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(en) US, APOC e-Study Group Next Reading: "A Self Criticism"

From APOC <apoc@illegalvoices.org>
Date Tue, 7 Dec 2004 09:31:04 +0100 (CET)

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The Anarchist People of Color online Study Group invites anarchists of
color to participate in our regular discussions of varied writings and
their political implications. Our next reading, "A Self Criticism,"
below, starts December 12 at http://www.illegalvoices.org/sg/ -- and
ends on December 26. We expect to do readings biweekly, and welcome
suggestions from participants. Please note the APOC site's study groups
are open solely to people of color.
>> A Self Criticism by Cassandra Floyd
The following is a self-criticism written by a member of the APSP.
Criticism and self-criticism are tools of our Party that are used to
identify and correct errors. Criticism and self-criticism are not to be
confused with “blame” and avoiding “blame,” which are common tendencies
within U.S. society. Criticism and self-criticism are tools that are
welcomed, even by those being criticised, as a means of correcting
errors to advance our Revolution. We are printing this self-criticism in
The Burning Spear for the reasons indicated in the self-criticism itself
and also because this action, like our published Rules of Party
Discipline, serves to keep our Party accountable to the people.

On April 10, 2003, I committed an act that totally undermined the
African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), all of the Party’s
organizations and institutions, and the people. I not only undermined
the organization, but I also jeopardized the security of the Party. I
bought and used drugs. I came to the Political Bureau about what I had
done because I thought I may have bought the drugs from an undercover
agent (not for a recognition of the error of my actions).

I want to say that my having committed this offense was not only an
offense committed against the Party, but it was also an offense
committed against the people. Doing drugs (as a member of the African
People’s Socialist Party) displays disunity with the Party Line,
represents a different line within the Party, displays a lack of faith
in the Party’s politics and line, and it sells out our people.

The APSP is the only organization that our people have and what I did
was selfish and self-centered. This act was the same as me uniting with
imperialism. The Party teaches us that the drug economy is a tool of the
State that is used to oppress our people and keep us from fighting for
our freedom. For a member of the Party to indulge in such activity is
just like lying in bed with the State. It also represents a different
line within the Party.

For me to unite with the State was to display disunity with the
revolutionary line of the Party. Another aspect of this is the fact that
in the community I live in, the people know the Party. So, if they know
the Party, they know that the Party does not participate in such
activity. So, this jeopardizes the credibility of the Party.

The people in my community know that I did this and that can make it
that much harder for us to mobilize that community. In order to be
considered part of the advanced detachment of the working class, I must
lead and not unite with the most backwards tendencies that exist in my
community. The people can’t and won’t have faith if they see their
"leadership" doing the same backwards things they are doing. It
undermines the Party and demoralizes the people in the community. This
is the same community that has been under attack for the last few years,
and for me to do what I did not only hurt the Party but it also hurt the
people. I want to rectify this grave error. I have to be held
accountable by the community.

I came into the Party knowing that I had a history with addiction, but
failed to confide in my Party around my history. Even though I had not
done drugs in years, I still should have been up front about the
situation. I felt like this was something that I had to hide, otherwise
I’d be judged or looked down on — but any kind of faith in the Party’s
line should have led me to believe otherwise.

This was a lack of faith in my comrades and in my Party. We all come
into the Party with baggage, "skeletons in our closets" and other
contradictions, but I believed that this contradiction was somehow
greater than most. This was a self-centered stance, because I know that
these types of contradictions are a consequence of being a colonial
subject. I really didn’t internalize my own politics.

This is a serious contradiction because if we are trying to win the
masses of our people (some of whom will have struggles with different
addictions), then my stance will cause them to take the same stance of
"hiding" the problem, living in duality, and therefore making it easier
for the State to infiltrate our organization through the weaknesses of

I recognize that using drugs is a form of escapism imposed on our
people. For a member of the Party to use drugs says to the people that I
don’t believe that we can win this struggle — that I don’t have faith in
the vision of our future as a free and independent people. How can I
give the people a vision of the future if I use drugs to deal with problems?

There is another serious side to this contradiction. I have been given
profound responsibility within the organization, from managing one of
the Party’s institutions to functioning on the International Executive
Committee of InPDUM. This has serious implications for the security of
the institution as well as for the principle of the institution. I am
supposed to be demonstrating the benefits of changing from an unhealthy
lifestyle to a healthy one, and how living healthy is a form of
resistance, yet I did not resist my own temptations.

I recognize the many Party rules of discipline that I have broken and
want to move to overcome and rectify these contradictions. I want to
help further our movement through the process as laid out by our Party.

"Any Party member who does not consciously strive to elevate his or her
political understanding has broken Party discipline." Despite the
numerous political educations, I didn’t strive to internalize the
Party’s line. I took in lots of information, but I did not grow
politically. For this I am self-critical.

"Any Party member who does not strive to unite our Party with the masses
has broken Party discipline." In buying and using drugs I created
disunity of the Party to the masses. I jeopardized the people’s faith in
the Party. For this I am self-critical.

"Any Party member who exploits or oppresses African people through
action or statement has broken Party discipline." Knowing that the drug
economy is used to oppress and exploit our people, I then participated
in the oppression and exploitation of our people by supporting this
State program. This act was just like the petty bourgeoisie inside our
organization in that the petty bourgeoisie has no faith in the
leadership of the masses. For this I am self-critical.

"Any Party member who refuses to recognize and follow Party leadership
through actions or words has broken Party discipline." I undermined my
direct leadership by calling a meeting with the Political Bureau instead
of, first, coming to her with the contradiction. This was a blatant
refusal to recognize my leadership. Not only that, but it was also a
self-centered and unprincipled stance because it said that my
contradiction was big enough to ignore protocol. For this I am

"Any Party member who does not carry himself worthy of emulation by the
masses has broken Party discipline." As a member of the APSP, we take
ourselves out of the center and submit our will to the people’s Party in
order to free our people. We then assume the great responsibility of
leading our people into the revolutionary process. Saying this, we have
to carry ourselves in a way that the people can hold us accountable.
Knowing that the conditions of colonialism drive our people to
addictions, it is our responsibility to give the people a vision of our
future as a free and self-determining people. When I used drugs it said
to the people that I don’t believe in this vision and if I don’t believe
in this vision then what hope do the people have? The people cannot
emulate the actions of an addict. For this I am self-critical.

"Any Party member who engages in adventurous and individualistic acts
has broken Party discipline." The act of using drugs was individualistic
(self-centered). It put my feelings before the needs of the people. This
act compromised the security of our entire organization. This
individualistic act also compromised our ability to organize the masses
of our people in this community. For this I am self-critical.

I recognize the severity of my actions and want to rectify, with the
guidance of the Party, these serious errors and overturn my addiction.
The Party has laid out a plan of rectification with which I have
complete unity. I also want to submit to the discipline of the Party and
the community to keep holding me accountable.

The plan of rectification is as follows:
1.) I must make a self-criticism to the Local Party organization.

2.) I must make an open self-criticism to the masses (at two Sunday
meetings and in the form of a leaflet to be distributed to the community).

3.) I must organize a forum on addiction for the masses of our people to

4.) I will do a mass mailing to our organization stating the
contradiction and opening it up so that it cannot be used against us.

5.) I will lead a campaign around this issue to help the masses of our
people deal with this and other serious addictions to begin to overcome
these contradictions.

6.) Because I did open up the institution that I lead to the State, the
Political Bureau will be removing me from my position within the
I want to struggle to overcome this contradiction and I am open to sharp

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