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Free the UDPR 2!

If you see this and are not moved to righteous rage, you are no ally or comrade to the working-class immigrant street vendors. Act now! Rise up! Fight back!

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On Sunday September 23rd, two of our comrades were arrested by California Highway Patrol, particularly the overly-hostile and belligerent officer K. Cardoza, for standing up for street vendors at Exposition Park in the Rose Garden in Los Angeles. We urge our supporters to donate and share this link so that they can be released!

Free the UDPR 2!

Officer Cardoza was acting foolishly, as if her ego was hurt that vendors and masked revolutionaries would dare to defend their personal property from being illegally confiscated. They particularly pointed out the two comrades!

They are currently being held at LAPD’s 77th Street Community Police Station at 7600 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003. Their phone number is (323) 786-5077. We encourage our supporters to call and demand the release of these defenders! They did nothing wrong. It is right to rebel!

Our comrades, two committed and courageous supporters of Serve the People – Los Angeles and the People’s Revolutionary Defense Units (In Spanish, Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias or UDPR), did nothing other than defend the street vendors from having their property stolen by the Department of Health of the Los Angeles County!

We repeat: our comrades only defended the rights of vendors selling food. No drugs. No harm. Nothing. Simply selling food like hot dogs and sodas to people going to the park and LA Coliseum.

Street vendors were brutally detained, including a mother and her young daughter, to the shock and disgust of the witnessing masses at the park.

Stand up for street vendors and revolutionaries!

If you see this and are not moved to righteous rage, you are no ally or comrade to the working-class immigrant street vendors. Act now! Rise up! Fight back!

Please donate to our Go Fund Me campaign for bail and legal expenses.: https://www.gofundme.com/free-the-comrades#

#FreeTheUDPR2

This is just some of the pictures from today that show the brutality of these pigs and their LA County class traitors:

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These are all LA County Department of Health class traitors literally benefiting off of the destruction and oppression of their fellow workers, the street vendors, at Exposition Park. They are enemies of the people. More info coming soon.

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This is Peter Lee with the Department of Health of LA County who also proudly drives around the County mini van and truck stealing vendors’ property. He is an enemy of the people and should not be spared the fury of the masses.

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#FreeTheUDPR2

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GLADIS IS FREE!

GLADIS IS FREE

 

As of this past Wednesday Gladis Areli Hernandez Amaya was released from Adelanto Immigration Detention Center. She is free!
She is now, finally after nearly three months, reunited with her family and friends. Read the Incendiary News article about her case and community support here.
However, we still need to keep fundraising for bonds and lawyer expenses that her family must still pay off. To donate, we will provide the link below.
While this campaign was successful, this was just one aspect of a larger project. There are countless others are being detained and deported, separated from their families, and even being violently abused in these so called detention centers which are really prisons for undocumented immigrants. No amount of reforms or lip service to “abolishing” ICE will stop the fascist lapdogs of the U.S. from terrorizing our communities and separating families.
This is where we come in. STPLA is initiating a project under the banner of the People’s Revolutionary Defense Units, or in SPanish, las Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias (UDPR). The goal as we have said previously is not merely to shame ICE or to just film them or even just stop a van, but to literally stop them in their tracks and make sure they no longer come into our communities by any means necessary.
At the moment, street vendors from where Gladis was kidnapped are constantly being harassed by pigs and under the constant threat of ICE (the state pigs work hand in hand with them). We call on all revolutionary and progressive forces who are serious about stopping ICE to not only support the vendors, but to also take the necessary steps in escalating the war against ICE.
To donate, click below:
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Libertad Para Gladis- Rally Summation

Reformists have told us time and time again that revolution will never kick off here because the masses do not want violence. We know that the reality is that these reformists do not want violence, that they are terrified, and that they want to project this fear onto the masses. The masses, who are beaten down and attacked in every aspect of their lives by the capitalist state and its friends in arms, might be hesitant of militancy at first. But as the contradictions sharpen, as the people transform, and as we prove our loyalty to them, this hesitation crumbles.

Gladis Areli Hernandez Amaya, an undocumented working class mother, was abducted by state authorities on July 7th,2018 under the pretext of selling hotdogs in an undesignated area near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. After arresting her, state police unnecessarily handed her over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, ICE. Gladis and her family live in Bakersfield and would drive down to South Central LA to make a living as hot dog vendors. Today Gladis is being held in the private ICE detention center in Adelanto. Her husband, Ernesto, and family have stopped selling hot dogs because they fear another police encounter like Gladis’ which has put her in imminent danger of deportation and, consequently, separation from her family. STPLA has launched a campaign in support of Gladis. We have had numerous fundraisers and an action in solidarity with her, which this summation goes over. (Gofundme link: https://www.gofundme.com/free-gladis-from-ice-detention)

Gladis’ case is only part of a larger problem that is fundamental to capitalism and imperialism, specifically in the United States. The US is an imperialist empire which is willing to exhaust all of its resources to protect capital, at home and overseas. ICE is a white supremacist and fascistic organization which exists primarily to protect the US establishment and capital.

The white capitalist ruling class has historically used white supremacy to remain in power. Capitalism needs competition and division; white supremacy helps create antagonisms which force workers to compete against each other for work (which is made all the more limited by imperialist outsourcing), while dividing workers on lines of race so they do not unite against their common enemy, which is the capitalist.

US migration policy is primarily dictated by capitalism; more people are allowed in when the need for a super-exploitable labor force is higher, less are allowed in when it is lower. Although immigration policy is dictated by capitalism, it is still shaped and reinforced by white supremacy – the most exploited immigrants have always been working-class immigrants of color. White supremacy is a dominant aspect of ICE and border patrol. White supremacy is rooted in the US and capitalism by default; the only way to fight it is by destroying the US and capitalism.

We do not merely seek to “ABOLISH ICE” because we know ICE will spring up again, re-branded and repackaged as capitalism does so well. We seek, instead, to ABOLISH THE US. With that, we abolish the constant reproduction of fascistic forces like ICE under different names. We aim to destroy ICE, to fight it with fire, by militarizing the masses and aiming to end the system that bred ICE and the pigs in the first place.

We understand that ICE is a modern-day Gestapo, kidnapping mothers, fathers, and children, denying them the basic necessities, often forcing them to manual labor, and keeping them in cages. As we have stated before, ICE and white supremacy can only be fully smashed once capitalism is. However, this does not mean we will ignore ICE. ICE is a site of sharp contradictions and growing antagonisms between working class immigrants and the state. This is why STPLA is in the process of creating Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias, or People’s Revolutionary Defense Units to fight ICE. Our campaign in solidarity with Gladis is a step forward in building these units. While it is incredibly important to stand in solidarity with people kidnapped by ICE and to give them everything that we can, we know that we must attack the problem at its root. Our ultimate goal is to make ICE feel more terrified than they make undocumented immigrants feel. We want to terrorize them to the point that they refuse to enter foot in our neighborhoods and communities because they know they will be in danger. When we say we want to fight ICE with fire, we mean fire.

This protest was a step forward in achieving that vision and building up our ICE defense units.  

STPLA members arrived around 1 pm to canvass around MLK and Figueroa. We had flyers on Gladis’ case, description of what happened and had a link to donate to the fundraiser. We then informed them that we’d be having the rally at 6 pm. Overwhelmingly people were receptive, while we ran into a handful that were antagonistic, with one person supporting ICE. At 4 pm more of STPLA as well as Undeportables supporters began to show up. We would be joined by Defend North East Los Angeles (DNELA) supporters later in the rally, we appreciate those that came out. Now, too much time was idly wasted by standing around, continuously doing outreach within the area, but this relates to lack of organization that will be expanded on later. Around 5:30 pm more individuals showed up and were given bandannas. Some people were finally designated to pass out flyers and speak to passerbys about why we were there.

Around 6 pm we began to consolidate and make our move to the stadium. We chanted as we marched to the stadium entrance with mass supporters, all with their faces covered with red STPLA bandannas. That’s where more participation occurred, a vendor shouting “Sheriffs y la ciudad, que se vayan a la verga!” (Sheriffs and the city, go to hell!) While at the main entrance an STPLA supporter gave a speech demanding the release of Gladis and an end to the attacks against the undocumented working class families. The event was covered at length by Incendiary News,  but we would like to go in depth about the shortcomings.

“All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.”

-Mao Tse-Tung

As an organization dedicated to serving the masses, we know that we must reflect on every protest, action, and campaign. Without reflecting, without knowing what we have done correctly and incorrectly, we cannot move forward or grow. It is only with this knowledge that we can criticize, self-criticize, and transform ourselves and our organization to better serve the people and build for revolution. This is why we write summations – for us to reflect and for comrades outside of STPLA to learn from these reflections so that they can unite with we have done correctly and avoid repeating what we have done incorrectly. With that being said, these are our main takeaways from the protest:

  1. Lack of clear and assertive leadership

Throughout the protest, we consistently ran into problems primarily because we lacked clear and assertive leadership. The majority of us had not been assigned clear tasks for the march. Additionally, most comrades were hesitant to take initiative and did not give clear or direct orders when they needed to. Not only did this hesitancy make us look weak and ineffectual, there were several times where it could have put us or the masses in unnecessary danger. For example, at the very beginning of the protest, we hesitated to take charge and actually begin marching. Although members were displaying the organizational banners and flags, we stood on the street corner with mass members and supporters for fifteen minutes because no one was giving direct orders on how and when to proceed. Finally, orders were given, general tasks were assigned and we proceeded.

We can only imagine how we would have looked to outsiders. A group of masked individuals standing on – not taking or occupying – a sidewalk, haphazardly holding signs and conversing among themselves while others stared blankly ahead, is hardly an image that would inspire our allies or terrify our enemies.

This type of thing happened over and over again. Because there was no clearly assigned leadership giving orders and assessing situations, members who had ideas or suggestions would run from one comrade to the next, asking for their input on everything from mass members holding the signs to taking the streets. Again, this was ineffective, wasted a lot of time, and left the masses vulnerable and confused about what we were doing and what was happening next.

We have criticized ourselves for the lack of leadership at this protest and taking steps to rectify. We see two clear solutions to this problem that must be executed in conjunction with each other.

First, we need a clear, official, democratically elected leadership to assign tasks and give orders. STPLA has not and will not reject the principal of leadership – in fact, we know that it is a tactical and ideological necessity, especially during actions. Can we take an hour to sit down and reach a democratic consensus on escape routes when we are running from the pigs? No! Every revolutionary organization needs predetermined leadership that is seasoned and trained, that can make correct decisions quickly, that can guide the masses and the organization, that can maintain the revolutionary line, and that can be held accountable and criticized by all. Without this leadership, organizations will either devolve into tyranny imposed by an unofficial, and unaccountable leadership, or fall into a fumbling chaos, where nobody knows what to do and nothing ever gets done. With this understanding, we are in the process of electing leadership and solving part of the problem. We must move fiercer toward centralism.

Second, we must develop all of our comrades to become leaders themselves. They must learn to assert themselves, to criticize ruthlessly and freely, to take charge and issue orders when necessary and, above all, have the courage and knowledge necessary to guide the masses.

It is a practical necessity that every member of STPLA develops into a leader. We know that state repression is an inevitable reaction to revolutionary organizing. We know that STPLA has already been targeted, stalked, and spied on by pigs for its revolutionary organizing. We know that as STPLA grows stronger, the state will look to tear it down in any way that they can. And we know that this will include decimating our members, generally through imprisonment. We have seen this happen in the past year, with Comrade Dallas and students supporters of Progressive Youth Organization – Kansas City, who have been charged with fabricated crimes and arrested (To donate or support, click here). If we do things right, we will see comrades arrested and repressed.

So we must train every comrade in STPLA to become a leader and be ready to take on a leadership role when this happens. This includes mass members we are integrating into STPLA. All revolutionary organizations should aim to do the same because it is the only way to replenish our ranks and ensure the organization lives on.

Leaders are not born from the womb but from class struggle. We are confident that as we continue to struggle alongside the masses, we will forge ourselves into leaders.

  1. Disorganization

This protest was particularly disorganized. We created signs with kids and older community members dedicated to Gladis a week prior but failed to use them. As stated before, we were not completely sure of how and when to start. We did not have a discipline and well-organized formation, so there were pockets of space where protesters were left vulnerable to clutches of the pigs. Chants were disorganized and sporadic at times. In the beginning, most of the protesters and even some of us in the rear of the march did not know what was being chanted and did not chant along for that reason. We had two megaphones but failed to bring both. There were sometimes long stretches of time in between chants. We were not clear about how to proceed and how, if and when we would take the streets.

All of this led the masses very vulnerable to being attacked and/or kidnapped by pigs during the march. We are very lucky that this did not happen. However, as revolutionaries, we know better than to count on luck and the stupidity of our enemies. Again, this is why we analyze our mistakes.

We understand that this disorganization had two aspects to it. Primarily, it stemmed from a lack of clear and assertive leadership. This created the secondary aspect, which was a lack of effective planning for the march. Had there been a formal leadership, they could have delegated tasks, ensured that we had definite plans for how to go forward, and created formations for the march. However, there was no formal leadership, so the burden to plan the entire march fell on two or three people who had to convey everything to the rest of the members. These two aspects can be resolved in one swipe and only stress the necessity for assertive leadership.

  1. Failure to integrate ourselves with the masses

When we began the protest, we were not consistently physically integrated among the masses – although this was a task assigned to many core STPLA members, that each of us be close to mass members at all times. But at times, we were disorganized and clumped relatively close to each other. As a result, we could not clearly communicate with the masses about what we were doing and about what they should be doing. Not only did this leave the masses vulnerable, but it weakened our cause and could have potentially damaged our relationship with the mass members who came out to our protest.

However, we resolved this by the end of the protest. Although we started off with many of the masses staying silent as we chanted, we ended with them showing off their militancy and courage. They, too, unleashed their hatred of pigs and ICE as did we, ignored orders given by the pigs at the Coliseum, and even initiated their own specific calls for revolutionary violence against Los Angeles County vans that confiscated street vendors’ equipment. We saw the overwhelming majority of the masses, most masked up, take the streets without hesitation.

If we are not near the masses, we are apart from them. We know now that we must physically be spread out among the masses and that we cannot simply command them from one point to another. We need to engage them, give them tasks to do and roles to fulfill.

DEVELOPMENTS:

  1. The growing militancy of the masses

Despite our criticisms, we would consider this to be one of the most successful protests that we have had. This is because of the increasing militancy of the masses, principally. The masses proved themselves to be the true heroes, capable of boundless creativity. They never hesitated and, at points, were two steps ahead of us with their militancy.

Before the protest, we had printed out extra STPLA bandannas for everyone attending. We explained to everyone there why it was so important to cover their faces. Nearly every person in attendance had a bandanna, including children. We see this as a progressive development in spreading security culture and preparing the masses for the reality of state repression. 

 

The street vendors that showed up in solidarity with Gladis were among the most militant of the protesters. They led their own chants against the pigs and ICE, eagerly took up road flares as we passed them out, holding them high and defiantly in the face of the pigs, and called for revolutionary violence against local government. This call for revolutionary violence was one of the high points of the march. The street vendors understood very clearly who their friends and enemies were. The mass links we are establishing with the oppressed and persecuted street vendors are some of the strongest and most trustworthy relationships we have ever nurtured. There will surely be more writings on this new developing street vendor campaign in the near future. 

Reformists have told us time and time again that revolution will never kick off here because the masses do not want violence. We know that the reality is that these reformists do not want violence, that they are terrified, and that they want to project this fear onto the masses. The masses, who are beaten down and attacked in every aspect of their lives by the capitalist state and its friends in arms, might be hesitant of militancy at first. But as the contradictions sharpen, as the people transform, and as we prove our loyalty to them, this hesitation crumbles.

Quantitative changes lead to qualitative leaps. Every small instance of courage adds up and develops into something greater. It is our job to take these moments of bravery and fury and organize them, to turn the masses terrorized by the pigs and the government into soldiers that, in turn, will terrorize the pigs and the government.

  1. The rebellious nature of children

Children played a much larger role in the protest than we had ever thought they would. They were incredibly enthusiastic and excited about everything. They covered their faces with bandannas, held signs for us, chanted along with us, kicked and beat our Trump piñata, took the streets and faced down the pigs with just as much courage as their parents.

All of this happened with little to no organized political education. We can assume that most of the children attending knew that Gladis had been taken by ICE, that ICE was bad, and that Trump was bad and connected to ICE. This knowledge was enough to bring out the rebellion that it did. We were able to nurture this rebellion by praising the children and giving them tasks and responsibilities.

But how much more could this rebellion have intensified if the children were really aware of what was going on? If they had even a rudimentary political education about capitalism and oppression? The oppressed youth have always been the most rebellious and forward-thinking. It is our job to nurture this as much as we can, to empower the children, and teach them to be courageous leaders. After all, they are the future.

Conclusion

Overall, this protest was successful in mobilizing the masses and nurturing their militancy. The masses are not lacking at all – they are capable, courageous, daring, and militant. Even in small doses, this is everything. It is up to us to organize and harness this energy and bravery and turn it against their ultimate enemy, which is capitalism-imperialism.

We believe that the Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias are a step forward in the right direction. It is not enough to act after ICE has kidnapped someone. We do not mind holding fundraisers or events, but we know that they are not enough and it is difficult to provide the families with all of the resources they need, however hard we try.

We must attack the problem at its root and stop ICE from taking people in the first place, by any means necessary!

The masses have nothing and are faced with enemies at every turn. But all of these enemies, including ICE, are crushable and once you realize the masses outnumber the enemy, they are weak. They are paper tigers, as Chairman Mao said. They seem fierce and undefeatable because they have capital and tear gas and machine guns and wield no conscience. But in reality, they are nothing. They use their weapons so violently against us because they are afraid of us. They are small. We are massive. They are afraid of what will happen if we realize our full potential and organize against them. They are afraid of what will happen when we seize power.

The people outnumber the pigs, one hundred to one. There is no enemy the people cannot take on if they are organized and armed, physically and ideologically. And we will be with them every step of the way, ready to do whatever it takes to smash the root of their oppression.

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Abajo con los propietarios corruptos! Down with corrupt landlords!

Let’s be clear: Don Raul Tomas knows he can get more money from newer, more affluent renters, even if the building is rent controlled, even if he has to illegally try to kick out his tenants! He wants them all out by any means necessary. That’s one thing we share in common: the Cummings Street People’s Committee will resist by any means necessary as well!

Los propietarios ya tienen una relación naturalmente antagónica con sus inquilinos. Pero algunos propietarios van más allá. Como Don Raul Tomas.

Los inquilinos de su propiedad, 202 N. Cummings St., en Boyle Heights, enfrentan constantes hostigamientos y amenazas de parte de un increíblemente hostil e incluso beligerante Don Raúl Tomás. Los inquilinos han vivido allí aproximadamente 10 años, han criado a sus hijos allí, han construido una vida en Boyle Heights como inmigrantes mexicanos orgullosos y trabajadores. Ellos siempre pagan su renta a tiempo. Han mantenido sus apartamentos limpios y ordenados.

Y sin embargo este propietario coco (también es un inmigrante mexicano) dice supuestamente que sus inquilinos están aprovechando de él al negarse a pagar más renta, ¡aunque el edificio está bajo control de renta! Don Raúl Tomás dice que sus inquilinos ingratos son sucios y que hay personas que se quedan allí que no están en el contrato. Algunos inquilinos dicen que están dispuestos a pagar el aumento, pero requieren que sea escrita, ¡a lo que se niega obstinadamente!

¡El propietario dice que él es la víctima en este escenario! Él está siendo aprovechado! ¡La arrogancia! ¡Las mentiras!

Don Raul Tomás, del inicio de este año, ha amenazado, casi mensualmente, con desalojar a todos sus inquilinos con la excepción de uno, su inquilino soplóna-hija. Su hija le hace saber de todo el chisme, le informa y le da asesoría legal sobre cómo desalojar y hostigar legalmente a sus vecinos, sus inquilinos. Una de las principales quejas de Don Raúl Tomás es el uso del agua. ¡Pero él no dice nada cuando su hija tiene una lavadora y secadora en su propio apartamento y regularmente lava la parte de frente del edificio!

Seamos claros: Don Raúl Tomás sabe que puede obtener más dinero de los inquilinos más nuevos y ricos, aunque el edificio está bajo control de renta, incluso si tiene que expulsar ilegalmente a sus inquilinos. Él los quiere sacar a todos por todos los medios necesarios. Eso es algo que compartimos en común: ¡el Comité Popular de Cummings Street resistirá por cualquier medio necesario tambien!

Le estamos pidiendo a la comunidad y a todos nuestros aliados que llamen o escriban o lo que sea, sean creativos, y ¡díganle a Don Raul Tomas que deje de hostigar a sus inquilinos! ¡Deja de amenazar con desalojarlos!

Teléfono celular Don Raul Tomas: 323.513.4803.
Su dirección: 276 E. Fernfield Dr. Monterey Park, CA 91755

¡Que vivan las masas de Boyle Heights!

¡Que viva el Comité Popular de Cummings Street!

¡Abajo con los propietarios corruptos!

Landlords already have a naturally antagonistic relationship with their tenants. But some landlords go far and beyond. Like Don Raul Tomas.

The tenants at his property, 202 N. Cummings St., in Boyle Heights face constant harassment and threats from an incredibly hostile and even belligerent Don Raul Tomas. The tenants have lived there for approximately 10 years, have raised their children there, have built a life in Boyle Heights as proud and hard-working Mexican immigrants. They consistently pay their rent on time. They have maintained their apartments clean and orderly.

And yet, according to this penny-pinching coconut (he, too, is also a Mexican immigrant) landlord, these tenants are taking advantage of him by refusing to pay more rent – even though the building is rent controlled! Don Raul Tomas says his ungrateful tenants are dirty and claim people are staying there that are not on the lease. Some tenants say they’re willing to pay the increase but require it be written, to which he stubbornly refuses!

The landlord says he is the victim in this scenario! He is being taken advantage of! The arrogance! The lies!

Don Raul Tomas, since earlier in the year, has threatened – almost on a monthly basis – to evict all his tenants with the exception of one, his snitch-daughter tenant. His daughter snitches to him about all the chisme, reports to him and gives him legal advise on how to evict and legally harass her neighbors, his tenants. One of Don Raul Tomas’ chief complaints is the water usage. But he doesn’t say jack shit when his daughter has a washer and dryer in her very own apartment and regularly washes down the front area of the apartment building!

Let’s be clear: Don Raul Tomas knows he can get more money from newer, more affluent renters, even if the building is rent controlled, even if he has to illegally try to kick out his tenants! He wants them all out by any means necessary. That’s one thing we share in common: the Cummings Street People’s Committee will resist by any means necessary as well!

We’re asking the community and all of our supporters to call or write or whatever, be creative, and tell Don Raul Tomas to stop harassing his tenants! Stop threatening to evict them!

Don Raul Tomas cell phone: 323.513.4803.
His address: 276 E. Fernfield Dr. Monterey Park, CA 91755

Long live the masses of Boyle Heights!

Long live the Cummings Street People’s Committee!

Down with corrupt landlords!

stpla-pc

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Libertad para Gladis! Fuego Contra ICE!

“Sin lucha, no hay victoria!”

Únete a nosotros a medida que creamos más apoyo comunitario para Gladis Hernandez, la madre de cuatro hijos y vendedora ambulante, que fue brutalmente tomada por Inmigracion/ICE.

También haremos alcance con los vendedores ambulantes locales para que sepamos cómo prepararnos y defendernos contra ICE por cualquier medio necesario

Domingo, 19 de agosto a las 6 p.m., en frente del LA Memorial Coliseum donde Gladis fue tomada por ICE.

“Sin lucha, no hay victoria!”

www.servethepeopleLA.org
servethepeopleLA@protonmail.com


Join us as we build more community support for Gladis Hernandez, the mother of four and street vendor, who was viciously taken by ICE recently.

Serve the People – Los Angeles will be outreaching to local street vendors as well so that we know how to prepare and defend ourselves by any means necessary against ICE.

Sunday, August 19, in front of the LA Memorial Coliseum where Gladis was taken on Figueroa Street and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd at 6 p.m.

“Without struggle, there is no victory!”

www.servethepeopleLA.org
servethepeopleLA@protonmail.com

stpla flier

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Stretch Before You Reach: Limits of Performative “Accountability”

“As for criticism, do it in good time; don’t get into the habit of criticizing only after the event.”

-Mao Tse-Tung, “Criticism and Self-criticism”

As a revolutionary mass organization, we welcome criticism. In fact, it is one of our points of unity. It is a necessary tool to forge us to become better comrades, but more importantly, to become a stronger organization so that we can serve the masses to our utmost capability. The process of Criticism/Self-Criticism (or C-SC) principally begins with the offering of a criticism to a comrade or organization with the intention of correcting their errors and helping them transform, not merely saving “receipts” and being petty. While it may be directed at a specific party, it can be applied to all comrades and members of an organization to prevent certain mistakes and errors. The process of self-criticism is to genuinely reflect on one’s errors or mistakes and not to get defensive, deflect, nor apologize and wallow in self-pity. Mostly importantly, C-SC cannot be done alone and it requires a process of rectification. These are fundamental requirements of C-SC. However, what we are about to delve into is an example of the exact opposite, a “criticism” sent to us that reeks of opportunism

After our recent statement against the sham politics of DSA, we received an anonymous email in regards to one of our comrades.  Given the context that 1) the comrade in reference was previously associated with DSA, left, and joined our ranks and 2) that this was just a whole day after the statement was released, we can only assume that this was sent by a DSA supporter or member. Overall, this won’t just be a response to the anonymous individual (or group) but a criticism of the weak and opportunistic nature of pseudo-“criticism” and performative accountability.

 

Blatant Opportunism

The email we received was entitled, “Racism and Ableism from your comrade [X].” (For security protocol reasons, we will not publish our comrades name, not because we fear criticism or accountability, but because as a revolutionary mass organization, we understand the risks of making public any of our identities). Attached to the e-mail were three tweets our comrade had posted six years ago, containing the n-word and the r-word. The anonymous individual/group requested that we “write a public statement” for their use of these slurs as well as post this requested statement on our website and Twitter “in solidarity with POC/disabled comrades”.

We understand that both the words in question are slurs which have been used against oppressed groups in horrific ways. If any non-black member of our group or the masses we organize with used the n-word or displayed that type of racist thinking, we would correct them immediately. In fact, we have done so repeatedly in the past. We do not intend to downplay the impact these words have.

 But where was this person/group’s criticism when our comrade initially joined STP-LA? What e-mails were sent to us then? If they truly believed this comrade had anti-black and ableist behaviors and truly cared about the good of our collective and community, wouldn’t they have contacted us immediately?

But they did not. Instead, they dug back six years to find “problematic” tweets. This shows a lack of political development and an unwillingness to genuinely confront the criticism sent in the previous polemic. It is sheer opportunism due to the fact that this was sent to us after the release of our polemic attacking DSA’s line AND because this in no way represents our comrade today. As Red Guards Austin states, ” Call-out culture is based on a subjectivism: individualism. It looks for targets instead of investigating reality in its full and difficult complexity, and so it jumps to conclusions and inevitably mistakes friends for enemies.” Furthermore, “No one (communist or not) should be expected to unite with attacks against them even if they are dressed up as criticism. Such sham criticism should be rejected outright and used to expose the opportunistic motivation of the person placing it.”

Instead of acknowledging the criticism, this person resorted to going back six years to show us tweets of our comrade using incorrect language and demanded that our comrade make a statement and apologize, all under the guise of C-SC.

This shows a lack of understanding that, with time and the tool of C-SC, people transform. No one is born a revolutionary, let alone iterating “woke” academic language out of the womb. The fact that tweets from six years ago (before STP-LA existed) appears to make the assumption that our comrade maintains continuity with this language, which they do not whatsoever. Six years ago, many of us used incorrect and offensive language, struggled with alcoholism, perpetuated patriarchal behavior with partners, and more, but this has changed as a result of C-SC and our dedication to serving the masses. We do want to clarify that if this was a serious accusation of abuse and extreme anti-people behavior, we would have taken it seriously and addressed it right away, but this is not the case.

We responded and addressed their opportunist performative accountability request and linked articles that reference C-SC, one of them being the RGA document linked above. Some of their main takeaways from our response to them were:

1) That they are not opportunists nor upholding call-out culture because they “have nothing to gain from this.”

 2) That we are dismissing “concerned POC comrades” who have “legitimate concerns” and that this makes us “reactionary” (even though we are practically all people of color, even though this was six years old, and even though this does not qualify as a serious concern).

3) That our comrades “inflammatory remarks” will get in the way of our “goals of building solidarity with POC from Boyle Heights” (even though this comrade and a majority of us are POC).

4) And this last one is so good that we have to cite the entire thing: “In your reply you suggested that this request isn’t in good faith because the tweets are 6 years old, I would suggest the concept of statute of limitations is actually a bourgeoisie concept used by police & the ruling class to avoid accountability. Should the U.S. government not be held accountable for their imperialism throughout history simply because some of it happened decades or hundreds of years ago? At what age do demeaning remarks towards POC & disabled comrades ‘expire’ exactly?” Somehow, our comrade having said the n-word six years ago is comparable to the imperialist aggression of the US, as if they have the exact same repercussions, material consequences, and body count. This is ridiculous, but before we end this section, we would like to say that it is a joke to hold the U.S. accountable. We aim to destroy it.

The Masses, Language, and Performative “Accountability” Politics

While we have addressed the details of this exchange, we would like to take the opportunity to elaborate the failure of these types of approaches and why they are unproductive and even counter-revolutionary. As revolutionaries, we firmly uphold C-SC and also understand that the economic base of society (capitalism-imperialism) shapes the superstructure (ideology, politics, etc). Of course, there is a dialectical relationship between the two, where changes in one influence the other, but the base is always primary, and especially in shaping language. With that being said, proletarians (working class) and youth from proletarian neighborhoods often use language that postmodernists (who lack any sort of praxis) consider “problematic”, without offering any analysis of why this language persists. We understand that as long as the same objective conditions exist (enforced by the dominant mode of production), so will this language. Do we condone this? Of course not. In fact, we actively combat this language and type of behavior amongst the masses whenever we see it rise up. But we would be kidding ourselves if we assumed that politics should revolve around changing language, rather than changing material conditions, which can only be destroyed through violent revolution.

 As our comrades in Red Guards Los Angeles emphasize, “No longer will we suffice with the concept of unlearning – yes, men need to improve their gender practice but without an analysis as to why sexism exists and who benefits from it, unlearning becomes performative. Performative is generally radical in speech and reformist in action. One must literally arm themselves against patriarchy and build a revolutionary movement! If one commits to fight against patriarchy but not destroy the economic base that produces patriarchal ideas and relations, what was accomplished?”

This type of performativity and call out culture is ineffective and a sham and we can see how this plays out in other larger spheres such as the question of “white allies”. Instead of being built into militants who serve the masses, white allies are told to just listen, give us their money, hold their tongues from criticism (because, of course, it is racist if they offer criticism), check their privilege and use it to “benefit” marginalized people (usually by holding their tongues & giving money), and criticize their racist grandmas, as if any of these are revolutionary. As if any of these will transform the economic base or even challenge oppression. As if this is a form of Criticism/Self-Criticism. As if this will ever change the material conditions of the oppressed masses. No, this is mere performativity and self guilt which is what this anonymous person/group wishes for us to concede to.

In the same vein, we reject this phony “criticism” since it is completely detached from the context of where our comrade is today. We will never make our comrades or the masses “apologize” for petty mistakes they made years ago just to appease the pseudo-left revisionists and postmodernists petty, incompetent, counter-revolutionary conception of performative “accountability” which serves absolutely no purpose. Better make sure we pull out the receipts on all of our core and mass members and have them apologize for every singular time they used incorrect language!

The opportunists and identity politicians will squirm and attempt to twist our words and claim that we will not criticize people who are harming the masses, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. What we will not do is expect every individual whether comrades or the masses to write-up a sham apology for using incorrect language and claim that this is serving the people. What we will do is struggle with the masses so they can master the tool of C-SC as well as build them into soldiers so that they can take power and destroy the conditions that put them in the position that they are currently in. The revisionists and postmodernists who solely orient to the “left” and academics can keep their performative “accountability” politics. We’ll be with the masses.

Further Resources on C-SC:

“On Some Points Regarding Criticism-Self Criticism”:

http://www.signalfire.org/2014/11/07/on-some-points-regarding-criticism-self-criticism-june-1973/

Red Guards Charlotte, “Without Criticism We Cannot Improve”:

https://redguardscharlotte.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/without-criticism-we-cannot-improve-2/

Interview with Allyn Rickett:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BySF5Soi1og

Interview with Allyn Rickett Part 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMineyQ0s58

“Rethinking Self-Criticism: What Does It Mean Today?”

https://anti-imperialism.org/2014/10/08/rethinking-self-criticism-what-does-it-mean-today/

A Handbook on Criticism/Self-Criticism:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByaCtqLr5W7XdnF5ME5NSGZBWnM/view?usp=sharing

 

Featured

Against Phony Socialism

As an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-gentrification organization, Serve the People-Los Angeles (STP-LA) always places our politics in command. This means that, regardless of the tactics used, our goal to destroy capitalism will always guide our struggles. This applies to all organizations we do not work with or do work with. We will not work with organizations, regardless of their tactics, if their politics are inherently antagonistic to our principles. Principally, in the context of this paper, this means that STP-LA will not work with political parties and/or political organizations whose primary reason for existing and primary goals are to reform the state. We may work with community organizations that push reformists tactics in their larger, principal goal of standing in solidarity with the community, but we will not work with organizations that use community organizing as a tactic for their larger, principal goal of reforming the United States as the answer to capitalism.

 

We are writing this piece because despite having a struggle session with the Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles’ “Food for Solidarity” committee and telling them to stay away from Boyle Heights for their shitty politics, it has come to our attention that DSA-LA plans to initiate a food distribution in communities in NELA . We refuse to accept this and will do everything that we can to stop these “Food 4 Solidarity” programs, if DSA votes to implement them. We will not bite back our tongues for the sake of “unity”.

 

We want to be clear here – we do not reject principled unity with DSA. We will unite with them against common enemies, such as fascists or slumlords. We will even applaud them when they fight these enemies of the people with militancy.

 

But there is a difference between principled unity and unprincipled unity. Unprincipled unity would be allowing them to organize not only in Boyle Heights but in any of the oppressed communities surrounding it. In fact, unprincipled unity would be allowing them to spread any of their reformist bullshit to any of the oppressed communities of LA.

 

Before we speak on why we do not want DSA organizing in our community or any community like ours, we need to put them in the context of contemporary US politics. We want to emphasize the difference between DSA distributing free food and a community organization, like a church or a school, distributing free food.

 

We would be lying to the community if we ever stated that even focusing on the smallest reforms (lobbying, registering people to vote, canvassing for “progressive” candidates, etc) is a step in the right direction to challenging capitalism. All reforms attack only minor aspects of a larger problem. They are band-aid solutions; they do not treat the wound, only cover it for the time being. Ultimately, they preserve the institution of capitalism which oppresses us with every breath we take.

 

Reformism: Opium of the People

 

When organizations like DSA-LA push reformist goals and focus principally on reforming the United States, they are serving the interests of the ruling class, whether or not they know it. If DSA-LA was insular, working only in activist circles and staying out of working-class communities, then we would see them as a less antagonistic threat. But it is primarily because they come into working-class communities and lie to the people living there (and, perhaps, lie even to themselves) that we see them as an antagonistic force and, in fact, possibly even class enemies.
When we say they are class enemies, we mean that their organization serves the ruling, bourgeoise class of this country, as opposed to the working class and its communities.

 

Nothing short of revolution will bring about socialism, which DSA-LA claims that it seeks to establish. However, regardless of their intentions, this organization’s shitty reformist political line will ultimately set the community back by leading them to capitulate to capitalism. In essence, regardless of what they say or call themselves, we see what they want to do as no different than the Democratic Party coming into any working-class community. Ultimately, they are tricking people for votes and calling themselves a solution to injustice when, in reality, they preserve the cause of injustice, capitalism. In the end, they will harm the communities they peddle their “Food4Solidarity” programs to.

 

 

We know that this is the case because that is what social democracy is. We know this is the case because the organization’s politics in command means working with the police and even having pigs in national leadership roles. We know that this is the case because we have seen the national organization gladly work with the Democrats since, when it comes to their politics and our livelihoods, they compromise and push quantity over quality. We know that this is the case because we have spoken to DSA-LA members and found that their big-tent organizing tactics include working with open Zionists. We know that this is the case because DSA is not an organization that is principally for the masses. There are times where they can almost read as a commercial. (Petty-bourgeois activists, call now and for the low, low price of $750, get a lifetime membership in DSA!!) DSA as an organization is spineless and their politics are empty. They cannot save or liberate anyone.

 

 

This is not to say that all members of DSA-LA are spineless or have empty politics. We know that this absolutely is not true. There are many members who are new to the organization that might be unaware of other community organizations that they can turn to. There are many members who might have misguided politics but truly wish for liberation – they simply don’t know how to get there. To these folks, to people who truly care about serving the people and liberating the masses, we encourage you to question the politics of your organization. Why does DSA simultaneously criticize Democrats and run candidates as Democrats? Why do they work with pigs and pig unions? How is DSA revolutionary? How can its social-democratic politics change the system of inequality and oppression in the long-term? That DSA can not answer these questions is a reflection on both the local chapter of DSA-LA and of DSA nationally. It is a reflection of other revisionist organizations and parties that state they are building socialism when in fact they will happily work with enemies of the people (like pigs and politicians), push reforms and even run as Democrats. DSA may quote revolutionaries but these quotes only mask their hollow, liberal politics.

 

Therefore, this organization, as opposed to other community organizations we do work with, stands on the side of the oppressor. They will beg for scraps and call it revolutionary. They will work within the limits of the law, even when they know full well that the laws of a bourgeois society are laws for the bourgeoise, established by capitalists and their servants to maintain their hegemonic control over the masses. These bourgeois laws will always be on the side of the oppressor. This has been true since day one and it will not change because some fools will campaign for Bernie Sanders and call themselves socialists.

 
An organization like this stands in opposition to community organizers precisely because of these politics, because they are social-democrats. As opposed to DSA-LA and other revisionists organizations, community organizations, made up of the community, organize because they stand in solidarity with their neighbors. Community organizers organize because they understand the precarious conditions their neighbors in Boyle Heights and Los Angeles live under. To them, it is a necessity to organize and act in solidarity with other community organizations. Although they may push reformists tactics in campaigns, they principally organize to act in solidarity with their neighbors. STP-LA has been honest with all the organizations that we work with; we tell them directly that we know voting will never accomplish anything. But because we both have the primary goal of acting in solidarity with the community, we are able to work with these organizations non-antagonistically. In fact, in some cases, these organizations even applaud our militancy. This is because their only goal is to truly help the people and they know that militancy gets things done. This is opposed to DSA which will always bow down to to its long-term goal of pushing reforms and electing “progressive” candidates. While the community organizers we work with prioritize the community and use reforms as a (incorrect) tactic to help them, DSA prioritizes reform and uses the community as a tactic to pass these reforms.

 

Fauilure of Red Charity
We have discussed our own experience with food distributions in previous summations. We know now that food distributions are economist programs which act as a band-aid to cover larger wounds in the community. STP-LA is an organization that wishes to end the principal injustice of capitalism by creating an army in the community that will defend itself against all oppressors. Food distributions can not get us to this point. We know this from our experience of distributing free food in Boyle Heights for over 2 years. Of course food scarcity is a real problem, especially in oppressed communities. However, we have seen that most folks in the community see these programs as types of charities and, therefore, treat them as one. Although charities provide necessary materials in the community, they also hinder revolutionary organizing and therefore, should be avoided.

 

Organizations that are truly seeking to build socialism should avoid economistic mistakes. We know that the masses make history and we also know that they must be organized and mobilized against their class enemies. Handing out free food does not organize or mobilize anybody. It did not do anything progressive in our case, despite our revolutionary politics and militancy. It will not do anything progressive in DSA’s case and, in many cases, will deter the community because of their reformist tactics and faith in the electoral system.

 

We criticize food distributions because we know that charity ultimately work against community interests. If hundreds of people are starving in our communities and an organization provides basic resources to a handful of them, it is likely that these people will not organize. So, ultimately, this will hurt their interests and the interests of the community at large. Like we have said, this is a decaying band-aid on a bullet wound. It will never cure the underlying problem of capitalism.

 

We will not lie to community organizers we have worked with in our community about food distributions. We will tell them to their face – food distributions will not and cannot address the root of the problem. They are decaying band-aids on a bullet wound. But we do not blame these community organizations because we know that their primary reason for existing is to feed and help people in the community. Again, they share our goal of helping the masses. They might be unfamiliar with why hunger exists or how to ultimately combat injustices in Boyle Heights. But we will still work with them because they are a part of the community and they share our goal of empowering the community. As we have said before, they have no ulterior motives of reform.

 

As much as we criticize food distributions, we are not saying that food distributions should never be organized. We are not against food distributions in and of themselves.  We can see how they have been utilized by organizations such as the Black Panthers in the past to gain community support. Even we ourselves will provide whatever possible resources that we can to fulfill the community’s immediate needs. However, this is primarily as a last resort and not because it is a solution to anything. For example, we have fixed broken doors, pipes, and leaky roofs for tenants we work with because certain repairs are very urgent and landlords will wait months to fix them. However, this is a short-term solution because ultimately, it is on the landlord to fix it. And seeing as the majority of the community we work with have these issues as tenants, we know that we cannot fix all of their problems over and over again. STP-LA nor any other organization can be anyone’s savior. The people must learn to fight for themselves. It is on them to take back what is rightfully theirs and demand landlords fix whatever is broken. Our role as organizers is principally that – to organize them, to work with them, to stand side by side with them. Organizing them is only the first step forward and it must serve the long-term goal of destroying capitalism, not of electing a “leftist” candidate. Any organization that puts elections first is betraying the people.

 

Conclusion

 

If it isn’t obvious already, we do not uphold the incorrect and treacherous line of left unity, i.e. unprincipled unity. We do not seek unity with the left – we seek unity with the masses. And, although this message is directed towards DSA, we are addressing all red capitalist organizations here. We will not allow these groups to betray the masses and sell them false liberation. In the final analysis, all those who are against the masses are our enemies. We advise the conscientious members of DSA to abandon and denounce their reformist leadership and join the ranks of the revolutionary masses. If they refuse to do so, no one can say we did not warn them. Collateral damage is an inevitable part of war.
We want to state that we will not recognize DSA-LA’s politics. Ultimately, we see them as a threat to the working-class communities of Los Angeles. We will not allow them to lie to the people and promise them false messiahs in liberal politicians. If DSA-LA refuses to listen to us, we will continue to win over the community they pretend to serve and show who they are at face-value. We will shed no tears for their organization being run out of the hood.

 

As we said, we have previously struggled with DSA-LA on this very topic. We thought we made our message clear but apparently we didn’t. For that, we self-criticize and we will boldly restate our position. As DSA-LA cowardly whispers criticisms of neoliberalism, STP-LA will shout to the sky our hatred of capitalism and our love of the masses. We proclaim that all attempts to trick the masses into reform will end in one result; a traitor’s conviction. We will let DSA-LA decipher the verdict.

 

STP-LA has been organizing in Boyle Heights for three years and we can proudly say that, in this time, we have established a mass base. The masses trust us and we trust them. They have united with our line to join our ranks. However, the first two years of our organizing were marked by the economist practice of food distributions. We can say with confidence that DSA-LA, with their “Food 4 solidarity” initiative, will resurrect failure and death.

 

DSA states that Food 4 Solidarity will “strengthen the organization and move us closer to building socialism from the ground up”. In reality, they want to generate good traction to push them on the ballot and push the nation closer to welfare capitalism. DSA simply wants capitalism with a better healthcare package. That they call themselves “socialist” is a spit in the face of every revolutionary socialist who has given their life to serve the people. They do not grasp that, at its very core, socialism can only be built through the violent confrontation between the working class and its exploiters. All organizing efforts must aim to bring forward this confrontation and end exploitation once and for all. DSA’s planned economism seeks to liquidate class antagonisms, hide contradictions, and call small concessions victories. At their core, food distributions aim to make capitalism more bearable for the exploited – thus, they give another leg for capitalism to stand up on. Food distributions trick the masses into becoming dependent on small guarantees. This is a lesson we have learned in the last two years. Food distributions are a dead end – they mechanically distribute food week after week, empowering no one. They cannot fulfill the primary goal of any revolutionary organization, which is to transform the masses into militants who are ready to wage war. We declare that the seizure of political power is the principle objective for organizing.  As the masses have stated,”tenemos nada y queremos todo.”. We know that they will seize todo by force, whether it be against a pig or a capitalist with a red rose banner.

Free Gladis: Build the People’s Revolutionary Defense Units!

People say California is supposed to be a “Sanctuary State,” or Los Angeles is supposed to be a “Sanctuary City.” The contradiction is stark and offensive. There is no sanctuary! There is no peace! There is no justice for undocumented working-class immigrants in this country. There is only struggle. Without struggle, there is no victory.

Gladis Areli Hernandes Amaya was stopped by law enforcement or private security in front of the LA Memorial Coliseum as she was selling hot dogs with her family. Law enforcement, then, handed her over to ICE. She is currently being detained in the private ICE Adelanto Detention Center.

Her family is struggling to get by without their mother. Her husband, Ernesto, is also a street vendor but understandably doesn’t sell in Los Angeles anymore due to the fear of being torn away from their four children.

This is the continued war against undocumented working-class immigrants by ICE and the U.S. Government. It is a federal war but it is also a local war- with City and police against street vendors.

People say California is supposed to be a “Sanctuary State,” or Los Angeles is supposed to be a “Sanctuary City.” The contradiction is stark and offensive. There is no sanctuary! There is no peace! There is no justice for undocumented working-class immigrants in this country. There is only struggle. Without struggle, there is no victory.

Serve the People – Los Angeles is working on organizing People’s Revolutionary Defense Units to fight against ICE raids and kidnappings by any means necessary. There is nothing else to do but help and defend each other while we organize in confronting the enemy of the people.

Please spread the word! There will be upcoming actions and more fundraising efforts. We need help in raising legal fees as well as bail, a total of approximately $10,000, as soon as possible.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/free-gladis-from-ice-detention

Gladis Areli Hernandes Amaya fue detenida por la policia en frente del LA Memorial Coliseum mientras vendía hot dogs con su familia. La policia o seguridad privada, entonces, la entregó a ICE. Actualmente está detenida en el centro privado de detención en Adelanto.

Su familia está luchando para mantener sin su madre. Su esposo, Ernesto, también es vendedor ambulante, pero dejó de vender en Los Ángeles debido al temor de ser arrancado de sus cuatro hijos.

Esta es la guerra continua contra los inmigrantes indocumentados de la clase trabajadora por ICE y el gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Es una guerra federal, pero también es una guerra local, con la Ciudad y la policía contra los vendedores ambulantes.

La gente dice que California supuestamente es un “Estado Santuario”, o que Los Ángeles supuestamente es “Ciudad Santuario”. La contradicción es dura y ofensiva. ¡No hay santuario! ¡No hay paz! No hay justicia para los inmigrantes indocumentados de la clase trabajadora en este país. Solo hay lucha. Sin lucha, no hay victoria.

Servir al Pueblo – Los Angeles está organizando las Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias para luchar contra las redadas y secuestros de ICE por cualquier medio necesario. No hay nada más que hacer que ayudar y defendernos mientras nos organizamos para enfrentar al enemigo del pueblo.

¡Pasa la voz! Habrá próximas acciones y más esfuerzos de recaudación de fondos. Necesitamos ayuda para aumentar los costos legales y la fianza, un total de aproximadamente $10,000, tan pronto como sea posible.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/free-gladis-from-ice-detention

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