What is a Provocateur?

By the Editorial Board

Tribune of the People has been disparaged recently in an article issued by “People’s Voice News” (PVN). After the Editorial Board at Tribune politely requested a retraction of the libelous article, or the removal of our name, and received no response, PVN made a revision to reflect that the article is an opinion of one of their writers, “Comrade Toussaint,” but they have failed to issue a retraction or amend any of its dubious contents.

In the article, the writer goes out of his way to attempt to link Tribune to active publications which we are unaffiliated with and to several defunct activist organizations. In the process, the writer makes many accusations which fail to meet even bourgeois journalistic standards, providing no evidence and almost no citation.

These are attempts to link organizations together that have been targeted with criminalization and state repression. PVN has published a rant which objectively serves the reactionary state in criminalizing activists and left-wing press. This is a disappointing position for a paper that purports to “provide an alternative to the narratives of American liberal media.”

Who is “Comrade Toussaint”? It is a pen name taken from Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture, a persona adopted by this writer in the self-published fiction The Base. The protagonist of The Base, a character named “Comrade Toussaint” (which is a “cadre name”), is “a bald black man with a squint in one eye,” a physical description matching that of the writer, who is visible in numerous videos on his YouTube channel.

There is a disturbing network of social media activity tied to this individual composed of what should be considered police work: repeating the lies of the police and attempting to link independent groups together, opening people up to criminal charges and investigation. On top of this are identity politics-based rants; accusations of others being “ultra-leftists,” “adventurists,” or “dogmatists”; run-on sentences and single paragraphs that could make up whole articles; and lots of anti-Communist sectarianism. These pages operate under different names but make no effort to conceal the personality or identity of this “Comrade Toussaint.”

This network includes the name “Black Red Guard,” which is a name he has also self-published under, named his YouTube channel, and used for several former Twitter accounts, a Medium blog (where the previously mentioned The Base can be found), and writings on the inactive blog titled “Red Midwest” as well. On Facebook, “Black Red Guard” uses the name “Black Like Mao” and formerly the name “Hei Hongbing.”

The PVN opinion article claims,“Mike Ramos Brigade in Austin, has folded, in many cases after arousing the ire of the masses through their transparent opportunism and trafficking in the people’s struggles.” It continues, “The main ‘work’ done by the milieu is: self-promotion, forming generated organisms (usually around protest movements, which conduct a couple bombastic actions which get a few people arrested and then collapse).” It further levels the accusation of “conducting adventurist stunts which do nothing to advance the movement.”

“Toussaint” expresses a view similar to that of Austin Police Association president Kenneth Casaday, who in an attempt to criminalize Garrett Foster (a supporter of MRB who was murdered by Army Sgt. Daniel Perry at one of their protests) tweeted, “Please watch this video. This is the guy that lost his life last night. He was looking for confrontation and he found it. The Feux [sic] Mike Ramos Brigade needs to be stopped. The only people out of control during this incident was the Feux [sic] Brigade.”

Who is really provoking irresponsible actions? You do not have to look very hard for the answer. In a recent post from the “Black Like Mao” Facebook account, this character offers another suspicious opinion: “It’s [sic] be cool if the people pushing the more militant than thou bullshit actually did 60s/70s type armed propaganda so they’d at least have somewhat of a basis to criticize but they aren’t even doing that much lol.”

He writes, “What do you do for money, set up a gofundme or do a bank? Set up a gofundme, I thought so. Do you let the police arrest you and take you to jail? I thought so. Matter of fact you consider being arrested a badge of honor,” and continues inciting, “You wanna be really militant, I’m talking RAF/Brigate Rosse shit, that was illegal, militant stuff. … Be the change you seek in the world or acknowledge you ain’t anymore militant or harder than anybody else in the game lol.”

It is obvious that the activists he is mocking do not support such activity and believe that armed revolution must be led by the reconstituted militarized Communist Party.

In disparaging the activism of others he resorts to outright dangerous baiting. This is what is known as a provocateur. Activists should take note and steer clear. This is not conduct acceptable of anyone conducting revolutionary journalism or of a self-proclaimed “revolutionary.”

Tribune of the People repudiates the PVN article, especially its pathetic attacks on comrades internationally. A thorough repudiation of each of its claims will be made available in the near future.

Updated, 01/29/2021: Read the Full Response to Two Articles on the Website “People’s Voice News”


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