By the Editorial Board
Imperialist crisis has only deepened as Tribune of the People marks its first anniversary. The revolutionary news service was developed according to the current conditions, to fill a void and bring organization to disorganization in favor of the world proletarian revolution.
Tribune began publishing one year ago due to a lack of a clear revolutionary voice capable of reporting news from the only proletarian viewpoint: the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, mainly Maoism. The ruling class-owned media considers the daily struggles and torments of the working class as mundane and not newsworthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. News is a weapon in service of a class—it is either bourgeois or proletarian.
Over the course of our first year, we have transformed from a few comrades into many; we have initiated and developed Support Committees and Official Supporters across the country who carry our work forward, secure reports, and conduct distribution. These comrades form the backbone of our news service and, even though lacking professional resources, have shown great professionalism. It is their links to the people which have allowed Tribune to break its most important stories, including exposing the imperialist murderer who killed Comrade Garrett Foster, and ascertaining and exposing the identities of the Austin police who murdered community member Alex Gonzales Jr. Our photojournalists were on the front lines of many combative actions during the May Uprisings, standing resolute with the people. In these battles, our comrades captured footage exposing police crimes and were the first to respond to Brad Levi Ayala, a working-class youth shot in the face by APD. This type of reporting has brought us thousands of new readers.
Marking our first year comes with a leap—that is, transforming our news service to include a professionally printed monthly newspaper as well as maintaining our website and continuing to produce local and shop-floor papers. This development is a product of our modest struggles, struggles we will continue to push forward for more and better results.
We have encountered the mistaken view that print is a dead medium, that the people do not read newspapers and instead access all news from social media platforms controlled by and increasingly restricted by the ruling class. While we are unwilling to abandon these mediums, we must correct the mistaken view that the people do not read print media. Our website has reached a wider audience than we believed possible when we first started, but this reach pales in comparison to those we have reached with our print editions, who are most often the best source of encouragement and criticism.
Why Is a Proletarian Newspaper Necessary Today?
The democracy of the bourgeoisie and their ‘free speech’ exist in law for everyone—on paper. In reality, media is owned and operated by the ruling class, which maintains firm control over the news which is to be consumed. If the ultra-rich and powerful want a viewpoint heard, they have Fox News, CNN, and countless other corporations at their disposal. Nothing is equal in class society. What do workers have from our viewpoint? Nothing.
Media is a site of struggle which must be taken up by revolutionaries and the working class, even when they lack the major platforms and resources of the ruling class. Working people (ourselves included) must take up the task directly. While it is legal to produce such a paper, this legality is only formal and could be restricted at any time for any reason. Our journalists, reporters, photographers, and distributors have seen their share of jail cells and police batons. Organizing a revolutionary news service is a trial by fire—we have been challenged to push the limits of our small group, to grow and overcome. Nothing in this world was ever won without fierce struggle.
Revolutionary news means mass work—in our limited but rich experience we have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of people. Tribune has been able to answer tough questions, unite many with different views against common enemies by exposing enemy methods, and, in a modest way, it has been able to bring politics and political education to those in search of revolutionary ideology. Through the use of short and concise articles Tribune has always striven to push the struggles of the people further while advancing class consciousness and exchanging in debate. In many areas where there is not a strong movement, Tribune Support Committees have developed small nuclei of active forces around themselves who position themselves to expand their work, to reach and fight for a class-conscious movement among the proletariat.
It also bears mention that a revolutionary newspaper is vital as a point of contact between the masses and active revolutionaries. For this reason, we take our post very seriously and seek to constantly improve. Improvement does not come from cynical engagement, detached from living struggle. It cannot proceed through pessimism and a lack of enthusiasm—these are principles which guide our work.
Bertolt Brecht once remarked, “Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.” Tribune conceives of itself as such a weapon, in the hands of the workers and in their strict service. There is no impartiality when it comes to classes, and it is the proletariat which is served by the truth.
Tribune of the People struggles to develop itself as the central organ of the revolutionary movement in the US as expressed in our first editorial. We are aware that this is a long and patient process.
2020 ensured that a new organization such as Tribune would have a wealth of practical lessons, making the first year of our project a trial by fire. We emerged at the moment that the New Depression was being deepened and worsened by the coronavirus pandemic—cities were gripped with massive unemployment and government lockdowns, inadequate healthcare, and insufficient welfare. As these conditions took their toll on the working class, this same class was poised to rise in awe-inspiring mass rebellion.
Tribune began by fighting to expose the ruling-class interests behind the lockdowns and how they used the virus as a weapon against the people to maximize their ability to exploit. Mainly Tribune sought to expose the fact that the pandemic did not cause the economic crisis but only made it worse—the cause was cyclical capitalist overproduction, predicted for years before COVID-19 emerged. Most important in all of this was the raising of the political line that mass mobilizations against imperialism and its crimes are more important than ever.
Exposing the New Depression also meant the need to expose the bourgeois electoral farce which was taking place in these conditions. Tribune set its sights on the appeal and limitations of the Bernie Sanders campaign, raising the call to get organized for socialist revolution and to be done with the promises of bourgeois politicians.
Proletarian holidays are important to reclaim; however, these dates are erased from popular memory due to the ruling-class media systematically ignoring them. Confronting this condition, Tribune has taken up the need to educate the people on important dates such as May 1, International Workers’ Day, March 8, International Working Women’s Day, and June 19, the Day of Heroism. In the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, revolutionaries in Austin took to the streets to raise the red flag and march for their class. Dozens confronted the police and reactionaries—Tribune of the People was there to document what would be one of the only May Day marches in the US to take place in such repressive conditions.
By the end of May, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, the masses would rise up in just rebellion. The Black working-class population of Minneapolis would inspire the world with their heroism, and Tribune was able to gain rapid experience on the front-lines of these struggles. The role of a revolutionary news service was multi-faceted in these conditions—the first was to cover reality honestly and from the proletarian viewpoint, the second was to synthesize the lessons of people’s conquests and situate these within the struggle for power.
Summarizing the lessons of the uprisings meant examining its most important developments from a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological basis. Tribune published important editorials on the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” it issued “Three Points on People’s Struggles,” and it exposed a long-term intelligence campaign of the Old State to profile Maoists in Central Texas after documents from Austin Regional Intelligence Center were made available via BlueLeaks. Our news service gladly analyzed and exposed common tactics being used by civilian reactionaries against the mass protest movement.
Internationalism is a cornerstone of revolutionary journalism. Tribune is proud to have forged relationships with revolutionary democratic news organs in places like Brazil and Turkey, where the Maoist movement is on the advance and offering lessons to the proletariat the world over. Tribune issued its solidarity when our comrades at A Nova Democracia’s offices were attacked by the reaction, and with the League of Poor Peasants when the last plot of land at the Santa Elina Farm was finally seized and the Camp Manoel Ribeiro was established. Tribune raised the profile of Camp Tiago Dos Santos in the US when these comrades were attacked by the military police. Tribune worked among the deep and profound masses by distributing articles and carrying out solidarity actions.
Solidarity work was also carried out on the basis of common domestic struggles. Tribune stood with the six persecuted protesters in Denver, Colorado, who faced the most absurd and extreme charges for protesting the police. Our organization has also consistently stood with the families of those lost to police and reactionary terror.
Tribune stood firm with the election boycott of the 2020 elections called for by revolutionaries in the US, covering hundreds of acts of propaganda and hosting events where presentations were given on the role of the bourgeois elections. While many were quick to celebrate Trump’s removal from office, Tribune was committed to focusing on the new imperialists in charge: Joe Biden and his criminal cabinet.
Going against the bourgeois and revisionist tide, Tribune was one of the few voices to keep its bearings and expose that the reactionary riot at the US Capitol was not a ‘fascist insurrection,’ a ‘coup attempt,’ or an ‘attack on democracy,’ but simply further evidence of the deepening reactionary process which the US state is undergoing, manifesting in absolutism of the executive branch. This meant raising the line of anti-imperialism against false ‘anti-fascism’ which seeks to tail behind the imperialist Democratic Party.
December was a month of international celebration of the lives of great leaders of the Communist movement: Comrade Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao Zedong, and Chairman Gonzalo, who all have birthdays that month. Tribune carried out educational and cultural events to mark these great proletarian holidays and teach working people about the lives of these leaders.
Tribune has held firm to its post as a red news service in the International Communist Movement by producing succinct educational editorials which explain revolutionary theory through summarizing struggles and answering letters to the editors.
Tribune has made important strides in refocusing its reporting on proletarian struggles right at the point of production, by developing our Worker’s Voice and Worker’s Correspondence sections, which give the workers a place to air their grievances and views in their own words. This is perhaps our best accomplishment, because so much of the so-called ‘left’ in the US is mired in ideology which seeks to remove labor struggles from their activist agendas. The future of our news service is inextricably linked to the future of our class, the proletariat—a class which is condemned to win.
As we close out our first year, we have seen the New Depression, the COVID-19 pandemic, the May Uprisings, the most vulgar electoral farce in history, and extreme storms which expose the inefficiency of the capitalist system as people, especially in Texas, suffered massive power failure. All of this turbulence in the first year of our existence as a news service conveys one thing—a revolutionary world situation in uneven development.
The world is gripped with three fundamental contradictions, the main one between imperialism and the nations oppressed by imperialism (mainly US imperialism); the second between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (the main contradiction within imperialist countries); and the final contradiction between the imperialists themselves, between the imperialist superpowers, between the imperialist superpowers and the imperialist powers, and between the imperialist powers themselves. These three contradictions are listed in order of importance. This means the Third World—the nations oppressed by imperialism—are the storm centers of the world proletarian revolution, which has entered the period of the 50 to 100 years outlined by Chairman Mao Zedong in which imperialism and reaction will finally be swept from the face of the earth.
The importance of the Third World, and the need to support the People’s Wars there, does not mean that revolution in the imperialist countries is impossible or unimportant. On the contrary, these revolutions and People’s Wars as well as the inter-imperialist contradiction only make conditions for revolutions in the imperialist countries more favorable, because these revolutions are a historic necessity.
What is clear is that the imperialist system worldwide is in its death throes. Like a frightened, cornered animal, it strikes out with the utmost reactionary violence—it cannot handle the very disasters it provoked, and the people rise against it in tidal waves. The most basic role of a revolutionary news service is to do its best to attempt to bring organization to disorganization, to bring the revolutionary politics and ideology which serve as the basis of organization. As Tribune proceeds into its second year, we must meet and overcome many more obstacles, improve distribution, diversify our media, and achieve a daily rather than a weekly publication.
Bourgeois culture brings only rot and never clarity. Tribune can and must bring more and better clarity by continuing to raise proletarian culture. We reaffirm our commitment to correcting mistaken ideas, to the truth expressed in class struggle, and to our role as revolutionary journalists.
Revolution is not only possible, it is inevitable!
Get involved with Tribune of the People either by forming a Support Committee with the comrades in your city or by becoming an Official Supporter. Help to place Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the command and guide of the world proletarian revolution and to develop Tribune of the People as the central organ for the revolution in the US. Take up your post in the fight by grasping the principal task of all revolutionaries in the US, working to reconstitute the Communist Party of the USA. Grasp revolution in the US as part of the world proletarian revolution which must reconstitute the Communist International to overcome the general dispersal of proletarian forces, to lead and initiate World People’s War until we all enter the luminous Communism, our unalterable goal!
Long Live the First Anniversary and Milestone of Tribune of the People!
Long Live the International Communist Movement!
Reconstitute the Communist Party of the USA and the Communist International!
Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, with the Contributions of Universal Validity of Chairman Gonzalo!
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