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Rpp Tightens Up

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Two years ago this MayDay the Rainbow People's Party (RPP) announced its existence as the successor of the White Panther Party and as an organization dedicated to helping organize the Ann Arbor community as a base from which people could begin to move in an organized way to combat the imperialism, capitalism, racism and sexism which make the social order we inhabit unacceptable to so many of us. During the six-month period prior to the birth of the RPP the White Panther Party went through a series of intense internal struggles concerning the direction the organization was taking, the social analysis which led to it, and the different members' commitment to that direction and to the much more concentrated hard work that would be involved in following the new direction of day-to-day community organizing in Ann Arbor. Following those internal struggles a number of people left the WPP, including brothers and sisters who had been in positions of major responsibility within the party but who could not relate to reforming their methods of work which had been proved incorrect in practice over a period of time. In most cases the people involved essentially decided to go back into the world as individuals and work from there, rather than as members of a political organization, to bring about the change they wanted to happen. After the Rainbow People's Party was formed on May 1, 1971, there was a period of six months where a few other people left the RPP for one reason or another, including some who no longer had any interest in participating, except in the most general ways, in the people's struggle against the empire. Some of these departures were marked with bitterness toward the RPP or toward the departing individual, as the case may be, while others were perfectly friendly and helpful to both interests. All were seen by the RPP as a whole to be positive developments which could help the organization progress toward its goal of unity of purpose and committment on the part of its members. By December 13, 1971, when the chairman of RPP was released from prison and the party began its current stage of development, the membership had been pretty much stabilized to include the following people: John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Genie Plamondon, Pun Plamondon, Skip Taube, Frank Bach, Peggy Taube, Gary Grimshaw, David Sinclair, David Fenton, Kathy Kelly, Sam Smith, Jeannie Walsh, Craig Blazier, Ann Hoover, Hiawatha Bailey, John Collins, Mike Minnich, Anne LaVasseur, Bob Rasmussen, and Gary Rasmussen. In the time since then a number of other people have committed themselves full-time to the principles and the work of the RPP: Linda Ross, Jan Ridgell, Walden Simper, Marty Agosta, Kim Sauve, Jack Forrest, and Lori Melton. During this time only one person, Gary Grimshaw, left the RPP, although he continues to work closely with the party on a daily basis. Starting the first of this year (1973) the RPP has undertaken another series of internal struggles meant to correct the mistaken policies and practices the organization has developed over the past two years. The work of the organization as a whole, and that of each individual member of the party, has been examined and evaluated and in many cases found seriously unsatisfactory. Efforts have been made to identify the problems and to come up with solutions to them, and everyone has been asked first of all to re-examine their commitment to the work and the principles of the RPP. As a result of these discussions a number of people have decided to leave the RPP for one reason or another, but primarily because they do not choose at this time to take upon themselves the responsibilities which go with party membership, which include being responsible to the collective and each member of the collective for one's actions at all times, and being willing to struggle at all times against selfish or other bogus tendencies in oneself which tend to arrest the progress of the organization and the people's movement as a whole. This is a heavy burden to put on anyone, especially anyone who doesn't want to carry it, and people were asked not to take it on themselves any further unless they really wanted to, and no hard feelings if they didn't, for whatever reason. Those people who decided to leave the RPP would remain close friends and associates of the party as long as they wished to, and everyone would be better off because everyone would be doing only what they really wanted to do. Those former RPP members who decided to terminate their membership in the organization are: Skip Taube, Hiawatha Bailey, John Collins, Anne LaVasseur, Marty Agosta, Bob Rasmussen and Gary Rasmussen. Skip is working at the Hamilton St. commune with a number of his close associates in the Children's Community Center; John and Hiawatha have moved in with friends of theirs (and ours) in the community; and Anne, Marty, Bob and Gary will be staying together in a new commune with the other members of UPRISING, including Leon Mills, Wilson Owens, and Don Benson, as of the first of May. UPRISING will continue its association with the RPP as close friends and associates and will continue to work especially closely with those members of the RPP, particularly John Sinclair, Frank Bach, and Craig Blazier, who work in UPRISING's management company, Rainbow Multi-Media, a Michigan non-profit corporation which has no formal or direct association with the RPP as an organization. The Rainbow People's Party regards these brothers and sisters who have left the organization as our close friends and allies in the community; we hope to be able to work with them as well as with many more of our sisters and brothers in the Ann Arbor community who want to make the same changes in the present social order that we are committed to making the best way we can. We see their departure as a good thing and not as a bad thing at all, and we send with them as they leave the RPP our very warmest and highest revolutionary wishes. All Power to the People The Rainbow People's Party