lunes, 22 de junio de 2015

EE.UU.: What is Red Guards – LA? / ¿Que son los Guardias Rojos - Los Angeles.? (

This interview was conducted between and Red Guards - LA

[SC]: What is Red Guards - LA?
[RGLA]: Red Guards – Los Angeles is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist cadre formation based in Los Angeles, specifically in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. Since our formation on October 4, 2014, we’ve been affiliated with the New Communist Party (Liaison Committee) (NCP-LC) as part of the organization’s mission to forge a new Maoist communist party in the U.S. Although we’re a relatively new Maoist formation, we’ve already gained some modest traction.

[SC]: How did you get started?
[RGLA]: That’s a long story, but we’ll try to be brief.
The Red Guards – Los Angeles basically was born from the Southern California Young Communist League (SoCal YCL), which was the local youth wing affiliated with the revisionist Communist Party, USA (CPUSA). A few of our members became members of the CPUSA in 2008/2009. We were heavily involved in communist organizing both locally and internationally during this time. We had regular political education courses coupled with cultural and political projects and campaigns. To their credit, much of our fundamental understanding of Marx, Engels and Lenin began with the CPUSA in political education courses, such as the labor theory of value and the role of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie under capitalism. But after the day’s lesson was over, ours was not. We would crack upon more books, continue our reading and studying. We continued studying revolutionary Marxist theory and history, whereas the CPUSA was satisfied in stopping with the classics, such as Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” or Lenin’s “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism,” which isn’t to say that there’s something wrong or limiting with those works. However, to be Marxist, certainly we had to study the continued development of Marxism and within the context of historical developments.
After some time, probably as early as 2013, our political line began to contradict the CPUSA’s supposed commitment to Marxism-Leninism. There were other divisions and factions splitting within the Party nationally around the question of whether or not Stalin should still be defended, on how revolution would look like in the U.S., the national question, on prioritizing community involvement and grass-roots organizing over supporting bourgeois elections and bourgeois political parties, such as the Democrats. Looking back, in a way, our experience with the CPUSA and the political disagreements was a micro-version of the political trajectory of New Communist Movement’s experience with the development and eventual rupture of Marxism-Leninism to Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
But we carried on as dedicated cadre within the CPUSA and the SoCal YCL. This was mainly for two various reasons: 1.) All other communist groups in Los Angeles and surrounding areas were either ultra-left, reactionary or ineffective, and 2.) Some of us felt that we could successfully influence the CPUSA, as a democratic organization, with our political line, which at the time was an anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism.
But that didn’t work out.
In 2014, personal attacks, as well as political attacks, were launched against the SoCal YCL by national and regional CPUSA leadership. In turn, we retaliated with some polemics, principally against their defense of white chauvinism and denouncing proletarian revolution as “ultra-left.”
All this came to a Shakespearean end when two members of the SoCal YCL were called to Party stand trial for two accusations, which were, 1.) “Repeatedly took actions detrimental to the interests of the Party by organizing against and publicly undermining collective decisions,” and 2.) “Promoting violence by idealizing violent imagery and language.”
Presiding over the trial were a married couple in regional leadership (one of which was instrumental in launching the original attacks), as well as two other members who publicly sided with the politics of regional and national leadership over ours. After the façade of a fair trial, in which we defended our politics as being nothing other than Marxism-Leninism, we were purged. All details are available in this article here.
After a brief period of mourning, we continued organizing. But this time more openly as Maoist, which was the natural development of our anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism that successfully answered the question of oppressed nations within the U.S. and how to build a party and launch a revolution. But this time with more determination and urgency.
Determination: because we were right, and proven so by the unprincipled nature of the revisionist CPUSA. Urgency: because we knew that there was a group in the U.S. that had a similar goal of building a new party and launching a proletarian revolution, the NCP-LC. We began speaking with the NCP-LC and eventually became affiliated as the West Coast regional branch of the NCP-LC.

[SC]: What do the Red Guards do?
[RGLA]: Red Guards – Los Angeles focus on three areas: Political education, community outreach and serving the people.
For us, political education is the necessary task of developing not only ourselves as cadre, but also developing the consciousness of the masses. Although this area of work is integrated in everything that Red Guards – Los Angeles does as a collective and as individual cadre, we also designate a bi-weekly Marxist-Leninist-Maoist study course, “[Not] Just Another Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Study Group” based out of an autonomous women of color-run space in Boyle Heights known as La Concha. Several progressive feminist and anti-capitalist groups call La Concha home, such as the Ovarian Psycos – longtime partners with the SoCal YCL (and now the Red Guards – Los Angeles). The study group, which is largely based around PowerPoints and more interactive and visual presentations, started in October and is still going strong; we first studied the entire Marxism-Leninism-Maoism study course by the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Since then, we have turned our focus on doing case studies of most of the early anti-revisionist, Mao Zedong Though and Maoist groups in the U.S, such as the Revolutionary Action Movement, the Black Panthers, the Revolutionary Union and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
Our community outreach mainly focuses on our regular monthly movie screenings under the “Cine Revolucionario” coalition with the Juventud Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional del Sur de California (JFMLN), the regional youth wing of the Salvadoran leftist political party, the FMLN. Our films focus on capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, feminism, environmentalism, racism, revolution and other issues – all under a Marxist analysis. These screenings have been quite successful and serve as a point for members of local communities to become more familiar with revolutionary Marxism.
Lastly and most importantly, Red Guards – Los Angeles members serve the people, which we can get more in detail later. Through serve the people efforts, we promote a more physical presence within the communities, directly among the masses, both in helping and receiving help by them.

[SC]: Tell me about your Serve the People program.
[RGLA]: Our Serve the People program, Serve the People – Los Angeles (STPLA), was launched in April of this year. STPLA is the mass organization of Red Guards – Los Angeles, and serves as an open point for the masses to directly organize with various types of activists and cadre. After seeing the success of both the Red Guards Austin and Progressive Youth Organization’s Serve the People programs, we decided that it would be the most effective way of serving to ends: 1.) raising political consciousness of the masses in an effective and practical and repeatable manner, and 2.) provide direct, needed and material relief to suffering and oppressed communities, especially oppressed nationality communities.
STPLA first launched a community survey, online and in print, that community members of Los Angeles filled out to help us correctly gauge and measure which needs the community needed, such as clothing, food, sports/school equipment, etc. Additionally, we began appropriating food from various locations that would otherwise have gone to waste – this has been one of the most fundamental points in peoples politicization because it serves as a naked example of the inefficiency of capitalist production. The survey intake is ongoing, and we continue to receive various clothing and non-clothing (books, weights, bicycles, sports equipment, stationary, etc.) donations sporadically. We intend to launch regular “free store” in the various places that we do food distribution in the near future once we reach a substantial amount of non-food donations. We’ve already done one such event at last month’s Boyle Heights Primavera Festival.
STPLA serves hot lunches and fresh produce every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. On Wednesday, we focus on Chican@/Mexican/Latin@ proletariat at busy intersections in Boyle Heights. On Sunday, we focus on more marginalized sections of the oppressed nationality proletariat that call city parks their home or their place of hustle. We go to Hollenbeck park, which is in Boyle Heights, and distribute to families, the homeless and the female street vendors who are severely underpaid, super exploited and suffer harassment by the Los Angeles Police Department.
It has been through these efforts that we have attracted numerous volunteers who are becoming more political revolutionary – all with a center on the Maoist practice of serving the people.

[SC]: What have been some challenges you've faced?
[RGLA]: As a relatively small cadre, although we have grown since our founding, all our areas of focus (political education, community outreach and serving the people) are unfortunately principally organized by only a handful of cadre and mass organization members. This is perhaps our major challenge, but it is unavoidable; we cannot grow unprincipally as a cadre organization. First and foremost, we must remain disciplined and exercise a health and protracted process of recruitment.
Another challenge has been in dispelling the damage leftover by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) and its stain on the revolutionary Maoist movement in the U.S. Occasionally, we have to reassure people that we are not in any way affiliated with the RCP, nor are we dogmatists. This, compared to the relatively small size of our cadre collective, is not a major issue, and is slowly becoming more irrelevant, just like the RCP.

[SC]: How can people get involved with Red Guards - LA?
[RGLA]: To get involved with Red Guards – Los Angeles, just ask. We’re all approachable. We’re not arrogant. We’re friendly, open and willing to work with sincere people in several capacities who want to fundamentally change our system and country. We try to make all of our events as accessible as possible. If you’re more into political theory, our “[Not] Just Another Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Study Group” would be a good place. If you’re wanting to critical analyze films and find ways to have that inform your day-to-day political organizing, “Cine Revolucionario” would be a good place. Or if you’re tired of seeing members of your own community hungry, struggling, hustling to barely get by, “Serve the People – Los Angeles” is a great first step.
Our website is Our email is Our Facebook is Our Twitter is @RedGuardsLA.

[SC]: Thank you

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