By the Editorial Board
On Thursday night, September 3, a Federal Fugitive Task Force murdered Michael Forest Reinoehl, suspected of killing a Patriot Prayer affiliated fascist in Portland, Oregon. The killing of Reinoehl can only be considered an assassination at the hands of the police to send a political message, that defending Black lives and rebelling against reactionaries is now punishable by death.
Reineoehl is a hero, a father, a protester, a comrade who gave his life defending the movement. In an interview published by bourgeois media corporation Vice, Reinoehl told a journalist that he was acting in self-defense, and that the fascist Arron “Jay” Danielson, who had spent the evening attacking protesters, was believed to be drawing a knife on Reinoehl and a comrade he was with. The videos spread widely on the internet seemed to confirm Reinoehl’s account.
Aaron “Jay” Danielson was a fascist, and had been involved in acts of fascist street violence numerous times, this is well-documented. The annihilation of Danielson is a critical moment in the contemporary struggle against racist and reactionary violence. Reactionaries acting in official state capacity as well as those acting as civilians have claimed many lives of protesters: two in Kenosha and one in Austin with gun in hand. Now, the people are fighting back, knowing full well the situation is kill or be killed. On August 29, comrade Reinoehl did just that and brought swift and immediate people’s justice against the fascist menace which brings death to the people. For this he must be celebrated as a self-sacrificing hero. His blood has been spilled for the people, and the people will never forget it.
The political assassination of comrade Reinoehl by federal agents comes about a week after reactionary youth, Kyle Rittenhouse was allowed, to cross through police lines while armed and return home after murdering two protesters for Black lives. Rittenhouse was taken into custody without incident although he was known to be armed and had fled the state. The state, in its increasing reactionary trajectory holds one set of standards for the far right, who they protect and shelter like they did with the arrest of fascist Dylann Roof, and another for the people and their defenders.
The spark which has ignited the Black and pro-Black uprisings of the people is rooted in this fact—the imperialist state brings death to the people, and the people must fight or die under the crushing system that oppresses them. Comrade Reinoehl earned a hero’s death, his death is heavier than a mountain. Danielson, on the other hand, received a death in service to fascism, imperialism, and reaction, his death is lighter than a feather.
The political message sent by the bloodthirsty federal agents who killed Reinoehl in a calculated attack has a dual nature. It is designed to provoke fear among the people, telling them that they must allow fascists to slaughter them, and never fight back, or they too will be marked for death. On the other hand, death is a reality for Black people every day under the crushing weight of the imperialist system, and those who take the righteous position of siding with the people, are also marked for death, and now that this is clear, the people have nothing to lose but their chains, if death greets the movement, let the movement return in kind—assaulting the skies by bringing revolutionary violence against reactionary violence, by meeting imperialist war against the people, with people’s war against imperialism.
The People’s Forces Are Too Disorganized and Ill-equipped
This is an objective fact, the state and the non-state reactionaries collude at every opportunity to attack the people, and the people are at a disadvantage, the laws, culture, court, and police are all stacked against them. This is not discouraging to the militant.
With the correct strategy and tactics, with the correct political line, a small mainly unarmed force at a disadvantage can learn to fight in ways that they can overcome a superior military force. US imperialist failures across the world confirm this glorious fact, from Vietnam, where the US imperialists were met with the wrath of the people and revolutionaries and forced out, to Afghanistan, the longest war in US history, with no sign of victory for the imperialists, the people there too, rise with gun in hand against the strongest military in the world, and they do so victoriously.
In such conditions each side must fight in their own way, with the objective and subjective conditions in mind. US imperialism prefers a quick slaughter of those who rise against it, the people bide their time and prepare for calculated battles they are the most probable to win. The political demands of the belligerents are of great importance.
There is the political demand of the imperialist police forces, that is to maintain the system of racist oppression in the service of class society, with a divided working class. This is a hopeless and reactionary goal, the people cannot stand for it. The political demand of the people is real equal rights, an end to racist oppression and in the long-term—a better world only possible with socialist revolution, which alone can guarantee the equality of black people by attacking all social and economic inequaltiy over a long period of time. Capitalism is inherently unequal and cannot even practice the formal equality it so loudly proclaims, hence it can never accomplish true racial equality.
These political demands are antagonistic opposites, which demand violence. The people have been subjugated to reactionary violence, a low intensity war has been waged upon them for hundreds of years, and the people can only come closer to the fact that they have been misled, and they must rise in revolutionary violence.
While Rienoehl was acting in self-defense, it is also an offense, striking a small but meaningful blow at reaction, making it clear that fascists will be faced with guns from those who cannot accept fascism. In the strategic view, this kind of active defense is the stronger position than the tireless assaults from the police. The people will preserve their forces, one will sacrifice for many, and the more repression the state brings, the more the fires of rebellion will be stoked in the hearts of the people.
The important changes the people must make, should this work in their strategic interests, is that they must, with haste, turn their disorganization into organization. Active self-defense, or proactive community defense must not be left to individual initiative, or to spontaneity. This is the most critical lesson the people are learning through their rebellious activity. It is the duty of all revolutionaries to teach this.
Those like Reinoehl who are prepared to kill and die in service of the people must be organized better, the forces of the people must be concentrated in militarized units, they must draft plans for self-defense and pro-active community defense, just as commanders of any battle must draft plans and organize their troops. The state is already conducting warfare operations against the people and they must not be given the further advantage of going up against disorganized forces.
Finally, the right wing and the state are militarized, they have a great arsenal of weapons, and the people’s forces lack these, nothing is equal under imperialism, including access to firearms. This is not a strategic threat to the people, the people armed with courage, organization and revolutionary leadership can and will snatch the weapons from the hands of reaction and wield them in service of the people. In this way, from a strategic point of view, America is awash with weapons, and when organized, the forces of the people will use the enemy as their supply line, their armory.
With or without revolutionary organizing of the people, the blood will continue to flow, the forces of reaction bear down upon the people, and the people have no option but to fight. The task at hand is not so much the fighting, it goes without saying that when the enemy seeks to kill you, one has the right to preserve their lives by any means, that cannot be the main task, it is already carried out. The main task is then the need to organize this situation in the strategic interests of the people, by doing the patient work of creating the very organized forms that the people need to be victorious in this battle, long term. Those organic forms are the Communist Party, its Red Army and the United Front of all progressive and revolutionary forces that oppose the decrepit, backward and racist imperialist system.
With this strategic approach, the deaths of Comrades Like Reinoehl, Garrett Foster, Anthony Huber, and Joseph Rosenbaum are not just tragic losses, but valiant first steps on a very long march to victory, for socialism and against racism.