The Florida Communist Front (FCF), an underground cadre based in Belle Glade, has issued the following call to action for the consideration of all true comrades.
Towards a Protracted People’s War in the Florida Everglades
We live in dark times. The Trump-Pence regime is working rapidly to consolidate its agenda of mass incarceration, mass deportation, and constant imperialist war. For its countless victims, America has always been a living nightmare—a colonial plantation state built on slavery and the genocide of people of color. Today, it is slipping into fascism, and millions of people are about to suffer the consequences.
What is to be done? The Democratic Party offers no hope for significant political change, and neither do the constellation of reformist and revisionist “left” groups like the Greens. The only way we can fight back against Trump is through a concerted struggle of the masses that will overthrow the bourgeoisie and put the people in power to construct a new socialist order.
As Maoists, we operate within the philosophical framework of Marxism-Leninism, the science of revolution. The time has come for us to dialectically analyze the material conditions of the Trump presidency and act decisively in the interests of the masses. Drastic times call for drastic measures. As the Black Panthers taught us, sometimes you have to pick up the gun to put it away. In 2017, the stakes have never been higher. We need a resistance with teeth, and the only way we can build that is through a people’s army and a protracted people’s war.
“You know I envy you North Americans. You live in the belly of the beast”
For far too long, we have ignored the possibility of revolution in the United States and focused all our attention on the Third World. But imperialism can never fall until we strike it at its source. All the great national liberation movements in Cuba, China, and Vietnam won through slow, painstaking guerilla tactics. To build people power here in the United States, we should emulate their struggles and begin a similar revolutionary project.
How can this task be accomplished? It may seem impossible. The United States has the most powerful military in the world and it has not seen a major domestic conflict since the Civil War. But history and geography offer us an inspiration that points to Florida.
For decades, the Florida Seminoles were a beacon of freedom and resistance to white supremacy. They defended their land from encroaching settlers and offered shelter to fugitive slaves, who became known as Black Seminoles. In 1835, they refused to be sent on the Trail of Tears, took up arms against Andrew Jackson’s genocidal deportation efforts, and waged a resistance war against U.S. imperialism. They hid under cover of the Everglades, using guerilla tactics to keep the American troops at bay. The Black Seminoles fought by their side, as did hundreds of local slaves who revolted, setting their plantations on fire and joining the struggle. It took nearly seven years for the rebellion to be crushed. It was America’s bloodiest, most expensive Indian war, and it was also one of the largest slave revolts in American history.
Even though they were eventually defeated, we should remember the Seminoles’ heroic example. From a scientific standpoint, their war can be viewed as a great national liberation struggle with important implications for the modern fight against Trump. Their efforts were made possible not only through their bravery, but also by the terrain of the Florida Everglades. The natural shelter of the wetlands made them an ideal location for an outnumbered, outgunned force to build a strong guerilla presence.
The Everglades have hardly disappeared—half of the land in the region remains undeveloped. We should use this to our advantage, bringing revolution to America by making it the center of a new protracted people’s war. This scheme may seem pointless, even daft at first glance. But upon further dialectical examination, it is very much pragmatic and achievable. We will outline below how such a scenario could play out.
The struggle could begin with just three or four focos (small revolutionary groupings as described by Che Guevara) establishing permanent camps in the swampiest, most isolated parts of the Everglades—areas seldom penetrated by tourists. This would not be difficult. For shelter, the revolutionaries could use small, semi-submerged boats camouflaged with sticks, leaves, and mud. Each group could be as small as four people (though larger sizes would be ideal). Two fighters would maintain a constant presence at the base, and the other two would maintain lives in the outside world. To raise money to fund the base, they would take jobs or sell scrap metal, ideally in the surrounding area. They would travel to the camp regularly and keep their comrades stocked with food, weapons, and other important supplies. On a frugal budget, these outposts could be maintained on less than two thousand dollars a month.
“The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea”
Once the bases were fully operational, the groupings would begin their political work. It is vital that our guerilla forces not become isolated in their camps. For any chance of victory, a revolutionary force must move swiftly to build a firm relationship with the masses, in both the cities and the countryside. Without strong support from the workers and peasants, a people’s army becomes impotent and highly vulnerable to imperialist repression.
To achieve this end, the first task of a people’s army is to make its presence known to the masses. Our Everglades focos would accomplish this by planting red flags all over the wetlands, clearly marking the area as their territory. They could also install loudspeakers at strategic locations and blast propaganda that could be heard for miles. Modern renditions of songs from the Cultural Revolution could be played on the loudspeakers 24/7, which would do a great deal to raise class consciousness. Titles could include “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New Florida” and “The East Coast is Red.”
Next, the people’s army would begin to reach out to the locals. There are many lucrative farms in the Everglades region, a legacy of the South’s racist plantation economy. Many of the workers on these farms are undocumented immigrants, exploited and bound to the land through their lack of legal avenues for employment. Dialectically, we should view this class formation as an authentic neo-peasant stratum. The focos of our army should target this important group for recruitment, and in doing so protect them from Donald Trump’s deportation agenda. Our guerillas will emerge out of the swamplands and infiltrate the surrounding countryside, assisting these peasants in the fields to gain their trust and support. After consulting with them to develop a mass line, we will induct them into our ranks, stage an insurrection against the growers, burn their farms to the ground, and then return to our Everglades bases with thousands of new comrades.