I’m proud to know that, a generation ago, many of the people in this room weren’t blindly waving the flag and saying “my country right or wrong” as the government slaughtered thousands of innocent people in Vietnam. I’m even prouder that, unlike many people who were active in the 1960s and 1970s, they never stopped marching and fighting back. They kept with the revolutionary struggle, even in the difficult periods of right-wing reaction, and that is very admirable.
The ruling class of this country would like you to think that we communists are violent. Well, we know who the bomb throwers are. They are the people who send the drones. It is they who killed millions of people in Vietnam and Korea. It is the biggest military in the world, and it is always plotting another war, whether in Iran, Syria or elsewhere.
It is we, the communists, who oppose these wars and organize resistance. Members of our party were protesting with hundreds of Syrian Americans in front of the White House as Obama was threatening to bomb Syria.
We don’t advocate adventurism or individual acts of violence. We know that the revolution that is needed in this country is going to involve millions of people in motion.
But one thing we are always very clear about is that we support oppressed people defending themselves.
When the Black Panther Party patrolled the streets of Oakland, “picking up the gun” and following the racist cops around, this was revolutionary self-defense. The Black Panther Party was one of the most important developments in the class struggle in the history of this country. It organized breakfast programs and classes teaching revolutionary politics to the youth.
The Black Panther Party was ruthlessly suppressed. Fred Hampton, Mark Clark and Bobby Hutton, as well as countless others, were killed.
While the U.S. government was hunting down and killing leaders of the Panthers, there was one country that welcomed the Black Panthers with a big parade and called them heroes. That was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Korean people have suffered from colonialism and oppression for too long. In the southern half of the country, the U.S. has propped up military dictators like Park Chung Hee and Syngman Rhee. Today in south Korea, there is a young man serving years in prison. His crime? He made pro-DPRK statements on his Twitter page.
That’s the “democracy” that the U.S. is propping up in south Korea, with thousands of troops. But the U.S. imperialists won’t be getting into north Korea any time soon.
The Workers’ Party of Korea is dedicated to fighting for peaceful reunification, and to building socialism on the peninsula. In order to protect themselves, and keep the U.S. imperialists out, they have developed nuclear weapons, and we support their right to do so. Why? Because whenever workers and oppressed people are fighting back against imperialism, Workers World Party supports them.
Not just another political party
There is a whole generation of young people who are really suffering right now. “We can’t survive on $7.25!” isn’t just a good chant, it’s reality. There are millions of young people with nothing to look forward to but low wages, prisons, cops and unemployment.
When I go out and sell Workers World newspaper, sometimes people are hostile. But they aren’t hostile because I’m a communist, or because I’m calling for a revolution. They say, “You’re talking about bills, laws and rallies, stuff like that. You sound like a politician.”
Young people, like all working people, are hostile to politicians, because they have been betrayed so many times. Many were very hopeful when Obama took office, thinking things would get better. Many were saying “just wait until his second term.” Many here in New York City are extremely hopeful about Bill de Blasio, the newly elected mayor.
If we want to win the youth, we need to make clear we aren’t just another political party.
This system started with slave ships, and now there are 2.5 million people in prison. We aren’t going to waste our time trying to fix it. We seek to overturn and destroy this system.
Contrary to what is being peddled on the campuses, and in the nonprofits and NGOs, a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party is not a group of elitists who think they are better than the people. Marxist-Leninist parties are made up of people who put the masses first, and their own needs last, who dedicate their lives to the cause of revolution, and aren’t happy unless they are in the struggle.
The bosses have their blueprint, and it’s unfolding in front of us. It is low wages, mass unemployment and prisons.
But we have our own blueprint, comrades. We have the work of Marx and Lenin. We have the lives of Harriet Tubman and Nat Turner. We have the legacy of Che Guevara.
The fight ahead of us is not going to be an easy one. It’s going to be a long, hard fight. But when it’s all over, we are going to have a far better world. We are going to have jobs, equality and freedom for everybody. We are going to have a classless society.