Saturday, June 11


VIEW FROM THE ARMED FRONT: the dialectic of Revolutionary Violence, law, and Reformism

Our recognition of the economical contradictions of capital in no way obscures the social and political realities that now confront us and our struggle for Black Liberation. To the contrary, it enhances and deepens our perspective and clarifies the dialectical role or armed struggle in our liberation process.

We have begun to recognize and analyze those forces in a modern technologically advanced society that set our particular struggle apart from other Third world people's struggles, as well as the common factors all oppressed peoples share as a result of U.S. and western imperialism. One such factor that sets our struggle apart from other struggles is the profound influence of organized technology on our consciousness, social relationships, and behavior. People who live in the technologically advanced societies of the west have been programmed to perceive their needs as being one in the same as the technology that created these artificial needs. Because the masses of working people do not control this technology, it has been consistently used to manipulate their whole lives. We are told what to buy, what to eat, whom to hate, and what to love, by rulers and controllers of an exploitive system.

Technology in the context of capitalism is the ultimate means by which the masses are programmed out of the need for real freedom. A whole social value system has evolved to support the dependence on corporate-state technological control. We no longer know what freedom is - - what self-determination is. We perceive the value of competition as being in the natural order of human relationships, instead of contrary to the fact that people are social animals, more attuned to cooperation than competition. We must create in the course of destroying our system of oppression, whole new value concepts, concepts that exist in dialectical opposition to the values that buttress our oppression - - even more than this, we must create a new need within ourselves for freedom, so that we can harness technology in our behalf. As it stands how, Black people cannot even conceive of real freedom; we are afraid of real liberation because we have been programmed to be afraid by racist class oppression - - even more than this, we must create a new need within ourselves for freedom, so that we can harness technology in our behalf. As it stands how, Black people cannot even conceive of real freedom; we are afraid of real liberation because we have been programmed to be afraid by racist class oppression. Technology has immensely added in reinforcing our fear of the dominant ruling circles. We must break this social psychosis.

The B.L.A. has undertaken armed struggle as a means by which the social psychosis of fear, awe, and love of everything white people define as being of value, is purged from our peoples' minds. Our historical experience in North America has shown us that we as a people have always suffered while the racist ruling circles have never suffered. We have seen throughout our history pain, blood, rape, exploitation, poverty, our families torn asunder by a cruel and brutal culture, our youth murdered and socially crippled, our women degraded, our lives ever at the mercy of the cold American dream machine. We realize that the results of this historical experience has caused Black people to fear America's capacity for racist violence, and on the other hand , has reinforced the racist ruling circles in their attitudes of arrogance and confidence. The fact that the majority of whites who are equally oppressed and exploited do not really understand who their real enemy is, does not deter us from doing what must be done to break not only our people'' mental chains, but theirs as well. We therefore, will illustrate in the only terms that the ruling classes understand - - the terms of blood - - their blood. America must learn that Black people are not the eternal sufferers, the universal prisoners, the only ones who can feel pain. Revolutionary violence is, therefore, not a tactic of struggle, but a strategy. A strategy designed to drive the capitalist system further into crisis, while at the same time forcing all those responsible for oppression to realize that they too can bleed, they too can feel our pain. Only when this is realized, will any just and equal decisions be made, will we be conceded our right to self-determination. As it stands now, the powerful do not believe they can hurt and therefore, find concession to our demands for liberation ridiculous. Our social/psychotic fear of the racists ruling circles must be purged also, and only by developing our capacity to fight our enemy will this unreasonable and reactionary fear be eradicated from our social psyche. Revolutionary violence is not so much a self cleansing process as it is a necessary ingredient in creating a psychological frame of mind amongst the ruling classes that our liberation must be granted.

We must clarify revolutionary violence in relationship to our actual condition, because many of our people believe in the "law," or at least the existing code of law of our oppressor. Most people do not see the real relationship between the development of western law and the development of western capitalism; therefore, these people cannot deal with the reality of injustice as being an integral part of the prevailing system. Not a few people misunderstand the objective class function for the courts, the police, and various related institutions in maintaining the illusion of North American democracy.

In a society such as exists here today, law is never impartial, never divorced from the economical relationships that brought it about. History clearly shows that in the course of the development of modern western society, the code of law is the code of the dominant and most powerful class, made into laws for everyone. It is implemented by establishing "special" armed organs, that are obliged to enforce the prevailing class laws. In this historical period of human social development such is the objective function of "law". Under such conditions of the most powerful economic and political classes. But, what about the law in a democracy, especially one that claims that all its citizens can elect their representatives who in turn can create new laws? First of all, such a democracy does not exist in North America, bourgeois democracy as such is merely a means of political control that evinces a design to subjugate its people, all of these reasons flow from the necessity to maintain exploitive capitalist relationships. Thus, the influence of corporate wealth on the politics of bourgeois democracy is merely an extension of private property's traditional influence and control of the so-called democratic process. The constant co-optation by ruling classes of the masses of working peoples, coupled with their complete control of technology and of working peoples, coupled with their complete control of technology and of working people, coupled with their complete control of technology and information renders the so-called democratic process null and void. To a reflections of the class organization of that society and the reflection of a given technological-economical arrangement and its supporting value system. The political organization of the most powerful classes or economic groups in a class society has to be, and is, the control by these classes or economic groups over the entire society and its political system. We ha found the democratic process under capitalism to be merely a means by which capital controls the masses. It is a means of mass diversion, designed to keep the powerless classes politically impotent while at the same time fostering the illusion that real power can be gained through the electoral process. Black people should know better. In a nation based on the false principle of majority rule, we are a marginal minority and therefore our right to self-determination cannot be won in the arena of our oppressor.

The rejection of reformism however, is much deeper than the above reasons. For if reformism is a rejection of any meaningful change, it is also a rejection of revolutionary violence, and therefore reformism is a functional ignorance of the dynamics of Black liberation. This is because the character of reformism is based on unprincipled class collaboration with our enemy. The ideals of class collaboration do not stand in opposition to our people's oppression, but instead consistently seeks to reform the oppressive system. Reform of the oppressive system can never benefit its victims, in the final analysis the system of oppression was created to insure the rule of particular racist classes and sanctify their capital. To seek reform therefore inevitably leads to, or begins with, the recognition of the laws of our oppressor as being valid.

Those within the movement who condemn the revolutionary violence of anti-capitalist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and revolutionary Black nationalist groups are in essence weakening themselves. These fools do not understand the inter-active need for revolutionary violence with other forms of struggle and because they do not understand the real dynamics involved they seriously inhibit the development of the liberation movement as a whole. These reformists in liberationist garb should understand that unless the movement cultivates its capacity to fight the enemy on all fronts, no front will secure any real victories. It is abysmal ignorance that imagines our oppression in any other terms than undeclared war.

How will the movement as a whole be able to fight the oppressor in the future when all other "legal" methods are completely exhausted? How will we implement political struggle without the machinery and capacity for revolutionary violence - - when it is abundantly clear that our oppressor maintains armed organs of violence for the enforcement of his rules? We as a movement will be unable to fight in the future if we do not develop the capacity for revolutionary violence in the present. But revolutionary violence is not an alternative to mass movement and organization, it is complementary to mass struggle, it is another front in the total liberation process. Those who put the question of revolutionary violence in "alternative" terms are guilty of crippled politics at worst. Those involved in the total revolutionary process, yet claim not to "endorse" revolutionary violence when it occurs, are attempting to "legitimize" their existence at the expense of the entire struggle. The only "legitimacy" these people can possibly be seeking in such cases is bourgeois legitimacy. These type people further confuse the masses, for revolutionary violence is not clarified and extended in order to undermine the psychological dependence Black people still have on racist reactionary "legality." This is the vilest of sins, one for which everyone will pay during heightened repression.

We therefore do not view the "law" of our class enemies as valid, no do we feel restricted in struggle to his laws. On the other hand, we understand the "tactical" value of using the law and consequently we understand the tactical value of reform in the liberation process. For example, school takeovers by community parents, rent strikes by tenants, labor union takeover by dissident members, etc., utilizing their systems and built-in safeguards to obtain certain goals that place the enemy at a temporary disadvantage. But we maintain there is only tactical value to reform when there exists other forms of revolutionary struggle against the whole of the capitalist structure. Reform as such is inherently reactionary and perpetuated psychological dependence on the enemy, while confusing the true class contradictions between ourselves and the enemy. Considering these factors, we maintain that reform can never be anything more than a tactic, never a complete strategy, never offering in itself any revolutionary change. While it may offer the Black bourgeoisie rewards, it can never be the road to self-determination for the entire Black populace.

We also strongly condemn those who claim to be progressive, yet depreciate revolutionary violence of an oppressed people in their struggle for liberation. There can be no conditions on our fight for freedom except those set by the oppressed themselves. Those who claim that revolutionary violence gives the enemy the opportunity to repress the movement in general are profoundly mistaken if they think the reactionary government needs such excuses for repression, or that the government does not recognize the real danger in allowing a movement to develop the full-blown capacity to wage armed struggle. The B.L.A. has undertaken the task of building just such a capacity, along with other comrades on the clandestine level.


We have chosen to build the armed front, the urban guerilla front, not as an alternative to organizing masses of Black people, but because the liberation movement as a whole must prepare armed formations at each stage in its struggle. A failure to build these armed formations can be fatal to both the struggle and Black people.

Our Ultimate or strategic goal at this point in creating the apparatus of revolutionary violence is to weaken the enemy capitalist state, creating at the same time objective-subjective conditions that are ripe for the formation of a National Black Liberation Front composed of many progressive revolutionary, and nationalist groupings, and in this same process create the nucleus of the armed clandestine organs which such a front would need in order to carry out its political tasks. These are the broad reasons for our devotion to armed struggle. The fact that no such national united front exists now, in no way precludes the fact that the creation of one will become necessary in the future (as the contradictions of capitalist society increase repression, racism and social deterioration). We are of the opinion that subjective conditions are not ripe for such unity.

Because of objective conditions, namely, enemy activity and the relative low degree of unity within the Black struggle, we have decided to build the apparatus separate and distinct (organizationally) from all other mass type groups. This is a tactical necessity, but this tactical necessity does note contradict our strategic all for all groups in the Black liberation movement to form a national united front, with the principle of armed action as one of many "legitimate" forms of political policy.

At present the contradictions that any B.L.A. activities may cause are not to be avoided. Every progressive should welcome the exposure and development of contradictions, for it is through the development of contradictions that we will all move forward. Every brother, every sister on the side of liberation should and must support the struggle on all fronts, and clarify to our people the acts of revolutionary violence committed against our common oppressors and class enemies of all colors. This means the revolutionary violence must be supported by those in the movement on all levels. While such support will be difficult at first, objective conditions and time will remove much of the difficulty which primarily ideological myopia to begin with. We know from experience that because of the class nature of our struggle and its racist aspect, many of our actions may very well be tactical action of a purely military-psychological nature, and because of this clear political support may seem quite difficult. Nonetheless we intend to clarify all acts of revolutionary violence and accepts responsibility for these acts. The important factor, however, is that the progressive movement, the liberation movement, and comrades on all levels of struggle understand that failure to support the armed urban guerilla front (military, politically) is a failure to support the mass front, is a failure to support the "legal" thrusts of our struggle in "civil rights," and in the final analysis, an abdication of responsibility. Cowardice can be understood, but not opportunism and an abdication of commitment to our total liberation.

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