I’m so old I can remember when disseminating communist propaganda in public schools was frowned upon.
Last Friday afternoon, I was sitting at my computer when I received an email from Peachjar. This is a service used by several school districts near me in the Portland area that sends home digital fliers to parents in lieu of paper fliers to advertise extracurricular activities sponsored by various groups in the community. My son’s middle school uses this service, and I receive a few emails a month from them. I’ve used the service myself to send advertisements for recruiting events for Scouts, and I’ve received other fliers such as music lessons, sports teams, and the like.
This one, however, was quite different.
There’s so much wrong here it’s hard to know where to start.
The first thing that struck me, before anything else, was the mask-clad, fist-raising elementary school kids in the illustration. Teaching incoming 4th-8th-graders how to riot, become members of antifa, and join a communist revolution seems a bit much—even for Portland, Oregon. Notice the star on the mask and the raised fist. Classic imagery from the USSR, China, and other violent Marxist revolutions in the 20th century.
One might immediately think of the Brown Shirts, except that Nazis and antifa hate each other. Antifa formed in the 1930s to oppose the rise of the Nazi party and to try to bring a Marxist revolution to Germany. Rather, the imagery is eerily reminiscent of the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization, or Pioneer Youth. Lenin established this organization to replace the Boy Scouts, which he outlawed after the Bolshevik revolution. The oath that members took reads:
I, (last name, first name), joining the ranks of the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization, in the presence of my comrades solemnly promise: to passionately love and cherish my Motherland, to live as the great Lenin bade us to, as the Communist Party teaches us to, as require the laws of the Pioneers of the Soviet Union.
You may also note that an organization called Budding Roses runs this
junior domestic terrorist training camp summer camp for social justice. The About page says:
Our goal is to provide a free, safe and encouraging space for youth to learn, express themselves, and engage critically with the issues they encounter individuals and as a group. We strive to help them cultivate the necessary tools to be active members of our communities through experiences of collective decision-making and democratic education. At camp, youth of all ages play a leadership role alongside adult counselors and make collective decisions about the activities and format of the day. Each day opening and closing assemblies provide a space for youth and counselors to democratically plan activities for the day, resolve conflicts, and build interpersonal leadership skills.
Include a combination of community-building activities, discussions on social justice topics, interactive workshops, movies, arts, games, and free time. Workshops and discussions are often held in collaboration with local activists and community organizations. In the past two summers, we have worked with the Burgerville Workers Union, Critical Resistance PDX, the Transformative Lenses Collective, and DUG (Deep Underground)!
In our work we strive to be a resource for both the campers, their families, and the broader community. With funding from the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, an online fundraising campaign, and in-kind donations of space, supplies, and services we were able to offer two hot meals a day, school supplies, and a back-to-school haircut for youth last summer. In addition to this we hope that with the skills, ideas and support found at Budding Roses, each camper is empowered to make a lasting positive change in their community.
Budding Roses was selected for a 2018 Spirit of Portland Award, as Nonprofit Initiative of the Year. View our acceptance speech and statement here.
What’s wrong with fighting for social justice, you say? You may have noted that Budding Roses received funding from the Black Rose Anarchist Federation. Notice that they use the same graphic as the summer camp:
Black Rose claims to believe in something called libertarian socialism. They attempt to resolve this oxymoron on their About page:
Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra (BRRN) is a political organization with locals in over a dozen cities sharing a common set of politics and creating a shared strategic vision of how to build “popular power” in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and all sectors of society towards the goal of libertarian socialism. Our organizing work is centered on building mass movements such as tenant unions, neighborhood assemblies, workplace campaigns, student unions, prisoner organizing, and in defense of communities resisting criminalization and deportations.
If you are interested in learning more about our politics we recommend you start with our core organizational documents: our Mission Statement, Role of the Revolutionary Organization and Points of Unity.
They have podcasts that include Feminists against Capitalism, a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) podcast, and others.
On a side note, the DSA in Portland has announced that they will challenge Democrat legislators in next year’s primary over an unwillingness to go far enough left for their tastes. Mind you, Portland Democrats tilt to the left of Trotsky, so this will shape up as a battle royale to rival the craziest stuff advocated by AOC and others.
In any event, you can’t tell me that we’re not in a war for the soul of our culture. The Marxist revolutionaries are now reaching into our elementary schools to recruit ever younger comrades for the front lines.