Note: This document was in many ways the first call to arms against the Dallas Clique, originally signed by Tribune Support Committees across the country. The below version was edited by the Revolutionary Study Network to protect individuals’ identities. Sharing does not imply endorsement or association. -Rita
Attendees of IWWD Pittsburgh
Hosted by Revolutionary Women’s Study Group PGH
Tribune of the Editors: Death to the Revisionist Paper
“There is great chaos under the heavens – the situation is excellent!” – Mao
We, the (former or now resigned) members of Tribune that attended IWWD in Pittsburgh together, are sending this letter to you, members and Official Supporters, in order to urge you to REBEL, to continue bombarding the headquarters with criticism, to understand Tribune in a greater context, and to ORGANIZE THE 2-LINE STRUGGLE. It is time to unleash our fury on those who have mislead us and destroy what is rotten in order to create something better.
We came, we marched, we saw, we struggled, and we came to unity on this: Tribune “of the People” is a revisionist organization, it must be destroyed, and we must learn to be of the people, to be taught by them, to organize with them and to lead with them.
We want to express that we have COURAGE, and that we have been urged to have HUMILITY and PATIENCE as this struggle continues and develops. These are the qualities that have been neglected not only in Tribune but across many organizations that do claim or have claimed to be revolutionary. We assert both Rico and Ed Dalton, the two previous Editors-in-Chief, are in fact revisionists, and they are the ones that have created a culture of squashing rebellion, of dismissing and attacking those who criticize what they have done or allowed to occur. This culture affects not only Tribune but the entire revolutionary movement. The leadership of Tribune has always been a farce, with either Ed or Rico at the head, supported by members of their revisionist gang. There have also been centrists like Kyle who have vacillated on their support for the revisionists, but we believe there are also leftists in leading positions who are ready to fight against the revisionists or can be won over to doing so. We send our love and support to those comrades. We are calling on them to have courage!
This revisionism we now speak of was in fact the revisionism Tribune was borne through: The leadership of the previous paper, Incendiary News, liquidated the organization from the top down. This leadership squashed down two-line struggle as it had done for Incendiary’s entire existence, and these same leaders went on to suppress democracy in Tribune in the same way.
Our task now is not simply ejecting the revisionists, but recognizing that Tribune does not have the right to exist and call itself revolutionary. It can serve no one but the revisionists. During our discussions this weekend, we considered our study of “Letter to a Comrade” and the historical newspapers. Applying this study to Tribune it became clear to us that Tribune does not follow Lenin’s conception of the central organ, and does not represent the people. So it cannot claim to be of the people, and that while Tribune has stated its support for a reconstitution effort, it has never claimed to be the voice of the Party, and we do not believe there is a Communist Party for it to be the voice of.
All of this is no reason to be discouraged. We are full of revolutionary optimism; we are excited to see what is possible without the shackles of Tribune! During our intense and long two-line struggle, we discussed how Tribune policy and leadership has prevented and held back our organizing efforts; has isolated us from the people we care about as well and from the masses; and has kept us underdeveloped. We believe it is worthwhile to share some of our experiences from this weekend in order to paint a picture of better, actually revolutionary, organizing. Initially, we intended to conduct two-line struggle on the lines sent to us by leadership last month. Due to recent developments it was decided that we would instead discuss our criticisms of Tribune as a whole. On Saturday night many criticisms were issued, but we were not yet able to unite on what needed to be done. We determined that we were angry with leadership, that we felt mislead, and were not satisfied with the recall, resignations, and the hollow two-line struggle that leadership presented. We united on refusing to conduct Tribune work until we could continue developing our own two-line struggle.
We continued our discussions in the morning, and began to recognize the leaders among ourselves that were naturally rising to the tasks we wanted to set. However, we were still clinging to what we now recognize as the rightist line: that these bad leaders are the problem, and we can still determine what to do with Tribune, ie how to make it better, while remaining within it. We determined that we would draft a letter to Tribune leadership after the march, and once we sent it, would demand that the letter itself and a response be sent to all of the members and Official Supporters – though this is not ultimately what we would do, it was what we initially united on.
Then we attended the International Working Women’s Day march. Comrades, we barely know how to explain how beautiful this march was! We have been inspired by many marches and actions in this movement. In them the hate of the exploiters and the courage in fighting against them has been clearly displayed. But time and time again, from both within the movement and outside of it, there have been criticisms about the lack of links with the masses at these actions: many even asserting these have had no real presence of workers. We believe these criticisms have a seed of truth. We wish to recognize the success of previous marches, but criticize and identify the root of their negative aspects. At the May Day march in Austin last year, the people did display support for the march. The propaganda did push revolutionary ideology, and the workers saw this and responded to it, which we can see from the photos of the march. However, we believe the movement has tended to be divorced from the people too often, and that May Day’s success was primarily due to the efforts of all the comrades there doing good, patient work, and not due to the influence of the revisionists.
This IWWD march also did not display the effects of that bad influence. The support and love from the people was palpable. The people loved the march because the women of Revolutionary Women’s Study Group love them. This love is not an abstract thing to them, we cannot stress this enough. They support and love them through actions and not words. They won over their first supporter by struggling with her in a dispute with her landlord and winning demands; they continue to support her by mowing her lawn, as she is physically unable in her old age. The agitator of the march spoke not only the names of victims of police brutality, but took the care to honor their grieving wives and partners. On top of this she shamed the cops for what they did to these women. She chased down the police while she told these women’s stories and the pigs cowered away from her. This is the bravery that we need. Bravery that is based in our love for the people and hate for the exploiters, not a false bravery that is based in a desire to create an action that is more newsworthy than the last one.
The march was good because these revolutionary women have decided to rebel against the influence of the revisionist gang. While we have described how these revisionists misled Tribune, we need to make it clear that it has not only affected Tribune. Rico and Ed have dogmatically asserted their incorrect lines on other organizations, both through the influence of Tribune and outside of it. These two have not just been involved in the two news organizations (firstly Incendiary), they have organized for years beforehand, and have been highly influential leaders. The Revolutionary Women’s Study Group (RWSG) has correctly assessed this and refused to consider the will of the revisionists over the will of the people.
After the march we praised the RWSG, and shared with them that we were struggling within Tribune. They told us that their organizing efforts were founded on patience and humility. This was such a clear break from what the revisionists have done – Rico hasn’t been patient with the masses, he has refused to take time to struggle with them. He hasn’t been humble, he has told the masses they are wrong and he is right. And he has done these things to us and you all as well. RWSG recognized the problems in Tribune, and they urged us to take up the left line, and call for the organization to be destroyed. A leader from this group assisted us in organizing what had become an anarchistic discussion about Tribune into actual two-line struggle. She did not mince words: she told us that RWSG fully rejected Tribune, and that if we dared to publish a single photo or word about their IWWD march, they would burn the paper in the street and denounce it as revisionist in front of the people. She told us she “would rather die than keep organizing under whatever this is,” meaning the revisionist leadership.
At multiple points over the course of the weekend, and from multiple people, we also heard criticisms of both Rico and Ed that have not truly been presented to Tribune membership. Prior to this weekend, this critical information had not been made available to us all because of a false security culture that actively prevents us from seeing the full picture. Comrades, these two “leaders” have prevented others from issuing criticism against them because it was in the “wrong” venue. They have prevented you from hearing these and claimed criticism was a security risk. They have forced comrades to use other channels to criticize them, and these criticisms are ignored or attacked. We believe some may call these criticisms part of a “rumor mill,” and we fully reject that. What we have heard fits the errors that Rico in particular has already been accused of by Tribune members. [A comrade] has been able to confirm many of the accusations, as he was present while many of these crimes took place, and others from outside of Tribune have also confirmed some points. [A comrade] has chosen to state this plainly so as to avoid any more confusion about what accusations have merit and what may still be speculation. So far, criticizing them for these things in private has reportedly not been fruitful. We became aware of them through disorganized means, but for better or worse, the floodgates have opened. We are angry and disgusted. We have determined these things cannot be hidden, the cat is already out of the bag. Now, it is better to organize the accusations.
Ed is accused of mistreating and abusing his comrade and wife [Lisa], and organizing a struggle session for her when she wanted to end their relationship, in order to change her mind. Rico is accused of being present for this, and fully uniting with Ed. Rico is accused of not intervening when he received a report that a man organized under him [Sidney] had attempted to sexually assault [a comrade], his ex; this man [Sidney] went on to rape and manipulate two other young people. Ed is accused of defending a man that cheated on his comrade and partner by pursuing a vulnerable young woman comrade that was under this man’s leadership. Ed is therefore accused of shouldering some of the blame for this man’s actions. If this weren’t enough, he is guilty also of shirking this liability, preferring to place the blame on the movement as a whole, stating that ‘the movement had not done enough to investigate this man’s chauvinism before allowing him to work with this woman or women generally’ (paraphrase). This had the effect of giving this cheater a rectification that some believe was not thorough enough and not fully carried out, and a call was issued for investigating male chauvinism that never truly came to fruition besides instructing women comrades to investigate their “internal misogyny.” Rico is accused of being won over to this line. A woman comrade was recruited to do necessary reproductive labor that Ed became unable to do, and was promised payment; both Ed and Rico are accused of not ensuring she was paid.
These were our so-called leaders.
There are further accusations, mostly regarding callousness, lack of concern for comrades, commandism, and dogmatism. Both [Ed and Rico] are accused of demanding bizarre tasks of comrades for “rectification” that are more like punishments, where the aim was to shame rather than reform through struggle or labor, and some of these were dangerous to comrades’ health, safety, and freedom from imprisonment. They are both accused of ignoring objective conditions like disabilities, inadequate sleep, insufficient income, etc that prevented comrades from following orders. They are both accused of demanding that a comrade conduct work during the May Uprisings [aka the George Floyd protests] when his wife was severely immunocompromised and she did not support him being around crowds. Rico is accused of transphobic remarks against select trans women comrades and masses that he does not believe “pass” enough. Ed and Rico are both accused, on multiple occasions, of intervening in comrades’ personal lives only when it was convenient for them to push their lines or demand things, and not intervening with supports when it was desired and necessary. They are both accused of having a lumpen attitude towards retribution against former comrades, believing that these people should be attacked clandestinely rather than seek to unite the people against them.
There are more accusations, and more reprehensible details to the ones we have listed. We are choosing to state only these here simply in order to keep the victims of these reactionary behaviors safe, and because we are not willing to do work for the state. We must focus on removing the influence of Ed and Rico from the movement without handing the state a reason to investigate anyone, including the revisionists themselves.
With all of these accusations being directed at Rico and Ed, we believe that some comrades will urge us to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We say there is no baby. What you are talking about is a perverse imitation of an organization, something that Rico and Ed have formed to their liking and theirs only because they do not have enough love for the people to actually let an organization grow the way it is meant to. What they have left us with is worthless. Their editing style has removed the voices of the people and we can no longer stand behind the bulk of the articles. Their anti-people attitude was not reserved to behind closed doors but made its way into everything they touched. All that is good, all that we can continue to support are the real connections that all of you have made with the people before Rico and Ed refused them the right to have their words heard. We have already stated that this is not just two revisionists, but that their gang also surrounds them: their leading positions have been enforced by others, mainly men, who know all or many of these accusations already, and either do not care or are in support of them, or even carry out the backwards orders themselves. We believe these people have existed both inside and outside of Tribune. They too must be exposed.
There are also those comrades who knew of these accusations and were disturbed by them, yet still followed the revisionist leadership; we acknowledge that some of these people are the ones that have been trying to criticize these leaders, for years in some instances. Many of these people are the ones that were directly subject to the worst of these crimes. We understand there has been deep manipulation. Among the group of us, we have comrades who experienced these abuses but also continued tolling the bell under these revisionists, they have acknowledged that they must submit themselves to the will of you all as well. Comrades have been made afraid of issuing criticism because of the unnecessarily harsh reactions and punishments they have faced. To all those comrades this applies to: you must know all these things that have happened to you are deeply wrong, they are anti-people. Hearing these accusations ignited the deepest anger in us, we are sending all our love and solidarity to you. We urge you to pick up or continue carrying the left line. You must understand that you are in the majority. We all have your back now, there is nothing worth being afraid of.
What is to be done now? We are enthusiastically awaiting responses from all levels of Tribune. We are soliciting criticisms from you all of what we have presented here. We believe all of Tribune needs to take up this two-line struggle of whether Tribune should exist or not, and we want to participate in that two-line struggle however we are able. We urge the current leadership to evaluate the mistakes of previous leadership. All of membership, all of those who have left or are looking in from the outside, continue to bombard the headquarters! As we see it the bombardment has only begun, there is so much more that must happen and we eagerly await each coming day.
All of us should be careful not to abandon our principles – there is risk, in the midst of such upheaval, that we may fall into disorganization. Even without an organization, though, staying organized is possible. Between those of us that came to Pittsburgh for IWWD, we have identified leaders among ourselves and are united in following their leadership even as we are now determining what we should do next, how we should continue to organize and go among the people. All of us need to do what we can to ensure we do not allow liquidation to occur as well. We have identified the problem, but we need to remember that good work has happened under the banner of Tribune, and that is because of all you comrades taking up the ideology and putting it into practice. That is worth defending. We want that to continue, we do not want to lose a single member or resigned member by failing to involve them in what is to come. We encourage you all to look towards the future. No matter how this struggle plays out, we intend to return to Pittsburgh, if we are able, for International Worker’s Day. We do not know what the celebration of this holiday will look like yet, but we want to use that time to continue two-line struggle and celebrate with you comrades that we have gotten to know and love.
We recognize that both inside and outside of Tribune, women are the ones pushing for and leading this bombardment. The revisionists have practiced male chauvinism and denied these women the leadership they have rightly earned. We want to follow the leadership of such revolutionary women; for example, the hospitable, patient, principled, and militant comrades from RWSG. We believe that this movement has not truly grasped all that the women’s struggle is and must be because of the influence of the revisionist gang. We release this statement today, International Working Women’s Day, because we believe there is no better way to celebrate the holiday than to call for the removal and denouncement of those male chauvinists that walk among us. It is evident that, at times, the revisionist gang has used the chauvinism of others to their advantage, to sneak their revisionism in through those that hold backwards ideas. There is historic precedence for this behavior, notably in Austin itself through Brandon Darby, who was correctly identified by anarchist women as having utilized the chauvinism of other men to create a boy’s club that he could become close to and betray in order to get paid as a federal informant. Take this seriously. Men comrades, interrogate your chauvinism. Women comrades, demand more, demand what you deserve. As our comrades from RWSG taught us to chant in the streets of Pittsburgh,
“WORKING WOMEN GIVE ‘EM HELL; IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL!”