When People's True Color Comes Out.
On Uncle Tom's and Vendidos
By Joaquin Cienfuegos
It is important to understand who are your friends, potential allies and enemies, especially when your goal is to destroy the existing power structure and replace it with something very different. This system and people in power have built their state and have trained some people in society to maintain this way of life. Just how they use the state, like the police, the courts, the prisons and so on to repress us, they also use people that look like us, that might even live in your neighborhood or people who join your organization against the revolutionary movement.
We have in amerika the obvious sell-outs who are now white supremacists like Condaleeza Rice and Colin Powell. In Los Angeles we have people like the mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (who was in a Marxist-Leninist organization) and council-woman Jan Perry. These are the obvious people-of-color who are now working for this colonial system of white supremacy, capitalism-imperialism, and patriarchy. The people we have to look out for are the future Villaraigosa's and Perry's. The people-of-color who wish to climb the social ladder to "make-it" by any means, even at the expense of stepping over the people who are in the same fucked-up social position as them.
This is how this system operates, in order for one of us to make it, the rest of us have to stay at the bottom. In the words of H. Rap Brown, "There is no such thing as second class citizenship. You are either free, or you are a slave." One thing we have to deal with is the people who say they are activists, yet they still hope to benefit and cash in from the same system. There is no such thing as neutrality when there is oppression. You cannot talk about ending oppression, but still hope to create a long-range political strategy where you gain concessions from this system.
On the one hand you have the people like Bill Cosby and Ted Hayes (the Black Minuteman) and on the other you have the people-of-color who might be working in your organization one day but the next might be stabbing you in the back, snitching to the police, and moving back with their rich parents. This brings up the question of identity, and identity politics. If you're not looking and analyzing the class and race character of any movement, or in fact any individual, then you will never understand the world outlook, the politics, and interests that movement and/or individual has and represents. Those individuals who say they're activists/revolutionaries and always fall back on their identity (i.e.: "I'm a queer woman of color, and I only have 20 dollars in my bank account") without challenging/changing all the privilege that they have shouldn't be trusted. You never know, those people might have only 20 dollars in their bank account, but might own stock, have rich parents they can borrow money from, and might sell you out whenever things get too hot. Those same people who fall back on their identity as a person of color might have white-supremacist behavior, politics, issues, and outlook (they might as well be white people). I feel that those people should be treated as such, and we should be distrustful of those people.
Then we have the brown-black-yellow hipsters; the ones whose families left oppressed communities to move into the suburbs, or whose families have no roots at all in the neo-colonies. The people who now feel like they have the right or the self-entitlement to move back into communities like Echo Park, Boyle Heights, South Central (these are communities in Los Angeles in particular), without thinking of the repercussions that has in those communities. These same people have contributed to the process of gentrification of those communities. When they move in the rent goes up, and the working-class people of color get pushed out into the streets and into the prisons.
We also have the people of color who have roots in oppressed communities, who are working class, but whose mentality is that of an upper-middle class white person and will do anything to climb the social ladder. These people will rather side with the settler-colonialists than their own people. They will drop a dime on people, they will back-stab their neighbors and co-workers, cheat, lie, steal, sell-out and/or sell hard drugs to their own people.
It's important to understand where people are at, to understand who to align yourself with. For myself, it is important to work closely with those I trust, the people who come from the hood, who are working class-people of color, who are oppressed, but who also are willing to get down with the system and destroy the state while at the same time organize and empower their community to do the same. It doesn't mean we don't work to build strategic-alliances with other more privileged communities, but it does mean that we don't allow those people to come into our communities with their self-righteous attitude and impose on our self-determination.
I also understand that people change, but that change does not happen overnight and it is not in a straight line. "Class-Suicide" is an idea developed by Lenin to justify his own leadership that was imposed on the people of Russia. I believe that the only way people change is through real life struggle, not some made up ideas, surrounding your self with working-class people of color, or working for a non-profit organization.
I put these concerns out there because these have been my experiences. In the movement the people at the bottom get sold-out by those who come in and act like they want to be down with you. Then things get too hot for them, and the state repression gets too real for them, so they bail out, or snitch on other people. They create divisions, because they want the organization to revolve around themselves, or their own personal issues. They don't follow through with responsibility, or they straight out try to bring the organization down because things don't go their way. This is what I've experienced, and I'm just trying to add some analysis to that. I hope to put this out there to create dialogue. I personally feel that people who do these things should be exposed, and the movement in general should be made aware of those individuals.