Emergency Forum at Revolution Books: We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America
November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Rise Up... Get Into The Streets...
Unite With People Everywhere
to Build Up Resistance in Every Way You Can
Don’t Stop: Don’t Conciliate...
Don’t Accommodate...Don’t Collaborate
An Emergency Forum at Revolution Books in Harlem on November 13 kicked off a series of urgent programs between now and the inauguration of Trump: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America: 65 Defiant Days at Revolution Books: Talks, Dialogue, & Culture.
It was a packed house at RB. People came to get into what is behind and what do we do about the new and dangerous situation ushered in by Trump’s election, and the air was thick with anticipation and concern. RB spokesperson Andy Zee and Carl Dix, a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, were the featured speakers. In the audience were friends of Revolution Books, people from Harlem, new activists who have been in the streets protesting the election, teachers, professionals, writers, veterans of the ’60s struggles, members of the Revolution Club, and others.
Andy Zee set the tone. He read the title of the statement posted at revcom.us: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America: Rise Up... Get Into The Streets... Unite With People Everywhere to Build Up Resistance In Every Way You Can—Don’t Stop: Don’t Conciliate... Don’t Accommodate... Don’t Collaborate. This, he said, is not only the title of an article but “an important directive not just for revolutionaries, but for everyone. This is a time that’s going to demand a lot of courage—and a lot of delving into what is the actual situation. It is going to be a time when we have to cast away illusions about the society we live in and what is to come. And we’re going to have to prepare right now for a great deal of struggle. What is on its way is not pretty, yet there is potential in this situation to stop it—and also to wrest out a different future...”
Andy and Carl gave wide-ranging presentations. They got into the origins of the Trump package... the demonization and oppression of Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and women in this society... what fascism is and what this situation tells us about a system that makes a Trump a “legitimate” candidate and now president... and the necessity, possibility, and desirability of an actual revolution.
They addressed the historical parallels to Hitler and Nazi Germany—and lessons that must be drawn. They popularized and applied the far-seeing analysis brought forward by Bob Avakian over the last 20 years—in works like The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer—that shed a great deal of light on the current political juncture: its roots, dynamics, and what must be done in response. They invited people to discuss and engage the new communism developed by Bob Avakian and to become part of the movement for revolution.
Carl Dix talked about the whole legacy and current-day reality of white supremacy, how it is so deeply embedded in the history and fabric of U.S. society—and what this has to do with the rise of Trump and his election. He referenced the famous statement by Pastor Martin Niemöller, who experienced Hitler’s consolidation of power and its lessons for future generations: “First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Andy Zee got into the experience of Germany and the rise of Hitler in the 1930s: “It’s not an exact analogy, but it’s more exact than you think. People say, ‘Trump has no cohering ideology. He contradicts himself all the time.’ And they said the same about Hitler. ... [The historian] Claudia Koonz makes the point that there actually is a cohering ideology and in fact a very strong sense of morality for the volk, for a section of people [volk is the German word] who didn’t view the Roma people (“Gypsies”) and the Jews as human beings, and all kinds of other people, including people with disabilities.
“And you can start seeing Trump in all of this. And all this is all very real, but then there’s a trajectory that this goes down that created tremendous, tremendous horrors. You know, you hear in the campaign and in these people’s words in the streets, they say it’s ‘us’—meaning Americans—‘against them’—meaning the immigrants, the Muslims, virtually anybody who stands against them, the environmentalists, the elites. But really when push comes to shove, their program is ‘us without them.’ That’s where it leads. That’s why the threats are not just idle threats....”
Andy spoke to the revolutionaries in the room: “It really matters that you unite very broadly with people to fight against this fascist America.” That doesn’t mean, he said, that we don’t organize for an actual revolution. “If you don’t do that, then the world will go on [as it is]. We do not want to go back to the world of November 7 with police killing people at the rate of three a day. We do not want to go back to the record-setting deportations of the Obama administration. But we have to grasp the difference between that and what’s coming. And there are millions of people who want to stop that. We have to unite with them. That’s what this statement is about [holding up We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America]. As communists we are leading people to stop these attacks from the standpoint of preparing the ground for revolution, for bringing a radically new society into being.”
Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE
And to others in the audience: “This is a statement that we believe everyone in this room could take out to all of their friends. Now we’d also like you to take out the pamphlet ‘HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Actually Make Revolution.’ But if you’re not ready to do that, or you don’t agree with it, OK, take ‘In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America’ out right now, and we have to put a stop to this.” These are times to build broad unity and fan resistance everywhere, to be in the streets. And he explained that, as communists, exactly “because we are serious about revolution, we’re serious about fighting this.”
The Q&A was lively, with questions including what the difference is between populism and fascism; whether energies should be channeled into local and legislative activity; how Putin fits into Trump’s foreign policy; what about Hillary Clinton and would we be holding forums and be out in the streets if she were elected (short answer: YES!).
The Emergency Forum was the opening salvo of Revolution Books’ special programming: “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America: 65 Defiant Days at Revolution Books!”
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