Revolution #295, February 17, 2013 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Announcing the Premiere of a Film of a Major Talk by Bob Avakian in the Fall of 2012:

BA Speaks:

REVOLUTION—

NOTHING LESS!

February 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“Yes, this is a film, but that is not its essence.  This is a daring,  substantive, scientific summoning to revolution.  6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life.  Is this hype?  No.”

From one of the filmmakers

Download Poster of this page
Download Leaflet of this page
(both PDF for print)


MORE ON THE FILM:


**Information about time, locations and tickets.

**Promotional materials

**Timeline and more on building for the premieres

If humanity is going to fight its way out of this horrific nightmare and create a world where human beings can rise to their full potential and truly flourish, it will be because of the work and leadership of Bob Avakian. And it will be because people—beginning with YOU—get into this work, get with this leadership, and fight for others to do the same.

In March, a new film of a major speech given by Bob Avakian in the fall of 2012 will premiere. This film can make a world of difference in a world that needs nothing more than to be radically different. Whether that happens depends on us.

In darkened theaters in major cities around this country, crowds will settle into their seats and voices will hush as the leader of the revolution is projected onto the big screen. BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! will open people’s eyes to the world around them as they have never seen it before.

It is possible to put an end to a situation where 10 million children die in the Third World each year from malnutrition and preventable disease...

It is possible to end the centuries of terror, brutality, exploitation, and now mass incarceration of Black people, and the oppression of other peoples of color that this system has fed off and still feeds off...

It is possible to create a world without the global epidemic of rape, violence, oppression, and degradation of women...

It is possible to end forever the devastation of war and to take dramatic steps to overcome the environmental emergency and halt the destruction of the environment...

It is possible for people—including people who today are caught up in all kinds of bullshit, some of it quite harmful—to rise up above the muck and mire and become emancipators of humanity...

It is possible to end the exploitation at the root of it all, the insane profit-driven madness of capitalism that leaves billions in misery—and all of humanity alienated from and pitted against one another...

It is possible to bring into being a world where people contribute what they can and get back what they need to not only survive, but to really flourish culturally, intellectually, and in their interactions with each other...

But all this requires: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

And when BA Speaks, it is clear that there is the vision and concrete plan for a whole new, and radically better, world. When BA Speaks, you learn about the scientific understanding and the strategy necessary to make this revolution—this real communist revolution—to bring in a whole new epoch where humanity can truly flourish, free from all forms of exploitation and oppression. When BA Speaks, you see and hear the leadership of this revolution.

REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This movie will be here, soon. The problem—and the solution—will be here. And YOU need to be here. Up against all this, it is not acceptable to simply look out for yourself or your family. It is not acceptable to try to do a little bit of good in your small corner of the world, while life on this planet grows more hellish each day. And no, it is not even acceptable to let the many truly crushing horrors and sacrifices of life keep you from engaging these answers.

As BA has said, “If you’re serious—and this is serious—dig into it and learn about it. That’s your responsibility.”

REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Don’t miss it.

Clear your schedules and come with an open mind and a sincere heart. Come driven by the weight of what humanity is facing and by the burning desire to see a whole new day for humanity. Come with everyone you know, and join with others who are seeking the way out and the way forward.

Get With It!

 

 


 

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Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Promoting the New Film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live
and Building the Movement for Revolution

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Editor’s note: Two correspondences in this issue of Revolution give a living picture of important advances to learn from, and advance off of in making the premiere of the film of a major talk, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! a giant step forward in building a movement for revolution.

These two reports, one from LA, another from a college campus, give a feel for what it means to take out the message REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—with no apologies. They shed light on what is going on “beneath the surface” in people’s lives and people’s thinking, and the basis and means for getting people out of a lot of illusions about this system, and into revolution. The reports reveal new ground conquered in finding the ways to make the premiere showings of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! everything they need to be—even as there are many more rivers to cross to make that happen.

One thing that stands out in the experiences written up in these reports is that there are no concessions to the bullshit floating around out there that does not address the real situation, and provide a real solution to the horrors this capitalist-imperialist system continues to bring to the vast majority of humanity. Instead, they give a feel for people grounding themselves more and more deeply in serious revolutionary analysis and challenging others to do that. This is not hype—this is real.

All of us need to take up this same orientation and in the same spirit go out to people all over, jumping off the discussion and debate and drawing more people into the movement we are building. And we call on people to take special note: beginning this week, there are promotional materials available for download and printing at revcom.us. Imagine the image that appears on the front page of this issue popping up everywhere, causing people to immediately stop and take notice. Imagine cards circulating in projects and on high school and college campuses, getting out all over certain neighborhoods as store owners and others distribute them, being passed out at concerts and other cultural events and just about any place where people congregate. People all over society should know about this film.

And these reports give a beginning picture of what it means to draw on, and really challenge people to get into—and then get out to others—with the interview Michael Slate did with BA, learning from how BA speaks to everything from conventional wisdom (i.e., conventional bullshit) about “human nature” to a real understanding of what is human liberation, and how is that different from and opposed to views out there that revolution means everyone “doing their own thing” as the ultimate goal, even as only revolution can unleash unprecedented human individuality and creativity.

As a key part of making these premieres a giant step, a big turning point in society where people know about the real revolution, and where a bigger and stronger core is forged to lead the movement for revolution—we have to do much better in working to accomplish the challenge of what communist revolutionaries call “accumulating forces for revolution.”

Here’s a paragraph from “On the Strategy for Revolution” that breaks down what this means:

“All along the way, both in more ‘normal times’ and especially in times of sharp breaks with the ‘normal routine,’ it is necessary to be working consistently to accumulate forces—to prepare minds and organize people in growing numbers—for revolution, among all those who can be rallied to the revolutionary cause. Among the millions and millions who catch hell in the hardest ways every day under this system. But also among many others who may not, on a daily basis, feel the hardest edge of this system’s oppression but are demeaned and degraded, are alienated and often outraged, by what this system does, the relations among people it promotes and enforces, the brutality this embodies.”

And, in many ways at the heart of that, the statement on strategy says:

To learn from the Chairman of our Party, Bob Avakian, spread the knowledge and influence of his pathbreaking leadership, and defend and protect this rare and precious leader. Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960s to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the Party and the revolutionary movement, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the great achievements and the serious problems and errors—and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world. It is crucial for growing numbers of people to know about and study his talks and writings...to defend and protect him...to take up the leadership he is providing, which opens new pathways for revolution.”

The challenge to solve out in the communities, on campuses and beyond is to do both of these things—accumulate forces for revolution, and get into BA—in a way that creates a dynamic force that is growing in strength and substance. Right on the spot: active involvement and simultaneous engagement with BA’s works! And as this happens building all the time for a wide range of people—from the neighborhoods to the campuses and beyond—to be in the house for these premieres.

We have to, for instance, find ways for them to listen to and spread Bob Avakian’s Revolution talk (available on DVD and at revcom.us/avakian). In 2003, BA delivered this historic talk in the U.S., and it is a wide-ranging revolutionary journey full of heart and soul that breaks down the very nature of the society we live in, and how humanity has come to a time when a radically different society is possible. You’ll find that video, and a whole pathway into BA’s work, at revcom.us/avakian.

There needs to be a vibrant, dynamic back and forth, on every level, between “out to the masses” with the revolution and “get into BA” on many levels, in many ways.

IMPORTANT: Revolution wants to hear about what you are doing—the advances, but also the obstacles you encounter, your thinking on how to overcome these, and ideas that are sparked by what you are reading here from others involved in this, and at revcom.us. Send reports to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 


 

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Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

A Day on Campus

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a member of the NYC Revolution Club:

It was a busy afternoon at a major college in a big city, a lot of students from the bottom of society who’ve grown up in projects or immigrant communities. Word spread through the cafeteria as a flier went out that read “REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!,” letting people know about the upcoming premiere of the film of the new talk by Bob Avakian. We challenged people that Obama has been worse than Bush and called on them to listen to the new interview with Bob Avakian on The Michael Slate Show. We invited students to come out to the steps to listen together. A group of Black women argued how there’s no way this could be true about Obama because “Bush tore this country apart.” In another corner of the cafeteria a cluster of young men wanted to know, “Why do communists think that abortion is not murder, why do you think opposing abortion has to do with keeping women down?”

Then two young women, freshmen, stopped to ask for a flier, one African-American, the other Asian. One said her friend told her about Marxism but she’s not really sure how to know what’s for real because there’s all these different ideas. We talked some about how it’s important to search for the truth, that right now on campus there is not enough contestation of ideas like there was in the ’60s when people could hear different points of view on what the problem and solution is and many were lifting their heads to be part of changing things. That’s not the case now, but we need to create that, and students like them need to be part of changing things with the Revolution Club as they learn more. Little did they know they were about to get a taste of that contestation.

At 1 pm we went out to the steps and arrived to a scene that unfortunately is far too much of the status quo—three young women holding court on why students need to come to bible study—“everyone is full of sin...but the good news is that god forgives you for these sins if you pray to him and ask for his forgiveness.”

We dove in—

“We’re the revolution! We say you don’t need prayer, we don’t need to get down on our knees, we need to make a revolution. The reason people suffer is not because they’re sinners, it’s because of this system! The reason Black youth are harassed by the police and incarcerated in mass numbers is not because they sag their pants or ’cause of sin. It’s ’cause a system has taken their jobs, criminalized them, and is carrying out slow genocide. We need a revolution to solve all that, and it’s possible! Some of you came to hear Bob Avakian and find out about how the world could be different. We’re gonna play an interview with him and people need to hear it!”

There was definitely a section of students that welcomed the challenge. The religious forces chimed back in, but before they could make their point another student, a guy from a group called the Spartacist League (one of so-called “left” groups that’s only about dried-up dogma, to paraphrase BA in his spoken word piece “All Played Out”), was running some bullshit slander and attacks on the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian, spewing out nothing but lies and distortion that won’t help people to actually compare and contrast different programs. Just to give a sense of the shamefulness of it, as we were there challenging people to not get with Obama, his program, and the system he is the commander-in-chief of, but to be part of working on the revolution (all of which this guy had absolutely NOTHING to say about), he was claiming that the RCP leads people to get behind the Democratic Party and then running the tired old narrow shit that if workers strike then society can’t function, and that someday, somehow this will simultaneously happen and somehow lead to a revolution that is not about emancipating humanity but furthering the rights of workers. This doesn’t have anything to do with reality or actually making revolution in the world today.

To this, we called straight up, “Everything this guy says is BULLSHIT!” and the debate broke open on another level. One of us got up and challenged people that if they are serious they need to compare and contrast the different programs, look at what’s being put forward and think about what’s really going to lead to liberation. Clusters of students on the stairs were listening and drawn into all this. People liked the controversy and wanted to hear what it was about. They wanted to hear what each side was arguing and figure out where they fell out. This was no longer business as usual on campus. A crowd of another 20 students came out of the cafeteria and gathered around at the bottom of the stairs watching and talking among themselves. A young artsy looking Black guy in a funky sweater started holding up his flier promoting the fashion and culture that he’s into. Others got out their cell phones to capture the debate. A young woman sitting with a couple friends near where the debate was happening started giving direction. She wanted to actually hear the arguments being made, so if one side would start to interrupt the other, she would hold up her hand and tell them to wait, and when people wanted to respond she would call on them to make sure they would be heard. She became our moderator struggling for an atmosphere where people’s arguments would be heard, and threw into the discussion herself.

We brought out how there’s something wrong with the method of claiming to be an authority on something and then spreading lies, but not actually dealing with what’s going on in the world, or raising principled differences with the actual line of the RCP. We read from BAsics 2:1, “Communism: A Whole New World and the Emancipation of All Humanity—Not ‘The Last Shall Be First and First Shall Be Last.’” We brought out the slogan “Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution,” and read BAsics 3:1 about how “We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

In the midst of the debate the guy with the sweater had put down his flier and was fixated on the back and forth, and chimed in, “Wait, do we make revolution here or is it all around the world, because you said emancipators of humanity, so I’m just confused about what you are referring to.” This is very different than the 1960s when there was a widespread sentiment among students and others of an internationalist stand of American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. We opened up the Revolution centerfold with BAsics 1:13 and the image of a girl sitting atop a heap of garbage, holding her baby brother while her parents search through the trash for items to sell. This image sharpened things up. One woman in the cafeteria had asked, “How am I supposed to care about that when we have our own problems here?” This American chauvinism is pervasive.

At one point someone from the Revolution Club stepped up and called on people to get with the club and be part of taking up the slogans “Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism” and “Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.” They challenged people to go on the cell phones right then to hear the interview with BA at revcom.us, and some of them looked up the site. One of us put the interview on for a young white guy with long hair, jeans and a black T-shirt a la ’90s grunge, who came to the steps with his friend. He is someone that wants to see radical change, and expressed to us that he was not too impressed with what he heard from other groups on campus before. He was very excited about the back and forth. At first he said he would rather listen to the revolutionaries there who were agitating. We said, “Oh no—you’ve never heard anyone like BA,” and that BA is on a whole other level and when you get into BA you learn about the possibility of revolution today. This won over this student to listening to a big chunk of the interview right there.

As all this unfolded we went up and down the steps and through the crowd getting out palm cards about the BA interviews on the Slate show and with Cornel West. A Black woman in her 40s was drawn to the debate. She told us, “What you are doing is good, but aren’t you daunted by how people think here?” She was challenged to hear that we are out to erect a revolutionary pole over the next six weeks building for the premiere of the film. She bought a copy of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), and we talked about how she could be part of this message spreading on campus.

The guy from the Spartacist League made several comments about how the women in the pornography he’s watching don’t look like they’re suffering and they seem to be enjoying it. We took on what this opportunist fool said, upholding the putrid culture and enslaving oppressive relations of women while alleging we are against sex and want to repress people. “Yes, we’re against pornography—if you can’t imagine sex without porn, you’re fucked! It fuels rape, and it’s not about sex, it’s about sexualized violence against women. It’s degrading; it’s happening in the context of a society where one in four women in college will be raped or sexually assaulted, where violence against women is rampant, where a whole war on women is going on. We’re for the full liberation of women and ending all oppressive relations through revolution.”

This kicked off a whole other round of debate. At one point there was a cluster of people going back and forth on pornography and the oppression of women overall in a heated exchange with the revolutionaries, including with a guy who felt compelled to come down the stairs and make his argument to the communists, that went from pornography to human nature, to “if communism is so right, why did the Soviet Union fail?” As this was going on several groupings of students were talking among themselves, while two guys were listening on a phone to the interview with BA. There was a palpable energy from this ferment that stopped passersby and that everyone who was part of it will remember. Many people, the majority on the steps, stayed through the entire discussion.

The terms of the argument people made around women’s oppression and porn were largely that this is a question of people having the “choice” to watch what they want to watch or be in pornography if they want to be in it, and even that this can be empowering for women. The “moderator” made clear that she liked a lot of what we had to say, but on this she had to disagree. One guy had been listening the whole time but was very quiet, didn’t say much himself. Afterwards he came up to us and said, “I think I agree with you more.”

As much as people liked the debate and responded positively, they knew very little about the reality in the world, and very often proceeded from “this is my point of view” and “we all have different points of view.” There was repeated struggle for people to look at the reality in the world. We asked, “How many people here voted for Obama?” A young woman in the back nodded, and everyone on the steps was listening intently. “When you voted for Obama did you vote for children in Pakistan to be killed by Predator drones? Did you vote for him to continue the war in Afghanistan?” There was a fight for people to see that what we were bringing was not just “controversial ideas” or “our thing” but a movement for revolution, and the leadership we need to actually get to a whole different world. And who are the forces for revolution? If you want to hear a real analysis of the forces for revolution, listen to Cornel West’s interview with BA, listen to part 3 of the interview with BA by Michael Slate at revcom.us.

Towards the end, our moderator said that she wanted to hear more about all this but that she was “Switzerland.” “No you’re not!” we replied. “When it comes to what the reality is and how we’re going to change things there’s no such thing.” Again we opened the centerfold of the newspaper. “When it comes to how we’re going to end this, there is no neutrality.” This was another trend throughout the day—many interested students claimed a position of neutrality, but there’s no such thing! Not when your government is murdering innocent civilians through Predator drones, or the right to abortion is increasingly being lost, and all the horrors of this system continue throughout the planet. I wouldn’t say she was won over, but she responded positively to this challenge.

About two-thirds of the way through all this, we noticed the two young women from the cafeteria sitting towards the top of the stairs taking all this in. The young Black woman said she was trying to sift through all this. It’s an important thing when people begin to contrast different lines.

All this was not in an immediate sense what we were planning or thinking about for that day, but this is exactly what we need to be doing. This is what happens when we plant a pole of revolution, when we take on all the false pathways and so-called solutions that lead people to be part of tightening the chains of oppression and the world staying intact. Everyone, from the religious forces, to the backwards opportunists, to the students that are searching, to the people who the day before weren’t even thinking about any of this, are compelled and impelled to relate to the revolution. Something got opened up, something was stirred—and now this has to be taken forward. It was a new day on campus.

 

 


 

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Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Bringing Revolution to the Ramarley Graham Protest

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution interviewed two members of the NYC Revolution Club who were part of a team that went out to the march to a police precinct in the Bronx on February 2, the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Ramarley Graham. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Revolution: Can you give our readers a sense of how the Club took out the message of revolution and the premiere of the film of the new talk Bob Avakian Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! to the protest?

Noche: We went as part of the call to mark that day as a day of struggle, part of the month of struggle in February, to the Bronx, where the murder of Ramarley Graham actually happened. We started sending this message and getting this out before we got there—on the way there, on the trains. We were on public transportation, and agitating and selling Revolution newspaper. It's been a year since the murder, and there's been no justice. But what has been going on, with another year under this system continuing to grind up lives? The continuing genocide that goes on with the murders of Black and Latino youth and the imprisonment of millions... wars... the destruction of the environment... the war on women. Nothing less than revolution is what's needed to put an end to this. And we put out that the Revolution Club is building this movement for revolution. And with this film coming out in March, people are going to have the opportunity to hear from the leader of this revolution speak about why nothing less than revolution can deal with all these problems and how we can actually go about making that revolution.

In a half hour we sold about 30 to 40 newspapers. And we did stir up conversation about not just what had happened with Ramarley Graham, though that was part of it, but also what's the problem and what's the solution. Including one woman trying to argue that we're all "sinners" and we need to repent and pray. We took that on right away—this is how they keep people enslaved, they got us thinking that things like Ramarley Graham happen because we're all sinners and it's our fault and we need to pray. But Bob Avakian says we don't have to live this way and we can actually end all this—and that's going to take revolution and nothing less. We got the whole subway car going.

J: Part of the orientation we went out there with is to struggle with people to really get with this, and challenge the different frameworks that are out there from the standpoint of revolution, nothing less, is going to get rid of all these problems that people face every day. So it definitely was a moment that sharpened up a lot of things in terms of people's frameworks: could we do this or can't we do this within the framework of the system and the confines of it? We're coming in there, in the midst of all these different frameworks and saying revolution, nothing less, is going to get rid of all this. And as the brother was saying, on the way up, a half hour on the train, you could feel the impact that orientation had, and people looked at this differently when we posed it that way. So this is a big part of the way we're actually going to be doing our work in the upcoming period leading up to this film.

After you get off the train, you gotta get out in the streets. It was a protest, and how we entered that was from the standpoint of revolution, nothing less, and that led to a lot of sharp struggle. There were people in the protest that weren't revolutionary, people that were looking for some different way out of this, looking for a way, you know, that these kids could get stopped getting killed by the police and this kind of thing could get stopped happening, but it wasn't from that standpoint. So it was very polarizing for people. We had an interesting day.

Revolution: So you went into this protest against a real injustice, the police murder of Ramarley Graham, and it's right for people to fight against that, but there were people with different kinds of, as you said, frameworks out there that aren't about the real problem and real solution. What did you do, and what was the response?

Noche: Well, there's different levels to that. One was that there was a diverse array of forces out there as part of this, for different reasons and different perspectives. We were there also with a contingent from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, saying this needs to be part of this month of struggle and not just marking another day going by where there's no justice. The way the front page of Revolution newspaper put it was, "It's up to us." There were some people there who said that what was needed was to vote for this or that mayor or to pass this or that legislation or maybe to get more involved in the community affairs police. So there was a lot of stuff that was straight-up bullshit. We were saying no, what that day needed to be was a day of struggle. But where does that struggle need to go? Yes, justice for Ramarley Graham. But even the family has said this is not just about Ramarley, it's about all the youth that this happens to. And if you actually want to do something about that, you need a revolution and nothing less. That wasn't popular [laughs] necessarily amongst everybody there. There was contention around both of those things: whether or not this was going to be a vigil and a march that was actually going to be about fighting around this; and people were putting forward a lot of bullshit about what's the problem and what's the solution. People argued about whether or not the sagging pants was part of the problem. So the question of problem and solution came up because of what we stepped in there with and what we were projecting: revolution and nothing less being a cohering thing around the Club.

I got a chance to speak at the rally at the police precinct. I talked about how the police work overtime to make it clear to everybody what they're out there to do, which is not to protect and serve the people but to protect and serve this system. That's the problem. All this stuff about how with Obama everything's changed... is bullshit. The whole history of this country has proven that, from slavery to Jim Crow to now the New Jim Crow. And projecting that this revolution is real. The Revolution Club is here, building that movement for revolution. And in March, people are gonna have a chance to hear from the leader of the revolution lay it all out, why revolution, nothing less, is the solution, and how you can actually make that revolution. And right after I spoke, people came up to us—"What do we do?" There was one woman who came up and said, I'm so sick of what goes on. In my country (she was from South America), if people have a problem, we do something about it. She was raising up different questions about what people could do in a Third World country and what can you do here, and how do you actually go about making revolution in this country. We put out that pole out there. And even the dude who was saying some of this nonsense about sagging pants came back to talk to us, because he actually does hate what happens to people. He had a whole wrong and fucked-up view and framework of what's the problem and what's the solution. But when it was clear that there was a coherent message being put out, some people were drawn to that. The point wasn't to say something that everyone can agree with and be happy that we said. Including some people who were like, oh, they're just about Bob Avakian, they're not really about this struggle. People had to relate to what we were putting out, attack it or seek it out.

J: Coming off that, the orientation wasn't, we're going to go out there and say the most crazy, radical things in opposition to what people are saying, you know what I mean? Just for the sake of opposing what other people were saying—that's not what we went out there to do. We went out there to sharpen this struggle up and pose to people, what is the actual reality? That was the point. What is the reality? What is the problem? It's the system. And what's the solution? Revolution. That was one of the chants we were saying in the streets out there that day. Which is interesting, because it was part of struggle between different lines, the chants. We were coming up very creatively with different chants during the march; we even got the bullhorn for the chants.

Revolution: What were some of the chants?

J: One was the one I referred to: "What's the problem? The whole damn system. What's the solution? Revolution." And then another was, which really got sharp around what Noche was talking about: "I sag my pants. I rock my hoodie. NYPD, keep your hands off me." There were different forces that were like, what, you can't advocate for people to sag their pants. Then we had a whole struggle around that: what is actually the problem? It's not the problem that people are sagging their pants. What is the actual problem? The system and what it does to people and how it keeps people under these conditions. And the solution to that is actually revolution. So we were coming up with chants creatively and there was a lot of struggle in the crowd around that. It's not like everybody was against us or something. There were people who were feeling, like Noche said, they hate the way things are. That was the reason people were down there in the first place. Because they hate what happens to the youth all the time. It wasn't just about Ramarley Graham. In larger overall ways people hate what happens to people. But people have a lot of different ways they think what the problem and solution is, you know what I mean? That's why you have to come in there with some reality and science, with what the actual situation is. And then pose to people, what's the solution. Now that's going to be polarizing to people. It's not something that people sit around and think about and deal with every day. So we have to come into things with that.

Noche: Just to add to that. In addition to learning from what was accomplished, one of the things people should learn is, when you do something like that and open things up, that is an opportunity you have to be looking for, how to maximize. Which we're still trying to sum up how to more maximize, but including things like putting directly into people's hands ways they can start to go to work on making revolution, which we didn't do. Like that person who came up and said, "What do we do?" There's conveying and projecting and breaking down the strategy for revolution and what we're doing in an overall sense. But one of the things we have to get better at is more actually giving people ways to be part of the movement for revolution right now, including things like giving people ways they can take up right away to make this film premiere a big deal.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/294/promoting-the-new-film-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Promoting the New Film, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live and Building the Movement for Revolution

"From the First Seconds, the Controversy Ripped"

February 5, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“What’s the problem? THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM! What’s the solution? REVOLUTION!”  In a busy South Central L.A. shopping district this weekend, the Revolution hit the scene in a new way, arriving with a crew marching the four corners of a large intersection determined, tight, and on a mission with the message and title of Bob Avakian’s new talk: BA Speaks: Revolution­—Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live.  You couldn’t help take notice that something was happening.  People passing by stopped and grabbed for palmcards and newspapers, or just to look and see.  And when the marching stopped and the revolutionaries got on the bullhorn, things really got going.  They opened with the simple, radical truth that the situation for people here and around the world is intolerable, that it doesn’t have to be this way, that only revolution, nothing less, not voting, not Obama, not micro-loans, not praying to God, can solve what humanity is up against, and that we have the leadership, strategy, vision, and science to make this revolution.

From the first seconds, the controversy ripped.  Backward fools popped out to uphold Obama and try to put a stop to this whole scene, playing the role of keepers of the order saying things like, “you can’t come into this neighborhood and say that.”  The revolutionaries on the bullhorn called out to the people standing all around: “if you like the way the world is, you can step aside, we don’t have time for you.  But if you HATE this shit, if you think it’s intolerable, you need to get with BA and this movement for revolution we are building nationwide.”

Posting "More on Choices..." in laundry
"More on Choices...And Radical Changes" posted on laundry-room wall. Photo: Special to Revolution

Getting off the bus, people stepped into this sharply polarized scene.  Many were drawn forward and strengthened by it, stopping and coming over to talk with the revolutionaries. “I’ve never heard anybody say this out loud,” was one comment, and “You’re in the right place—people here need to hear this,” another.  An older Black man posed a serious question—how are you going to defeat the system?  A group of skaters debated what really is the problem, the government, the people themselves, or the system?  A white woman married to a Black man got the paper and said she hates the inhuman way police treat people and all the inhumanity of the system.  One guy who asked what this was about said he thought the corporations have too much power. After talking with people about the problem and solution, hearing that there is a way out and that BAsics answers the questions involved in making revolution today, he got a copy and said he was really glad to have walked down this street today and run into the revolution.

From the shopping area the crew went to a nearby Black and Latino neighborhood characterized by people catching hell every day under this system.  Not a lot of people were on the streets, but some opened the windows of their apartments to hear better when the revolutionaries came marching down the street chanting: “The system is evil, fight the power, transform the people, Revolution is what we need, to liberate humanity!”  As a sound truck played clips from Bob Avakian’s Revolution talk, the revolutionaries went into courtyards and knocked on doors, telling people the revolution is here and calling people to come out of their houses to hear Bob Avakian’s interview by Cornel West.  A student whose family is from Guatemala looked at the palm card he got and said, “Is this communism?  Ok!  I’ll be there!” and returned.  While he was listening to the interview, one of his friends came walking down the street and stopped, surprised to see him there with the revolutionaries, and told him, “Hey you’re supposed to be at the house so we can go to the concert.”  The student told him, “I’m listening to this, I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” and stayed to finish hearing it, commenting afterwards that many of his friends only see things in terms of Democrats and Republicans, and don’t know another way is possible.

Posting palmcards on doors

Posting palmcards on every door.
Photo: Special to Revolution

A Latina said she couldn’t go down to the corner to listen but wanted to know more about the revolution. “You guys are really addressing the bigger questions,” a Black man said, and donated for a CD of the Cornel West interview. A father walking up the street shared his concerns about his sons and all the youth destined to a life of oppression and oblivion even before they are born and seriously discussed the need for revolution to change that.

Throughout the day there was a sense that the revolution is real.  Some people took small amounts of palm cards as a way of participating in this movement, or donated pennies to dollars in the penny jars, or got a CD of one of the interviews with Bob Avakian or a copy of Revolution newspaper.  And the revolutionaries made sure everyone we talked to got the message: “We’ll be back next week!” so people could find us again, tell us their thoughts on the interview and the newspaper, share their experience with palm cards and other materials, and get more into the movement for revolution.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/audio/bob-avakian-interviewed-by-michael-slate-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

BOB AVAKIAN INTERVIEWED BY MICHAEL SLATE

February 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

BOB AVAKIAN INTERVIEWED BY MICHAEL SLATEMichael Slate's five-part radio interview with Bob Avakian is online now. The interview ranges widely over the questions that confront humanity in this world of sweatshops, slums, and environmental emergency. But permeating everything in it is the most compelling case that the nothing short of revolution can deal with the immense and unnecessary suffering people face on this planet.

This interview jolts people—to think outside the deadly confines of this system. And it is a crucial resource to find those who are ready, and readying those we meet, to come to the premiere of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on the best possible basis.

This interview is a tremendously dynamic factor for making the advances we need to make so the premieres of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! are really giant steps for the movement for revolution.

So play the audio everywhere. Get crowds of students listening on their phones, get artists playing it on their tablets, show homeless folks how to hear it on library computers and spread it by email. Let people sort themselves out – between those who can walk away—at least for now—and those who are compelled to listen and engage with real revolution.

Draw people out: help them think about what they are hearing. What are their questions? And how does the interview speak to them? And then return to the interview to dig in more deeply.

Organize listening sessions—formal and on the spot. If you are within reach of a Revolution  Books—join others there to hear the interview, discuss it, and take it out to others.

 

Part 1, aired January 11, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 2, aired January 18, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 3, aired January 25, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 4, aired February 1, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 5, aired February 8, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/one-year-since-murder-of-trayvon-martin-we-need-to-stop-this-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

One Year Since the Murder of Trayvon Martin

We Need to Stop This—Once and For All

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trayvon MartinFebruary 26—
One Year Since
the Racist Murder
of Trayvon Martin
A Day of Remembrance,
Defiance and Determination
A Modern
American Lynching
We Say “NO MORE!”

 

February 26 will mark one year since racist vigilante, George Zimmerman, gunned down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Protests, demanding justice, have been called for that day. They are needed. The only reason Zimmerman is even facing criminal charges today is that a year ago, people all over took to the streets, wore hoodies, carried signs “I am Trayvon,” and forced the system to do something it so rarely does: put the racist killer of a young Black man on trial.

But still there is no justice. And again, people need to be in the streets.

Lynchings Past and Present

A Statement by Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, issued last year, said:

“[T]he fact that yet another Emmett Till moment can arise—that yet another outrage of this kind can take place—today, more than 50 years after the original Emmett Till lynching, and that this murder of Trayvon Martin, shows very powerfully that, this time around, we must not settle for anything less than stopping this, once and for all—we must build a movement to really and finally put an end to these and countless other outrages that spew forth from this system, by sweeping away this system through revolution. This is deadly serious and we must take this up very seriously.” [go to revcom.us for the full statement]

Who was Emmett Till? In 1955, he was beaten and shot to death—beaten so badly he could barely be recognized, even by his mother. A 14-year-old boy lynched for whistling at a white woman (see “Emmett Till and Lynchings, Past and Present” by Bob Avakian at revcom.us).

Now here we are, over fifty years later. And Trayvon Martin, a young man minding his own business, coming back from buying some Skittles, is stalked, hunted down and murdered by a racist vigilante. And the murderer is still out of jail.

What kind of a system is this!?

Think about what the world has been like in the past year—since Trayvon Martin was murdered. This system has continued to destroy lives here and around the world. There is the continuing genocide that goes on with the murders of Black and Latino youth and the imprisonment of millions...there are U.S. drones killing people around the world...there is the destruction of the environment...the war on women rages on. One more year under this system. There’s been no justice, and there has been continuous escalation of great crimes against humanity.

Nothing less than revolution is what’s needed to put an end to this. And it is in that light that we must demand justice for Trayvon, and wage that struggle as part of building a movement for revolution.

Two things that the lynching of Emmett Till and the murder of Trayvon Martin have in common: One, they were part of an endless all-American tradition of lynching Black people. And two, because people refused to be silent, refused to be intimidated, refused to listen to the “voices of reason” (so-called) who preached faith in the (in)justice system... and only because of that... the powers-that-be felt forced to bring criminal charges against the killers.

But even, in those rare cases, when those who kill Black and Latino people—wearing a badge, a Klan robe, or racist vigilantes—face trial, they almost always walk free. Or, as in the case of the pig who murdered Oscar Grant on an Oakland, California, subway station platform, where the killing was captured on video, these killers do only a short stint in jail. And a signal is sent to others that there is a green light on killing young Blacks and Latinos.

The System Moves
to Let Zimmerman Walk

There is a danger now that the legal system will let the killer of Trayvon Martin walk. His killer has invoked Florida’s notorious “Stand Your Ground” law. That law says that a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if “He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

In fact, before all the protests, police and prosecutors in Florida were saying that Zimmerman had a right to kill Trayvon Martin under that law. Under pressure of protests, Florida prosecutors changed their position—at least formally and officially—and are now arguing that the law does not apply.

In a society stamped from top to bottom with white supremacy, these Stand Your Ground laws embolden racists to kill Black and Latino people.

But beyond that, by no stretch of the imagination can George Zimmerman—who got out of his vehicle against the advice of a 911 operator and stalked, confronted and killed Trayvon Martin make a reasonable claim that doing all that was necessary to prevent imminent death or a forcible felony. Zimmerman could have avoided any danger to himself—if he perceived there was any—by simply driving away. And he had no reasonable basis to believe Trayvon Martin was about to commit a forcible felony.

And finally, nobody should comfort themselves thinking that these same prosecutors, who were so quick to justify the killing of Trayvon under this Stand Your Ground law, and who serve the same system that sends youth like Trayvon to prison by the hundreds of thousands, are going to do much of anything to make the case that the law does not apply and Trayvon’s killer should face trial. At least that is going to be the case if there is not enough public outcry—and not just from Black and Latino youth, but from all kinds of people!

But just because this Stand Your Ground law is unjust, and shouldn’t apply here, doesn’t mean the system won’t use it to let Zimmerman go free. Think of all the lame excuses that have been used to justify the murder of Black people in America. Police in New York City shot Amadou Diallo 41 times for having a cell phone in the lobby of his apartment building. They shot at Sean Bell and his companions in NYC 31 times for pulling out of a parking space at a night club. And on and on. And the killers go free.

Again, in the very rare instances when racist killers are even brought to court, the whole system—from the prosecutors who are supposedly prosecuting them to the judges, to jury selection and the kind of media coverage that sets the tone for the trial—all work to deny justice.

That’s happening now, with Trayvon Martin.

In October, a court ruled that Zimmerman’s legal team could see Trayvon Martin’s school and Facebook records saying that Zimmerman has a right to “investigate the victim’s propensity for violence.” The court also gave them the right to subpoena Martin’s girlfriend’s Facebook and other social media records. Zimmerman’s attorney has said there is evidence that Martin engaged in mixed martial arts—which he says supposedly shows Trayvon’s “violence.”

And then the media has played its part—pumping out stories that are either lies or should be completely irrelevant to the facts of this case—that Trayvon was suspended from school, that he wrote graffiti on a locker, that he skipped school and was late for class. As if those things—if they happened—justified some racist killing him on the way home from buying some Skittles!

If anyone tries to tell you that the time for protest is over, and it is time to “let the justice system work,” you tell them that it is working—the way it is supposed to work—to enforce a global system of exploitation and oppression that has, as a big part of its foundation—the oppression of Black people.

The only reason, again, that Trayvon’s killer is even facing charges in the first place is that people came into the streets. On campuses and in the neighborhoods, people wore hoodies and said “I am Trayvon.” Mostly, but not only Black and Latino youth. The courageous protests challenged others in society to speak out—like some of the NBA players and others who tweeted or posted messages of support for the struggle.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution

There must be justice for Trayvon Martin. It would be very bad news, in this system of police murder, racism, poverty and mass incarceration if a message got sent out that every racist with a gun can go shoot any young Black man wearing a hoodie.

And the struggle for justice—if we are really going to change anything—has to be connected with the movement for revolution. So that 50 years from now, our children or their children are not, once again, having to deal with this murderous madness.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People,
for Revolution!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/john-brennan-obama-eminently-qualified-cold-blooded-imperialist-assassin-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

John Brennan—Obama’s Eminently Qualified Cold-blooded Imperialist Assassin

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

John BrennanJohn Brennan is Barack Obama’s pick to run the department of Cold-blooded Imperialist Assassins—the CIA. He is eminently qualified—he joined the CIA in 1980 and has been neck-deep in U.S. “counter-terrorism” ever since. Here are some highlights from his recent career.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/one-billion-rising-to-end-violence-on-women-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

One Billion Rising to End Violence on Women

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Just think about this horror: one billion women who are viciously violated in today’s world. As Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution, says: “The cold truth is that today there is not a single place on the planet where it is safe to be female.

Women in Philippines

Women in Manila, Philippines, launch One Billion Rising on December 19, 2012.
Photo: AP

“There is no place—on the street or in one’s home, in a rural Third World countryside or in the major cities of the imperialist citadels, from Delhi to Congo to Ohio and everywhere else—where women and girls are not in danger of being raped. Where women and very young girls are not then blamed and devalued for being raped. Where women and girls are not told to ‘get over it’ when they are raped. Where women are not reduced to breeders of children—shamed, coerced or forced into bearing children against their will. Where abortion and even birth control is not either illegal or seriously under attack. Where women and very young girls are not oppressed, beaten, imprisoned, insulted, molested, abused, harassed, exploited, murdered, spat upon, thrown acid at, groped, shamed or otherwise systematically diminished.” (Excerpted from “From Delhi to Ohio and Around the World: If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It! We Need a Revolution and a Whole New World,” Revolution, January 13, 2013)

On Thursday, February 14, people across the U.S. and around the world will be responding to a call from the V-Day movement for “ONE BILLION women and those who love them ... to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence.” (Info online at onebillionrising.org)

We call on our readers to join these events in your area, and bring the understanding of communist revolution as BA has re-envisioned it that is necessary—and makes it possible—to rid the world of the scourge of rape and violence against women. Good materials (all available at revcom.us) are: A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity; palm cards of quote 3:22 from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian; promotional material about film premiering in March, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/obama-deportations-record-a-nightmare-for-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Obama’s Deportations Record—
A Nightmare for Immigrants

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Launching his second term with the same sort of promises that marked the beginning of his first term, President Obama declared in a speech in Las Vegas on January 29 that “...the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform” and offered the outlines of a plan that would provide millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. with a “pathway to citizenship.”

It is predicted that by 2014, Obama will have deported over two million people—more in six years than all the people deported from the U.S. before 1997.  In fiscal 2012, over 400,000 were deported, a new high for any year.  Above, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in a pre-dawn raid in Santa Ana, California. Photo: AP

Many Obama supporters, including in the Latino community, hailed the speech and expressed belief that this could be the beginning of something truly worth celebrating. Really? If you want to know what Obama’s presidency actually means for immigrants, look at his record.

A report released by Tanya Golash-Boza, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced, a few days before Obama’s Las Vegas speech features a stunning fact: at the current rate, it is predicted that by 2014, Obama will have deported over two million people—more in six years than all the people deported from the U.S. before 1997! And the pace of deportation under Obama has picked up, hitting a high in fiscal year 2012 of over 400,000.

Behind such numbers lie the devastated lives of millions of immigrants. As Golash-Boza reports, Obama has not only deported more people than any other president, he has also separated more families. Between July 1, 2010, and September 30, 2012, nearly a quarter of all deportations involved parents whose children are U.S. citizens and can remain in the U.S. while one or both of their parents are forced to leave.

Even as he oversees such towering crimes, Obama shamelessly claims his deportation policies have been more “humane” and that he has focused more on going after “criminal” immigrants, making Americans “safer.” However, as Golash-Boza indicates, most people deported as “criminals” were convicted on minor charges and not of violent crimes. In 2011, nearly a quarter of deportations were for a drug conviction, such as marijuana possession; another 23 percent for traffic violations such as speeding; and 20 percent for the “crime” of illegal entry and re-entry—in other words, for being forced to come here in a desperate search for work because of the plunder and ruin of their own countries’ economies by the U.S. and other imperialist powers.

Obama is the chief enforcer of a capitalist-imperialist system that skins immigrants twice: by viciously exploiting them in the lowest-paying, backbreaking jobs, and then at the same time by hunting them down as “criminals,” forcing them to leave this country and tearing their families apart. Obama told Telemundo TV, “I make no apologies for us enforcing the law as well as the work we’ve done to strengthen border security.”

And now we have the commander-in-chief of the empire, at the start of his second term, making the same kind of promises as he did the first time around, including a plan for “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Two million plus?  Still think Obama is a friend of immigrants?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/293/drawing-out-the-fury-of-women-in-steubenville-ohio-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Drawing Out the Fury of Women in Steubenville, Ohio

January 28, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This correspondence is from a team of Revolution paper sellers who have been going out to Steubenville, where the gang rape of a 16-year-old woman has sparked outrage and protests.

Steubenville, Ohio: We made up signs that read: "From Delhi to Ohio and Around the World—If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It! "Stop Watching Porn—Start Fighting Patriarchy!" "Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!"

We had been reading about the rape of a 16-year-old female at several parties, reportedly by at least two football players on August 11 in Steubenville. Then on January 5, there was a rally of 1,000 people from California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and more to say NO TO RAPE! and to declare that the rape would not go unanswered and once more pushed under the rug. We knew we had to get down there with our revolutionary communist message. As we drove along the Ohio River in southeast Ohio, we approached Steubenville. There we saw a rusted-out steel mill, stores left empty in the downtown, very few people in sight. Then appeared the high school where the accused rapists played football, and as we passed the high school, a nervous feeling went over us.

After a quick coffee, we began talking to people and asked them about what had happened there—the cover-up by the police and powers-that-be, the fact that after the rape happened on August 11, the football games were never cancelled and the alleged rapists kept playing several games until they were indicted, and just how widespread the culture of rape is there. From the minute we began conversing there, the widespread abuse, rape, and degradation that women experienced poured out. Thinking about the observation in Revolution, "the 'ordinary functioning' of this system has had devastating, horrifically life-draining impact on India and the rest of the world...," it is much more extreme in the conditions of India, yet we felt this "life-draining impact" among people here in Steubenville. So we drew out the fury that seemed to stir just under the surface among the women there, and brought out the underlying cause of capitalism. We called on people to take inspiration from the women rising up in India, and to unleash the fury of women as a mighty force, to bring forth an understanding of the genuine communist revolution as Bob Avakian has re-envisioned it to get rid of the scourge of rape throughout the world.

So we began at a McDonalds where we talked to a few Black youth about the rape, but they were quiet and seemed almost afraid to speak about it. Then outside, a few women had lots to say. Toni said, "I don't care if a female is naked, NO IS NO!" She told how her daughter was raped at age 12 after a football game and went through the "legal" process but got nowhere. She said, "They want football here and that is that. You [females] can't be safe. I teach my six daughters that at these parties girls are waiting to be raped. I was totally drunk and raped at 14 and 15 years old. I was at a party, needed air, went to this guy's car and got raped. This case is a wakeup call. It is not supposed to be this way."

Then a Black woman joined the conversation and said, "The police do nothing. My brother was murdered and we gave them information but they don't care. And they aren't doing anything about this rape." We read BAsics 1:24 on the role of the police. We threw around the point that BA makes that the "law and order the police are about, ... enforces all this oppression and madness." And how the way they treat rape and the attacks on women is to ignore it or laugh at it or just say the "women were asking for it." Then Toni said, "It is always the girl that 'deserved it.' I was six years old when I was raped by my uncle. I am glad for the rally and the victim got a voice, which needed to happen and I applaud her parents and hope more people speak out. A student at my daughter's school said, 'they didn't rape that whore' and my daughter took it on. My daughter got into trouble for it. Coaches and some parents are blaming the girl, it is truly sick here."

Then we went to a small strip mall and got out our poster "From Delhi to Ohio and Around the World—If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It!" and people checked that out. A woman came along and listened quietly to what we said about opposition to the rape. She said, "Some justice is never served and never will be," and when we told her how significant is the protest going on in India and the demonstration of 1,000 in Steubenville, she perked up. She told of how badly she was beaten, abused, and bruised by a man, and it was never reported. On the verge of tears, she spoke of her abuse and took the BAsics 3:22 card.

Then we met a young woman and her mother—the young woman was acquainted with the woman who was raped and knew the guys accused. She is home-schooled and wasn't at the parties but saw some of the photos on the Internet and told her mom, who raised an alarm about it. The young woman was very quiet but her hatred of this kind of behavior was evident. "It is wrong, it is wrong, it has to stop," they said. One of them said how it is as if the only way a woman is safe is if she locks herself away. They got a newspaper and wanted to know more about what can be done. In talking about India and the conditions of women there, the mother said, "I know they sometimes kill the infant if it is a girl, because girls are not wanted."

We went to a small neighborhood which was mixed with Black and white people. A few people were standing outside so we went up to them and started to talk about why we came and our message of revolution and communism. A white woman, Rene, had lots to say about Steubenville and the plight of women. Once the place was called "Sin City." She said prostitution is very big in this town, and then explained she had been in that life, but thankfully got out of it. Only a few months away from being deep into prostitution and drugs, she told of her experience of violence and abuse—having a gun held to her head and being raped; another time jumping out of a moving car to escape from danger in which a woman who was left in the car ended up dumped out and left—beaten, dead or unconscious. And she feels responsible for the fate of that woman, because she left her. Then we opened up a clip from Bob Avakian's Revolution talk. Rene listened to the beginning of "the postcards of the hanging" section, until she couldn't take the violence any more. But then she wanted to keep talking. She said how in this town, anybody that is part of Big Red football is protected, the coach has gotten players out of scrapes with the law by talking to judges, etc. We told her about getting connected to the movement against patriarchy and pornography, and gave her the article "From Delhi to Ohio" by Sunsara Taylor. She brightened up when she realized there is an outpouring of rage being organized to fight against the oppression of women.

An older white woman sitting on the stoop didn't say anything while we were talking to Rene, then said how she had been continually abused and raped by her stepfather since she was young, and it was all hushed up, so she has had this inside of her all these years. This is the way men are, she says, and this is how they will always be. At this point we brought out how, after China had made a revolution, in Shanghai, which had one of the largest red light districts in the world and opium was affecting millions, women went from having bound feet to seeing that outlawed, and prostitution ended in two years after the revolution. It happened because capitalism and the enslavement of China by imperialist powers were ended. Women who had been prostitutes now had jobs and women in general had dignity. We spoke about how BA has put out the solution and a re-envisioned socialism and communism. Rene took about 60 BAsics 3:22 palm cards to get out, and we got out several papers to people there.

A Black woman who bought a paper told how she keeps to herself in her apartment because of the violence among the people there. She listened intently to the Cornel West interview with Bob Avakian, liked it and thought she needed to think more about revolution as the solution.

Throughout the afternoon, women told their stories of abuse, rape, and how the powers-that-be and the police cover it all up, how women are told to "get over it" or are blamed and devalued for being raped. The women we talked to had not gone to the demonstrations there but knew about them and were excited they happened. They all said how rape and abuse goes on in Steubenville and nothing even comes out about it and that it is good it is coming out in this case, with people fighting back against the horror of that night for the 16-year-old youth who went to a party to be with friends and have some fun before school started but was gang-raped while many watched, cheered, laughed and some urinated on her. There was outrage at what happened that night and a need to fight back against the pervasive culture of rape, to fight back against the rape there. There was a beginning sense that perhaps there can be a way out of all the misery women go through here and around the world. There was a beginning feeling among the women there that all the hurt they felt inside themselves for years got expressed, and they felt inspired by the upsurge in India, that they could be part of this movement to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/resisting-the-keystoneXL-pipeline-and-fighting-for-humanity-and-the-planet-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Resisting the Keystone XL Pipeline—
and Fighting for Humanity and the Planet

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Forward on Climate, billed as the “largest climate change rally in history,” is planned for February 17 in Washington, DC and is expected to draw tens of thousands—environmental activists, scientists, and others. Rallying around the slogan “Stop KXL” (referring to the Keystone XL Pipeline), Forward on Climate was called by 350.org, Sierra Club and The Hip Hop Caucus and has been endorsed by more than 100 organizations. Solidarity rallies are planned across the U.S.

Canada’s tar sands, the second largest oil reserve in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), already produce 155,000 barrels of oil per day. The tar sands are sticky deposits of bitumen (solid or semi-solid petroleum), trapped beneath 54,000 sq. miles of Canada’s boreal forests and wetlands. Extracting oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gases (which cause global warming) than extraction of conventional oil.

The removal of tar sands oil demands huge ponds of up to 9,000 acres each to store toxic chemicals used in the process. But the toxins don’t stay there—the chemicals leak from the ponds, get into the watershed, and make their way to rivers and streams that indigenous people have relied on for food and water for centuries. As a result, cancer rates among the indigenous population are 10 times that of other people in Canada. What is happening to Alberta’s native peoples is fully documented and is nothing short of genocide.

Wetlands, stop-overs for more than half of all of the migratory birds in North America, are being polluted. Boreal forests, which trap twice as much carbon dioxide (a key greenhouse gas) per hectare as rainforests, are being bulldozed and destroyed.

The 2,000-mile Keystone XL pipeline is designed to carry oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico coast in the U.S. to be processed. The pipeline would run through the U.S. Midwest, endangering agricultural lands, aquifers and rivers. Approval for the Keystone XL must be made by the U.S. president and State Department because it crosses international borders.

The native people of Canada have been protesting the tar sands mining from the beginning. The first large protest was held in Washington, DC in August 2011. Hundreds were arrested, and the righteous demand to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline became a rallying cry for the environmental movement.

Demonstrators march against Keystone

Demonstrators march with a replica of a pipeline in protest against Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline outside the White House on November 6, 2011. Photo: AP

In December 2011, as Republicans demanded that he make a decision on the Keystone XL within 60 days, Obama temporarily rejected its authorization, citing a lack of time to review the environmental studies as the reason. In February 2012 TransCanada (the company behind the Keystone XL) reapplied for a permit and demanded immediate permission to go ahead with the Gulf Coast part of the pipeline (which did not require the same level of authorization from the State Department). Last summer Obama announced the approval for the southern portion and went to Oklahoma for the groundbreaking, saying that he was making the new pipeline “a priority” and promising to break through the bureaucratic hurdles that were holding up the pipeline as a whole.

Construction on the southern portion of the Keystone XL has been met with resistance. A landowner in Texas built a network of tree-houses, and dozens of protesters took turns living there for 80 days, temporarily delaying the project. Protesters have disrupted oil company meetings and stood in front of bulldozers.

Illusions About Obama—and the Reality

Environmental organizations think Obama’s decision on Keystone XL is imminent, and chose February 17 (President’s Day weekend) to rally people in Washington, DC to demand that Obama reject the permit and address the climate crisis.

Many in the environmental movement were among millions who voted with unprecedented enthusiasm for “hope and change” in 2008. Environmentalists hoping for less reliance on fossil fuels watched in dismay as the Obama administration sabotaged international climate change conferences—for example, when Obama himself traveled to a UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009 to threaten other countries into signing on to a meaningless agreement. They despaired as Obama authorized expanded offshore oil drilling, including opening up the Arctic coastline in Alaska to the predatory oil companies. They were surprised when Obama authorized the southern portion of the Keystone XL. They were upset when he opened up millions of acres of public lands for gas and oil exploration. They waited patiently for Obama to address the global warming crisis during the 2012 presidential debates and were disappointed when instead he boasted about expanding the exploitation of fossil fuels—boasting that his administration had authorized enough natural gas pipelines to circle the planet. But despite all this bitter experience, dangerous illusions about Obama and the system he represents continue.

In his second inaugural address last month, Obama promised to elevate climate change to the “top tier” of his second-term priorities. Suddenly the focus of the Keystone XL protest shifted to a rally to “help the president start his second term with strong climate action” (350.org website). Say what? One promise made in an inaugural speech, and we’re supposed to rally to “help” this president who has done so much to politically demobilize people while this system grinds on carrying out intolerable crimes—not just in relation to the environment, but with the expanded war by drones, continuing mass incarceration of Black and Latino youth, record number of deportations of immigrants, etc., etc.? Do people so soon forget the lying promise Obama made in his first inaugural speech to shut down Guantánamo within 30 days? When Obama promises to “grow the economy,” shouldn’t people ask how he’s going to do this without increasing production of fossil fuels and exacerbating dangerous global climate change?

There may be different factors at play in Obama’s forthcoming decision on Keystone XL; the overwhelming evidence is that his administration is set to approve the pipeline. He’s already approved that southern portion of Keystone XL—and just what is that for if not to connect to the rest of the pipeline? Why has Obama’s new Secretary of State, John Kerry, who had previously questioned the Keystone XL, suddenly become “non-committal”?

The Real Problem...and the Real Solution

State of EMERGENCY!

The Plunder of Our Planet,
the Environmental Catastrophe & the Real Revolutionary Solution

A special issue of Revolution focusing on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and earth’s ecosystems.

Available online at revcom.us/environment

Get the print issue at local Revolution bookstores or from RCP Publications at PO Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654, rcppubs@hotmail.com, 773-227-4066.

In the face of the global environmental emergency, thinking that things like fuel-efficient cars, recycling, alternate energy sources and so forth under the current system will lead to meaningful change is dangerously out of touch with reality. Mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, and other outpourings of resistance and outrage are urgently needed in the face of the threat of unstoppable climate change, and the demand to “Stop KXL” must be fought for. But much, much more is needed. It will be a bad thing if the Forward on Climate protest itself reinforces the reliance of tens of thousands on Obama and the system he stands for, rather than instilling them with determination to fight for a real solution.

The signs of intensifying global climate change are everywhere: entire Pacific nations threatened by rising sea levels, desertification in Africa endangering life for millions, more devastating floods in Bangladesh, more severe hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Many understand that what is required is the elimination of reliance on fossil fuels and other major societal changes on an international level. There is a solution—but it’s not in Obama or in various ideas about reforming the current system that far too many people are into.

We have to start with grasping the actual source of the problem. The reality is that the capitalist-imperialist system is at the root of the environmental emergency humanity faces. As the top political representative of the class that rules this country, Obama’s mandate is to maintain and strengthen the U.S. position as the most powerful imperialist power, including its overwhelming military dominance, in the face of challenges from other imperialists and various forces globally. That demands the intense use of fossil fuels, the cheapest forms of energy, and the continuing rape and plunder of the world’s resources, no matter what the cost to the world’s ecosystems. This is the imperative that drives this system, whether it’s Obama or anyone else who sits in the White House. This is why relying on Obama or trying to somehow make capitalism more “green” in order to reverse global warming is an illusion—because what people are actually doing is relying on the capitalist-imperialist system to do what it is impossible for that system to do.

But there IS a solution. Socialist society, on the road to a communist world, can act on principles of socialist sustainable development that can begin to tackle the environmental emergency for real, with an internationalist perspective (see “Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development” at revcom.us). That is going to take revolution—communist revolution as re-envisioned by Bob Avakian—to defeat and dismantle the current system. There is, right now, a movement for that revolution that is being built, with the orientation of “fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.” This movement for revolution needs to become an increasing pole in society, including in the environmental struggle.

Think about how it would dramatically change the terrain on February 17 if thousands of people were discussing and wrangling over BAsics 1:29: “This system and those who rule over it are not capable of carrying out economic development to meet the needs of the people now, while balancing that with the needs of future generations and requirements of safeguarding the environment. They care nothing for the rich diversity of the earth and its species, for the treasures this contains, except when and where they can turn this into profit for themselves... These people are not fit to be the caretakers of the earth.”

Or if hundreds got their hands on the Revolution special issue on the environment (revcom.us/environment) and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

In part 2 of the interview with Bob Avakian by Michael Slate (revcom.us), BA speaks about the potential of a growing movement of people concerned about the environment. That potential can only be realized if revolutionaries go out boldly among the people, including at actions like February 17, and introduce them to the real solution to the environmental crisis facing the people and the planet.  

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/food-for-thought-on-the-zizek-lotta-debate-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

Food for Thought on the Žižek-Lotta Debate

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On April 15 in New York City, Slavoj Žižek and Raymond Lotta will engage in a great debate “on the history and prospects of communist revolution.” At its heart, this is a debate between the world as it is and the radically different world represented and made possible by Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism.

 

Slavoj Žižek on Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA:

“... for all their talk of the ‘new synthesis,’ there is no theoretical substance: It doesn’t do the work. They always have the answers: no questions, only answers... “ (from interview in Platypus Review 42, December 2011-January 2012)

Bob Avakian, from an interview by a younger-generation revolutionary conducted in early 2012, What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism

“... what is represented by communism—and specifically the new synthesis of communism—is actually scientifically analogous to that. [In the passage right before this, Avakian compares the attacks on him for putting forward the new synthesis to “the days when religious superstition weighed even more heavily and was less challenged in the world—when people would make a scientific breakthrough and they’d be accused of being witches, or accused of engaging in devil worship and dark magic, and so on.”—Revolution.] It is the way forward. It is not some magic solution. It’s a scientific approach to forging the way forward. It has answered—or spoken in a significant way to—some real problems. At the same time, it has posed new questions, identified new contradictions that have to be confronted, which weren’t seen as clearly before. And it’s an ongoing process of discovering, confronting and transforming different aspects of reality that have to be transformed, in order to achieve the emancipation of humanity. That’s what it is. That’s why we put it forward. And that’s why we struggle to let people know about it and to win them to engage it seriously—and, yes, to take it up—because that’s exactly what it embodies and represents. It is analogous to a way to deal with a very serious epidemic. There is an epidemic in which the mass of humanity is suffering terribly, as constituted under this capitalist-imperialist system, and there is a way forward—not a magic wand to wave to solve all problems, but a means for forging a way forward on a higher level than before, as a result of this new synthesis that’s been brought forward.”

Be Part of Making This Happen.

Planning meetings are taking place in New York City.

Contact Revolution Books–NY, 146 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001
212-691-3345 • Zizek_Lotta_Debate@yahoo.com  

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/a-whitewash-of-illegal-government-assassination-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

A Whitewash of Illegal Government Assassination

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.

Columnist Glenn Greenwald,
Guardian UK, February 5, 2013

In all three of these government assassinations of U.S. citizens, there were no charges, no evidence, no trial, no right to counsel or to confront the evidence against them. In fact, the whole process—from placing their names on a hit list to killing them—was done in secret.

A White Paper for Shredding Due Process

On February 4, NBC News released a Department of Justice “White Paper” that reportedly summarizes the Obama administration’s “legal” justification for such killings. The whitewash is titled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or An Associated Force.”

It should be titled “Shredding the Constitution to Justify the President Assassinating Anyone Anywhere for Any Reason without Due Process.”

In March 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech to defend and justify the Obama administration’s “kill list”—a list of people who are targeted for assassination by drone simply by presidential decree. The heart of Holder’s speech was his claim that “due process and judicial process are not one and the same.”

But without judicial review (review by a court), due process is meaningless. The Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution says that “No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and the Sixth Amendment states that “... the accused ... shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” These supposed rights are essential elements of what is called “due process.”

On a most basic level, the right to due process has always been a sham—over the 200-plus years of this country’s existence, countless people, especially people of the oppressed nationalities, have been railroaded to prison on the flimsiest of unproven charges; countless people have been gunned down by murdering police acting as judge, jury, and executioner. And due process has never been applied to the people slaughtered by the United States military in Vietnam, El Salvador, Haiti, and the many other countries it has invaded.

But the Obama administration’s repudiation of due process (in the form of claiming it does not involve judicial review) is a dramatic escalation in what the rulers of the U.S. claim to be their “right” to kill anyone who opposes them, without any restraint.

What is the “due process” that Holder and Obama claim still exists? Leon Panetta, Obama’s (outgoing) Secretary of Defense, summed it up this way: “[T]he President of the United States obviously reviews these cases, reviews the legal justification, and in the end says, go or no go.” And there’s your “due process.”

An “Imminent Threat” Is Whatever the President Says It Is

A key justification in the White Paper is that the president needs to act without judicial review to deal with what is supposed to be a specific “imminent threat” to the U.S. by a “senior operational leader” of Al Qaeda, or an “associated force” (emphasis added).

The White Paper defines an “imminent threat” this way: “First, the condition that an operational leader presents an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

In other words, an “imminent threat” need not be either imminent, or even a threat!

Shortly after U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated, Obama justified the killing in media statements (not in a trial, of course—that has never happened). How? In part by saying, “[al-Awlaki] repeatedly called on individuals in the United States and around the globe to kill innocent men, women and children to advance a murderous agenda.”

There was no specific charge that the victim of this assassination carried out any crime, that he was a “senior operational leader” of Al Qaeda, that he killed anyone or ordered the killing of anyone. And through statements like this (echoed and repeated endlessly in the ruling class media), people are conditioned to accept that such assertions by the president legitimize the assassination of U.S. citizens.

In short, an “imminent threat” that supposedly justifies unconstitutional, illegitimate, illegal assassination without trial of American citizens is whatever the president says it is.

The Ominous Targeting of “Associated Forces”

In light of how disingenuously and deceptively an “imminent threat” is defined in this White Paper, it is particularly ominous that the White Paper insists these assassinations can be carried out against not just Al Qaeda but anyone the government considers to be an “associated force.”

Again, if the government can target any U.S. citizen for assassination by claiming their activity—whatever it is—constitutes an “imminent threat,” then imagine who might be considered an “associated force” of “the terrorists.”

If They Can Do This to U.S. Citizens...

For their own reasons, forces within the U.S. ruling class and in Congress have raised concerns about this White Paper and the president’s “kill list.” The “debate” seems to mainly revolve around continuing to assassinate anyone, anywhere, but dressing that up in something that has some pretense of judicial review.

But none of those complaints even claim to start from the interests of humanity. Instead, they start from the premise that any crime is OK as long as the victim is not a U.S. citizen.

Here’s what is really at stake in the fact that U.S. citizens are being openly targeted for illegal assassination without trial: If the U.S. government can do this to U.S. citizens, the people who these policies are supposed to “protect,” that clears the ground for far greater crimes against the people of the world.

It is from that perspective that the whitewash in the White Paper must be exposed and protested.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/the-clash-of-two-outmodeds-and-bringing-forward-another-way-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

The Clash of Two Outmodeds—and Bringing Forward Another Way

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The U.S. has carried out and is continuing to commit monstrous crimes in the name of opposing Islamic fundamentalism. The following points are crucial in getting at the reality behind this imperialist justification.

First, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is in large part a product of the workings of imperialism (including specific policies of the CIA in Afghanistan, where it backed and funded Islamic fundamentalists going up against the Soviet Union).

Second, the crimes of U.S. imperialism—from the Foxconn sweatshops in China to the environmental emergency, from mass incarceration in the USA to the ongoing genocide against indigenous peoples in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, dwarf even the aspirations of these reactionary Islamic forces.

Third, if you don’t oppose, but instead fall into active or passive complicity with either “the West” (U.S. imperialism and other imperialists) or Islamic Jihad, you strengthen them both—in the vicious cycle where every drone attack that wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan (with far, far too little protest in the U.S.) serves to recruit more jihadists, and on and on.

Bob Avakian’s analysis of “the two outmodeds”—two clashing reactionary forces that represent ways of thinking and organizing society that belong in the past—provides a concise and powerful tool for understanding this conflict and acting to change the terms of things:

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.

BAsics 1:28

When you start from the interests of humanity, then instead of aligning with “our government” and celebrating and defending its immoral and criminal actions around the world, the challenge is to break out of the terms of these “two outmodeds” and be part of what Bob Avakian has posed as “bringing forward another way.” There is a different way the world can be, and a real alternative to capitalism and all forms of oppression in the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, and in his ongoing revolutionary leadership.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/the-real-american-war-in-vietnam-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

The My Lai Massacre

"Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam"

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A memorial inscribed with the names of 504 people stands in the Vietnamese village called Son My. On March 16, 1968, these 504 people died sudden, violent deaths at the hands of "Charlie Company" of the U.S. Army's Americal Division. Almost all the dead were women, elderly, and children (including infants). Many of the women were raped, and the bodies of many of them were mutilated beyond recognition.

Dozens of people were forced to lie in ditches where they were blasted with automatic weapon fire. People were killed with bayonets, and by grenades thrown into their homes. Seven women who refused to undress were mowed down by the soldiers of Charlie Company. A young boy who already had one of his arms half blown off was shot in the head at point blank range. All the livestock in the hamlet of My Lai, part of Son My village, were blown away. The homes and grain stocks in the village were burned. The orgy of destruction continued for two days, including the hamlet of My Khe.

Author Nick Turse wrote of My Lai that, "Over four hours, members of Charlie Company methodically slaughtered more than five hundred unarmed victims, killing some in ones and twos, others in small groups, and collecting many more in a drainage ditch that would become an infamous killing ground. They faced no opposition. They even took a quiet break to eat lunch in the midst of the carnage. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area's drinking water."

U.S. General William Westmoreland, the overall commander of the U.S. forces in Vietnam, began what would be a yearlong cover-up by congratulating Charlie Company for doing an "outstanding job" in the slaughter at My Lai. Colin Powell, then a major charged with investigating some initial charges of extensive brutality by soldiers of the Americal Division against Vietnamese civilians, summed up in his report: "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between Americal Division soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."

Finally, in November 1969, reporters brought the first news of the My Lai massacre to the world's attention, a year and a half after it had happened. The name My Lai became seared into the minds of millions of people across the world. My Lai was, and remains, synonymous with the atrocities—the towering war crimes—the U.S. committed upon the Vietnamese people.

If the truth about the U.S. was taught in history classes in this country, every high school student would know the name My Lai today.

A Military Doctrine of Mass Murder

Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, a recent book by Turse, exposes in damning, horrifying detail that My Lai was, as Turse quotes a soldier, "an operation, not an aberration."

Turse unearthed documents that had been lying dormant in the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C. for decades. The documents had been compiled by a secret military task force called the "Vietnam War Crimes Working Group," which had been set up, as Turse said in a radio interview, because the U.S. Army command "had a real stake in finding out which atrocity allegations might bubble up and then tamping them down whenever possible."

My Lai was a brutal concentration of the entire way the U.S. waged an unjust war upon the people of Vietnam. Mass murder of Vietnamese people was the policy, the military doctrine, of the war the U.S. waged in Vietnam.

Thousands of My Lais happened in Vietnam. Some on a larger scale, some on a smaller scale. They happened every day of the 14 years American troops were in Vietnam.

U.S. patrols like Charlie Company regularly killed everyone and everything within farming villages. U.S. forces routinely assaulted and killed Vietnamese people they came across—saying that if the Vietnamese ran it was because they were liberation fighters, and if they didn't run it was because they were standing ready to fight. Countless women and thousands of children were raped and forced into prostitution.

Rural and agricultural areas were regularly pounded with heavy artillery fire, from heavy cannons based on both land and sea. B-52 planes unleashed so-called "carpet bombing"—attacks which could cover every inch of an area two miles long and 5/8 of a mile deep with 500 pound bombs, and destroy every living thing within it. U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered what became known as the "Christmas bombing" on the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, dropping over 20,000 tons of bombs in 12 days, and killing at least 1,600 civilians.

Helicopter gunships appeared over people working in rice fields, firing thousands of machine gun rounds per minute and large rockets at them. Napalm—jellied gasoline that burns at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—was routinely dropped by U.S. forces on Vietnamese people, burning their flesh to the bone and causing agonizing pain and almost certain death. U.S. forces dropped 373,000 tons of napalm on the people of Vietnam.

Over 20 million gallons of a highly toxic chemical defoliant called "Agent Orange" was sprayed on forests and farmlands to destroy the ability of Vietnamese peasants to sustain themselves and their families. The government of Vietnam estimated that 400,000 people were killed by Agent Orange. In August 2012, CNN reported that one million Vietnamese people continue to suffer from "disabilities and other health problems associated with Agent Orange." To this day, infants continue to be born with severe health problems because of the widespread presence of Agent Orange residue throughout Vietnam and the genetic damage it causes.

Cluster bombs—"slaughter, spring loaded into little cans"—were rained on people in rural Vietnam. A canister called a "pineapple" was dropped from planes and set to detonate at knee or waist level into 250,000 deadly steel balls; a B-52 bomber could drop 1,000 of these "pineapples." In the years 1964-1971, the U.S. ordered 37 million of these pineapple cluster bombs, and 285 million other types of cluster bombs to be used on the people of Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.

In 1995, the government of Vietnam released figures saying it estimated four million civilians and one million soldiers were killed during the war. These figures have not been challenged.

Yet, in the face of decades of this multi-dimensional horrific onslaught that lasted over a decade, the U.S. lost the war.

The Army and the System

An army is an extension, a concentration, of the social system it is fighting for. The U.S. unleashed its military might in Vietnam because it feared the upsurge of revolutionary liberation struggles then surging across Southeast Asia, and it feared the influence of China, then a revolutionary socialist country under the leadership of Mao Tsetung, spreading throughout the region. The U.S. justified its utterly unjust and criminal war upon Vietnam with the "domino theory," claiming that countries throughout Asia would fall like dominos out of its imperialist grip if Vietnam were liberated.

U.S. soldiers were trained to look at Vietnamese people as less than human, and to treat all Vietnamese as the enemy. Westmoreland himself justified mass murder when he told a reporter "the Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does the Westerner. Life is plentiful; life is cheap in the Orient. And as the philosophy of the Orient expresses it, life is—is not important." High "body counts" of dead Vietnamese people were not just acceptable to the U.S. command, they were encouraged and expected. Any cruelty inflicted upon them was excused, praised, and rewarded with medals. The advanced technology and industrial might of the U.S. were used to develop ever more ghoulish ways of killing large numbers of people. The guiding military doctrine on the ground was "search and destroy."

Urgently Needed—Moral Clarity and the Conviction to Act

The U.S. likes to portray itself as the "good guys" of the world. Its military and its spy agencies are said to carry out the necessary "dirty work" to "keep the world free, and protect democracy."

During the Vietnam War, millions of people throughout the world—including millions in this country—saw through this lie. Powerful support for the liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people rocked through countries on every continent.

Basic questions of right and wrong, of having the morality and the conviction to look squarely at the world, and at the unjust war the U.S. was waging for the monstrous crime against humanity it was, infused millions. And millions acted on those convictions, and took responsibility for confronting imperialism and its monstrous war machinery, and changing the world.

People throughout U.S. society rejected thinking like Americans, and broke with the deadening outlooks that justify the military aggression of capitalism-imperialism, like "my country right or wrong" and "I was just following orders."

The world situation today is very different. Liberation struggles are not spreading across the globe. There are no socialist countries. But U.S. imperialism remains the predatory, murderous beast it has always been.

And the anti-imperialist outlook and spirit that characterized the movements of the Vietnam era is acutely needed today. The U.S. is routinely committing atrocities every bit as gruesome and criminal as the My Lai massacre.

U.S. drone strikes have killed thousands and spread terror to millions more. These drones are quite possibly pouring death on people in Yemen or Pakistan as you read this article. Millions of people have been killed and dislocated by the wars the U.S. has waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. has more than 1,000 military bases outside the U.S., according to an article in Mother Jones magazine. It has a network of torture chambers spanning the planet.

The time is long past for people in this country to snap out of acceptance of these crimes, this grotesquely lopsided world of extreme wealth and extreme poverty backed up by awesome military might, as "the way things are." It is long overdue for people to stop thinking that somehow what the U.S. military and its spy agencies do is "protect American lives" and "defend democracy against evil doers," when in fact they brutally enforce and protect a system of brutal, non-stop exploitation and oppression. It is time to stop buying into the endless barrage of movies, TV shows, and commercials that defend all this.

It is time to stop thinking like Americans, and to think about humanity. And time to act in accordance with this.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/295/first-revolution-revcom-sustainer-drive-comes-to-a-close-en.html

Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

First Revolution/revcom.us Sustainer Drive Comes to a Close

An Important Beginning... And Revolutionary Appreciation

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“RCP is the only true communist party in the U.S., no bullshit, no compromises.”

– a reader committing to regular monthly support

“I just wanted to let you know that in light of the emergency situation with Revolution newspaper not having the needed funds, I am doubling my pledge from $75/mth to $150/mth. I think that it would be catastrophic if Revolution was not to be in existence... It would be horrific if this newspaper was to close down and a huge blow for building a movement for revolution so that there would be a fighting chance of getting rid of this system and bringing into being a system in which human beings can live like full human beings and not go through the dog eat dog crap.”

– a Revolution volunteer

“...I am donating as much as I currently can, while ordering the constitution of the party for demonstration purposes. I have been educating as many people as I can about the party and following the online newspaper for a while now, in so doing I am submitting my meager donation in the hopes that the revcom newspaper will continue to spread its vital message.”

– a reader

We announced at the beginning of the year that Revolution newspaper / revcom.us cannot continue without your financial support, and the plan to let everyone know about this and bring forward people to meet this need—a sustained base of support. This issue of Revolution marks the close of the first focused effort at this. It is an important beginning to build on and carry this through.

We’ve found that this has strengthened an appreciation of the role this newspaper and website play in the possibility of humanity really getting emancipated, and a recognition that it can only play that role if WE take responsibility for it. This newspaper is about revolution, the communist revolution led by BA. It is indispensable. Sustaining this newspaper and website is an important part of building this movement for revolution.

So... Revolutionary appreciation to all those who have responded so far.  One person has sent the funds to cover the cost of a year of photos at $650 per month. Others committed to giving from $5 to $150 per month and gave this month’s installment.  These commitments matter a great deal for the future of humanity, and we are counting on you to follow through each month.

This is a good start.  We’ll be announcing the next phases of this initiative to break through on our financial crisis.  Meantime... correspondence helps us and the movement for revolution learn from our efforts.

 

 


 

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Revolution #295 February 17, 2013

LAPD Manhunt Puts Spotlight on Racist and Murderous Brutality of Police

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Over the last week, the news has been filled with stories of the massive manhunt for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner for allegedly killing three people connected to police.  This has caused great turmoil in society, including within top levels of the LAPD and city government.  One thing which stands out—and which has been noted by the New York Times and other major media—is the impact Dorner's accusations and depictions of racist brutality and discriminatory practices of the LAPD have had in many different corners of society.  It has especially resonated with many who have been subjected to widespread police mistreatment.  And it has given rise to societal discussion and thinking about the underlying problem of systemic police abuse, brutality, and mistreatment that Black and Latino people—and many others—experience at the hands of the police across the country.  

Without speaking to the particularities of the acts this person has been accused of carrying out, the fact that someone like this, who was "on the inside" and part of the machinery of the LAPD, considered the problem of racist brutality and corruption, on the part of the LAPD, so intolerable (citing things such as the Rodney King beating and the Rampart scandal—and saying that things have not gotten better, or may have even gotten worse, since then) and that this person, in this position, was driven to such extremes, speaks to the reality of the racist and murderous brutality of the police and the whole apparatus of repression of this system, which is widespread, continual, and systematic, and which is not simply a particular feature of the LAPD but is characteristic of police and the "injustice system" in the country as a whole, in the service of a brutally oppressive system, a system which has white supremacy build into its very foundation and structure.

As BA has summed up in BAsics 1:24:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people.  To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

We are building a movement for revolution—a revolution which, in order to have a real possibility of winning, would need to involve millions of people who have become convinced of the need for this revolution and who, with the emergence of a deep-going revolutionary crisis in society, would be determined to fight to carry out such a revolutionary struggle and to fight to win. All of the work we are doing is aimed at contributing to the development of such a revolutionary movement, guided by this strategic understanding, orientation and approach. If people want to learn more about our strategy for revolution—as well as why we think such a revolution is urgently needed by the masses of humanity, and why and how it is possible—they should come to the premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Go to Revcom.us for the Statement on Strategy.