NAPO Response to the RCP Draft Programme

Revolutionary Worker #1221, November 30, 2003, posted at

The "national question" has been a historic problem for the communist movement in the united states. The historic problem confronting predominately oppressor nation communist organization in addressing the issue of self-determination of oppressed nations within the borders of the united states continues to be manifested in the "Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), u.s.a.

In the early 1920's the most dynamic movement for Afrikan people in the u.s. and internationally was the UNIA (a.k.a. the Garvey movement) under the leadership of Marcus Garvey. The UNIA had captured the imagination of millions of Afrikans worldwide. After the decline of the UNIA in the late 1920's (due to external repression and internal contradictions), the international communist movement and a faction of Black communists advanced the slogan "self-determination in the Black Belt" as a vehicle to co-opt the nationalist aspirations of Afrikans in the united states during the period. Under this slogan, the american communists began to place the Black liberation movement as a high priority. Communists organized publications focused at the Afrikan community and committed resources to organizers in Black communities in northern urban centers and the rural South. Due to this shift in emphasis, the numbers of Blacks multiplied in the american Communist Party (CP) during the early 1930s. Due to the ambivalence on nationalism within the ranks of the CP, a true movement for self-determination was never developed under its leadership. Independent Black movement threatened the paternal white leaders of the CP. The white communist fathers believed they should guide and direct the Afrikan freedom struggle.

Speaking for the "revolutionary proletariat", the RCP states they "uphold the right of Black people to autonomous rule in the Black Belt South, as well as other areas in which they form large concentrations." (page 96) By autonomous rule they mean some form of self-government short of complete independence and sovereignty. It is interesting that their program spells out what powers a people have with autonomous rule (control of education, language and culture), but doesn't identify what limitations an autonomous government has within another state. For example, an autonomous government can't organize its own army and freely establish international relations.

The RCP, speaking again for the "revolutionary proletariat" states: "there continues to be the right to self-determination up to and including secession (independence) -- that is, the establishment of a separate Afro-american Republic in the Black Belt South. The proletariat does not favor this under now foreseeable circumstances." (page 96)

No predominately white american organization, communist or otherwise, has the right to propose a limitation on the self-determination of Afrikan people or any other oppressed nation (e.g. Indigenous, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Mexicano).

The united states of america is not "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The u.s.a. is an empire constituted by coercion and fraud. The expropriation of the land and resources of oppressed nations is a violation of our internationally recognized human rights and should only be looked upon in terms of contemporary colonialism. To suggest, as the RCP program does, that Indigenous nations, New Afrikans, Mexicano, and Hawaiians should only receive some form of autonomy or limited self-rule recognizes the legitimacy of the borders of u.s. empire. There is nothing sacred about its borders, which were constituted by theft and trickery. Any american socialist regime that is established on territory of oppressed nations and/or does not freely allow those nations to determine their political affairs will also be a neo-colonial empire. Our respective peoples must collectively decide our own respective destinies. We must be our own liberators. Oppressed nations have the right to independence. True revolutionaries must support this demand. Anything short of the recognition of the right of oppressed peoples of their right of independence by predominately white american communists is veiled complicity with the genocide of oppressed nations.

Promotion of positions that limit our human and self-determination rights are compromise with imperialism.