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The Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement is Antifa on steroids. An offshoot group that has popped up has a website with some pretty extreme ideas, including expropriation of property from their enemies. They've declared war against capitalism and the state, promoting "militant defense."
Their intro says:
We situate our political movement in the context of the abolitionist struggle against slavery and continue in the tradition, from Nat Turner to the Black Liberation Movement. We believe the Civil War was never resolved and the system of slavery transitioned into the prison industrial complex. Our struggle today must begin from this starting point.
Lastly, as revolutionary anarchists, the abolitionist struggle must be extended to the state and capitalism, the perpetrators of oppression. The revolutionary movement in the US today is at a cross roads, as fascist movements are expanding, and the state becomes increasingly authoritarian.
They want to build a new Underground Railroad to free people from detention, incarceration, deportation, or white supremacist violence. They welcome "comrades" to aid in their efforts to build "organized defense groups, local councils, and regional/national councils."
Their political foundation consists of:
The Neighborhood Council
Conflict Resolution and Revolutionary Justice
Abolition of Gender
Expropriation and the Cooperative Economy
While all of these are alarming, I'm particularly concerned about their calls for "self-defense," "revolutionary justice," and "expropriation.
Let's look at what they have to say about these topics through a variety of direct quotes.
Militant Self Defense
The Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement endorses "militant" self-defense, citing the tactics of the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and the Rojava Revolution in Syria. They model themselves, particularly, after the Rojavas.
The training of these new militants is the revolutionary heart of the Rojava Revolution. The long-term intentions of the training programs are to ensure that everyone can participate in self-defense. To that extent, there are also localized training programs that arm the public for a second tier of neighborhood defense. The Self Defense Forces (HPC*) were formed for this purpose.
While specific armed groups, such as the People's Protection Units and Asayîş, have been formed to fight external enemies, the HPC are civilians that get arms training with the specific goal of maintaining autonomy against internal forces that might seek to consolidate power. They are volunteers who receive both political education and self-defense training.
These armed groups are able to defend their communities from attacks without compromising revolutionary values. As the YPG and YPJ liberate ISIS territory new communities become incorporated into their political project. Rather than establish a top-down system of governance, the revolutionary movement establishes new neighborhood councils and communes, feminist education programs, and decentralized local-based militias within each liberated town.
To implement this form of political organization, there is undoubtedly a give and take. While the towns receive the infrastructure necessary for self-governance, such as weapons and training from the YPG to set up their own, local defense groups, they agree to uphold certain social principles like feminism and social ecology.
One tactic they endorse is, basically, beating up "Nazis."
Anti-fascist tactics - focused primarily around the use of physical force--proved effective in forcing neo-Nazi groups out of entire neighborhoods. The tactics were simple, if they came upon a neo-Nazi, they would use sufficient force to drive them away. The network was so successful that it eventually grew to 100 chapters. By joining in a nationwide network, they were able to help spread and strengthen the model while still maintaining local control over each chapter.
Of course, who gets to decide whether someone is a Nazi? Must the person be wearing a swastika t-shirt or a white hood? Or is this just an arbitrary decision based on the color of their skin or who they voted for? You can see how easily this could go downhill.
They offer to train anyone in self-defense who wants it. But - they don't stop at "defense." In fact, offense is their plan. They intend to develop "the capacity to begin launching offensive actions against fascists and the regime." Their common enemies are "fascists, right-wing militias, and State forces. "
One place they may run into trouble is their desire to be egalitarian.
Successful self-defense must incorporate revolutionary values and practices. In Rojava, combatants are trained both in fighting techniques and the benefits of creating a feminist, egalitarian society. They put these values into effect through their relationships.
For example, to dismantle the lingering effects of patriarchy, no man can give a woman an order; to maintain participation and egalitarian relationships, all fighters contribute to decision-making within units, particularly by selecting their own leaders for specific missions.
In the section on Revolutionary Justice, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement calls for an onslaught of violence against police officers. Now, I'm not a fan of the police state or police brutality any more than they are, but prison uprisings, civil unrest, violence against law enforcement, and riots are not the answer.
Every prison uprising from Attica* to Lucasville**, is an example of revolutionary justice. Every group that goes underground to launch clandestine attacks against bondage and oppression, like the Black Liberation Army or the United Freedom Front***, engages in acts of revolutionary justice.
The uprisings of the 1960s in Watts, Newark, and Detroit, to the Los Angeles riots, and the recent insurrections in Ferguson and Baltimore sparked by executions from police are manifestations of revolutionary justice.
They appear to wholeheartedly endorse violence and even execution as the answers.
No platform, no dialogue, no inch of territory, and certainly no concern can be ceded to those who either threaten or unleash authoritarian, white supremacist violence. As the Italian anarchist, Alfredo M. Bonanno has eloquently put it, "The life of someone who oppresses others and prevents them from living is not worth a cent."
They condemn those who call for peaceful protest.
Revolutionary justice is an unpredictable, yet inevitable, element in revolutionary struggle. As we move towards liberation, there will be spontaneous eruptions, moments to support and side with, as well as alliances to create. The more power tries to suppress the population, the more defiant the acts of revolutionary justice become...
...When police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, the town erupted in riots. No sooner had they begun this act of defiance, when non-profits and faith "leaders" descended upon the town to induce people to protest "peacefully" and attempted to de-escalate the situation.
On the other hand, riot police and armed right-wing militias surrounded the rebels, cornered them in a sea of "illegality" by declaring curfews, and then swept people up with brutal arrests and long jail terms.
Without revolutionary objectives, or the foundations for a sustained revolutionary conflict, everyone had to, eventually, reconcile living with the oppressive State that they were just rebelling against when the riot subsided.
The most essential tasks are to create the ideological underpinnings for revolt and the necessary infrastructure that can sustain action and long-term forms of organization.
They intend on long-term revolt and plan to "derail forces that want to bring people back into the fold of power: nonprofits, political parties, and authoritarian political groups."
Expropriation of Property
First, let's call expropriation what it really is: theft. But the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement believes it's entirely justified as long as they're the ones doing it.
Revolutionary struggle necessitates an aspiration for collectivity. Those who exploit us and withhold the fruits of our work from us will not willingly give up their wealth and power. To carve out autonomous territory, or to begin the revolutionary process, goods, land, and tools must be expropriated, or taken away from those who withhold them.
They cite a group they admire in Greece:
For example, revolutionary anarchist groups in Athens have been working with refugees from the Syrian Civil War. The refugees are routinely attacked by fascists and often denied housing, food, and health care. Anarchist groups have taken over abandoned hotels and have invited refugees to live in them.
They gush over how businesses were taken over from the owners during the Spanish Civil War.
For expropriation to be a successful tactic political organizations must already be in place. As goods and production are taken over, they can be put into collective hands, and organized for communal use.
During the Spanish Civil War, workplaces were seized after the owners fled or stopped production to sabotage the revolution. Revolutionaries continued until all major places of work were taken over; many were run and controlled by the workers. In others committees were established to override a lingering boss.
They're jazzed about collectivism.
While conducting the military struggle on the front, militants in the rearguard helped form workers' councils and rural communes, and since anarchists were at the forefront of the struggle, the council-based system was remarkably egalitarian. Workers seized factories, peasants collectivized the land, and even the revolutionary militias were organized in a participatory and non-hierarchical fashion as a result of the anarchist struggle.
Indeed, the revolutionary militias were formed in a similarly horizontal manner as the collectives, which reciprocally provided them with both weapons and other provisions. The symbiotic relationship between the worker's councils, collectivized land projects, and horizontal militias demonstrates how the political foundation facilitated cooperation between each of the three organizational structures.
Of course, they leave out the part about how collective agriculture has a long history of abject and utter failure. Most recently an attempt to convert a thriving capitalist country into a socialist utopia has resulted in mass starvation and poverty in Venezuela. But they're pretty sure it would work differently here and now.
You can be certain that if you were personally well stocked and others were hungry, folks like these would feel completely entitled to your supplies.
It all boils down to communism.
People got upset when I posted an article about a communist group last week who was planning sedition against our country. They said that I was name-calling when I referred to them as communists.
This leads me to believe that there are a lot of folks who don't know what communism IS.
a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their needs.
It is the opposite of capitalism:
an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
Communism abolishes private property and personal profit and redistributes wealth. Here are the tenets of the Revolutionary Abolition Movement.
When you read them with these definitions in mind, is there any other word that fits so well?
The Abolitionist struggle must take up the immediate fight to abolish prisons, courts, and ICE detention facilities.
As Abolitionists, we must fight unequivocally with Black, Latino, Native, Muslim people, and all those subjected to prison society and white supremacy.
This struggle must be feminist, and predicated on queer and trans liberation.
The Abolitionist struggle must fight for decentralized, commune-based political organization, and stand resolutely against capitalism and the State.
The struggle must be oriented toward militant self-defense, and devise specific plans for offensive actions against reactionary forces.
The Abolitionist long-term goal is to get rid of the justice system, the nation-state, and the capitalist economy.
Really, this is the culmination of decades of indoctrination in the Marxist education system. But these people who think they're seeking "freedom" would end up with just the opposite should their communist dreams come true. The underlying theme throughout their document is:
We will burn down the American plantation once and for all.
Extremist factions like this could trigger the Civil War 2.0 about which many of us have been concerned. A lot of folks like to shrug and laugh off these liberals because of their distaste for firearms and traditionally masculine pursuits.
But, that could be a huge mistake.
Never underestimate a zealot, no matter how misguided they are or ridiculous they seem.