“Let it be known that we have measured the scope of our actions and that we consider ourselves no more than a part of the great army of the proletariat.”
-Che Guevara, Message to the Tricontinental
Recently, a small portion of the membership of People’s Defense League- South Louisiana, completed a Field Training Exercise (FTX) at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Southeastern US. Spending several days in the wilderness, members of PDL-SL practiced communal living, military discipline, bushcraft, and dynamic shooting drills as well as shooting fundamentals. Practicing skills that are usually only available to members of fascistic or imperialist formations, such as the pigs and the US military, we seek to erode the monopoly on violence held by the ruling classes. In absorbing these bodies of knowledge into ourselves, we endeavor to disperse it into the communities of working and poor people in which we live.
In the course of our FTX, we grew in comradeship, through communal living, eating, sleeping, keeping watch, and training, as we honed our skills that we believe are necessary for the defense of our communities, and for the advancement of the interests of the proletariat. We understand that as workers, we are caught in the midst of a class war being waged upon us by the ruling classes: the bourgeoisie and their lackeys, the pigs, the intelligence agencies, and the imperialist US military. PDL-SL members believe that armed workers are the only bulwark against fascist capitalist violence that is on the rise in the United States. Fascist violence and capitalistic pillaging will only increase to fever pitch in the coming years because of decaying neoliberalism and climate chaos. We see this now across the global south, in places like Bolivia and Chile. Workers, marginalized and poor people here are not exempt from these threats, simply by living in the imperial core, in fact, simply look around, class violence is all around us, particularly in so called New Orleans, a city whose commons were gutted by disaster capitalism.
If we look to the experiences of nations such as Cuba, China, the former Soviet Union, and in our own time at the community defense formations of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, we see that fascistic imperialist violence, perpetuated by capitalists to fragment the working classes, is ONLY countered effectively by a populace of proletarians and lumpenproletarians who can successfully defend themselves with arms. Ironically, in the US, one of the most heavily armed societies on earth, the left of the United States has been, since the days of the New Left, a disarmed population; either willfully scorning the use and training of arms in the name of nonviolent direct action, choosing to outsource violence to the pigs, or, forcibly disarmed, as is often the case of revolutionary people of color in this nation. Instead, arms have been concentrated not only in the hands of imperialist/fascist state agencies, but in the hands of reactionary paramilitary formations of the civilian population, particularly those with white supremacist agendas.
To counter this massive, imbalancing contradiction, PDL-SL seeks to build its membership into knowledgeable, hardened, disciplined cadre, skilled in theory and application of military tactics embedded within a left-wing theoretical framework, of warfighter skills for the people, not in service of capital and white supremacy. With this reinforcement of tactical community defense skills within its cadre, the PDL-SL will diffuse its knowledge into the hands of working people, as we already have begun doing, through our Firearms 101 courses, self-defense classes, and community range days, to build a confident, armed, and class-conscious base of working people, here in the deep south of the imperial core.