A Response to Tribune of the People

PVN Editors

We have only just now read the email from Tribune editors. We understand the objections made to our article and would like to extend an apology for our delay in responding. We will rectify our work by improving our internal and external communications as Peoples Voice News, which includes being on top of our emails.

The reply by the Tribune was completely unacceptable. As soon as the article was amended to include the name Toussaint, the editors of the Tribune put out their “repudiation.” In reality, all they were doing was bad-jacketing our comrade. We do not condone this unprincipled and dangerous behavior.

The subject of the criticism clearly is the principally Maoist trend as a whole, referred to by the author as “Gonzaloites.” The Tribune of the People publicly refers to themselves as such. Other principally Maoist groups and publications are occasionally referenced by each other. In March 2020, an editor of Incendiary News outlines the relationship between Incendiary News and The Tribune of the People. In 2019, Incendiary describes a May Day event organized by Red Guards Los Angeles where a speaker reads a poem from Struggle Sessions. Of course, this doesn’t imply these groups overlap, since few days later RGLA announced they were “no more.” All of this information is public and easily obtained through a quick web search. The editors of the Tribune should note that at no point does Touissant attempt to prove direct collaboration between these groups. We recognize them as independently operated, ideologically unified organizations. However, we recognize that by extending broad criticisms, we can be prone to oversimplifying the diversity of thought within different organizations. If these publications are already publicly linked, why is criticism of them collectively as a coherent trend “police work”? This is clearly nonsense. Comrades may want to reread their own article on state repression techniques.

Instead of openly responding to real criticisms, raised by many, notably, the banning of “postmodernist words”, editors of the Tribune resort to bad-jacketing the author. We would all do well to learn from the recent situation within the former New Afrikan Black Panther Party. Kevin “Rashid” Johnson describes the recent manipulative bad-jacketing by Tom Watts and Kwame Shakur: “I recognized Tom’s actions as a continuation of a destructive trend started within the NABPP, by its past Minister of Culture Kwame Shakur, of snitch-jacketing comrades without evidence, which is a counterintelligence tactic used by the pigs to destroy independent political organizations and leaders.” In this case, Watts attempted to snitch-jacket members who opposed his racist attempts to personally centralize leadership. As a result most cadre were expelled or resigned, the one remaining member of the Central Committee fell under the control of Watts, and Rashid formed the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party in opposition. It’s good to consolidate the best elements, so we are hopeful for the RIBPP to bring forward the best parts of the old NABPP.

So, we can clearly see that bad-jacketing is a destructive force, ironically, a tactic widely used by police. Accusing a comrade who has been an open and widely known Communist for years and who has been exposed to reactionary and other sorts of harassment for his public profile of “pig work” is ridiculous. Let’s take a look at the “evidence” that the Tribune presents.

The editors resort to extreme scrutiny of the author’s style and tie his media accounts together. New Afrikan writers are routinely subject to bourgeois academic critiques of their writing style, language and tone, and Tribune takes the role of the racist English teacher in complaining about “run on sentences” and other things. They even claim Toussaint makes a statement on the murder of Garrett Foster. No link to such a statement is provided because this does not exist. The intention behind this is fairly obvious: establish Toussaint as one-man “network”, fabricate a statement that somehow agrees with police, then deliberately misconstrue a rhetorical Facebook post as a genuine suggestion. After going through this line of argument, they think, it seems natural to jump to the conclusion that Toussaint is a provocateur. Really, it just looks like yet another anti-Black hit piece on Toussaint.

Disturbingly, this attack is far from the first on Toussaint. Since 2017, this comrade and organizations with which he has been involved have been the subject of several bad faith polemics, gossip and slander on social media, attempts at sabotage and attempted wrecker behavior. No comrade should be put through such behavior. Organizations within the FTP milieu are treated as “Winstonites”, unthinking followers; etc. — however, any visible line struggle is celebrated and encouraged only if it opposes this comrade! Tribune knows nothing about the internal process of these formations and has never investigated besides reading public documents. It is common to portray vocal New Afrikan leadership as dictatorial — this was common especially in the 1960s and ’70s. As his recent article pointed out, Struggle Sessions has published two articles in an attempt to win over elements engaged in line struggle with what can broadly be referred to as Toussaint’s line. We have also seen this milieu act as if Toussaint is a dog to be “reined in” because of his criticisms of the labor aristocracy, settler opportunism within the United States Left, and adventurism/posturing. Why does this particular comrade receive this attention? No white revolutionary has had such a long, consistent campaign against them by the “principally Maoists”. There is a point where this goes beyond beef. It’s already reached that point. The bottom line is that this is deeply anti-Black behavior that has persisted in these circles for over three years. Such behavior would make any New Afrikan comrade apprehensive about joining such a milieu.

When it gets down to it, the Tribune avoids a response on the “Incendiary Style Guide 2019” by bad-jacketing and slandering Toussaint, and yelling “opportunism” at other critiques. Instead of criticizing Incendiary’s ban on “white privilege” and “cisgender”, they criticize him for “identity politics-based rants” and a piece of fiction he wrote 3 years ago. The Tribune fabricates evidence and takes Toussaint’s words out of context to paint him as a provocateur. They are attempting to isolate him by encouraging activists “steer clear.” However, after receiving an email from Tribune, the comrade has agreed to remove their name from his article. We ask that this same courtesy be extended and Tribune remove the article bad-jacketing our comrade, and issue a formal apology for doing so in the first place. We appreciate them reaching out in good faith and hope this continues. We may disagree, even sharply, and we do, but we should do so in a comradely fashion, as Communists setting a good example for newer comrades.

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