Juneteenth and Its Place in Revolutionary Politics

In a few days, Juneteenth will be upon us. At first glance, this holiday may appear to be of little concern or political significance. But in actuality, this holiday is one of the most crucial dates on the calendar of revolutionary socialists in the United States, and we must understand why.

What is Juneteenth? What does it mean and why is this a question worthy of exploration? 

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Juneteenth 2019 Statement

On this Juneteenth, the holiday that celebrates the end of American chattel slavery, Struggle for a New World stands with the oppressed Afro-American nation in their continued struggle for freedom. The US Empire was built using the stolen labor of African slaves, and to this day the foundations of this country rest on the backs of the oppressed Afro-American nation formed through the processes of slavery and Reconstruction. Following the failure of reconstruction, the Republican Party abandoned its radical left wing in favor of defending US imperialism against all oppressed peoples who stood in their way.

Thus, while the Republican Party and the US Empire of which it is part may hypocritically celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation, Juneteenth stands for the history from below of the Afro-American people, who still struggle for freedom from the powers that enslaved and continue to oppress them to this day. The national liberation struggle of the Afro-American people remains an unfinished revolution on the lands they have tilled, the Achilles Heel of US imperialism.

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May Day 2019

Struggle for a New World greets the working and oppressed peoples of the world on May 1st, with whom we celebrate this International Workers’ Day. Today is the working class’s own holiday, a day that belongs to all the exploited and oppressed; today is the day we raise our voices loudest in our struggle against capitalism, imperialism, and fascism, and for socialism, peace, and democracy. From the U.S. to Uruguay, from the Philippines to Poland, from Italy to India, from South Africa to South Korea, from the Congo to Cuba, indeed, in every corner of the world, our class and our movement is celebrating and struggling. Greetings comrades!

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International Working Women’s Day 2019 Statement

On this International Working Women’s Day, Struggle for a New World sends our greetings to all the militant women of the world in their struggle against patriarchy and gender oppression. This International Working Women’s Day comes in a time of fierce reactionary assaults on women’s rights and equally fierce, if not greater resistance and fight back on the part of women. While figures such as Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and their counterparts spew misogynistic and sexist filth, the women of the US, the Philippines, Turkey, and the entirety of the world resist. In every country, working women continue their centuries long fight against oppression and for social justice.

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MLK Day Statement

On MLK Day, Struggle for a New World wishes to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. The Dr. King we commemorate today is not the sanitized King taught in bourgeois history books and celebrated by liberals as a man who wanted nothing more than nonviolence and integration. The King we commemorate is the militant struggler for the rights of the Afro-American people and all oppressed peoples, the fighter for justice for all of the oppressed and exploited.

Although he started his career as a civil rights leader as a heroic but ordinary representative of the Afro-American petty bourgeoisie within the Black Belt and pursued tactics and aims in consistency with this background, as the Afro-American masses moved from a nonviolent struggle for integration to a militant struggle for Black power, King advanced with them. In consistency with his pacifist beliefs, he opposed US imperialism’s bloody and genocidal war in Vietnam and condemned the US empire as “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.” He denounced the ills of poverty at home and at the time of his death he was organizing a countrywide Poor People’s Campaign. Indeed, King was assassinated while he was in Memphis showing solidarity with an illegal strike of mostly Afro-American sanitation workers. He denounced the ills of capitalism and posed a growing threat to the stability of the US state. He even denounced the time US imperialism swindled the Afro-American people out of their 40 acres and a mule in the aftermath of the Civil War while giving out free, stolen land to white settlers in the West. And so, for all of this, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, by a conspiracy of the US state.

Dr. King was assassinated for two reasons. The first was to rid the US state of a dangerous enemy, and the second was to get him out of the way so he could be transformed into the sanitized memory he is today, the peaceful sycophant brought out whenever necessary to attack those strugglers who continue in his footsteps. To quote Vladimir Lenin,

“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.” (The State and the Revolution, chapter 1).

This is the sort of treatment Dr. King has received and the sort of King that is celebrated in death in tweets from the FBI, the very same organization that in life tried to hound him into committing suicide and probably shot him. That is also the King whose memory we reject.

After Dr. King’s assassination, the Afro-American people rose up rebellion. Ghettoes across the US burned with the rage and the fury of the masses who sought revenge for his murder. They found their vengeance and are still finding it as they continue Dr. King’s struggle for Black freedom and freedom and justice for all oppressed peoples. It is to that struggle that we, on MLK day, commit to and the legacy we continue.

On Thanksgiving

On this Thanksgiving, Struggle for a New World wishes to extend our solidarity to the Indigenous peoples of the U.S. and their ongoing struggle against settler-colonialism. We recognize that one of the foundational acts for the global hegemony of capitalism was the invasion of this continent and the genocide carried out against its diverse inhabitants. We recognize that this invasion and genocide is still ongoing. We recognize that the U.S. is stolen land and that its decolonization is a central task in the struggle against the imperialist U.S. and the struggle for socialism. We recognize that the descendants of the original settler population and those who have been integrated into the nation they built still have a settler-colonial relationship to the colonized peoples, and that this contradiction does not only implicate the ruling classes, but even the working class of the colonizing nation, who benefit from the ongoing oppression of Native Americans and the theft of their lands. We recognize that this land mass, Turtle Island, is home to countless struggles of Indigenous peoples that cross the borders imposed by capitalism-imperialism. In the final instance, it is these anti-imperialist struggles which will play the decisive role in winning socialism, not the trade unionist bargaining of the settler-colonist working classes, which must be united with the liberation struggles of the colonized. We recognize that victory will only be won by uniting and subordinating the struggle of the settler proletariat with the struggle of the proletariat of the oppressed peoples:

“The English working class will never accomplish anything before it has got rid of Ireland. The lever must be applied in Ireland. That is why the Irish question is so important for the social movement in general.”
–Karl Marx

In the national mythology of the settler-colonist nation which dominates the United States, Thanksgiving plays a significant role in how they imagine their early settlement on the continent. In the settler-colonial school system children are taught a whitewashed version of history in which friendly Native Americans welcomed the Pilgrims with open arms and taught them how to survive, with this supposed friendship being consummated with a great feast of “thanksgiving.” But the children are not taught what we all know, that from the very start the settlers carried out a campaign of genocide and land theft across the continent, that the hospitality of Squanto was rewarded with rivers of blood and torched villages. They are not taught that the first official day of thanksgiving in Massachusetts was declared in 1637 following the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women, and children.

What is taught is the Squanto narrative, a narrative that makes the Indigenous sound like a disposable set of characters who exist only to advance the plot of the settler heroes, a plot in which the settlers’ Christian god gave them the Indigenous peoples’ aid in various forms to help them survive during the rough years of early colonization, and then helpfully cleared them away, out of sight, out of mind, to grant the settlers all the lands of all Indigenous peoples, a destiny made manifest.

As Thanksgiving is celebrated this year, most states across the Americas, and in particular the settler-states in North America continue to perpetrate atrocities against Indigenous peoples. Forced sterilizations of indigenous women, a tool of genocide, continue to this day. Indigenous women in Canada who were coerced into the procedure under threats of having their children taken from them are suing the Canadian state, citing cases as recent as 2017. In the United States, the U.S. government prepares to revoke a Mashpee Wampanoag land trust, in the very region that is now central to the Thanksgiving myth. Water Protectors who struggled against the Dakota Access Pipeline are incarcerated, facing decades in prison for defending their lands and cultures. Celebrating Thanksgiving is not celebrating a myth. It is not celebrating a centuries-old past. It is celebrating crimes like this. It is a celebration of settler-colonialism itself as a system.

What do the Indigenous have to be thankful for? That they can, after centuries of genocide bringing them under the domination of Euro-Christian settlers, practice what remains of their own faith without being “corrected” by colonial authorities? That after years of having their languages destroyed by the market and colonial schools, if they still remember some words of their own language, they will not be beaten by nuns for this? That they can walk on their own land without being brutalized or murdered, provided they do not attempt to claim this land, or exercise meaningful political sovereignty on it? With these being the best case scenario for the colonized Indigenous peoples, no wonder that on Thanksgiving 1969, they occupied Alcatraz, the prison island symbolizing the prison the United States is to their peoples, in protest of all that had been stolen from them, not given to them. No wonder that Indigenous people have called for Thanksgiving, like Columbus Day, to be declared a countrywide day of mourning. No wonder that all across the country Indigenous people and progressives from the settler-colonial oppressor nation hold their own events to teach the true history of Thanksgiving. We encourage all comrades to participate in or organize such events.

On this Thanksgiving, let us redouble our efforts to finally bring down settler-colonialism and the U.S. Empire. Let us redouble our efforts to unite in struggle with the Indigenous and struggle in unity with them for their concrete liberation. Let us redouble our efforts to decolonize Turtle Island and build a new world.


Transgender Day of Remembrance Statement

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day is observed every year to remember all those murdered because of transphobia and the oppression of trans and gender nonconforming people. This year, it is observed following 23 reported murders of trans people, primarily trans women of color, in the U.S. and countless more around the world. It is observed as trans people continue to face a disproportionate level of violence at the hands of the state and society in general and a disproportionate level of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, lack of access to healthcare, and harassment on the job and off. It is observed following the Trump administration’s move to redefine gender solely on the basis of biological sex, an official act of delegitimization of trans people’s very existence. This is all evidence of a rising tide of transphobia and anti-trans violence that is part of a general rising tide of fascism and attacks on all oppressed and marginalized peoples.

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, Struggle for a New World extend our solidarity to all our trans siblings and comrades and their struggle. We not only condemn the presence of transphobia within society in general, but especially its presence within our own movement. Transphobia within our movement cannot be tolerated, indeed, to tolerate its presence would be the greatest act of betrayal we could commit. The struggle for trans liberation is an indispensable and inseparable component of the struggle for socialism and the liberation of all the exploited and oppressed. Without socialism, there will be no trans liberation, and without trans liberation there will be no socialism. We call on all comrades to not only speak out against transphobia, but redouble their efforts to unite with trans people in their concrete struggles, and to struggle with them in unity to win their liberation, just as we must unite with all oppressed in struggle for our common liberation.