Through a combination of recent developments locally, primarily the heightening of fascist repression through ICE raids and the emboldenment of Trumpite renegades, and the quickening development of our other mass organization, Progressive Youth Organization – Kansas City, we have initialized the formation and consolidation of Serve the People – Kansas City. Based on our understanding of the city’s national and class composition we have chosen a strategic neighborhood in which to base our efforts and to sink the roots of Serve the People; Northeast, KC.
The designation of this neighborhood as the starting point of our organization is tied to two key aspects. Firstly, this neighborhood is a multi-national, working-class neighborhood primarily containing immigrants from Mexico, Vietnam, eastern and northern Africa, and the Caribbean. The recent work of Progressive Youth Organization, both independently and inside the PYO led coalition PAIS (Partnership for the Advancement of Immigrant Struggles), in thwarting local ICE raids in the area, has confirmed that this neighborhood is a prime target of national oppression even beyond the scope of the local reactionaries and pigs. While we have been able to extend and embed the work and politics of Progressive Youth Organization into various communities in Kansas City, especially local immigrant communities, the tasks we face in the coming period are too large for one organization to bear. We refuse to overextend our efforts, as such events can lead to a weakening of the organization in question internally due to overexertion draining members’ drive, which further leads to a disintegration of collective discipline and political unity. Our work in building Progressive Youth Organization as the, both respected and feared, dominant revolutionary mass organization in the city has been a protracted and arduous process which has vaulted it to the position of leadership for mass struggles locally. We cannot afford to let our hard-won hegemony erode due to overextension of our efforts. The primary focus of Progressive Youth Organization must remain in consolidating and promoting the struggles of working-class and oppressed nationality (non-student) youth and students in their fight for liberation and revolution.
This leads us to the first necessary component of the establishment of Serve the People – Kansas City, namely, the obligation to effectively rouse the non-student and non-youth sections of the oppressed masses in developing their own power capable of self-defense against the daily harassment from the local pigs and other assorted reactionaries, while uniting and politicizing oppressed residents of the Northeast into a revolutionary, fighting organization that can collectively resist the increasing threat of ICE raids. This is also an area which throughout its history has been a dwelling of the working-class, going back to the late 19th century when it was a center of industrial meat packing, but it is also an area that always occupies a precarious existence, which is particularly acute today. The Northeast is in the beginning stages of a wave of gentrification sweeping through the neighborhood. This is like a black cloud hanging over the resident’s heads, as they are already wedged between the force of the pigs and the iron fist of the State, now they must contend with the displacement schemes of parasitic developers and the influx of petty-bourgeois “artists”. We recognize that the Northeast has always been under attack, even before the conceptualization of the term “gentrification” existed the workers were hemmed into this neighborhood, until their usefulness to Capital proved unnecessary, then they were quickly and ruthless expelled.
We say no more. We can give no quarter to the foot soldiers of capitalism as they aim to uproot and wage war on our class, on our people. The Northeast belongs to the people who built it physically, culturally, and economically, the oppressed working people. It doesn’t belong to the pigs, or to ICE goons, and it certainly isn’t the playground of hip developers wishing to demolish homes to construct chic artist apartment blocs. This must be the time when the cycle of destruction long characteristic of the Northeast is met with an immovable force, the organized and disciplined force of the masses united in an organization that is inseparable from them and fights for their preservation and dignity in the face of the oppressor and displacer.
It is this reality that has shown us the necessity of forming Serve the People – Kansas City, following in the footsteps of our comrades in Los Angeles, Austin, and Philadelphia. We see in the work of these comrades an effective and mighty tool in combatting the ills that face us here. We see Serve the People as having a threefold purpose:
The masses must be united in an organization that fights for their interests along national and class lines. Self-defense can assume many forms, both individual and collective, armed and unarmed. The work of Progressive Youth Organization and PAIS in conducting organized ICE patrols and setting up an emergency hotline for residents to call if threatened or suspicious of ICE activity, provides us with a basis for collective self-defense through mobilization of the masses taking their own safety into their hands. Secondly, the work of the Proletarian Feminist Committee of PYO in conducting regular and open self-defense classes through the application of the Maoist theory of people’s war, provides us with the second basis of self-defense, the individual that learns to fight, preserve one’s self, and how to win. Our experience in these areas can be transplanted into Serve the People in order to simultaneously teach the masses how to defend themselves through their own organizational capabilities and initiative. This is a component of building dual power, providing defense independent of the pig-State and schooling the masses through experience how to manage their own affairs in the community through self-reliance. Everyone must learn to not strike out in all directions, as Mao said, but to maximize their collective and individual efforts to strike resolutely at the class enemy.
2.) Material and Emotional Support
The masses cannot fight back if they are hungry or lacking clothing. An organization that merges with the masses must not stand aloof like a teacher, but must live and struggle beside them. Serve the People must provide not only material support in the form of food, clothing, toiletries etc., but emotional support as well. This is paramount because no matter how many material goods are distributed, the masses won’t be united through the meeting of material needs alone, but by learning through experience the interconnectedness of the varying struggles in their community, thereby linking them on a level of shared struggle. Serve the People should also not be seen as a charity, but an extension of the masses own efforts at providing and organizing for their own needs, again, independent of the State and parasitic NGOs. Charity implies a paternalistic relationship between the organization and the masses. The tasks that confront us in the Northeast demand that we cannot be a charity, the struggle demands that we do real solidarity work and that we continuously hone our understanding of the situation through regular social investigation and class analysis through active contact with the oppressed masses. Without regular contact with the masses, without a space for debate and discussion of issues, ideas, and problems, and without trying to unite through struggle and support all who can be united with, there can be no genuine practice of the mass line and no possibility for dual power to exist.
Politics is the guiding force behind how self-defense is organized and deployed, as well as how we build and develop material and emotional support and strength. In short, politics, specifically Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, is in command of all our practical work. Both self-defense and material and emotional support need a developed political line and orientation to set the terrain for struggle and transformation. Understanding this leads us to the recognition that Serve the People requires the raising of the overall political consciousness of the masses to the level of understanding the objective conditions, and their subjective role, i.e. grasping the theory of revolution that is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and using it to transform their world collectively. Again, our work in consolidating Maoist ideological and political hegemony in Progressive Youth Organization through organized studies on revolutionary theory, the production and cultivation of new communists through collective debate and study, and the collective act of verbal and written summations following all actions by every member, has been key in revolutionizing the organization, tightening discipline and collective responsibility, and capturing political leadership on the Left in Kansas City. This process must be replicated in Serve the People. Without the masses grasping revolution we will have foundations built on sand instead of stone. Without the masses seeing the organization as a defender of their interests, and without the masses seeing how their ideas can be transformed and concretized into viable political lines by Serve the People, we will be ineffective. This is why everything will depend on the politicization of the masses and the cultivation of advanced elements into new communist cadre, the winning over of the intermediate, and the isolation of the backwards sections in our work in the Northeast.
We have learned many lessons from these past two years of communist organizing, yet there is still much to be learned and much to be done. We hope our work in establishing Serve the People – Kansas City will heighten the struggle that we have already developed locally into a fever pitch, and that this organization will become another solid foundation of revolutionary initiative under Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leadership capable of winning and sustaining tangible victories.
In struggle and solidarity,
Kansas City Revolutionary Collective