Revolution #282, October 7, 2012 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

All Out for October 22, 2012:

The 17th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation

by Carl Dix | October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 22 is the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. This year October 22 needs to be a day marked by varied forms of determined resistance that bring together those who bear the brunt of the brutality and murder this system enforces on the oppressed with people throughout society who don’t want to live in a society where people face this kind of injustice because of the color of their skin or because of their country of origin.

October 22, 2012 has to be more than a day of protest as usual. It must be a day when our rage at the whole criminal “injustice” system in this country is manifested. A day when people go to the prisons and call for an end to mass incarceration. When there is mass political resistance against the institutions and officials involved in profiling Muslims, Arabs and South Asians and against those carrying out raids and deportations aimed at immigrants. People have to figure out the ways to creatively make our determination to end all this injustice real and powerful.

The whistles that reverberated on September 13—when people blew the whistle in cities coast to coast, on stop-and-frisk, racial profiling, police brutality and murder, and the pipeline to mass incarceration—need to be heard throughout society on October 22, signaling a continuing determination to refuse to accept this injustice in silence. Whistles need to get into the hands of many more people as part of spreading a form that those who are forced to bear the brunt of this injustice can take up to get involved in the resistance to all this. These whistles need to be heard everywhere, disrupting the normal routine of racial profiling, brutality and murder widely enforced in Black and Latino neighborhoods.

October 22 is the day to make a leap in resistance to the way the whole criminal “injustice” system comes down on the people. We need to build on and take to a new level the whole way that this has been a day when those forced to live their lives under the guns and billy clubs of brutal murdering cops have a platform to call out the way the brutality and murder perpetrated by the system’s enforcers have devastated their lives. The day when people from many different walks of life stand together with them to call for an end to this injustice. The day when those who hate the way immigrants are forced to live their lives on the margins of society, those who detest the profiling that targets Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, and those who oppose the repression that is increasingly moving U.S. society in the direction of a police state, join in with people of different nationalities to say NO MORE of all this BS.

In the last 16 years, a key feature of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality has been testimony from the loved ones of those murdered by the police, which has brought to life the injustice being inflicted on so many. This year we need to build on that tradition and extend it to bringing to life the way the warehousing of so many in prison, and subjecting people to torture-like conditions in prison, represents the same kind of injustice as when cops commit brutality and murder on the streets.

We need October 22 to be this kind of day because we face an emergency situation. The powers-that-be have unleashed their whole criminal “injustice” system to carry out an intensifying murderous assault on oppressed people across the country. Law enforcement treats whole generations of Black and Latino youth like criminals, guilty until proven innocent—if they can survive to prove their innocence. This approach is concentrated in policies like the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk, under which almost 2,000 people, most of them Black or Latino and almost all of them doing absolutely nothing wrong, are subjected to harassment, disrespect, brutality and worse EACH AND EVERY DAY. And police departments across the country carry out the same kind of racial profiling.

Police routinely commit brutality and even murder and almost always get away with no punishment for these crimes. In Saginaw, Michigan, cops killed a homeless man, firing 46 bullets at him. In Arkansas, a young Black man who was searched twice, then double handcuffed and placed in a cop car was shot dead, and the police claim he shot himself! Reynaldo Cuevas, a young man who was fleeing a burglary scene in the Bronx, was killed by the cops who were called to deal with the robbery. And I could go on and on.

Close to 2.4 million people are warehoused in prisons in the U.S. All of them are held in miserable conditions, and more than 80,000 of them are held in solitary confinement, subjected to conditions that fit the international definition of torture.

More than 5 million people who have already served their sentences and been released face discrimination when seeking work, are banned from living in public housing, can’t get government loans and aren’t allowed to vote.

All this adds up to tens of millions of people living their lives enmeshed in the web of the criminal justice system. I have likened this situation to a slow genocide, one that could easily become a fast one, aimed especially at Black people.

All this is built into the very fabric of this system. The explosion in the prison population resulted from the way capitalism’s chase after profits stripped access to factory jobs from people in the inner cities of this country. This left the millions of people concentrated there facing futures of hopelessness. It was fed by conscious policies adopted by the U.S. rulers in the wake of the uprisings in the 1960s to suppress the Black youth who had spearheaded those uprisings. None of this is being—or can be—addressed by either presidential candidate because they are both political representatives of the imperialist system that is the source of the problem to begin with. And it is worse than useless to call on the youth to pull up their pants, act respectable and take personal responsibility for their lives. Worse because it blames the victims for what the system is doing to them.

It’ll take nothing less than revolution, millions of people rising up when the time is right to get rid of this system and building a totally different and far better society and world to replace this one. It’s not time yet to go all-out to seize the power away from those who rule over us and to bring a new power, serving our interests. But it is time to build a movement for revolution, which means spreading revolution everywhere and introducing people to the leader we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian. And it means Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, for Revolution.

Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide!
Time to Break the Silence!

It is a crucial necessity to meet this murderous assault with heightened mass political resistance. The racial profiling, the police brutality and police murder, the warehousing of people in prison, the discrimination against formerly incarcerated people; all of this must be met by people standing up and fighting back. This kind of resistance has been rising over the last year; from the hunger strikes of prisoners in California and other places, the movement that grew in opposition to the legal lynching of Troy Davis, the mass resistance to stop-and-frisk in New York City that began with civil disobedience actions last fall and has continued thru the Fathers Day Silent March and Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk on September 13. We need to build on this resistance and take it to a whole other level.

This is crucially needed to keep the system from getting away with beating the oppressed masses so far down they could never stand up and do anything about what’s being done to them. And because when people resist, they can reject the authorities’ justifications that their repression and suppression is aimed at controlling crime and the dead-end road of blaming themselves or each other for what the system does to the people. This opens the door to many more people lifting their heads and coming to see the source of the problems they and many other people are up against and how all this could be gotten rid of thru revolution; to see the kind of world that’s possible and the kind of struggle that’s needed today to have a real shot at bringing that world into being.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide
Taking the Message of October 22nd to the Prisons

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 22nd is the day to manifest powerful resistance to Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. The fight to stop mass incarceration has everything to do with this theme. Here's an approach to bringing that fight into the mix on October 22nd in a powerful way that involves the people whose lives are enmeshed in the criminal injustice system, as well as many others who are outraged by the horrific injustice of mass incarceration.

Let's make huge banners with the slogan,  "Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide. " Let's take these banners into the projects and onto the campuses in the days leading into October 22nd and call on the people there to write messages on the banners and join us in taking them to the prisons as part of marking the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. In some areas this could be the main activity on Oct 22nd, and in other areas it could be done before that day, with the banners being brought to the main Oct 22nd activity. Or the banners could be brought to the main October 22nd activity so people there could put messages on them. The banners could then be taken to the prisons the following day.

Whatever gets done for October 22nd, good photos should be taken and shared along with brief write-ups. Send to Revolution newspaper at and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at





Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Welcome to Revolution online...

A radically transformed!

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


With this issue of Revolution, we are excited to announce the launching of a radically transformed website!

This new website can and will play a pivotal role in putting the new stage of communist revolution on the map, and in carrying out our strategy for revolution. It will be a unique, inviting, and challenging presence on the Internet. There’s just nothing else on the web like—in content or style.

The new revolves around the two mainstays of our strategy for revolution:  first, developing a culture of appreciation, promotion, and popularization around the leadership, the body of work, and the method and approach of Bob Avakian; second, wielding Revolution newspaper as a key tool in building the movement for revolution. (For an exploration of the significance of the two mainstays and their relationship to building the movement for revolution, see the section “Key Principles and Mainstays in Building the Movement for Revolution” in What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, an Interview with Bob Avakian.)

Throughout the website, the vision, work, and leadership of Bob Avakian is brought forward in a way that invites and challenges people here, and around the world, to get into BA! You can watch clips from the Revolution talk, listen to BA read from his memoir, and seriously engage in depth with the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward.

At the new, you can easily access Revolution newspaper—its editorials, analysis, and exposures; correspondence and breaking news. You can experience and spread Revolution’s dynamic and compelling front covers, centerspreads, and back page posters.

The new also has a section focused on challenging people to get with the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. And there is a section that connects people with different dimensions of the movement for revolution: “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution,” including the mass campaign to raise money to get BA Everywhere.

In every section of the site, people will find both philosophical and political challenges to engage and get with the revolution, as well as practical and organizational channels to do so. The site will connect with first-time visitors and people brand new to the movement for revolution, as well as those more conversant with the terms and material at the site or who are part of movements for revolution the world over.


In addition to forging a network of sustainers in light of the launching of the new (see accompanying article), we should all be promoting the new site everywhere. Everywhere people are refusing to be beaten down... everywhere people resist injustice... in environments where the oppressive ideology and outlook of the system is being challenged, the URL must be in the mix: on signs and t-shirts, from the stage and (where appropriate) on the walls, in online links from social media and other websites, and throughout society.

And, at the same time, we should not underestimate but fully maximize the role the new website can play every step of the way for people working through their questions about the need and basis for communist revolution and committing their lives to that.

In a word: Everyone who refuses to accept this world as it is, who wants to learn about, to engage with, and to link up with the real revolution... go to!




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Filling a Great Need at a Critical Time

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


The launching of the new website comes at a moment of great challenges and fills a crucial need.

In a world of vicious exploitation, brutal oppression, and environmental devastation, a new stage of the communist revolution, based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, is fighting to be born.

There are many factors that are essential to bringing into being that new stage of communist revolution, and this new is one of them.

The launch of the new also provides an opportune moment for the movement for revolution to re-ground in a basic and foundational element of the strategy for revolution concentrated at and in Revolution newspaper. The RCP’s statement, “On the Strategy for Revolution,” puts it this way:

[The RCP’s newspaper, Revolution] plays a pivotal role in carrying out our strategy. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand and act to radically change the world....It gives people a living picture and scientific analysis of what is going on in the world, and why....It exposes the true nature of this system, and shows how major events in society and the world are concentrations of the basic contradictions of this oppressive and putrid system....It brings alive the need and possibility for revolution and a whole new society and world....It heightens the ability of growing numbers of people, in all parts of this country, to act politically in a unified way, and to wrestle with and help find solutions to the problems of our movement, on the basis of a growing revolutionary consciousness....It is the key instrument in developing an organized political network, among the most oppressed and other sections of the people, which can have a growing impact on the political scene and the society (and the world) as a whole, building up the forces of revolution and influencing ever broader numbers of people....It provides a foundation and a means for extending the “reach” of the revolutionary movement and building up bases for this movement—in neighborhoods, where people work and go to school, and wherever people come together—and especially where they resist and rebel against this system.

All this can enable the revolutionary movement, with the Party at the core, to confront and overcome the very real obstacles in its advance and grow, through ongoing work, and through a series of critical leaps in times of sudden breaks and ruptures with the “normal routine” prepare the ground, and accumulate forces, for revolution—and have a real chance at winning. It is how thousands can be brought forward and oriented, organized and trained in a revolutionary way, while beginning to reach and influence millions more, even before there is a revolutionary situation...and then, when there is a revolutionary situation, those thousands can be a backbone and pivotal force in winning millions to revolution and organizing them in the struggle to carry the revolution through.

Here we must pose to our readers a very serious problem: Revolution/Revolución does not have the financial base to continue to operate—in print or online—without greatly expanding and solidifying a network of financial sustainers who see the need for this paper and website, and who sustain it on a regular basis.

Think about the way the strategy statement breaks down the role of Revolution.Then go out broadly, and put in the time, thinking, and work required to forge this network of sustainers. This work is essential if we are to have a chance at any real change in this world.

With the launching of this site, a wide range of people can gather to explore, acquaint themselves with, and celebrate Revolution Books stores can host fundraising parties to support Revolution and introduce people to the new website. And ways can be found for people to gather at WiFi hot spots to experience the new website. And through these and many different efforts, a wide network of ongoing sustainers can be built.

With those who get, in the fullest sense, what difference this newspaper and website mean to the world at the core of the effort, we should all reach out to many others who are inspired by this new site and the print edition of Revolution to financially sustain its ongoing production.

To radically and urgently transform the alarming financial state of Revolution, we are calling for focused activity this month of October to forge a network of sustainers. Contact your Revolution distributor, your nearest Revolution Books, or RCP Publications to connect with this crucial campaign. And, if you are not a sustainer yourself at this time, this is the moment to change that.


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Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Cornel West Interviews Bob Avakian:
Get the Word Out, Spread the Link All Over, Organize Listening Parties

October 6, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

This weekend and in the coming week, the revolution will be crackling on the airwaves. The Smiley & West radio show on PRI (Public Radio International) will be airing an interview that Cornel West recently conducted with Bob Avakian. And an online podcast is now available.

This interview is sharp and wide-ranging, challenging and inspiring. Cornel West, a prominent public intellectual, engages with Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution in this country. The importance of this exchange getting out broadly into society should not be underestimated–and in fact, the reach and impact of this interview must be maximized in a thousand ways.  

Right away:

Media inquires can be directed to (917) 741-6716.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012


Get Out BAsics 1:22... And Raise Big Money for BA Everywhere!

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about “democracy”—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no “democracy for all”: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.

—BAsics 1:22

As we go into October, let’s gear up to get out this month’s BAsics quote far and wide as part of the BA Everywhere campaign to raise big money to get Bob Avakian’s vision and works into every corner of society.

This effort will be going right up against the frenzied political offensive by those in power to pull people into the big game they run every four years—giving people the “choice” between two top representatives of the capitalist-imperialist class. This is a game controlled and decided entirely by the rulers—and playing this game over and over is part of how the oppressed stay oppressed. BAsics 1:22—along with last month’s quote, 1:3—cuts through all this to shine light on some essential truths about this system.

BA has written that “if I were teaching a course on this subject (on the nature of democracy and its relation to the fundamental character of society, rooted in its economic system), I would read these three sentences, and the rest of the semester would consist of: explain. Because there is a tremendous amount concentrated in these sentences that is very important to understand—and is very widely misunderstood. How many people actually have engaged the substance of this? And how many people need to?” So it’s important to get together with people to grapple substantially with each sentence, and with the quote as a whole.

And as we wrangle with the quote, let’s make plans to get it way out into the world. As BA says, what is captured in these sentences “has everything to do with what’s going on in the world and major struggles that have to be waged in the world today.” Even where people are beginning to raise their heads and fight the power today, there are lots of misunderstandings and illusions about the question of democracy—and it would make a tremendous difference in where the world is headed if the insight brought forward by BA and concentrated here is brought to and grasped by many more people.

Let’s get palm cards with this quote into the hands of many people who can spread it to many more. Over the past few months, thousands of palm cards with different quotes from BAsics have gone out widely across the country, often in stacks of dozens or hundreds taken by people who have just recently come to know about BA. Getting these cards out in the neighborhoods, at workplaces, on campuses and other places is one of the concrete ways that people can be part of BA Everywhere—right now—by spreading the word about BA and the movement for revolution.

Think about how to spread BAsics 1:22 among students who are seeking new ideas and ways to understand and change the world: palm cards and posters with the quote going up all over campuses and dorms... swirls of controversy around displays using the powerful graphic centerfold of the quote in this issue of Revolution... passionate debates and discussions in classrooms and cafeterias... and more.

Envision people in the neighborhoods of Black, Latino, and other people on the bottom of society taking stacks of the quote cards and spreading them all over... and knots of people on the street corners and in the projects and living rooms getting into intense back-and-forth over it. Think about the effect that such scenes would have in areas where there is seething anger, and rising struggle, against massive poverty and joblessness, racist stop-and-frisk, police brutality and murder, and mass incarceration of youth.

BAsics 1:22, and the BAsics book, should definitely be in the mix in building for the October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, and on the day itself.

Imagine this quote finding its way into circles of artists and various cultural scenes this month, provoking thinking and debate about how to look at and understand what happens in this society and the world—and what to do about the horrors confronting people every day as well as the environmental catastrophe threatening life on the entire planet.

These are just some ideas. Be bold and imaginative in making and carrying out plans—building on the experiences and advances in the BA Everywhere campaign over the summer, but also reaching out to new areas and people and different corners of society. One thing to keep in mind: Don't underestimate the impact of people from different parts of your city and different experiences mixing it up—for example, people from the 'hoods bringing the movement for revolution to the campuses, and students going to the neighborhoods of the oppressed.

Fundraising should run through all the plans and efforts. There is a national movement starting to be born, through the BAsics Bus Tours and other elements of the BA Everywhere campaign over the past months. And this is both posing the need to raise more funds as well as opening up the potential to do this more broadly and in new ways. Learn from inspiring and valuable examples, like the “penny drive” and yard sale in Harlem that raised several hundred dollars—and find creative ways to get donations from all kinds of people, ranging from those with little means and resources to those who can give in the hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Let’s talk to people about what actual difference in the world BA Everywhere can make. As we said when this campaign kicked off: “If we succeed with this—if we collectively raise enough money to make it concretely possible to project the whole BA vision and project into all corners of society and to introduce him and what he is bringing forward to millions who are not yet familiar with his works and vision; if the framework he is bringing forward and advocating for becomes increasingly debated and wrangled over by thousands and by millions of people from all walks of life; if, together, we manage to accomplish this, this will actually make a very big difference. The whole social and political culture will 'breathe' more freely, people will wrangle passionately over 'big questions' concerning the direction of society (like knowing that much of the future of humanity hangs in the balance) and the times will once again resonate with big dreams for fundamental change and the emancipation of 




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Straight Talk About Obama and the Oppression of Black People

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

When Barack Obama was elected a lot of Black people had a lot of hope. But what Black people have gotten is enormous pains.

The "great expectations" that came with Obama's election, especially among Black people, have largely been a big disappointment. But now here comes Romney and the openly racist Republicans. A lot of people feel pulled to once again support Obama.

Here's the thing: we can't go by what we feel. We must go by what is real. So let's talk straight about the reality.

Hope and Change, Turbulence and Uncertainty: The Capitalist-Imperialists Play a Trump Card

Reality point one: Obama was put into office by those who actually control things in America—the capitalist-imperialist class, the handful of powerful people who own the major means of producing wealth and, on that basis, control the political and military structure.

Why did they do this?

Obama first became president in a time of great difficulties, turbulence, and uncertainties for the U.S. ruling class. Millions of people were disgusted with the Bush regime and its warmongers, torturers, spies, and liars, and many were alienated from the electoral process of the U.S. political system. Obama was the first Black presidential candidate with a serious chance of winning and he aroused the enthusiasm and expectations of many people, particularly, but not only, Black people.

Remember how all the "opinion-makers" said that Obama was restoring hope in the system among all those who had been alienated by and hated Bush?  That is very important to those who rule—for all the tremendous power of those who control things, if too many people begin to believe that the system is not legitimate, and that it holds no hope for any kind of change... and if they begin to act on that belief... the "way things are" can get unraveled and there can even be a powerful revolutionary challenge from the grassroots. This happened in the 1960s, and it could happen again. So keeping people "hopeful"—and especially "keeping hope alive" among the oppressed—is very important to the oppressors.

As Bob Avakian wrote shortly after Obama's electoral victory, "the powerful particularity of 'the first Black President'—is not something they [the U.S. ruling class] can do very often. In the case of a Black President, they can really do this only once—or only once with anything like this level of significance and impact. ... doing this with Obama is a sign of recognition on their part that they are in for some heavy shit ahead...."

Now, four years later, Black people (and others) are being told again to put their hope in this "first Black president." But if there is one thing that we should learn from Obama's presidency so far, it is the fact that whoever sits in the White House as president presides over a political apparatus that defends and extends the system of capitalist-imperialism, a system whose very essence and ability to continue is based on unending exploitation of billions of people worldwide.

And if Obama gets elected to serve another term, he will again be the political leader of a system that is killing children with drone bombings, torturing people captured by its military and spy organizations, spying on the entire world, waging several wars and threatening to start new wars and invasions. He will again preside over and lead a system that continues to criminalize and imprison a whole generation of Black and Latino youth.

If you hate the way things are, you cannot get away from this basic fact: Obama is in charge of keeping things that way, making sure that this meat grinder runs as smoothly as possible for those in charge.

What Obama Is "Up Against" Is the Fundamental Interests of the People

Some people say, "but you don't understand what Obama is up against"—as if Obama is secretly trying to work against the system. But what Obama is "up against" is the masses of people—figuring out how to keep this system going, keep people exploited and oppressed and in the dark about the causes of that exploitation and oppression.

The U.S. is confronting major and mounting challenges in almost every corner of the globe. Within the U.S., gaping and growing divisions—economic, social, and cultural—have become increasingly evident and given rise to the beginnings of confrontations that potentially could get out of control of the rulers.

As previous articles in Revolution have pointed out, on the most essential matters of ongoing and future wars, domestic repression of Black and Latino people, denial of basic rights to women, there is little or no difference between what Obama represents (and has actually done) and Romney.

Regardless of anyone's intentions, or what anyone thinks, voting for Obama means getting behind all that. Even more, for Black people, it means, as Avakian wrote, "... being turned, literally or at least ideologically, into the 21st-century version of the 'Buffalo Soldiers': enlisting with (or being more supportive of) the armed forces of their oppressors to go commit war crimes against oppressed people throughout the world—just as, after the Civil War, the 'Buffalo Soldiers' enlisted to help the U.S. army complete the theft of the land of the Indians (Native Americans) and carry forward the genocide against them."

Do You Really Want to "Have the Back" of a Mass-Murdering War Criminal?

Everyone who has questioned—or even been indifferent or cynical about the difference voting makes—has been hit over the head with these old clubs: "your voice is your vote"; "if you don't vote, you have no right to complain." Black people in particular are told that "our ancestors fought for this right, we can't throw it away." And it is true that it took decades of heroic resistance and struggle in order for Black people to even win the right to vote. In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." But only after tremendous mass struggle that was part of the Civil Rights Movement was the right to vote for Black people finally established as federal law in 1965. Today there are attempts to deny Black people the right to vote through things like voter ID laws. And nearly 2.5 million African-Americans are already denied the right to vote because they have been convicted of a felony.

But people need to confront what the terms of participating in this presidential election, of getting behind Obama, really are. Obama, as much as Romney, represents a program of unending war upon the world to strengthen the ugly monstrosity of U.S. imperialism. Obama is the commander-in-chief of a military machine that has left countless corpses in its wake across the entire planet. Obama is the political leader of a system that has torn the heart and hope out of communities across the country as it racks up the highest rate of incarceration in world history.

Do you really want to "have the back" of a man who has a meeting every Tuesday morning to decide who is on this week's "kill list"? Do you want to "have the back" of a president who exonerates torturers but imprisons a brave soldier, accusing him of exposing that torture to the world? Do you want to "have the back" of a man who heads a system that treats all Black youth as criminals and keeps more than 80,000 people locked up in the torture of solitary confinement?

What Has Caused the Oppression of Black People and What Can End It—for Real

Deep, relentless, unending oppression of Black people has always been an indelible feature of American society, and it is today. This oppression is built into the system, and though its forms have changed from the days of slavery, through the days of vicious and degrading legalized segregation, to today, with its "new Jim Crow" of mass incarceration, the oppression has endured. It is woven into the fabric of every aspect of U.S. society.

It endures not because of something supposedly wrong with the people, as Obama claimed in his 2008 Father's Day speech in Chicago: "How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?"

Yes, and how many times do people like Obama blame the masses for reacting to the oppressive conditions which people like Obama have been put in place to relentlessly enforce?

People didn't create these conditions—they are trapped in them by this system and its enforcers.

Crumbling, overcrowded and underfunded schools; communities terrorized by police violence and stop-and-frisk tactics that round up hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino youth; mass incarceration of generation after generation of Black youth; an official unemployment rate of 43% for Black youth (the actual unemployment rate is far higher)—all this and more, according to Barack Obama, is the fault of the people. By almost any measurable standard, the conditions of life, and the repression of the people by the police and other of the system's enforcers, has worsened for Black people in the Obama years.

So, again—do you really want to "have the back" of a man who not only stands at the head of a system that rains such misery upon the masses of Black people, but then blames them for the situation they are caught in?

This system truly has no future for masses of Black youth other than prison, death at an early age, menial jobs for a few, and perhaps the outlet of the military—becoming modern-day "Buffalo Soldiers," gunmen for the very capitalist-imperialist system that oppresses them.

All that and more is the price of admission to this election and supporting Obama.

There is another possibility. The people didn't create this situation, but they can be a crucial part of transforming it through revolution.

This system is being driven to extremes, but another extreme solution is possible—a solution that contributes to the emancipation of humanity. A movement for revolution is being built by the Revolutionary Communist Party. There is a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that this revolution aims to bring into being—a constitution that provides a framework for liberating all of humanity and the specific measures to begin moving now on every form of oppression. This revolution is real, and it has a real chance of winning. People need to come to grips with the reality of the situation we're in, and the possibilities of real, radical change. As the first two sentences of BAsics 3:1 says, "Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit."

Do not betray the interests of humanity and your own highest aspirations by getting behind Obama in any way, shape or form; instead, check out and get down with something that can bring in REAL and FUNDAMENTAL change: the movement for revolution.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

California Prisoners Call for Peace Between Different Nationalities in Prisons and Jails

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

Prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit (SHU) have put out a call to end all hostilities between different nationalities within California's prisons and jails. This statement, signed by several prisoners identifying themselves as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective, asks prisoners to unite beginning October 10, 2012. The Short Corridor is a section of Pelican Bay Prison's notorious Security Housing Unit. Last year, hunger strikes that started at Pelican Bay's SHU rocked California's prison system—at one point nearly 12,000 prisoners participated in over 11 prisons throughout the state.

The statement, which was sent to prison advocacy organizations, is posted at the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity website ( and we are reproducing it here for our readers.

Agreement to End Hostilities

August 12, 2012

To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:

Greetings from the entire PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Hunger Strike Representatives. We are hereby presenting this mutual agreement on behalf of all racial groups here in the PBSP-SHU Corridor. Wherein, we have arrived at a mutual agreement concerning the following points:

1. If we really want to bring about substantive meaningful changes to the CDCR system in a manner beneficial to all solid individuals, who have never been broken by CDCR's torture tactics intended to coerce one to become a state informant via debriefing, that now is the time to for us to collectively seize this moment in time, and put an end to more than 20-30 years of hostilities between our racial groups.

2. Therefore, beginning on October 10, 2012, all hostilities between our racial groups... in SHU, Ad-Seg, General Population, and County Jails, will officially cease. This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end... and if personal issues arise between individuals, people need to do all they can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle such disputes; do not allow personal, individual issues to escalate into racial group issues!!

3. We also want to warn those in the General Population that IGI will continue to plant undercover Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) debriefer "inmates" amongst the solid GP prisoners with orders from IGI to be informers, snitches, rats, and obstructionists, in order to attempt to disrupt and undermine our collective groups' mutual understanding on issues intended for our mutual causes [i.e., forcing CDCR to open up all GP main lines, and return to a rehabilitative-type system of meaningful programs/privileges, including lifer conjugal visits, etc. via peaceful protest activity/noncooperation e.g., hunger strike, no labor, etc. etc.]. People need to be aware and vigilant to such tactics, and refuse to allow such IGI inmate snitches to create chaos and reignite hostilities amongst our racial groups. We can no longer play into IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU's old manipulative divide and conquer tactics!!!

In conclusion, we must all hold strong to our mutual agreement from this point on and focus our time, attention, and energy on mutual causes beneficial to all of us [i.e., prisoners], and our best interests. We can no longer allow CDCR to use us against each other for their benefit!! Because the reality is that collectively, we are an empowered, mighty force, that can positively change this entire corrupt system into a system that actually benefits prisoners, and thereby, the public as a whole... and we simply cannot allow CDCR/CCPOA – Prison Guard's Union, IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU, to continue to get away with their constant form of progressive oppression and warehousing of tens of thousands of prisoners, including the 14,000 (+) plus prisoners held in solitary confinement torture chambers [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg Units], for decades!!!

We send our love and respects to all those of like mind and heart... onward in struggle and solidarity...

Presented by the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective:

Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106

And the Representatives Body:

Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124

[NOTE: All names and the statement must be verbatim when used & posted on any website or media, or non-media, publications]




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

“A Stream of Whistles... Like a Chain Reaction”

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following comments are from a man in Harlem:

They try to treat us like cattle!... They got these police coming through here overbearing, stopping people on the street. They focus on the projects. I go to the liquor store and I come back and there’s six officers harassing some of the older people. They looked at us like we violating the law by laughing at them! “Hey You! Where the fuck you goin’?!” I’m just trying to get out they way! I’m a grown-ass man, 41 years old, white hair on my face, five kids and this young ... assed officer talking to me like that! If you want courtesy and respect from me you don’t talk to people like that! That’s what they were doin’ to people for no reason! We just sittin’ in front of my own home! I live here! I gotta get up and leave to avoid being harassed by them! Why am I out here? I live here! Why YOU here?...

...So two days after this I was sitting in my house watching a program and out of nowhere I hear a stream of whistles go off! It sounded like the whole neighborhood! It made me get up go look out my window and I saw 50 squad cars surrounding the projects and all out in the streets there’s these young kids out here blowing these whistles lettin’ everybody know they out here. It was a beautiful scene! I mean they were all over the block! In this block they was blowin’ whistles. Across the street over there blowin’ whistles. They was in the park blowin’ whistles. It had to be out the windows too! It was whistles everywhere, this was like a chain reaction all up and down here!

The adults were aware! It was like there were smiles on everybody’s faces, it was the children like awakening us. LOOK! Don’t just look, but LOOK!!! They out here in the projects they doin’ something unordinary! It was like 50 like lit-up cars surrounding the projects riding around the projects!...

I believe September 13 was a day of the beginning of people joining to stop being silent. I believe a lot of people were influenced by that day. You got a lot of people commenting about what y’all did around here. I think a lot of people didn’t show up but they got more ambition, you know, about being a part of something. I think September 13 was a strong positive statement. We are alive!




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Executions, Official and Unofficial... the Killing Thing About American Democracy

This Is the Imperialist System...
This Is What They Want You to Vote For

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

If you are horrified by how Black and Latino youth in cities across the country are gunned down by police for some b.s. reason or for no reason at all...if you are outraged at the blatantly racist way disproportionate numbers of Black people are thrown into and executed on death row...and if you are being pulled into the presidential election circus at the same time, then you need to confront this reality: Voting for either candidate means voting for a system that carries out unjust executions, official and unofficial.

The essence of the democratic "rule of law" in the U.S. is the monopoly over the legitimate use of violence by the state to protect and enforce the rule of the capitalist-imperialist class. In practice, wanton illegitimate killing by police—overwhelmingly of Black youth, as well as Latinos and youth of other oppressed nationalities—is so ever-present that the essential "coming of age" talk Black parents must have with their teenage sons is not about sex but about how to act when stopped by cops, in hopes of minimizing the chance of their becoming another police murder statistic. This terror against African-Americans as a people is the modern-day version of the "legal" lynchings of thousands of Black men during the hundred years of Jim Crow.

The police murder of Sean Bell in New York, hours before his wedding in 2006, and of Oscar Grant on a BART train platform in Oakland, CA on New Year's Day, 2009, triggered widespread anger and protest in the streets. And the way in which the killers were protected by the justice system in both cases was as predictable as it was fundamentally unjust.

When a judge acquitted the cops who killed Sean Bell in 2008 on all charges, presidential candidate Barack Obama was quoted as saying, "The judge has made his ruling, and we are a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down." And he attacked the protests by saying that "resorting to violence to express displeasure over a verdict is something that is completely unacceptable and counterproductive." Obama was auditioning for the role of leader of the U.S. global empire at that time, and he was showing those who rule that he could combine generating a sense of hope among sections of people disaffected from the system with ruthless enforcement of the crimes needed to maintain and extend the empire. The "slap on the wrist" given in July 2010 to the cop who killed Oscar Grant did not call forth any comment at all from President Obama.

At the same time as the police murders, the U.S. conducts openly sanctioned, almost ritualized, legal lynchings of Black men put on death row. While Black people comprise 13.4% of the U.S. population, 34% of prisoners executed since 1976 have been Black. As with police murder, the more blatant the injustice in the use of public executions, the broader the terror it induces.

The execution of Troy Davis in 2011, after 22 years on death row, is but the most recent example. The execution by lethal injection was carried out despite the fact that there was an outcry of people around the world, including prominent figures such as Pope Benedict and Jimmy Carter, against it because so much compelling evidence had been brought to light of Davis' innocence. Obama refused to lift a finger to stop the execution, or to say a word about it.

Obama and Romney see eye to eye on giving a pass to the most brutal police murders. On the death penalty, they have expressed similar views, saying they are for it if it's "narrowly applied" or "in certain circumstances," including in crimes where no one was killed. When it comes to the exercise of brutal state violence against the people, there is no debate.

This Is the Imperialist System...
This Is What They Want You to Vote For




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Scenes From BA Everywhere

Week of October 1

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


This is a regular feature that gives an ongoing picture of the multifaceted campaign BA Everywhere, and the variety of ways that funds are being raised and the whole BA vision and framework brought into all corners of society. Revolution newspaper is at the hub of this effort, publishing reports from the campaign, and playing a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge our readers to send in timely correspondence and photos on what you are doing as part of this campaign to and

Knocking on Doors to Raise Money and Make Connections

Around noon Saturday, as one of the BA Everywhere actions, a couple of revolutionaries stopped by an outlying proletarian neighborhood where we’re known. We took our bucket, BAsics palm cards, copies of the book BAsics, and went knocking on doors in apartment complexes. After a friendly greeting, we just said straight out: “We’re not religion.  We’re not here about the elections. We’re here about revolution!” and then handed them the BAsics card with the Bob Avakian quote, “No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that.” We let them check it while one of us read the quote (1:13) from BAsics. We’d give people some space to share their thoughts on these words, and then did some interchange on this big campaign to get the work of this revolutionary communist leader out into the public discourse, so people know there is actually a way out of this mess that is the world today. Then we’d ask, “Want to put a donation to this campaign in our bucket?” and also, depending on what directions the discussion was going, asked, “Do you know other people we can bring this to?” and “Do you want to come with us?”

The first complex we went to was largely Latino. Every person who opened their door donated! We also got out Spanish editions of Revolution newspaper (Revolución), and handed people Lo BAsico (the Spanish edition of BAsics) to read the quote directly. The words got reactions, heads nodding and people saying things like “Yes, that’s what it’s like!” The next two complexes were a mix of immigrants such as Burmese and Somali, and also white, Native American, and African-American nationalities. The reception was similar. Not all, but most people donated! And we made some new connections. There were some language barriers with new immigrants, but once we told people up front what we were about, they were usually very open.

Donations were mostly not large, but numerous. In a couple hours, we found $47 in the bucket! And a good part of this time, of course, was spent talking with people and making connections. A young man who’d heard us talking to folks on the walkway came out and said, “Oh, yeah, this is the book I need!” and bought a copy on the spot. When we asked him, “Do you know other people we can take this out to?” he said many people he knew were talking about real changes being badly needed in this world, and the conversation concluded with us agreeing we meet up in the nearby park the next Saturday for a barbecue or pot luck, and get a session going where people can really get into the things being talked about. And so that’s what’s happening NEXT Saturday!

BAsics 3:22 at
University of Hawaii

When UH students hit the campus on the first day of classes in August, it was hard to miss quotes from BAsics posted on bulletin boards, doors, and walls. Centerfolds and back pages from Revolution were posted everywhere. One student said: “Whenever I spotted one of those [the centerfold] I would go over to read it. We need more of that!” Some said they especially liked the BAsics 3:22 centerfold (Issue #277).

During August more than 800 students also came to Revolution Books to purchase their texts. When they stepped into the store the first thing they saw was a big display about the BAsics Bus Tour, BAsics 3:22, and books exposing the oppression of women. At times the talk by Sunsara Taylor at the Revolution Books New York store was on the TV screen; at other times scenes from the bus tour. One of the store walls featured BAsics 3:22 Revolution newspaper centerfolds, along with hand-written messages “from the war zone.” Students were invited to add more. Some dropped coins into the “penny jar” with the challenge from Harlem to donate to the tour. [In Harlem, people brought their jars of pennies to donate to the BA Everywhere campaign and challenged others to match their donation.]

Several university students, who had come to the store during the week, attended a “speak-out” at the bookstore where women shared their personal war stories and dug more deeply into BAsics 3:22. While there was deep anger about the many outrages women face every day, getting into how that oppression is “bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves” and whether all-the-way revolution is possible was a whole new discussion and much more challenging.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Dangerous New Turn in
Obama Administration’s Assault
on Fundamental Rights

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Obama administration has demonstrated yet again its resolve to clear away any legal obstacles to enforcing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This law, enacted in December 2011, contains a provision (section 1021) that gives the government the power to indefinitely detain, without charge or trial, a broad and vague category of people—which could include people who have nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks or with terrorism in general.

The NDAA is a dangerous assault on fundamental rights.

A lawsuit, Hedges et al. v. Obama et al., brought by Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and four other plaintiffs, challenges this draconian provision of the law. On May 16, Federal District Court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in their favor, declaring that section 1021 of the NDAA is unconstitutional. The judge imposed an injunction temporarily blocking enforcement of the law. The Obama administration immediately appealed.

On September 12, Judge Forrest rejected a government request to reconsider her ruling and ordered a permanent injunction against this section of the NDAA. But within 24 hours, Obama administration lawyers filed a motion to stay this order, claiming that the injunction caused “irreparable harm to national security and the public interest.” And this stay was granted.

In other words, the NDAA is in effect! The government’s expanded authority to arbitrarily detain citizens and non-citizens, under the pretext of national security, is now being enforced—pending further legal challenges.

Harmful Characterization Still Part of Trial Record

It is especially alarming that as this lawsuit winds through the courts, the erroneous and potentially harmful mischaracterization of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Bob Avakian that Judge Forrest incorporated into her May 16 opinion remains part of the official trial record of this case.

Judge Forrest’s ruling, though mainly positive, contains a profound mischaracterization of the RCP and Bob Avakian. Specifically, it says that the Party “endorses the use of violence towards revolutionary ends,” a phrase that could lend itself to the false interpretation that the RCP might seek to achieve its aims through acts of terrorism. For critical background on this threatening situation for the RCP and Bob Avakian, readers should go to: “Letter Points to Dangerous Mischaracterization in National Defense Authorization Act Ruling,” Revolution #274, July 8, 2012, and “Brief Filed Objecting to Dangerous Mischaracterization of RCP, USA,” Revolution #275, July 22, 2012.

Acting on the seriousness of this assault, including the unacceptable singling out of the RCP and its Chairman Bob Avakian, “A Call To Stand Together To Oppose The Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault On Fundamental Rights” has been issued. This public statement has been signed by over 650 people including Daniel Ellsberg; Cornel West; actor-director Mark Ruffalo; attorneys Ron Kuby and Michael Steven Smith; Cindy Sheehan; scholars Stephen Zunes, Donna Haraway, Colin Dayan, and Andrew Ross; film/TV actor Peter Coyote; antiwar veterans Scott Olsen and Matthis Chiroux; and Project Censored founders Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips.

The call declares: “Those of us signing this statement cannot speak for the RCP and indeed have various levels of familiarity with and a variety of views on its philosophical and political principles and objectives. But we do not countenance—and recognize as very dangerous—the designation by the powers-that-be of groups as politically ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable.’ History teaches, by negative and positive example, that we must stand against attempts to divide progressive, radical, and revolutionary forces along any such lines.”

The call also states: “The pattern is disturbingly clear: not just a continuation but a further leap in the draconian measures taken by the Bush administration—under the pretext of the open-ended, so-called War on Terror—to detain, torture, and assassinate... not just a continuation but a further leap in measures to restrict and criminalize dissent and opposition to the status quo.”

This call is all the more important in the face of the latest legal turn. It can be signed at Funds are being raised for high-profile publication of the call in coming weeks.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Three Things You Need to Know About the Background for Events in the Middle East and North Africa

Mass protests and attacks on U.S. embassies took place in more than 20 countries across the Middle East and North Africa last week, including in Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Palestine. In Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other State Department employees were killed. These outbreaks coincided with the distribution of a clip of a film that, as described in media reports, appeared designed to grotesquely and gratuitously offend Muslims.

The actual relationship between the distribution of this video and the range of protests and other incidents is not clear at this point, and circumstances surrounding who or what is behind this video and their motives are murky. But to analyze and understand these rapidly unfolding events, it’s crucial to start not with whatever specific incident triggered these events, but at the beginning of this story with some basic facts and history.

  1. “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.”

BAsics 1:3 by Bob Avakian

This is as true in the Middle East as anywhere in the world. For thirty years, the U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak regime oversaw the interests of U.S. imperialism in Egypt, with torture and “disappearance” directed at any form of protest. The religious fundamentalist, absolutist Saudi monarchy—a model of the vaunted “freedom and democracy” the U.S. brings to the world—prohibits women from public activity, including driving, and recently sent troops into neighboring Bahrain to shore up another torture-based, oppressive pro-U.S. regime. And the U.S. backs Israel, on the land of the dispossessed Palestinian people, as regional (and global) “enforcer.”

All this barely scratches the surface. Newspapers and books could be filled with exposure of the crimes of the United States as well as other imperialist powers like Britain, Germany, France, Russia, etc. Do some online research, and challenge your friends, fellow students, and colleagues to do so as well: Pick any country in the region and check into its history. You’ll find the bloody tracks of “imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism” all over the histories—and present lives—of billions of people in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. (Suggested readings are at the end of this editorial.)

2. The clash of two reactionary forces.

The people of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia have a long history of courageous resistance to imperialism. But serious setbacks of genuine revolutionary forces over the past several decades—especially the defeat of socialism in China and the coup there that re-imposed capitalism, in 1976—have had a terrible impact on the global political terrain. This remains true even as a new stage of communist revolution is fighting to emerge in the world.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the acceleration of capitalist globalization has displaced tens of millions of peasants and eroded traditional social structures and relations. These traditional structures were rooted in the countryside and in a way of life where peasants were subjected to the exploitation of landowners, ignorance was widespread and enforced, and women were the most downpressed of all—including by the males of the oppressed. In these conditions, both as a somewhat “spontaneous” development along with—in many cases—direct U.S. sponsorship, reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces have achieved significant influence in these oppressed nations.

These forces appeal to those uprooted and displaced by imperialism, and those who acutely feel the oppression of the nations of the Middle East, South Asia, and elsewhere, with a program of going back to an idealized version of the past, in the form of Islamic rule. They posture against imperialism, but only in order to establish a place for themselves in the imperial order; they have neither the program nor the desire to rupture with the entire unjust and destructive order imposed by the great powers.

These Islamic fundamentalist forces do not represent the interests of the masses; those interests lie in the emancipation of all humanity and can only be achieved through revolution against imperialism. Instead, they represent the interests of those classes that aspire to power within the relations of imperialism, and use the masses as battering rams to achieve that aim. This is what is meant when we say that they represent “outmoded strata”—they represent classes and groups whose time has fundamentally passed and who can only look backward. Representing outmoded strata within these countries, their program centers on imposing religious rule and social strictures—all within the imperialist shaped and dominated setup. Where these forces come to power, as in Iran today, they impose their own form of hell-on-earth, including brutal oppression of women, severe repression of critical thinking and expression, and of people overall. And their tactics, as do those of the U.S. imperialists, reflect their fundamental disdain for the masses of people.

For all their anti-U.S. rhetoric, the Islamic fundamentalist forces that rule Iran were initially backed by the U.S. as a lesser evil (from their perspective) compared with more radical and revolutionary forces involved in toppling the murderous U.S.-backed Shah of Iran (as well as those representing other imperial powers of the time). The Islamic Republic of Iran was consolidated in part through the murder of thousands of revolutionaries and the imposition of severe and heartless restrictions on women. The Taliban in Afghanistan and other such forces have their origins in funding from the U.S. when they were fighting the former Soviet Union. It was only as changes came in the imperialist world order, and in how these imperialists saw their interests, that the Islamic fundamentalists came into opposition to the U.S.

Now we are in a dynamic where each U.S. invasion, every drone assassination by the U.S. that wipes out a family, each incident of degrading violence, drives more people into the arms of the Islamic fundamentalists. And each reactionary fundamentalist attack, obscurantist proclamation or oppressive act builds support for imperialism and reinforces its fundamental grip on the planet.

In BAsics 1:28, Bob Avakian puts it this way:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

  1. The Urgency of Bringing Forward Another Way.

The heroic uprisings against U.S.-backed regimes last year in Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries exposed that the current oppressive world order is not set in stone. They inspired freedom-loving people around the world. But they haven’t yet led to thoroughgoing revolutions that uprooted this entire imperialist-dominated structure. That requires revolutionary leadership—communist leadership. And in the wake of these upsurges, U.S. imperialism and other imperialist powers are maneuvering feverishly to maintain and expand their interests, as with their bombing and forced regime change in Libya.

An unjust and unsustainable status quo is breaking apart. But the question is whether something positive for the people can be wrenched out of it. The only way this is possible is by breaking out of the horrific choices of the current situation, and bringing forward another, liberating way aiming to overthrow and transform the root causes of the horrors facing the people—imperialist domination and feudal, patriarchal, and other oppressive traditional relations and the political structures that enforce all this.

In that context, two final points: first, the more that a visible force emerges in the U.S. that rejects the crimes and “justifications” of “our own” rulers, the better the conditions will be for a genuine, liberatory force to emerge in the world. Second, it is crucial to get word of genuinely emancipatory communism—as concentrated in the Manifesto from the RCP, USA: Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage—out into the world.

Suggested readings

Bringing Forward Another Way, Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, RCP Publications, 2007.

Communism: the Beginning of a New Stage: A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, RCP Publications, 2008. (Available in Spanish, Farsi, Turkish, German, and other languages at

Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda, Larry Everest, Common Courage Press, 2003.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

We Call Bullshit!

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

The following was written by two young revolutionaries:

Can we talk about the world? Over one billion people live in slums. In the past century, tens of millions of civilians across the globe have been murdered, tortured, and driven from their homelands by the leading global superpower—the United States—alone. That same global superpower imprisons nearly 2.4 million people, the majority of whom are Black and Latino, while working to the bone, terrorizing, detaining, and deporting millions of immigrants who cross its borders after making life unbearable in their home countries. Millions of women around the globe are raped, beaten, and trafficked as sex slaves each year. Tens of thousands of children die every day from starvation and preventable diseases. The planet itself faces the threat of literal extinction due to a multifaceted environmental emergency. And all this isn't even the half of it. Or anywhere close.

If anyone wishes to argue that the above statements are not true, that humanity can do no better, or that all this can be fixed with merely a few minor adjustments—let's hear it. And good luck! Otherwise, the following demands serious, substantive, and honest engagement:

There is a person on this planet who has dedicated his life to putting an end to these and countless other horrors confronting humanity. For the past several decades, that person—Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party—has been engaging in exhaustive, uncompromising, and ever-deepening analysis of why the world is the way it is and how it could be radically different. On the basis of the work Avakian has done over those decades to sum up the positive and negative experiences of the communist revolution so far, as well as many other streams of human endeavor, he has come up with a new synthesis of communism. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a vision—and an actual Constitutionfor an entirely different and far better socialist society, on the road to a communist world free of all exploitation and oppression. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a strategy—and an actual strategy statementfor how to make a revolution to reach that society and world. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a Party and a movement—which Avakian is leading—working every day to hasten and prepare for the emergence of the future conditions that would make revolution possible.

It bears repeating: All this objectively demands serious, substantive, and honest engagement from anyone who yearns for a different world than the nightmare in which humanity is currently trapped. And indeed, as has been powerfully brought to life in the pages of Revolution newspaper, increasing numbers of people from all strata and in all spheres of society have been finding out about and engaging Avakian, transforming in powerful and exhilarating ways as a result, and contributing to spreading his work and vision throughout society. And yet, it is still the case that far too many people—including those who consider themselves radicals and progressives and say that they want to change the world—choose to dismiss Avakian and his work without even the pretense of engagement.

In no other realm would this fly. If a doctor had spent decades tirelessly studying cancer and, on that basis, announced that she had found a cure for the disease... if an astronomer made an unprecedented breakthrough in further understanding the origins and development of the universe... if a musician had pioneered a whole new style or sound or technique... if a sports coach had invented a whole new offensive or defensive strategy... and people, including those who fancied themselves enthusiasts of these various spheres, reacted by saying: "I don't need to check this out. I already know what I need to know"—this would be laughed out of town. But somehow, this dismissal without engagement is viewed as a perfectly valid and acceptable response to breakthroughs that forge the pathway for all of humanity to be emancipated from conditions of unbelievable misery and suffering.

We call bullshit.

In What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, an Interview With Bob Avakian, Avakian makes the point:

"When people are falling into bullshit, they should be told so. Now, that's not all you should say. You should show them why. You should give them the substance. You should explain to them what's wrong. But this idea that everything has to be all so super-polite—this goes along with the relativist notion that everybody's ideas should be considered equally valid. Well, no. It's not a question of the person, it's a question of the ideas. It's not that one person counts for less than another person, but it's a question of whether the ideas are correct or incorrect. If they're incorrect, and if they're doing harm, they need to be called out sharply. Not in a way that puts people down. Not in a way that's antagonistic toward them—unless what they represent is really, fundamentally antagonistic to the interests of the masses of people, and they're digging in their heels around that. But among the people, so to speak, wrong ideas should be struggled over. Where people are putting forward different notions that are really wrong, and they are digging in their heels around them, they should be struggled with sharply. And where people say things that they don't have a basis for saying, where they haven't really investigated, they need to be told: you don't know what you're talking about."

In that spirit, and with that orientation, let's look at some of the common ways that this dismissal without engagement gets expressed, as well as some of the underlying assertions and arguments:

"I don't need to engage Avakian; I already know what I need to know."

We call bullshit.

You already know what you need to know? OK, then: What is your analysis of the system that we live under, its fundamental laws, dynamics, and contradictions, the things it does all over the world and how these things are connected, and the major global changes created by the unfolding of this system over the last several decades? What will it take to get rid of this system and completely uproot the global divisions and inequalities that exist between those who work with their hands and those who work with ideas, between men and women, between people of different nationalities and between nations? Do we really need to make a revolution? And, if so, then why is revolution necessary, what kind of revolution do we need, what's the strategy, and—when the conditions for this have been brought into being—how could we actually win against the most powerful, vicious, and repressive state in the history of the world? What are the key driving forces, obstacles to be transformed, and questions to be wrestled with in the process of making revolution? How would we go about building a whole new socialist society and ensure that it is a transition to a whole worldwide system of communism? What role can and should dissent play in a socialist society? What actually happened in China and Russia when they were genuinely socialist countries? Did communism "fail" in these countries, or was it defeated? What was tremendously positive about these socialist revolutions, and what must be done differently the next time we make revolution?

Since "you already know what you need to know," what are your answers to all these questions? Have you even thought of all these questions?

Avakian has spent more than three decades studying these and many other questions, and developing a new synthesis of communism that actually answers them. He has done this while learning very broadly from many different realms, including science, art and culture. He has dug into the rich history of the previous socialist revolutions—into their great achievements, and yes, their shortcomings. And through this work, and from continuing to learn from the masses themselves and the continuous struggles that have developed, he's forged a way out of the horrors of the capitalist-imperialist system. And if you actually care about the future of humanity, then you have a responsibility to get into his work and engage it. And you have a responsibility to examine for yourself whether it really does hold the answers we say it does.

"Communism is a nice idea on paper... but it doesn't work."

We call bullshit.

First things first: Where has capitalism ever worked? Can you name a period of even one day when capitalism hasn't meant the brutal exploitation of the masses in the name of profits? Can you name a capitalist-imperialist power that hasn't sat on top of a worldwide system of oppression that has led to the wholesale destruction of the planet and its resources? And let's talk about this country—the "good ol' US of A"—that has waged more murderous wars of terror than any other nation in history, that was born out of a history of genocide of native people and centuries of slavery, that today actually has more Black men locked away in torturous conditions in prison than it even held under slavery, and that imprisons more women than any country in the history of the world. So, again: where has capitalism ever worked? Even for a minute?

And guess what? That same capitalist system of destruction, torture, and murder is also a deceitful one! That capitalist system has fed you countless lies about the history of socialism and communism! Did you know, for example, that because of the socialist revolution in China, the literacy rate went from 15 percent to 80 percent in less than 30 years? That socialist China was able to wipe out prostitution in just a matter of years and lift the stigma off of women who had been victimized by sex trafficking while also doing away with the horrific practice of foot-binding that had been practiced for generations?

That before the socialist revolution of 1949, massive famines periodically caused the deaths by starvation of millions and millions of peasants in China and that even in "good times" severe hunger and starvation were common—but that within roughly 15 years after this revolution, China had solved its food problem and everyone had enough to eat? Did you know that socialist Russia—which emerged from a backward, semi-feudal society—made strides in the emancipation of women that had never been done anywhere else in the world? That before the socialist revolution of 1917, Russia had been characterized by such horrific oppression of minority nationalities that it was known as the "prison house of nations," while after this socialist revolution, Russia placed a priority on channeling resources to minority regions and working to uproot the tremendous inequalities between nations? [See the Set the Record Straight website,] Did you know that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China was actually a movement of hundreds of millions to prevent the revolution from being betrayed and to instead carry forward that revolution's emancipatory and transformative mission in every sphere of society?

And guess what else? Avakian has not only dug deep into the real history of Russia and China and brought forward the reality that they were incredibly emancipatory societies that were really working toward a world free of exploitation and oppression. He has also shown why those revolutions were defeated, and how to do better and go further next time. And while upholding the overwhelmingly positive character of these societies, he's also made criticisms of this experience and made significant ruptures in areas including epistemology, strategy, internationalism, and the nature of socialist society—as part of developing a new synthesis of communism that forges the way for us to do even better in the next stage of communist revolution.

"Who is Avakian to say he has the solution to the world's problems?"

We call bullshit.

Who is Avakian to say he has the solution to the world's problems? He is someone who does have the solution to the world's problems. He's someone who has done the work. Engage that work honestly and you will see for yourself. He has dedicated his life to digging deeply into what the problem in the world is, and what the solution is. He has deeply studied Marx, Lenin, and Mao and the entire past experience—in theory and practice—of the international communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being. He has learned from history and science, art and culture, philosophy, and even sports and music and comedy—all to forge a new synthesis of communism! This new synthesis is not just a "cut and paste" job but a real re-envisioning of what it will take for humanity to be free and what we need to be doing to get there. He's someone who has also, all through that process, been leading a revolutionary vanguard party. A party that is forging a movement for revolution right here in this country! And he's someone who continues to learn very broadly, who continues to provide answers to the most vexing questions facing the revolution while also posing new questions that must be wrangled with in the process of working towards a radically different world. And he's someone who has taken the responsibility of leading the masses of people to understand all of this for themselves.

Now here's a question in return: Who are you to say Avakian doesn't have the solution to the world's problems? Are you someone who has actually deeply engaged his new synthesis and, on that basis, has a substantive argument to offer for why it is not what humanity needs? If so, let's hear it, because we are the last people to be afraid of a principled, substantive debate focused on the question of what is the problem facing humanity and what is the solution. And we are confident that this new synthesis does, in fact, represent the way out of the horrors facing the world.

Or, are you instead seeking to rule out of order the very idea of putting forward a solution to the world's problems, without even engaging the specific solution being put forth and hoping nobody calls you on this?

"I don't follow leaders."

We call bullshit.

Did you just wake up one morning and come up with the idea, "I don't follow leaders" all by yourself? Out of nowhere, without anyone or anything leading you to think that? You and how many other people?

News flash: Under this system, you didn't—and don't—get to decide anything of consequence about how this society and world function, about how individuals and groups relate to each other, and about the ideas, culture, and morality that predominate. Did you decide how the food you eat and the clothes you wear were made? Did you decide that the U.S. and other imperialist countries should slaughter and torture people around the globe? Did you decide that a woman should not be able to walk down the street without fear of being raped? That a youth of color should not be able to walk down the street without fear of being killed by the police? Did you get to decide whether or not you have a job, and what kind of job, and whether you earn enough income to have food and housing? And if you do have a job, when you go to work do you get to decide what you do there and how you can best contribute your knowledge and abilities to the betterment of humanity? Or even how long your lunch break is? Did you pick what is taught in schools? What is played on the radio? What is covered in the media? The programs that are shown on TV?

Wake up. You are being led every second of every day, in every sphere of your life. You are being led by a system of capitalism-imperialism in which nothing—including the basic necessities you need to survive—is made or done unless it generates profit. A system in which billions of people—and entire groups of people—are viciously and violently subjugated, and in which the entire planet is plundered. And you are being led—and forced—to accept all of this by the people who rule and enforce this system, and who shape the ideas that have influence in society.

And here's something else: Any idea you have about the state of the world and what should be done about it is one you were led to have. If you think this system is the best humanity can do, or that the world is the way it is because of human nature... if you think that the world is the way it is because of "god's will" and we need to "leave things to the lord"... if you think the problem is the "two-party system" and the solution is a third party... if you think that the problem is "capitalism run amok" and the solution is "more regulation"... if you think that the problem is that the U.S. "is not living up to its democratic principles" and the solution is "expanding democracy"... if you think that the problem is "hierarchy" and the solution is "horizontalism" and "leaderless movements"... if you think the problem is that "capitalism and communism have both failed" and the solution is "something in between these two systems"... there is not one of these ideas that you thought up on your own.

The question is not whether or not you follow leaders. The question is: What kind of leadership will you follow? Leadership that traps, tricks, and tails people—lowering their sights, in one form or another, to accept this system, its confines, and its ways of thinking as all that is possible? Or leadership that raises people's sights beyond the horizon, by challenging, training, and unleashing them to deeply understand and radically transform the world, and to unleash still others to do the same? Or, put another way: Leadership that is rooted in, reflects, perpetuates, enforces, and ultimately keeps things contained within this system and all the shit it brings down on humanity? Or radically different leadership to get rid of this system and bring an entirely different and much better world into being—leadership to emancipate humanity?

And if you don't want to choose the first of those two options, then here is a further question: Do you really, honestly think it is possible without leadership for millions of people to see the need for, and—when the future conditions have emerged—to actually make a revolution to defeat, dismantle, and abolish this capitalist-imperialist state and bring new institutions of a new, revolutionary system into being?... For the new society to go on from there to meet the material, cultural, and intellectual needs of the people while working to overcome inequalities and divisions that have been entrenched for centuries, keeping things moving in an overall direction towards communism while allowing for the maximum dissent and ferment at all times? Do you think all necessary societal tasks can be fulfilled, and all contradictions that are bound to arise in the process can be navigated? All in a way that advances—rather than undermines—the world revolution and works towards an entire planet without any exploitation, oppression, or antagonistic divisions?

Really?! You think all this can happen without leadership?

Here's what it all comes back to: The world is a horror, it has been for thousands of years, and it doesn't need to be. Either that is going to remain the case, or the world is going to be fundamentally and radically changed in a way that puts an end to the suffering of billions. When someone has done the work, forged the vision and strategy, and is providing the leadership necessary to emancipate humanity, it is the responsibility of anyone with a heart and a conscience to engage this.

As Avakian puts it in An Invitation:

"Let's go on a crucial journey together—full of unity against oppression and lively struggle about the source of the problem and the solution. Pursue your own convictions—that the outrages that move you are intolerable—to their logical conclusion, and be determined not to stop until those outrages have been eliminated. And if this, as well as learning about other outrages, and ideas about how all this fits together and flows from a common source—and how it could all be ended, and something much better brought into being—leads in the direction of seeing not only the need for bold and determined resistance, but also the need for revolution and ultimately communism, then don't turn away from that because it moves you beyond your comfort zone, challenges what had been your cherished beliefs, or because of prejudices and slanders. Instead, actively seek to learn more about this revolution and its goal of communism and to determine whether it is in fact the necessary and possible solution. And then act accordingly."




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Thoughts on BA Everywhere, from Sunsara Taylor

October 10, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


I wrote the following this morning for people who, like me, are fighting to spread BA Everywhere.  Take a minute and read it right away, share it with others you think need to see it—and then lets get out there and go, go, GO! —ST


BAsics 3:1
"Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

"Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this."

I have been thinking about this quote from BA a lot lately.

First of all, it is true! If there had been a revolution in the '60s, there would be a million less graves in Iraq, there wouldn't be 2.4 million people languishing in prisons in the U.S., women wouldn't be being raped, trafficked, sexually enslaved and forced to have children against their will from one corner of the globe to the other, immigrants wouldn't be being driven from their homelands in massive numbers and forced to work in the hunted shadows of the U.S., torn from their families and any sense of security, the environment wouldn't be on the verge of irreversible catastrophe, and the culture wouldn't be so putrid, self-centered and cruel! I am not saying that every problem would be solved—but, every major social problem would be BEING SOLVED! With revolutionary state power, humanity would be able to come together—and have the leadership to come together—to work on solving these and many more problems.

Instead of running up against the force of the state (remember the billy clubs that cleared out Occupy and never forget the army of police who daily stop & frisk and humiliate Black and Latino youth), people would have the backing of the state when they lift their heads to struggle for a different and better world. Instead of running smack up against the weight of thousands of years of tradition and shame and stigma and violence, women would be given the encouragement and backing of society—and be joined by men—in the struggle to end forever the generations and generations of subjugation, unleashing women to participate fully and equally in every realm of society together with men.

ALL THIS—AND SO MUCH MORE—IS POSSIBLE! It’s all laid out in the incredibly visionary and practical Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Anybody who hasn't read that Constitution and deeply engaged BA is really out of it.

I watched the movie Hysteria recently, a romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator. In an early scene there is a young doctor changing bandages at a hospital when the head of the hospital comes out and yells at him. The young doc insists, "But the germs in the wounds..." and the head of the hospital cuts him off and ridicules him: "You and your ideas about 'germ theory.' DON'T waste my bandages!"

Well, people today who are trying to do good and make some positive change today who have refused to deeply engage BA's new synthesis and this Constitution are like doctors trying to treat patients while rejecting "germ theory." They are just plain out of it.

And we mustn't be afraid to tell them so. I am not saying we should be assholes or jack people up, but we should be sharp with people. The fate of humanity is at stake for fuck's sake! Some people will react very stubbornly to this; in that case, too bad for them (but also good to know that they really aren't worth your time right now)! Others will be challenged by this in a good way and then we should really fight all the way through for them to take this as seriously as it merits. Just like with “germ theory,” it wasn't on that young doc to convince the hospital head everything about germ theory, it is the responsibility of everyone practicing medicine to be up on the most cutting edge science of their field. (a good reference here: We Call Bullshit)

Then there are those who don't consider themselves doctors (to use the analogy). People who are not particularly oriented right now to changing the world and certainly who don't consider themselves radical.

They, too, need to be introduced to the work of BA!

But, I have been hearing lately how sometimes it is hard to figure out how to bring this up. I heard a story recently of someone who was eager to go show a group of friends the video clips of BA over the years, but when they got there their friends were all engrossed in the Obama-Romney debate and they began to think, "Wow, maybe this really isn't where they are at." Or another person who had a friend over to do the same, but ended up just hanging out with them the way they have for years—not sure how to "work BA into" the conversation.

Okay, let’s be scientific here. "This" (meaning BA and the revolution he is leading) is NOT where these people "are at." But far from being a reason not to share this with them, it is precisely why we SHOULD share it with them. However, it probably won't just "come up" or get "worked in" to whatever conversation or dynamic is already going on. Instead, WE have to bring it up. And, when you do, you might be very surprised what that opens up.

I have recently sat down with a number of people I have known over the years recently and shown them clips of BA over the years and other clips from the Revolution talk. Some of them I knew through work I have done against patriarchy and some of them just through personal life and some I knew in other ways. Among them were several people who didn't know at all, or in other cases not very much, about BA. When we sat down, many of them thought I was there to meet with them about the movement against pornography and patriarchy or just to catch up about life.

How did I handle this? I just said, "Look, that is something I definitely want to talk to you more about soon, but that is not why I asked you to get together today. Today, I asked you to get together to talk about BA and the work he is doing. Do you know about Bob Avakian?" Depending on how much they knew, I would tell them very briefly who he is and that we are in the midst of a campaign to make BA known everywhere precisely because so many people, including them, don't know about his work. Then I say, "I'd like to show you a nine minute video that will give you more of a sense of who he is—it shows him speaking back in 1969, in 1979 and then in 2003 and it starts with an intro from a guy named Joe Veale. You'll see. Then we can talk some."

Then, we watch it—and then we get into it.

Almost everyone I have spoken to has been very appreciative that I have taken the time to bring this to them. And they have taken it very seriously. Even when it is new to them. People have responded to different things about him, and everyone I have talked to like this has been interested in engaging more deeply. What I have learned most is that I should have brought this to them much earlier.

What else have I explored with them? Who are the people they know who they think would be interested in this? With a number of these people I have set up appointments to see their friends—or worked with them as to how they would take this to one or two friends themselves. It is really worth the time to explore this and help them work through the very same question, how will they "bring this up" to the people they know and why even folks who aren't already thinking about this might be open to it.

It is also really worthwhile to use the interview that Cornel West did with BA. That interview gives people an immediate sense of what kind of person BA is and what he has been working on all these years. And the respect and warmth that Cornel conveys towards BA gives people an additional window as to the importance of the work BA has been doing.

It is important for us to be clear—and to make clear to others—that one does not have to agree with the need for revolution or communism to engage. In fact, the opposite: one has NO BASIS to know whether they agree or disagree with BA and his new synthesis if they have not engaged. If they don't know, that is all the more reason to find out. If they are sincere and serious about their concerns for the future of humanity once this is put before them, they should pursue this and find out more.

In all this, it is important to keep in mind the point from BA, BAsics 4:11: “What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think.”

Finally, there are those for whom their conditions of life are just so crazy and desperate that it is hard for them to conceive of how they will find the time or make the sacrifices necessary to get into this more deeply. Here, I want to recount an exchange someone else had with a youth from the projects over this recently.

The young guy said he really liked what he was reading in BAsics and in the Revolution talk, but wasn't sure he could get more involved because [fill in the very real presses and crushes of life for those living at the bottom of society—and this guy had a number of them]. But, the comrade put back to this youth that that is how it always has been for the oppressed. That is precisely why we need a revolution and why people like him need to get into this revolution. Then the comrade went even further. He said, "What you need to do is to spend some time being too busy worrying about and getting deeply into how humanity can break free of all this that you can't spend that time, like you do the rest of your life and millions of others do with all of their lives, worrying about how you are going to hold together a desperate existence living while enslaved." This comrade did not ignore that there are sacrifices involved or risks involved, but precisely took that on all the more sharply—revealing to the youth what the actual terms are. There is not going to be some better time when things are easier and then they can get into the revolution. We need a revolution precisely because those times do not exist for most people and the only way you get out of that is by looking at it head-on and deciding that it’s worth it to risk some things to have the chance to be part of bringing about a world where people aren't crushed this way. This had a powerful impact on this youth—and needs to be much more the way we step overall.

So, these are a few thoughts I have been mulling over in my work recently to really push out with the new Cornel West interview with BA and with the campaign overall to get BA Everywhere. I write this in the hopes that it spurs forward others... we have a world to win!

In conclusion, a final quote (for today) from BA, BAsics 5:23,which we should all keep in mind:

"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it's going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically."




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

From A World to Win News Service

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization:
How serious a threat to U.S. world domination?

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

September 10, 2012. A World to Win News Service. The twelfth summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Beijing in June. The SCO is a regional organization comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as full members, and Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan as observers (Afghanistan was admitted as an observer in this year's summit). The most important feature of this year's meeting was its strong position against "external" intervention and regime-change attempts in the Middle Eastern countries, a clear reference to Syria and Iran.

The summit was intended to be a show of unity and success, demonstrating its members' common interests and concerns regarding world and regional political affairs, while insisting that the SCO is not a military bloc.

The group pledged to work more closely with the Afghan government on security and other issues, without providing details. The meeting's main emphasis was on "regional security," laying out a plan for the strategic and medium-term development of the SCO and a "Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability." (June 7, 2012,

Following this summit the SCO began carrying out joint military exercises in Tajikistan. According to the press center of Tajikistan Ministry, "During the exercises, a special anti-terror operation in a mountainous area will be worked on. New methods will be used to detect, block and destroy mock outlawed armed formations that have captured a mountain village." About 2,000 soldiers and 500 military vehicles and aircraft from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan took part in this annual military exercise.

It was named "Peace Mission." But there are good reasons to doubt that the goals of these operations were peaceful, since they took place as part of a series of military movements and maneuvers in the region. Furthermore, when placed in the context of world politics as they manifest themselves in this region, and other events over the last two decades, even more doubts arise.

In mid-April 2012, U.S. and Filipino joint military exercises also included troops from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia. About 4,500 U.S. Marines participated along with 2,500 Philippines Special Forces. The U.S. also held what it called a "Naval Exchange" with Vietnam, a country whose sea forces have been engaged in a face-off with China over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. This area is rich in gas and oil reserves as well as being strategically sensitive for China. Much of the world's imported energy and raw materials pass through these shipping lanes. In a policy shift, last November Obama declared that the U.S. would focus on the Asia-Pacific region as its top strategic priority. China and Russia also held joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, practicing defending sea lanes.

There are more large-scale military activities to come. Another major regional organization, called the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO, consisting of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—Uzbekistan suspended its membership in June this year), is holding military maneuvers this September in Armenia and October in Kazakhstan. The details and dimensions have not been announced, but last September's CSTO military exercise involved 24,000 troops and was designed to counter an assumed threat from Afghanistan, where over 100,000 NATO soldiers were stationed at the time.

Some observers have wondered why Armenia was chosen as the battleground of the next CSTO military exercise. First of all, the CSTO should be seen in light of Russia's desire to re-extend its influence southward into central Asia and Afghanistan, and its concern for American efforts to snatch up what Russia has historically considered its "backyard." Further, selecting Armenia as a practice "battleground" could be related to U.S.-Israeli threats to attack Iran. Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan have fought over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The U.S. and Israel are seeking to turn Azerbaijan into a military base for a possible attack on Iran, and already have unlimited access to its territory, including its airports and Caspian Sea ports. This puts the U.S. military very close to the Iranian border. Azerbaijan is acquiring a $1.3 billion air-defense system from Israel. Recently the old wounds of the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia have reopened and military activities on both sides have increased.

The Emergence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

The SCO came out of the "Shanghai Five," a grouping formed in 1996 to resolve border issues between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. For China as well as the Central Asian countries, the border disputes and the rise of separatists, national movements and Islamic fundamentalist movements in most of the central Asian countries and Xinjiang (China) had become a security issue. Developments in Tibet were another factor in creating concerns for China.

At the July 2000 summit where Putin attended for the first time, the leaders of the countries involved announced that this organization must "wield significant influence not just in the region, but globally as well." (, September 2, 2008)

At the 2001 summit, with Uzbekistan also participating, the Shanghai Five was transformed into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. SCO's stated aim was to combat "terrorism, separatism and extremism" as well as promote various forms of cooperation. Russia tried to use SCO and other treaties to limit U.S. and other Western influences in Central Asia and advance its own interests in the region.

After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, the U.S. emerged as the lone imperialist superpower and did its best to take advantage of the situation and secure its domination over the world for a long period to come. Other Western imperialists and powerful states have also been trying to use this turbulent period to their advantage. Consequently the collapse of the Soviet bloc gave rise to some more regional contradictions and conflicts, in some cases very violently, such as the various Balkan wars. This situation was also reflected in the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

By invading and occupying Afghanistan, the U.S. and other Western imperialists were attempting to broaden their influence in the region too. So they had one eye on the Middle East and the other on Central and South-East Asia.

In association with this invasion the U.S. set up military bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. These advances in the region were taken as an attempt to encircle Russia and made China very uncomfortable too. The Central Asian regimes, partly under pressure from Russia and partly to protect themselves from the Islamic fundamentalists and rise of armed oppositions, felt compelled to stick to the organization.

During this period, U.S. imperialist policy was the main driving force, although all the imperial powers were trying to safeguard and advance their interests. The world and the configuration of imperialist coalitions changed dramatically between the two wars against Iraq. (Although it is very unlikely that the U.S. could have launched its 1991 war if the Soviet Union had not already been in the throes of collapse.)

The rise of China as an aggressive power following the overthrow of socialism there and the resurgence of Russian imperialism out of the ashes of the imperialist Soviet bloc (where capitalism had been effectively restored two decades earlier, despite the retaining of socialist forms) are two of the most important features marking the past quarter century. The grouping of these two giants together with other countries in the SCO is, so far, the most serious attempt to challenge U.S. influence, at least in the region. This could have been one reason why the American imperialists shifted their attention to the Asia-Pacific region in order to counter a potential challenge.

Russia especially has been active over the last two decades in seeking to curtail further blows to its power and once again re-emerge if not as a superpower at least as a dominant regional power with more influence in world affairs.

China's emergence as the world's second-largest economy should be seen in the context of what kind of economy that is, what logic drives it. When a new capitalist class took power through a coup after the death of Mao Tsetung, it became a capitalist economy, driven by the profit motive, the expand-or-die competition inherent in capitalism and the logic and titanic forces of the world market, so that its development has brought its thoroughly capitalist ruling class into conflict with the Western imperialists and other powers for markets, raw materials and outlets for investment.

Although only about a thousand troops took part in the SCO's first military exercise, it represented a newly formed treaty that had been able to unite two powerful countries in Asia with some small but nevertheless important regional countries. This organization soon attracted the interest of reactionary regimes in other countries in the region such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Mongolia, and heightened the concerns of the U.S. and other Western imperialists.

Shortly after its formation the SCO tried to push back U.S. influence in Central Asia. Following the July 2005 summit, in a joint declaration it called for an end to U.S. military bases in Central Asia. The U.S. had to pull all its forces out of Uzbekistan a few months later and retained its base in Kyrgyzstan only after some political maneuvering and agreeing to much higher payments. That same year Iran, Pakistan, and India were granted observer status, while Mongolia had achieved that status a year earlier. In 2007, SCO military exercises took place in China and Russia with the involvement of 6,000 troops.

In the past decade, the SCO consolidated its position as a military and economic grouping. This has involved joint military exercises, training programs and other measures to modernize the militaries of the member states, and efforts to draw in other countries in the region and beyond. Apart from military and security cooperation, there have been mutual multi-billion-dollar investments, particularly by China, in infrastructure (roads, railways, airports, hydro-electric power stations, mining, gas wells and petroleum pipelines) and banking (the SCO has an interbank union working alongside Russian-Chinese investment funds and other forms of investment).

This cooperation has strengthened both Russia and China. Beijing has benefited from the military strength of Russia not only as a partner but as a source of advanced military hardware and technology to enable China to produce its own more advanced weapons. One example is the SU-27 fighter, a variant of a Russian-designed "air superiority fighter" meant to match advanced U.S. and other Western war planes, now manufactured in China. Russia is also playing a role in the transformation of the Chinese navy as its mission shifts from coastline defense to "blue-water" power projection in the western and southern Pacific.

The relationship with China also strengthens Russia's position in dealing with the West—in the energy negotiations with the EU and also missile defense talks with the U.S.

Both benefit regarding international issues related to either gaining or preserving spheres of influence. Russia and China have worked together in opposing U.S. missile "shields" that would lessen the ability to retaliate against a U.S. first-strike missile attack. Most notably, this alliance has been a serious factor in rivalry with the U.S. in the Middle East, particularly Iran and Syria—the Russian and Chinese blockage of the U.S.-led bid for UN Security Council backing for foreign military intervention in Syria is the best-known example of this relationship.

China needs the Central Asian and Caspian Sea regions for strategic energy supplies, too. Two pipelines have been completed, a third is nearly finished and construction of a fourth will start soon. This allows China to become less dependent on supplies from the Middle East, where the U.S. dominates the flow of oil and gas. China has secured a long-term lower price structure with Central Asian states. It has already begun pumping oil in Afghanistan and has signed contracts that would make China a major competitor among the various foreign schemes for major mining operations in Afghanistan if and when political conditions permit.

China's infrastructural investments in Xinjiang and the passage through there of billions of dollars worth of Chinese consumer goods exported throughout Central Asia have produced a section of rich and middle strata in Xinjiang, a Western Chinese border region whose population has been predominantly Turkic Moslem, although China is moving in Han settlers. This has helped stabilize and strengthened the Chinese regime's rule in that region.

U.S. imperialism's certain degree of shift in strategic policies to put more emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region with the main goal of limiting China's influence has, at least temporarily, helped Russia by encouraging China to incline towards Russia's military strength.

The SCO's Contradictions and Limits

Due to these relationships and developments, some reactionary analysts and the media sometimes describe the SCO as the "Eastern bloc," "OPEC with nuclear bombs" or the "NATO of the East."

But the cooperation and collaboration among the SCO is not without constraints. In fact, from the beginning this cooperation has been paralleled by important contradictions among the participant countries, and some of these contradictions have grown rather than diminishing.

If we look at it from an economic point of view, the SCO's two main powers have numerous ties with the U.S. and other Western countries. The U.S. is China's main economic partner. China has trillions of dollars in investments in the American financial system. The value of China's exchange with Russia is only two percent of its foreign trade. Further, Russia is not at all happy with China's inroads in Central Asia. China's lucrative trade, investments, loans and especially oil and gas contracts could become a problem for Russia, not only economically, but also because these economic ties could strengthen China's political reach in a region that Russia intends to dominate.

Russia, too, is looking toward Western Europe for greatly increased trade (particularly energy exports) and wants to develop political ties, especially with Germany, a very important country for Russian imperialist interests in both economic and political terms. Both China and Russia have relied to some extent on Europe and the U.S. for developing their own industries, often with military implications.

There is also a contradiction regarding the SCO's expansion. Pakistan and India both want closer ties with the SCO. While Russia might be interested in including India, that would not be welcomed by China due to their unresolved border issues and rivalry in Asia. China considers India a main sponsor of disturbances in Tibet. However China might be more interested in drawing in Pakistan. China supports Pakistan in its border disputes with India. But including Pakistan or Iran could complicate relations with other countries too. The SCO's future expansion poses acute problems for the whole organization, especially if other big countries like India get involved.

There are also some countries that might not be trusted by the organization. For example Turkey has also shown interest in the organization but it was only given "dialogue" status. Since Turkey is a NATO member, it is unlikely to ever be accepted as a full member. The U.S. requested membership in 2005 but its application was rejected.

While Russia seems to be trying to forge a bloc out of SCO, considering the organization's contradictions and Moscow's fear of Chinese influence and possible dominance over the organization, that might not be easily achieved. Russia is also building an alternative to SCO through the CSTO, an organization that Russia clearly runs. At present, at least, Russia seems to regard China as a competitor as well as an ally, and it is not yet clear how closely they will align. It may be symptomatic of this contradictory situation that while Russia is helping China expand militarily, it does not seem to be sharing its most advanced weapons systems, in much the same way as the U.S. treats certain allies.

Is the SCO Challenge Real?

Many imperialist countries have conflicting interests and are not happy with American unilateral decisions and moves where others have to follow suit and basically dance to the U.S. tune.

U.S. policy and maneuvering room has changed from Afghanistan to Iraq and from Libya to Syria. Its position has been challenged.

Russia is trying to capitalize on the contradictions emerging between Western European countries and the U.S., especially Germany. Russia is also trying to influence Western Europe by supplying gas and oil and direct it away from U.S. dominance in this market.

The interaction of this emerging rivalry with the on-going international financial crisis (for instance, Germany's bid for Chinese financial support to help shore up the European financial system), and the possible global consequences for imperialist political stability of popular unrest and various sorts of uprisings, introduce other elements of uncertainty into future developments.

The situation is extremely fluid. The challenge is real but the final position of any of these countries in a future alignment has not been decided. Certain trends have emerged as the imperialists and other powerful reactionary-ruled countries vie for influence and domination over the world or part of the world, but other factors and events could accelerate or decelerate—or even upend—them.

A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

What Crime Would Obama Have to Commit for You to Stand on Principle and Refuse to Vote??

October 14, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


You know Romney is a fascist and that the racist lunatics are all whipped up against Obama.  So you are thinking of voting for Obama.  But before you do—and before you put your money and energy and hopes into “the lesser evil”—let us ask you a question:

What crime would Obama have to commit for you to stand on principle and refuse to vote??

>> Killing people, including U.S. citizens, without any sort of legal due process?

He’s done it.  More than once.  According to the New York Times (May 29, 2012), Obama meets with advisers to go over a “kill list” and decide whom to take out—with absolutely no “day in court” for those who end up on the list.

>> Holding prisoners of conscience in jail in conditions that are internationally recognized as torture?

He’s doing it.  Bradley Manning was held in conditions of sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation in order to “break him”... for the alleged "crime" of exposing U.S. war crimes.

>> Ordering the bombing of countries and carrying out other military acts of aggression, and covering up the murder of civilians?

He is either doing it or has done it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, and Libya.

>> Signing laws that enable the government to imprison people without trial if the government says they support “terrorism”?

He did it—he signed the National Defense Authorization Act that endows the executive branch of the U.S. government with just such unprecedented power.

>> Exult in such crimes?

He’s done it—with his sick jokes about “predator drones” and the ugly cheerleading at the Democratic Party convention for precisely these international outrages.

>> Remain silent while millions are shuttled through the horrors of the U.S. prison system and then, when he does speak of the problem, blaming the victims themselves?

He’s done it.  There are now 2.4 million people in prison—a shameful “world record.”  Many people agree that this genocidal mass imprisonment is the central and defining fact of American life—yet Obama says and does nothing, other than to continue and even step up policies that feed this modern-day slave ship.  For instance, Obama has actually intensified the so-called war on drugs, especially marijuana.  And when he does touch on the issue, it is only to warn people against protesting related crimes like police murder (as he did when the New York police who murdered Sean Bell went free), or to blame the masses themselves (as he did in his notorious 2009 Father’s Day speech, and in other instances as well).  And the very fact that Obama was made president is used to say, “Look, he made it—why can’t all these other Black youth”—as if the fact that the one person out of 100 who makes it out of this white racist meat grinder of a system somehow shows that the meat-grinder is “fair and equal for all.”

>> Set the record for deporting immigrants and then, right before elections, making a small concession—which will enable the government to collect more names for more deportations later?

He’s done it.  More than one million immigrants have been forcibly deported since Obama became president.  The U.S. caused the wars or wrecked the economies of the countries that these immigrants come from.  Now, their lives are further ruined and families are broken apart for the “crime” of seeking work or safety here.  And the fact that he gives a little bit of a concession just before election of letting some younger immigrants to stay here—which, by the way, is a temporary concession and one whose registration procedures can later be used to deport the people who fall for it—cannot change the four years of unmitigated, escalated horror that went before it.

>> Refuse to do anything about the environmental emergency faced by humanity?

He’s not only fucked around while the earth has continued to burn—he’s made it worse.  New gas and oil pipelines are being laid all over the place, and “fracking” (an environmentally destructive form of mining for natural gas) has blossomed under Obama.  And this year, in his Earth Day address, he refused to even mention the words “climate change.”

>> Remain silent while abortion doctors are murdered, and then seek “common ground” with those who are not only attacking the right to abortion, but to birth control?

He’s doing it.  Meanwhile, the outright fascists who would take away the right to abortion and birth control run riot and these lunatics are actually allowed to seize the “high moral ground.”

Again—what crime would he have to commit—and what crime would the system that he heads have to commit—for you to stand up and say:  “NO MORE!” 

These are horrors—and complicity is unacceptable.  And, no, Romney is no better.  But once you get into the “lesser evil” logic of defeating Romney, you are led to accept and support things that you abhor.  It is as if you were to say, “We can’t have the openly fascistic Romney as president, so we have to support the president—a president who actually carries out some fascist measures and conciliates with others and goes even further in some cases.”  People have been doing this for years now, election after election.  But where has that logic led?  Away from what needs to be done, which is to RESIST these horrors—all of these horrors—and not conciliate with them... and into the arms of growing used to them, accepting them and then going along with and in fact supporting them.

And beyond that—beyond the destructive logic of staying confined within the choices that they offer you—there is this fact: there IS an alternative.  We really do not have to be confined to constantly choosing between evils, and ending up in a situation that continually grows worse.

There is an alternative to the current capitalist-imperialist economic and political system in which increasing exploitation is the driving rule and people, in fact, count for nothing.  A different society—a socialist society in which masses of people are empowered to set about wiping out exploitation and oppression, and all the institutions that go with it—is possible.  There is a constitution for such a society.  And there is the leadership to lead the revolution needed to bring it into being. 

Stop acting against your deepest principles.  Start checking out, getting into and supporting the real alternative that gives expression to those principles. 





Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Opposing Injustice Is Not a Crime!  Drop the Charges!

Four Stop-and-Frisk Freedom Fighters to Go on Trial October 23

October 14, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Tuesday, October 23, four of the freedom fighters who protested stop-and-frisk in Queens, New York, last November will face trial and more than two years in jail for their stand. This was the third action in a month of planned civil disobedience protests.  A community rally and march through Jamaica, Queens, ended at the 103rd Precinct—the precinct that killed Sean Bell in 2006 and which had been completely barricaded on NYPD lockdown in anticipation of the protest.  Twenty people were arrested.

Under stop-and-frisk, the NYPD in 2011 subjected each and every day almost 1,900 people to harassment, disrespect, brutality and all too often arrest.  For the first six months of 2012, the number of people stopped under this racist and unjust policy was about the same.  More than 85 percent of the people stopped are Black or Latino, and 90 percent of those stopped have ended up being released.  And some of the 10 percent of people stopped who were arrested or given tickets weren’t doing anything wrong because the police routinely arrest people for not having an ID or because they question why they’re being stopped.

Stop-and-frisk is the crime, yet Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Bob Parsons and Morgan Rhodewalt face time in jail for protesting it!  It is criminal that so many people in NYC have had their right to be safe and secure from unreasonable search and seizure revoked because they are Black or Latino.  And it’s criminal that the NYPD is enforcing the equivalent of the pass laws that were inflicted on Black people in apartheid South Africa, or Arizona’s “show us your papers” law that targets immigrants there, on people they step to under stop-and-frisk!  Stop-and-frisk is illegitimate and unacceptable. 

These four defendants were among 19 people who put their bodies on the line to “STOP Stop &Frisk.” They did the right thing, and they shouldn’t be facing jail. The Queens District Attorney is the same DA that couldn’t or wouldn’t put on much of a case against the cops who murdered Sean Bell in 2006 in a hail of 50 bullets. This DA is vigorously pursuing this case, piling charges on people for having stood up and protesting stop-and-frisk.

The charges initially were one count of disorderly conduct, a violation, and one of Obstructing Governmental Administration (OGA), which is a Class “A” misdemeanor carrying 12 months in jail.  In a later court hearing, the DA added an additional charge of OGA without citing any additional acts on the part of the defendants.  Then, on October 9, the day the trial was scheduled to begin, the DA came into court with a charge sheet to which they had added a description of “acting in concert” without informing the defense of the change!  This change means that the judge could instruct the jurors to find all the defendants guilty of the charges if they find that any of one of them is guilty.

The Queens DA has scheduled two more trials of stop-and-frisk freedom fighters later this year with nine more defendants.  Thirteen defendants will be tried in Brooklyn next month for a November 1, 2011 protest at the 73rd Precinct, which has the highest rate of stop-and-frisk in the city.  Noche Diaz is a defendant in both of these stop-and-frisk trials, as well as in Manhattan and the Bronx, where he’s being tried for incidents where he observed the NYPD abusing, and beating, people in violation of their rights.

It is unacceptable that people who carried out mass protest to deliver a political message against the NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk are now being dragged into court and facing jail time.  The civil disobedience campaign initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West in the fall of 2011 organized non-violent political resistance to stop-and-frisk, and to mass incarceration overall.  It has brought together a broad array of people, of different ages, from diverse backgrounds and of different races and nationalities.  It has given heart to people who are forced to live their lives under the guns and billy clubs of brutal, murdering cops to know that others in society know about the injustice they’re being subjected to and oppose it.  These actions have added a missing ingredient to the resistance against the abuse the criminal justice system brings down on the people and took that resistance to a whole different level.

The authorities are now coming back at those who were part of this determined resistance—trying to make them pay for resisting the way their criminal injustice system comes down on the people and thru doing that to deliver a message to others that they better not join this resistance.

Fighting to win in these cases is part of carrying forward the fight to “STOP Stop & Frisk” and taking on the whole way the authorities unleash their cops and courts to heap abuse on people.  Everybody who is concerned about the injustice that is inflicted on so many people in this society must have the backs of these freedom fighters!  This means spreading the word on this attempt to make these freedom fighters pay a high price for their actions.  It means adding your name to those who have already signed the resolution calling for dropping the charges on the stop-and-frisk freedom fighters (see  It means coming out to the court on Tuesday, October 23 to show you have these freedom fighters’ backs. And it means contributing money to ensure that these freedom fighters can mount the legal defense and carry out the political mobilization needed to win this case (go to

These heroic freedom fighters put their bodies on the line to stop the immoral and illegitimate outrage of stop-and-frisk.  They should be given medals, not put on trial and face jail time.




Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

From A World to Win News Service:

Murder by drone: the U.S. terror war in Pakistan

October 14, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 8, 2012. A World to Win News Service. As American drones occupy the skies across Pakistan's North Waziristan, the U.S. is continuing to lie about the many hundreds of ordinary people blasted to pieces or incinerated and the terrorizing of the entire population.

Most recently, an American embassy official in Pakistan insisted that protests against the drone strikes were unjustified in light of "the extreme process that is undertaken to avoid what is very sadly called 'collateral damage.'" Although not allowed to reveal classified information, he said, the number of civilian casualties is "quite low" – "in the two figures." (Guardian, October 7) This statement was meant to counter international news coverage of a convoy of hundreds of people from all over Pakistan and dozens of Western antiwar activists (including women from the U.S. group Code Pink) heading for a town in South Waziristan to demonstrate against the drone attacks and the Pakistani government's complicity.

The report Living Under Drones issued by two U.S. academic research groups in September paints a very different picture.

"[F]rom June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children... These strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals." (According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent non-profit news reporting agency based at City University in London whose data and methodology the report reviewed and found valid.)

The discrepancy is partially explained by the fact that "for the purpose of tracking civilian casualties, the [U.S.] government presumes that all military-age males killed in drone strikes are combatants." The report demonstrates that this is not true. Yet even the most narrow interpretation of Washington's claim, that it has recorded a "quite low" number of civilian casualties, may be a lie within a lie, since the exact figures, the identities of the human beings they represent and the circumstances of their death are all cloaked in secrecy.

Who was killed and how they died was the aim of an investigation project by law clinics at the Stanford Law School in California and the New York University Law School. Their report (available at was based on "nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting."

Their conclusions are moderate to a fault. Instead of calling for an end to the drone war, "this report recommends that the U.S. conduct a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits."

"Costs and benefits" for who and for what goals? By arguing on this basis, the report ignores the question of the purpose and legitimacy of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and the drone war in neighboring North Waziristan that is a consequence and adjunct to that occupation. It also avoids the broader question of the ensemble of open and covert wars that the U.S. ruling class is waging or threatening to wage throughout the "Greater Middle East" to protect and extend their global empire, no matter which party is in office.

By way of analogy, if someone were to reason that strikes on civilians in the West go against Al-Qaeda's overall (also reactionary) aims, this would be considered a cynical calculation and few people would be impressed by its moral stance.

But whether those involved in this report really believe in this "costs and benefits" approach or just feel that this is the only way their arguments will have impact, their careful review of the facts and first-hand accounts provide not only a damning account of the cruelty of U.S. conduct, but also evidence that this cruelty has a political purpose—that these deaths are not just "collateral damage" but rather part of a war-fighting strategy based on terrorizing the people of an entire region with no distinctions among them.

Living Under Drones describes a 2006 drone attack on a religious school in Bajaur that killed more than 80 people, 69 of them children. In another section, it reveals what really happened in what authorities described as a strike against a militant "house" where "a group of some three dozen alleged Taliban fighters were meeting."

"According to those we interviewed, on March 17 [2011], some 40 individuals gathered [in an open-air bus depot] in Datta Khel town centre. They included important community figures and local elders, all of whom were there to attend a jirga—the principal social institution for decision-making and dispute resolution in [the region]... convened to settle a dispute over a nearby chromite mine. All of the relevant stakeholders and local leaders were in attendance, including 35 government-appointed tribal leaders known as maliks, as well as government officials, and a number of khassadars (government employees administered at the local level by maliks who serve as a locally recruited auxiliary police force). Four men from a local Taliban group were also reportedly present, as their involvement was necessary to resolve the dispute effectively. Malik Daud Khan, a respected leader and decorated public servant, chaired the meeting...

"Though drones were hovering daily over North Waziristan, those at this meeting said they felt 'secure and insulated' from the threat of drones, because in their assessment at the time, 'drones target terrorists or those working against the government.' ... the maliks had even taken care to alert the local military post of the planned jirga ten days beforehand.

"At approximately 10:45 am, as the two groups were engaged in discussion, a missile fired from a U.S. drone hovering above struck one of the circles of seated men. Ahmed Jan, who was sitting in one of two circles of roughly 20 men each, told our researchers that he remembered hearing the hissing sound the missiles made just seconds before they slammed into the centre of his group. The force of the impact threw Jan's body a significant distance, knocking him unconscious, and killing everyone else sitting in his circle. Several additional missiles were fired, at least one of which hit the second circle. In all, the missiles killed a total of at least 42 people. One of the survivors from the other circle, Mohammad Nazir Khan, told us that many of the dead appeared to have been killed by flying pieces of shattered rocks.

"Another witness, Idris Farid, recalled that 'everything was devastated. There were pieces—body pieces—lying around. There was lots of flesh and blood.'... 'None of the elders who had attended had survived.''' All their family members "could do was 'to collect pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin.'"

Other incidents described involve drones firing at cars and taxis, killing people so often for reasons unknown to local people that any travel is considered dangerous.

People in North Waziristan, a tribal area where most people work in subsistence agriculture or trading, have come to avoid all public gatherings, such as mosques and even funerals, which seem to be a particular target. People are afraid to sit together outside; even children cannot play together and few people venture out at night. Many parents no longer let their children attend school for fear of drone strikes.

A humanitarian aid worker in Waziristan told the investigators, "Do you remember 9/11? Do you remember what it felt like right after? I was in New York on 9/11. I remember people crying in the streets. People were afraid about what might happen next. People didn't know if there would be another attack. There was tension in the air. This is what it is like. It is a continuous tension, a feeling of continuous uneasiness. We are scared. You wake up with a start to every noise."

Not only are people terrorized by what seems like random killings, they cannot forget the danger for a second because of the constant presence of drones, sometimes three or four visible at once. They circle in the sky, buzzing, all day, except when it rains. No one knows when they will fire, nor at whom.

One reason for the relatively low number of casualties in relation to deaths seems to be that the Hellfire missiles these drones shoot are thermobaric, far more destructive than ordinary explosives. The pressure wave produced by the blast alone may blow people apart in a circle as much as 20 meters in every direction, but the spray of burning aluminum and metal fragments can kill at an even greater distance. Often there is little left of the victims.

The nature of these missiles alone discredits the U.S. government's claim that these are "surgical" strikes. But the whole way targeting works also needs to be more widely understood. There are supposedly two types, "personality" and "signature."

"Personality" targets are when the U.S. puts particular individuals on a death list based on all sorts of "intelligence," including paid local informers who may have their own agenda. This was the main focus of drone strikes in Pakistan under the Bush administration.

Since Barack Obama took office, there has been a radical increase in the number of drone strikes (45-52 under Bush in 2001-09, 292 in just three and a half years under Obama). He has taken personal charge of approving who is on the kill list and all decisions to go ahead whenever the CIA does not have "a 'near certainty' that there will be zero civilian deaths."

At the same time, under Obama's leadership there has been what Living Under Drones calls "a reported expansion in the use of 'signature' strikes," which it also calls "profiling" and "guilt by association." Under the "pattern of life analysis," groups of men whose identities are not known but who meet certain "defining characteristics" can be killed on sight. These "signature characteristics" are secret, but seem to involve being "in an area of known terrorist activity," being in the vicinity of someone considered a "top Al-Qaeda operative" (which, as the strike on the jirga at Datta Khel demonstrates, can include the many, many thousands of people who might find themselves, at one time or another, at a gathering, a market or a street where someone linked to the many armed Islamist groups might also be found), or even, according to knowing jokes repeated in the report, "three guys doing jumping jacks" or "young men with stubble."

There is another element in this picture indicating that civilian deaths are not just accidental "collateral damage" but the deliberate result of U.S. policy: what American authorities cynically call "double tapping," the practice of following up on one missile strike with another one or more, minutes or even hours later, with the clear intent of killing relatives and neighbors frantically searching through the rubble for survivors and loved ones, "looking for the children in the beds," and trained rescue workers.

The report says, "According to a health professional familiar with North Waziristan, one humanitarian organization had a 'policy to not go immediately [to a reported drone strike] because of follow up strikes. There is a six hour mandatory delay.' According to the same source, therefore, it is 'only the locals, the poor, [who] will pick up the bodies of loved ones.'"

The authors emphasize that "attacks on first responders may constitute war crimes." But their report also provides factual ammunition for the argument that not only this particularly repulsive aspect but the U.S.'s whole drone war in Pakistan in general (along with the use of drones in Yemen and Somalia) is a war crime.

First of all, many careful readers of the report will conclude that killing non-combatants is not just an accidental result of policy but an American policy in itself. Secondly, even if certain known individuals are in some way tied to armed groups, the fact that their names can remain on a "kill list" for a long time means that targeting them runs counter to the international law that apologists for the U.S. government cite to justify these killings. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter considers the use of force in or against another country to be justifiable self-defense only when it is a response to an ongoing armed attack or an imminent threat, which is described as "instant, overwhelming and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation."

There is no moral justification for the U.S. drone war in Pakistan, and no apparent legal justification for it either. (The Obama government claims that it has a written legal opinion authorizing its actions, but its contents are secret!) The U.S. is not legally at war with Pakistan. This is why the drone war is being waged by the CIA and not the regular armed forces, and why the American government has to treat it as secret, even though everyone in Pakistan knows, as does everyone in the U.S. and elsewhere who wants to know.

In fact, the U.S. is still mainly allied with the Pakistani government (and especially the Pakistani military), despite serious contradictions. For the first three years of the drone war in Pakistan, then President Pervez Musharraf publicly pretended that the strikes were "either Pakistani military operations, car bombs, or accidental explosions." Since then the Pakistani government has found itself caught between outraged public opinion demanding an end to the strikes and an unyielding U.S. government.

One of the most damning, though little noticed, parts of this report is a timeline that correlates the intensity of U.S. drone activity with friction between the two governments, especially around Pakistan's arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis for gunning down two men in the street. At first the U.S. halted the drones "to avoid angering a population already riveted by Davis' arrest"; then, when negotiations between the Musharraf and Obama governments stalled, it launched 11 strikes in succession until the Pakistani government finally released Davis. Relying on the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the report cites this as one of three incidents in which "[m]essaging to Pakistan appears to continue to be part of the [drone] programme's intent."

In other words, at least part of the reason why the U.S. is killing people in Pakistan has little to do with even perceived military necessity but is in fact aimed at pressuring Pakistani "deciders," not because the Pakistani ruling classes and armed forces care about the lives of ordinary Pakistanis or anyone else, but because when the U.S. kills civilians in their country it makes their government look bad and provokes popular anger.

If terrorism is defined as the deliberate killing of civilians for political ends, this is an unmistakable "signature" of a terrorist operation.

The "cost" and "downside" of the drone strikes, the report warns, is that they "have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivate attacks against both U.S. military and civilian targets." This is undoubtedly true. It is also undeniably true, as the report says, that these armed Islamic fundamentalists are doing great harm as they seek to impose their rule over the people.

This report should help us understand that what the U.S. is doing in Pakistan and around the world is actually helping propel the jihadi movement. At the same time, however, although it exposes the harm caused by the U.S. with its drone war, the report does not take into account the even greater harm done by the American occupation of Afghanistan and decades-long domination of Pakistan, including its support for Pakistan's military and ruling classes and the Islamization of the country that was initially meant to make U.S. domination palatable. For both of these reasons, we should be very clear that the U.S. is the biggest terrorist of all.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.





Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

From A World to Win News Service:

Mexico: the anniversary of a massacre amid continuing massacres

October 14, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


October, 2012. A World to Win News Service. The Tlatelolco massacre that took place 44 years ago continues to cast its shadow on the political landscape of Mexico.

During the summer of 1968, a movement among secondary school, vocational and university students, linked to the radical upheaval then sweeping the world, had to face the police and the army from the start. In response to the violent attacks on occupied schools, students went to give out leaflets and talk to people on buses, at markets and factory gates, and in rural areas to build a broad social movement that brought the question of revolution to many minds.

On October 2, 1968, shortly before the start of the Olympic Games, tens of thousands of students and local residents gathered for a political rally in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City. The government had spent an enormous amount of money so that it could bask in the prestige of the first Olympic Games to be held in a third world country and was not about to allow its authority and legitimacy to be challenged.

Thousands of troops and hundreds of small tanks surrounded the area. Members of the Olympic Brigade, a secret Special Forces unit of the Presidential Guard, infiltrated the crowd. A helicopter began dropping flares. That was the signal for the Brigade members to open fire. Soldiers, police and plainclothesmen also began shooting. At least one machine gun set up in a 19th-story apartment fired into the plaza below. Olympic Brigade units entered the plaza to arrest student leaders. They went house to house in the nearby apartment buildings throughout the night, searching for students. During that afternoon and through the following night they killed hundreds of people and rounded up thousands more.

As Minister of the Interior, Luis Echeverria was in charge of the Tlatelolco massacre. Three years later, under his presidency on June 10, 1971, an elite U.S.-trained paramilitary unit known as The Hawks assaulted a student demonstration in Mexico City, beating and shooting to death more than 100 people. 

On the 30th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre, President Vincente Fox of the PAN (National Action Party), whose election put an end to the 70-year reign of the PRI (Institutional Revolution Party), released documents that essentially revealed that the government's version of the event—that the students themselves had started shooting to provoke the soldiers—was a lie. It was impossible for Fox to distance himself from the hated past without that kind of step. In 2006, former president Echeverria was arrested and accused of genocide, but the charges against him were eventually dropped under the pretext that too much time had passed. He is still alive. During this period, secret documents obtained by a U.S. academic research organization revealed that U.S. armed forces provided the Mexican government with military equipment to be used against the people, and the CIA was in continual contact with it during the 1968 "crisis." 

October 2 is now officially a "national day of mourning" and tens of thousands of people marched in the capital on the 40th anniversary of Tlatelolco. But those responsible for the massacre have never been punished. Further, despite the emergence of competing political parties, all three of Mexico's major parties, the PRI (recently elected to head the next Mexican government), the PAN (the current governing party, which paints itself as a champion of "democracy") and the "leftist" PRD, have, in one way or another, continued to be involved in the carrying out of state murders and massacres.

The following article is from Aurora Roja, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR) of Mexico. ( We have added explanations in brackets for non-Mexican readers.


Down with the murderer state!

Arresting people without cause, torturing them, making them disappear, murdering them: these are the normal procedures of the Mexican state. People hope that it can change through reforms or by electing new faces, but the facts demonstrate that won't work.

The 1968 murders remain unpunished because the state hasn't changed

In 1968 youth rebelled against bloody state repression. They shattered the suffocating routine and challenged the social order. Why did the state massacre hundreds of people in Tlatelolco on October 2? Why did it jail 2,000 more? Why did the mainstream media broadcast the official lie that "It was the students who started the shooting," and that only 20 or 30 died? To maintain and reinforce their monopoly of power. They wanted to send a message written in blood to all those who dared question it—the message that, as Rojo Amanecer [a well-known film about the Tlatelolco massacre] put it, "You can't play games with the state."

If, as is said, the state represents "the Mexican people," then why does it repress the people it supposedly represents? The truth is that it only represents a small minority which accumulates wealth and benefits from the current system, the Mexican and foreign big capitalists and landowners. It represses any popular opposition that threatens or even disturbs the functioning of the ruling capitalist order (if that opposition can't be brought to heel by other means).

Now, 44 years after the massacre, and despite the special prosecutor's office that has been "investigating the crimes of the past" for six years, none of those responsible have been punished for the murders of October 2 and the other crimes committed in 1968 and 1971. Despite the reforms and the "democratic transition," in essence we are still facing the same state that defends the same system and represents the same ruling classes.

The state is still massacring people

Experience shows that all the governmental parties and all the heads of state defend the interests of the system.

Acteal—December 1997: Forty-five Tzoztil Indian peasants were killed by paramilitaries trained and armed by the Mexican Army. The government applied the label "inter-community conflict" to a massacre that was part of their strategy for dealing with the Indian uprising and the EZLN [the Zapatistas]. They aim to smash peasant resistance to the capitalist-landlord state that denies autonomy for indigenous peoples and pillages and destroys peasant communities in the service of capitalist projects. Acting on a request by [current President Felipe] Calderon, the U.S. State Department recently recommended that [ex-president Ernesto] Zedillo, the main figure responsible for this horrendous crime, be granted "immunity." The PRI, the PAN, Obama and Hillary Clinton (of the U.S. imperialists' Democratic Party) are granting impunity to the intellectual authors of this massacre. Today the same strategy of using paramilitaries to kill people is being carried out in Chiapas, Michoacan, against the Purechas Indians in Cheran and the Nahuas in Ostula, and in many other parts of the country.

Atenco—May 2006: In a campaign against street vendors of flowers, the local police in Texcoco (a municipality run by the PRD) detained 84 people. Then the Federal Preventative Police (under the government of the PAN's then-president Vicente Fox) and the state of Mexico police (under Enrique Pena Nieto [now the PRI president-elect]) surrounded San Salvador Atenco and arrested 84 people. In Atenco they searched houses, robbed and beat people, and killed two youths. In all they jailed 146 people and raped 26 women in detention, in an attempt to smash just resistance to their monopoly on power. This is another state crime that remains unpunished. Pena Nieto's effort to justify it at the Ibero-American university contributed to the birth of the #YoSoy132 movement [a major ongoing wave of protest that first emerged last spring when students disrupted Pena Pieto's speech. A previous issue of Aurora Roja described it as"the expression in Mexico of a new political awakening now breaking out in major areas of the world reflected in the Arab rebellions, the Occupy movement, the Indignados in Spain, etc."].

Oaxaca—June 2006: The brutal repression of a school teachers' sit-in (ordered by the PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz) was the spark that set off a popular rebellion in Oaxaca. People built street barricades and took over radio stations to broadcast the truth. Hundreds of thousands of people marched. The police, the Army and their death squads murdered at least 26 people. After five months of heroic resistance, President Fox (of the PAN) ordered the Preventative Police to smash the rebellion and assure the "proper functioning" of the system. Oaxaca governor Gabino Cue (nominated as candidate by the PRD, MC [his own party, the Citizens' Movement] and the PAN) are still covering up the crimes of the previous regime and committing new crimes.  

Political assassinations in the capital

In the DF (capital district) the PRD governments covered up the political murders of people's activists. It also viciously repressed the strikers at the national university, protests against the invasion of Iraq and others in support of Atenco, and, among many other crimes, caused the death of youth in the New's Divine [a Mexico City bar where a 2008 police raid led to the death of a dozen people who suffocated when they were crushed against the blocked exits as the crowd tried to escape brutal beatings].

Digna Ochoa, a brave defender of the pro-ecology peasants in Petatlan, Guerrero state, was the victim of a cowardly assassination in her office on October 19, 2001, after repeated threats and attacks. The evidence points to the caciques [political bosses] in that region and the Army as the perpetrators, but the capital district prosecutor closed the case with the absurd claim that she committed suicide.

Pavel Gonzalez, a student at the national university and political activist, disappeared from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters on April 19, 2004. He was tortured and killed five days later, on the fifth anniversary of the student strike in which he had participated. His body was covered with bruises, and the fingerprints of his murderers could be seen on his neck. He was found tied to a cross on a hill called Pico de Aguila in Ajusco. Once again the capital district prosecutor declared this death a suicide.

Carlos Sinhue Cuevas Mejia, a teaching intern at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the national university, was murdered on October 26, 2011. Carlos was also a student striker, and a political activist. During 2009-11 he was defamed and threatened in a series of leaflets signed by a so-called "Emiliano Zapata Revolutionary Collective," a phantom group whose only activity was to accuse authentic people's activists of being "infiltrators." These leaflets appeared on campus anonymously, and the authorities made no attempt to hinder their distribution. Carlos participated in the movements to support the SME [striking electrical workers], the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copla and street vendors, and against repression, militarization and many other injustices and crimes committed by the state. The prosecutor's office totally failed to investigate the political harassment that he had suffered. Miguel Mancera, the chief prosecutor at that time, immediately declared that Carlos' death might be a "crime of passion." He is now trying to close the case, covering up this political assassination by claiming that it was linked to petty drug dealing.

Criminalizing the victims to protect the real criminals

With the smoke screen of the "war against drug trafficking" and acting at the behest of the U.S., over the last six years the Mexican state has created a generalized climate of terror against the population in general, particularly youth and the lower classes. Think about the real people behind these statistics: 30,000 disappeared, 250,000 people forcibly displaced, 20,000 orphans. A November 2011 report by Human Rights Watch documents extra-judicial executions, disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions by the armed forces and police, calling them "endemic in the war against drug trafficking in Mexico." The state commits such crimes on a daily basis, not because it seeks to "protect the citizenry" or "wipe out organized crime," but rather to control the drug business, reinforce its repressive machinery, and dominate, degrade and criminalize the oppressed. The aim is to prevent any insurgency that might have revolutionary potential, even before it breaks out.

This state is an accomplice to the kidnapping, extortion and disappearance of thousands of immigrants from Central America. It is in collusion with the feminicides [the still-unresolved murders of hundreds of women] and the disappearance of women who are sold into sexual slavery. It is in collusion with the death squads such as the Matazetas in Veracruz, who rather than killing Zetas [a major drug organization] massacred 35 innocent people. And soldiers and police themselves are killing many people, like the six members of the Reyes Salazar family murdered by the Army in Valle de Guadalupe, Chihuahua, in 2009-11, and the 50 people "disappeared" by the Navy in the corridor between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo in June 2011.

Fight the repression, prepare for revolution

These are only a few examples of the thousands of crimes that demonstrate the murderous nature of this state that ensures and exercises the ruling classes' monopoly on political power, concentrated in their monopoly of so-called "legitimate" armed force. The character and role of this state hasn't changed and cannot change as a result of reforms and changes in the governing political party or president.

This state and this system do not deserve to last, nor is it inevitable that they will. They can be swept away by the revolutionary struggle of the people whom they have so long and so cruelly exploited and oppressed—the great majority of people. The system is full of contradictions that can lead to crises that shake the people awake and force them to act, in one way or another. In order that the people act according to their own interests, right now we need to forge a movement for revolution that fights against repression as part of the struggle to finally smash this state and the system it defends, liberate the country from imperialist domination and create a much better society that struggles to put an end to all exploitation and oppression and for the emancipation of all of humanity in a communist world. Denouncing these crimes and unmasking the state that commits them will contribute to accelerating this revolution—it will contribute to forging the consciousness, fighting capacity and organization that are required to achieve that goal.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.





Revolution #282 October 7, 2012

Slutwalk 2012 in Chicago, and the impact of "Stop Patriarchy..."

October 15, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


September 29 was bright, sunny, and a very inspiring day in the Windy City. Hundreds of people—mainly defiant young women—came together for "Slutwalk," rallying and marching through the streets of Chicago. This outpouring in Chicago is part of an international movement that has sprung up since last year in cities across the planet, demanding an end to the rape and sexual assault of women and taking on the whole culture of "blame the victim" and a consensus of silence throughout society which supports a heightened degradation of women.

Many of the women attending Slutwalk are from colleges in the Chicago area, some dressed in provocative ways in a highly theatrical attempt to "flip the script" on the sentiment expressed by a Toronto police officer who provoked the "Slutwalk" movement in 2011 by declaring that women who didn't want to be raped should "avoid dressing like sluts." In Chicago's Loop this year, hundreds of young women took to the streets—in anger and yes, in joy—joined by older women, young Black, white and Latino men, and whole families attending in support of their daughters who survived sexual assault or who died at the hands of their attackers.

A group of us came down to unite with this powerful and very welcome manifestation and to raise a banner saying "STOP PATRIARCHY, RESIST THE CULTURE OF RAPE AND PORNOGRAPHY—STAND UP FOR ABORTION RIGHTS," Some of us were wearing our Revolution tee-shirts and some the "stop" shirt, with the slogan "If You Can't Imagine Sex without Porn, You're Fucked!" A couple of us got out the stop palmcards and other materials, while others got out Revolution newspaper and did thumbnail interviews with the people participating in the event. Slutwalk snaked through the streets chanting "Blame the System, not the Victim," and then many got up to the mic, again and again and from all sorts of points of view to denounce the crimes against women and how it affects all of us. Our group definitely impacted Slutwalk with our advanced expressions, and most especially with our stickers that went viral among this highly receptive crowd: everywhere and on many body parts, you saw the flashes of neon, emblazoned with the slogan from the stop patriarchy shirt as well as "Imagine (crossed out)—Create—a World Without Rape" and "Abortion on Demand without Apology." People gave generously, so that we raised more than $150 on the day. And people poured out their rich thinking about all this to us, expressing their fury at the nightmare that half of humanity faces and their hopes for a better world, and also told us what struck them about what it would take to end this age-old and worldwide oppression of women and the fact that some of us were saying it would take communist revolution to end this and were calling on them to be part of that.

A 25-year-old white working class woman from a small town in Illinois told us, "I came here because I am a rape victim myself. I was actually raped by a cousin at 4 years old and it continued till I was about 10 years old! I came here to support my best friend who committed suicide my junior year in high school because this happened to her! By her own father. Since she was two years old. Her father did not go to jail. Because he knew the police in my town. And when I see the police here today, hemming us in, I say, 'Fuck the Police!'"

A college student from the Mexican community told us, "Rape can happen to anyone. I was on campus wearing a tee-shirt and sweat pants when I was sexually assaulted. I was not looking for it! The thing that infuriates me the most is that they say it is the victim to blame! We are not to blame!" Her mother responded to what Revolution was putting forward, "Overthrowing this entire society and all its institutions and ideas strikes me as radical. But a culture of rape may demand a radical solution. If all we can do under this government is try to vote out a lot of this and that just doesn't work, well, then I say whatever it will take!"

A young woman who works in the fashion industry and is a dominatrix in the BDSM scene told us, "When I saw your banner saying 'stop patriarchy' I just ran to grab it!" When confronted with our point of view, insisting that we must fight for a new society where no woman sells herself, she confided, "I didn't ask to be a sex worker. Yes, being a dominatrix wears on you. It colors your whole view of humanity . . . not just your view of men."

A 35-year-old woman told us, "I am Brazilian. I moved to the States when I was 13. I've been exotified and eroticized all throughout school from the time I was 13. Parents, teachers, boys in school, all telling me that I dressed 'slutty.' ... I work with middle schoolers today. And the messages these girls receive if they are interested in having some type of relationship with boys or other girls, that they are sluts, that they are whores and dykes. This is ridiculous! They are kids! Exploring their sexuality and I think it's perfectly normal... I was at Slutwalk in Rio for 2011. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my city. Rio is a city full of macho culture. There are tourists that go to Rio just for the sex, just for the women. The main thing exported from Rio is images of women, of Carnivale. I think it was very powerful to have women in the streets of Rio not for Carnivale, not for men to grab. But women who were playing drums, doing martial arts in the streets, capoeira. We were no longer sexual objects. We are fierce, fearless, we are strong. We can wear what we want. We are not for men to gawk at. We are not sexual objects."

Chicago Slutwalk, September 29, 2012
Chicago Slutwalk, September 29, 2012