Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Organizing Committee


First Published: Unite!, Vol. 4, No. 4, March 15, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Know Your Enemy!

Burning crosses are appearing across the country. White-hooded gangs are marching in the streets in Marquette Park, Illinois, Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Boston, Massachusetts. In 1976, a young Blackman, James Calhoune, was lynched in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Vigilantes roam the U.S.-Mexican border. Buddy Cochran sits in jail today as a result of his attack on the Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan claims that their actions are done for you – the white working class in the U.S. What is the real story behind the KKK and who do they really work for?

Who Is the KKK?

The founders of the KKK were Confederate Army generals whose wealth and power were threatened by the demands of Black people and poor white farmers for land and political power after the Civil War. To protect their own power, these “finest sons of the old South” organized the KKK. This private secret army of the propertied classes ruled through a reign of terror of masked riders, rapes, burnings and lynchings, spreading racist lies in order to divide Blacks and whites against each other.

Today the KKK is not much different. The membership of the KKK is not in the main the guy on the assembly line, the steelworker, miner or shipyard worker. It is now mainly made up of foremen, police, prison guards, lawyers, businessmen and small time gangsters. It is closely associated with and financed by the White Citizens Councils and elite powerful groups of bankers, planters, merchants and politicians, like Senator James Eastland.

The leadership of the KKK tells us which class they really serve. For example, David Duke is a young college graduate, former member of the Nazi Party; CIA spy in Southeast Asia and now the Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. J.B. Stoner, head of the National States’ Rights Party is a lawyer. He was indicted for the murder of four young Black girls in a church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. In “Bloody” Harlan county, site of miners’ valiant struggle for unionization, it is not the miners who are KKK members. It is Sheriff Marion Millis and his entire office who work with the Klan. Many other fascist leaders like Reverend Fowler of the California Knights and Ralph Pryor, former Grand Dragon of New York were also members of the American Nazi Party.

Is the Program of the KKK in the Interests of White Workers?

The goal of the Klan is to bring about fascism in the U.S. Fascism is an open rule of terror by the most reactionary arm of the ruling class. When it is no longer able to rule by so-called democratic methods, the ruling class resorts to open, brutal military terror.

Under fascism, organizing unions, striking, and other democratic rights are forbidden. Communists, revolutionary leaders and members of trade unions, national minority peoples, members of various religious and ethnic groups are put into prisons, tortured and exterminated. Women are degraded. Pornography and decadent sexual practices are common.

This is the program of the fascists in the U.S. The KKK is against the Equal Rights Amendment. The Klan is anti-Jewish and most KKK groups are anti-Catholic as well. They fight the equality of different nationalities; they actively call for the extermination of Black people and work as agents of the state to expose and destroy the Black and Chicano national liberation movements. They initiate and support beatings, lynchings and rapes of Blacks, Chicanos and revolutionary white workers. Their goal is to destroy all those who speak for equality, liberation and socialism. Their tactic is straightforward: divide through national. chauvinism and racism, and conquer through force and terror.

Why is the Klan Growing Today?

The Klan is on the rise because U.S. imperialism is in big trouble. All over the world the capitalists are faced with revolutionary movements of workers and national liberation struggles. Their markets and sources of raw materials are shrinking. At home, there is a growing revolutionary tide.

The U.S. imperialists dream of reversing this trend by fighting and winning another world war of plunder and aggression. To prepare conditions favorable to war the bourgeoisie is dusting off the Klan and other fascist groups on the domestic scene. Using terror, they intend to force the U.S. working class into submission, break the growing revolutionary workers’ and national-liberation struggles and build acceptance for the horrors of another imperialist war.

The danger of the Klan is that it appeals to the genuine needs and aspirations of the working class by claiming to have the solution to poverty, unemployment, oppression and other symptoms of the general crisis of capitalism.

The working class does not want another imperialist war. We know that it is our sons and daughters who will die to enrich the imperialists in wars of plunder. We oppose terrorism and the extermination of our class or our allies whether they are Black or white, Jews or Catholics. The only war the working class will fight is class war to exterminate and suppress the bourgeoisie and its fascist agents.

We Can Stop the Klan and the Rise of Fascism

The influence of the KKK goes far beyond its numbers. Its very existence is a symbol of terror and repression against the entire working class, a constant threat to the class unity that is essential for our victory. The influence of white chauvinism in capitalist society is very strong. Unless that influence is destroyed, along with its carriers like the KKK, the reactionary trade union leaders and the whole state apparatus, then the working class and oppressed nations will be unable to liberate themselves from the chains of wage slavery and national oppression, and achieve socialism. It is only under socialism, which is the rule of the working class, that these enemies will be finally suppressed and the equality of all nationalities will be guaranteed.

It is in the interests of every white worker in the U.S. to stand up and expose these phony Klan “friends“ as the enemies which they are. It is the obligation of each and every white worker to say “No!“ to the racist lies of the KKK. The entire multi-national working class must link arms with the struggles for national liberation and democratic rights throughout the world and. in the U.S., and oppose all reactionary and racist ideas which seek to destroy this alliance. In particular, in the U.S., support for the right of the Black and Chicano Nations to self-determination must be absolutely resolute and unwavering before the terror of the Klan.

Today, in every trade union, community organization, church and workplace, we must organize to defeat the KKK and all reaction. As a minimum program for dealing with the Klan and other fascist organizations, we must raise the following demands and fight for them until they are won.

Oppose all forms of white chauvinism and racism, Fight for full democratic rights of all oppressed nations and national minorities.
Defend the right of armed self-defense against the Klan.
Fight for an end to lynching.
Free all political prisoners jailed for fighting against the Klan, such as Buddy Cochran.
Prohibit the KKK, Nazis and other fascists from using public parks, buildings or facilities for meetings or for disseminating their lies. Prevent the fascists from marching and demonstrating in our neighborhoods and communities.
Prohibit Klan activity in our trade unions. Bar membership in trade unions and the military. from Klan members or other fascists.
Klan and Nazi organizers must be prevented from distributing literature or disseminating their propaganda in our workplaces.
Outlaw the Klan and the Nazis as organizations. Make membership or participation in their activities punishable under law.
Boycott businesses which support the Klan or Nazis.
Support the right of self-determination for the Black Nation in the Black Belt South and the Chicano Nation in the Southwest, up to and including secession.

Death to the Klan!