead and see how things are going to be different.

Just looking at the past year we can see how much things have changed. 1973 began with a great victory for the Indochinese people. It ended with the people of Guinea-Bissau winning their independence from imperialist control–both great defeats for the U.S. On the economic front, there have been two dollar devaluations and the growing challenge of Western Europe and Japan.

Internally, the American people have gone through more crises than most college students can remember in their entire lives. The meat shortage, the energy crisis and Watergate all took Place within a 6 month period. And during that same 6 month period there was a wave of wildcat strikes in the auto industry, a victory for the Farah workers, and a militant struggle by the independent truckers, to name just a few sharp struggles.

What’s going on–is imperialism dying? In the long run, yes (and we don’t mean maybe). But what’s happening now is not their death throes. Instead, this is a time of “great turmoil and disorder” as the Chinese say. It is a time when the imperialists are in confusion and realignment (just look at the number of westers powers with unstable governments one month ago–U.S., France, England, Germany and Israel.) This is also a time when around the world, the people’s movements are getting stronger and winning more victories-from Frelimo to the British miners to the West Virginia miners. The imperialists along with the rest of us have turned a corner–try as they might, they can’t go back, and we won’t let them.

The anti-imperialist movement in the US has also turned a corner. We’ve gone through a lot in the few years since the mass struggles of the 1960’s–the anti-war and black liberation movement. Out of the confusion and cynicism has grown real anti-imperialist movement–one that’s still in its infancy, that still has many weaknesses, but a real movement nonetheless. The future of that movement including the growing communist forces, revolutionary workers organizations, community groups and the anti-imperialist student movement is going to determine how quickly the imperialist leeches will be stopped from sucking the blood of the people.

All of which brings us to the Attica Brigade and the rest of the anti-imperialist student movement. In the past year, the Brigade has grown into a real national student organization with chapters from Seattle to Houston to Florida. Everywhere we’ve gone we’ve seen that thousands of students are still fighting the system–actions like 1,000 students taking ever the administration building at the State University at New Paltz, New York, or the 300 just arrested at the University of Connecticut.

This has been a year of sinking roots, of building struggles and really beginning to grapple with the conditions on the campuses. It’s true that things are not at the level of 1969, hut it’s not 1959 either. The nature of the system has been exposed to many people. One of the biggest worries of the ruling class is the complete lack of faith that people have in the system.

On the other hand, people don’t have much faith in our ability to change things. The struggles of the past 10 years have been summed up by the media and the history books as failures and the victories have been credited to a few liberal heroes. To be able to really fight the system, we think students need a weapon. Something that will turn the diverse student movement into a solid, tight fist, capable of striking blows at imperialism. We’ve seen how our effectiveness has increased as we’ve grown from a handful of chapters in the northeast. The building of a national anti-imperialist student organization should be one of the priorities of students across the country. The national student conference in Iowa City on June 15, 16, and 17 is being called to pull that together (see Pg. ).

But an organization should not be an empty structure with no roots on the campuses–we must continue the good work that’s been done already. We have to fight the cynicism that exists, using every possible example of victories and breakthroughs to show that it can he done–imperialism can be defeated.

Looking ahead we can see that our tasks are not easy. Throughout the summer and into the fall we have to continue the struggle against Nixon and his class, build the farmworkers boycott and support the Attica brothers, whose trial is coming up in September. We have to build a national, student organization and fight cynicism among students. This is a new time for the anti-imperialist movement, a time which presents particular problems but which also has great potential. Seizing on that potential, by being realistic, but never aiming for less than what is fully possible, we can build the anti-imperialist student movement. It is within our reach–the time is now.