USA: Ferguson, Missouri, again

As the vile stream of cold-blooded murders of young black people by repressive U.S. (state and federal) bodies continues, to the extent that it’s hard work keeping up with all the episodes 1, a demonstration was held in Ferguson (Missouri) in memory of Michael Brown, killed on 9 August 2014. There were clashes with the police in their anti-riot gear, who used tear gas and other deterrents to break up the crowd, and there was shooting: a young man fired at the policemen and was then seriously wounded by them.

The social situation is tense throughout the United States, where news of economic recovery and a (relative) decrease in unemployment is certainly not enough to change the basic reality, which sees the more disadvantaged and exploited (and numerically greater) sectors of the U.S. proletariat – first and foremost blacks and Latinos (Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Central- and South-Americans), but also growing segments of poor whites – under constant attack, endless repression, both by the “legal” forces of repression and by “illegal” armed bands.

Indeed, at the Ferguson demo, squads of “Oath Keepers” appeared, right-wing elements who, with the excuse of upholding the Constitution they had sworn their oaths to, and accusing the federal powers of not doing so determinedly enough, take the field armed to the teeth with ultra-sophisticated weapons. The U.S. scenario is crawling with these types of groups, which add to the more classic Klu-Klux-Klan or Black Legion, perhaps a little too picturesque for these paid and generously supported hit-men and killers – ex Marines, ex policemen, war veterans from wars near and far, the racist underworld that acts as a manoeuvrable mass for Capital in order to terrorize and repress, ready and able to venture forth where, for political reasons, the “forces of law and order” cannot go (and that is quite a challenge!).

The economic and social disorder of the last few years, added to that of the previous decades, particularly in areas far from the great, glittering cities, means that there are all the preconditions for a war of “the poor fighting the poor”. The anger and indignation of the masses of blacks are skilfully managed so that the “problem” remains one of “race”; at the same time, amongst the white workers who are no less exposed to exploitation, “racism” is artificially fuelled, creating a fracture within the proletariat – an old story dating back to the age of slavery and post-slavery, when black ex-slaves entered the huge reserves of exploited labour, occupying the positions on the lowest rungs of the ladder, blackmailed and blackmailable. Divide et impera.

The blind alley of a clash “between races” is always dangerously close, in the United States as in other countries with similar situations (consider just Great Britain or France, for example) and can only be avoided by a return to the scene of the communist party organized at a worldwide level. In the United States the lack of a real revolutionary political tradition has left the US proletariat – already fragmented by the workings of Capital – quite alone. We should remember that Marxism reached the country late and mostly in a situation that was still extremely fluid from a social point of view, so that it had a hard time taking root; the two small and precarious communist parties that arose in the period immediately following the First World War did not have the strength or the time to put down roots before they were sucked up by the whirlwind of the Stalinist counter-revolution on the one hand and of Trotskyist opportunism or the lack of consistency of “council communism” in all its varieties, on the other – all themes it will be useful to return to.

The problem of the revolutionary party was posed but in an inconsistent, contradictory and weak fashion: in the 60s the Black Panthers, before being swept away by state repression (which used all possible means against them, from the bloodiest to the blandest: from mass murder to the use of drugs or police infiltration – ah, democracy!), whilst generously aware of the need for political organization, were incapable of equipping themselves with anything more than a “party” whose theory vacillated and was often ambiguous, in which Marx and Lenin were placed alongside Mao and Guevara. Their reference point was always and exclusively “the ghetto cat”, mostly belonging to a Lumpenproletariat on the margins of society, and the organization itself tried to make up for its theoretical-political frailty by having ample recourse to formal “militarism” and a dangerous and self-destructive cult of leadership 2.

The issue of the revolutionary party is thus an extremely urgent one in the United States, as elsewhere. Only in this way, only thanks to its presence at the side of the US proletariat, whatever colour it is, only through its long work of preparation, organization and direction, can the blind alley be avoided. Otherwise, the constant destruction of precious energy will go on, all to the advantage of the “triumphant beast” – capitalism.


1. On 28 May 2013, on the basis of a detailed study made by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and entitled Operation Ghetto Storm, the website Alternet recalled that over the previous year at least 313 blacks had been killed, one avery 28 hours: cfr. . For its own part, the website Vice News calculated on 9 August 2015, that 1083 people (of all colours) had been killed by the police during the year following Michael Brown’s murder: cfr.

2. On the Black Panthers, cfr. our articole “Il movimento delle 'Pantere Nere'”, Il programma comunista, n.5/1971. It will be useful to return to this movement, too, in the future.


1International Communist Party



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