Against ‘Left’ Antisemitism, Fight for Proletarian Internationalism: An Open Letter to Black Hammer from the MCP-OC

“At first glance it seems strange that the attitude of the anti-Semite can be equated with that of the negrophobe. It was my philosophy teacher from the Antilles who reminded me one day: “When you hear someone insulting the Jews pay attention; he is talking about you.” And I believed at the time he was universally right, meaning that I was responsible in my body and my soul for the fate reserved for my brother. Since then, I have understood that what he meant quite simply was the anti-Semite is inevitably a negrophobe.”

Franz Fanon | Black Skin, White Masks

On the occasion of a recent dialogue within the anti-imperialist camp, cadre of the Maoist Communist Party – Organizing Committee (MCP-OC) find it exigent to initiate struggle openly against a dangerous and reactionary political line which is once more re-emerging in the socialist movement: that of “left antisemitism,” particularly its manifestation in the public line of Gazi Kodzo, of the Black Hammer formation.

We recognize the unassailable right to self-determination for all oppressed nations, including the New Afrikan internal colony of the so-called u.s.a.; while we have no interest in interfering in this struggle for New Afrikan liberation, we are no longer able to idly watch as an altogether reactionary line has taken command of this so-called revolutionary formation, and call upon the rank and file membership of Black Hammer to hold their leadership to account for this anticommunist and counterrevolutionary error. The MCP-OC has engaged in comradely struggle alongside Black Hammer in the past – until this error is rectified and a full self-criticism has been issued, that will no longer be the case.

Gazi has replaced meaningful, materialist analysis of the settler-colonial nature of the so-called u.s.a. – which discloses the motive force of class struggle behind its racist and imperialist violence – with a Manichaen understanding of the world as a struggle between Good and Evil, ‘Colonizer’ (including, we are meant to believe, the Jews of Europe) and ‘Colonized,’ both writ large; it is this metaphysical understanding which has permitted so crude a deviation from basic historical and dialectical materialism as Gazi’s most recent social media tirade, in which the horrors of the Holocaust were written off as “white on white crime.”

Let us be clear: the murder and displacement of the European Jewish populations en masse has been a regular feature of the last thousand years. This is why Lenin listed European Jews among “the most oppressed and persecuted nations.” Starting with the First Crusade, each army which marched across Europe left a trail of Jewish bodies in its wake (with the Worms Massacre being the earliest notable example). During the Black Plague, Jewish populations were routinely blamed for the existence of the disease in the cities – whether through witchcraft or the poisoning of wells – which lead to pogrom and exile. The end of the so-called Reconquista, the conquest of the Iberian peninsula by Christian kingdoms (which became the first horrible movement of European imperialism), was marked by the mass exile of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain. Within the Russian Empire, Jewish populations were limited to living within the Pale of Settlement, a region spanning parts of Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine from the 18th century through the Russian Revolution. There even exists a holiday among Ashkenazim called “Nittel Nacht,” which is the tradition of pretending not to be Jewish on Christmas Eve to hide from pogroms.

The Holocaust was a culmination of these pogroms and exiles – a mass industrial genocide, the antisemitism of industrial capitalism. Whereas the capitalist factory is the site of the production of value in the form of goods, the concentration camp as built by the Nazis was its most grotesque inversion, the destruction of value in the form of the human. Moishe Postone described this process beginning with “[dehumanization], that is, to rip away the “mask” of humanity, of qualitative specificity, and reveal the Jews for what ‘they really are’—shadows, ciphers, numbered abstractions. The second step was to then eradicate that abstractness, to transform it into smoke, trying in the process to wrest away the last remnants of the concrete material ‘use-value’: clothes, gold, hair, soap.” This inversion was the logical outcome of the so-called “scientific” antisemitism (alongside “scientifc” racism) which emerged under capitalism.

We are revolutionary communists; our approach to understanding the world is, therefore, on the basis of the really scientific method of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This means that we apprehend social phenomena not by way of idealistic categories but through rigorous class analysis. We recognize that the national form does not operate outside of the history of class struggle, but is, rather, the product of its historical development; it is transparent that the Holocaust operated within this selfsame logic as a genocidal campaign targeted against the Jewish and Romani nations – the Roma faced deliberate genocidal violence on par with the racial eradication campaign against European Jews, and an estimated 80% of European Roma were killed during the Holocaust. While Slavs, LGBTQIA people, and our comrades of the Communist movement also fell victim, it is a historical fact that the stress of the Holocaust was placed on the eradication of the European Jewish nationality, principally the working class and peasant Yiddish culture, with its long history of struggle against capitalism, and the Roma.

Indeed, much of contemporary antisemitism, particularly in the amerikan context, is exactly the product of the eradication of working class Jews; we recognize, for example, that in New Afrikan communities, antisemitism often has its root in class struggles of the 1940s and ’50s, during which many landlords and storeowners in New Afrikan neighborhoods were Jewish, particularly in New York City. Such flattening out of class contradictions only serves the interest of the bourgeoisie; casting antagonism on white Jews from Europe (including many Holocaust refugees) covers up the real contradiction at play, between the working class and the bosses, in favor of one which meets the partial needs of our enemies. As Moishe Postone explains, the power and danger of modern antisemitism “result from its comprehensive worldview, which explains and gives form to certain modes of anticapitalist discontent in a manner that leaves capitalism itself intact, by attacking the personifications of that social form.” (Anti-Semitism and National Socialism)

Discussing the national struggle of the Ukraine against Great-Russian imperialism and dominant nation chauvinism, Lenin noted out that if the Ukrainian Marxist allows himself to be stampeded by his (fully legitimate) hatred of the oppressor nation, and, in so doing, takes up a hatred of the working class movement within it, he will have fallen fully victim to a bourgeois nationalism. It is our responsibility to distinguish between the struggle for national liberation – the liberation of an entire nation – and the class struggle internal to that national liberation movement, between the its bourgeois elements and its proletarian elements. Our duty as Marxists remains to hoist high the banner of proletarian internationalism; to decisively express our opposition to any form of national oppression whatsoever, while specifically supporting the proletarian elements of the national struggle.

Lenin wrote that “militant bourgeois nationalism…drugs the minds of the workers, stultifies and disunites them in order that the bourgeoisie may lead them by the halter”; it is clear that the crude nationalism advanced by Gazi is precisely this militant bourgeois nationalism, entirely incapable of class analysis, and it is from here that his antisemitism seems to flow.

Against this line, we advance our own, the line of the communist movement around the globe – we fight for proletarian internationalism!

We call for solidarity with all oppressed peoples across the world!

This includes solidarity with the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian people – and the countless Palestinian Jews! – against amerikan/israeli settler colonialism. We recognize that opportunistic elements among the bourgeoisie of the Jewish people will continue to mask criticism of the ongoing imperialist plunder of Palestine as “antisemitism”; to flatten out contradictions in this way is always reactionary, regardless of who carries it out.

We echo comrade Stalin and affirm that the principle of international solidarity of the workers is an essential element in the solution of the national question. It is the duty of revolutionaries of all nations to fight antisemitism, and the duty of Jewish revolutionaries to fight all forms of national oppression!

To the rank and file of Black Hammer, we issue a call to struggle: demand your leadership rectify its antisemitic line!

Fight for the unity of the oppressed masses of all nations, under the bright red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Smash national chauvinism! Struggle for Proletarian Internationalism!