Map Duo Presentation Leo Barnes and Christopher Ferreira – Negro Program of Communist Party & Guerrilla Acts of Sabotage

While the precise date is unknown, the Negro Program of the Communist Party Map predates the Guerilla Acts of Sabotage map. The map was published by the South Carolina Klu Klux Klan to associate African Americans and communists together to foment hatred of them both. Questions on how to organize a multiracial society and those surrounding what to do with economic surplus and how socially planned the government should be are not inherently connected and the authors feel the need to make this connection explicit. The way they do this is by pulling materials from “The Platform of The Class Struggle” a widely disseminated pamphlet published in 1928 that talks about the problems and opportunities for communism to spread to the United States. While the pamphlet considers many aspects of American society, from problems of housing, foreign-born workers, miner strikes, and child labor, the problem the communist party focuses on is the chapter speaking to the “oppression of the negroes.” In this chapter, the authors discuss how African Americans are second-class citizens oppressed in every manner imaginable and how they are the perfect candidates to help support a communist uprising in the American South. While the map itself is sourced from somewhere else, the left page of the Klan pamphlet is pulled entirely from the communist literature. The Klan then attempts to analyze the communist propaganda it pulled while furtively adding in suppositions and conclusions of its own and presenting those as truths. For example, nowhere in the section it pulled, or the source material for that matter, does the mass displacement of 10 million white people, or their forced evictions come up. Nor does giving New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Shreveport, and Atlanta to African Americans come up. Lastly, nowhere in the literature is Paul Robeson (jazz musician, football player, and activist) mentioned. The KKK is masking its claims of what the future would hold under communist leadership by pointing back to the source literature and their preternatural understanding of communist party functions (by saying the map came from secret files of the communist party they’re implying that they have other hidden knowledge). Occasionally they throw in a date so exact or an article or committee so specific that the reader can’t help but feel no one would brazenly lie like that, but other claims it makes are entirely unsubstantiated. 

The Black Panthers used this map in their magazine to highlight the amount of domestic terrorism there is in the United States. They were actively promoting terrorism as they believed it was for a good cause, that being equality. They called the people committing these acts freedom fighters, and often referred to the police as pigs. There was a call to action in the article along with the map, and it overall just highlighted the racial tensions that existed in the U.S. during that period of time. While it is not a countermap, its intention was similar, trying to bring attention to injustice.

Both of these maps highlight the racial tensions that coincided with the ideological tensions during the Cold War. While ideological tensions are interpreted as separate from one another, when examined they are actually all intertwined around the current events of the day. These maps show that ideological tensions can and do often coincide.

The room sported a healthy discourse with many voices chiming in especially surrounding the justifiability of terrorism now versus with the publication of the “Guerilla Acts of Sabotage Map.” A student pointed out that since 9/11 the United States and the West more broadly have become very sensitive to domestic terrorism and more likely to view it as murder than political activism. The issue of Israel Palestine came up with a respectful discourse surrounding the morality of both sides’ actions.

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