Updated September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Sit Down for Their Nasty-full Anthem! A Teachable Moment in the USA
All over the country, there’s a breath of fresh air blowing out of the world of athletics. From San Francisco to Alabama and beyond, from the pros to the high schools, people are taking the disgusting patriotic ritual of standing and saluting the national anthem at sporting events and using it to raise questions, register dissent, and project resistance. As you might expect, this is coming under attack—and opening up debate.
Now is the time to go to these events and bring things like “The Top 10 Reasons to Sit Down for the Nasty-full Anthem—#sitdownfortherag” and critically relevant BA quotes. If people are acting, talk to them, listen and engage. Take action yourself. Join or provoke the debate—and take it further. Bring Bob Avakian’s Invitation to people—and ways for them to take it up. Take the Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party—and put out the challenge, and the possibility, of REAL revolution.
In short: dive into the controversy... and take it further.
Top 10 Reasons to Sit Down for the Nasty-full Anthem—#sitdownfortherag
- Because the United States was founded on slavery, Black people still have no rights this white supremacist system is bound to respect, and there is an epidemic of unpunished murder by police.
- Because the U.S.A. was built on and continues to carry out genocide of the native peoples.
- Because America was created by stealing half of Mexico’s land in a war of conquest, rape and plunder in 1846-48.
- Because in America a woman is raped every 2 minutes and a woman is battered every 9 seconds—violence fueled by a culture of porn and patriarchy.
- Because the U.S. massacred over 200,000 innocent civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, with nuclear bombs and is the only country that’s ever used them.
- Because the U.S. murdered 3 million people during the Vietnam War and has killed over 1.3 million in the Middle East since 9/11.
- Because America imprisons 2 million people, mostly Black and Latino—more than any country on earth.
- Because the U.S. terrorizes and demonizes immigrants, deporting 1.7 million in the last 5 years alone.
- Because America’s wealth comes from exploiting and enslaving millions of people here and around the world, including children, from Mexico to China to Congo to Bangladesh.
- Because America has done more to destroy the planet’s environment than any other country on earth—the U.S. military is the single greatest institutional polluter in the world.
Sit down for Their Nasty-full Anthem!
And Don’t Do the Pledge of Malfeasance to Being a Fascist Robot Either!
- Get out to all kinds of sporting events, including high school football games—or even practices. Or, wherever the nasty-full anthem celebrating slavery, genocide and unjust war gets played on people. And make a big point of sitting down. Alone, in groups, whatever. If you’re with a Revolution Club, do it as the Club for sure! And be sure to bring the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP: "Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution".
- Print out copies of the Fact Sheet: Top Ten Reasons Why You Should NOT Salute the American Flag to let people know why you aren’t going along with this shit, and why they shouldn’t either.
- Print copies of the 8.5x11 flier with BAsics 1:31, the image "Sit With Colin—No Respect for that Genocidal Rag!" and the revolutionary websites people need, and pass them out.
- Incite and challenge students in high schools or other schools: Do Not Stand Up for that Robotic, Fascistic Pledge of Malfeasance Every Morning!
- Tweet #sitdownfortherag—and sit down for the rag when they play the Nasty-full Anthem. Post your account of what happens, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:31
There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1
Now, of course, slavery was not the only factor that played a significant part in the emergence of the U.S. as a world power, whose economic strength underlies its massive military force. A major historical factor in all this was the theft of land, on a massive scale, from Mexico as well as from native peoples. But, in turn, much of that conquest of land was, for a long period of time up until the Civil War, largely to expand the slave system. “Remember the Alamo,” we are always reminded. Well, many of the “heroes” of the Alamo were slave traders and slave chasers....And expanding the slave system was a major aim of the overall war with Mexico, although that war also led to the westward expansion of the developing capitalist system centered in the northern United States.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:2
The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3
Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves. Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, “from can’t see in the morning, till can’t see at night”—until they’ve been physically used up....These are conditions very similar to outright slavery....This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well.
All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:4
It is not uncommon to hear these days, from government officials and others, that only 1 percent of the population is in the U.S. military but that this 1 percent is fighting for the freedom of the other 99 percent. The truth, however, is this: That 1 percent, in the military, is in reality fighting for the other 1 percent: the big capitalist-imperialists who run this country—who control the economy, the political system, the military, the media, and the other key institutions—and who dominate large parts of the world, wreaking havoc and causing great suffering for literally billions of people. It is the “freedom” of these capitalist-imperialists—their freedom to exploit, oppress, and plunder—that this 1 percent in the military is actually killing and sometimes dying for.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:5
Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems—and the lives of people—not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war—war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states—it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.
Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution—the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors—and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:6
These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:7
There is a semi-official narrative about the history and the “greatness” of America, which says that this greatness of America lies in the freedom and ingenuity of its people, and above all in a system that gives encouragement and reward to these qualities. Now, in opposition to this semi-official narrative about the greatness of America, the reality is that—to return to one fundamental aspect of all this—slavery has been an indispensable part of the foundation for the “freedom and prosperity” of the USA. The combination of freedom and prosperity is, as we know, still today, and in some ways today more than ever, proclaimed as the unique quality and the special destiny and mission of the United States and its role in the world. And this stands in stark contradiction to the fact that without slavery, none of this—not even the bourgeois-democratic freedoms, let alone the prosperity—would have been possible, not only in the southern United States but in the North as well, in the country as a whole and in its development and emergence as a world economic and military power.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:8
Colin Kaepernick came and kneeled behind players and coaches from Castlemont High in Oakland as they laid on their backs with their hands up during the national anthem. (Photo via Twitter/@kirkmorrison)
Before the college football game between University of North Carolina and Pittsburgh, North Carolina fans and band members hold fists in the air during the anthem. (Photo via Twitter)
Madison, Wisconsin. High school teams Madison East Purgolders and West High Regents both take a knee during the anthem. (Photo via Twitter)
In the face of death threats, the entire Beaumont (Texas) Bulls youth football team and their coach continued to refuse to stand for the national anthem, September 17. (Photo via twitter/@Shaun King)
See also "Texas Youth Football Team Refuses to Stand for the Anthem Despite Death Threats."
Howard University cheerleaders kneel for the national anthem before the game, September 17.(Photo via Twitter/@WPGC)
Seattle: Garfield High Bulldogs knelt in unison with their coaches during the playing of the nasty-full anthem, September 16. They were joined by some players on the Wildcats sideline.
Megan Rapinoe continues her protest, and the U.S. Soccer Federation announced it will not discipline her for kneeling during the national anthem, September 15. (Photo: Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)
The Shitstorm Over Sitting Down for the National Anthem... And Breaking Out of EVERYTHING the USA Stands For
From a reader:
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem has unleashed a shitstorm. He told the press: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
What happened next points to an important truth: a courageous stand by a single individual against oppression can reveal deep discontent and unleash protest very broadly. Of course, the haters—racists, Fox News fascists, police unions, Donald Trump, and idiots who just resented having their football disrupted by reality—are flipping out. But what is more important, and interesting—starting from the need to get to a world without exploitation and oppression and what that’s gonna take—is what the controversy reveals about deep and wide outrage in society over the way police murder people and get away with it, over and over. And more: by doing this in a way that goes up against the ritual of flag worship that people are expected to participate in, this raises questions about the whole society and the so-called American way of life.
September 2: School is starting, and the Revolution Club in the Bay Area headed out to "Calapalooza," a University of California at Berkeley campus-wide event where all the student organizations host booths and thousands of students are out, getting connected and involved.
Into the middle of Calapalooza was the Revolution Club, challenging students to get organized now for an actual revolution, to overthrow the whole system, at the soonest possible time. An American flag was on the ground with one person sitting on it....
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