When the Enemy Attacks, We Politically Mobilize the People and Come Back Stronger
November 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Revolution Club, New York City, October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution
The Revolution Clubs around the country have been boldly taking revolution and the new communism, developed by Bob Avakian, out to the masses—leading people to get organized for revolution. They have been mobilizing masses of people to stand up against the crimes of this system. They have been challenging the police when they roll up and attempt to violate people’s rights in the neighborhoods. They have been challenging the reactionary authorities of all kinds—on campuses and elsewhere—who are working to keep the masses of people in line.
This is a breath of fresh air!
No advance for the oppressed has ever been won without people breaking the rules and refusing to go along with the way the system works to keep people down. It was against the law, let us not forget, for Black students to sit down at a “whites only” lunch counter during the civil rights movement. It was against the law for young men to set their draft cards on fire and refuse to fight for the U.S. in the genocidal war against Vietnam. It was considered “scandalous” and “strident” when women first publicly demanded the right to birth control and then abortion. Yet, all of this—and much, much more—was absolutely righteous and necessary!
It is very good that today, revolutionaries are spreading the spirit of defying an unjust and oppressive system and its illegitimate rules. We need much, much more of this!
Not surprisingly, however, when you defy this oppressive system, the authorities hit back. In recent months, revcoms across the country have been arrested, brutalized by police, and in many places face the threat of serious jail time. In carrying out these unjust attacks, the authorities have frequently and flagrantly violated their own rules. For example, it is unquestionably legal and constitutionally protected speech to burn the U.S. flag, yet when the revcoms did this in front of the Republican National Convention last summer, they were arrested, held preventatively, and are now facing heavy charges.
Why Does the System Attack?
The system’s enforcers carry out these attacks because they are deeply fearful of the masses of people they oppress and exploit. They know that their system has forced millions to live on the edge, and daily drives millions over the edge. They know that many—even among those with more privilege—are deeply troubled by the injustices around them. The system is fearful—and determined to prevent—these masses of people from rising up against them. This is why they attack whenever people rise up.
Additionally, the rulers have summed up from history the disproportionate importance of revolutionary leadership. This makes them even more fearful of the masses—and determined to prevent them from connecting up with the leadership, strategy, and organized force for an actual revolution. The Revolutionary Communist Party, its leader Bob Avakian, and the Revolution Clubs are playing a leading role in society—for revolution, representing on a scientific basis the fundamental interests of the vast majority of humanity. And they are fighting for the only way out: nothing less than an actual revolution to overthrow this system, and bring into being a radically different, and far better, system. This is why the rulers and other reactionary authorities attack the revcoms in particular.
The rulers can’t stop causing the misery they inflict on the masses of people—they can’t stop their police from murdering Black people, they can’t stop the attacks on immigrants, they can’t stop the degradation and brutality against women, they can’t stop the destruction of the environment, they can’t lift their boot off the people of the world who are dying under their bombs and occupations. So, they work hard to keep people cowed and intimidated, to keep people beaten down and divided, to keep people ignorant of the way out, or to keep people thinking that the most they can do is work for “change through their elections” or by appealing to their system. In other words, fundamentally, the system attacks because it is vulnerable and the rulers’ fear of the people they oppress.
The System Is Vulnerable, But It Has Real Teeth
Still, there is no getting around the fact that the system has real teeth. Their enforcers can hurt people and they can tie people up with court cases and prison time. They want to get revolutionaries “out of action” and they want to send a message to others not to even dare to step into the revolution.
So, how do we handle this?
The statement “HOW WE CAN WIN” says, “We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, ‘encircle,’ brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to ‘encircle’ them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.” While this statement is referring specifically to the way we must respond to the system’s attacks on the most oppressed masses, the same principle applies to how we must respond to the system’s attacks on the revcoms.
When they attack us, we have to turn their attacks against them. We have to turn every roadblock into a stepping stone. How?
We have to use their attacks to wake up even greater numbers of people to what is being fought out and why they need to take a stand themselves. We have to expose the hypocrisy and unjust nature of the attacks in a way that causes many more people to question—and themselves challenge—the rules and the authority of the state, many for the first time. But this only happens if you work to draw even more people forward into the struggle as you go back at the enemy with even more defiance.
Think, for example, about what went down in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police murdered Michael Brown. The initial protests were righteous and drew in hundreds from the area. This inspired many around the country. But it was when the police and National Guard came in with tanks, stun grenades, and heavy artillery, and when people defiantly stood up to that, that millions throughout society were forced to take notice and pick a side. Because people stood strong, the militarized repression of the state had the effect of inspiring even more people to step into the struggle in waves across the country, and to begin to question the very legitimacy of this system’s armed enforcers—rather than scaring people off.
That struggle has not advanced in a straight line, and the state has worked overtime to demonize Michael Brown and those who stand up against police murder. It has also worked overtime to bring people back into the dead end of their elections and various meaningless reforms. But all this is still in play. We can influence how this plays out going forward. In this, and overall, the broader lessons—of how struggles advance by standing up to and defying repression, not avoiding it or retreating in the face of it—remain.
When the revcoms get attacked, we have to use these attacks to expose to even greater numbers of people the unjust and vicious character of the system and its attacks. When they single out and attack revcoms in ways that violate their own rules, or are completely out of proportion with how they respond to people with a different message and mission, we have to expose this. We have to use this to show how it is that the system’s ruthless and unjust nature requires them to lash out and prevent people from hearing the message of revolution. We have to challenge people to defy these attempts, and to look for themselves into the new communism that has been forged by Bob Avakian. We have to bring alive, when the eyes of many more are watching, the living contrast between the hypocrisy and illegitimate authority of the system and the liberating morality and authority of the revolutionary forces. And, we have to challenge and inspire even broader numbers of people—including many who don’t yet know what they think of the revolution we are fighting for—to stand on the right side and defend those who are refusing to bow to these attacks.
Through all this, we can shatter the superstitious awe that people are trained to have towards the state and its enforcers. We can inspire many to understand that, as ruthless as they are, they are not all powerful and their power is not permanent. We can increasingly bring alive the fact that there is a whole other way the world could be organized through communist revolution that is worth fighting for, and that there is a revolutionary force to join with right now that knows how to get there.
In other words, the more the revolution stings this system politically, the more they hit back with counterrevolution, attempting to brutalize and punish the revcoms and the masses in such a way that it sidelines them. In the face of this, the revolution doesn’t retreat or play by their rules—it hits them even harder politically, bringing forward more masses with even more daring and imaginative actions. Through all this, we “encircle” them with mass support and we disrupt their plans to shut us down. We do this both by refusing to play by their rules and finding ways to use their rules against them.
All this is not a distraction from the work of advancing the revolution. This is a key part of how revolution develops and gains strength—through stepping up the fight against this system’s crimes, even more boldly spreading revolution and communism, and using their attacks to mobilize more people into the revolution and come back even stronger. Revolution... counterrevolution... MORE revolution—that’s the logic of the movement for revolution.
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