Revolutionary Organizations Must Struggle Against Abuse

The editors of the Hood Communist collective and other revolutionaries around the globe are celebrating the recent two-year anniversary of the creation of the Hood Communist blog. We are celebrating creating a revolutionary African owned and operated media platform that reaches far across the African world. It is our objective to continue to provide a forum for the much needed voices of revolutionary African people.

Unfortunately, this commemoration is marred by recent allegations of abuse against someone who previously served as an editor in the Hood Communist Collective. What we know is the person was accused by multiple people of engaging in abusive treatment against members of their organization. In this instance, by abusive treatment we mean adverse verbal, emotional and physical treatment against people. This person and their organization no longer have any affiliation with Hood Communist. Their articles and any articles written by active members of their organization have been removed from the Hood Communist blog at the request of former members who have shared their experiences of abuse with us. 

As we have as a collective have expressed many times, we wholeheartedly reject the practice of airing out the details of movement conflicts on public platforms. We believe this to be both a repeatedly failed strategy for struggling through conflict and a serious security risk for our movements and organizations. We want to say clearly that we do not work with the person and organization in question any longer. We also want to say that we cannot and will not provide any additional information shared with us about who, what, where, or how. What we will do is use this statement to express our complete opposition to any practice of abuse within society in general, and in political organizations and movement circles in particular. 

The capitalist system is a backward system. It was built on exploiting the peoples and material resources of Africa and the theft of Indigenous people’s lands across the world. These inhuman practices solidified the class stratification and oppression that dominates the world today i.e. the haves and have nots, who they are, and what their existence is like under this exploitative system/model. Consequently, it goes without saying that human relations will suffer greatly under this type of primitive reality because within this capitalist system, profit is always the driving force, not the development of human relations. And the systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, transphobia, homophobia, ableism etc., serve as the weapons for capitalism to institutionalize and normalize its oppressive apparatus. 

The organizations that bravely decide to dedicate themselves to battling this oppression face tremendous obstacles in attempting to internalize a transformation of its participants as it relates to elevating revolutionary values and practices above backward anti-human capitalist values and practices. In other words, even though organizations may express a people’s class anti-capitalist political line, we still struggle mightily to evolve from merely expressing the need for forward progress in our values and practices to actually being equipped to carry out revolutionary values and practices. In many ways, this contradiction is at the core of our struggle for justice and liberation because until we can transform how we relate to each other, we will continue to face occurrences of abuse within our communities and organizations. As long as this is the reality, we cannot transform away from this backward system into something better.

A critical component that we must all commit to institutionalizing to assist in the struggle to overcome this contradiction is the willingness of all of us to be accountable to each other and the values and practices of justice.  We believe that for this to happen, the following practices must be committed to and institutionalized for everyone who claims to have an interest in fighting for justice and transforming the world into a better place:

  1. Every organization, whether a formal group with chapters and practices in multiple places, or two or more people who informally decide to get together to attempt to address any issue, must commit to making a consistent and organized political education program a core element of any work you are doing. 
  2. Inclusive of this political education program must be the collective study of history, ideology, philosophy, and practices to address contradictions.
  3. We must ensure our processes contain components designed to help us learn how to engage each other in principled ideological struggle. In other words, when an abuse allegation takes place, with principled ideological struggle being uplifted, the persons surrounding the incident take responsibility to ensure the issue is addressed in honest ways with the people involved. This sounds simple enough, but most times, because we have not built environments where this type of struggle can function, what happens is abuse takes place and most of us ignore it or even if we know about it, we don’t know how to do anything about it so we do nothing. This is especially true if the person(s) being accused are charismatic and central figures within the work taking place. In a healthy environment where principled ideological struggle is elevated, no individual can rise above the interests of the collective masses and those interests clearly reflect the need for an environment where everyone is respected and no abuse is tolerated.
  4. Organizations must make it a priority to learn how to develop and engage healthy processes for addressing abuse when it happens, because it will. We should work to make environments where transformative and restorative justice processes, and other radical forms of justice, are institutionalized in our day to day practices.
  5. All of this work must take place within a principled atmosphere that isn’t open to manipulation by outside forces like police agencies and other entities committed to destroying work to advance justice and liberation for humanity.

We offer this input while stating clearly that we are no experts. We, like you, are simply people who wish to advance our movement for justice. We regret that the persons who brought this situation to our attention were forced to endure bad behavior and abusive treatment. We regret the same for all people who experience abuse. We offer this statement as a call for all concerned collectives, organizations, and individuals, to make it their priority to address these issues and for us to create broader discussion within our circles for how we can collectively address these contradictions. No one is above this challenge, although some of us may believe that we are. When this problem happens anywhere, it’s the responsibility of all of us to work together to build capacity to address these contradictions in healthy and productive ways.

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“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth