Revolution #338, May 11, 2014 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Announcing an Important Talk:

"Where We Are in the Revolution"

Updated April 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The world needs a revolution. We need a radically new way of living, of relating to each other and the environment. People are needlessly suffering and dying every single day on account of this system. This must STOP—and it can stop.

But it can stop only if this capitalist-imperialist system is radically overturned and something new is brought into being. That requires a revolution. We need a whole new state power—one which will mobilize and back up masses of people in transforming society out of the madness of today and toward actual human emancipation. We need a new state power which could organize an economy to meet the people's material needs at the same time as it overcomes exploitation and inequality, and does so without plundering and warring on other nations or destroying the planet. We need a new state power which not only leads people to overcome and abolish the class divisions and inequalities that exist between groups of people, but to get rid of the oppressive institutions like white supremacy and male domination, and get beyond the ways of thinking that back up the rotten, backward order of today. The ultimate goal of this revolution and this new state power is communism: a world where people work and struggle together for the common good... where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings... where there are no more divisions among the people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.

This May an important talk will be given in several major cities addressing how this could be done. This talk will dig into the strategy for making that revolution—seizing power—right here in the U.S. as our share in and as the first step towards struggling for such a world. While it is not yet time to actually go for the all-out seizure of power—the conditions to do so, which require a deep crisis in society and people in their millions having been won to the goal of revolution, do not yet exist—the talk will lay out how things could be brought to that point, through a combination of developments in the world and the active work of the movement for revolution, with the Party as its leading core. The talk will specifically discuss the movement today in relation to getting to that goal—including what must be done right now to propel things further toward the day when such a struggle could be launched, and how to make everything we're doing now contribute to that. It will get into the need to strengthen the leading core for this revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, led by Bob Avakian.

"This is Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, with a New Year's message—
A Call To REVOLUTION...
"

▶ Listen

▶ Read

▶ Download audio

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If you have ever hungered for a way out of this suffering and madness... if you care about justice... if you today or at any time have thought we need a better world but despaired that such a world could be achieved... come to this talk. As Bob Avakian has said:

Revolution is not an impossible dream. It is not "unrealistic." Changing all of society, changing the whole world, is not a crazy or dangerous idea. What is crazy, and dangerous, is going along with the way things are, and where things are heading, under this system. Revolution—a radical change in how society works, how we relate as human beings, what our values are, how we understand the world and act to affect it—this is what we, what people all over the world, desperately need. And it is a lot more realistic than trying to "fix" this system.

Come to this talk. Find out about this revolution, and where we are in the process of making this revolution. Learn how to become part of emancipating humanity.

We ARE Building a Movement for Revolution
and Building the Party as Its Leading Core.

 

Stay tuned for more information.

 

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

May Day 2014

We Refuse To Accept Slavery In Any Form Here And Around The World!
Fight The Power, And Transform The People, For Revolution!

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Around the world people demonstrated on May Day—May 1, 2014. And in dozens of cities across the U.S., people came out on this day to demonstrate for the rights of immigrants and against deportations and around other demands as well. As part of this, in some cities revolutionary internationalist contingents united with the marches, raising the slogans: We Refuse to Accept Slavery in Any Form Here and Around the World! Fight the Power, and Transform the People, For Revolution!

Revolution/revcom.us will post reports as we get them. The following are initial photographs we have gathered from May Day 2014 events, both around the world and in the U.S.

 

  • Turkey, May Day 2014Istanbul, Turkey. Protesters went up against riot police who used water cannons and tear gas to disperse thousands of people. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
  • Oakland, California, May Day 2014A diverse crowd of 1000 marched through the Fruitvale section of Oakland on May 1st demanding immigrants rights.
  • Oakland, California, May Day 2014A revolutionary internationalist contingent of 20-30 people, a diverse group of all ages, rallied at a popular streetcorner in the East Oakland 'hood. The internationalist contingent then joined a march of over 1,000 in the Fruitvale district—where Oscar Grant was killed by police in 2009 and where there is a concentration of Mexican and Central American immigrants. The revolutionary contingent, with its drum corps, red flags, and large banner, had an important impact on the march.
  • Los Angeles, California, May Day 2014Thousands of people marched in different protests through downtown, snarling traffic from morning till night. The movement for revolution took part in two, organized into a bold and spirited contingent with the May Day slogans in Spanish and English. One march focused on opposing massive deportation of immigrants. The second was characterized by many different groups protesting deportations, U.S. aggression in the Middle East and against Venezuela, police brutality, and other issues.
  • From an interview with a man at LA May Day holding a photo of someone who died crossing the border:"Well, this guy went to his country, to Oaxaca, Mexico, to visit his wife and two kids. He stayed there for a month, and then he came back to the U.S. to keep working to keep supporting his family. He came with a group of about 15 people, across the border. One of them was his cousin. And this guy (in the picture) got sick on the way. All the rest of the group kept going, except his cousin, who wouldn't leave him. So his cousin stayed with him, and he got sick as well and they both died. 6 months later we—my organization—we started searching for them in the Arizona desert. After six tries of looking for them, we found them six months later, the way he looks here... We [our organization] search for these people trying to come to the United States, to the American dream. When they don't make it, their family calls us and asks us to go and search, and find them."
  • Los Angeles, California, May Day 2014Internationalist contingent
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh.  May Day 2014Garment workers and activists demanding compensation for victims and punishment for owners of garment factories where workers have died in building collapses. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
  • Chicago, Illinois, May Day 20141,500 people took the streets in downtown to march to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters. About three-fourths of the marchers were Latino, propelled by outrage at the massive deportation operations under Obama. There were a lot of young people present, many in their teens and relatively new to political life, and activists from various groups and social movements. Photo: AP
  • Chicago, Illinois, May Day 2014A revolutionary internationalist contingent led by supporters of the RCP held a banner with a full color depiction of the earth breaking its chains, along with the quote from Bob Avakian in English and Spanish: "Internationalism—The whole world comes first/Internacionalismo—el mundo entero ante todo." This contingent brought large red flags that were also taken up by many among the whole crowd.
  • Athens, Greece, May Day 2014More than 15,000 at demonstrations aimed at ongoing austerity measures that have caused a rise in poverty and unemployment. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
  • New York City, May Day 2014
  • New York City, May Day 2014Internationalist contingent
  • Seattle, Washington, May Day 2014. Photo: Damian Conway
  • Spain, May Day 2014.  Photo: AP
  • Cleveland, Ohio, May Day 2014
  • May Day 2014WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT SLAVERY IN ANY FORM HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD!
    FIGHT THE POWER, AND TRANSFORM THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION!

    revcom.us
Turkey, May Day 20141 Oakland, California, May Day 20142 Oakland, California, May Day 20143 Los Angeles, California, May Day 20144 From an interview with a man at LA May Day holding a photo of someone who died crossing the border:5 Los Angeles, California, May Day 20146 Dhaka, Bangladesh.  May Day 20147 Chicago, Illinois, May Day 20148 Chicago, Illinois, May Day 20149 Athens, Greece, May Day 201410 New York City, May Day 201411 New York City, May Day 201412 Seattle, Washington, May Day 2014. Photo: Damian Conway13 Spain, May Day 2014.  Photo: AP14 Cleveland, Ohio, May Day 201415 May Day 201416

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Editorial:

Three Outrages in Four Days in AmeriKKKa

April 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Four days in April reveal how tightly white supremacy is woven into the essential fabric of AmeriKKKa.

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery.
That is a simple and basic truth.

BAsics 1:1

On April 22, a Supreme Court ruling upheld a voter initiative in Michigan that banned affirmative action. Affirmative action takes into account the reality that Black people, Latinos, Native Americans, and other oppressed peoples have been and are LOCKED OUT of a wide range of fields of study and professions, and even access to basic education. Affirmative action programs have barely scratched the surface of discrimination in the U.S., but outlawing affirmative action means further LOCKING DOWN whole peoples in conditions of segregation, mass incarceration, and pariah (outcast) status in AmeriKKKa. The fact that this vicious attack on oppressed people was orchestrated through the medium of “the voters” in a state—a majority of whom were misinformed, prejudiced, or manipulated to rally around petty narrow interests, against the interests of humanity—only reveals the true nature of the vaunted American democracy of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class. That democracy serves the interests of exploiters and oppressors, and adds insult to injury by putting the stamp of “the will of the people” on oppression.

On April 24, “conservative”—no, make that FASCIST—“folk hero” rancher Cliven Bundy amplified an earlier racist rant reported in the New York Times, going on to claim that Black people were “better off as slaves.” For weeks fascist militias armed with semi-automatic weapons have mobilized behind Bundy’s demand to graze his cattle on public land without paying. And for weeks, the authorities have essentially stood by while these forces have flexed their muscles and declared to all that they are readying for a potential racist, fascist bloodbath in the name of standing up for and defending American values. Given the national stage, and invited to spew this fascist, white supremacist agenda, Bundy proclaimed that one reason Blacks were better off under slavery is that today—as opposed to when Black women were systematically raped by white slave owners and then condemned to be breeders against their will—“their daughters are having abortions.” This follows on the heels of Duck Dynasty “patriarch” Phil Robertson’s proclamations that under Jim Crow segregation Black people were “singing and happy." And, "They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues." (See “An observation by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.” ) Bundy and Robertson are given repeated and massive exposure in mainstream media to project their racist (and anti-woman) poison and to enlist whites behind their fascist agenda—an agenda given almost unlimited promotion and amplified by a “mass media” owned and controlled by and serving the capitalist-imperialist ruling class.

Listen to this Talk by Bob Avakian:

The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters

Track 1, Track 2

On April 25, news media released a recording of an obscene racist rant by Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers in the NBA, telling a woman that he didn’t want her bringing Black people to Clippers games or being photographed with Black people like Magic Johnson. Sterling has an unbroken and “uncontested” record of running his team like a plantation, as well as vicious discrimination against Blacks, Latinos, and women with children in his vast real estate holdings. And he also has a long record of sexual abuse of women. Yet Donald Sterling has been allowed—enabled—by the powers-that-be to preside over an NBA team, running it like a Southern plantation for decades. What does that tell you about this society, where pro sports reflect and have a huge role in promoting (oppressive) values overall? In the face of growing protest among the players and throughout society, the powers-that-be in the NBA decided to ban Sterling for life from the NBA. We will continue to follow developments.

* * * * *

These are not “isolated incidents.” They are not exceptions to “enormous strides” in overcoming “the vestiges of discrimination”—as Barack Obama claims. They are emblematic of the core nature of the United States of America TODAY. White supremacy has been deeply woven into the fabric of the United States since its establishment on the basis of genocide and the theft of land of the Native Americans and the enslavement of Black people. And IT STILL IS. These three outrages in one week in April are a reflection of how deeply this is still the case.

No just solution to the oppression of Black people and other oppressed people can come from this system. The only solution to the oppression of Black and other oppressed people, and to other foundational outrages in this society, is REAL REVOLUTION.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America breaks down how a revolutionary society would uproot the oppression of Black and other people. The vision and strategy for that revolution is here at revcom.us. Get with it, share it, spread it!

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Donald Sterling Rears His Ugly Racist Head

April 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA (National Basketball Association) Los Angeles Clippers, has apparently told a woman he has been dating to not bring Black people to his basketball games. Most people who have heard the 9+ minute audio believe that the voice on it is Donald Sterling’s voice. He first tells her, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with Black people. Do you have to?" Then he goes on to say, "You can sleep with [Black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that (Instagram)... and not to bring them to my games." And further, "I’m just saying, in your lousy fucking Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with Black people." Then he goes after Magic Johnson, who is Black and is in the basketball hall of fame, when he tells her, "...Don't put him (Magic Johnson) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."

Los Angeles Clippers players wear their warmup shirts inside out at a playoff game, in protest against racist team owner Donald Sterling, April 27, 2014. Photo: AP

Sterling’s racist rants were immediately met with condemnation and utter disgust.

Doc Rivers, the coach of the LA Clippers who is Black, in a way to show how Sterling’s statements have affected both white and Black players on his team, said, “J.J. Redick (a white player on the Clippers) is pissed (just) as (is) Chris Paul (a Black player on the Clippers).”

LeBron James, an NBA all-star who plays for the Miami Heat, said that he would actually consider giving up his shot at an NBA championship if Donald Sterling owned the Miami Heat. He said he really feels for his good friend Chris Paul: “I can only imagine what’s going through his head." James and his Miami Heat teammates had posted a photo of themselves in hoodies to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin. James also called for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver “to make a stand” because Sterling’s comments are unacceptable.

DeAndre Jordan, the starting center for the Los Angeles Clippers, posted an Instagram with a picture that was blacked out and no caption as a way to express his feelings. Last year people posted blacked-out pictures on Instagram to show support for Trayvon Martin after George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon’s murder, so what DeAndre Jordan was doing was showing his unity with the Trayvon postings with his posting about Donald Sterling.

Rapper Lil Wayne left a video message for Donald Sterling, saying, “Fuck you. That simple. That easy.” According to TMZ Sports, he said that “if he were a member of the L.A. Clippers he would absolutely, positively quit the team in protest.”

ESPN writer Chris Broussard posted that "Donald Sterling has the mentality of an antebellum slave master: he makes $ off Blacks but doesn't see them as equals deserving of respect." Broussard called for the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers to both boycott their playoff game on Sunday, April 27.

Before the Clippers playoff game against the Golden State Warriors on April 27, the team protested Sterling’s racist rant by dumping their Clippers warm-up jackets in a pile on the floor, and warming up with their shirts turned inside out to obscure the Clippers logo. And they played the game with black armbands and black socks in another statement of protest.

An article in Revolution newspaper, “Elgin Baylor and Racism in the NBA” (issue #162, April 19, 2009), chronicled Donald Sterling’s racist behavior and a lawsuit against Sterling by Elgin Baylor, who is Black and was fired by Sterling as general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers. Baylor at that time said the same thing about Sterling that Chris Broussard said: "(Sterling) has (a) vision of a Southern plantation-type structure." People should go back and read that article to understand that this recent racist shit by Sterling is not just a one-time thing. Sterling has a long history of racist actions, not only with the NBA team he owns but also in his real estate holdings.

Baylor’s lawsuit for unlawful termination due to racist reasons was dismissed by a jury in 2011. At the time the Revolution article was written in 2009, it was clear that Baylor’s lawsuit had much validity. And now with this new racist shit from Sterling, it is even clearer that Baylor had correctly identified Sterling’s racism.

And Sterling has a history of whitewashing his image with donations to Democratic Party politicians, charities, and civil rights groups. Until this latest scandal broke, the LA Chapter of the NAACP was going to give Donald Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony on May 15!

Listen to this Talk by Bob Avakian:

The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters

Track 1, Track 2

The NBA, like other major professional sports leagues in the U.S., plays a huge role in reflecting, serving, and promoting the exploitive and oppressive values of this system. The fact that Sterling—with his uncontested record of blatantly promoting white supremacy—has been a long-time owner of an NBA franchise tells you much about what that is all about.

The only lifetime achievement award Donald Sterling deserves is a lifetime of promoting white supremacy and his role in turning the NBA into something akin to a minstrel show. People may think that is a strong statement, and it is, but you need to listen to Bob Avakian’s talk “The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters" (part of the 7 Talks by Bob Avakian) in order to understand the truth of this concept. In this talk, Avakian speaks to and chronicles how the nature of the NBA reinforces and endorses the oppressive relations for Black people in today's society. He goes on to show how the marketing strategy of the NBA has a racist component, where arenas are in the suburbs of the cities and only the wealthy can afford to attend the games. He says that because of this, "The NBA is the equivalent of a minstrel show in today's society...with the continuation of white supremacy." And right now, Donald Sterling is the league’s front person for white supremacy.

Besides listening to Avakian’s talk on the NBA, people need to download and read the special issue of Revolution on "The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need.” Yes, we do need a revolution in order to end the oppression of Black people and others, and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) provides that actual framework for ending that oppression.

If you want to know more about this revolution, you need to attend a very important talk taking place in the month of May, “Where We Are In the Revolution.” The cities where this talk will be given and the dates, place, and time are posted here as information becomes available.

 

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Audios of New Talks by Bob Avakian

Posted April-May 2014

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution

  Listen:   Part 1  •  Part 2

 

The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method

  Listen:   Part 1  •  Part 2

 

For tablet and smartphone users:
Press and hold on the file name to save the file to your device

 

To download the audio file for burning onto a CD:

For PC:

For Mac:

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

BA Everywhere in May and June

From the Hellholes of a Nation of Cages: A Call to Contribute to Human Emancipation

1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere

May 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is a call to people from all walks of life to contribute to "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere."

"1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" is a project of the BA Everywhere campaign to make the hundreds and thousands of years suffered in the hellholes of this nation of prisons count for something that will really matter: working for a radically new world. This is a call to prisoners, ex-prisoners, families and friends of individuals locked up in the massive prison system in America, along with everyone from all walks of life who feels that living in a society that throws millions of its people into cages for decades is completely intolerable. This is a call to raise one dollar and many more for each year our people have been incarcerated, for the BA Everywhere campaign—a campaign to make a very big difference.

The BA Everywhere campaign is at the cutting edge of a movement for a radically new society and world through revolution—where no more would Black and Latino youth be demonized and robbed of their freedom and lives. Where no more would immigrants seeking a way to live be hunted, locked up, and deported by the millions. The BA Everywhere campaign is a mass fundraising campaign to spread the revolutionary vision, strategy, and leadership of Bob Avakian so that people in all corners of society can know about and get into why and how the brutally inhuman society we live in today need not be forever—that there is a whole other way humanity could live and flourish.

Bob Avakian (BA) is a revolutionary leader coming out of the 1960s who has committed his life to working for revolution—to bring about a future where humanity could collectively go to work on overcoming all forms of exploitation and oppression all over the world. Learning from the revolutions of the 20th century—their liberating achievements as well as their shortcomings, and from experience more broadly—BA has developed a new synthesis of communism that is, as he has put it, "a deeper, even more scientific understanding of the methods, the goals, the strategy and plan for making revolution and a new society."

Making this known, discussed, and debated among all kinds of people in every corner of society will start to change how many people look at the world today and what is possible. To make this well known will take money, lots of it. The BA Everywhere campaign is a struggle for the hearts and minds of people—a fight for the future—to make BA's vision, leadership, and strategy known up against what those who run this society want the people to know, think about—and not think about. BA Everywhere is a way for thousands of people who hate what is being done to people, who yearn for a better world, to contribute funds and their creativity and efforts so that everywhere people can know about and be debating that there is a whole other way we could be living—so that BA becomes a household word.

BA has called on prisoners and all who have been cast off and treated as less than human by this system, to raise their sights above "the degradation and madness, the muck and demoralization, above the individual battle to survive and to 'be somebody' on the terms of the imperialists ... to become a part of ... the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society."

BAsics 3:16
An Appeal to Those the System Has Cast Off

Here I am speaking not only to prisoners but to those whose life is lived on the desperate edge, whether or not they find some work; to those without work or even homes; to all those the system and its enforcers treat as so much human waste material.

Raise your sights above the degradation and madness, the muck and demoralization, above the individual battle to survive and to “be somebody” on the terms of the imperialists—of fouler, more monstrous criminals than mythology has ever invented or jails ever held. Become a part of the human saviors of humanity: the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society.

This is not just talk or an attempt to make poetry here: there are great tasks to be fulfilled, great struggles to be carried out, and yes great sacrifices to be made to accomplish all this. But there is a world to save—and to win—and in that process those the system has counted as nothing can count for a great deal. They represent a great reserve force that must become an active force for the proletarian revolution.

When people get connected with the revolutionary scientific method and vision and strategy for a revolutionary society developed by Bob Avakian, this has the potential to change everything—including how they think and act—and that reverberates among thousands more who also feel the weight of the oppressive way things are today. When people come to understand why the world is the horror it is and how together with millions of others they can be a part of working to change it as part of the movement for revolution, as well as supporting getting BA and what he has brought forward out everywhere, this lifts people up out of the dog-eat-dog of day-to-day existence under this system—in short, making it possible for people to consciously change themselves in the course of changing the world.

Already hundreds of prisoners and ex-prisoners have received BA's book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. Read some of the words of prisoners and ex-prisoners who have been getting into BAsics and other revolutionary literature, in the accompanying excerpts from their letters.

This connection and engagement needs to happen on a far greater scale, with BA's work known and resonating among many more who are behind the prison walls and many, many more outside the walls, among all kinds of people, everywhere. One-third of the funds raised through "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" will be donated to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, which sends BAsics and other revolutionary literature into the prisons in response to prisoners' requests. The remaining two-thirds will go to fund the BA Everywhere campaign overall.

For "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" to grow over the next year, for it to have impact, requires people taking it up. We believe that there are many people who see the enormous scope of mass incarceration and how deeply it is woven into the fabric of America with its foundations in the subjugation and oppression of Black people as well as vicious exploitation and demonization of immigrants. And there are many who can come to recognize that it will take a radical change—a break—with the current system to deal with a nation of prisons and that ending this outrage is and can be linked to ending all the oppression that torments people today. The BA Everywhere campaign should work to bring together crews of people who can be won to work together to take up "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" by reaching out to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families and friends to ask and to struggle with them to commit their years to be counted in this way, to be pushing this project forward as one part of how the BA Everywhere campaign is raising funds from all different kinds of people to make BA known as a first step in changing the world.

The U.S. imprisons more of its population than any country on earth, now or in history. If the lives squandered and human potential lost this way were all that was wrong with this system, it would be reason enough for people to seriously check out and dig into the revolutionary solution to this madness. And yet this is not even close to the full picture of the crimes of the worldwide system of capitalism-imperialism dominated by the U.S. On top of this, a war on women is being waged, with constant degradation and sexual abuse, and with the right of and access to abortion already eliminated or in peril in much of the country; the environment is being pushed closer to irreversible disaster; the U.S. is spying on everyone; and it is sending remote control drones to murder people in other lands as just one part of waging murderous wars against people around the world, in order to enforce the grip of their empire.

"1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" taps into a deep fault line of America. It is one reason why people of every nationality, of all ages, of all genders, from every walk of life, from those struggling to survive on next to nothing to the very wealthy, can be inspired to donate money and to contribute in other ways to making BA, and the vision and framework of a new society and the plan to get there that he has developed, known everywhere.

How the "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" project will work:

The BA Everywhere campaign will be raising funds for "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" at the same time as it is working to get statements from prisoners and ex-prisoners, their families and friends to "add" their years of incarceration to make up 1000 years. And then, when 1000 years are accumulated, the process should continue towards another 1000 years. These statements, the pledges of years, will be posted online on the BA Everywhere page of revcom.us, web and a print version will be made available on a regular basis to mail to those behind bars and without Internet access.

To make the number of years you, a loved one, or a friend have been incarcerated count toward the "1000 Years" and to make your pledge to donate or raise that amount or more to BA Everywhere, contact a local BA Everywhere Committee or the national BA Everywhere campaign (baeverywhere@gmail.com) with your donation or pledge. Your thoughts, written to be shared with others, on why you are adding your "years," why you want people to match your donation many times over, are very welcome, and selected statements will be posted and printed as part of the project. Work together with others—sharing the experiences and the challenges in taking this up—and send reports into BA Everywhere so that people all over the country can think about and learn from your experience.

People everywhere should be inspired by "1000 Years—$1000 for BA Everywhere" to not just match one dollar for every year that a prisoner, ex-prisoner, or family pledges to raise to match their loved one's sentence, but to multiply that—donating $2, $5, $10 or more dollars for every year that we accumulate. In this way, 1000 years of pledged years should raise not just the $1000 pledged by those contributing their years, but many more thousands of dollars for the BA Everywhere campaign. We want to hear from all who donate, from all walks of life... building a voice in society that is responding to the outrageous genocidal mass incarceration of millions by contributing to the first step towards a radically new world.

 

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014


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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners on What BAsics and Other Revolutionary Literature Means to Them

May 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from letters from prisoners and ex-prisoners received by the Prisoner Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF).

~~~~~~~

“...We have to bring together people from the bottom of society and people from middle class backgrounds who don't have the direct experience of that kind of oppression and injustice. We will never get to another world without people from the bottom and people from other parts of society being firmly committed toward humanity.” (From "Revolutionary Gregory Koger Released from Cook County Jail," November 2013)

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“...Since George [Jackson] was on the scene the repressive apparatus of police, prisons and courts has developed in such a way, that out of necessity the ‘Stop Mass Incarceration Network’ has been formed, and is now being developed as a means to raise the conscious level of the masses and beat back its forces. The Leadership of Bob Avakian and the New Synthesis of Communism, with his scientific approach and method of combating those repressive forces, is constantly being developed in correspondence to all of this as well, while people like myself learn to deeply probe, investigate and experiment with reality, and begin to appreciate and understand the significance of Bob Avakian's Leadership in relation to combating and actually defeating the repressive forces of this superstructure... As I have said before, this New Synthesis of Communism is the program that we need to be getting down with, other wise we are screwed. We Need Revolution and Nothing less than that, other wise 35 yrs. from now another young Brother will be sitting in this exact same cage that I am sitting in right now dealing with this madness. In fact, the level of madness will have developed to a higher stage by then if no radical change takes place, because things are only getting worse. I say we get on board and help develop this New Stage of Communism.” (From revcom.us, October 2013)

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“Revolutionary greetings! I'll like to say thanks a lot to all the ‘PRLF’ donors. Thank you for paying for my education. In essence that's what you're doing with your donations. Thanks to your donations, I've been able to start learning about the rapacious economic system (capitalism) that dominates every aspect of our lives. I've been able to learn that under capitalism, society is divided into different classes—between those who can only live by selling their labor to the highest bidder, (and only as long as their labor is producing profits to capitalist) and those who live by exploiting the labor of others; between oppressed and oppressor. And consequently, under capitalism, there can never be democracy or justice for all. I've been also able to learn that such social relations were not created by nature, but were created and are enforced, by the capitalist class.

“And most importantly, I've been able to learn that a whole different and better world is possible; that capitalism can be overthrown through revolution. Thanks to your donations, I've been able to transform myself from a gang member to a revolutionary; from a homophobic and machista, to a progressive thinker; from having a defeatist mentality: ‘there isn't anything I can do, things are never going to change’; to having a radical mentality: Knowing that I can make a difference; that we are all worthy of a decent life—demanding a better life for everybody, and willing to fight for it!

“And thanks to your donations, I've been able to liberate other people, (by sharing the literature that your donations enable me to receive) and I'm fairly confident that it'll have a snowball effect. I would like to end this letter by encouraging people to keep making donations to ‘PRLF,’ or to start, if you haven't yet. Your donations are helping us (prisoners) break the mental shackles, that have been placed there by this capitalist/imperialist ran system.  – In Solidarity, Prisoner from California” (From revcom.us, December 2012)

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“I am currently in XX SHU [Special Housing Unit, meaning solitary confinement in conditions that have been condemned internationally as torture-editors]. I have received your copy of BAsics and in this latest issue of [Revolution] you printed the call for peace from the prisoner's. I and everybody around me participated in last years hunger strike it was a life changing experience for me. Combined with your newspaper has really opened my eyes to the injustice of this country and the need for revolution... I would like to learn more about Bob Avakian and any books or book list you could send me will be highly Appreciated. – Prisoner from California” (From revcom.us, December 2012)

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“...First I would like to fill you in on progress Ive Been making. I have been passing around every issue of Revolution, as well as BAsics, the RCP Constitution and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, etc. People are very open to it and I am trying to take up a collection to purchase copies of BAsics. I am trying to get sent to [another] yard where I will be able to spread BA more easily.

“Now onto my thought i want to run by you comrades. My cellie and i both crochet. It's a way to pass time. I want to help by crocheting things for the homeless Sandy victims etc. Things that comrades can pass out on the BAsic bus tour, from the book stores, etc. to those in need. I'm thinking like beanies, scarves and lap quilts. We can knock these things out from anywhere between 5 hours for a scarve to 4 days for a lap quilt...” (From revcom.us, December 2012)

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“Well I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying and I read ‘The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses and the Responsibility of the Vanguard’ [This is the supplement to Chapter 6 of BAsics - PRLF] and now I understand what you are doing and talking about and here I was thinking you lost faith in me. But all the time you are putting all your faith in me. To become a better man and into a revolutionary. The part I really enjoy reading was on page 199 where it talks about ‘there are plenty of people pandering to them and using them in various ways and feeling sorry for them. I hate the way the masses of people suffer, but I don’t feel sorry for them. They have the potential to remake the world, and we have to struggle like hell with them to see that.’ And that’s the same way you think of us. Then on page 200 I really do feel like he is talking about me because I do have limitation and shortcoming as the result of living and struggling to survive under this system. and I was denied education that I really need it but access to knowledge about many spheres. hell I don’t even know what a sphere is, but I will be looking it up, and at one time I didn’t know how to read, but by me coming to jail and picking up books and just reading on my own that how I learn like way spell. And yes I was illiterate and in many ways I am still illiterate. but I am trying to overcome that and my eye was closed on most the things until I met you and you showed me the way to Bob Avakian. So people out there try to fake it and to make it but not me. Don’t get me wrong sometime its hard to study thing about the revolution because I don’t understand the words I be reading and thats what makes me want to give up. But I do want to become the emancipators of humanity. and then to act in accordance with that potential and Bob said best on page 202 where he including me by saying someone who got caught up in terrible things. They are also capable of great things. I in my pass I did go down the wrong road. but now I got a family that love me for how I am not for what I did in the pass and in that way made me change. its just I still have to finish my pass mistake and get off parole and then I can move on. but while I am doing that. I can start by learning new things and start being a men and help other. well my pen ran out and I don’t have a pencil so I will write back soon and tell you more.” (From revcom.us, December 2013)

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/obamas-new-criteria-for-releasing-people-from-prison-smoke-and-mirrors-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Obama’s New Criteria for Releasing People From Prison—Smoke and Mirrors Aimed at Covering Over the Horrors of Mass Incarceration

by Carl Dix | May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On April 20, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was broadening its criteria for evaluating petitions for clemency from federal prisoners. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the new criteria “are aimed at inmates serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, are intended to lead to a reduction in the nation's federal prison population and also to ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens."

Some people say this shows that Obama is trying to do good but has been held back by right-wingers in Congress. They say people should get behind Obama on this and work with his administration to make this change happen and encourage him to keep doing things like this.

In reality, this is a case of a world-class criminal, Obama, who presides over targeted assassinations, hundreds of drone strikes that kill innocent people, immigration raids that tear families apart and disappear people, mass incarceration that has tens of millions of people’s lives enmeshed in the criminal “injustice” system, and more. This criminal sees that his system’s ass is hanging out—that people are opening their eyes to the 2.2 million people in prison, more than 60 percent of them Black or Latino; the torture of solitary confinement enforced on 80,000 people in prison; women subjected to rape; and more. Obama sees that there is growing anger at the horrors of mass incarceration and there’s potential for this to lead to people broadly questioning the legitimacy of a system that does all this shit to people.

So he has begun to talk about mass incarceration being a problem and to make some moves to try to cover over its ugly reality. But when you sort thru the smoke and mirrors of the DOJ announcement of new criteria for evaluating clemency petitions, you find changes that will only apply to a small percentage of the people in prison. We won’t know for months how many people end up getting released under these criteria, or even if any people end up getting released under them. But we do know that less than 5 percent of those in prison in the U.S. right now can meet the first of the criteria—being a federal prisoner serving time for a nonviolent drug offense—because the vast majority of inmates are incarcerated in state or local, not federal, prisons, and so are completely ineligible for this program. When you add in other aspects of Holder’s new criteria—that people be able to make a case that they would be sentenced to a shorter sentence today and that they have no disciplinary infractions on their records in prison—we find that this could come down to a lot of fanfare over the release of a few thousand or even only a few hundred people from prison.

Look, people sentenced to decades behind bars for possessing a banned substance should get out of jail, but should we get behind and work with Obama because he’s talking about letting a few people out of jail? I say HELL NO! Even if they let all the people who met the nonviolent drug offense criteria out of federal prison, the structure of mass incarceration in the U.S. as a whole would remain intact; to say nothing of all the other crimes against the people Obama presides over.

Let’s look at this. If in 1860, the slave masters said they were going to free 20,000 Black people from slavery, should those opposed to the slave system have decided to work with the slave masters? If Hitler had said he was going to free 30,000 Jews held in the death camps during World War 2, should people have decided to work with the Nazis? If apartheid South Africa had said it was going to lift the restrictions on one million Africans, should the anti-apartheid movement have decided to work with that apartheid regime? It’s no different with Obama and the U.S. imperialist rulers.

This is not a time to step back from fighting against the horror of mass incarceration which has tens of millions of mostly Black and Latino people living their lives enmeshed in the web of the criminal “injustice” system. It’s a time to step up the struggle to wipe off the face of the earth the system responsible for this horror, and all the other horrors the imperialist system enforces on humanity—women forced into sexual slavery, the devastation of the environment, the wars for empire, and more. It’ll take communist revolution, and nothing less, to do this.

And all those who see the horrors of the racially disparate mass incarceration and want to see it ended need to throw in to take the movement of resistance to a whole other level. The way to do this is to join in the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/332/behind-the-crisis-in-Ukraine-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Ukraine: A Clash of Predatory Powers

Updated May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People are being lied to on a massive scale about what is going on in Ukraine. They are being trained to think uncritically, and to identify with the interests of the rulers of the United States. It's a very dangerous situation because there's a hair-trigger confrontation between imperialist powers concentrated in Ukraine, but in other parts of the world as well. We really have to get people to stop thinking like Americans and to start thinking about humanity, starting from humanity as a whole and looking for the truth, bringing it out.

You'll find resources for all of this at revcom.us:

 

What Is the Clash in Ukraine About?

(April 29, 2014)

At bottom, what's happening in Ukraine is a conflict between reactionaries on every level.

Read more

 

Ukraine: A Clash of Predatory Powers

(March 21, 2014)

Alan Goodman interviewed on the Michael Slate show
Listen now

 

Trampling On Other Nations?

The U.S. Empire Was Built On That

(March 9, 2014)

The situation in the European country of Ukraine continues to be tense, volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous. Barack Obama talks about respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the aspirations of the people of Ukraine. But who the fuck is the United States to lecture anybody about not respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries!?

Read more

 

» Ukraine: Not a "Democratic Uprising" but a Clash Between Predators

(March 3, 2014)

» From a World to Win News Service:
Ukraine: The Wolves Are Loose

(February 24, 2014)

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/awtwns-what-is-the-clash-in-Ukraine-about-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

From A World to Win News Service:

What Is the Clash in Ukraine About?

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

April 29, 2014. A World to Win News Service. At bottom, what's happening in Ukraine is a conflict between reactionaries on every level—a weak and fragmented monopoly capitalist ruling class in a country that has become a focal point of contention between unstable and shifting imperialist alliances. This is what makes the situation so sharp and gives it lethal potential.

The U.S.-Russian clash in Ukraine is not about Ukraine. It's about empire. Western propagandists compare Russia's actions in Ukraine to Nazi Germany's 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia under the pretext of defending ethnic Germans, with the conclusion that Russian expansionism should be stopped before it's too late. But Putin made the same argument from the opposite angle: the U.S. and its allies are following the path of Nazi Germany by trying to gobble up Eastern Europe and dismantle Russia for the sake of world domination. Despite major differences in the two epochs, including the role of Germany itself, both sides have a point.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union (decades after it ceased to be socialist and turned into a capitalist and imperialist country), the U.S. has been trying to ensure its position as the world's sole superpower by "containing" Russia. NATO swallowed former Soviet bloc countries and USSR states until it extended to Russia's borders on the Baltic Sea in the north. In 2008 the military alliance announced its intention to gobble up Ukraine and Georgia, moving to surround Russia. Russia responded by taking over border areas in Georgia. The West backed down without giving up.

In recent speeches justifying the Russian annexation of Crimea, Putin put the issue in terms of self-defense. Referring to U.S. President George H. W. Bush's promise to Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward if the Soviet leader agreed to accept German reunification, Putin said, "They have lied to us many times, made decisions behind our backs, placed us before accomplished fact. This happened with NATO's expansion to the East, as well as the deployment of military infrastructures at our borders [the positioning of U.S. missiles in Poland under the pretext of protecting Europe from Iran]. They keep telling us the same thing: 'Well, this does not concern you.' That's easy to say." (New York Times, March 26, 2014) In his annual press question and answer session, he complained that the West was treating Russia as a defeated power, when that was not the case, and said, "Look at Yugoslavia. They cut it up and began to manipulate it. That's what they want to do with us." He concluded that Russia had no choice but to prevent NATO from ousting Russia from its naval stronghold in Crimea and taking over the Black Sea. (BBC, April 17, 2014)

Putin's moves in Ukraine are not simply a matter of self-defense. While Russia has an intrinsic need for Ukraine that the U.S. does not, even more important is Ukraine's place in a bigger, longer game: Ukraine's industry (including its aerospace and other arms production) and strategic location (including the gas pipelines that criss-cross it) are essential to Russia's ability to project its economic and military power on the world stage. Right now, Russia hopes to use control over Ukraine to further loosen U.S. constraints on Germany. Over time, this might transform the whole dynamic of threats to U.S. hegemony, with all that might imply for China, as well as countries like Iran and Syria, ushering in a different world situation.

The German media has connected the dots between two events in producing today's political atmosphere: the crisis over Ukraine, where the U.S. wants to punish Russia at the expense of Germany's trade relations with Moscow, and the revelation by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the U.S. spies on all telecommunications and Internet traffic in Germany, right down to Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal mobile. Instead of fading, the rancor is turning even more bitter as the U.S. refuses her government's demand to turn over the records and transcripts. What ties the two events together is the public perception that the U.S. considers Germany to be posing some real problems.

In a widely noted essay in Der Spiegel online, Christiane Hoffmann wrote, "Germans and Russians maintain a special relationship... The debate about Russia's role in the Ukrainian crisis is more polarizing than any other issue in current German politics... It goes right to the core of the question of Germany's identity. Where do we stand when it comes to Russia?... The louder the voices on one side condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine, the louder those become in arguing for a deeper understanding of a humbled, embattled Russia; as the voices pillorying Russia for violating international law in Crimea, so do those of Germans raising allegations against the West... It's fair to say that when it comes to the question of its affiliation with the West, Germany is a divided land." (Spiegel.de, April 9, 2014)

The truth of Hoffmann's assertion was vividly illustrated when ex-German chancellor Helmut Schroeder chose to celebrate his birthday with Putin. In the resulting scandal, some leading German figures dismissed Schroeder's current relevance. But Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a close ally of Chancellor Merkel at the center of current German politics, has also expressed opposition to U.S. desires that Berlin break with Russia.

Steinmeier began a recent interview by saying, "I don't even want to think about military escalation between the West and the East... Because we would pay the price for it in Europe, all of us, without exception." (Spiegel.de, April 28, 2014) That in itself signals some differences with Obama and his representatives. After a phone conversation with Merkel, Obama began claiming that military options are "not on the table in Ukraine." (Washington Examiner, April 17, 2014) But his government has made increasingly aggressive military moves before and after. The U.S. commander of NATO, who has the power to act without consulting other NATO members, sent AWACs command and control aircraft and jet fighters to fly over Poland and Romania, more warships into exercises in the Baltic Sea and 600 U.S. ground troops into Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia until further notice. Invoking NATO and not diplomacy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned, "I can guarantee this: the United States and our allies will stand up for Ukraine." (Reuters, April 29, 2014)

The U.S. may very well feel that it has no good—potentially successful—military options, but such military maneuvers can only be understood as a threat of violent retaliation. This does not mean a return to the conditions of the 1980s, when world war was explicitly on the table for both sides (remember U.S. President Ronald Reagan's infamous 1984 "joke," "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes"). But today's situation is extremely dangerous because there is so much at stake and neither side can afford defeat.

In addition to not repeating Washington's (and London's) military threats to Russia, in his interview Steinmeier also does not threaten Putin with any economic punishment. This is also important, for while not depending on German arms, the U.S.'s hopes for the success of non-military pressure against Russia rest most squarely on the threat of cutting off German economic ties with Russia. Otherwise, what Obama refers to as "the consequences" if Russia moves ahead don't amount to much.

Instead, Steinmeier emphasizes the potentially positive outcome of a Russian-European agreement: "the investments that Russia so urgently needs from outside the country for its modernization." The modernization of Russian industry in collaboration with Germany, and the fusion of Russian energy resources with German capital, causes the U.S. real concern.

While not underplaying the seriousness of the situation ("the worst crisis since the end of the Cold War") and warning that "Russia is playing a dangerous game," Steinmeier says nothing about any need to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity. Instead, he refers to Ukraine's "difficult legacy... with a plethora of unresolved ethnic, religious, social and economic conflicts," indicating that the main problem in Ukraine is splits among Ukrainians. Worse for the U.S., the German Foreign Minister calls the collapse of that February 21 agreement the root of today's problems, as does Putin. That agreement signed by President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, brokered by Germany, France and Poland, foresaw a negotiated settlement for the political crisis with the formation of a unity government, the withdrawal of both sides from the streets and the disarmament of civilians, and new presidential elections.

The U.S. wanted to prevent that kind of agreement—"Fuck the EU," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland cursed in her infamous leaked phone call to the American ambassador to Ukraine. Although the circumstances of Yanukovych's post-agreement sudden flight are murky, Putin correctly points out that the U.S. has done its best to foil Russian attempts to revive the deal by supporting the most avowedly die-hard anti-Russia elements.

In the question and answer session, Putin criticized Yanukovych for ignoring his advice to use force to ensure the realization of that agreement instead of letting himself be run out by "fascists." This brings us to the question of what's happening within Ukraine itself. While it is ultimately determined by this international context, it has to be analyzed as a process in itself within this context, especially in terms of classes.

The regime backed by Washington is held together by its opposition to Russia. The prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is the U.S.'s man, named in Nuland's phone call. The acting president is Olexander Turchynov. These two men, whose future depends on the U.S., are members of the Fatherland party led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. To say that it is a party of the Ukrainian "oligarchs" is to state the indisputable. But this is a complicated question, because the Ukrainian monopoly capitalists, as they should more accurately be called, are not united, certainly not in any stable way.

Nowhere is this volatility more obvious than in the figure of Tymoshenko herself. One of the country's most powerful newly arisen monopoly capitalists, like many of them she rose to riches overnight by doing business with Russia, in this case going from video store owner to head of an energy giant dealing in Russian gas. She is certainly the country's most popular politician and may be the only traditional politician with national reach. Raised as a Russian speaker, she says she became a Ukrainian nationalist out of conviction. She is known for her anti-Russian rants, even suggesting that Obama should threaten to unleash nuclear war to keep Crimea Ukrainian. (Talk to Al Jazeera interview, March 8, 2014) But she was also considered Putin's personal choice in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections—and was supported by Merkel. In late April she went to Donetsk to "listen to the complaints of the [pro-Russian] demonstrators"—putting herself forward as uniquely able to bring about a negotiated settlement. A world-class shape-shifter, she embodies the desperation and mercurial quality of the Ukrainian ruling class.

These qualities give special significance to the inclusion in the new Kiev government of Svoboda (Freedom), a party formerly called the Social-Nationalists with a swastika-like symbol, and the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), a coalition of more or less avowedly fascist paramilitary formations. Fighters from these two groups triggered Yanukovych's hasty departure and the bringing in of the new regime. Beatings and threats from Svoboda members on the floor of parliament—as well as the need to face a new political situation—forced MPs from the former president's Party of Regions to approve the new government after his flight. (Svoboda parliamentarians also videoed themselves beating up the head of a state broadcasting station to force his resignation, and posted it on YouTube.) Although a small party rooted mainly in Ukraine's far west, Svoboda now holds key positions, including deputy prime minister (Oleksandr Sych, an anti-abortion crusader known for his homophobic views and declarations that rape is caused by women's lifestyle), the deputy speaker of parliament (the words "parliamentary whip" apply literally), general prosecutor and national security. The head of the Right Sector is the national security deputy.

The power of these men extends beyond their governmental offices. It could be said to some extent that they were given their posts because of their power, their control of armed bands, although that's not the whole story. One factor that makes them so important is that the police, security services and armed forces are split between pro- and anti-Russia sentiments and allegiances from top to bottom. A reporter described the situation like this: "Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency, the State Security Agency, known as SBU, is so riddled with Russian informers that when CIA director John O. Brennan arrived in Kiev recently on a supposedly secret trip, state-run Russian media swiftly revealed his visit and declared it as evidence that Washington was calling the shots in Ukraine.

"The SBU has repeatedly boasted of catching alleged Russian operatives in the east, but it has not made public any solid evidence to support Kiev's assertions that the mayhem in the east is orchestrated and financed by Moscow, a failure that has compromised Ukraine's efforts to compete, at least in eastern Ukraine, with Moscow's own narrative of Western meddling.

"Alfa [the special forces], by contrast, does appear to function, but its ardor to serve has been sapped by the fact that it is being investigated for its previous service to Ukraine's former president, Mr Yanukovych." (New York Times, April 14, 2014)

Even if other political forces may not agree with the politics of the fascist fighters, and may not trust them (just as Svoboda and Right Sector especially hate Tymoshenko and other members of the political establishment), these men can be relied on to deal ruthlessly with anyone perceived as pro-Russia no matter what their status, high or low.

The ability of a relatively few pro-Russia armed men to occupy Ukrainian government offices in eastern Ukraine in the face of the police and armed forces has been puzzling. Whether they are civilians or really Russian soldiers doesn't change that question, and interviews with them and others indicate at least most are local volunteers. (Le Monde, Tim Judah writing in The New York Review of Books and BBC.co.uk, all April 29, 2014) Clearly, as of this moment, there has been a lack of will to fight them, not only among the police, who often step aside, but also the army and even special forces. Many Ukrainian conscripts serve in their home regions, and their lack of heart to fight other eastern Ukrainians has been noted by reporters, who have also noted that this passivity seems to extend up through the command level. The sacking and counter-sacking of armed forces chiefs could also be related to splits at the top. Svoboda and Right Sector fighters have been sent in to give backbone to what the Kiev authorities ominously call "anti-terrorist operations."

The sight of civilians, including many not young or fit, lining up to join the national armed forces in western Ukraine is also puzzling. Why call up self-selected volunteers instead of trained and organized reserves? It has been widely reported that the fascist militias are being integrated into the armed forces, and that could be to help lead them and whip them into shape politically.

Clearly the U.S. values these groups' services. Leading U.S. Senator John McCain met with the Svoboda leader last December, and Secretary of State Kerry publicly appeared on a Svoboda platform in March. But there may also be seeds of potential conflict, as perhaps glimpsed in the gunning down of a prominent Right Sector leader in March in a case that the government has seemed in no hurry to clear up. These forces are more basically Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Russia than pro-U.S., and in at least some cases not pro-U.S. at all. The rise of the governing Fidesz party and the Jobbic party in Hungary demonstrates that in Eastern Europe being extremely nationalist, religious and anti-Semitic doesn't necessarily preclude being pro-Russia, not only in foreign affairs but even in professed sympathy for what Putin calls his "Eurasian doctrine" in seeking to give Russia's defiance of the West an ideological cast.

When Putin calls these men a bunch of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, he has history on his side. Today's Ukrainian nationalists, including in Svoboda and the Right Sector, consider themselves heirs to the Ukrainian nationalists who joined the German and Romanian fascist invaders in fighting the Soviet Union during World War 2. Ukrainian nationalism is irredeemably intertwined with clerical obscurantism and anti-Jewish and anti-Polish bigotry and pogroms.

But what is happening in Ukraine is not driven by ethnic and religious conflict, even though often expressing itself along such faultlines. Opposition to the Russian state is not exactly the same as being against ethnic Russians, although the two are inevitably related in some people's eyes. It is not obvious that one side is more anti-Semitic than the other, although both the U.S. and Russia have tried to portray that as a motivating issue. Ideology plays an extremely important role—the rival Orthodox Church patriarchs based in Kiev and Moscow each called on god to smite the others' followers in Easter proclamations that would seem like self-parody if so many human lives were not at stake—but neither Ukrainian nationalism nor Russian nationalism is better than the other as an ideology or political program, and all the more so under current circumstances. There are also powerful appeals to narrow, cynical self-interest. Ukrainian per capita GDP, living standards as measured by the Human Development Index, birth rate, life expectancy and population have all declined since Soviet times. Only immigration has increased. Many people, especially among the educated middle classes, dream of western European lifestyles, while others are hopeful that Russia will come to their rescue.

Further, a focus on fascism has led some leftist or "civil society" forces to support politicians like Tymoshenko with the hope that they will keep down the far right. Ironically, this same prism has led other forces to support Russia. This is not an accurate conceptualization of what's happening—the main conflict is not between proponents of an openly terrorist or of a bourgeois-democratic form of rule.

More basically, the problem is capitalism itself. Today that system has produced an explosive combination of a desperate population that is not only deeply dissatisfied with their lot in life but resentful and feeling cheated, and a divided capitalist ruling class desperate not only to survive as capitalists in the face of Western and Russian capital but to somehow break free of their domination and expand themselves.

The pervasive corruption among the Ukrainian ruling class may be a crime of opportunity, but it also reveals the lack of the kind of business opportunities that have brought far more fabulous wealth in more successful capitalist countries. A look at Ukraine's economy explains some factors behind the weakness and fractures of its capitalist class.

For historical reasons, the economy is structurally connected with that of Russia in two ways. Its steel, concrete, shipbuilding and aerospace enterprises are engineered to fit Russian demands and specifications, and this heavy industry in turn cannot be profitable without cheap—Russian—energy. The country's modern, export-oriented agriculture is also energy dependent, and equally dependent on eastern markets at this time. It may be possible for Ukraine's economy to be thoroughly restructured, but it is not clear how that could be done in the short run or under the conditions of today's strained global imperialist economy. Right now, Ukraine makes Greece look prosperous and financially and fiscally sound. While the West and Russia have been brandishing their mighty treasuries, and certainly both would rather lose many billions than lose Ukraine, it is not clear what they could really do in any basic way.

What's going on in Ukraine is not about economics in the narrowly understood sense of immediate profit and loss. Both Russia and the West are fighting to take over a bankrupt country. In the longer term, they intend to loot it, and the booty could be very rich, but this isn't their immediate concern. No individual capitalist, still less any imperialist power, can play defensive. They all face the compulsion to expand or die at the hands of the market, and on a world scale rival nationally based imperialist capital formations are barriers to each other's expansion.

In that sense, Ukraine can be considered a sign of what capitalism offers in today's world.

 

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

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

 

Raymond Lotta:

You Don't Know What You Think You "Know" About...

The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future

Now Available as an Expanded eBook!

Updated May 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The REAL History of Communist Revolution

A Unique Resource

Special Offer for Month of May:

PDF version discount—99¢
Go to ipgbook.com/discount-pdf
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Raymond Lotta’s research and argumentation, particularly about the Russian revolution and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, demonstrate forcefully once again that a better world for humanity is indeed possible. Anybody who does not want to witness the slow but sure destruction of our environment, and our humanity as well should find inspiration from Lotta’s book.

—Dongping Han, author of The Unknown Cultural Revolution:
Life and Change in a Chinese Village

 

Everything you “know” about the revolution is untrue. You need to surf the first wave and get on board for the next rising tide. Lotta offers a book that sets sail towards that horizon with unflinching commitment to the better future that we need.

—John Hutnyk, author of Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics
and Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/interview-with-collette-flanagan-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Interview with Collette Flanagan

Mothers Against Police Brutality: "Our Quest for Justice"

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A national strategy meeting was held in New York City in April to plan for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration. Revolution/revcom.us talked with participants at the meeting, including families of those in prison, parents of those who have been killed by the police, and others active in the struggle against mass incarceration. The following is one of those interviews.

*****

Tell me about yourself and what happened to your son.

My name is Collette Flanagan and I'm a founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality. My son, my only son, Clinton Allen, was murdered on March 10, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Clinton was 25 years old and he was unarmed and he was executed by a Dallas policeman. And what we found out in our quest for justice, in our journey for justice, is a lot of mothers in despair, on the same path, whose sons have been killed. In the city of Dallas there has never, ever been an indictment, except for one time, 41 years ago—41 years ago, of a cop that killed an unarmed man. We're talking about unarmed men. As of 2001 to date, there have been over 68, that number is huge—68 unarmed men over 10 years. And that's not even counting—we found out there's another number, they don't even include in that number policemen that have killed using Tasers. The Dallas Police Department has been so unchecked until we came into place, Mothers Against Police Brutality started holding them accountable. You have policemen running over suspects with their cars so those don't even get counted; suspects beaten to death, those numbers are not even get counted. So it's more deaths that policemen cause.

But we are holding the police department accountable for killing our children. We have been responsible for getting the excessive force training re-written because the one that was in place was horrible, it basically gives policemen license to kill and the processes that are in place to give policemen impunity was just outlandish and unchecked and unapologetic. The police department investigates their own deaths, which I know that happens in a lot of cities. But that's kind of outdated. Most progressive police forces bring in an outside agency or they have a separate unit. With Dallas policy—Dallas is about 10 or 15 years behind, most people don't know, so they romanticize Texas—you know, horses and the ranches. But Texas is not a safe place, Dallas, Houston—and we're working in San Antonio now where Marquise Jones was just killed in February, shot in his back twice. And San Antonio has a lot of immigrants. I call them citizens that are there illegally, right? I don't like to say illegal aliens, but citizens that are there illegally. So a lot of those people don't complain in San Antonio, so the abuse is so horrible. If you go on San Antonio's web page, the police department, it tells you, if you want to file an internals affair complaint on an officer, you might be asked to take a polygraph test. Now who is going to do that?

But our district attorney in Dallas has never indicted a policeman; the grand juries that are put together in Dallas, especially grand juries for the police shootings. So we want to bring that to light. When you ask yourself, you hear about all these police shootings and killings and the one common denominator is that the DA everywhere, in every city, will not indict. That's the common denominator. So when you peel that back and you say OK, why aren't the DAs indicting these officers who kill? Well the DAs don't indict the officers who kill because they have a partnership with the police department. So they just hand it over, they turn a blind eye and they use the grand jury secrecy to circumvent justice for families and to deliver impunity for cops. And so we need to call these DAs out and one thing that Mothers Against Police Brutality is working on doing is filing a complaint with the Justice Department—a multi-complaint with different cities about DAs and grand juries. If that secrecy is being used to circumvent justice and deliver impunity, well, then that's criminal. That's not what it was intended to do. And we know that that's happening. So that's one of the projects that we're working on now.

So we created Mothers Against Police Brutality and also the Clinton R. Allen Foundation, which is named after my son. And it's not just a foundation to say we have a foundation. But I found out from talking to mothers that when they take your children from you, and they kill your children, the families are not even allowed to get anything from the victims' fund that the states have locally. And so a lot of these murders happen in poor neighborhoods. That was my son's crime, he was in the wrong zip code. Cause we know in Dallas there are certain zip codes where these cops kill. We call them the hunting grounds. And so these poor families can't bury these children, you know. And so the mother in San Antonio, her family they were washing cars and cooking and selling dinners—in the midst of grief. Put the grief aside and cook dinners and sell plates, barbeque plates, and wash cars— to bury your son? Your child that was taken from you? Something about that is foul.

Tell me a little more about what happened to your son.

Clinton went over to a friend's house to retrieve a television and we think that there was something romantic maybe starting. You know kids; we think that he was supposed to be there, from what we could tell, around 10:30. He didn't get there until around 12. By the time he got there she had another guy there. And he was knocking on the door. I wish every day that Clinton had left. And he was persistent. I guess he figured, hey, we were supposed to meet up. The other guy on the other side of the door was getting agitated, like why is he here. So this young lady calls 911 just to get Clinton to go away. And Clinton's misfortune was that Clark Staller, who had nine excessive charges on his record and falsifying a police record and attempted murder—and he was still a policeman by the way—he showed up. He showed up at, I forget the exact time, but within eight minutes Clinton was dead, [Staller] went directly into excessive force. It was that quick and he was gone. They tried to convince us, they immediately said, they started planting the story that Clinton was high on PCP. I went—I eat lunch, I eat breakfast with this kid, he lives with me, I know about him and I'm a realist. And even if he had been, I would still be fighting for him because if you're on drugs, that's not a death sentence.

What did they say, that he was threatening?

Of course—[they said] he was threatening and he was on PCP. We had to wait until the toxicology report came back and he wasn't high on PCP. But that's the story and so we learn that's what the police departments do. They annihilate the victim's character. And they have this media machine that's a monster. And once they put that out—and reporters, they don't want to touch police shootings. They want to stay in good with the police so they can get all the good stories. So once the police media release a story, I mean, all they have to do is make a statement, the reporters pick it up, and it becomes the story. They don't vet it, they don't dig into it. And so we're trying to change that, even in our city, starting with Dallas. You know and challenging reporters—and we've done this, like "how do you know that happened," "you weren't there." You know, we've changed the verbiage, we've challenged the chief, you know—"you shouldn't be on TV saying the shooting was justified because you said there is an investigation, so you don't know that." So when we take away those little tools that they have to mesmerize the public and to get the public on their side, then people will start to see, hopefully, clearly what is really happening.

And the truth is that there are policemen that should be on medication instead of having a gun. The cop that killed my son was ex-Marine. I have no doubt something is wrong with him. In my spirit I know something is wrong with this man. We found out that police officers are only drug tested one time, that's when they become a police. Now, if you and I wanted to go and drive a bus we would be randomly tested. If I wanted to be a dog catcher, I would be randomly drug tested. So we must require the same thing from people who we entrust our families to. And we will find out that they are on steroids, post-traumatic stress syndrome, Xanax, Zoloft. I mean, they have real problems, they're human too. And we have to stop looking at these policemen as some super-human beings and giving them impunity, even in our own minds, the way we're raised—"policemen are always right" and they're not. They lie, they steal, they rape, they execute. There are sick people among the police force and when these bad apples show us who they are, we must have the courage.

There's a whole structure, it's not just the individual cop...

Right, so when you have a rotten apple, because the way the system embraces them, they thrive in the dysfunctional culture that's created for them. The blue line. And then people say well, there are some good cops. To me a good cop does not watch a bad cop do something bad and not say anything. If you're a good cop you stand up and you don't help hide what that bad cop does. I do believe that there are some good cops out there but they are very few and far between. There are some that if we remove the bad cops, would be better cops. And so these are people that we pay. We pay these people to protect our family and then we allow them to kill our families. That's crazy.

What do you think about this meeting so far and the vision for a month of resistance to mass incarceration in October?

I think it's great. I think bringing all the lines together is really great. And I think getting people to understand that this is a movement, not just a meeting to express what happened to me and my thoughts. This is a movement, that we have to continue this. We have to duplicate this in every city and we have to support each other. Sort of like the Freedom Riders, you know, they were driving buses—we have to duplicate that. And have to—sometimes getting back to good ole basic stuff, of just supporting each other instead of you know, [just being] "in solidarity"—no, we need to physically be there. I think that this movement is going to be very important and I think that it is going to work. I think it's going to work, it's going to get attention and I think that there are a lot of people waiting for this movement that just don't know what to do and would like to be involved. I think people are basically good and when you put a vehicle in place to where they can show you how good they are and what a good spirit they have, I think that they will take advantage to do so. So I'm looking forward to it.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/from-prisoner-no-americans-had-been-harmed-japan-earthquake-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Letter from a Prisoner:

"No Americans had been harmed" (Japan earthquake)

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

We received this letter through the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF):

March 2011

Dear Family,

Greetings from the Texas gulag! I was listening to CNN yesterday on my radio (we can get television by shorting out the tuner) and tuning in to the terrible news about the earthquake & tsunami that devastated the coast of Japan when the announcer made a special point of assuring his audience "no Americans had been harmed."

To get a real flavor for the obscenity of this bigoted mindset, imagine this had happened in San Francisco and the announcer reassuringly declared no white people had been harmed; or perhaps no men.

This announcer meant no harm: He was simply voicing the values he'd been taught (actively & passively) all his life: Americans are more important than the natives of any other country; whites are more important than people of any other skin color; and, of course men are far more important than women. This is the 800 lb. gorilla in the living room of our collective psyche we must all do battle with if we are to survive as a species.

As a white American male I can call out this horribly obscene gorilla of ignorance & bigotry and not be accused of rating the grapes sour simply because I'm being denied a share of the spoils.

We simply must bring into being a revolutionary communist world devoid of prejudice & bigotry if we are to survive; the alternative is this capitalist death-dance of self-annihilation.

Yours for the revolution,

XXX

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/from-prisoner-turn-this-concrete-cell-that-has-broken-and-destroyed-so-many-lives-into-a-classroom-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Letter from a Prisoner:

"Turn this concrete cell that has broken & destroyed so many, many lives into a classroom"

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

We received this letter through the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF):

I remember a few years ago, when I was locked down in Pontiac's Segregation Unit, I found myself engaged in a lively discussion, as well as a heated debate with other prisoners about the actual truths of the science of evolution. At that time, my understanding of the science of evolution was very limited to the point of being almost non-existent as a result of the material conditions I was born into, as well as the quality of my formal education. Like so many, I grew up in just one of the many burnt out slums of Chicago, only going as far as the 7th grade in school.

Anyway, the prison chaplain must of heard about our discussion/debate through the grapevine & took it as his personal mission to distribute a box filled with a book entitled "Darwinism Under the Microscope". It is obvious that the authors of this particular book are educated & well versed in the field of biology & aim to use their education for the purpose of carrying out the Christian Fascist agenda in a subjective, yet "sophisticated" sounding, kind of a way. It is no wonder that a book like this only targets the basic masses who have been systematically denied the opportunity to struggle in the realm of ideas. During the course of all this, I was only armed with Darwin's book "The Origin of Species"—a complicated & technical read for any beginner—which I was not able to fully grasp nor understand, let along capable of breaking down to others.

All of this was a defining moment for me. I became determined & driven to turn this concrete cell that has broken & destroyed so many, many lives into a classroom. I began to immerse myself in the revolutionary works of Bob Avakian & Ardea Skybreak, [author of The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters] which has & continues to put so much in perspective for me.

As a result the chains of tradition were not only fully shattered, but I have since acquired a more correct understanding of reality & find myself fully capable of breaking down the science of revolution/evolution, as I've come to understand it, to others in a living, fun, yet serious way.

Once again, I just want to emphasize that my transformation came amid intense struggle under some of the most brutal & harsh conditions one can endure within this society. There is no shortcut. The path is torturous, yet so liberating, fun & at times frustrating. As the above example illustrates, I have been in constant battle with the various reactionary fundamentalist prison ministries, particularly the ones fully backed by Christian Fascism, that have been given total access to our minds for many years now. Only this time, thanks to Bob Avakian & everybody involved, I'm more than prepared!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/cowboy-indian-alliance-opposes-keystone-xl-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Cowboy Indian Alliance Opposes Keystone XL

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Earth Day, April 22, a group that included Native people, ranchers and farmers called the Cowboy Indian Alliance, came to Washington, DC to mount a protest to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. On Saturday, April 26, thousands of people including actress Daryl Hannah and musician Neil Young joined with the encampment in a mass protest.

Keystone XL would increase by 830,000 barrels a day the flow of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, where it is extracted, to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, it would be piped to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refinement.

Native people from Alberta, Canada spoke to how tar-sands extraction has already resulted in environmental catastrophe--causing an increase in cancer among the First Nations people, and a destruction of lands and water in Alberta.

One rancher who participated, Tom Genung, described the evolution of his thinking. "When I found out about the Keystone XL pipeline, I was like Not in My Backyard--take it someplace else. Then the BP oil spill happened, around that same time. And at the TransCanada pipeline meetings I heard exactly the same rhetoric about the spill. It was just hokey pokey stuff. They were saying anything that seems like an answer. Then I had the privilege of learning about some things like climate change, and here I am sounding just like an environmentalist."

A decision on the pipeline is expected from President Obama any time between now and the fall. Moving ahead with this pipeline would be an environmental nightmare, and would further escalate the current environmental state of emergency. It needs to be resolutely opposed. (See "State of Emergency! The Plunder of Our Planet, the Environmental Catastrophe & The Real Revolutionary Solution.")

 

On Earth Day, April 22, a group that included Native people, ranchers and farmers called the Cowboy Indian Alliance, came to Washington, DC to mount a protest to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo: AP

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/albuquerque-new-mexico-the-police-murder-of-19-year-old-mary-hawkes-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Police Murder of 19-Year-Old Mary Hawkes

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Mary Hawkes

In the early morning hours of April 22, 2014, the cops spotted 19-year-old Mary Hawkes. They say they “suspected her of stealing a truck” so they ran after her. Then they shot her dead. Later, the swift execution was justified with those words heard over and over again so many times, “the suspect had a gun.” A nearby neighbor told a reporter, "All I heard was the three gunshots and it turned quiet... I didn't hear no yelling, no nothing. I just heard a lot of cop cars coming."

Mary Hawkes is the third person in five weeks to be killed by the Albuquerque Police Department. The news reports of her murder, of course, as they always do, made a point about her so-called “troubled past”—as if being arrested for something like shoplifting or being homeless somehow justifies being shot down with no mercy.

On March 16, just over a month before Mary Hawkes was killed, the Albuquerque police fired six rounds from an assault rifle into 38-year-old James Boyd, a homeless camper. The murder, caught on police video, shows Boyd trying to surrender and a police dog being sicced on him after he was shot. The video went viral on YouTube, prompting widespread outrage and several protests in the streets of Albuquerque. A week later, the police shot and killed 30-year-old Alfred Redwine after a standoff.

Since 2010, 38 people have been shot by the APD, 24 have been killed. NONE of the officers involved in any of these shootings have faced criminal charges or, in most cases, any kind of internal reprimand.

This is just ONE of the many, many police departments all around the country that systematically and routinely brutalize and murder people, where there is a whole history of the police literally “getting away with murder” time after time.

Cop cars always have that slogan painted on them, “serve and protect.” But what do these pigs really “serve and protect”? It’s this whole system of oppression and exploitation that causes so much misery for the people day after day after day. It’s this system of capitalism that gives these enforcers badges and guns and the “right” to brutalize and murder people with impunity in order to maintain the status quo of this whole unjust set up.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/336/a-call-for-a-month-of-resistance-to-mass-incarceration-police-terror-repression-and-the-criminalization-of-a-generation-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

This call appeared on the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website:

WE SAY NO MORE!
A Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!

April 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For 2 generations, Black and Latina/Latino youth in the U.S. have been shipped off to prison in numbers never before seen anywhere in the world at any time. More than 2 million people, of all nationalities languish in prison—ten times the number 50 years ago. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population! More than 60% of those in U.S. prisons are Black or Latina/o. 32% of Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are in prison or on parole or probation on any given day. More than 80,000 people in prison are held in solitary confinement under conditions that fit the international definition of torture.

The incarceration of women has increased by 800% over the last 30 years. They, along with those whose sexual orientation is not “mainstream” or who are gender non-conforming—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex prisoners—face extremely harsh and abusive treatment in prison, including widespread rape. Alongside this has risen a massive program of criminally prosecuting undocumented immigrants, essentially hidden from public view. As a result of the devastation of their homelands, these immigrants have been driven to this country to work without papers, and today they are being criminalized. The U.S. chastises other countries for human rights violations, yet it enmeshes the lives of tens of millions of people in its criminal “injustice” system. The courts, cops, prisons and La Migra all play a part in enforcing mass incarceration. There are genocidal aspects and a genocidal logic to this program, and it has been gathering momentum. All this is intolerable, and, if it isn’t stopped, it will get much worse!

Mass incarceration has grown beside the criminalization of whole peoples; a situation in which every African-American or Latina/o is a permanent suspect—treated as guilty until proven innocent by police and racist vigilantes, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is especially concentrated among the youth, starting with cops in schools, arresting children for things that used to mean a visit to the principal’s office at worse, putting youth on a trajectory from school to prison. Black and Latina/o youth have a target on their backs in this society. Literally tens of millions of lives have been scarred and worse—both the direct victims and their families and communities. People who heroically resisted these and other injustices have been imprisoned, some of them for decades. These political prisoners must be freed.

The malignancy of mass incarceration did not arise from a sudden epidemic of crime. Nor did it result from people making poor personal choices. Instead it arose from cold political calculations made in response to the massive and heroic struggle for the rights of Black and other minority peoples that took place in the 1960’s and 70’s, and in response to the enormous economic and social changes brought about by globalized production. This cancer of mass incarceration has been, from the beginning, nothing but a new Jim Crow in place of the old one. Like the old Jim Crow, it drew on, fed off and reinforced the deep-seated roots of the racism that grew up with slavery. Like the old Jim Crow, it has been, from the beginning, unjustifiable, utterly immoral and thoroughly illegitimate.

This must stop—NOW! Not the next generation, not in ten years, not any time off in some promised future that never seems to come. NOW!

But it will not stop unless and until millions of people, of all nationalities, stand up and say NO MORE, in unmistakable terms. The history of this and every other country shows that without struggle, there can be no positive change; but with struggle this kind of change becomes possible.

It is not enough to oppose this in the privacy of your own conscience or the company of like-minded people. It is not enough to curse this out, but then tell yourself nothing can be done. If you live your life under this threat, you MUST act. If you understand how wrong this is and how much it devastates the lives of so many millions, you MUST act.

NOW is the time to act. People are beginning to awaken and stir. Resistance has begun: Heroic hunger strikes by people in prisons and detention centers and outpourings in response to murders by police and racist vigilantes. Prisoners in solitary confinement in California declared a cessation of racial hostilities as Black, Latino and white prisoners came together to resist the torture of solitary confinement. All this must be taken to a much higher level. We call for a massive Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October of this year; a Month that can impact all of society; one that can open the eyes of millions of people to the need to end this new Jim Crow.

In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration must reverberate across the country and around the world. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Throughout October there must be panels and symposiums on campuses and in neighborhoods; major concerts and other cultural expressions; ferment in the faith communities, and more—all aimed at taking the movement to STOP mass incarceration to a much higher level. October, 2014, must be a month that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions. It must be the beginning of the end of the mass incarceration in the U.S. To that end:

 

Initial Signatories include:

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Cornel West, author, educator, voice of conscience
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party
Noam Chomsky, Professor (ret.), MIT*
Marjorie Cohn, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA*
Carl Hart, Professor, Author of "High Price"
Colin Dayan, Professor, Vanderbilt University
Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest
Efia Nwangaza, Malcolm X Center/Radio Station WMXP*
Ulis C. Williams, Olympic Gold Medalist, 4 x 400m Relay, 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo
Aleta Alston-Toure, New Jim Crow Movement/Free Marissa Now*
Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal
Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson - uncle of Oscar Grant, killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
     Police New Years Day, 2009
Stephen Rohde, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)*
Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, CODEPINK*
John L. Burris, lawyer
Marilyn S. McMahon, California Prison Focus*
Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson - killed in 2000 by NYPD
Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez - killed in 1994 by NYPD
Dionne Smith Downs and Carey Downs, parents of James Earl Rivera Jr. - killed in 2010
     by Stockton Police
Collette Flanagan, Founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, mother of Clinton Allen - killed
     by Dallas Police in 2013
Gloria Leiva, mother of Dante Pomar - killed in 2004 by NYPD
Gilda Baker, Mother of Diallo Neal, Killed by California Highway Patrol in 2005
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. - killed by White Plains (NY)
     Police, 2013
Miles Solay, OuterNational
Denis O'Hearn, Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University and author of Nothing but
     an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands, the Irish Hunger Striker Who Ignited a Generation

Blase Bonpane, Ph.D. Director, Office of the Americas*
Marie Martin, retired nurse and teacher, relative in solitary confinement in CA prison
Margarita McAuliffe, Founder, Texas Moms United For Domestic Peace*
F. Luis Barrios, professor, John Jay College, IFCO - Pastors for Peace
Cynthia McKinney
Jim Vrettos, professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice*
Marvin X, poet, playwright, essayist, Black Bird Press News*
Rev. Jerome McCorry, The Adam Project*
Rev. Stephen A. Phelps, former Interim Senior Minister, The Riverside Church* New York
Rev. Frank Wulf, United University Church*
Ray Hill, 30 years Producer and Host of "The Prison Show", KPFT, Houston, TX
Obidike Kamau, 15 years Host and Producer, "Self-Determination", KPFT 90.1 FM, Houston, TX
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor *Tikkun: a quarterly Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics,
     Culture and Society*
Dahlia Wasfi M.D.
Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, KRST Unity Center*
Rev. Darrel Meyers, Minister (ret.) Presbyterian Church (USA)*
Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister of the Church of All Peoples*
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper*
Grace Dyrness, ICUJP*
Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chapter, National Lawyers Guild
Rafael C. Angulo, USC School of Social Work*
Rael Nidess M.D.
Dread Scott, Artist
Manuel Olivera, Actor
Alaudin Ullah, Actor
Elizabeth Forsythe Haily, novelist and playwright, ICUJP*
Lynne Stewart & Ralph Poynter
Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*
Andres Thomas Conteris, Nonviolence International*
Dr. James Cockroft, Ph.D
Rev. Jerald Stinson, Interfaith Communities United For Justice and Peace*
King Downing, Human Rights-Racial Justice Center*
Iskander Kourkjian-Mowad, #Justice4Cecily*
Afua Ampoma, Recovering and Rebuilding, Inc.
"Cye" Harold Sheppard Jr., Advancing the Ancester Coalition (ATAC)*
Vernellia R. Randall, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Dayton
Paul Von Blum, Senior Lecturer, African-American and Communication Studies, UCLA*
David B. Rankin, Esq., Rankin and Taylor*
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace* National Board Member
Bonnie Kerness, American Friends Service Committee,* Newark NJ
Mary Phillips, Lehman College*, Bronx NY
Erin Adair, Oberlin Abolition Network*, Oberlin
Amanda Morales, Welfare Warriors*
Milwaukee; People's Organization for Progress, New York Chapter
Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
Justice For Families, Portland, OR
Global Kindness Revolution and Sagewriters
Racial Justice Now!

*for identification purposes only

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/white-house-calls-1-in-5-college-women-raped-complex-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

White House Calls 1 in 5 College Women Raped “Complex” and Calls for More Surveys
Actually, It's Very Simple: We Need Revolution!

By Sunsara Taylor | May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the end of April, the White House announced with much fanfare the results of a 90-day investigation into sexual assault on college campuses. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault portrays the epidemic of sexual violence against women on campuses—1 in 5 women will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college—as some sort of complex mystery, and puts great emphasis on more months and years being spent conducting surveys and trying to better “understand the problem.”

This is bullshit.

It is NOT a mystery why college men rape college women.

First of all, it is widely known among those who study sexual violence on campuses that while most men do not commit rape, most rapes are committed by men who rape multiple times. In fact, a 2002 study found that—according to the behavior described by the men themselves—most men who had committed rape had done so more than once and that these repeat offenders committed an average of 5.8 rapes each! From this fact alone it is obvious that if campuses took the simple step of actually removing men who committed rape from their campuses, they could immediately prevent the vast majority of sexual assaults. Instead, it is more often the women who leave school—traumatized not only by the assault, but by the institutional protection given to their rapists.

Even more fundamentally, it is hypocrisy of the highest order for the administration to scratch its head at the “complexity” of the epidemic of rape on college campuses as if it is entirely unconnected to the pervasive and unrelenting epidemic of rape and violence against women that saturates every dimension of the society and culture it presides over.

College men—like all men and boys in this society—have grown up in a culture that treats women as if their greatest—or only—value is being sexually attractive and available to men. They have been socialized from an extremely young age by pornography, where the sexual degradation, humiliation, rape and even torture of women is displayed as something titillating and “sexy.” They have grown up under a legal system where, when women report rape, it is more often than not their credibility, their sexual history, their attire at the time, and their judgment that is put on trial and where, more often than not, rapists are not convicted or seriously punished. They live under a system where the state itself—the courts, the police, the military, and the laws—are a concentration of the violence against women: 1 in 3 women in the U.S. military will be sexually assaulted; law enforcement officers beat their wives or girlfriends at a rate double that of the general population; and often the very officials who women are told to turn to for help are themselves purveyors of sexual violence against women.

None of this will be solved with more task forces or more surveys! Nor will it be solved by spreading “best practices” that take as a given the backdrop of a porn-saturated, reproductive-rights-denying, male supremacist society, and world.

All this must be ended—and can only be ended—through a total revolution!

And right now, as part of putting an end to this culture of rape and pornography and building up the strength to make this revolution and hastening its development, we need millions stepping forward in the fight to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/interview-student-protest-forces-condolezza-rice-to-pull-out-of-rutgers-commencement-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Interview

Student Protest Forces Condoleezza Rice to Pull Out of Rutgers Commencement

May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 2, Condoleezza Rice released a statement that she was bowing out of an invitation she had received to give the commencement speech at Rutgers University on May 18. This is a major victory for students at Rutgers University who had been organizing escalating protests to demand that the university rescind her invitation. Fifty students staged a sit-in outside the Rutgers University president's office, and 100 students had confronted him with sharp questions and chanted their opposition when he appeared publicly a few days later. News of the students' protests spread around the world. Condoleezza Rice was the Secretary of State under President George W. Bush and she is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for her role in the U.S.'s immoral, unjust, and illegitimate wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the systematic use of torture. Her decision not to attend the Rutgers graduation reveals just how much the rulers of this country fear the truth of their crimes coming to light and how much they fear the potential for even greater political resistance and opposition. The courageous actions of these students won a victory for the people all over the world and Revolution newspaper was happy to speak to one of the students involved in these protests. The following interview was conducted the evening before Condoleezza Rice made her announcement, so the student does not comment on this development.

~~~~~~~~

Revolution: I am very happy to be talking to you. Monday was the first time I heard about what was brewing at Rutgers because you and about 50 other students took over the president’s office for a day. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us what you were a part of and why.

Student: OK, Monday we went into the administration building where President Robert Barchi’s office is. We did this in protest of Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, coming to be commencement speaker at this year’s graduation. She was invited to come almost a year ago but it was only released that she was coming a month ago. This invitation was put out without any form of consensus or consultation or any of the above to any faculty members, student groups, any Rutgers community except for the president himself with the Board of Governors. And the reason why this is such a big issue is because no one was consulted and Rice is someone not just controversial but someone who should be convicted as a war criminal because of all the things that she has endorsed, signed papers to allow, and instigated.

Revolution: OK, I want to talk more about what you did, but I think it is important, calling somebody a war criminal is a very big statement and I wonder if you could just explain in a little bit more detail and depth as to what you’re referring to for people who maybe don’t remember or never knew what she was involved in.

Student: Yes, that is very important because a lot of people in the Rutgers community seem to be confused because it is not something that is necessarily out there. So during the Bush administration Rice promoted the war on Iraq, she promoted the war in Afghanistan; I am not sure if she directly signed papers or was just OK with this, but either way she actively promoted drone surveillance in Iran and different countries in the Middle East that resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Also a lot of U.S. military deaths a lot of people here care about, although there have been a lot more civilians in these countries dead. There have been over 2.8 million people displaced in Iraq alone; people whose homes have been destroyed, families wrenched apart, daily attacks, people who simply can’t lead their daily lives. It has created more negative consequences in these countries; Islamic fundamentalism has fired up since these attacks started. Rice has actively promoted torture in facilities like Guantanamo Bay. She actively signed a paper allowing waterboarding. She has done other things other Republicans do, like not accept or allow anything about gay rights. She has actively said that the civil rights movement wasn’t necessarily as good as promoting education would have been, so she obviously doesn’t look at people having access to opportunities even though she herself was living it. It is just an accumulation of things that if this were years ago at the Nuremburg Trials1 she would not have gotten off free and now she is coming and she is being honored. I forgot to mention that not only is she coming to be the commencement speaker, she is also being awarded $35,000 and an honorary doctorate degree of law, and she is giving this speech that no one will be able to ask questions about and will not be open to debate; there will be no other speaker, she will be simply giving a speech.

Revolution: So based on that, the students at Rutgers decided they had to speak out against this, and faculty did as well. Why don’t you tell us what came together on Monday, April 28, what went into that, why people took over the president’s office, what it was like. Give us a sense of what went down and what has been happening since.

Student: I personally got involved very recently in what has been going on and have been active in the movement since then. Over 350 faculty members signed a petition to have Rice’s invitation rescinded. Students have been sending letters to the president himself, there have been a lot of editorials, and students from all different student groups organized on Monday to have a rally and then stage a sit-in at the president’s office. We were demanding initially to have a meeting with him because what we want is to have her invitation rescinded; we want to have this on the table; we want to have this talked about. So on Monday we gathered and headed over to Old Queens, that is the name of the [administration] building, and we took it over. We were chanting, it was 12:30 pm when we got in, we were chanting for about half an hour when the vice-chancellor of student affairs, Felicia McGinty, she talked to us. She addressed the entire group, she said that she would answer any questions and she would address our concerns. So then we started back and forth with her. A lot of students raised concerns about the issue of the way this process took place and who Condoleezza Rice is and what she does. McGinty was very contradictory in some of her statements. She, for example, said that it was great that students were mobilizing but then she was saying that forming a riot and not letting people do their jobs wasn’t going to get us anywhere. She offered to maybe try to set up a meeting with the president if, and only if, we left the building, not otherwise. She is supposed to be the vice chancellor of student affairs; she obviously did not care at all about student concerns because these have been concerns that have been vocalized for a while now but no one in the administration has actually done anything about it. It has only been faculty members and groups of alumni. There are groups of alumni that have been backing this cause but no one in the administration has actually done anything about it, and because students were tired of being ignored and this is an issue that is very meaningful to a lot of people that literally affects lives and conditions of people who live in other parts of the world, students decided to take a stand. Felicia McGinty was also very patronizing, she kept saying things like “we’re all adults here,” which by saying that put us in the position that we are not really acting like adults even though we technically are adults, we’re in college. So that conversation ended [and] even though it was respectful on both sides, we weren’t getting anywhere, she wasn’t actually listening to us. So she went back to President Barchi’s office, she went back down to the main lobby area and she was just sitting there, some students had to trickle out to go to class and exams and stuff like that. They wouldn’t let food in, they weren’t giving us access to bathrooms, they took away our megaphone that we had but we took up chants again and we were again chanting for a while, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Condi Rice has got to go,” “What’s the price of Condi Rice, one million dead,” and a bunch of different chants. And we were constantly tweeting under the hashtag #NoRice. After a while, we took up chants and they died down off and on and we were just kind of there. We were especially looking forward to what was going to happen when the building closes at 5 pm, and that was the time that we thought there would be more contention with the police officers. At 5 pm nothing happened, but around 6 one of the police officers basically gave us the ultimatum that either we leave or we risked getting arrested or suspended from the university. At this point there were almost 50 students inside, there were about 15 of us left staging this sit-in but there were a lot of people rallying outside, you could hear them from inside and it felt really good to have that support from the outside, they had signs, they were chanting, because we had done so much Twitter outreach there was some media there that were recording the whole thing. And from the inside one of the faculty members here contacted an attorney that does a lot of advocacy for student groups and this kind of thing and for other students in general.

Revolution: So then what happened?

Student: We focused, so we all decided, we spoke with a lawyer, and those of us who were still inside we discussed would we stay and possibly get arrested. We decided we should all do it as a group together, and more people wanted to leave than wanted to stay so we all left. We all marched out of the building with our left fists in the air and outside we kept chanting for a little bit and started talking to some media outlets and decided when our next meeting was going to be. So that is what happened there. It was a great feeling to be inside. It was really hot inside the building... we got tired at a certain point but despite that people kept chanting, kept yelling, there was a lot of energy, really positive energy. We were really happy to be protesting. For me personally people could tell that I had protested before, a lot of people kind of approached me. I hadn’t met a lot of these people before I was protesting [with them], but it created a huge bond between us, and a lot of people approached me and asked me and talked to me about how great it felt to be protesting, to all be chanting and have one voice and feel like you’re not alone and seeing how unjust something is and how great it felt to be raising voices with everyone else and feel like something was actually moving forward, could actually happen, that we had to be heard and things could change.

Revolution: Just to build on what you’re talking about, I know that during the student takeover you made a statement, I guess it was in response to people saying that you were disrupting class; you said yes, classes were being disrupted but the Iraq war caused the disruption of people’s lives and I wondered if you could talk more about... to me it wasn’t just a disruption, a physical disruption, although it was. It was also a disruption of the typical morality—head down, me first, do my studies, get to my job, do this, do that and not think about the world, and I wonder if you can kind of concentrate in that statement that there is a big ideological challenge to what is normal in America and I wonder if you can speak to that.

Student: It is a huge ideological challenge and one of the biggest issues that we are facing right now as a group. We’ve been having daily meetings with the group and it takes us a long time because we are trying to strategize on the long term not just on the short term and trying to build on this movement and how we want to approach things. And what keeps coming up in the meetings is that a lot of people don’t fully understand this term “war criminal” and why we are calling Rice particularly this. There have been a lot of comments about us being racist and not wanting free speech, and that is not at all what is at stake right now. Right now we are trying to inform people of this. I think it is really great and I was almost surprised, unfortunately, that this could really happen. It is great and amazing to be a part of it. I was surprised that in a public university in New Jersey in the United States we could actually get enough students mad enough to actually take this form of action, and it is great that so many students are so passionate about this. Finals are right around the corner for us and a lot of people have papers due and even so the people in this group want to do as much as possible. We posted on Facebook, we emailed professors, we’re talking to people on the streets, we’re publishing fliers, we’re going to start putting up stickers, we’re putting up banners, we’re doing demonstrations. We’re trying to get the word out and we’re trying to get people as passionate about this as they should be and as we are. One of the ways to do this is demonstrating to people that something like this that is giving our stamp of approval, all our collective stamp of approval as students who go to this university, against someone who has committed atrocities in the world, who has allowed and promoted torture and who hasn’t let people live, we are not going to let her be invited here uncontested, that this isn’t OK. I do think that this is more important than class and to a certain extent more important than papers. A lot of people, including myself, have to keep our grades up to even stay here because college costs money and people need their scholarships and people need to be thinking about the future but this is happening here and this is happening now and it is a lot more important than these other things because it is going to shape what our future looks like. Right now, just because we are doing this so many people are questioning who she is and what she’s done and what the administration did and what they have done and what kind of society we want to live in, and that is a great thing and it is so much more valuable than them trying to shut us down because class is happening. I am not sure if that fully answered your question.

Revolution: That extremely answered my question. That was a very good answer. I am very moved by it myself. I wanted to ask you, and you actually led right up to it, what you think it says not only about Rutgers but about the society we live in that somebody like Condoleezza Rice is not only walking free but is actually being honored or there is a proposal for her to be honored and giving speeches and honors around the country including at institutions that are supposed to be turning out the leaders of tomorrow, and what it says about the society that, not just what it says about her, but what it says about this country and society.

Student: This is my personal stance. I have met some very radical-minded people in the group but there are a lot of people who are outraged on the basis of what she has done in other societies. I think what it means is that we absolutely need to radically change society. To me that means a revolution, for other people it doesn’t mean that. I don’t see how you could fundamentally change this kind of thinking, this kind of stagnant, backwards thinking without changing society in a way that revolution would bring but that is not necessarily the idea of the whole group. What I will say, however... I am trying to think of how best to say this. It shows how, I can’t think of any other way to say this, but how backwards and corrupt the system is. I am glad you asked this question because I wanted to raise another issue. What was going to happen today [May 2] was there was a meeting; it was going to be the first official event to kind of promote The Big Ten2. Rutgers this year joined this coalition of universities into athletics that is very prestigious, that we have spent millions and millions of dollars upgrading and promoting and publicity to get in, and this morning was going to be the first big event for that. President Barchi was going to speak there and what we decided to do was stage a silent protest there and we decided it was going to be very public and it wasn’t only going to be the 100 or so of the core group of organizers for all the movements going on, so we decided we were going to make this very public. So it was all over Facebook, at least 1.7 million people saw it, and last night at our meeting we all received an email from Felicia McGinty saying the event had been cancelled. What we did find out, however, at the same meeting was that today there was going to be a meeting of the senators of Rutgers and that President Barchi would be present. So we decided to shift our focus from going to a meeting of the Big Ten to the senators meeting.

We decided we were going to go there, we were going to put tape over our mouths with the hashtag #NoRice, and that three or four of us wouldn’t wear the tape on our mouths and that we were going to ask the president questions. If he didn’t answer our questions, we were going to do a mic check, disrupt the meeting and then leave as a group. One of the things we found out about the Board of Governors is that the current Chair of the Board of Governors is way up there in the financial world and actually has direct ties with Condoleezza Rice. Not only does, not only do we find out that on the Board of Governors there’s someone with direct ties with Condoleezza Rice who might actually have a direct stake in this, we also find out that Chris Christie [governor of New Jersey] is going to be the commencement speaker at Rowan University which is now affiliated with Rutgers. So there’s kind of a whole series of things that are leading us to believe that this isn’t just coincidence that she’s coming, that there are higher political issues at stake here, and this has made us even more outraged. This morning when President Barchi actually did decide to answer our questions, which we were frankly surprised about because he has been very, very shy, he hasn’t confronted us at all, he’s basically pretended that nothing’s been going on. This morning he told us that he couldn’t rescind an invitation, he couldn’t do anything, so as president of Rutgers University he couldn’t rescind the invitation to the commencement speaker, he was telling us that it was exclusively an issue related with the Board of Governors and that he couldn’t actually do anything about this. So all of this is just the entire culture of politics in this country and that right now is affecting us directly as the State University of New Jersey. It’s frankly disgusting and we are not about to stand for it...

Another one of the questions we asked was about moral atrocities and crimes against humanity, and he chose not to answer this question. He directly chose not to answer this question, and he answered other related questions to war and torture with the exact same responses that Condoleezza still uses to this day. About how at that time people actually did believe there were weapons of mass destruction. He referenced the United Nations, he referenced the whole issue of 9/11, I mean he started talking about how his wife was in Manhattan that same day and how she hadn’t been able to come home for a week. And as students we were absolutely outraged by this kind of response, we were absolutely outraged at how he dodged the fundamental issue that we were trying to grapple with him here. He dodged it and was basically OK with Rice having done all of these things.

Revolution: Let me ask you one further question, and I understand that you are speaking for yourself here and not for the whole group that was involved, but you say you think it’s going to take a revolution and I wonder in your opinion, thinking about what you’ve been through, the kinds of changes that have happened even for you, maybe you can describe some of the changes that people have been through when they take part in something like this. The kinds of questions that poses and the ideas that brings up to people, how do you see what you guys have been a part of? I know it’s not the same as a revolution, but how do you see that in terms of building a movement for revolution. I guess I would ask you this: Do you see any relationship between the kinds of things that students are doing there and that you’re a part of and the kinds of things that need to happen to really change society in a more fundamental way through revolution?

Student: Right. I absolutely see a relation. People, I mean all over the world to a certain extent, but I feel like especially people in this country, and especially in suburban areas, people are raised to believe their entire life that a revolution isn’t possible, that it’s not going to actually change things. People have it ingrained in their minds that the only form of any type of change is through politics, through that kind of advocacy. People don’t think that protesting in the streets, that this kind of thing is valuable in any way because people are told that’s not the way things work, that it’s too radical, it’s too violent, that it’s just bad. A lot of people quite frankly don’t even question this, and then people participate in something like this and people realize how energizing it is, how good it feels because, I mean, people are repressed from these feelings their entire lives. Like people have to simply lay back and expect that they’re going to have to wait ‘til the next election to maybe change things and then live between election and election frustrated because they see that what they want to see changed isn’t actually changing. Be on a larger scale, be on a smaller scale, people get frustrated with this kind of thing. But yet revolution never crossed their minds because that’s just “bad,” like it’s not even reason, that’s just “bad.” And then to kind of link it back to this, when people find out that there’s going to be some sort of protest that they agree with, that they want to be a part of and they go... it’s just, I mean I can only assume, that’s eye-opening in the sense that suddenly you feel very powerful and you feel that you can actually move forward.

I was talking with a couple of friends of mine just yesterday and I asked them, I was like, wait, have you ever been to a protest? Because they were, the way they were saying things was very much taking the stance of this was too much and this wasn’t, and there was no way that we were actually going to rescind the invitation and that we should be trying to just like meet more peacefully with the president of the Board of Governors, with whoever we could basically. So I had to ask them have you ever been to a protest, and they were like “no.” And that moment just, I mean, for me it was kind of, my initial reaction was shock and that I realized that if I had fully thought about it I wouldn’t have been shocked because the entire culture in this country is built around people not actually standing up for themselves and not actually learning about how to really change things, to actually question the administration that runs this country or that runs whatever it is that is affecting their lives. People are taught that. And I think that it’s this kind of action that when people participate it’s one of the main things that actually get people to question what else is going on in the world and what else can and should be changed. I think that it’s mind-opening in a sense that probably a lot of the people who are participating in this now or who participate in protests similar to this in the future or in different parts of the country or what-have-you will have a different take on other forms of protest and will know what it feels like and will understand more what kind of support is needed. Because it’s also true that people didn’t get emotional but were borderline emotional when we were quiet inside the building and we could hear the people rallying outside. So I think that this also gives a sense of solidarity for other forms of rallies and for understanding that, yes, your voice and your action counts and I think that that is valuable towards changing society, even if it’s not enough, if it’s just one isolated action like this one.

Revolution: Well, I wanted to also ask you what has been, and you sort of again touched on it in your last answer, but I wanted to ask you more fully, what’s been the reaction in the last few days as you’ve gone out more broadly on campus? What’s been the reaction among students and faculty, as well as off-campus, but especially I want to start with on-campus.

Student: A lot of faculty have been very supportive. Faculty who have found out, my professors and other people in the group’s professors, have let us make announcements in class, let us use our email website to send out emails. When we talk to people there’s a lot who are supportive, but honestly there’s a lot of people who just don’t understand. Another huge issue is that a lot of people have never been told that she’s a war criminal. People haven’t fully thought about what the war has meant and people don’t even know that things like torture and drones have gone on at all. So a lot of people are very surprised when we first tell them. I’m just hoping that we can get this word out to enough people with enough time that people get fully engaged and riled up. Or get informed and spread our message or just get more informed themselves, and get more informed as to what kind of society they’re living in.

Revolution: Do you feel like there’s any difference in how much people are interested or curious?

Student: I think yes, definitely.

Revolution: Before or after Monday?

Student: I mean, Monday got huge coverage in the media and the people now have heard. At least even if people haven’t been doing the research that we wish they had been doing or have done, right now people at the very least know that there was a sit-in at President Barchi’s office, that there is a movement going on, so at the very least people do know that this is an issue. And now with our further actions what we’re trying to do is get the people that know about what we did on Monday to actually get involved and actually protest if they agree with us, or if they don’t, at least engage with us in discussion about why they don’t agree with us, and keep spreading the word to get more people informed and involved and more people angry at what’s happening and more people wanting to take a stance. Right now we’re also trying to get a lot of people to come out to the teach-in that’s happening May 6th, next Tuesday. We’re really pushing for absolutely everyone to come out and we hope to get as many people as possible out there.

Revolution: Let me ask you this, are people fighting still to get her invitation rescinded? Is that something you’re still fighting for?

Student: That’s a good question. We also found out that Brandeis University recently rescinded their invitation to their commencement speaker, I forget who it was, I forget if it was this year but it was in the last couple of years, Brandeis University was able to rescind the invitation to their commencement speaker very shortly before the commencement ceremony actually was. So we are still fighting to get her invitation rescinded, or at the very least not honor her with the $35,000 and an honorary doctorate’s degree. Right now what we want to negotiate, we are still fighting for her not to come and we still absolutely want her not to come, we do not want her here, we do not want her endorsed by this university, we don’t want the graduating seniors who have put effort and lots and lots of money into getting their degree, we do not want to have her present for their final ceremony at this university. However, if the Board of Governors, President Barchi, whoever can actually change this, were to sit down and fully negotiate with us, and would tell us that, and were to tell us that they’re not willing to rescind their invitation, even though we know that it’s possible—it’s happened before, we’d be willing for an additional speaker to come. So if she were to come and have her 15 minutes speech, we would be willing for her to have that and have someone who has countered that war, who comes from a different, probably more liberal perspective, have another equally long speech at the same ceremony. I mean, that’s what we’re staging right now. So like now we’re still pushing for her not to come, but are kind of like that’s a leverage point.

Revolution: OK, I know you guys have more things planned and I want to make sure that we keep in touch and share that with our readers as things develop. But for now my last question. Are there any things that you’re calling on people, any ways that people around the country or around the world could support, could relate to this, could lend their voices to really give backing and strength to what you guys are doing to keep a war criminal from being honored at your campus?

Student: Well. what we really want right now is to get as much information about her out there. So I think this taps into something much deeper than simply getting people informed. This is, the fact that she is being honored, goes much deeper than her simply speaking at commencement and simply what she has done. It goes into an entire basis for what this society stands for right now, and the reason for why we would like as many people retweeting, as many people watching the videos, as many people getting informed, as many people in tune with exactly what is going on—the reason why we want this happening is for people to start to question what she did. So not just the fact that she’s coming to Rutgers as an individual, but what she did with the power that she had and what the people around her did with the power that they had when they had power, and the people who have inherited that power today. I think that is extremely important, that we’re causing this much discussion, or this much debate, because that way people are looking at why we’re so outraged and wondering why. And the why goes so much deeper and I think that if we’re able to actually get our message out there all over different, all over this university, all over other universities, all over the country, it’ll really show that people don’t agree with where she stands, what she did, what went on and what still goes on currently. And I think that this raises awareness with a lot of other issues as well. It’s extremely important people continue to get informed, taking a look at the hashtag #NoRice where we’re continuing to post updates, to post videos and post photos of what’s been happening. Just read and get informed as to what she’s done, as to what’s going on in the world. I think that what’s almost most important here is to actually get people aware, and get people reading and get people questioning and get people talking with each other, get people arguing. Create a culture where people are actually grappling with these issues instead, as you mentioned before, just bowing their heads down and keep going with their daily lives. People are taught since the time when they’re little that their goal in life is to try to go through college, get their college degree, come out, get a steady job and form a family and that’s that. And there’s a lot more at stake here and people need to realize that and people need to act upon that.

Revolution: Well, thank you for taking the time. I know you guys are in the midst of many meetings and planning and finals, so thanks for taking the time to do all this and to talk with us about it.

Student: Alright, well, thank you for writing about us, for talking about our causes. It’s valuable to reach out as much as you possibly can.

 


1. The Nuremburg trials were a series of trials after World War 2 for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany. [back]

2. The Big Ten is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/337/kerry-drops-the-A-word-then-backtracks-but-Israel-is-an-apartheid-state-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Kerry Drops the “A” Word—Then Backtracks
But Israel IS an Apartheid State

by Alan Goodman | April 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Addressing a group of ruling class think tankers and insiders on April 25, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used the term “apartheid” in relation to the state of Israel. Kerry was speaking of U.S. efforts to orchestrate the division of Palestine into the existing state of Israel alongside tiny, disconnected areas—essentially prisons—which would be recognized as a Palestinian “state” (the “two-state solution” in the parlance of U.S. diplomats). Kerry said that if this fails, then Israel “winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”

When the comments hit the news, furious outrage erupted from Israeli officials and U.S. officials ranging from fascist senator Ted Cruz to liberal senator Barbara Boxer—and Kerry quickly backtracked, saying “If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.”

Four Palestinian children killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

Above: Four children killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, November 2012. Photo: AP

The defining reality is that Israel IS an apartheid state NOW.

Under the apartheid system in South Africa, black (and other non-white) South Africans were locked down in prison-like "Bantustans," without the most basic necessities of life (like clean water or decent shelter). They were treated as non-humans, subject to fascist "pass laws" that governed their every movement if they left. On the backs of their labor, white settlers lived the lifestyles of northern Europeans, and global capitalism-imperialism accumulated massive profits. And apartheid South Africa served as a military enforcer for the interests of the U.S. empire in southern Africa, particularly in the "Cold War" era, backing massive terrorist operations against and invasions of neighboring countries.

Click to view full-size

The state of Israel was established on land inhabited by the Palestinian people, on the basis of what by any objective definition was terrorist ethnic cleansing. The Nakba (an Arabic word for "catastrophe") was wave after wave of violent Zionist terror concentrated in the year 1948. One million Palestinians were brutally forced from their land, villages, and homes, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry. Many were raped, tortured, and killed. To ensure that there would be nothing for the Palestinians to return to, their villages and even many olive and orange trees were thoroughly destroyed. By the time the Nakba ended, there had been 31 documented massacres—and there probably were others. (For more, see Revolution special issue "Bastion of Enlightenment...or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of Israel")

Basically ever since, Israel has served as violent enforcer of the interests of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and around the world. Israel holds the region hostage with a substantial nuclear weapons arsenal. It repeatedly invades neighboring countries. And Israel has carried out terrible crimes around the world in service of the U.S. empire—including a significant role in the genocide of 200,000 Guatemalan indigenous people in the early 1980s and major military backing for apartheid South Africa. (See "The U.S. ... Israel ... and Crimes Around the World.")


An aerial view of part of Israel's 8-meter-tall cement Apartheid Wall (see accompanying map). This part divides the Palestinian village of Abu Dis. Photo: AP

Israel's Apartheid Wall zigzags through hundreds of miles of Palestinian territory—expanding the area seized by Israel and making life untenable for 2.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank.

Today, the areas in which the Palestinian people are confined are every bit as oppressive as apartheid South Africa's Bantustans. Israel's 20-foot high cement wall, widely referred to as the "Apartheid Wall," zigzags through sections of Palestine not formally integrated into Israel. It divides Palestinian villages from each other, villagers from their farms, and families from relatives. It winds through hundreds of miles of Palestinian territory—expanding the area seized by Israel through ethnic cleansing and wars, making life untenable for 2.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank.

The two million people in the Gaza Strip region of Palestine are literally confined in prison conditions, unable to leave, even to visit family in other parts of Palestine. Israel (along with Egypt) enforces a blockade on Gaza that has reduced food supplies to the same level as those available to the poorest families in sub-Saharan Africa.

In his retracting statement, Kerry claimed, “Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one.”

That the rulers of the U.S. see Israel—built on and maintained through the expulsion, and essentially ongoing imprisonment of the Palestinian people as a model of the democracy they export around the world—points to the nature of what the U.S. actually IS built on and exports around the world. To quote Bob Avakian:

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

BAsics 1:3

Comments like Kerry’s do not signal recognition—in any way—by the rulers of the U.S. of the terrible crimes they have sponsored against the Palestinian people. No justice for the Palestinian people will come from relying on or appealing to them. But Kerry’s comments do reflect the fact that imperialism is a system fraught with intense contradictions Those contradictions periodically intensify. People with their eyes wide open, and a scientific and sober appreciation of what obstacles have to be overcome to achieve liberation, can and should seize on such moments—like this one—to expose the real nature of Israel and the global system of oppression it serves, and to struggle for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Check It Out:

Borderland on Al Jazeera America Network

May 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Borderland is an amazing reality show running on the Al Jazeera America network on Sunday nights. The premise of the show is that six volunteers from the U.S. with widely divergent views and prejudices on immigration have been assembled to go on a mission to learn about the border and about why people come here to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. The six people on this mission range from a young artist from New York City who believes that all borders should be smashed because they create divisions among people, to a retired Marine who believes that there should be a moratorium on all immigration because the government is allowing an invasion of foreigners into the U.S.

In the opening scenes of the first episode, the six—who know nothing about what their mission will entail—find themselves inside a morgue in Pima County, Arizona, where scores and scores of unidentified bodies lie. These are all people who have been found dead in the desert, people who attempted to cross into the United States from Mexico and didn't survive the brutal desert conditions. The remains of an average of 180 people per year are found in Pima County alone—5,500 have died in the past 15 years. Being directly confronted with scores of human beings who have died attempting to cross is a sobering and shocking experience to all of the six, raising huge questions in their minds about what drove so many people to risk their lives to leave their countries and come to the U.S. In the words of the medical examiner, this almost represents a mass fatality.

After traveling further south to survey the border itself, including the border fence, which is designed and positioned in such a way as to deliberately force people who are attempting to cross to have to go through the most utterly inhospitable and deadly conditions, the volunteers are then presented with their mission. The Pima County medical examiner puts into their hands the photos and names of three of the people who died—and their mission is to go and follow their stories, go to their places of origin and learn who they were and how they came to die in that desert. They set off in pairs to pursue the stories, to meet the families, and to learn the realities of these people's lives—a 13-year-old boy from Guatemala, a young woman from El Salvador, and a young woman from Chiapas, Mexico.

No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that what they encounter is a moving, sometimes frightening, and life-changing experience. Beyond the vivid documenting of the lives and brutal oppression faced by not just these three immigrants who died, but also their families and communities and whole sections of people who are on the move heading for the border, the other fascinating thing about this series is watching the impact on these six Americans of actually getting outside the borders of the U.S. and getting just a tiny taste of what life is like for millions and millions of people beyond the borders of the U.S. The volunteers are profoundly shaken, some of their deeply held views are challenged, and they are forced to begin thinking about what kind of system is operating that forces human beings to suffer these horrendous conditions and to face the wrenching choice between a life with no future and no way to support a family and risking everything to try to find some way for their families to survive.

While all the dots aren't connected in terms of why these are the choices that millions and millions of people from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other countries around the world face—and what the domination and plunder of these countries by U.S. capitalism-imperialism has to do with that—it presents a powerful and enraging glimpse into what these realities actually mean in the lives of people and what impact it can have on people from the U.S. to shed their blinders and begin to confront some of how the world actually is.

Unfortunately, three of the four episodes have already aired, but if you have access to cable on-demand this series is well worth watching.

 

 


 

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Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

People Respond to a Challenge from a Harlem Youth on "Where We Are in the Revolution"

May 7, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

 

This is a challenge from a youth in his early teens from Harlem, a member of the Revolution Club, who will be at the talk by the Revolutionary Communist Party, "Where We Are in the Revolution" (to be given on May 10 in New York City), and wants to know if YOU will be there too:

 

Here are some responses we've gotten so far:

"I'm responding to a challenge from a young man to get with the revolution and I'm challenging others to do the same. You need to be there on May 10 because the way society is now affects everyone. We can change the negative to the positive.

"You can see how the revolution plans to make the change. We thought we were beyond the slavery and all the civil rights marching and protesting. Now even with a Black president and some people having some success in the society we still got this genocide. Millions of us locked up in prison a lot of them are kids—many of them are innocent. These kids are getting slaughtered and there is no future for them and nowhere for them to go except to the revolution. BA and the party he leads have a solution and a place for them. Put them in the Revolution Club. This influence is important.

"I'm going to May 10th because I want to raise my game and be part of the revolution. The system has its foot on our backs and someone is coming out and saying, 'Hey! We're making this revolution and here's how we can do it.'"

—Woman from Harlem

 

"Tell the young person I'm an adult and I want revolution too. I WILL BE THERE ON THE 10TH. I want to be convinced there is a way we can do it. I'll be there."

—Ex-prisoner who did 25 years

 

"BA's [New Year's] statement boils it down into a few words, a lot of meaning. I have not been doing what I need to be doing for a while but that needs to change. I want the youth to know I'm coming to the RCP speech."

—Ex-prisoner, 30 years behind bars

 

"...Adults need to reconnect to their childhood and imagination so they can envision and see revolution. Thank you for a step in the right direction. I will be there on the 10th."

—Young woman fashion designer and chef

 

Tell that young man to stay strong stay focused on the revolution. That's my little brother in the struggle and I'm proud of him.  That's some strong talk from a 12 year old. A lot of us who are older have lost our way. They got us fighting each other and destroying ourselves. 

I'm coming on the 10th traveling from miles away because I've been a victim—a captive of the system. I was what they call a "menace to society"when I was young I made some bad choices that cost me 23 years of my life. I'm coming on the 10th because I want to start making some good choices.

—Ex-prisoner, 23 years behind bars

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/supreme-court-gives-green-light-to-prayer-in-town-meetings-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Major Step in Further Breaking Down Separation of Church and State:

Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Prayer in Town Meetings

May 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 5 that it is constitutional for legislative bodies to begin their meetings with religious prayers. This ruling overturned an appeals court decision against an upstate New York town council that had started every meeting with a ceremonial prayer—in almost every instance, an overtly Christian prayer. As part of the decision, written by Anthony Kennedy, the Court put forward, "Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this Nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government to alter or define."

In other words, the majority in the Supreme Court deems that religious "precepts" (principles intended as guide to conduct) trump civil law and the U.S. Constitution —and clearly, in the context of the ruling, what they are talking about are "precepts" based on the Christian Bible. Since there are "many Americans" who take the Bible literally, the Supreme Court decision is being seen as a major advance for those who want to impose fundamentalist Christianity over every aspect of society.

In the name of what most people believe and the “freedom of expression” of individuals (even if they be public officials), this decision further opens the door to establishing Christianity as the “approved” religion in America. And on that basis, a big step has been taken towards Christianity becoming the legitimate basis for deciding what the government can institute and enforce. 
 
This should raise big questions for many, many people: Do you want to live in a society where Biblical "precepts" such as these overrule civil law? 

The Bible contains many passages that uphold slavery, including the last of the Ten Commandments that instructs that God's people "shall not covet their neighbor's house, wife, male or female slaves, ox or ass, or anything else." (Exodus 20)

The God of this Bible insists that people who practice other religions or stand in the way of the will of this God be slaughtered—and, in the case of virgin women, raped and enslaved. (Deuteronomy 7; Exodus 32; Numbers 31)

The Bible spells out many "crimes" for which offenders shall be executed, including "he who insults his mother or father" (Exodus 21); "whoever does work on the Sabbath day" (Exodus 31); "the adulterer and the adulteress" (Leviticus 20), etc.

The Bible states that "If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death." (Leviticus 20)

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus himself declares that he is the only way to salvation—meaning that those who don't follow him are condemned to eternal damnation, to the endless torture of burning in hell. (John 14:6 and 15:6)

We could go on and on.* But the point is that this Supreme Court decision is a major assault on the separation between church and state, one of the supposed pillars of the U.S. Constitution. In the history of the United States, this separation has been anything but absolute—the latest Court ruling itself references how the Founding Fathers funded chaplains for the Congress and how a Court decision 30 years ago found prayer at state legislatures to be constitutional. But the May 5 decision by the "highest court in the land" points to how seriously this separation is now under attack.

All this needs to be understood in light of intense efforts by fascist Christian fundamentalist forces, backed by powerful forces within the ruling class, to cohere or reforge the U.S. as a "united Christian America" on a white supremacist, male supremacist, "USA Number One" basis.  This decision should be taken together with other developments in society—including the recent Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action, the national stage given to fascist "folk hero" rancher Cliven Bundy, the Nazi-like campaign to hunt down and deport immigrants, and the war aimed at intensifying the subjugation of women, including taking away basic rights like the right to abortion and birth control.


*For more on the horrors that come from a literal interpretation of the Bible, see "God the Original Fascist" by A. Brooks and "Tips for Tim Tebow" by Bob Avakian; and the book Away With All Gods! by Bob Avakian. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/boko-haram-campus-rape-and-revolution-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Boko Haram, Campus Rape, AND REVOLUTION

May 12, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In large swaths of the world, imperialism's relentless grinding up of lives and crushing of spirits has given rise to reactionary Islamic fundamentalism with the most overt oppression and degradation of women at its core.

Download the PDF of this pamphlet: A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity

On the "other side" of the world, a culture of pornification, an ethos of male right, and laws have created a situation where one in five women will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college.

Here's why: EVERY SYSTEM OF EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION—including capitalism-imperialism in all its variations, mutations, and byproducts—has the oppression of women woven so deeply into its fabric that to tear it out requires tearing up the whole cloth.

COMMUNIST REVOLUTION can, must, and will END WOMEN'S OPPRESSION because it is about ENDING ALL EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION. There is the leadership, strategy and program for that revolution—you'll find it at revcom.us. What is needed is YOU.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/obamas-national-climate-assessment-report-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Obama's National Climate Assessment Report—NOT a Real Solution to the Environmental Emergency

May 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On May 6 the White House released its third national climate assessment report on the present and future impact of climate change in the U.S. (http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/). It's too soon after the release to digest all of its findings or to get a full picture of all it is saying, including by hearing from various climate scientists. But some things are clear.

The content of the report itself is based on scientific work of hundreds of climate scientists as well as others. It contains much basic scientific evidence about how climate change is already happening and seriously impacting the U.S. It details these impacts—increasing rainfall in some regions and increasing droughts and wildfires in other regions; more extreme weather events such as heat waves and powerful storms; sea level rise; melting of the Arctic; and acidification of the oceans. The report also predicts these trends, already having an impact, will increase and become worse over the next decades with serious consequences. There is also information in the report detailing the basic scientific evidence demonstrating how Earth is warming—and why this is the result of human activity, not natural variation in climate, and in particular is due to the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The report also includes scientific predictions for how climate change will affect different regions of the country in different ways and some proposed steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

With this said, the "take-home message" or the intention of this report (and everything being done with it) is NOT to sound serious alarm about the truly global dangers and stakes of climate change and the urgent necessity of taking dramatic and radical measures to stop using fossil fuels and make big structural changes in the economy and society overall.

First of all, there is a way this report steers clear of the really horrific toll climate change is taking—especially on planetary ecosystems and the poorest people of the planet. It also steers clear of sharply drawing conclusions about the catastrophic ramifications for humanity and perhaps the entire natural balance on Earth if the current path is not quickly wrenched away from. (For more background on climate change, see "New UN Climate Report: This Criminal System Is Destroying Our Planet!"

This report was "rolled out" by the Obama Administration as a "key deliverable of the Climate Action Plan launched by President Obama last June," according to a White House fact sheet. According to the New York Times, "The White House... wants to maximize [the report's] impact to drum up a sense of urgency among Americans about climate change." Obama gave interviews to local and national meteorologists. "The goal was to help Americans connect the vast planetary problem of global warming caused by carbon emissions from cars and coal plants to the changing conditions in their own backyards. It was a strategic decision that senior White House staff members had been planning for months," according to the Times.

The message sent out from the administration, and picked up by the widespread mainstream media coverage, was a fictional story of Obama as a man now firmly committed to stamping his "legacy" as a president who did everything possible to combat climate change against big odds. The terms things are being cast in are of an enlightened administration battling the backward forces of "climate change denial" and seeking to win over those who are the real problem—the vast majority of people who just don't think climate change is real, or at least don't feel it's a big deal.

Yes, these things are problems. But the real problem, the big problem, is that we are dealing with a system of capitalism-imperialism that is driven by strategic concerns and intense competition for world economic position and profitability to drill, dig, and burn every ounce of fossil fuel it can to beat out other competitors. The real problem is that fossil fuels are key and strategic resources in the capitalist world economy for domination and a key focus of rivalry among capitalist countries and major corporations. None of these capitalist powers or companies, with the U.S. leading the pack, can afford to turn away from this, or else they will lose out to their rivals and potential rivals, and perhaps be driven under.

The truth, not uttered in any of the media coverage or official accounts, is that under Obama the U.S. has become the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas. It has continued to be a world leader in production of coal and has in fact increased its export of coal, which is the world's leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. Under Obama, large new swaths of the Powder River region in Wyoming have been opened up to coal extraction. Under Obama, there are big plans for expansion of coal, natural gas, and oil transport, refining, and shipping from ports in the Northwest to the "Asian market." Under Obama, new regions of the oceans and the arctic are being opened up to oil drilling.

Yes, U.S. emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouses gases that are causing global climate change) have dropped 9 percent over the last four years or so. This is being portrayed as a truly significant change—but this is a drop in the bucket compared to the changes that are actually needed. And even this relatively small change is mainly occurring because the U.S. has begun extracting and burning more natural gas and less coal domestically, while increasing coal exports for other countries to burn. And this process of extracting natural gas, as well as shale oil, involves the incredibly destructive environmental practice of fracking, while the environmental impact of fracking that rips at people's lives is systematically covered up the U.S. government (see "Fracking: an Environmental Nightmare"). The U.S. now stands poised to spread this fracking destruction worldwide as it moves to turn its technological advantage into further geo-strategic advantage for their empire.

In the mainstream media discussion of the report and the administration's spin, there is no accounting for the fact that the U.S. is the leading contributor historically to the build-up of greenhouse gases that are destroying our planet. There is no accounting for the fact that greenhouse gas emissions in China, Indonesia, India, and many other parts of the world, are driven in large part by production of goods and resources for the international capitalist market, and not for domestic consumption in those countries. This means that the emissions the U.S., the European Union, etc. are responsible for are actually far higher than what they produce in their own countries. There is no accounting for the fact that the U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world.

While the danger of climate change has become much clearer and the science and reality more confirmed over the last two decades, this danger has been known since the late 1980s. But the U.S. and all the other capitalist countries have continued to vie with each other to find new fossil fuel sources and beat each other to the punch to extract them, while doing absolutely nothing in international negotiations except to contend for geostrategic advantage. Meanwhile, none of these countries have done anything of real substance to combat the mounting danger as greenhouse gas levels have continued to mount. Under certain administrations, like Clinton and Obama, they've done this while mouthing concerns about the danger. Under others, like George W. Bush, they've done this while disputing the existence of climate change.

This new report is being used by the Obama administration and the sections of the U.S. capitalist-imperialist ruling class who are "far sighted" enough to recognize that climate change is an impending world catastrophe. They are positioning themselves to try to "manage" this crisis by taking certain steps to mitigate and adapt to its impacts, particularly in the U.S. At the same time they are maintaining Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy, which includes things like wind and solar power but is still dominated by fossil fuel production and extraction and the search for "unconventional" fossil fuels that produce even more carbon pollution. They are starting to prepare for the upheaval and crisis climate change will mean, including by trying to maintain their legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

None of this is in the interests of the people of the planet, and will only worsen the damage to the world's ecosystems. Our interests are entirely different and require radical change at the roots—a real revolution—to deal with the climate emergency. Obama and the rest of the capitalist-imperialists are not capable of seriously combatting the climate crisis, even if they—from the interests of their class—are starting to recognize the danger. They and their system are not fit caretakers of the planet.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/hearne-texas-cop-murders-93-year-old-woman-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Hearne, Texas: Cop Murders 93-Year-Old Woman

May 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Pearlie Golden, a Black woman, lived most of her 93 years in the central Texas town of Hearne. She was affectionately known to many people on Hearne's west side as “Miss Sully.”

Perlie Golden, 1980s

Pearlie Golden in family photo from 1980s.

On May 6, Pearlie Golden was shot to death in front of her home by a Hearne cop named Stephen Stem. The Hearne Police Department said in a written statement that Pearlie Golden had “brandished a gun” at Stem before he shot at her five times, hitting her at least three times. A man on an adjacent street when this went down said he heard the shots, and then heard someone scream, “Don't shoot her no more!”

Pearlie Golden was beloved by generations of people in Hearne, known for her commitment to recycling and keeping the neighborhood tidy, and for greeting everyone she encountered with a big smile and a warm “hey baby!” None of this mattered to the pig who gunned her down. To him, Pearlie Golden was a Black woman who supposedly had a gun in her hand – all the excuse he needed to shoot her down. One man, a retired professor, told the Hearne newspaper, “There's no justification ... She was no threat to them.”

Brutal oppression of Black people is built deeply into every aspect of this system. It permeates every aspect of the culture and social relations. Police brutality and murder, mass incarceration and criminalization, are at the heart of enforcing it. Black youth are routinely murdered by police departments across the country: Oscar Grant and Sean Bell were both 23 when they were gunned down, Grant in Oakland, California, Bell in New York – the list is long, painful, and infuriating. But this oppression knows no age: in recent years cops also killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit. And now, 93-year-old Pearlie Golden.

Stephen Stem has been on the Hearne Police Department for less than three years – Pearlie Golden was the second Black person he's killed in that time. In 2012, Stem shot and killed Tederalle Satchell. A grand jury in Robertson County refused to indict Stem for that murder. After the murder of Pearlie Golden, a cousin of Satchell’s asked a reporter, “What are they going to do, let him go so he can smile and hold another pistol? You know what I mean? It's not right!” Stem was fired from the police force but has not been indicted or charged, as of this writing, for the murder of Pearlie Golden.

Hearne is in Texas cotton country, and it reeks with the stench of the slave-owning plantation South, and the brutal, open oppression and brutality of Jim Crow. In 2000, 28 Black people in Hearne were set up and arrested in a series of drug raids that the ACLU described as “paramilitary.” There was no evidence against them, only the uncorroborated word of one informant who was later shown to have lied about everything to save his own skin. Five long years later, the charges were finally dismissed. (A dramatic depiction of the arrests and legal battle is in the movie American Violet.) The son of Hearne's mayor and who is a city councilman himself, recently put a racist rant in the form of a rap on YouTube.

Several hundred angry people marched through Hearne on May 8. They chanted and carried homemade signs reading things like “No Justice, Time to Fight,” and demanded that Stem be fired. The town is simmering and further protests are likely.

Justice for Pearlie Golden! The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/awtwns-egypt-death-sentences-and-elections-more-bricks-in-the-wall-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

From A World to Win News Service

Egypt: Death Sentences and Elections—More Bricks in the Wall

May 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 5, 2014. A World to Win News Service. The U.S., along with the UK and the European Union, is moving to more fully and openly support the military regime in Egypt, which is now wielding the hangman and the ballot box in its attempts to stabilize its rule.

This is a regime that killed as many as 1,400 protesters between when it took power last July and the end of the year, and now bans unauthorized demonstrations completely. About 16,000 people are being held for political offenses. Most are accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and its elected president Mohammed Morsi, overthrown by the generals. A group of pro-Islamic university students were recently given 17 year terms for a sit-in, and another was shot and killed by police. Four journalists working for the Al Jazeera television channel have been held in prison for many months. They are accused of “spreading false news”—which, if that were really a crime, would mean shutting down all of state television and many other broadcasters—and “supporting terrorism” by interviewing Muslim Brotherhood members after the military crackdown, when only pro-military views were allowed.

Some of those jailed for violating the anti-protest law are prominent members of the youth movement that spearheaded the overthrow of U.S.-supported president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, stood up to the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces that governed for more than a year after Mubarak and then opposed the Brotherhood when it was riding high and Islamist goons were murdering demonstrators. On April 28,  a Cairo court reaffirmed the three-month jail sentences previously handed down against Ahmed Maher, a founder of the 6 April Youth Movement, along with two other young men, for taking part in a defiant but non-violent demonstration by hundreds of people that mocked the protest ban. Once again they chanted “Down, down with military rule,” a slogan forgotten by most people during the anti-Brotherhood demonstrations of July 2013 that amounted to an invitation for a military takeover.

Alaa Abd el-Fattah, a well-known young blogger jailed under Mubarak and by the generals after Mubarak’s downfall, is being held pending trial on similar charges after being arrested and beaten in his home. The 6 April Youth Movement has been outlawed for collaborating with unspecified foreign powers and “committing acts that distort the image of the Egyptian state”—in other words, organizing actions that expose the profoundly reactionary character of the regime that claims to be rescuing Egyptians from reactionary Islamic rule.

In the best-known cases abroad, a judge in the Upper Nile city of Minya sentenced 529 people to death last March in a trial that lasted only a few minutes. A month later the judge reversed all but 37 of the death sentences, ruling that the rest must serve 15-25 years in prison. At the same hearing, in another instantaneous mass trial with no legal defense, he sentenced another 683 accused Muslim Brotherhood members to death, including the MB’s leader Mohammed Badie.

In both cases the condemned were charged with responsibility for the killing of a policeman in separate events last August, even though none were accused of direct involvement and most were probably not present. It is notable that their alleged crime is against a representative of the state, since in Minya, in addition to attacking a police station, Brotherhood supporters attacked Coptic Christian homes and businesses and burned churches, some with people inside. That these deaths and prison sentences have nothing to do with opposing religious obscurantism or defending freedom of thought is also brought out by the fact that prosecutors have also been busy jailing Christians, Shia Muslims and atheists for “blasphemy.”

The continuing tyranny of Islamic law, even if not under the Brotherhood, is also evident in the banning of the  Hollywood film Noah for the forbidden depiction of a prophet, and the April sentencing of four men to 3-7 years in prison for homosexuality. At the same time rape, another manifestation of male domination sanctified by religion, is going unpunished, as the fear of rampant sexual violence has become a form of terrorism to keep women in the confines of the patriarchal family home. A human rights report on violence against women in Egypt says, “according to numerous accounts, the 18-day period leading to the fall of Mubarak represented a parenthesis in the violence and harassment that women experience on a daily basis.  During the protests in Tahir Square preceding Mubarak’s resignation, not a single case of harassment was reported publicly, despite the massive presence of women, including amongst those spending day and night in the square.” This almost “magical” atmosphere, as the report calls it, reflected the broad and deep desire for a different kind of society that made itself felt in many different ways during those days, until a mass sexual assault on an American television journalist on the day the military deposed Mubarak signaled a deliberate counter-attack by the forces and morals of the past.

Early during the military’s first post-Mubarak government, general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the current ruling junta, was the armed forces spokesman who defended the vicious “virginity tests” they imposed on women demonstrators. Large-scale, systematic sexual assaults in Tahir continued under Morsi, and the security forces never intervened. In fact, in January 2012, the Interior Ministry (held by the military, under the Brotherhood government) announced that not protecting women demonstrators was official policy. Now, the report states, under the new regime which promised an end to the petty crime and chaos that weighed heavily on many people’s lives and minds, as of March 2014 “not a single [rape] perpetrator had yet been brought to justice.” (www.fidh.org) Such is the nature of General Sisi’s “law and order.”

This is the regime the U.S. has resumed sending military equipment and money. After the junta took over, the Obama government distanced itself slightly, while pointedly never calling it a coup, which would mean an end to funding under an American law meant to prettify U.S. policies. This apparent distance has not only been beneficial to the U.S., it has also helped the generals wrap themselves in a fake patriotism, pretending that they saved Egypt from Western domination. The charges of collaborating with a foreign power levelled against the 6 April Movement are typical of the way the generals and much of Egypt’s establishment portray any opposition as complicit with Western efforts to humiliate Egypt and denigrate its culture (by which they mean Islam).

The generals, like the Egyptian ruling class as a whole and the economy for which they are the local managers, are dependent on the U.S. and its allies. The military, especially, which dominates the economy as well as the country, is directly financed by the U.S. in return for its cooperation with Israel. No sooner had the generals ousted the Brotherhood than Egypt closed the tunnels that are Gaza’s only link to the world.

Further, with Egypt’s economy shackled by its subservience to foreign capital and the world market, reactionary rule depends on U.S. wheat imports to prevent widespread poverty from turning into starvation, with resulting upheaval that could endanger the whole reactionary set-up. After the coup, when the U.S. temporarily put its poisonous “aid” on hold, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, pillars of the status quo in the Middle East, provided 20 billion dollars, but indicated they could not keep financing the generals indefinitely.

In the vanguard of the U.S. move to openly support the generals against the Egyptian people, as so often in similar cases before, was Tony Blair, the former UK Prime Minister who provided phony documentation for Washington’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” and helped organize the invasion of Iraq that proved disastrous for the Iraqi people, and the war against Libya that brought horrendous result for that country as well. Blair had labelled Mubarak “a force for good” just before his ouster. In a January 30 2014 TV interview, Blair hailed the coup in Egypt as “the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation” and called for “my colleagues in the West” to support the military regime. Blair’s replacement, the Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, launched an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, adding legitimacy to the Egyptian junta, as did EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s subsequent trip to Cairo.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Cairo in November 2013. This past April he met with the head of Egyptian military intelligence, resuming a long traditional conduit, and then warmly welcomed Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy to Washington at the end of the month. In an important symbolic move on the eve of the minister’s visit, the State Department disclosed that it would send Egypt ten Apache attack helicopters whose shipment was delayed after the coup, presenting this as in Israel’s interest, since they were needed to fight Islamists in the Sinai. Fahmy’s visit was the occasion for Kerry’s office to announce it had decided to give Egypt another 650 million dollars immediately for 2014, and consider restoring the rest of the 1.5 billion it had been providing annually for decades.

For the Egyptian ambassador, this visit was a homecoming. Kerry pointed out that he was born in New York, spoke English before Arabic and served as Mubarak’s ambassador to Washington for nine years. The joyful occasion came well after the first round of death sentences; the second round and the banning of the 6 April Movement occurred while Fahmy was in Washington, the day before Kerry hosted him at a joint press conference. True, a State Department spokeswoman said that the U.S. “is deeply concerned” by the mass capital punishment verdict, and the White House issued a statement saying that it “defies the most basic standards of international justice.” U.S. senator Patrick Leahy called the restoration of military aid to Egypt “unconscionable” under the circumstances. But the Obama government did not change course.

In general the U.S. has embraced ambassador Fahmy’s defence of this outrage. These decisions were taken by a local court independently of the executive branch, he said. “Don’t jump to conclusions. Let the legal process follow through.” The death sentences must now be ratified by the religious authorities and the higher court.

But under present circumstances on Egypt, the only logical conclusion is that these death sentences cannot be taken lightly. The judicial system may be formally independent of the military, but the legal system, the armed forces and the whole state apparatus were designed and organized to enforce the status quo that so many people were revolting against when they brought down Mubarak. He crafted the state for decades, including by appointing judges and most other authorities from the top to the bottom of society. Even if all the men sentenced to death are not executed, some may be, and a life prison terms for demonstrating against the junta is criminal enough. Even if it were true, as some people who consider themselves revolutionaries argue, that the death sentences are meant to scare everyone into submission and may not be carried out, they would still be a part of imposing and reinforcing the order that people in Tahrir Square rose up against in 2011.

Obama’s government has argued that the current extremely harsh repression has to be seen in the supposedly more pleasant light of the presidential elections scheduled for  May 26-27, or in other words, the restoration of “democracy.” But elections are not new in Egypt. The repression and the elections are two sides of the same coin: the re-consolidation of a state badly shaken by ruling class divisions and mass outrage in the streets, in a general sense, and, more specifically, the continuation of the military domination of Egypt by “democratic” means. “The state needs to regain its might and status, which has suffered much in recent times,” Sisi explained in a March 28 speech.

General Sisi has presented himself as the only viable alternative to Muslim Brotherhood rule, but at the same time he is thoroughly connected with both religious obscurantism and the U.S. (and therefore allowed to act only insofar as Israeli interests are respected). He seems to style himself on Anwar Sadat, “the believer president” whose putting an end to the Nasserist nationalist project involved a dangerous combination of unleashing Islamist forces and capitulating to Israel—until Islamists among the military put an end to this contradiction by assassinating him. While the U.S. has not followed Egypt in declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist” organization (leading to complaints from Cairo in this regard), and the junta even engaged in mutual flirtation with Russian president Vladimir Putin during the period when U.S. funding was suspended, there can be no doubt that the U.S. currently considers the military best suited to rule in its interests in Egypt. Under these circumstances, Islamic fundamentalism is sure to flourish and despite Sisi’s declarations to the contrary, the Brotherhood is not likely to cease to exist.

Along with liberal political parties, much of the traditional left, such as the Tagammu Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance and some Nasserists have lined up behind Sisi. So has the Salafist Nour Party and the Tamarod organization that, in the name of opposing Islamist rule, called for the demonstrations that ushered in the military last July. The only candidate running against him is Hamdeen Sabahi, whose claims to be an heir to Gamal Nasser’s 1952 anti-British revolution are belied by his pledge to respect the Camp David peace accords with Israel, not nationalize foreign and other “successful” business, and not redistribute land. Instead, he proposes to jump start the country’s economy with projects for designing and manufacturing solar power panels and using now wasted Nile water to grow trees for wood, both mainly for export.

While the technologies he advocates could be positive in the context of a revolutionary reorganization of the Egyptian economy, in his program they are simply a way of promising jobs and social improvement without even raising his voice against the country’s big capitalists and landowners or any of its current economic and social structures. He has also pledged to repeal the anti-demonstration ban, which may help win him support. But more than a few people see his candidacy not as an alternative but as a cynical act of complicity with the generals to make the electoral process seem like something more than another reactionary maneuver.

Wisely, the International Monetary Fund has agreed to leave negotiations for Egypt’s economic future until after the elections. Right now, neither candidate would want to endorse an IMF austerity plan—just as the Brotherhood also avoided it. The IMF is counting on the electoral process itself to make Egypt’s further enslavement possible.

 

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

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/338/houston-revolution-nothing-less-contingent-at-immigrant-rights-march-en.html

Revolution #338 May 11, 2014

Houston: Revolution—Nothing Less Contingent at Immigrant Rights March

May 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From reader:

On Saturday, May 3, in what has become an annual May Day march for immigrants' rights in a heavily Central American area of our city, several hundred mostly Latina/o immigrants and others manifested opposition to the ongoing war on immigrants.

We revolutionary communists organized a "Revolution—Nothing Less" (RNL) contingent of the march, with a beautiful banner that read, "We Refuse to Accept Slavery in Any Form Here and Around the World" and "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution" in English and Spanish. With the goal of planting a revolutionary pole and challenging people to set their sights on revolution and the emancipation of humanity, we distributed red flags as well as Revolution newspaper and cards with various quotes from Bob Avakian (BA) and other materials.

Internationalist contingent at Houston immigrant rights march

Contending sharply against the framework of the bounds of the system, our solution and ideology, our slogans and chants impacted the march in various ways. The march itself, as well as the masses along the way who were shopping or standing in front of their apartments, were pretty much saturated with our materials. Several dozen immigrants and a few others bought newspapers, and red flags were sprinkled throughout the crowd. A number of spectators snapped pictures of our banner and close-ups of the newspaper (which they then bought). A few youth joined our chants for a while.

As we were distributing red flags, some were reaching their hands out for them, and some were refusing them, like one young Latino carrying a small stop sign (against deportations, etc.) and an American flag who, when challenged, said, "I'm a U.S. citizen. This country has been good to me." A priest started following us around, getting physically in between us and those we were talking with. He insisted that "we are all together here," but "we're not communists," to which we replied, "Well, you should be!"

We spoke to a group against mass incarceration about how under the new socialist constitution we will eliminate such outrages, and one Black man took a flag which he held high throughout the march.

Immigrants in particular were moved by the slogans and quotes from BA. A Caribbean woman who was watching the march go by checked out the Revolution centerfold quote, "Communism: A Whole New World and the Emancipation of All Humanity—Not 'the Last Shall Be First and the First Shall Be Last.'" She told us that she and her daughter were just talking about that citation from the Bible—how it didn't go far enough. Eager to read more, she sent her daughter back to her apartment to dig up some money. A Latina immigrant who also read that quote, said, "That's beautiful—it's from the Bible." When it was pointed out that it said "Not the last shall be first..." she read it over again and wanted to dig into the rest of the quotes, and bought a paper.

A group of ex-prisoners who had traveled several hours from another city were saying that they are for a movement, not just another non-profit. So we got into the question, "a movement for what?" They said that they are building a grassroots movement to help ex-prisoners get the respect they deserve. We challenged them to look at what kind of system capitalism-imperialism is that is carrying out slow genocide through mass incarceration, carrying out a war on women here and around the world, murdering people throughout the world through illegitimate wars, and on and on. When we got into that it will take revolution, nothing less to bring an end to this and how there is the vision, strategy and leadership of BA to do that and they need to join in, they started looking though the literature on the table. We talked about BA Everywhere and they were surprised that they have never heard of BA, and one of them said that he gets the point that people need to know about him.

They left with BAsics and other literature, a handful of RNL buttons (which some of them put on), and material on the $1000 for 1000 years project. One of them came up to our booth and read and thought about the quote, "Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First." Then he connected this with the button, "Stop Thinking Like Americans and Start Thinking about Humanity," saying, "Oh, that's what you mean. I like that!" and got a couple to take home.

This march contained various kinds of conscious reformists and revisionists (phony communists). In one telling incident, one of the people in the RNL contingent confronted a guy at a U.S. Communist Party booth, flanked by, on one side, a large red flag; on the other, by the American stars and stripes. Our comrade told him that it was a disgrace to the red flag to be flying that other rag. The CP'er replied that the American flag is a "revolutionary flag," that "it was taken from us, and we're taking it back." Our comrade correctly informed him that no, that flag represents American capitalism-imperialism—it is not our flag. The CP'er's answer to that was, "We're the biggest [communist, so-called] group out here. We just recruited eight people! We're not gonna be isolated, like you guys." To which the comrade replied, "So size is everything, not the quality."