Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin
Fighting White Supremacy
I was very excited to see a copy of Love and Rage. This is the best revolutionary anarchist publication I have ever seen, including Canada’s Open Road. What I especially like is that contrary to most anarchists of the 1970s and 80’s, when my revolutionary pamphlets “Anarchism and the Black Revolution” was published, your group seems to understand the dynamics of white supremacy and why it must be fought. You can’t imagine the kind of “cop-out” racist capitualtionism that the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) and most anarchist groups were guilty of then.
I was one of a small number of anarchists or libertarian socialists of African descent. Since I alone was not numerically powerful enough to influence events I wrote my revolutionary pamphlets on building an international social revolutionary movement, the importance of an anarchist anti-racist movement, a Black revolutionary libertarian movement, an anarchist prisoner support group (A.B.C.), and other subjects. My model for the pamphlets was “Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets,” edited by Roger Baldwin. It shocks me to find that my pamphlets have been reprinted for years after I wrote them. I am now considering rewriting and updating the pamphlets, and Issuing them in book form. If I can find a publisher f will push right ahead.
This is an historical period that anarchists must develop a coherent philosophy to challenge the descent of Marxism-Leninism as a revolutionary ideology, and to create a world socio-political movement to challenge existing institutions. Clearly, we must create counter-institutions to propagate the new doctrine, do mass political re-education, and challenge the capitalist authorities. This is real, not just my ideas or desires. New revolutionary formations must have the germ of the new society within the belly of the beast.
So what is this debate about “confrontationist” versus “gradualist” struggle really about in my estimation? It is about building larger, more representative “mass” formations on the one hand, and just mindless small group protest engaged In by most anarchists. We should not become static “educational” societies, nor should we go over to street fighting/commando tactics as our primary approach, I am opposed to the sort of petite-bourgeois individualist anarchism that the north american movement is noted for: clearly we must be grounded In the working class. There is too much bourgeois scholasticism in the anarchist movement, I have always had ties with the Workers Solidarity Alliance (W.S.A.) and the International Workers Association (I.W.A.), along with other syndicalists, council communists, and libertarian socialists.
So, what have I been doing since my release from prison in 1983? I have been a full-time community organizer almost since my first day on the streets, I have been the president of a small activist coalition which has been fighting racism and police brutality in Chatanooga, Tennessee for years. Our struggle has driven the Klan out of the city, forced a murderous police commisioner to resign in disgrace, and to topple the local racist government. Our tactics have included civil rights lawsuits, mass demonstrations, armed self-defense, rallies, conferences, door-to-door organizing, and any other effective tactics. We have turned this small conservative town upside-down! We’ve got the cops and the Klan on the run!
Finally, I am writing my autobiography, and only need a publisher. If you know anybody who can do the job, let me know.
Once again, I love the paper. Please send some back issues.
In love and struggle,
Lorenzo Komboa Erwin