Tensions between the Kansas City “anarchist” milieu and communists have reached a boiling point in recent weeks. At this point we will no longer work or cooperate on any level with the small counter-revolutionary clique of so-called anarchists, or any local group or organization that is connected to them or supports them in any manner. This document will clearly lay out the events that have led us to this point, and why the radical liberals – represented by the local chapters of IWW and the John Brown Gun Club/Redneck Revolt, which have much overlap in terms of membership – are a detriment to local revolutionary organizing and to the people of Kansas City.
The anarchists in Kansas City are not even anarchists, they are radical liberals who like black flags and reduce anarchism to the most annoying and reactionary form of identity politics imaginable. They have no plans to smash the state, no revolutionary political program, are regularly involved in failed attempts to undermine actual revolutionaries, and prolong the suffering of the masses under capitalism by shilling for reformist efforts and electoral politics. We will not be laying out our critique of anarchism as a political philosophy in this document, because these groups do not even meet a rudimentary definition of anarchist politics. They are sham anarchists and sham revolutionaries, so when we talk about anarchists or anarchism here we are not referring to the political philosophy as a whole or its adherents but to these imposters.
Undermining Antifascist Work
It is indisputable that Maoists are the dominant antifascist force in Kansas City. We do not say this to pat ourselves on the back or out of a sense of pride, but because it is objective reality. Anyone who’s paying attention and being honest with themselves will have to admit this fact. We have been training seriously to take on fascists for over a year, building our comrades into disciplined fighters and partisans skilled in martial arts and a variety of weaponry. We recognize that fascism means death for the working class, especially dually oppressed sections, so we approach this struggle with the seriousness that it deserves.
On the other hand, the radical liberals in Kansas City IWW and Northeast Kansas John Brown Gun Club (JBGC) do not approach antifascist work with any level of seriousness. While our comrades are on the frontlines keeping fascists pinned in, they’re off sitting in the grass having a picnic or standing around like geese in a park. While we’re working day and night to go toe-to-toe with the 3%ers and other right-wing militia, they’re off making nice with them and trying to find areas where they can collaborate.
It recently came to our attention that a Norwegian black metal band with Nazi sympathies called Taake was scheduled to perform in Kansas City at a venue called the Riot Room. We first heard about this event after rapper Talib Kweli cancelled his show at the Riot Room, prompting a series of news articles from both the local and national press. That day (a Wednesday) we set to discussing our strategy for dealing with this event and eventually settled on a plan to shut it down.
The following morning (Thursday) we published an event on Facebook and made sure that the event page was brought to Riot Room’s attention. In the event description we called on antifascists to show up the day of the concert prepared with the necessary materials to shut down the Taake show by any means necessary.
Five or so hours after publishing our event the Riot Room finally cancelled the concert, citing safety concerns. We cannot read the minds of the Riot Room’s management, so we cannot claim that it was our event that led to the cancellation, and we don’t care to. We did intentionally schedule our announcement for early Thursday morning, to keep the heat on the venue going the day after the national news picked up on Talib Kweli’s cancellation. Either way, we are happy with the results.
Unfortunately a prominent representative of the KC IWW, who goes by Brianna Dobbs online, was not happy with these results. Here’s what she had to say about it:
In this little rant, she refers to the concert as “Nazi shit,” says that the owner of Riot Room is “neutral on the topic of Nazis” (thus would not cancel Taake even after Talib Kweli backed out), and admits that the Taake concert would attract fascists, but then she goes on to bemoan how we went too far by using physical intimidation against Taake, their fans and the venue.
This luke-warm take would be fine from your average liberal, but coming from a person who claims to be an antifascist and is somewhat of a leader who “thinks she’s an anarchist” in KC, makes these statements abhorrent and dangerous. These claims are also completely disingenuous and hypocritical as the fliers she is referencing, the fliers that KC IWW was allegedly handing out the day earlier, blatantly referred to Taake fans as Nazis and implied that they be scalped!
After our supporters brought this hypocrisy to their attention, the KC IWW deleted the flier from their facebook page. We are scratching our heads trying to figure out the motives for this pathetic hypocrisy, and the only thing we can come up with is that they have an axe to grind with us, or they have fragile egos and were upset we took away their thunder. It’s clear from their flier that they aren’t actually concerned about the safety of Taake fans. Any organization that exhibits such cowardice and hypocrisy when it comes to confronting fascists does not deserve to call itself antifascist, anarchist, or to invoke the name of the IWW. They are liberal cowards who do nothing but undermine antifascist work in this city with their pettiness and utter lack of principles.
We have written at length about fascism and antifascism since the ascendency of Trumpite nationalism a couple of years back. We make the case that fascism in the United States would amount to untold suffering for the international working class. We make the case that it is imperative to smash fascism in its infancy with the utmost brutality. Acknowledging all of this, we do not have any sympathy for Taake and their fans and do not regret a single thing. We can back up every threat we make. We are ready and prepared to no longer simply pin fascists in, but to actually shut them down with force and drive them from our city when the need arises. We are fearless because we have taken up the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. To be a Maoist means to conquer fear.
As Presidente Gonzalo put it:
“The point is to take up our ideology, and unleash the courage within us. It is our ideology that makes us brave, that gives us courage. In my opinion, no one is born brave. It is society, the class struggle, that makes people and communists courageous–the class struggle, the proletariat, the Party, and our ideology. What could the greatest fear be? Death? As a materialist I know that life will end some day. What is most important to me is to be an optimist, with the conviction that others will continue the work to which I am committed, and will carry it forward until they reach our final goal, communism…”
We see antifascist work not only as a means in and of itself, but as a training ground for revolution. Unfortunately for these liberals, revolution is not a tea party or a hobby or something they can’t attend because of a concert or because they are practicing “self-care.” We must learn to fight by fighting; we must learn revolutionary violence by wielding revolutionary violence; we must learn combat by engaging in low-intensity combat operations against fascists, gentrifiers and other counter-revolutionaries. We will not learn how to make revolution by having picnics or standing around like geese in a park, we will learn how to make revolution by shedding our blood and that of the enemy. We live and breathe revolution and devote our lives to serving the people and initiating the destruction of capitalism and the smashing of the state.
But how do these liberals LARPing as anarchists expect to ever smash the state if they already are trembling in fear at the prospect of violence against fans of what they themselves refer to in their flier as a “nazi metal band.” Surely any revolutionary understands that if we take our task seriously it will result in massive civilian casualties. Capitalism will not simply wither away, it will fight to its last dying breath, and in the course of revolution there will be innocent people hurt and killed. This is undoubtedly a shame, but the revolutionary must weigh this against the untold suffering and the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths caused by capitalism right now, and the impending threat of environmental collapse, and wholesale fascist barbarism. These liberals LARPing as anarchists insult the idea of revolution and deceive the masses by blasphemously proffering themselves up as revolutionaries, when they are anything but.
These liberals like to refer to us as “dangerous” and like to say we make antifascist work “unsafe.” To make it perfectly clear, we have no concern for the safety of these fence-sitting cowards who have never accomplished anything. Antifascist work endangers antifascists. It comes with the territory. If they don’t want to feel “endangered” or “unsafe” they need to stay at home. Trying to dampen the efforts of militant antifascists who have been training seriously for over a year, and confronting fascists for almost three years, is actually dangerous and a disservice to the people of Kansas City. In fact, it is they who put people in danger and make people “unsafe” with their false promises and their watered-down and defanged antifascism.
We have absolutely made errors in our antifascist work in the past but these errors have been critically assessed and rectified and have not been repeated. One of these errors occurred during an encounter with police at our first open carry event. We will not detail the entirety of events, but it was covered extensively in the local news for those interested. The short of it is, our legal contact had assured us that open carry was allowed in this park where the fascists gathered (almost six months back on 9/9/2017). We still believe that our legal advice was sound, but the pigs insisted that our partisans could not have ammo or magazines in their firearms.
Tensions were high at this point, and the incorrect call was made to remove the magazines and the ammo and pocket them. It should be noted that this all happened well before the rally was scheduled to start, as we intentionally showed up early in case there was a confrontation with the pigs. We realize now that the partisans should have taken the charges and not ceded an inch to these pigs, but at the time we were anxious about the potential for an armed standoff with the reckless KCPD. God forbid we make errors during the first organized open carry demonstration that KC has seen since possibly the 70’s. These errors have informed the practice of our partisans and they have addressed them with the utmost seriousness, we can confidently say that these mistakes have not been and will not be repeated ever again.
Not long after this event, the Northeast Kansas John Brown Gun Club came to us with some criticisms, which we were thankful for. We took their criticisms seriously, gave them written responses and began the process of self-criticism and rectification. They were on the other side of the park a ways away from the confrontation, and so there were some inaccuracies in their accounting of events that we happily corrected, and they acknowledged the corrections. After discussing things with them, we reached agreement and it seemed there were no lingering antagonisms. But we learned just recently almost six months later, that members of JBGC were spreading rumors and gossip behind our backs, going back on their word, and sharing the same inaccuracies that we had previously addressed with them. Inaccuracies that they had acknowledged were inaccuracies. Inaccuracies that aren’t reported in any of the news stories surrounding the event, news stories that paint us in the most negative light possible.
This backstabbing demonstrates a shameful lack of principles when it comes to engagement with other organizations. At this point we can never trust the JBGC leadership, and we will never work with them in any capacity. We will actively discourage their efforts and inform everyone we come into contact with of their deceit, opportunism and other bad practices. We reject any claims that our partisans lack firearms training or don’t handle their weapons with seriousness. The errors made had everything to do with our handling of the pigs and nothing to do with lack of firearms training or knowledge. They are lying to themselves and to their friends and they know it.
It is odd that this club would hurl insults at us and spread rumors, since they don’t have a leg to stand on. In fact, they actually backed out of open carry at the rally in question. They were planning to open carry, but got cold feet just a few days before like the cowards they are. We still asked them to help us with security at this event, but instead of taking this task seriously, they stood at the back of the crowd in their little circle and offered nothing of any substance to anyone, this was another mistake we will never make again. This was in the immediate post-Charlottesville atmosphere, and it was incumbent upon us to take security as serious as possible, which they failed miserably at.
This lack of seriousness was on full display just a couple weeks ago. This chapter of JBGC was started up in Lawrence, KS (about 45 minutes outside of KC) and their leadership is still based there last we heard. Just a few weeks ago, white supremacists and fascists marched up and down the main thoroughfare in Lawrence with no organized resistance. The JBGC had advance notice that this was happening and did not lift a finger to put their people in the streets. They did not even call on us when we were readily available. We do not keep up on what’s happening in Lawrence, so we did not find out until reports started streaming in. These cowards actually let fascists march up and down the streets in their city, terrorizing the people and starting fights. They throw stones from their glass house.
Our antifascist work speaks for itself. Just prior to 9/9 there were a couple of liberal rallies that were surrounded by organized 3% militiamen who were armed to the teeth. White supremacists had also rallied earlier that summer in downtown Kansas City. It was clear that the far-right was becoming emboldened, and we didn’t hesitate to respond. We launched a two-prong attack at the 3%ers, one part psychological and the other part physical. It was clear to us at the first event that the 3%ers were suspiciously cozy with the KCPD, so we set out to gather evidence on this. After the next event they showed up to, we promptly exposed their ties to the KCPD with damning video evidence that showed they were clearly working together. We then showed up on 9/9 with our own firearms and weapons, ready to fight back. Since that open carry demo not a single fascist or white supremacist group has held any sort of public event in Kansas City.
After the debacle in Lawrence – a town with a rich abolitionist history, that today is known as a liberal oasis in Kansas – it was clear that the area fascists had scored a huge moral victory. They waltzed up and down the streets of a supposedly leftist college town, on the same ground that the actual John Brown – who’s name the JBGC disgraces – once treaded on. It became clear at that point that the next time fascists or white supremacists tried to gather near our city, that we would have to deprive them of another victory at any cost. When fascists feel safe, fascism snowballs. This is why we could not hesitate to shut down the Taake show with the utmost ferocity. We do not feel any sympathy for Taake, for their fans, for the Riot Room, or for black metal. What we did was right and correct, and the fact that these alleged antifascists can’t recognize that is damning to their credentials.
The most recent and perhaps the saddest display of cowardice from JBGC occurred just a week and a half ago, when according to our sources, they had to cancel their meeting out of fear of being confronted by Maoists for their lies and slander. The armed wing of the local “anarchists” can’t even secure its meetings! Why are they so scared of us? While they cancel their meetings and cower in fear, while they continue to slog along and accomplish absolutely nothing, we continue to rack up victories for the people of Kansas City and all they do is flap their jaws. Cowards like this are not fit to carry guns in any circumstances, let alone antifascist events.
As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists we are always sharpening and fine-tuning our work through the Maoist method of criticism and self-criticism. We are not the same collective as we were when we were founded almost two years ago, nor are we the same collective as we were one year ago or six months ago. The class struggle propels us forward, and criticism/self-criticism is how we are able to constantly acknowledge our errors and improve on our work. On the contrary, the liberals are allergic to criticism, even when it’s given politely they balk and whine like petulant children. They muddle along in their work and don’t ever attempt to better themselves. They ignore the universal laws of dialectical and historical materialism, and instead prefer a simplistic black and white worldview that hinders any hope of progress. They promote anti-intellectualism and mediocrity as virtue and as revolutionary. Instead of sharpening their practice and ideology, they have slid steadily to the right over the past couple of years. They have transitioned from supporting militants into a group of lazy and banal identity reductionist fools. They reject class struggle in favor of class collaborationism.
Brianna says herself in the screenshots above that, “takees fans are no more likely to be nazis then any other section of white people.”
While it is true that white supremacy is at the base of American style fascism, Brianna’s statement completely ignores the class character at play for a simplistic and inaccurate analysis. Even the most rudimentary analysis of American fascism must acknowledge that fascism has more popular support among the white petty-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie than it does with the white working class. Lumping all these classes in together does a disservice to antifascist work and demonstrates a sore lack of political education around the subject of fascism, further demonstrating that these groups are not cut out for antifascist work.
Perhaps the weakest arguments we’ve heard from the psuedo-anarchist camp is that “Taake isn’t actually German-style nazis” and “by protesting them you actually hurt the cause and emboldened the right.” What antifascist hasn’t heard these arguments before? These are the same pathetic and laughable arguments that liberals make about every antifascist action. We are very aware that as we ramp up our antifascist work and our work generally in KC that there will be a reaction from the far-right, this is the basic laws of science. We’ve prepared steadily for this. If these liberals can’t handle the heat they need to stay out of the kitchen! We’ve all had plenty of time to prepare, but unfortunately for these anarchists being a revolutionary is hard work that requires discipline and sacrifice.
Against Left Unity
“Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of Marxists, not unity between Marxists, and opponents and distorters of Marxism.” – V. I. Lenin
We can already hear the moans about “left unity” that will inevitably result from this document. So let us be clear: we couldn’t care less about unity with these liars and cowards. Our comrades have put up with slander and badmouthing from these clowns for months, with an incredible amount of patience, and we didn’t hear any complaints then from the so-called left in Kansas City. We reject left unity as a dead end, and don’t seek any form of unprincipled unity with the likes of KC IWW and Northeast Kansas John Brown Gun Club.
Left unity liquidates revolutionary theory by smoothing over the very real disagreements that exist between different left tendencies. The disagreements between Maoists and Trotskyites, social democrats, revisionists and anarchists are substantial; each trend represents different class interests. For instance, revisionism is a bourgeois ideology, as it hastens the restoration of capitalism and dismantles the socialist economy and dictatorship of the proletariat. Anarchists reject the party, the mass line, and protracted people’s war, all of which Maoists see as critical to emancipating the working class. We cannot sacrifice our principals for the sake of temporary alliances.
Liquidating revolutionary theory is a huge mistake when there is an overall crisis in revolutionary theory. The left has been picking up the pieces ever since revisionism hastened the collapse and the betrayal of Marxist-Leninist parties. There is no longer an international base for the working class, and all leftist tendencies have a small and in many cases stagnating appeal.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was forged in the struggle against revisionism and social-democracy. When the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) waged it’s peoples war it was in the context of rising popularity for the social-democratic party APRA, and a government alliance with the social-imperialist Soviet Union. At the start of the war the PCP was a relative minority compared to the various social-democrat and revisionist parties and organizations that were operating in the Peruvian countryside. They rallied people around them by developing and advocating a correct political line and developing MLM as a coherent ideology, and by demonstrating the correctness of their politics and ideology to the masses via the earth-shattering successes the peoples war brought to bear. If we can prove the effectiveness of our politics then inevitably we will rally more and more people into our ranks and “the left” will become even more irrelevant than it is now.
The struggle against revisionism and other false left tendencies only strengthens the resolve and sharpens the politics of communists. History clearly demonstrates this over and over again – when Marx split from the idealists, when the Bolsheviks broke off from the Mensheviks, when Stalin kicked Trotsky out of the Soviet Union – all of these events may have had temporary downsides but the losses were quickly recouped to the long-term benefit of the working class. We’ve experienced this in our own work after the collapse of the NCP (LC) and after our split with the revisionists in Saint Louis. These breaks ultimately pushed us to sharpen and develop our politics and our work to a greater degree. Now there is more strength and a higher level of unity among the MLM movement in this country than ever before, and we will only keep getting stronger.
The utter lack of principles and revolutionary politics among groups like KC IWW has clearly demonstrated the futility of left unity as a strategy. Over the course of the past few months PYO (an organized group of communist students and youth) has undertaken a militant anti-rape campaign at the University of Missouri Kansas City. The UMKC administration is guilty of covering up multiple sexual assault cases, and these students have mounted multiple actions targeting the perpetrators and the university administration, including picketing in front of the administration. In the midst of all this, the KC IWW effectively crossed this picket line and held a film screening at the university sanctioned by the pro-rape administration.
In what world would uniting with these scabs benefit the working class, if they’re even willing to throw student victims of sexual assault under the bus. Only the most despicable and unprincipled leftists could unite with such an organization. Those worried about the KC left can take solace in knowing that even if these organizations ceased to exist, it would only serve to strengthen and benefit the working and dually oppressed peoples of our city.
In the course of revolution the devoted adherents to these other tendencies who cannot be won over must be swept away along with the rest of bourgeois society. We do not shy away from violence against leftists and leftist organizations who would get in the way of our work, or actively lead our class astray. Revisionism and reformism are sugar-coated bullets aimed at the head of working class. If we allow these class traitors to gain any foothold in a revolutionary society they will lead our class to its doom and betray the memory of our martyrs. Our aim is to unite the working class, not the ineffectual and subcultural left.
This goes without saying, even though we reject loose horizontalist coalitions because they are ineffective and a dead-end, we uphold the Maoist strategy of the United Front. We are not opposed to working with different organizations on common ground issues like antifascism, but we will request that these organizations adopt the leadership of experienced and capable communists. This will produce better results from any angle, and ensure that revolutionary politics are kept firmly in command.
Against Identity Opportunism
The politics of the local IWW and JBGC can best be described as a type of postmodernist identity reductionism. Anytime the members of these groups are pressed on any political question they resort to a slew of personal attacks based in identity, regardless of whether these attacks are accurate or not, because they have no clear political ideology and lack any semblance of a political education. The postmodernism that they ascribe to rejects objective truth and historical materialism, so they are left with a mishmash of eclectic politics with no anchor in material reality.
Instead of analyzing the systemic basis for oppression (e.g. the contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat, the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations) they individualize oppression. The source of oppression then becomes based in personal interactions, such as “microaggressions,” and whether or not an individual feels “safe” or “unsafe” at a given time. However there is no safety for anyone under capitalism, at any given time.
As long as capitalism continues to exist, racism, sexism, homophobia and other oppressions will continue to cause suffering and divide our class, regardless of how many individual people get called out. In class society all oppressions are rooted in the fundamental contradiction between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. This is not to say that these types of oppressions didn’t exist prior to the advent of capitalism, but that capitalism subsumed them and made them subject to the will and benefit of the ruling classes. In class society all identity groups are stratified among various classes, so you end up with revolutionaries, centrists, and reactionaries among any demographic.
For all the lip service these so-called anarchists give to “anti-authoritarianism,” it’s ironic that their vulgar identity politics tend to replicate many of the types of authoritarian thought control that they claim to oppose. Whereas Maoists will struggle with individuals to help them overcome the backwards ideas or habits that bourgeois society imparts on everyone, these identity reductionists will simply throw someone in the trash for saying a word they deem offensive. They are constantly “cancelling” individuals for various slip ups, in some cases destroying their social lives over minor disagreements that could be struggled out, and constantly crying to the internet about microaggressions. When they are asked why they are so impatient, they claim that they are not obligated to teach or struggle with people because it is too much “emotional labor.”
In our organizing experience, we have found no enthusiasm among the working and oppressed people of KC for these types of politics. When we are out on the streets doing agitation and propaganda and talking to people, concepts like “lived experience,” “safe spaces” and “fatphobia” come off as foreign to the average worker, whereas they are able to relate to and understand Marxist concepts because these concepts are rooted in their material existence. While Maoists practice the principle of “from the masses, to the masses,” these identity reductionists situate themselves on their high horses above the rest of us, playing gatekeeper and denying salvation to those with dirty mouths or unclean thoughts. They are so blind by their self-righteousness that they can’t see how ridiculous and phony they look to the average working class observer. These sham politics are anti-masses to the core.
These organizations that ascribe to strict identity politics often cultivate a stressful atmosphere for the people involved with them. At any point saying the wrong thing can result in your cancellation from the social club. Or if an individual member some how gets on the bad side of a popular identity opportunist, for reasons that could be unknown to them, they are suddenly subject to being thrown away and branded a racist/sexist/etc.
Identity opportunists, like those in the IWW and JBGC, often treat dually oppressed people as if their identities are nothing more than a political football to throw at individuals and ideas they disagree with, in the most patronizing ways imaginable. They like to treat oppressed people like some fragile untouchable little children, stripping them of their agency and reducing their identities to accessories to opportunistically exploit for political or personal gain. For us communists, it is the content of what person is saying not their identities that determine whether they are correct or not.
Even though we don’t publicize the identities of our members, because this would put them at risk, we will say we have worked closely with people from all backgrounds and identity groups, and we can say firmly that dually oppressed people are some of the strongest and fiercest fighters that the working class has. These identity politicians reject discipline and self-improvement and encourage people to wallow in their suffering and oppression. We have found that all comrades are capable of putting in work, of developing their politics, of self-improvement, of being disciplined, even if they aren’t capable of participating at all levels of communist work.
We want to acknowledge that there are some principled individuals among the membership of the local IWW and JBGC, who are kept in the dark or lied to about the issues discussed in this paper. We encourage these people to step up and hold their organizations accountable, hold their leadership accountable, and demand a rectification process. This is the only way that we will ever consider working with these organizations, or the individuals associated with these organizations, in any capacity ever again.
We hope that this document has cleared up any lies that have been lobbed at us from these corners, and we encourage anyone with lingering questions or criticisms to reach out to us via email to get anything we missed cleared up. These opportunists know that we practice strict security culture, and so they exploit this by making all sorts of claims about the actions or identities of our comrades. The fact is these reckless fools have no proof of who any of our membership is and can only speculate. This speculation has actually brought heat on individuals that they publically claim are in our collective, when they are actually not. This is nothing short of pig work and there will be a steep price to pay if they continue this baseless speculation.
As it stands, the counter-revolutionaries in the local IWW and JBGC represent a threat to everyone involved in local revolutionary organizing and to the people of Kansas City. We will not sit by and let these unprincipled swine gain any foothold in our city. We will throw everything we have at snuffing them out, at frustrating their efforts, and if need be dismantling their organizations. We urge people who do not want to get caught up in the mix to stay away from these organizations, at least until the dust settles. We will confront them at every turn because it is the correct and principled thing to do, not because we have an axe to grind or are vindictive. We have given them too many chances to count, and they have worn out their welcome. If they are stupid enough to try and attend any events where our comrades are present, or share space with our comrades in any regard, we will make sure they are confronted.