FOOD FOR THOUGHT—Revolutionary Action Movement

From: Hank Ashmore
The Deplorable Infidel



Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) was a U.S.-based revolutionary black nationalist group in operation from 1962 to 1969. They were the first group to apply the philosophy of Maoism to conditions of black people in the United States and informed the revolutionary politics of the Black Power movement. RAM was the only secular political organization which Malcolm X joined prior to 1964. The group’s political formation deeply influenced the politics of Huey Newton, Bobby Scale, and many other future influential Black Panther Party founders and members.

In 1961, students at Central State University, a historically black university in Ohio came together to form “Challenge,” a small conglomerate of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Congress 0f Racial Equality (CORE), and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Largely made up of formerly expelled students and veteran activists, Challenge was created to further political awareness, particularly in relation to the black community. At the request of Donald Freeman, who was enrolled at Case Western Reserve University at the time, Challenge read Harold Cruse’s essay “Revolutionary Nationalism and the Afro-American” and thereafter shifted its focus from educating their participants to creating a mass black working-class nationalist movement in the North. After this drastic change of agenda, Challenge soon evolved into the Reform Action Movement, as they believed use of the word revolutionary would stir fear in the university administration. Led by Freedom, Wanda Marshall, and Maxwell Stanford, RAM became a study/action group that hoped to turn the Civil Rights Movement into a worldwide black revolution.

Though it initially started as a small student group, RAM at its peak had chapters all over the nation. The full spread of RAM remains hard to discern because RAM was semi-clandestine in nature. Chapters in New York, Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit went by pseudonyms so as to decrease public scrutiny, while the Philadelphia chapter continued to operate under Ram’s name. The decision to go underground was made by leadership after they judged that the ultra-right was preparing to crush the movement and that they could no longer be public without endangering noninvolved people and exposing them to violence.

RAM was the first group in the United States to synthesize the thought of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Malcolm X into a comprehensive theory of revolutionary black nationalism. They combined socialism, black nationalism, and Third World internationalism into a coherent and applicable theory that called for revolution “inside the citadel of world imperialism,” meaning the United States.

The revolutionary nationalist of RAM believed that colonized peoples around the world must rise up and destroy the “universal slavemaster.” They also believed that all people have a right to self-determination, including the “internal black colony” of the United States. In their opinion, African Americans had to gain control of land and political power through national liberation and establish revolutionary socialism in sovereign, liberated lands. They emphasized creating a black nation on land in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina that, in their eyes, rightly belonged to black people. This push for a sovereign black nation was in some ways a reiteration of an old black leftist line from the 1930s. In fact, many RAM activists derived their ideology from an older generation of revolutionary black leftists: Harry Haywood, Queen Mother Audley Moore, Harold Cruse, and Abner Berry as well as James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs. Many of these older revolutionaries played a role of ideological and political mentorship to RAM activities.

In 1967, following an expose on RAM in Life magazine, Max Stanford and 16 other Ram members were arrested on conspiracy and for allegedly plotting to assassinate the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins and the Urban League’s Whitney Young. Stanford went underground to avoid arrest and indictment, but the rest of the Queens 17, as they were called, went to trial and had to pay a $200,000 bail bond. In this context of government repression, RAM transformed itself into the Black Liberation Party, and by 1969 had practically dissolved. Many of its members went back to their communities or joined other civil rights groups to continue pushing their ideology of black internationalism and armed self-defense. Ram is the predecessor to radical groups and ideological beliefs such as Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, and Black Liberation Theology.

The Deplorable Infidel (Source: Wikipedia)



“If our country is to survive and prosper, we must summon the courage to condemn and reject the liberal agenda, and we had better do it soon.”
-Walter Williams-



Black Lives Matter only when the crime is committed against a black by a white person. There have been 191 deaths so far this year in Chicago, the majority of which were a result of gunfire. Black on black crime. Where is the outrage? Where are the demonstrations? Where are the protests? There are none.



The most important element of a free society, where individual rights are held in the highest esteem, is the rejection of the initiation of violence. All initiation of force is a violation of someone else’s rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it’s supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals. Legitimate use of violence can only be that which is required in self-defense.

Ron Paul

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