Revolution #356, October 6, 2014 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

We Urge You to Come to Ferguson, Missouri, October 10-13

September 24, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A call has been issued by Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, and a coalition of local and national organizations demanding justice for Mike Brown and an end to police violence and racial profiling. This is a very important development, and a very important call. People across the country are being urged to travel to Ferguson on October 10 through October 13 to participate in a series of events and marches to stand with those who’ve been in the streets for the past seven weeks fighting for justice. The main march is scheduled for Saturday, October 11, in downtown St. Louis.

Ferguson, August 30, 2014

Protest against the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, August 30, 2014.

We urge everyone who understands that the murder of Mike Brown and the subsequent military assault on the people are howling outrages, to answer this call and come to Ferguson. Your participation in this struggle to achieve justice will make a huge difference in strengthening the people on the front lines here in Ferguson and in other parts of the country. Send a delegation from your campus or church or neighborhood. Parents and families of loved ones murdered by the police should lend their voices. Organize a car caravan. Jump on a bus or train! If you can’t make it, send a banner to the people of Ferguson signed by all who are standing with the struggle, but could not be there in person.

You are also invited to be part of the "Revolution—Nothing Less" contingent in the march. And, you are also invited to be a part of a “Stop Mass Incarceration” contingent letting everyone know about October 22—the national day of protest against police brutality—and the October Month of Resistance.

This call for people from around the country to come to Ferguson October 10-13 comes at a crucial juncture in this battle. Everyone who wants to see an end to the police murder and brutality that Mike Brown’s murder has brought to light should be part of advancing the struggle in the face of efforts from the highest levels of government to repress and derail it.

The people, especially the defiant ones in Ferguson, have heroically stood up...protesting this police murder, and refusing to back down in the face of tanks, tear gas, police dogs, and rubber bullets. Over 200 people protesting the murder of Mike Brown have been arrested. Just now on September 24, after the memorial to Mike Brown was burned down in the early hours of the morning, the anger boiled over—people not only rebuilt the memorial but took to the streets in outrage.

The system continues to work the way it was designed to work...refusing once again to indict a murdering pig. The approach has been to wear people down, slander Mike Brown over and over again, and employ tactics to confuse, demoralize, and divide the people, and cover up this murder in order to lay the basis to let Darren Wilson, the pig who murdered Mike Brown walk free. The grand jury’s life has been extended until January.

The stakes in this struggle for justice are high. If the system is compelled to back up and concede to the demands of the people, it will have an enormous impact on the struggle against police terror across the country...and it will also objectively strengthen people standing up all over the country during the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. On the other hand, if the system is allowed to get away with murder and triumphs over a struggle that has inspired people around the world...this too will convey a message, that Black lives do not matter.

October Month of Resistance

The national Stop Mass Incarceration Network has fully endorsed the call for protests in Ferguson demanding justice for Mike Brown and an end to police violence and racial profiling, October 10 through October 13.

In addition, the newly formed chapter in Ferguson of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network calls on people to support these actions, and is also calling for these protests:

October 9, 5 pm: Protest at Ferguson Court and Police Station, 222 S. Florissant Rd. Demand authorities drop ALL charges on people arrested during the rebellion after Mike Brown was murdered in August. One of the first hearings for arrested protesters is scheduled for the criminal court at 6 pm.

October 22, 5 pm: Rally/march will gather at Canfield Drive (9300 W. Florissant). March will proceed to Canfield Apartments where Michael Brown was murdered by police and proceed through Ferguson community to the police station at 222 S. Florissant Rd.

 

For more information, schedule of events and updates go to: fergusonoctober.com

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Build Off Momentum Established Taking the Pledge of Resistance on October 1

Mobilize a Month of Resistance That Can Be Beginning of the End for Mass Incarceration!

by Carl Dix | October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation is off to a strong start. In more than a dozen areas across the country people gathered at schools, in neighborhoods and outside police stations, prisons, and other government offices to take the Pledge of Resistance. (stopmassincarceration.net has coverage of these gatherings.)

It is critical that we go all-out to build off the momentum that has been established. October must be a month of tens of thousands of people engaging in mass determined resistance—demonstrations across the country targeting police brutality on October 22 and calling out the attacks on immigrants, panels on campuses, cultural events and more. Our resistance in October must come together in a way that erects a big STOP SIGN right in the face of U.S. society to the slow genocide of mass incarceration, police terror and all their consequences.

Look at what's going down. Almost two months since the police murder of Michael Brown and still no justice. From July 17, the day Eric Garner was choked to death by police on Staten Island, to August 17, police killed 60 people—almost two every day. Two years ago a hunger strike that involved thousands of prisoners held in long-term solitary confinement forced California authorities to agree to improve the conditions people were held in. Yet on September 26, prisoners held in solitary confinement in Corcoran prison in California went on hunger strike to protest inhumane health conditions there.

And look at the resistance to all these horrors, starting with the defiant response of the youth of Ferguson to the murder of Michael Brown. People in cities across the country have stood in solidarity with the call for Justice for Mike Brown. And there have been other outpourings of resistance to police murder. In Ohio, in response to a grand jury decision not to indict the cops who gunned down John Crawford in a Walmart; in Los Angeles after police beat Ezell Ford to death; in NYC in response to the choking death of Eric Garner, and elsewhere. It is important that this resistance be brought together into a national movement taking on the outrages the criminal "injustice" system is bringing down on people. And this movement of resistance must be taken to a much higher level.

As I write this, religious institutions are beginning a weekend of sermons condemning mass incarceration and police terror and calling on their congregations to join the resistance to these horrors. Reports on these sermons need to be gathered and featured on the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website, and sermons should continue throughout the month. There are already a number of campus events planned for October. More should be planned, and as they happen, reports on them need to be sent in to the website.

The October Month of Resistance has endorsed the Call for Ferguson October and is putting together a delegation of people from different parts of the country to be down there from October 10-13. This is crucial—the righteous resistance of the people in Ferguson has made police murder of Black people something U.S. society has had to focus on. It is important that Ferguson October brings out a strong outpouring of support.

Thirteen areas have posted their plans for taking to the streets on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Other areas need to make their plans and send them in to the website.

There is a crying need to raise the funds to make all this happen. An important part of doing this is involving many, many people in the crowdfunding effort that has been launched on Indiegogo.com. We need to spread the link to our page on Indiegogo and drive many more people to it. We need to win people to contribute to this effort, and we need to give the Indiegogo campaign the kind of momentum that can reach our goal. People also need to call on those who have signed the Call for the Month of Resistance to contribute money to this effort and engage in various kinds of fundraising projects.

All this needs to bring together tens of thousands of people to stand up and say: NO MORE to this slow genocide. Our resistance must impact and move millions and thru that serve as the beginning of the end for mass incarceration in this country.

 

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Something Big Is Happening

Resistance... and Getting Free

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

If you step back and look at society from the widest angle... something big is happening. People are standing up AGAINST the “New Jim Crow”—against the outrages of police murder after police murder of unarmed Black and Latino youth... against the mass incarceration of those same youth, now going on for several generations...against a whole mentality and interlocking set of institutions that is designed to demonize and criminalize entire peoples.

You can see it in many different ways—in the militant refuse-to-give-in spirit in the streets of Ferguson and the flash mob at the symphony hall in St. Louis... in people blowing whistles on the cops and backing them down, in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York... in forums at universities and religious institutions... in the sermons given in at least dozens of places of worship this weekend... in the works of art that people are producing against this outrage—the poems, the songs, the visual art, etc... in the actions happening on campuses, of all different kinds... in the hundreds of names of many different people on the Call for the Month of Resistance... something is struggling to come into being.

We are trying to capture that on this site. We are trying to give that shape and direction... to show what people are thinking and doing about it... to point to the underlying structures and dynamics of the system that requires this and the way to get rid of that system... to help make this stronger and more powerful.

Doing that is part of changing the whole terms in this society—part of beating back this, yes, genocidal attack on Black and Latino people... and part of preparing the political terrain, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard to actually make revolution and put an END to the whole system of capitalism, with its pillar of white supremacy, that has generated these horrors and will keep generating new ones so long as it exists.

Popularizing this website can play a big big role in really making this month into as powerful a MONTH OF RESISTANCE it can be... and to making real strides to getting free of this monster for good.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

On the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian:

Anyone with an Interest in Human Emancipation Should Be There

September 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 1, we announced the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion,” taking place in New York City on November 15, at Riverside Church.

Nobody with any interest in human emancipation should miss it.

Bob Avakian has been fighting for the people for 50 years and leading the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA for nearly the last 40 of those. He’s taken the understanding of how to make revolution, and how to keep a revolutionary society on the path to full emancipation, to a new level. BA has come up against repression and suppression, and endured slander and sacrifice in doing so. And through all that time his deep commitment to the people has never wavered and, indeed, has grown stronger.

Cornel West, coming out of the religious prophetic tradition, has been fighting for the people for decades—“speaking truth to power” and defending those on the bottom of society, and lending support and often front-line involvement to key protests and resistance. He plays a unique and invaluable role in the political and moral life of this country. And Cornel West connects very deeply with those who most hunger for liberation—“the least of us.”

Each has done very important theoretical work on the topic of the Dialogue—a topic that sits deep in the heart of millions, including many of those who will be the bedrock of any revolution inside the U.S. This is a Dialogue that will surely break new ground.

That alone marks this as historic and not to be missed. Add to that the whole dimension of the rare chance to see and hear BA live and in person, to hear his message and get a real feel for the person behind the message—well, this truly is something unique.

This is far from an abstract debate—coming in the context of today, at a time when intense struggle has erupted and more is in the offing—it is actually a pressing issue. This Dialogue can powerfully affect what people see as possible, and necessary. It can raise their sights far beyond the limits of today to the possibilities of tomorrow. Not least, it can join their deepest questions about what kind of lives are worth living.

There are those who are already jumping at the chance to hear the Dialogue, and who are supporting it, and there will be many more. There are those who are already attacking it, and this too will intensify. So a Dialogue that speaks to and in many senses grew out of struggle will also involve struggle of different kinds. Through the course of this, the side that wants these two people to be heard, engaged, and defended must grow.

We will be covering this throughout the next 10 weeks. In this issue, we are going to share some of the initial responses from people at the Labor Day picnics where this was announced; we are publishing a piece on building a big audience for this Dialogue within the communities of the most oppressed; and we will run excerpts from the announcement made at the picnic. Watch this site as the week develops for more important news and comment.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Correspondence

Fundraising for the Dialogue: Reaching Out Broadly – With a Sharp Focus

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A couple of us wanted to share the experience of going out to lots of people to raise funds for the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian: Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, on November 15 at Riverside Church in NYC.

In building for the Dialogue we have met many people at all kinds of events from climate change forums and demonstrations, to speak-outs about Ferguson, to cultural events and more. We haven't limited ourselves to “political” events and have gone to things like meet-ups for online crowd-fundraising and we've been out broadly on campuses, at museums and at concerts.

This small team is telling people everywhere about the Dialogue, who both speakers are, why it matters that BA, this outstanding revolutionary communist leader is dialoguing with Cornel West, one of the foremost radical intellectuals and a self-described “revolutionary Christian”, on this topic that weighs so heavily on the lives of the great majority of people in the world today. That this Dialogue is about getting free and emancipation, and what religion has to do with that.

We ask people when we first meet them, to get together and talk about how they can support the Dialogue financially. So far, we have met or have meetings scheduled with professors, young tech entrepreneurs, an executive of a nonprofit working with Black youth and students, a marketing person at an important performing arts center, and other professionals in the arts. Most have known little or nothing about Bob Avakian and his new synthesis of communism and the real strategy and vision for revolution he has developed. Over the course of the conversation about donating, people have been intrigued and challenged by what they begin to learn about how the two speakers approach what religion has to do with the entire way human society is organized AND how it really could be different.

Initial Lessons

First of all, when you ask people (immediately and up front, when you first meet them) to sit down and talk about supporting this Dialogue financially and in other ways, you are right away proceeding from the great need to change everything and how their participation will contribute to this. Tens of thousands of dollars are needed for advertising and projecting this Dialogue society-wide, and to bring young people and others from across the country, including many locked out of the realm of ideas and the kinds of discussions about societal questions that may take place at campuses just a few blocks away but might as well be another planet. Bringing people together across great divides to get into the biggest questions confronting humanity and having that emanate back out into society – this is attractive and something many people want to know more about and be part of.

When we meet, we bring along a packet that includes the postcard for the Dialogue, a nicely produced and labeled CD of Cornel West's 2012 radio interview with Bob Avakian, the current Host Committee list, a copy of the article “Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian,” the Timeline of Bob Avakian's Political Activism and Revolutionary Leadership and an initial budget (soon to be posted).

We share the materials with people and we tell people the basics about what this Dialogue is and who both speakers are. After hearing and beginning to explore people's thoughts and questions, we ask for a donation in a specific amount or within a specific range. We do this very early in the meeting. We try to learn enough ahead of time about the person and the type of work they do to have a basic idea of what would represent a significant donation from them, in line with contributing to making the great potential of this event real. Asking for a significant donation has helped people understand the seriousness of the need and the fact that we are reaching for major impact in every corner of society. This is providing people with direction and a framework for how they can make a real difference.

After you ask, give the person some time to think about it and answer. Do not keep talking! If you have asked for an amount that represents a significant donation from the person, it is probably taking them out of their comfort zone. Let them consider that. If you just keep talking, you can distract them from the seriousness of the request and communicate that maybe it doesn't matter that much after all.

If the person is making any kind of significant donation, the first thing to say is “Thank you!” Whether they are donating a lot, a little or not at all, ask them what led them to their decision. We will learn a lot from this! If they want more time to think about a donation, we work to draw out further what they are weighing in making the decision. We want to work through with them why their donation will really matter. Arrange to get together again in a few days to hear their decision.

Sometimes people don't respond directly when we ask for a donation. One really critical lesson is to learn more about what people are thinking and let them learn more about what the Dialogue will accomplish and about BA – and then direct people back to their own contribution. The response may not be what you expect! I think one of the biggest obstacles to fundraising for the Dialogue – both asking for meetings and then winning donations in a meeting – is our own preconceptions about what a person may or may not be able to contribute.

We had the experience of meeting with a young professional who told us about their ongoing struggle to launch their own business and pay off huge college loans ... and at the same time was increasingly moved and excited by the prospect of this Dialogue contributing to challenging the down-pressing role of religion which they feel acutely all around them. They started charting out ideas about how to spread it among important sections of people. Honestly, what was going through my head was, “well, this person doesn't have much money, we should proceed with their ideas about spreading this ...” (and these were very good ideas). But my partner jumped in, saying, “We really do want to come back to what you can donate at this time as well as hearing and working more on your ideas for taking this to others...” This led to a commitment that was larger than I expected and to a further and more real conversation about this person's ideas for raising funds among friends, the controversies to anticipate and how we will stay in touch and work together going forward.

The sharp focus in these exchanges on working with people to donate themselves has opened up their thinking about who they can reach out to for funds. It's important to follow through with involving people in putting this great need to others. How can they take this out among their friends? Are there people they will suggest we go to and use their names to introduce ourselves? Are there other ways they can spread the word and contribute to funding the event? Everyone we've met with has had ideas about this. 

So this is simple but we think represents important beginning lessons and breakthroughs in fundraising for the Dialogue – as involving people in changing the world! Many, many people right now have deep concerns and aspirations for something truly different and liberating. Most who feel this way have absolutely no idea of what that could be. But they can recognize, appreciate and learn more about this Dialogue, the revolution and its leader, BA – and Cornel West as part of this – as they begin to support it. These fundraising meetings are key to making the Dialogue a success – and they are opening people up to different possibilities that they may never have seriously considered before.

So let's see the mass movement around this event grow, blossom and contend! We should be reaching out to many kinds of people – in the religious community, in the arts, among young professionals of all kinds and all nationalities. Going to many people to raise funds in this way – right now! – is central to making the Dialogue reach the impact it can and must have.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

For those this system has cast off:
DO NOT MISS THIS

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

To those who rule this system, the people who catch the most hell every day are expendable, dangerous. When it comes to those who catch the most hell digging into ideas, understanding and changing the world, this system has one big “DO NOT ENTER” sign. But BA says: “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human” are the ones who “can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.” This Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion is for everyone who gives a damn about the state of humanity and the planet. And yes, that includes YOU! Get with people like yourself who maybe never have had a chance to even get out of their neighborhoods, let alone go to a historic event like this Dialogue. Get with people organizing for this Dialogue. Work out the ways and means to get to Riverside Church in New York City on November 15. DO NOT MISS THIS.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/revolution-and-religion/tickets.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014


Ticket prices and transportation costs should not be a barrier for you to get to the November 15 Dialogue at Riverside Church in NYC between Cornel West and Bob Avakian--if you need help with these, contact Revolution Books NYC (212-691-3345) or Revolution Books near you (see left). If you thirst for human emancipation, you need to be at this historic Dialogue.

If you can, donate to subsidize ticket and transportation costs for those who need it—and call on others to donate too. Be a part of a movement to raise funds so that everyone who should and wants to be at the Dialogue can be there!

GET TICKETS!

BUY TICKET
HERE ONLINE NOW

Brown Paper Tickets - buy online

Tickets available for direct purchase in New York and around the country. Click here for vendor information for direct sales.

Group discounts are available—call Revolution Books in NYC: 212-691-3345.

Sliding Scale:

* $25
* $15 Students/Youth/Unemployed/Underemployed
* $100 (premium seating)
* $250 (premium seating & gift TBA)

Ticket and Travel Arrangements

Get on the Bus and Get to the Dialogue!

Whether you are in New York or you are in California or anywhere in between: get your ticket, get your transportation, get to the Dialogue on November 15 at Riverside Church between Cornel West and Bob Avakian: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

Transportation is available—whether you are coming from six blocks away or from across the country. Contact organizers near you or contact Revolution Books in NYC (212-691-3345) if you need low-cost housing and financial support.

Dialogue tickets are HERE online or directly from one of the vendors listed below.

 

To Purchase Tickets in Person and to Arrange Transportation:

NEW YORK CITY

Dialogue Tickets available at:
Revolution Books
146 W. 26th St. (between 6th/7th Ave.)
New York, NY
Hours: 12-7 pm every day
212-691-3345

Book Culture
536 W 112th St (btwn Broadway & Amsterdam)
#1 to 110th St stop
(212) 865-1588
9:00 AM to 10:00 PM  http://www.bookculture.com/

McNally Jackson Books
located in downtown Manhattan 52 Prince Street
(between Lafayette & Mulberry near Spring St. 6 stop, and N/R Prince St. stop) 
212-274-1160
http://mcnallyjackson.com/

Harlem Record Shack
2361 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (between 126th/127th Sts.)
Harlem, New York, NY
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am-9:30 pm; Sun 11 am-8 pm
646-704-3067

Uptown Harlem Flava
445 W. 125th St. (between Amsterdam & Morningside Aves.)
Harlem, New York, NY
Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm; Sun. 12-6 pm
212-222-5801

Transportation:
Van/bus transportation being arranged from South Bronx and Harlem. Call Revolution Books at 212‑691-3345 to sign up for transportation or to volunteer transportation.

BOSTON, MA

Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books at 1158 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Hours: Thurs. & Fri. 4-6 pm; Sat. 12-6 pm; Sun 12-4 pm.

Bus leaves from Cambridge on Saturday, November 15 at 9:30 am and returns Saturday night, November 15. Bus tickets to New York: $50.

For more information contact Revolution Books at info@revolutionbookscamb.org or call 617‑309‑0767.

CHICAGO, IL

Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books, 1103 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL
Hours: Wed-Fri: 4 pm-7 pm; Sat: noon-7 pm; Sun: 2 pm-5 pm

Buses leave from Chicago Friday evening, November 14 at 7 pm and return Sunday afternoon, November 16.
Bus tickets to New York: $100; Reduced price bus tickets $50 (for students, unemployed etc.)
Bus tickets can be purchased online at chicagorevolutionbooks.blogspot.com, and at Revolution Books Chicago.

For more information on Dialogue tickets and transportation, email bustix11.15@gmail.com or call 312-965-4570 or stop by Revolution Books. Additional information will be posted at: http://chicagorevolutionbooks.blogspot.com

FERGUSON, MO

Bus transportation available for people coming from Ferguson. For more information, email bustix11.15@gmail.com or call 312-965-4570.

ATLANTA, GA

Dialogue tickets available from Atlanta Revolution Books Outlet, 770-861-3339.

Vans leave from Atlanta early Fri., Nov. 14 and return late Sun., Nov. 16. For more information on transportation to the Dialogue, contact Atlanta Revolution Books Outlet at revbooksatl@hotmail.com or call 770-861-3339 and leave a message.

CLEVELAND, OH

Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books Cleveland, 2804 Mayfield Rd. at Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH. 216-932-2543.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 pm.

Bus leaves from Cleveland at 4 am Sat., November 15 and returns early Sunday morning, November 16. Cost of the bus ticket is $70. For information on bus tickets and to reserve seats, or to purchase tickets for the Dialogue, contact Revolution Books, 216-932-2543 or at revbookscle@hotmail.com.

DETROIT, MI

Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books, 4152 Woodward, Detroit 48201 or call 313-204-2906.

Current plan for transportation to the Dialogue is to leave from Detroit Revolution Books at 1 am, Saturday, Nov. 15, to Cleveland, and then get on the bus from Cleveland (see the info under Cleveland). For more information, contact 313-204-2906.

HOUSTON, TX

For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact 832-865-0408 or revolutionhtown@yahoo.com

LOS ANGELES, CA

For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, 323-463-3500, revolutionbooksla@gmail.com.
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 12-7pm

SAN FRANCISCO/BERKELEY/OAKLAND, CA

For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way near Telegraph Ave., 510-848-1196, revolutionbooks@sbcglobal.net.
Hours: 11 am–7 pm Mon.–Sat., 1 pm–6 pm Sun.

SEATTLE, WA

For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books at 89 S. Washington St.,
Seattle, WA 98104 (between Alaskan Way S. and 1st Ave. S.), 206-325-7415, rbsea@yahoo.com.
Hours: 11 am—6 pm Wednesday & Friday, 11 am—9 pm Thursday, 11 am—6 pm Saturday, and noon—5 pm Sunday

HONOLULU, HI

For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution books at 2626 South King Street, Honolulu, HI, 808-944-3106 or revolutionbks@yahoo.com.
Hours: 12 noon–6 pm every day

 


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/revolution-and-religion/what-people-are-saying.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

What People Are Saying About This Dialogue

Responding to the announcement of Revolution and Religion: A Dialogue
Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

Updated November 12, 2014

An Historic Dialogue: Cornel West and Bob Avakian Enlighten and Challenge at a Critical Juncture

November 16, 2014

Read more


A discussion on the role of religion in the struggle for material and spiritual emancipation of the human has never been so necessary

(10/11/14)

The gap of wealth and power between the have and the have-not nations of the earth and the social haves and have-nots within each of the nations, is deepening and widening daily, with the irony that the haves, between and within nations, depend on the resources of the have-nots for their power and privilege. The result is material and spiritual misery of millions. This condition is human made not God made. It can only be righted by human action. A discussion on the role of religion in the struggle for material and spiritual emancipation of the human has never been so necessary.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Author
of
Wizard of the Crow


Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there.

(10/19/14)

I admire and respect both Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Both are fearless fighters for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. One, Bob Avakian, is a revolutionary fighter; the other, Cornel West, is a Christian. Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there, and needs to hear this very important dialogue between two champion crusaders. 

Nicholas Heyward—Father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr.—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 1994; October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


"Holy Shit!"
Three Thoughts on the Dialogue

When I first heard news of the Dialogue between Bob Avakian (BA) and Cornel West (CW), I had three major thoughts.

First, I thought, "Holy shit, it's a really huge deal that BA is speaking in public! This hasn't happened, in this way, in a very long time, and there is both tremendous positive potential and very serious stakes to this... This is truly an extraordinary and exciting opportunity!"....

Read more

From a revolutionary


From Ann Wright, Former United States Army Colonel, Foreign Diplomat, Peace Advocate

This is indeed historic. I'm going to try to be there... I've marked my calendar.


I strongly support the Dialogue

When you consider that religion influences the majority of humanity in one way or another, the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian can be extremely important—particularly if it encourages religious leaders and their followers to develop a strategy that plays a major role in the struggle for emancipation. With this in mind, I strongly support the Dialogue.

Richard Brown—Former Black Panther; San Francisco 8 Defendant; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


From Kassahun Checole, Publisher

Revolutionary politics and theology work well together when the subject of social change arises. Our world is in deep trouble. Cornel West and Bob Avakian will advance the conversation. They can and will. It is much needed.


Nothing Changes Until We Address the Systemic Change

I think this is important because it will open up some dialogue and get people to start thinking. Because you know, a lot of times, people's thoughts need to be seasoned....

Read more

Community organizer


It Is Important for the Future of Blacks and Latinos

I feel like it is important for the future of Blacks and Latinos. It's important for us to fight and stand up against injustice. We need to get together and not fight each other but get together and fight the system. You see now Ferguson got the attention of Obama because they are fighting the system. I am hoping to get unity amongst us, to stand up against the government. We asked years ago and kept asking, we marched with the civil rights and Black Panthers. What are we supposed to do, keep asking?

Joshua, Young Latino, Washington Heights, New York City


From a Social Worker Who Donated $100 for the Dialogue

It is amazing that two people with different fundamental belief systems are willing to sit together for the sake of humanity. It is a beautiful thing of tolerance and respect, we need more of that.


Just What We Need

This is just what we need. I wish I could be there but I can't so I'll make a donation so that someone else from the store can go.

A devoted Christian volunteering at a Revolution Books store


Clear and Concise Analysis of the Amerikkkan Condition

(9/27/14)

...These two gentlemen seem to have a clear and concise analysis of the amerikkkan condition. But more importantly they are the only two whom, aside from pointing out the obvious capitalist atrocities, seem to offer viable solutions to some of the problems experienced by americans in Amerikkka....

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A Photographer from NYC


If we really want fundamental change...look at fundamental questions—“Revolution and Religion” is as fundamental as it gets.

What kind of world do we live in? A world where Michael Brown’s murderer still walks free while we’re told to have a “conversation” about race, where oil companies rush to grab up the new oil fields exposed by the melting polar ice cap while “world leaders” make meaningless, hypocritical pledges to stop global warming, where entire families incinerated in an instant by unmanned drones is not considered barbaric, where a so-called “progressive” president has out war-mongered the war-mongers. In this insane world, why isn’t revolution on everyone’s lips? Why aren’t millions of people striving for a whole new future instead of debating the pros and cons of Hilary Clinton for president? C’mon, people. If we really want fundamental change, we have to look at fundamental questions–and “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion” is as fundamental as it gets. I welcome it, and you should too.  

David Zeiger, Filmmaker, Host Committee Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


A Great Opportunity

I think there's a confluence of minds here; even though they come from quite different directions. They are both very concerned about the human condition; not just about this country, or that country; but the human condition, on a global scale....

Read more

A retired professor in Los Angeles


People Around the World Will Want to Watch This

This is incredible—that this is being posed to people right now. Is it going to be live webcast? People around the world will want to watch this.

A young lawyer

Recent Posts

"I Recognize the Power and Perils of Belief"

(10/24/14)

I have struggled for years with issues of faith. As an agnostic I recognize the power and perils of belief. Bob Avakian and Cornel West are to be lauded for their efforts to bring struggle and faith together to defeat oppression and foster freedom and dignity.

“Revolution and Religion” a dialogue between West and Avakian at the historic Riverside Church, New York City, on November 15, 2014, demands our support.

Jed Stone
Criminal Defense Attorney


From Alice Walker:
Let The People Decide

(10/9/14)

...We are now in such dire straits as a planet that letting the people of the world decide our course is the only sensible option, “leaders” of various stripes having failed us completely; and who actually seem to enjoy making us feel afraid...

Read more


Religion and Revolution: The Promise of a Fresh Look

SpearIt, Associate Professor, Texas Southern University—Thurgood Marshall School of Law. This article was originally published at Huffington Post on 10/20/14. Read it here.

(10/23/14)

For students of religion and students of revolution, the upcoming dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian should be a valuable lesson. Taking place at Riverside Church in New York City, this meeting of the minds has tremendous potential to advance understanding on the relationship between religion and revolution, which conventional wisdom tends to hold as mutually exclusive....

Read more


"This dialogue will open up a lot of eyes, a lot of minds...to what is going on and how we can make a difference."

(9/28/14)

Revolution and Religion—wow, this is long overdue. This is long overdue. I feel that I didn't know much about Mr. Avakian. I know about Cornel West. But the fight for emancipation, the role of religion and the dialogue between these two revolutionaries of our time, the great revolutionaries of our time—it is long overdue. Religion plays a great part in our revolution and what has changed amongst the churches, what has changed is humanitarianism has went out the window. Between the revolution and religion, the fight for emancipation is that we have to fight for what is right....

Read more

Terry Hubbard, mother of 23-year-old Joshua Richardson who is incarcerated at Rikers Island prison


Cornel West Opened My Eyes ... Bob Avakian Has Gotten My Attention

Read more

71-year-old Black man from South Central Los Angeles


A great occasion to explore how revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation

(10/3/14)

If humanity is to survive and thrive we all know that there must be radical and fundamental change. The rule of avarice and violence is destroying the lives of myriads and indeed the very planetary basis for life. Two forces for this fundamental transformation are revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity. The dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is a great occasion to explore how these movements may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation and organizing to bring it about.

Ted Jennings—Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary, Host Committee Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


I'm Going to Fundraise to Go

I want to be there. And yes, I'm going to fundraise to go, and there's no way I wouldn't go. Because I'm always open, and I always love hearing Bob Avakian talk; and since he's talking about religion, and especially that he's getting into it with someone who is religious, that's like something that sparks my curiosity to know what they're going to talk about.

Read more

Young woman in the Los Angeles Revolution Club


One of the Most Challenging and Inviting Ideological Journeys Anyone Has Been On!

This Dialogue will no doubt be one of the most challenging and inviting ideological journeys that anyone has been on! I think there will be a lot of laughter and tears, and it will put revolution back on the map in this country in a massive way.

Jesse—a member of the band Outernational


A Revolutionary Meeting of Two Extraordinary Minds!!!

A revolutionary meeting of two extraordinary minds!!! Plus you get to see Bob Avakian live and in person. It's worth it just for that. I'm interested to see what's going to come out of this conversation.

Black businessman


From Margarita Rosario (mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega, murdered by the New York Police Department in 1995)

Because I believe in God. A dialogue between two people who have inspired me. Bob Avakian is a revolutionist and I'm always talking about a riot. Cornel is a man of faith, so I just want to see and listen.


Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being... having a principled discussion

Both Cornel West and Bob Avakian say we are moral people with responsibility to look at what is really happening in this world and to decide what is right and wrong and to act accordingly. This is very different than the view of people whose religious faith is shaken that without a belief in God, no one can prove anything, and there are no moral standards to stop one from raping and murdering and stealing. They then often go on autopilot, acting on whatever forces impinge on them or whatever feels good at the time. Ironically, since they believe there are no objective standards, they are unable to identify the larger forces that are oppressing them, and they do not join with others to fight back against injustice. They end up either blaming themselves for their difficulties, or they blame the nearest individuals or groups in their environment for their suffering and spend their days attacking them either physically or on cyberspace, fighting fruitless "Twitter wars." This "horizontal hostility" serves the purpose of those forces in society that are oppressing them. This Dialogue between West and Avakian is an important discussion because it is very different than that. Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being and how to create a more just, humane world having a principled discussion. People can learn from this.

Carol Downer—Author, Lawyer, Co-founder Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers, Host Committee for Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


I Don't Think a Lot of People in America Know What Oppression Is Except the Oppressed

I am planning to go. Now is the time for me to take an active role in making the system work for future generations. Cornel West understands what is going on and is fearless. He's not afraid to tell the truth to the mainstream media. He understands what oppression is in America. I don't think a lot of people in America know what oppression is except the oppressed.

Angelina—mother victimized
by the system

 

Video Statements:

 

UC Berkeley student in NYC for the Dialogue(11/12/14)


Artist raising funds to be at the Dialogue (11/10/14)


I hope to see many students from the United States and around the world there (11/10/14)


Video: Can't Wait to Go!


Video: You Need to Donate Cuz We Have to Get There!


An Abortion Rights Freedom Rider on "Revolution and Religion" Dialogue

10/4/2014


Young Filmmaker on 'Revolution and Religion' Dialogue

10/4/2014


"So...Did You Hear What's Going On In NYC?"

(10/4/14)


Andrew Hoffman on 'Revolution and Religion' Dialogue

(10/4/2014)


'The lessons that we're gonna learn will change how people think about everything.'

(10/9/14)


'Whatever your religious belief, you should be at this event.'

(10/5/14)


"These guys are on something real"

(10/5/14)


I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity.

(10/11/14)

The Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian of the Revolutionary Communist Party will hold anyone of care in fascination and examination. My initial probing is to ask BA, a man of sensitivity, courage, and caring, what he explicitly means by "revolution." I agree that we must "rise up and fight back" but feel strongly in the road of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King. I also share both Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's thoughts on the need to have a face off on questions such as prison or police brutality, such as women's struggle for equality, but the question remains: while Avakian has masterfully given description, I part ways with him on the prescription.  I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity."

Rev. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray, Professor, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California; Co-Founder of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, USC; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue


To the Youth Who This System Has Cast Off: This Dialogue Is for You

(10/10/14)

From an ex-prisoner:

To the youth who this system has cast off and counts for nothing, but who can actually count for a great deal:

The Dialogue on November 15, 2014 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is for you. This is a conversation between two people who have a deep love for people just like you. With everything that keeps you fucked up and doing fucked up shit to each other, neither one of these two people are willing to turn their back on you.

Read more


BA Must Be Heard Globally

BA must be heard globally and we must get out the message that the system must be restructured. The only person I know that can do that is BA and the revolution. It goes to show this Dialogue is needed because we look at the world and the world is doing politics and religion and BA is looking at it scientifically.

It is important so many religions are out there and so many of them are confusing the people. It's like they are pacifying the people with politics and it's the same old talk with different people doing the same thing but doing nothing. It's going all around in a circle to confuse and oppress the people.

Grandmother whose grandson
is in a Texas jail


The Topic of Revolution and Religion Was On My Mind ... I Can't Wait

I was energized when I found out about the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. The topic of revolution and religion was something that was on my mind even before I found out about it. I had recently met some people around what was going on in Gaza. They were coming at it from a religious point of view. We organized a small demonstration and it was me (the atheist) with about 10 other people, most were religious. They mentioned that is was great that we could come together around Gaza. I agreed but in my mind I was thinking about, how can we work together and what do we need to do to unite and make revolution. I can't wait for November 15.

A teacher from New Jersey


We Need To Reach the Children

I want to see how many young people show up. I'm trying to spark an interest in the children around the Bronx that don't think that this affects them. It's kind of hard to reach them. I'm always trying through music and poetry. We need to reach them.

Kevin from the Bronx, New York City

 

 


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/revolution-and-religion/bios-cornel-west-and-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION
The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion
A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian

Go here for more information on the Dialogue and to buy tickets.

Biographies of Cornel West and Bob Avakian

September 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Bob Avakian (BA) came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s. Since then he has given his heart and knowledge to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity, and has consistently taken responsibility for leading the revolutionary movement – theoretically and practically. He is an innovative and critical thinker who has brought forward a new synthesis of communism. His extensive and wide-ranging body of work includes writings and commentary on revolutionary strategy, philosophy, ethics, science, basketball, music, and religion, including the book Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World. For more, go to "Bob Avakian" at revcom.us.

Cornel West is widely recognized as one of the most important and provocative public intellectuals of our time. A prolific writer and lecturer, West is Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York. A champion for the oppressed, West's writing, speaking and teaching draw inspiration from and weave together the Christian and Black prophetic traditions, radical democracy and jazz, R&B and hip hop. His book, Race Matters, changed the course of America's dialogue on race and justice. Cornel West's latest book, Black Prophetic Fire, has just been published in October 2014. For more, go to cornelwest.com.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/where-we-are-in-the-revolution-right-now-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Where We Are in the Revolution—Right NOW

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' note: The following talk was given in a number of venues over the past 10 days. We are reprinting an edited version of it here.

 

I had dinner with someone last week who before he even got seated said to me that "it seems that we're so focused on 'what we're doing' that we've lost sight of what we're doing."

So... what ARE we doing?

Simply put, we are working to make revolution. It really IS the only solution—and on one level people get this. We just had this massive climate march in which the leadership and probably 99 percent of the people there fervently want this system to reform itself... yet at the same time, people were right and left slapping stickers on saying "Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet, We Need Revolution, Nothing Less." You have the Middle East and the horrors that the imperialist continue to visit on the people there: where there is upheaval and clash, but no side has any viable solutions. There is barbarism from the Israelis and ISIS, and the U.S., the most barbaric of all, sitting on top and murdering to stay there. You have this incredible fucking tragedy going on in West Africa with Ebola, where everybody is saying that the means exist to contain and deal with this, but only the barest minimum is being done—I mean, compare what is going on there with the effort and resources expended to launch more war in Syria and Iraq, or the fact that now it comes out that the U.S. is going to invest a trillion dollars in expanding and making more deadly their nuclear arsenal!

But the revolution does not seem real to most people. It is the crying contradiction pointed to by BA at the beginning of that first talk this summer,1 on the material basis for revolution: that the revolution seems acutely more needed than ever, that objectively there is actually a heightened basis for it, but it seems further away than 40 years ago. And we absolutely cannot afford to let that dynamic keep going in that way, as the consequences are truly horrific—they are horrific every day, and they will get more so by several orders of magnitude if this keeps going. Dispossessed people fighting and dying for something that is not only not emancipatory, but will end up actually just reinforcing the chains.

3 prepares

So we are working on that, we are hammering on it, we are racing against time to radically change this situation. We are working to make revolution—actually going for seizing power, for dismantling their machinery of repression and bringing into being a whole new system—at the earliest possible moment, and we are actually implementing a strategy to get into position to do that. We are in everything we're doing preparing the ground, preparing the people and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

Which is the point of this talk tonight: both to strategically reground and get our sights on the wide world around us, and where we are in relation to that (rather than coming from our activities, or still more narrowly our problems, out)... and this very crucial phase with its key objectives...

If you go back to the article in June, "Making Advances... Toward Revolution," we laid out an ensemble of work, where everything is working together, like a good band: the BA Everywhere campaign, where we have to make real leaps in raising big funds to make BA's leadership known to people, involving hundreds and then thousands in doing this; strengthening the reach and content of the website; involving masses of people in fighting against mass incarceration and the enslavement and degradation of women; and also relating to things like the massive climate march that just happened in NYC, as well as actually getting much more of a solid foundation in the bedrock of society, where people catch hell every day. We talked about the importance of strengthening the Party while all that was going on, and we focused on the overall qualitative question of all this having societal impact.

And the point of all this was and is to serve what? To serve revolution, to getting to that point again where we can actually get rid of these oppressors and bring in a whole new power, working for a whole new society and ways of people relating. Very specifically, as a stage in that struggle, to rupture out of the trajectory where the movement for revolution is losing ground and in real danger, and onto one where we'll be, yes, up against much greater repressive attack but nevertheless gaining ground—with this revolution becoming more and more known, with BA becoming a household word, and with new initiators for a new stage of revolution stepping forward.

I'm not going to try to sum up what we did and didn't achieve this summer in depth. But you definitely can't say that things were static. On the international plane, we had the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the worldwide revulsion against that but more as well—with the U.S. finding itself more enmeshed in serious contradictions internationally, for which they have no answer other than more force, more suffering, more chaos. But there was also within all this a way in which the Party's position in the overall situation began to change—and this took shape around the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas (a five-week campaign through Texas against these horrible new restrictions against abortion there which included a lot of outreach and a lot militant struggle2), and then the upheaval around the murder of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the Freedom Ride, these young people were extremely heroic—they brought forward testimony from masses, they were arrested in the cause of calling this out, they made a huge stink about it at least in Texas. But I have to say that you really can't overstate the extent to which some people who claim to be part of the "pro-choice" movement went on a crusade not against the attacks in Texas, but against the ride itself: just the crudest kind of character assassination, threats to people's careers and reputations as well as physical threats against the revolutionary leader Sunsara Taylor, pulling strings to censor articles or coverage that was favorable to or neutral about the ride, distortion of positions, slander, undercutting... and then that going fairly quickly and directly to BA himself (all the while, by the way, refusing to have an actual face-to-face debate). In the face of this, the people on the ride and the people supporting the ride actually stood very firm and succeeded in bringing forth a two-sided polarization, and they actually went forward to mobilize masses against this attack in Texas, and had real impact both on the thinking of millions in Texas and in setting a different pole in the pro-choice movement, with the communists and revolutionary-minded people on the ride bringing out the whole systemic character of the problem, the need for revolution, and the leadership we have in that revolution, as concentrated in BA. And the people on the ride, in the face of all this shit, not only stood firm but advanced, including in their collective cohesion and their individual understandings of the world and their roles in changing that fucked-up world, and they set a different model for women and men who actually want to change the fucking world...

At the same time, you had the upheaval in Ferguson, which for a few weeks changed the whole discourse in society. And here, too, you could have been surprised by the vitriol and the repression against the Party which was qualitatively more intense than it had been in Texas—here again, singling out an individual associated with the Party, in particular Joey Johnson, though not only him (they also singled out Carl Dix and Travis Morales), and then very quickly unfolding out against the Party overall and, in particular, BA. Everyone from these people objectively acting as agents for the bourgeoisie right on the street and within the "movement," fomenting shit against our people and in some cases physically attacking and turning people over to pigs, up to assholes like Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo going after us. And here too the "big crime" of the Party was to a) actually fight this battle as if winning it really mattered (because it DOES), and b) to link this to the need for revolution and the need to build a movement for that revolution right now. By the way, there's no antagonism between those two things—in fact, they reinforce each other and come out of the same place: a deep and implacable hatred for what the masses go through and an understanding that it does not have to be this way. And it had to fill you with joy to see USA Today in the middle of Ferguson, with a picture of people on the front page standing up to the police, with the BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less T-shirt on. Here too the comrades and fighters in the movement for revolution stood very firm, stood with the defiant ones, as we said.

Now, let's step back and ask WHY these attacks on the Party were and are so sharp, so concerted, so seemingly co-coordinated... and what were the implications? Is this because the Party has no influence and no potential? Is this because the bourgeoisie has no concerns about whether this Party could actually begin to get a following among different sections of people, especially those on the bottom of society, and whether people from all different sections could begin to check out this movement and take up active roles within it? Is this because they feel that the system and those who run it are politically very strong right now? I think those questions actually answer themselves.

I want to talk briefly about this attack-dog component that was made up of people claiming to be in the movement, who were extremely focused and relentless in their attacks, and this viciousness and relentlessness threw some folks. You could call these people haters, you could call them snarkarazzi... but I myself prefer "jabberjays," which comes out of The Hunger Games—these attack birds with human voices that were deployed by the ruling forces in the Capitol to confuse, demoralize and attempt to kill the heroes of the story. One so-called movement person asshole over here in Brooklyn raised money to travel down to Texas and attack the Freedom Ride... I guess for being "outsiders."

What could account for this? With a lot of these people, this does flow out of a world outlook as being franchise managers of oppression, petty shopkeepers of dissent, and they view us both as standing rebukes to their whole thing AND they actually see the prospect of masses of people rising up, getting conscious, NOT being content with "the proper channels" as profoundly threatening to what they are all about. And again, are they doing this because they think our arguments and the kind of work we're modeling will have no influence among people looking to change things? I don't think so.

But be clear: it's not really about them. They objectively serve, and sometimes they are directly deployed or at minimum manipulated by, a more serious enemy. I want to urge people to get into that first talk by BA released this summer, on the material basis for revolution, to get a deeper understanding of this.

On the other hand, we should not lose sight of another phenomenon: those who are not themselves revolutionaries, or not revolutionary communists in any event, who took a stand and said NO to this shit. After all, there are those forces who DO want to get free not only for themselves but who have similar aspirations for all of humanity or at least a large section of it, who may not be won to communism but are willing to engage it, who are willing to look at who's fighting this and who is not, who has some serious ideas and who does not, and who want to see a largeness of mind and generosity in the culture broadly and in the movement itself, who stand on principle. Think about it: Who are the people taking principled stands to say "I support what is going on in this or that struggle, and I am going to be part of this, I am not going to indulge in these attacks on the RCP, and—in some cases—I am going to stand up for them?" Who are the people who are coming together to say "I want to lend my name to hosting this Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian and what's more, I'm committing myself to refuting and standing against the slanders that may very likely come its way"? Who are the people writing poems dedicated to Carl Dix and Cornel West at a time when Carl is clearly identified with this Party and everything it's doing that is under attack? Who are the people—who is the person—engaging in dialogue with BA? Do these people have any moral authority, any gravitas? This isn't about us, or "oh, look, people like us so I guess we must be right"—no. This is something to understand, objectively. This represents an important pole in society—this represents the basis for the revolution to engage with, work together with around common goals, learn from each other as doing so and, yes, win over a great many of those who in the final analysis represent the middle strata of society to revolution, as conditions change, to speak to their deepest or best aspirations and to unleash them and to learn from them as we do. This won't be a smooth highway or straight line, and it will require struggle, on a principled basis, and where needed—in the case of people who are dragging things down and participating in that—real boxing.

This struggle against the people attacking the vanguard is in no way a distraction, or optional, or the quirks of a few sickos; you have to box with these people, you have to take them on, and to the extent we did we advanced the movement for revolution through the polemics both on the spot but especially through our website... and to the extent we didn't, or were slow on the uptake... well, we should take a lesson and fight much better and harder, and we should definitely realize that this fight is intensifying and these people are still, even as we are here tonight, coming at us in all kinds of ways, including, I will say it again, focusing a LOT directly on BA. This kind of battling, as is pointed out in the second major talk from BA released this summer focusing on strategy,3 has big implications for the time later on when you are in a revolutionary situation and approaching the time when you could possibly lead millions to go up against these motherfuckers in the all-out struggle for power... at that point, the attacks are going to be sharper by several orders of magnitude, and the whole struggle will turn on how well people have been trained through a whole period to get to the essence of false flags.

The point in all this is that through the summer and through fighting to implement this strategy the position occupied by the movement for revolution in the overall objective situation changed. And that leads us to the juncture today, and two extremely important responsibilities that we have undertaken... and that we absolutely MUST make good on.

First, I want to very briefly talk about the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation which Carl Dix and Cornel West called for and then brought together 90 people in April to get it going.

This Month of Resistance has to take things to a whole other level. We are coming from behind on this, but there is plenty of basis in both reality itself and our work to do what has to be done here—to wave a giant stop sign in front of this society and say NO FUCKING MORE! There is a real basis to build on and to fan the feeling that this is not only unjust but it is illegitimate and intolerable and that this has to be STOPPED.

If we don't do this, then the heroic battles of the summer and all that rot and horror of this society that was forced into the light of day are in great danger of being squandered, of getting summed up and filed away in people's minds as "you just can't fight them." And believe me, right now the demands of the masses for justice in these egregious murders of Eric Garner in NYC, and Michael Brown—which we are learning ever more deeply are only the tip of the iceberg—are on track to being betrayed, yet again. You have, just yesterday, pigs wearing bracelets in Ferguson itself saying "I am Darren Wilson"—which on one level shines a big light on all this bullshit about bad apples. You have the memorial to Michael Brown burned down. You have, just two days ago, the pigs gang-tackling and beating a pregnant Latina woman in Brooklyn. You have the video, just yesterday, of the pigs in Ohio murdering a Black man for looking at an air gun that was for sale in a Walmart!!

Well... NO! The imperialists cannot get away with this!! We have to hammer at this very constantly and very simply—what does it tell you about this system that months have gone by and these killer pigs still walk free and even unindicted? What does it tell you that more Black people have been killed by police in the past 30 years than were lynched between 1880 and 1910? What does it tell you that in just the month after the murder of Eric Garner, scores of people were killed, many of them just like him—unarmed and essentially doing absolutely nothing? What does it mean when this system has no better future for 2.2 million people than to consign them to a life of crime or of just being thrown into prison... into a life "on the run" that often ends in an early grave...? It means that this is a rotten, illegitimate system that has to be done away with and that it has to be fought tooth and nail right now if people are even to survive this genocidal onslaught!

I'm not going to go a lot into this. There are plans where, if we really fight for these, I strongly feel we can reach this effect. We are coming from behind in terms of organization; but let's focus instead on the strengths that our movement DOES have and figure out how to parlay those into a winning combination. People are working right now on a vision for October 22 that is going to be very powerful and a way to really spread this. People are working on other fronts. There is the whole weekend that has been called for Ferguson, October 10-13, that has to be very mass and very determined. There is the powerful poem that Alice Walker did, "Gather," for Carl Dix and Cornel West," which could and should still go viral. There are people who have made a name for themselves over decades, like Carl Dix, for being fearless, principled, and dedicated and uncompromisingly revolutionary. There is the court date of Noche Diaz for what the pigs allege is his leadership role in the outpouring in New York around Ferguson that took over Times Square and for which they have hit him with six charges, which begins on October 14 and which must be made a boomerang that comes back to hit them in the face, politically speaking. There is the ferment on campuses, with the "mock" solitary confinement cells being built, which has to spread; and the ferment as well in religious communities and in the cultural spheres. All these and more can be part of a combination of things that can change the whole way in which people think, speak and act on this burning question of the new Jim Crow, the slow structural genocide that could become a fast one at any time. All this can be a way that people get stronger in their understanding and ability to resist, that the legitimacy of the system to rule over people and wreak their fucking shit suffers blows and cracks, and that the option for radical change and revolution gains reality in people's minds.

Next week on October 1, there will be a very important kickoff to the whole month, where people come together and recite the Pledge of Resistance—10 a.m. at City Hall. And I want to say right here that everyone in the movement for revolution and in the battle against the grinding, structural genocide of mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization and demonization of a generation needs to be at this vigil and bringing people to it. And if you want to be part of building for this and fighting for it you need to get with people from the network to stop mass incarceration or from the Revolution Club, right after this talk.

Now to do this, and to do what I'm going to get to in a minute, the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, we need people. Here I do want to bring to bear two stories that I heard the other night, that I think can help people in going out to build this in these next crucial days and weeks.

First story. Some years back the Party worked with others to mount a campaign to drive out the Bush regime and, as part of that, called major demonstrations in the middle of the day all over the country. Somebody who is now in the movement for revolution was at that point a young person in high school—he was intrigued by and wanted to work with the Party's youth group at that time, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, but he was having a lot of trouble actually getting them to answer his calls. But he went into his high school with the materials that he did have about this demonstration and he ran into some resistance from his friends, and he got a bit discouraged and "took some time off" from school.

In the meantime, apparently a few people from the Brigade did materialize one day and got out some stickers and fliers to the people who this young person had been working with. And they took it up—they may have said, "Hey, we heard it from our friend, but now we're hearing it from others, this must be big." Then, when he came back, his friends were all going, "Hey, what happened, we went to that demonstration you called and we almost got arrested?"

Second story. Last week, someone had also been running into difficulties in taking what we were doing out to people. He raised these difficulties in a good and open way, and these were dug into and gone at, and the very next night, at a program on campus, he was able to agitate at a program of a few hundred people, polarizing and repolarizing the room around revolution and the ensemble I talked about at the beginning, and you can read the whole thing up online.4

Very important is that off his agitation, he and another revolutionary communist were asked to lead a workshop, and at that workshop he waged ideological struggle with someone who ran the line of "okay, but we DO have to live in America"—and this comrade pointed out strongly that one of the things we have to break out of are the limits and framework of "America as it is," and in that light brought in BA as someone who has shown how there can be a whole different and better way, and got into the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West that's coming up. And off of all this, a number of people did step forward wanting to take responsibility for different things at the campus where this occurred, and a few have apparently been emailing us on this and wanting to take responsibility, but sometimes those emails have languished.

Well, what are the lessons here?

First, on this second story, if you actually lay out the real terms of things, if you STRUGGLE with people in a good but sharp way that makes these terms clear, you will call forward those who do want to see real change, and you will inspire in them the desire to do things, and unleash their initiative.

Second, when people DO step forward, you can't leave them hanging. There are very many stories like the young guy who stepped out at his high school alone, and then ran into resistance, and most of them end with the person just giving up and getting lost to the revolution; we can't afford that. We may not be able to spend a lot of time with people who come forward, as these young women have at this campus, and work with them on the projects that they want to take up, but we DO have to be available to them to help them make sense of what they run into, to give them guidance to the extent we can, and to strongly encourage them and struggle with them to plug into the larger movement for revolution—to come to the store for the showings of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, to plug into revcom.us, and so on.

But we cannot repeat, as we too often do I suspect, what happened to the young guy in the first story—he stayed with it and bounced back, but that's one in 100 and a hell of a lot of people could tell us a similar story with an unhappy ending. We just cannot have that! Otherwise, what is the point?

Nor can we bounce back and forth between not really being available for people who take up projects, not even facilitating the things for them that we can, the counsel and contacts that we can offer... or else being all over the project and sinking ourselves into it. Think about what people actually need from us to contribute and provide that.

So that's one thing, this Month of Resistance and the need for a major impact on all of society, and it's very directly on the agenda. But also directly on the agenda is the very major move we announced on September 1: the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. This is a very high-stakes move, extremely risky and at the same time with a great deal of potential. So, let's talk about this.

I don't think the positive potential for this Dialogue should in any way be mystified or minimized. From the standpoint of making revolution, it is big goddamn deal to have the leader of the revolution speaking, in dialogue with a rightfully respected public intellectual and freedom fighter, before over a thousand people and reaching, if we do our work right, many, many more than that. I mean, are you fucking kidding? This is someone who has been attacked, hounded, suppressed, slandered, threatened and to all intents and purposes censored right down to now... and now here he's gonna be. This is Bob Avakian—this is the person who not only still boldly upholds revolution and communism, but has taken it to a whole new place. Someone who's developed, yes, a strategy to make revolution in a country like this. Someone who's laid the framework for, yes, a strategy to deal with the overwhelming military might of the imperialists when and as that necessity comes to the fore, in a revolutionary situation. Someone who through studying the experience and ideas of literally hundreds of millions of people who fought to build new societies has, yes, developed the thinking undergirding the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as a base area for the world to get free. Someone who's based himself on and further developed the scientific method, and its application to society, with a profound moral and poetic sense, a deep sense of humanity, at the same time. And someone who deeply, deeply "gets" the masses of people at the bedrock of this society. So to echo an article we just ran on our site, holy shit indeed! How could you miss it? How could you NOT want to contribute to this happening??

Second, it is a big deal to have a dialogue on THIS topic, especially when you think about everything that people identify about religion, or spirituality, or the moral dimension, in many different kinds of ways, and how they see that relating to revolution and getting free. There's never been a dialogue like this, on that topic, with speakers with these two very profoundly developed views, which actually does go to the core feelings and thoughts of millions of people, including those at the bottom of society who would have to be and would be in the front ranks of any revolution worth fighting.

Third, you have these two individuals as individuals. First of all, Cornel West plays a unique and invaluable role in this society, period. And just listen to the recording of the interview that Cornel did with BA and you really hear a certain chemistry that is just going to be amazing at this Dialogue and that can actually model a whole different way that this movement can be—where you have a movement and a community and, yeah, ultimately a society based on largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, where there is room for sincerity and humor that is the furthest thing from snark, room for honest and vigorous intellectual challenge of one another and unity around the urgent fights that must be undertaken and real respect and regard and, yes, love for each other's humanity. You get a sense of what this could mean to people, the hope it could give them, just by reading the contribution from Carol Downer on our website.5

Do you want to get a sense of what this is calling forward? Look at the Host Committee—and this is still in formation. Look at who this is drawing, already, and what this is drawing.

But that's far from enough. In a real sense, the needed work has barely begun. We've got to take this everywhere. We've got to raise big money for this, from all kinds of people, but including people who actually HAVE resources. We've got to take this to students, who are beginning to raise their heads in a whole new bigger way than they have in a long, long time. And we've got to take this very strongly to those who get hit with the hardest hell every day, to those who don't feel that they have "permission" to even think about these kinds of things, let alone come to something like this. Are we going to go out there and really build this, right down to making sure that people have their tickets, their transportation, their child care lined up? That we have groups going? That we get a thing going of "I'm going to the Dialogue, are you?" Yes, it's gonna be struggle—but we actually have to break through the thing of people can't do this, this ain't real, by making it real right now.

We got to build this, and we have to lead others to build this. We have to get the statements from all different kinds of people on why they're going to this. We've got to line up teachers and those who work with youth to get into this. We've got to report in on where we DO strike a chord... and where we don't... and figure out why and how to push forward on breakthroughs.

Can we get free? What's it gonna take to do that? Can you make a revolution? Where is religion in all that? People can be and gotta be buzzing about this, and this Dialogue will do this in a very lofty and very wild way.

Is there gonna be controversy? How could there not be? There will be controversy among the people and those who are sincerely grappling with the state of the world... and there will be controversy with the enemy, who will slander and attack this, on a scale way beyond what we've seen already this summer. There is no way that this is going to happen without a whole lot of struggle, without a whole lot of boxing and without a whole lot of risk.

And we have to confront this. The high stakes and the very high risks. We cannot have a situation similar to what happened to Malcolm X. Let me just divert into the history of what led to the assassination of Malcolm. In 1964 Malcolm had broken with the Nation of Islam and was working on a much more radical, much more internationalist, much more revolutionary project. He was beginning, in late 1964, to meet with members of SNCC, the most radical civil rights youth group at that time. He was traveling to Africa and meeting with people in the anti-colonial struggle. He was meeting with people like the young Muhammad Ali (known as Cassius Clay at the time), Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown the football player, with Black intellectuals.

And some people didn't like this. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie definitely did NOT like this, and they put the CIA on him in Africa to follow in his wake and they stepped up FBI surveillance and infiltration. And the Nation of Islam did not like this, either, and certain people within that began a whole campaign of character assassination and coming right up to the edge of calls for outright assassination. And good people said nothing. You had Malcolm's house firebombed that winter in the dead of night, with his family in it, and again good people said nothing—and some people began saying that he did it himself to attract attention, and this got into the press. You had people coming into his talks and disrupting, and noting how Malcolm's people did and did not respond—probing for weaknesses. You had the police suddenly disappear on the day when he was moved on. And then, finally, they cut him down—and did it in an atmosphere where who exactly did it and on what orders has to this day not been clarified. And then you had the crowning thing of it all: after Malcolm dies people bemoaning the fact that they had not appreciated Malcolm when he was alive, and bemoaning—way too fucking late—that good people had done nothing. 

In this light, I want to turn to the article "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian." This is a deep article for everyone—for longtime revolutionaries... and for people who are very new to this movement. And here I want to share a response of someone in the Revolution Club:

I read it four times. It brought tears to me. We have never had a leader like this, either Black or white. The bold way he goes at things, with the guts to call a spade a spade, to look at the situation for what it really is, to analyze it and call it out. This is what he does and there is no other leader like him, Black or white, with all of it, the philosophy, the analysis. He challenges you. And how to solve things in a radical way, a revolutionary way. He is bold enough to say what the reality is but also that you can grab hold of this, and telling people, you can help me do this. Each and every one of you is needed. Most leaders are bought. But he is very bold, a genius, we haven't seen a leader like this even though we have seen all these other leaders, Black, white, or anything, Someone who is for everyone. And then the other thing that I really thought about when I read this, in his radical way of what he does... he is putting himself in danger and that's what made me cry. A leader this passionate, this inspiring, inspiring other people, he is picking people up, especially the youth. That's what leadership is about, and to not protect him. NO we must protect him. He means that much to me and he should mean that much to everyone.

And this person immediately suggested a fundraising project of showing the film and getting into the article with people when they do—and if I might offer a suggestion, I think it might be good if you also show "BA Through the Years" at these events, or part of Revolution—Nothing Less! Or use quotes from BAsics. Because the fact is that there is enough in this article and in the process of people coming to know BA, even in beginning ways, that can actually play a very powerful role in building the wall we need around BA for this Dialogue.

All this brings home the last few paragraphs of that article, which I'm going to read from:

Furthermore, and very crucially, we must fully confront the reality of what it would mean for the people of the world to lose this leader, and take extremely seriously that there are people and forces—those officially part of the powers-that-be, as well as those willing to do the work of the powers-that-be—who hate what BA represents and would like nothing more than to tear him down, silence him, and take him from the masses of people. And we must be absolutely determined not to let that happen.

This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world. Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have. And this, too, creates easier conditions for those who would try to silence and isolate BA and take him from the masses.

Few things in life are more tragic than a critical lesson learned too late. And it would truly be a tragedy if BA were taken from the people, and then people said: "Wow, I wish I had realized sooner what we had here."

But the good news is: It is not too late. We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now. We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.

So we're gonna do this Dialogue and we're gonna do this right and everyone here has a crucial role to play in that. We are going, in the next weeks, to come out with further plans to carry forward all the dimensions of the needed work around this. Keep tuned to our site on all this.

And when we come out of it, you're going to have people on a whole other scale feeling, yeah, I need to know more about Bob Avakian and this revolution he's leading... and yeah, I want to be part of a movement where we can go back and forth over these questions like these two people did, wrangling over differences and digging in where we overlap and going deeper together and building unity for what has to be fought against.

So, just a few more final points. And these concern the Party, and the goal put forth in June, of bringing new people into this Party, as we transform the Party itself.

Now it would definitely be counterproductive for people to join the vanguard before they're ready. But you also can't hedge your bets and say, well, I hope things are gonna develop so that there's a revolution... and I'm gonna work real hard outside the vanguard to help make that happen... and if this thing gets going, well, then I'm gonna join up. I mean, I guess you can do that, but if everyone does that, the only thing that guarantees is that there never will even be a chance for a revolution. There has been the really good interview with the former prisoner we've been running where he goes into the kinds of ruptures you need to make to really get down with this, what it means to not be putting oneself first and coming all the time from "how does this make me feel, does this make me feel powerful, does this make me feel good" but what is the social effect of what I'm doing and what is my life going to be all about. We had the very important piece mentioned in the June editorial I referred to—the "passion paper," for short6—which actually is a further contribution on the relationship of individual creativity and collectivity. There was the piece last week7—simple and plain, the real deal. Like a lot of other things we've been talking about, yes this has a complex aspect but on one level it is really very simple.

I was told that someone pretty new to things was in a discussion of the passion paper, and some of the more experienced people were getting very deeply into what were really a lot of points which were in the paper and were interesting and not without importance, but weren't the heart of it. And this newer person says something to the effect that it seemed to her that the paper was basically saying you can either live your life pursuing what interests you individually and doing some good things as part of that... or you can devote your life to changing everything and putting everything in the context of that and following that out to its logical conclusion.

As sort of an interesting follow-up to that, which may help people grappling with this question, one of the people in that discussion who was having trouble that day, off that discussion and others studied Ardea Skybreak's book on evolution,8 and some of BA's work on materialism9 and said, "It's really not that complicated, but I kept overcomplicating it because of all the relativism in how I was thinking about it."

So, again, I'm not going to go into this a lot today: but I am going to say that people need to really come to grips with this and talk with the Party about how you see this world and your role in it. And these articles and questions have relevance for people who have been in the Party for a long time as well—being in the Party is not a "one-time commitment" but a question of continually rupturing, continually transforming yourself as you transform the world.

So, people: We really do have to reach for the heights in this next period, even as we are flying without a safety net on a whole other level. We are going to have to bring, fully to bear, our sharp scientific spirit and our sense of comradeship, our largeness of mind and our generosity of spirit. We're going to have to combine strengths to overcome weaknesses. We are going to have to, in a very real sense, live what BA has modeled. I'm calling on everyone, inside and outside the Party, to step up to new levels of responsibility... to share your experiences, positive and negative, and be part of a movement to rapidly analyze and synthesize what they mean and how to advance them, so that everyone can learn from them. We are all going to have to be better than we've ever been before.

For people who are new to all this, who are getting to know the Party for the first time, or getting to know it differently—get with this movement for revolution. Get involved in the Month of Resistance. Get involved in the Revolution Club. Get involved in working on the website. Get involved with Stop Patriarchy. Definitely, definitely, definitely get involved with BA Everywhere, the major campaign to raise big funds to get BA known everywhere, and with the Dialogue in particular.

One way or another, this movement and this Party and this extremely precious and irreplaceable leader are going to be on a different footing with the enemy, a different footing with the masses, and a different position in society overall. If we basically succeed in our objectives, the road will become even more intense and demanding, full of heightened danger but real opportunity to make a leap in the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. So let's do this. Let's go all out. This is a great thing we're fighting for. Let's win this round. Let's make it so that there's going to be a whole different sense of possibility in the air we breathe Sunday morning, November 16.

 


1. "The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution" [back]

2. In 2011, there were 43 abortion clinics in Texas. With the enforcement of a new Texas law, that number has been cut to eight. The campaign to End Pornography and Patriarchy: Against the Degradation and Enslavement of Women (StopPatriarchy.org) called on everyone to fight this, and organized a Freedom Ride into Texas to call attention to this struggle. While raising the alarm, as of a court decision on October 2, this horrible attack has gone into full effect, depriving millions of women of their basic right to abortion, with serious consequences for every woman in the U.S. [back]

3. "The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method" [back]

4. "It's ALL About Getting Free: The Forest and the Trees" [back]

5. See statements from Carol Downer and other members of the Host Committee for the Dialogue here. [back]

6. "What the World Needs Now, More Than Anything Else, Is Communists: A Few Reflections on Individual Passion, Self, and the Revolutionary Process" [back]

7. "Why You Absolutely Need a Vanguard Party to Make Revolution" [back]

8. The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters—info on the book at the website of the publisher, Insight Press. [back]

9. See Chapter 4 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/clyde-young-1949-2014-a-life-lived-for-the-people-and-full-emancipation-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It is with great grief and aching hearts, and with profound love for a wonderful comrade, that the Central Committee of the RCP, USA announces the death of Clyde Young. Clyde Young, also known as Wayne Webb, was a communist for nearly 40 years...a leader of the people... and a member of the Party’s Central Committee. We extend our deepest condolences to Clyde’s partner of many years, to his immediate and extended family, to his comrades and his friends... and to that wide circle of those he counted as his brothers and sisters.

We, his comrades, will miss his earnest struggle for clarity and his unshakeable firmness and courage in the face of the enemy. We will miss his profound anger toward the enemy and his great gentleness toward the people and his comrades, and the love he so generously gave. We will miss his seriousness and his fierce spirit—and we will deeply miss his twinkling eyes, and his delicious and inclusive sense of humor and mischief. We will miss the joy he took in the struggle—both the political struggle, and the struggle for ideological and theoretical clarity. And we will carry him, always, in our hearts.

My heart is broken at the loss of Wayne Webb. His life was an inspiring example of how those this system treats as "the worst of the worst" can become the very best that humanity is capable of. He was not just a precious comrade, but also a great friend—someone I have known since the 1970s and loved hanging out with: grappling together with questions of philosophy, politics, and art, joking and laughing, singing doo wop songs we both loved. I miss him terribly.

Bob Avakian

Clyde Young came up the hard way, in the mean streets of the Midwestern ghettos. He was always rebellious—and from the age of 12 years old he was snatched up and put into the hellholes of this system, first in the juvenile jails and then the maximum security dungeons, spending his entire adolescence and young adulthood locked up. He was one of the many this system slated for death at an early age, one of the millions and tens of millions whom this system has cast off and cast down; yet he fought to rise above all that, and came to dedicate his life to the emancipation of all humanity. He embodied rising to the challenge put out by Bob Avakian, in BAsics 3:16, to those the system has cast off to become “the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society.”

Clyde went into prison as one person, and came out as another. His rebelliousness and unbreakable spirit remained—indeed, it was tempered and grew stronger—but it found powerful direction. Inspired by the revolutionary struggles of the 1960s, Clyde helped lead a strike at an Indiana prison—one in which non-violent prisoners sitting in on a field were mowed down by guards, killing two and wounding scores. While in prison, he began studying—trying to figure out WHY these things happened and began to work with others, forming a revolutionary collective right under the eyes of the authorities and following the struggle in the movements for revolution—first the revolutionary nationalist movement, and then the communist movement. When Clyde got out in the mid-'70s, he got involved with the new communist movement...and never looked back. (To give people a fuller sense of Clyde’s life and how he became a communist, we are reprinting an interview he did in the early 1990s, under the name “Comrade X.”)

Clyde joined the Party shortly after it was formed. To do this, he had to break with—and he had to lead others to break with the outlook of nationalism.  Indeed, Clyde set an example—in what he believed and what he lived and fought for and practiced—for his internationalism and his firm opposition to patriarchy.  Clyde was truly about breaking every chain on humanity.

From the very first, he did not fear struggle—either against the enemy in very close-quarters battles, or to find out what was true and to struggle for that truth with comrades once he found it. And from the very first, he never wavered in the depth of his commitment; he was “all in” from the “git-go,” fighting for this Party and especially fighting for the leadership of Bob Avakian. Clyde had the chance in those years to work very closely with BA, and he cherished every opportunity to learn all he could...while having plenty of fun in the process!

The Constitution of the RCP, USA states that “the greatest responsibility of every party member is to struggle for the party’s line to remain, and develop further as, a revolutionary line.” Clyde lived this. He fought to contribute as much as he could, especially in the struggle for a revolutionary line, and played an important role in many crucial struggles inside and outside the Party. He did not shy from taking responsibility—he dared to lead, dared to “reach for the heights and fly without a safety net.” Clyde listened to and learned from criticism, wherever it came from, even as he would struggle for what he thought was right. Like all comrades, Clyde made mistakes; like all of us, he could at times become tired, or discouraged, or scared. But he never stopped relying on his comrades for strength, he never stopped struggling for understanding, and he never stopped fighting to contribute all he could to emancipating humanity—to changing the world. As a party leader, he inspired confidence in those he led, lending people courage and compassion at challenging junctures. He struggled to instill in all a spirit of collectivity, up against the constant pulls of capitalist society toward individualism and “me first.” As part of that, he fought for the organizational integrity of the Party, upholding and helping to strengthen its chain of knowledge and chain of command.

Clyde Young also led, or helped to lead, the Party’s work on many different fronts of struggle. To mention just a few, these included: building demonstrations on African Liberation Day in the mid-1970s against U.S. imperialist oppression in Africa; the fight to stop the legal railroad of Bob Avakian and other defendants in a mass political/legal campaign in 1979-1982, including helping to lead over 170 volunteers in Washington, D.C. in 1979; the Party’s work in Atlanta during the period of the Atlanta child murders, when forces that are to this day unknown kidnapped and ultimately murdered over 20 Black children in Atlanta in 1979-1981 and activists, revolutionaries, cultural figures, and masses worked to uncover what was at work and lead resistance to efforts of the authorities to cover things up; special efforts by the Party to develop a revolutionary political movement among the most dispossessed and despised in society; and many other particular battles in over half a dozen different cities. In recent years, Clyde gave major public speeches on revolution in LA, Chicago, Oakland, New York and DC; he played a key role in fighting through in different cities to hold the very important dialogues between Carl Dix and Cornel West in a number of cities; and he played a key role as well in the bus tour through the South promoting the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, as part of the BA Everywhere campaign.

A memorial honoring the life of Clyde Young/Wayne Webb was held in Chicago on Saturday, October 18th. Click here for details.

Memorial events were also held in:

Houston - October 26, Sunday, 2-5pm
Bar Boheme, 307 Fairview @Taft, in the Montrose
832-865-0408
revolutionhtown@yahoo.com

Los Angeles
Sat., Nov. 1st, 5 pm
Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd., LA
(323) 463-3500 

Berkeley - November 2, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
at Revolution Books
2425 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
510-848-1196
revolutionbooks@sbcglobal.net

New York
Sunday, November 2nd, 3-6 pm
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew,
263 West 86th Street
between Broadway and West End Avenue
info: 212-691-3345

 

 

If you would like to share remembrances, photographs or tributes please send to ClydeYoungMemorial@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

  • As a kid, 1950s
  • Promoting BAsics by Bob Avakian, in Atlanta, 2012
  • Typing in prison, late 1960s
  • Posing (on the right) with a fellow revolutionary at the prison, early 1970s
  • 1980s
  • Shooting a rubber band
  • Clyde Young (right) with Carl Dix (left) and Cornel West (center), Los Angeles, April 2011
  • Taking out Bob Avakian's BAsics, 2012
  • 2012
  • Clyde Young / Wayne Webb: 1949-2014
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through all this, Clyde still found the time to engage in his side passion: chess games with all comers, whether on the Internet, in tournaments or out on the street, taking on everyone from professors to veterans of the prison system. Though Clyde was a willing and gracious teacher, those who dared to underestimate his strategic breadth and tactical boldness across the chessboard were definitely doomed to defeat!

And he could turn around and break your heart—or lift your spirits—with his a cappella rendition of the Chi-Lites classic “Oh, Girl.”

There is a special hurt, a particular poignancy to Clyde’s death. For decades Clyde waged a courageous battle against very serious illness and disability. He fought the pull to yield to the individual torture of what it is to battle such disability under this system. He fought this not just with courage, but with science—by working together with and drawing on the expertise of a number of very compassionate health professionals as well as support and assistance of family members and many others and especially the collectivity of the Party. As the Resolution on Leaders and Leadership states, “Inside the Party, comrades share the good and the bad, and look out for each other: this too is an expression of our collectivity and our revolutionary outlook.”  More than once Clyde came close to death and this became very acute in the last year. Yet he continued this battle, continued fighting to get well, motivated by a desire to contribute all he could to the struggle. Finally, in the last few weeks, though still battling, Clyde seemed to have turned a corner. Right before he died, on the eve of the month of resistance against mass incarceration and police terror, Clyde wrote to Carl Dix to say that he was “freed up on things I have been focusing on and can now build for the Month of Resistance...I’m prepared to get into things immediately, so drop me a line right away...” The next day, tragically, Clyde died.

What we feel today—collectively and as individuals—is captured in the following passage from “Some Points on the Question of Revolutionary Leadership and Individual Leaders”:

...There is no denying it: The loss of a true revolutionary leader—and all the more so if this is an individual who plays a key and critical leadership role—is like having a heart ripped out of our collective chest. When such things happen, we should deal with it—new leaders must step forward and be brought forward to continue to guide the revolutionary cause. But we should first of all do everything in our power to prevent such things from happening.

We mourn our comrade’s death, on the eve of tremendous struggles he so hungered to be part of, struggles he so strove to give his all for. So we will remember Clyde Young as we fight the enemy, and we will turn our grief at his death and our inspiration from the example of his life into the compassion, courage, boldness, energy, and scientific approach required in the huge challenges we face—both in the years ahead and very immediately in these next weeks. We will draw strength from his memory all through the Month of Resistance in October and Clyde will definitely be “presente” in spirit during the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on November 15! The example of his life will find expression every time a new person—especially but not only from among those society has cast off—takes up the study of communism, or steps forward in struggle and defiance, or dares to join the vanguard of the revolution to which Clyde Young dedicated his life, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

So we will not only mourn our beloved comrade, we will celebrate his life and carry him in our hearts and minds—a life given over to the cause of humanity, the cause of emancipation...a life which enriched beyond measure all of us who were privileged to count him a comrade.

As we noted, Clyde stood staunchly beside Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the RCP, USA, in many different battles and many different kinds of battles over the course of decades. He deeply and fiercely loved BA. So it is especially fitting to end this tribute to Clyde Young with this quote from BA:

BAsics 5:23

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

From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist,
A Memoir by Bob Avakian
, 2005

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/memorial-for-clyde-young-wayne-webb-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

 

His family and the RCP invite you to a memorial honoring the life of Wayne Webb/Clyde Young

October 18, 2014 (Saturday) 

Memorial 12:00 noon
followed by repast/meal at same location
Washington Park Refectory*
5531 S. Russell Dr.
Chicago, IL

 

If you would like to share remembrances, photographs or tributes please send to ClydeYoungMemorial@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Clyde's memory to:

BA Everywhere
Click here to donate online.

or

Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
1321 N. Milwaukee, #407, Chicago, IL 60622
contact@PRLF.org
(773) 960-6952

Click here to donate online.

*Directions:  Heading east on E. Garfield Boulevard/55th St. stay to the right; one block east of Martin Luther King Drive turn right (south) onto Russell St. in Washington Park.  The parking lot is off the next possible right turn.  The Refectory is due south of the parking lot.  Watch for signs to the memorial.

See also:

Clyde Young, 1949-2014

A Life Lived for the People...
and Full Emancipation

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/down-for-revolution-an-interview-with-clyde-young-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Down for Revolution:
An Interview with Clyde Young

An Interview Reprinted from the Revolutionary Worker (now named Revolution)

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In this interview, the RW talks with Clyde Young [formerly known as "Comrade X"], a leading comrade in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. His life journey—as a Black street youth coming up in the early 1960s, through two prison rebellions, and up to the present—is of definite interest to sisters and brothers who are looking for a way out of this racist and downpressing system. The interview originally appeared in RW issues #569-573, August 26 – September 23, 1990.

 

Part 1: Coming Up: Fried, Dyed and Laid to the Side

Clyde Young

Typewriting in prison, Michigan City, Indiana, circa late 1960s.

RW: You spent a lot of time in prison when you were coming up and you became a revolutionary in prison—and a revolutionary leader. So we'd like to get down on that whole story. And we know that your experience can shed some light for the brothers and sisters—who are right now up against some heavy fire from the powers-that-be—on why they should become revolutionaries.

There's some lines in the rap by Public Enemy "Don't Believe the Hype" that typify the situation for Black youth today:

"About the gun...
I wasn't licensed to have one
The minute they see me, fear me
I'm the epitome—a public enemy
used, abused without clues
I refused to blow a fuse
they even had it on the news
Don't believe the hype."

How does this song relate to your situation when you were coming up in the 1960s?

Comrade X: A lot of what's captured there speaks to what it is for Black youth and other oppressed youth coming up in this society, not just now, but when I was coming up too. One of the main differences is that now the shit is a lot sharper. Public Enemy has this picture on the front of their album—a Black youth with a target on his chest. And a lot of what characterizes the situation today is that the powers are tightening up their whole state apparatus and in the name of the war on drugs actually conducting a war on the people and the youth. That's the character of it.

Malcolm X used to talk about that there was minimum security and maximum security. He'd be talking and be saying he had been in prison and he'd tell people, "Well don't be surprised, you're in prison too—it's a question of maximum versus minimum security prison." But increasingly from what I can see, the distinctions are getting blurred. I mean, when you have people getting stopped like these youth stopped in Boston and strip-searched out in public and shit—and housing projects being turned almost literally into prisons—some of the distinctions between the maximum and the minimum is beginning to get blurred.

So things are a lot sharper. And even in terms of the reaction of the youth I think, as is somewhat captured in the lyrics of Public Enemy and some of the other rap groups, there is a rough edge or a hard edge that didn't exist quite in the same way when I was coming up. But there's a lot that's similar in terms of going up against the other side. Like that point from Mao about how the oppressed fight back and in fighting back they search out for philosophy and I think that speaks in a lot of ways to what my life was like.

I can remember when I was arrested for the first time was when I was nine years old. It was a situation where I was in a 5 and 10 cent store—I don't think they even have those anymore. I stole something. At this time I can't even remember what it was but it was something really petty. And I was arrested and taken downtown and put in jail. I was in a cell by myself, but I was actually in the jail for men—when I was nine years old. And they held me down there and tried to intimidate me—and succeeded, at that age—until my parents came and got me. This is the kind of thing that happens growing up Black in this country. Had I been white it probably would have been resolved a lot differently, just by either taking me home or telling me not to do it anymore. But in my case, right from the beginning, it was resolved in a very harsh fashion.

From the time before I was a teenager up until I was a grown man way into my 20s, I was repeatedly involved in various contradictions with the state and being put into prison. And if you put together the crimes supposedly that precipitated that, they were all very, very minor. But I'll try to get into some of that as we go along.

The first time that I was really convicted of something was a very minor and petty offense—I stole a pound of hamburger. At the time when I was coming up we were very poor, so I had a scheme that I would work. My mother would send me to the store with a dollar or two, and I would steal what she wanted me to buy, and then I would keep the money to have some spending money. And this one Saturday—I can remember it very vividly—I went in to do that and I got busted. And once again, right away they took me downtown. But this time it wasn't even a question of my parents coming to get me. They put me in a juvenile detention center for a couple of months and then I was put on probation. This was when I was 12 years old.

By the time I reached 13, I had been arrested again for shoplifting and riding in a stolen car, or stealing a car, which was a violation of my probation of the previous incident of stealing the hamburger. So I was sentenced to the reform school (or boys' school) for a period of time. Actually the way they did it at that time was they sent you there indefinitely until you were 18 years old.

At that time I was not really conscious of how to understand all this. There were some ways I knew that this shit wasn't right, some things were wrong, and I had some sense of how Blacks were oppressed. But it wasn't any kind of put-together understanding that I had at that time. So I went off to reform school for nearly a year, and I would say that through all of this I was beginning more and more to get an understanding of some things.

RW: A lot of times the youth are caught up in it but they don't see that it's the whole system coming down on them.

Comrade X: Of course I can see it much more clearly now looking back. At that time when I was growing up, in the South people still had to sit in the back of the bus and were subjected to all kinds of Jim Crow shit. And that was not only true in the South but also in the North. In fact, Malcolm X made the statement at one point that the South began at the border of Canada. In other words, it was the whole country, because in the North some of the same stuff went on, but it was more disguised. Cuz I can remember even where I lived, which was in the North, some of the drug stores and restaurants, Blacks couldn't sit at the counter—the same way it was in the South. But the whole system, the whole penal system and the whole state apparatus, was set up in such a way so that everything was aimed back at the oppressed people. And this is the same kind of thing that you see coming down on the youth today in a lot of ways.

You'd go in to see your probation officer or the social worker, and the interviews a lot of times would consist of, "Were you fed well, did your parents abuse you?" Here was a situation where we were very poor and a lot of times it was a question of not having anything to eat of having fuel or coal. I would have to go out and find wood so we could stay warm, and eat sugar sandwiches and shit like that. In other words, we didn't have shit. This was before there was a lot of openings in the '60s where people began to get into better-paying jobs. And instead of that being looked at as the source of the problem, the authorities, the social workers and such, would ask you, "Well, do you think you're a kleptomaniac?"

And ultimately I came to see it as a bigger problem—that capitalism and imperialism was the source of this and the whole character and nature of the oppression of Black people in this country, having been brought here as slaves, forced into slavery, and then even after slavery being forced into a state of virtual slavery in the South. And all of this had everything to do with the contradictions that I was facing as I was coming up as a kid.

RW: What happened when you went to boys' school?

Comrade X: When I went to boys' school it was a very regimented type of situation. The boys were in cottages which were like small houses. But first they kept you in what they called "quarantine" where they oriented you to the rules and basically began the process of breaking your spirit, which is what it was all about. I can remember being in quarantine. The floors were just spotless, you could almost eat off of them. And largely what we spent our time doing was mopping and waxing the floors and walking around with pieces of cloth under our feet so we wouldn't scratch the floors. We couldn't wear shoes or anything.

It was also very segregated. The Blacks were in certain cottages and the whites were in certain cottages. And the whites, to the extent that this could be the case, had more privileges than the Blacks. When I got out of quarantine I went into this cottage—and everybody was going into what we called the scullery—I guess it's some English word for the kitchen—and I was the last to go in. As I walked past the cottage supervisor, he said something to me and I said, "No," and all hell broke loose. He knocked me down, threw a chair on top of me, and hit me with a chair, pulled out a whip and whipped me, and all of this was because I didn't say, "Yes SIR."

They only let you wear your hair so long, so in order to keep your hair long you had to put on a woman's stocking. You'd take it and put it on your hair so that it would be pressed down and it wouldn't be too long. Otherwise they'd make you get it cut off, because when you first go in there it's just like the army. They cut your hair off, it's very regimental, very humiliating. They make you march in formation and say the Lord's Prayer and pledge allegiance to the flag and all this kind of regimentation and strict control over everything you did. There were certain areas in the cottage where you could talk and where you couldn't talk and if you were caught talking, there were snitches and what not that would write your name down. And if your name came on the list then you would get the strap. For all this talk about child abuse, they would make you lean over a chair and make you pull your pants down and beat you with a razor strap. For talking in the dining room you'd get 10 licks—but if you let go of the chair before the cottage supervisor got to 10 then you had to start all over again, so this could go on for quite a long time. It was just very fascistic in that kind of way. And that was not all that inconsistent with the atmosphere in the country in the '50s and early '60s—that was the way things were carried out. Later on when I got out and got a little older and came back, I rebelled against some of that—including challenging the cottage supervisor himself.

RW: Where were most of the guys from, what kind of background?

Comrade X: Overwhelmingly proletarians. A lot of the people I met in reform school—and these people came from all throughout the state—later, when I was older and went to prison, there was the same people. This was the track you were on and the people you met there were frequently the same people you met when you got to prison later on in life.

RW: Some people treat the whole question of crime in the inner cities and youth gangs like it never existed before, when in reality the oppressed people have always been in a situation where it was allowable to brutalize each other, but crossing that line to fight the system was something different.

Comrade X: That's definitely true. In fact that was a point the Chairman1 made in the interview about the Black Panther Party. Where I grew up it wasn't like there was organized gangs as such, but it was more that there was turfs, which is more or less the same. It was the East side versus the West and the North side versus the South. If you went on the wrong side of town then it was your ass. Of if you went to a party on the wrong side of town and you stepped on somebody's shoe or something, these minor kind of things like this, it very often went over to violence. And in some other places like Chicago, not only did they have gangs, but they were like empires. Thousands of people were in them and in fact you were forced into them. So it is definitely the case that this has existed for a long time.

And also, too, this whole point of it being "allowable" in a certain sense if you are doing it to one another. It is different than if you even step out and start committing violence and violent crimes against whites, to say nothing if you begin to go over to become a revolutionary and start attacking the system. Then there is a whole different ball game.

RW: Getting back to your story. Clearly when you were in the boys' school and they ran this whole discipline trip on you, it did not work. It did not achieve the results that they desired.

Comrade X: No, it did not. I would have to say before I began to take up revolutionary ideas and especially before I began to take up Marxism-Leninism-Maoism2 that they could confuse you. They never really succeeded in breaking me and a lot of the people that I grew up with, but they could confuse you in terms of your understanding. I used to think, "Why am I getting into this shit all the time? I don't want to get busted all the time but here I am. I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to get into this situation again, but here I am again." In other words, there was a whole thing of making you think it was really you that was the problem rather than that there's a whole system and the whole setup. Like when I was young and used to shoot dice, they used to have different kinds of fake dice they could put in on you. And that's the way this system is: the dice are loaded. They are shooting loaded dice against you.

It wasn't like I really had it all together in terms of why all this shit was happening this way. But like a lot of youth, I not only had dreams but I also thought about why shit was this way and why it was that people over here were poor and people over there were just born rich. Where I lived, on this street and this whole area was all Blacks and extremely poor, but then not far away from where we lived it was like a whole rich section of town. And you'd think about these things. Why was it that way? Why was it that people had to go hungry and go without the basic essentials of what it takes to live? And on the other hand, they were mocked and surrounded by all this wealth. That was a thing I did ponder when I was a kid before I came to understand fully what this was all about.

RW: Who were your heroes?

Comrade X: As I grew older I wanted to be a hustler, I wanted to live by my wits and I wanted to be in the streets. I didn't see much of a future in working like a slave eight hours a day like I'd seen my parents do and other people around me. It just didn't seem to be heading anywhere. It didn't have any attraction to me. What attracted me was this other kind of life, where you are more in the streets and living by your wits and hustling. And that's the sort of thing I got into.

When I was coming up, a lot of the people that I admired were the older "brave elements"—the brothers who stood on the corners and wore their pants high up. They used to have a style where you wore your pants all the way up to your chest. And they wore their Kadies and they had their switchblades. It was just a certain style of going up against things, not in a conscious way, but there was a certain style in opposition. And it was what it meant to be a youth at that time. Those were a lot of the people that I admired and later ended up in prison with—the "Brother Russells."

Brother Russell, who himself is dead now, was one of the people that I admired and looked to as a "role model" as opposed to somebody like King. I was reading recently this tale about Stagger Lee, and he reminded me of Brother Russell. He was one of the "brave elements" that hung out on the corner. Brother Russell got into prison because he was involved in a crap game and somebody made the mistake of slapping him and he ended up in prison for murder. Brother Russell was not the type of person that you'd want to slap, that was like a serious mistake and ended up to be a fatal mistake. So Brother Russell ended up going to prison and ended up in prison when I was there. By that time I had become a revolutionary and I became a different kind of "role model" for him, so it was kind of a switch.

Those were the kinds of people, the people who had their hair fried and dyed and laid to the side, with a part not too wide. Back then, it was like a process. There was a certain edge to that style that was not respectable, that was "in your face." Black people who were respectable or who were in entertainment might wear a process, but to wear your do-rag and to have your do-rag in your pocket and that sort of thing, there was a certain unrespectable edge to it that sent the other side up the wall.

They were the outlaws. They would wear their outrageous clothes and they would stand on the corner and they would croon and those kinds of things. And that's who I admired and who I wanted to model myself after. And later it was me that was out there like that.

RW: In opposition to the treatment you received, you developed a certain contempt for death which is similar to the attitude in the lyrics of the NWA rap "Fuck tha Police":

"...They have the authority to kill a minority.

Fuck that shit, cuz I ain't the one

For a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun

To be beatin' on and thrown in jail."

Comrade X: I think early on a lot of this contempt for death and a lot of the way the stuff came down was against one another. There was this whole thing about who was bad on the corner and you weren't gonna let anyone get the better of you.

What Is a Pig? by Emory Douglas

From the Black Panther Party newspaper

But there was also contempt for the pigs. When I first began committing robberies and burglaries, I would go into a place and start burglarizing it, and just in terms of the fearlessness I had of the state, I would go in and start cooking myself a meal. Like I figured they had the same thing that I had and I probably had more heart than they did, so if they came I was ready for them. And that was the spirit that I had and in fact a lot of the youth had, and it's not all that different than what exists now.

I was just not long ago rereading some of Malcolm X, and he talks about when he was coming up—this whole thing about "face." It's like a street code and also it's a similar type of code in prison. In other words, the way he puts it in his book is that for a hustler in our sidewalk jungle world, "face" and honor were important, no matter. No hustler could have it known that he had been hyped, meaning outsmarted or made a fool of, and worse a hustler could never afford to have it demonstrated that he could be bluffed, that he could be frightened by a threat and that he lacked nerve. It just basically comes down to machoism—that you can't let people do anything that would offend your manhood or offend your face. And if that happened then you had to go down, or you weren't down.

That was a whole part of existing on the street, is that you had to have that heart, have that nerve, not be able to be backed down by someone else if it came to a confrontation. That's part of the whole psychology of the streets that goes on, and some people from the '60s who are getting down on the youth today forget that. This is not something that even just existed in the '60s, Malcolm is talking more back in the '40s, that same kind of code of the streets and also something that exists in prison.

RW: Looking back on it, you said you see positive and negative things in it. What do you mean by that?

Comrade X: On the negative side, what can I say: that street code or prison code has a lot of individualism mixed up with it—to say nothing of machoism and male chauvinism. I've been there, I know what it is all about. And I've come a long way in breaking with that kind of outlook. That's the Man's way. Our way is: "Brothers rising up with sisters, strong, proud and with equality: that's our way, the way we all get free." The youth today (and here I'm speaking especially of the brothers) have to be struggling over that kind of thing, that kind of macho outlook. The revolutionaries have to have a first-string orientation and all-the-way revolutionary politics in command, uniting with the anger of the people and striving to direct it in the most powerful way at this cesspool that they call "the greatest system on earth." And we got to make that part of preparing to bring this system down. As we've said: "While we're battling them back, politically like that, we got to make this part of getting ready for The Time—and it can come soon—to wage revolutionary war."

On the positive side, when these youth begin to become more conscious and that same fearlessness and anger and contempt for death begins to be directed at the system and the powers-that-be, then you have a whole different ball game. All that is a necessary part of what we have to do in bringing this whole thing down, you need that, you need that spirit. You obviously need a lot more than "heart" but you do need that. So that's how it divides into two. On the one hand the way it plays itself out in the streets and in prison and all of that is a reflection of machoism and gangsterism and that sort of thing. But on the other hand, there is the situation that when that attitude gets transformed through the leadership of a party and when people begin to take up the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, it's not like you lose that same fearlessness and that same hatred—it's just tempered, if you want to put it that way.

I can remember having a lot of hatred, but it was not focused and not directed and oftentimes it would be focused in the wrong way and the wrong direction, but it's not like I've lost that hatred and anger. I still have a monumental anger and a monumental hatred for imperialism, as the song says, "deep in my heart I still abhor 'em." And after all these years, I still don't fear them. So the question is how do you lead that, how do you have a first-string orientation?

When I was coming up, there wasn't a party, there wasn't a party that was based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, that could give some direction. And later as I got into my teens there was the Black Panther Party which played a vanguard role and made a tremendous difference. Today there is a party, our Party, that is preparing to make revolution in this country as a component part of the world revolution. There is a party with the line, leadership and battle-plan to lead things all the way this time around.

A whole generation of youth came forward in the '60s who wouldn't be intimidated and weren't too impressed with the power of the state, and we need to bring that forward again and take it all the way this time.

Part 2: Burning Down the House

RW: The rap "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" tells the story of a brother who refuses to join the army and ends up in the joint. You almost joined the army once. What happened to change your mind and how do you see it now?

Comrade X: There was a time when I was under the gun. I knew that it was a turning point in my life. I had been repeatedly into jails and I had just recently went through a whole situation with a stolen car where I was being chased through woods and shot at and dogs were after me and all of that. And I knew that there was a very good likelihood that within a short time I would be dead or in prison. That was the terms of things. There wasn't any other terms I was looking at.

A lot of people in my family tried to talk to me. Especially some of my uncles tried to talk to me and tell me to "slow down," that I was living "too fast of a life." They could see that I was up against something and I was headed toward some kind of climax that wasn't going to be real great.

I was not so politically aware at that time. So I was going to get into the marines, become a man, that sort of thing. I was desperate.

It was one of my uncles... I don't think he actually had fought in the Korean War himself, but he had been in the military. He caught me on the street corner, which was at that time where you could catch me. And I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I gotta go man." But he was persistent and he struggled with me. He was coming from an orientation of, "Why would we go and fight and die for these people, it ain't our war." And his whole point was, "When people go over there, it's just a fight to get back, it ain't like you got something to fight for."

So somehow, someway—even though I was moving fast then and not really prone to listen—he got through to me and changed my mind.

RW: This was during the beginning years of the Vietnam War?

Comrade X: Right. It's kind of ironic, because here I was into all this shit with the state and had pretty much grown up in prison institutions, but at the same time I was caught in a trap of their ideology—you become a marine and go overseas and all that and you become a man. And that's the sort of thing that had floated around in my family from others who had gone and fought in Korea and some of the other wars. So I felt that this was my way to get on a different track. But as it turns out, a few months later I was in prison, which in the final analysis was a much better resolution of the contradiction.

RW: Some people would be shocked to hear you say that you thought being in prison was a better resolution than being in the army.

Comrade X: In hindsight, in looking back, yes. When my uncle was struggling with me not to go in the army, he was struggling from a Black nationalist position. But later on when I got into prison and as I evolved in terms of taking up revolutionary theory and practice, I became an INTERNATIONALIST. There was a certain sense in the '60s, a certain aligning of oneself with the enemy of your enemy. So there was a whole thing of identifying with the struggle that was going on in Vietnam from the standpoint of the Vietnamese people and identifying with the struggle that had gone on in China and in Korea. Some of the things that were really exciting and liberating to me when I was in prison was studying about how the U.S. had gotten their ass kicked in Korea and how they were getting their ass kicked in Vietnam. Here was a country with peasants who were able to defeat one of the most powerful countries in the world. That was tremendously inspiring. So I think that going into prison was in a certain sense going into school for me. I had been schooled through my life and my life experiences. But there I was introduced to revolutionary ideas. And that's why I would say looking back on it that it was a better resolution to the contradiction.

RW: This was around the time of the Detroit rebellion when you were sent to prison for 20 years. How did that come down?

Comrade X: I was convicted for armed robbery, and in the course of it there was a shootout with the police. No one was hit, but my trial came up against the backdrop of the Newark rebellion, and more immediately the Detroit rebellion had occurred—and the whole atmosphere was charged. I was aware that these things had happened, but I wasn't aware of the overall impact of them. But even in my own trial it had some impact in terms of the jury. It was basically an all-white jury, and they didn't like my arrogance, they thought I was too uppity. This I learned later, through my lawyer.

It came out in the summation of the prosecutor that I had this attitude problem. It wasn't like the Detroit rebellion itself was brought into the trial, but the way it came out, I felt, was this whole reference to being uppity and being belligerent and in the final analysis being rebellious in the way I presented myself in the courtroom. And they gave me 20 years.

RW: So you were sentenced for being part of the oppressed people who had dared to rise up?

Comrade X: Right, at that time I wasn't all that politically conscious but that's the way they viewed me.

RW: How did you get caught? You must remember that day...

Comrade X: All too well. It's funny. Two of my friends and I, we all got busted together. But I had money in my pocket, so I got out on bond and I went to get some money to bail these other guys out of jail. At that time I wore like a gangster lid and a big dark overcoat, and I could have had some work on my tactics, because I went into this depressed white area, dressed up this kind of way, to stick up this place. And it just so happened that some pigs happened to see me going in there, so they circled around and came back and saw the robbery in process. And there was a shootout and they managed to apprehend me at the spot.

RW: What were some of the early incidents you remember when you started to have more of a revolutionary awareness?

Comrade X: Well, when I went to prison, just to give you a sense of this whole attitude of fuck you, my whole orientation when I got 20 years was, "I'll do 10 of those standing on my head and the other 10 getting back on my feet." That was my attitude. "I'm young—fuck you."

I was beginning to put some things together that had been occurring to me throughout my life on what the fuck was going on, and one of the things that began to strike me was how many oppressed people were in these prisons, both Black and white, that if you had money you were able to avoid such things, and that it was overwhelmingly proletarians that were sent in there.

The robbery that I was involved in netted $140. And here I was marching in with 20 years. The deck was stacked, so to speak.

When I went in, there was this one guy I had been in jail with for a period of time, whom I had grown up with, and by the time I got to prison, he was already into Black nationalist politics. So he tried to turn me on to it. But I kind of kept my distance. Then there was an event that had a big impact on me and began to change me.

A year or so after I was in, some of the more politically conscious prisoners—who at that time were into revolutionary nationalism—they had a protest. I can't even remember what the demands were. I was in a dormitory situation and I was able to look out my window and observe all this.

These guys came out and they had some demands that they were going to present to the warden. And the prison authorities immediately came out with shotguns and surrounded them. There was one Black guard but they wouldn't give him a shotgun, they gave him a club. He was like a token lieutenant if I remember correctly. And the prisoners were doing a lot of agitation about that and telling him, "Look at you, they won't even give you a gun," and it was a very sharp experience for me. A lot of times in prison, that's what happens, when you protest, right away they bring out the guns and they use 'em.

So my fear was that they were just going to blow everybody away. Things went back and forth for an hour or two—a very tense situation—where the prisoners clearly weren't going to give up, but at the same time it seemed like they were just going to get massacred. Ultimately it got resolved in a way where nobody was killed and they just put everybody on the buses and transferred them out to the state prison. But it had a very big impact on me as to the courage of people to do that and the anger they had that they were willing to risk getting killed for what they believed in. It created an interest in me for where they were coming from.

So that's when I began to start reading some things. First Malcolm, the Autobiography of Malcolm X and Malcolm X Speaks and so forth. And in a very intense period of about a year I went through a lot of changes. My Nation of Islam stint lasted only a couple of months and it wasn't long after that that I turned to an interest in the Black Panther Party.

RW: What was the turning point where you first started to consider yourself a revolutionary?

Comrade X: Within a couple of years after I was in prison, I would call myself a REVOLUTIONARY. I had become familiar with some of the most advanced revolutionary leaders and thinking in the country at that time. I had studied and become aware of the Black Panther Party, and I would have given anything to be right there with Huey and Bobby and all of them when they were facing down the pigs. It was very difficult to be in prison at that time, you know. So I got into the Panther and through the Panthers I met Mao.

I had also tried, at that early stage of my development, to read things like the Communist Manifesto, but it was just over my head. Mao was something that I could really grab ahold to. I continued to try to struggle with things like the Communist Manifesto and later I got into much more difficult things. But I was really into Mao and I could relate to some of the ways the Panthers were promoting Mao and also to some of what I had learned about the Cultural Revolution in China. It's not that I could get a full understanding of the Cultural Revolution from where I was sitting, but I was really inspired and excited by what I learned of it and heard of it. You know, people throughout the whole world, including people in our international movement, a lot of us were brought forward by that whole Cultural Revolution and Mao in terms of becoming revolutionaries and taking up the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

RW: Were there certain individuals who played a key role in the revolutionary movement in the prison or was there a group? How did that come down?

Comrade X: At the time in prison, people would get together in groups and collectives and study. There was a core of people who had more revolutionary consciousness and we would study together and work out together. What we envisioned in that period was that there was going to be a REVOLUTION. And we were going to be READY. So we were studying and we were training physically and all of that.

Then at one point some Panthers actually came into the prison, and that was quite an experience in terms of beginning to get more of a sense directly of where the Panthers were coming from and what they were all about. I can remember when they came in, one of the things that happened. In the school there was a mimeograph machine and these Panthers were instrumental in the writing of a leaflet, several pages long—it was more like a propaganda tract. It was hot—it had pictures of pigs in it, the kind of stuff that Emory Douglas used to draw. And we ran it off and distributed it. And the pigs had a fit, they had a heart attack.

One of these brothers had been in the military, so one of the revolutionary things we did was drilling. People would be out on the recreation yard and they'd be drilling, marching up and down in formation. And this is something the prison authorities didn't like at all, they didn't tolerate it at all. The irony is that previously, the guards were forcing us to do it—going back and forth between various places in the prison we were forced to march in formation. But when we began doing this on our own for different reasons and different purposes, they weren't too happy about that. So there were orders that we couldn't do that, that we couldn't drill. There was also another thing that we used to do for recreation a lot of times—instead of playing basketball, we would sit out on the recreation yard and study. And that was another thing that was forbidden. So there was all these kinds of repressive measures that were going on. And they ended up putting those Panther brothers and some others in solitary confinement for some of their revolutionary activities.

This was in 1969. By that time I had developed into a revolutionary and a revolutionary leader. And the locking up of these Panthers in solitary basically precipitated a rebellion in the prison.

RW: Tell us about it.

Comrade X: It sort of played itself out over the course of two days. The first day we sat down in the prison yard and submitted some demands to the warden. The warden was going to review them. And if these prisoners weren't released from segregation, we had our plans. After we presented these demands to the administration and they said they were going to take certain steps to release these brothers and deal with the other demands we had presented to them, we basically dispersed. But at the same time we were very skeptical that this stuff was going to get resolved. So that night we began making our backup plans, so to speak. We were trying to figure out how could we really hurt 'em if they didn't release the brothers like they said they were gonna do.

On the second day after we had submitted our demands to the prison authorities, they said they would consider releasing these prisoners who had been put into segregation. This was the central demand that we had. There were some others about conditions and what not, but really the central one was the repression of these prisoners. I wrote about this in an essay a few years later while still in prison: "By the time we were released from our shelters for recreation that day, most of us anticipated a confrontation with the prison guards but few if any anticipated the tragic consequences of that confrontation. Before we assembled on the recreation yard we received word by way of the prison grapevine that the prison officials had not acted in accordance with their promise to release two of the brothers from administrative segregation. Instead they had placed the brothers in the hole." Segregation is a situation where you are confined to a cell 24 hours a day except for showers and what not. And these cells are separated off from the general prison population. The hole is like when you are put in there you don't have any blankets or any bedding, you just sleep on the concrete floor and it's dark. So they had been put in the hole. The other brothers had been sent to the state prison, as had been agreed.

I wrote: "Frustrated and angered by the treachery of the prison officials, approximately thirty of us decided to burn down the prison's furniture factory, as had been planned on the previous day. Although the furniture factory is the source of a considerable amount of the state's income, prisoners who work there are paid a meager salary of approx. 15 cents an hour. Therefore we felt that the destruction of the furniture factory would constitute a powerful blow to the bureaucratic state and the 'correctional' officers who were responsible for the oppressive conditions which then prevailed at the prison."

So that was our orientation.

RW: Do you remember that day, could you describe it?

Comrade X: I remember it very vividly. It was very tense when we came out of our cells that morning, like you didn't know what was going to happen. You knew that something serious was going to happen, but you didn't know what. We were confronted with the prospect that many of us would probably be dead. That was the way it was. And there was tremendous anger. Things had mounted up and locking up these prisoners who we saw as our leaders was like the culmination of a whole number of things.

So when we went out that day, the plan was that some people who were working in the furniture factory, they were going to supply the liquids that were necessary. And some others of us were going to come into the furniture factory and carry out our plan. What happened, though, is that we were repelled. We got shot at from the guard tower and we weren't able get in and to carry out our plan. So we went back to the recreation yard. Several guards came out armed with shotguns with double-ought slugs in them and they surrounded the perimeter of the recreation yard. The prison authorities ordered everybody to leave who wanted to leave and there were about 450 prisoners who left. There were 212 of us left behind. One of the lieutenants ordered a Black guard, like a token sergeant, who was out there, to leave. He was unarmed. He had promised us that we wouldn't get shot. So the lieutenant told him, "Well, walk around the corner and you won't see it." All the guards remaining behind were white.

We were overwhelmingly Black on the drill ground, with two white guys and one Chicano. And there was something that I learned in that particular battle in terms of uniting all who could be united against the enemy. Because we hadn't succeeded in doing that. In other words, it wasn't like the white prisoners couldn't have been won over—at least some of them—to what we were trying to do, but there hadn't been sufficient efforts to reach out to them to do that.

I can remember thinking at that time and I'm sure a lot of other people were thinking, "This is it." There was a good possibility that we could lose our life, but it was like we had entered onto a continuum from which you couldn't really turn back. We had thrown down with the prison authorities and we were determined that we were going to see this through. We weren't going to turn back even at the risk of being shot or killed. So it was like a real heavy situation. It's kind of hard to put it into words, the tension that we felt. But at the same time there was a certain amount of strength we all felt too, that we were standing up to these motherfuckers and we weren't going to let them intimidate us even though they had their guns and what not.

The guards surrounded the drill ground and I can't remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of "You niggers have five minutes to leave." So we said, "Fuck you, the five minutes is up, we're not going to leave." And, from what I can remember of the sentiment, it was like that point Lenin talks about in his writings about those times when the oppressed have "contempt for death." That's what we had... utter contempt for death.

It was clear that some of us could likely die, but we were determined that we were not going to back down, that we would see through what we had set out to do. It wasn't like we had this Martin Luther King "sit down and turn the other cheek" kind of thing. We were just fucking angry, and at the same time it was like a tactical mis-assessment on our part that because we were not engaged in any violent acts, their hand would be stayed, that they wouldn't actually kill us. But that was like a really violent introduction to what these people will do to you.

After the five minute period was up, they opened fire on us. We were on a volleyball court. It was like a fenced-in recreation yard and the volleyball court was like five or six feet from the fence. The guards were immediately in front of us outside the fence. And they had shut the door to the fence and stuck their shotguns through there. And some of them were pumping and shooting so fast that one of their guns began to malfunction, they were so anxious to shoot.

But one prisoner just wouldn't sit down. He stood with his Black Power fist in the air and he didn't sit down until they shot him down.

So I learned more from that than I learned from many books about the nature of the enemy at that time. Two people were killed and 45 were injured. The brother who wouldn't sit down was not killed, but he was seriously injured.

So when you enter into these things, it's like Mao talks about—everybody has to die sometime, but your life can be as light as a feather or heavier than Mount Tai. That's the way you felt.

And even after that, the events that occurred were an indictment of the system too. A lot of these prisons are set up in these rural areas that are mainly white—and the hospitals in the surrounding area wouldn't take Black people. So the people had to be taken several miles away to a major city to get into the hospital because they just wouldn't take them in the local hospital because they were Black. And people were saying, "This is something they will have to pay for." This was just another crime of imperialism and another reason why they had to be overthrown. But it wasn't like we felt scared or intimidated, even though they had done this dastardly deed, this cowardly deed. We were angry.

RW: People saw it as a battle in a bigger war?

Comrade X: Right, and I can recall the spirit in solitary. They put us in solitary. We had to carry the injured from the recreation yard out into the prison compound. And we laid them on the grass in front of the prison hospital. And the rest of us were taken into solitary and put in 10 or 12 or 15 deep. And these cells are no bigger than 8 x 10 or 10 x 12. So we were crammed in there, but the chants and the slogans and the singing and the spirit was absolutely electric.

RW: The Chairman has said, if you want to be bad, the revolution is the baddest. Reflecting back, you had been faced with death before in your life, how would you compare the difference?

Comrade X: In some of the Chairman's writings he talks about the difference between soldierly courage and revolutionary courage. I have yet to see that in its most profound sense, you know, in terms of taking a leap into revolutionary warfare. But in a more miniature sense, this was an example of seeing that. On the one hand, if you're going up against someone else who is oppressed like you, whether it's for "face" or all those other kinds of things of the street code that I was talking about earlier [See Part 1, "Fried, Dyed and Laid to the Side."], that's one thing that's a certain kind of courage. Or even if you are going up against the state—like I would go into these places and be ripping off something and then cook my breakfast—that was one thing. But it's another thing when you are going up against the enemy, the awesome power of the state. That's a whole different ball game in terms of having the courage to do that.

The whole point about dying that Mao made in the Red Book is this: to die for the people is heavier than a mountain, but to die for the imperialists is lighter than a feather. And there was a whole spirit in that period that captured all of us, about the willingness to put your life on the line for the people and die fighting imperialism. And we not only felt it then, but we have not given up on it. And I think that's a lot of what the youth have to get down on. The courage they have in one context has to be translated in terms of going up against this whole system and bringing down this whole thing. Because one of the things we understood then in a basic sense is that without power, everything was an illusion—that once we could bring these people down then we could perform miracles.

RW: You mean state power, taking on the whole system, not just having a piece of turf?

Comrade X: State power, taking on the whole thing, not just having a block or having a corner or having part of a city, but taking on the imperialists and overthrowing them in revolutionary warfare and establishing socialism and beginning to move on towards communism. That's the whole vision that I began to develop back then. And that was a whole different kind of thing.

Part 3: Changing the Terms

RW: Do you remember the first time that you realized that it was going to take a revolution against the whole system to deal with the problems coming down on Black people and all the other social problems?

Comrade X: When Fred Hampton was killed—this was part of the events that set me on a certain trajectory. It was some months after we had been shot in the prison rebellion I told you about earlier. [See Part 2, "Burning Down the House."] And it was obvious to me, knowing the nature of these people, having lived in the belly of the beast, even within the belly of the belly, it was obvious to me that Fred Hampton was assassinated. Some things came together. There were some things that were there in my thinking and my understanding, but some things came together on a much higher level around that time.

Leading up to the prison massacre in 1969, on one level I looked at myself as a revolutionary. Those events combined with the Fred Hampton murder, those were crucial things that played a certain role in terms of me crossing a line in the sense of feeling that this is what I wanted to do with my life. That was the most profound turning point, if you want to put it that way. There was no turning back.

RW: If someone had told you a few years before that you were going to be a revolutionary leader, what would you have thought?

Comrade X: I wouldn't have believed it. But the fact that there was the Black liberation struggle and a revolutionary movement that existed at that time played a tremendous role in propelling a lot of us forward into becoming what we were. In the years earlier when I was just a street youth doing my thing, I would have never thought of it. But here you were, you were thrust into a whole period where there's a lot of upheaval throughout the world and in this country and even reflected in a microcosm kind of way in prison. And you were propelled forward to take a stand.

When I first went into prison I was just going to do my time and get out and I didn't see any reason to get involved in anything that would interfere with that. In fact, when I was first let out of quarantine, there was a race riot that went down in the cell house that I was in and it was very violent, with bottles and shit being thrown off the range and people being hit with steel pipes. And I had some knowledge of the oppression of Black people and the contradictions that existed on that front, but I didn't see myself taking either side. It was just something I was thrust into.

I didn't understand what people were doing and I didn't see a reason for it. But it really hit me that people not only believed in what they believed in, but they were willing to put their lives on the line for it. That made me sit up and take note—to try to dig into it more to find out why it was they were doing that. I had no sense at that time that it would even be possible to bring the imperialists down. On the level of individual rebellion or going up against the police in an individual way or with a few friends or whatever, I had done that, but in terms of being able to mobilize a mass of people and to field any kind of army to bring them down, I had no sense of that, I had no sense of the possibility of that.

Mao says that the oppressed are oppressed and in fighting back they search out a philosophy. And that's what I did. I couldn't read that well, I hadn't really been that interested in school when I was growing up, especially a lot of the history they taught at that time. When you read the school history, it was the slaves picking cotton and that sort of thing which was just humiliating—you were just glad when the class proceeded past those pages. But when I got in prison—and got affected and influenced by all of what was going on in society and throughout the world—I began to take some steps to try to understand things better.

First it began by FIGHTING against the prison authorities, and through that I began to dig more deeper into what this shit was all about. I went into the situation of Black people in this country, how did that come about. One book I remember was called Black Cargoes about how people were packed into these slave ships and the conditions were so horrendous that a lot of times the slaves would just jump over and kill themselves rather than to put up with it. All those things began to come together for me in terms of understanding more about the oppression of Black people in this country and how and why it had to be ended and it only could be ended with violence. It couldn't be ended through praying or marching, it could only be ended through an armed struggle. That's what I came to understand through my experiences.

RW: So it was like Mao talks about learning warfare through warfare.

Comrade X: Very much so, very much so. It was just being thrust into the struggle with the other side and a lot of that raising questions about what kind of society you would replace it with. And I can remember being just excited and thinking about not only how they can be defeated and how they can be brought down but getting a beginning vision—from what I could understand of things like the Cultural Revolution in China under Mao's leadership—of what the society would be like having done that, having overthrown the system, what kind of society would it be—that we can deal with a lot of these problems in terms of the oppression that the masses of people face, the humiliation and degradation, the rich over the poor, men over women, whites over Blacks and other oppressed nationalities and so forth. And that overthrowing them would be a big step in wiping this shit out not only in this country but throughout the entire world. And that vision was very inspiring to me when I began to take up and study Marxism in a serious way—and it has been deepened and enriched over the years since that time.

RW: That's the strategic Double C—contempt for the enemy and confidence in the masses that the Chairman talks about.

Comrade X: Right, it's based on something, it's based on the party which is armed with the most revolutionary science that exists today. And I learned this through the crucible of struggle against the enemy. I explored a lot of different philosophies but I came to see that this was the most advanced philosophy that exists. This was controversial. Some people said back then, "Well, that's just for the white boy" or "That's the white man's philosophy"—just like some people say it today. And in fact one of my best friends stopped talking to me because he disagreed with my insistence that we had to unite all who could be united against the enemy, including white people. That was very hard because we had been through some heavy struggle together. Later he came around. But for some months he wouldn't talk to me. But I stuck with it because this science is the revolutionary philosophy, the most advanced philosophy for people all over the world because it is a LIBERATING PHILOSOPHY.

RW: At a certain point after the rebellion in '69, the prison authorities moved you to another prison.

Comrade X: Yes. I was moved to a different prison. There was not the same level of revolutionary consciousness as there had been before cuz the place where I was moved had much older prisoners. And it was much more of a stifling atmosphere where you were locked up longer periods of time. And this was a very difficult period. To tell you the truth, on a certain level, in terms of my spirit, I almost died for the first year or so.

Then a lot of younger prisoners began to be sent in from other places and some of the character of the prison began to change and two or three years later the level of struggle changed even there, but for a couple years or so it was a very difficult transition to make.

RW: How did you deal with that? Was this a tactic of the enemy to cool things out?

Comrade X: The tactic was precisely to try to separate the leaders off from the broader prison population, and in large part the way that was dealt with was to try to draw strength and inspiration from what was going on in society as a whole, and there was a tremendous amount going on at the time.

George Jackson

George Jackson

One of the things that had a big impact on me was George Jackson and his writings, and that was all part of trying to get a better understanding of and being positively affected by the Black Panther Party. One of the things that really hit me a lot about George was this thing of becoming a revolutionary under very difficult conditions and overcoming some obstacles and barriers to actually become a revolutionary leader. His heart was fundamentally with the people, and the determination he had in the face of threats and intimidation to not give in and not capitulate on his revolutionary principles—that was something that had a very powerful impact not just on prisoners but on a lot of other people.

The Attica rebellion was something else that had a very powerful impact on me in terms of the courage and the determination and the fearlessness in the face of the enemy. But also too the revolutionary consciousness that was reflected in that rebellion. One of the demands they were putting forward was that they be allowed to go to a non-imperialist country. So that had a profound impact on me and thousands and thousands of others both inside and outside of prison.

So I was beginning to take up the science of revolution—Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—in a more thoroughgoing way. And then at the same time at one point, under the cover of doing Black history class, the small core of revolutionaries began to reach out to broader prisoners. There was some discussion of Black history but at the same time there were efforts through that to raise the consciousness of the prisoners and also to link up with some people who were more interested in revolutionary politics. So that's how we survived and sustained that period and then later there were significant outbreaks that went on in that prison that we were right in the middle of.

RW: What were some of the obstacles that you had to get over to carry out this revolutionary work in the prison? You are under the gun and you have to deal with that, but also there is a strong cult of survival in prison. Sometimes people say that in prison "you must bite or be bitten, or you must eat others or be eaten up by others." How did the revolutionaries deal with this?

Comrade X: I think again, first and foremost, we have to look at the climate that existed throughout the country and throughout the whole world. And including at that time, a sense of unity that existed even on a basic level between Black people—for instance, that's when the terms "brother" and "sister" and all of that began to be brought to the fore. But I must admit that even with that political atmosphere in the world, in prison there was a question of GOING AGAINST THE TIDE. You were going against the tide in terms of everything you were doing. But I think in the context of a whole revolutionary movement in the world and in this country, there was the ability to stand apart from some of the dog-eat-dog, "bite or be bitten" atmosphere that was promoted in prison. And there was often a lot of struggles with people.

There's a whole thing that goes down in there. The younger guys who come in are preyed on by the older guys, and there was a whole thing as we were trying to organize and do what we were doing in the prison that we didn't tolerate that, that people came in and especially as they were taking up revolutionary politics and what not, that we would oppose that mentality and wouldn't tolerate that in terms of the younger guys coming in and being raped and those kinds of "bite or be bitten" kind of outlooks.

RW: You know I have noticed that among some men revolutionaries who have been in prison there seems to be more of an understanding about not treating women like sex objects and property. And I was wondering if this was because men in prison actually go through some of the same abuses that women do—where power relations actually take the form of sexual abuse—and the whole question of being treated like a sex object is so intense. Speaking of going against the tide, this must have been a big topic of struggle.

Comrade X: That's an interesting thought. I think for myself and for a lot of others it was more a question of being forced to confront that if you were going to be down for revolution, then you couldn't at the same time be for oppressing women. There was an analogy that you didn't want to be called 'boy" and you didn't want to be called "nigger" and all of that, and if you didn't want to be subjected...

RW: If you didn't want to be raped...

Comrade X: Yeah, that whole kind of thing, then how could you do that to women. I don't know that the example you're making was consciously filtered through, but I think it was more a combination of things, including the fact that a lot of women were in the streets at that time around women's liberation, to say nothing of the women who were engaging in armed struggle in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world. And that had a certain impact. But like the Chairman talks about in his book, A Horrible End, or an End to the Horror? you have to "prove it all night." I do think on the woman question you do have to "prove it all night." It's not some question where you just "get it right" and don't have to struggle over it anymore, speaking especially of the brothers.

But I would say for myself it was something that I had to come to grips with and really break with some things. Like in growing up and before I became a revolutionary, you could be against being called a "nigger" or "boy" or being called "colored"—and this was a lot of the things that people would throw down around in those days. But prior to becoming a revolutionary, all the kinds of degrading ways that men treat women, it wasn't something I had even thought about. Things have a certain edge now, but when I was coming up it was a real problem too—a problem among the oppressed themselves. Even in some of the common language that the kids would use about "pulling a train" on women—it was just rape, you know. A woman would be interested in one person and have sex with one person and several other guys would be waiting to get in on it too. And when you stop and think about it, it's really anti-women. It wasn't about sex—it's about "this is a power trip." But that was looked at positively among the men. Or you would go out with a woman and she would get a few drinks and she'd get a little high or something and then you would force yourself on her. That was rape but it wasn't looked at that way. It was looked at by men in a positive light. And there were a thousand other ways this shit came down—and still does. So it's very good that there is a lot of controversy coming out these days and this type of behavior is being exposed for what it is.

When I was a kid some of the people we admired were the pimps. In fact, there is a series of books that were written—I was in the bookstore the other day and I see that they are still out there—a series of books that were written by this guy called Iceberg Slim who was a pimp. And the young brothers would read those books and admired his style and where he was coming from. And thinking back on it now you can see how far some of the brothers had to come. I'm speaking now of the period of time before I became a revolutionary and started taking up revolutionary politics. On the streets it was considered hip to be a pimp, or a "player," which was a term for a guy who lived off the money a woman made on the street. To have a Cadillac and to have several women, that was a goal to aspire to. And those very brothers who looked toward the pimps and admired them and in some cases did actually do that themselves, if they had been forced into some form of servitude in that kind of way, they would have been totally outraged about it. But in this case, it was something that was part of being cool, and it was considered part of being cool to dog women in this way and to actually end up being a slave master in this type of way. And that's the screwy relations and contradictions that you actually get under imperialism.

Men can't say that we're against imperialism but at the same time carry out the imperialist mentality in relationship to women. There's no way that you can carry through a thoroughgoing revolution in that kind of way.

RW: Right. But at the same time it is hopeful to the people and to the sisters in particular that through fighting the power and taking up the science of revolution people can change.

Comrade X: And there is a much more powerful basis to do that today. The Party has put this question out pretty sharply including this slogan: Brothers Don't Be Dominators, Rise Up With Sisters, Strong Proud and with Equality, Fight the Power, Bury the System. And I think that whole orientation that is being fought for is a very good basis to make a leap even farther than we went in the '60s, because in the '60s this question was not well understood.

RW: So you see that this is going to be an even hotter question in the 1990s?

Comrade X: This is already a hot question and I think it will be resolved in a much more profound way than in the '60s. There's a war now on women—from the highest offices in the country. And I think that there is the question of taking a stand: are you going to be PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION? And I'm not saying that to be pessimistic about it. I think there is a profound basis to resolve this on a much higher level and a much more thoroughgoing way than it has been previously. This is definitely a big aspect of carrying out a thoroughgoing revolution.

RW: So you think it's posed pretty sharply to the young brothers—are they going to hold onto their macho attitudes or unite with the women who are rising up against the powers.

Comrade X: Right, I think this is putting it sharply to 'em, but I think from everything I'm hearing and everything I'm seeing these days, there's a lot of sisters that are determined to make 'em get the point.

RW: Getting back to your revolutionary work in prison, you were talking about how the revolutionary core would begin to change the terms in struggling with people over these things.

Comrade X: Right. In some sense it was kind of like the seeds of dual power—even though they had us locked up. Once we began doing what we were doing and setting a tone in a different kind of way—it's not that we were setting ourselves apart from the rest of the prisoners—but it was that we were conscious and we were revolutionaries and we were trying to recruit other people to be that. And once people began to ally themselves with us, other people wouldn't bother them, in terms of trying to rape them and that sort of thing. So we did try to set a certain tone—not that we were missionaries or some kind of Christians or something—but we tried to set a certain tone in terms of where we were coming from in being revolutionaries and setting a certain standard.

This actually meant putting your life on the line too, sometimes. I can remember an incident where there was this gang in prison that was extorting people and ripping people off and what not, and a lot of the prisoners who weren't so political, they came to us saying look, this shit is going down and we are going to deal with it and what are you all going to do? And we actually went and confronted the gang leaders and said, "Hey, look, this is divisive, and this is a question of getting people all divided up," and actually we were able to change some of those goings-on without resorting to any kind of violence. Through struggling with them we were able to change things in terms of some of the kind of stuff they were doing inside the prison.

RW: Was that by relying on a certain atmosphere and initiative that you had?

Comrade X: Right, and even some of the gangs were forced to have respect for you because it was the kind of thing of "Those brothers there, they are not into a lot of foolishness, but when it comes to going up against the prison authorities, they are for real." There was an expression in prison—"they are for real."

When we first began to be revolutionaries, people would respond to you by saying, "Well, you wasn't doing that shit before you came in here." That was their response to you. But more as they saw you going up against the other side, being fearless and being uncompromising and determined in going up against the other side and not selling out, even some of the more lumpen elements, they were forced to have begrudging respect for you on a certain level.

So you had to learn all kinds of tactics for dealing with different contradictions, including, like you mentioned earlier, that you were working directly under the gun. And we were always having to apply Mao's teachings on who are our friends and who are our enemies and knowing the enemy well.

For example, there was a work stoppage that I played a role in organizing. And we were actually trying to sum up what had been previous experience in going up against the prison authorities and what their tactics were. One of their tactics was to immediately try to grab the leaders and the whole thing would die. So what we did was we organized different layers of people, so as they grabbed these people, some more would be waiting in the background and they would step forward. But despite all that planning, we had made a mistake and somehow I ended up with some leaflets in my cell.

And I will never forget it, these three guards came to my cell. And they were calling me "sir" and "mister" and all of this. And right away I could read that they were afraid of getting into a confrontation with me and having a fight with me because they figured that they would really set off some stuff they didn't want to happen among the other prisoners. So they were very delicate with me and they were calling me "mister" and "sir." So right away I thought of what to do with these leaflets.

I had the leaflets in an envelope. So I started putting on an act and I said, "Oh shit, man, why do you want me." And they said, "Well, the warden told us to come and get you and lock you up." And I said, "What for? I haven't done anything," playing along with them. Then, finally I said, "Well, damn, I've been working on my legal case and I have these papers I have to file. Would it be possible for you to take these three cells down the range and give them to so and so." "Oh, sure, Mister so and so," they said. And they took those leaflets and gave them to someone else and that was the hard evidence they would have had that I was deeply involved in this whole work stoppage.

So that was a funny story—and it goes back to this question of strategic contempt and knowing about their strengths and weaknesses and taking advantage of those. They were relieved that they didn't have to attack me and lead to some kind of rebellion—because I was like a leading figure in the prison and if they had attacked me and beat me up that would have led to some serious consequences they weren't willing to confront. So I was able to read that situation and take tactical advantage of it.

Part 4: In the Spirit of Attica

Attica Prison Rebellion, 1971

Attica Rebellion, 1971. AP photo

RW: How did the revolutionaries unite the brothers in the prison to take on the powers?

Comrade X: A lot of times when we were involved in mass struggle it was a situation where things had gotten to a point where they were going to break and a good majority of people would be in unity with what was going down. And sometimes things which turned out to be very important kicked off in a brainless way. In fact, I can recall another incident that I was involved in where the initiators were some of these gangsters who had come up against the prison system and they were on a protest. And one of the things that they were going to do was something similar to what we had done earlier which was to have a protest in the prison yard within the range of the gun towers and everything. So we went out amongst them and struggle with them and said, hey, this is not the correct tactic, this has been tried before and this is part of our experience and this is not the way to go.

RW: What was the issue they were protesting over?

Comrade X: This was some years after that previous rebellion and by this time I considered myself a communist. There was a series of things that had mounted up in terms of the general living conditions—which always mount up after a period of time—but there were things going down like people dying under mysterious circumstances. For instance, there was this young kid. He was not that much younger than I was at the time, but he was one of these street kids who was bad and he came in and got into some contradiction with another prisoner and got in a fight and later the other prisoner came back and threw some flammable fluids on him and burned him up. And after they had treated him medically, they put him in solitary confinement for over a year and a half, and he gradually began to deteriorate and eventually one morning he was found hanged in his cell. There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not he had been murdered, because, if I remember the facts correctly, his hands had been tied behind his back. But whether he was directly hung by the guards or whether he did it himself, ultimately we saw it as murder.

RW: How did the revolutionaries respond?

Comrade X: At the time I was in segregation, I had been put into segregation for four months for refusing to button up my coat—it was one of those kinds of things.

We had somehow gotten hold of a press or a mimeograph machine. I don't recall all the details of how we acquired it. I think we bought it with cigarettes, which is like the prison currency. But somehow we bought it from one of the prisoners who worked in one of the departments. We had all been reading What Is To Be Done? by Lenin, and we were really fascinated with a lot of what Lenin was talking about in there and really picking up on the whole idea about trying to work under difficult circumstances, and the question of trying to work secretly was what we were zeroing in on. And that gave rise to a lot of brainstorming and thinking on how we could apply some of Lenin's thinking in there.

In prison it was difficult circumstances in terms of applying revolutionary theory, but we did to the extent that we could try to combine theory with practice, and this is one example of it. We acquired this press. So sometime after this guy was murdered, we printed up a leaflet basically indicting the prison authorities for his murder one way or another and we managed to distribute it secretly throughout the whole prison. And the prison authorities blew a head gasket that this level of organization actually existed in there. And before we had did it, we had a lot of discussion back and forth about how to conceal the press and there was a lot of discussion about dismantling it and hiding it on top of the cell block. And the upshot was that they locked the whole prison down. They went around and tested every typewriter to see if it corresponded to the leaflet. They tested as many typewriters as they could—because they couldn't find the one that we used—to see if they corresponded with the leaflet. And they also tore the prison apart trying to find the press. Maybe we even buried it, but the upshot was that they didn't find it. And this was electrifying and inspiring to the other prisoners that this actually could go down and they were not able to find out how it happened. So in terms of developing tactics and trying to apply theory, that was a good example.

So there was a whole series of things like that. And then I think there was an immediate precipitating factor like a fight between some gang members and they got locked up and they were trying to get their comrades released from solitary or something like that. And this is what immediately precipitated the idea of a protest among these gang members. So those of us who were more conscious revolutionaries went out amongst them and struggled against just taking this tactic of having a protest in the yard right in view of the guard tower because we had seen that before. So after we struggled with them, they were dissuaded from that and they apparently went back to their cell house and took it over.

We revolutionaries were mainly housed at another cell house, so as we were walking toward the cell house, we saw this prisoner with the keys. And we weren't real happy to see this particular guy with the keys—he was a loose cannon, so to speak. He was hollering at us, "Well you better hurry and come in," so we didn't have any choice. What were we going to do? We certainly wouldn't have taken a position of, "Hey boss, we're not involved in this"—they were going to deal with us regardless. We had crossed that line and we had put ourselves in a certain position in relationship to the prison authorities, and there's no way we were just going to say, "We organized the last one but we didn't organize this one." So we went into the cell house and what we tried to do was to get involved and give the takeover a certain direction. And we ended up taking over the prison and we had several guards hostage, instead of repeating the events of 1969.

The warden is lying

We also heard over the radio where the warden was telling lies that this rebellion had happened because of the weather and other such ridiculous shit, and basically we just wrote on a sheet, "The warden is lying," and hung it outside the windows where people could see it from the street. Then later we set up a public address system of our own.

Some of the prisoners had record players and speakers and somehow somebody was able to rig up a sound system. The cell block that we were in faced out toward the street. So we were able to rig up a system where we could be heard over the walls out to the street where there were people who had gathered to support us, families and all that. And we were able to agitate about what we were trying to do and what we were trying to accomplish. So there was a level of organization and certain forms of "people's power" that actually went on in that particular cell house that didn't exist in the other places. And we were prepared to die for what we were doing.

This was a situation where again it was not clear that we would live through that. We did have a division of labor where a few of us were outside, not actually involved in it, who were going to play a role in terms of trying to help sum some things up after, if we had gotten killed. And we said our goodbyes. This was in the wake of Attica and the wake of the murder of George Jackson, and it was not altogether clear that we would not be murdered too.

What happened was that, after 36 hours, they backed down and basically conceded to our demands, including there was a demand for amnesty that nobody be convicted or be charged with any crime as the result of the rebellion. I haven't really tried to stop and analyze it all, but I think it probably had a lot to do with the whole climate in the country, including what they had done in Attica and the outrage that brought, and there was probably a combination of factors that forced them to back down.

RW: You mentioned certain forms of "people's power" in this rebellion. What was this "people's power" like and what did you learn off of that about the possibility for really changing the world?

Clyde Young: First of all what provoked that was the Attica experience. I was very much aware of the Attica experience. That was a tremendously inspiring experience overall, but also an excruciating experience in terms of what the imperialists did of just going in and gunning down the prisoners and even gunning down the hostages. Much of that was revealed in a vivid way in this Eye on the Prize series that had been on television recently—and I thought brought the story out very vividly—including the lies that the imperialists told about the prisoners having killed the hostages and then it turned out that the state themselves had actually killed the guards and actually executed some of the leaders of the rebellion after the prison was retaken. So that whole thing was something that had a tremendous impact on me as it did on a lot of other people who were revolutionaries at that time.

When we took over the prison, as I was explaining earlier, it wasn't something that we had planned. It was something that happened spontaneously and those of us who were conscious revolutionaries and communists at that time went into it and played a leading role within it. And one of the things that we did was that we called everybody together in the one cell house that we were in and discussed these demands that the Attica brothers had. It wasn't like we went into and discussed the whole situation in Attica, but we discussed these demands and tried to figure out the ones that were applicable to our situation and reflected what the conditions were in that prison and the demands that we came up with were based on that.

And at the same time, we tried to set up what was called a people's militia. These were the people who were going to take certain responsibility for fighting the guards if they stormed the cell house. And we had certain tactics worked out for how we were going to do that if they tried to storm the cell house. We also had a people's tribunal. Even within this kind of situation where people were united to fight against the prison authorities, there's still contradictions that exist among the people. It wasn't like everybody was at the same level of consciousness and what not. And in fact, in one of the cell houses, not the one that we were in, some backward prisoners took advantage of the situation to rape somebody. And where we were, some other people tried to take advantage to rip somebody off.

So there were some contradictions among the prisoners even though everybody was united on one level in terms of going up against the guards. There were some people who were going to take advantage of this rebellion and of us having authority to steal and rape and whatever, and we had a firm line that none of that kind of stuff was going to go on. And I think we even had to detain a couple people who were insisting on carrying on that type of activity.

So it gave a vision of what it would mean if the people were actually to have the whole society. And it was not completely absent from our view that we would run things different from the way the powers did. And at the same time, even the way we dealt with the hostages that we had, the whole orientation was different. We were not going to take advantage of having the hostages to exact revenge or whatever. We had certain things we were fighting for and we were determined to get them, and if they stormed the cell house then it was out of our hands in terms of what happened to the hostages, but as long as that didn't happen, we were determined that they were not going to get fucked up just out of revenge. We were striving for something bigger. So some of the things we instituted like the people's tribunal and the people's militia and some of those kinds of forms—in a funny kind of way in that situation we had the authority and that's the way we were exercising it. It wasn't completely absent in our thinking, a certain vision of what it would mean to rule the whole society.

RW: When you see that footage that was showed in Eye on the Prize of the Attica rebellion, it is very striking that those revolutionary brothers who were locked up with all the guns of the state aimed at them—they're the ones that should be taking part in running the society and the pigs on the outside with the guns pointed at them are the ones who should be locked up.

Comrade X: That's very true.

RW: And this sense of preparing to take power is a theme that runs through your story too.

Comrade X: There was a sentiment in the prisons at that time. The events at Attica, George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers, and all that represented a very advanced current of what existed throughout the country. There was a whole attitude and a whole sentiment that there was going to be a revolution and people were getting prepared and when the prison doors were opened, people were going to be ready to come out and play a role in being able to bring this whole thing down. That was part of the whole climate and the whole atmosphere, and once again it brings me to the point that Chairman Avakian has stressed about the importance of a revolutionary movement and a politicized atmosphere, what that can do, not as an end in itself but as part of preparing for revolution and preparing to bring this whole thing down. And what that can do in terms of bringing out the best in people. I think a lot of the best in people was brought out in that period. And the point is not to look back on it just to be nostalgic and to talk about how things were when we were young, but to look back on it precisely for the purpose that we have to go forward and we can go for the whole thing this time. That's what we're working for and that's what we are preparing for, and those opportunities could very well come and soon.

Part 5: Ready for the Time

RW: When did you decide to join the RCP?

Comrade X: When I was in prison in the early '70s, there was this group called the SLA. They were a group that was formed by some ex-prisoners and their political line was one of urban guerilla warfare. They kidnapped Patty Hearst and that became a whole national and international incident. So the revolutionaries in prison were checking out what all the radical groups were saying about it. And the thing that struck me about it at that time was that a lot of so-called revolutionaries were just condemning it, talking about how terrible it was that Patty Hearst had been kidnapped and condemning the SLA and that particular act.

Now it wasn't often that I was able to get a lot of revolutionary newspapers when I was in prison because of the censorship, but I did happen to come across a copy of Revolution—which was the newspaper of the Revolutionary Union, the organization that later formed the RCP—and there was a whole piece on the SLA in that issue. By that time I was really disgusted with a lot of what the other people on the left were saying and how they were summing it up and analyzing it. But the way the RU dealt with the whole thing really struck me as different, and I have never forgotten it, the way it was taken up. The RU had some big differences with the strategic approach of the SLA and the tactical approach they were taking also, but far from condemning the SLA out of hand, the RU aimed their fire first and foremost at the imperialists and united with the spirit of wanting to find a way to bring imperialism down as soon as possible. They made a lot of exposure of what the Hearsts were and their whole history that I thought was really rich. And at the same time there was some criticism that this was not the correct strategic approach that needs to be taken to making a revolution in this country.

At that time that kind of urban guerrilla warfare thinking was the currency. In other words, a lot of revolutionary people thought that if you were going to make a revolution in this country, you'd do it like they do it in the Third World. You would do it in an urban setting but adopting the same road of taking liberated territories that were used in the Third World. And this article by the RU was the first time I had ever seen something that was attempting to put forward what would be a correct strategic approach for revolution and the armed struggle in an advanced imperialist country like the U.S.

Clyde Young, July 2009

Launching the campaign to promote the leadership of Bob Avakian, 2009. Photo: Li Onesto, Revolution/revcom.us

So I didn't know a lot, but what I did know sparked a lot of interest in me about the RU and the politics of Bob Avakian, who was the leader of the RU. And about a year or two after I got out—by this time the RCP had been formed—I actually made contact with the Party and subsequently joined.

RW: You mentioned the strategy for revolution being so important in terms of your looking toward the Party. I think at that time there was a real sense on a mass scale of "we have to figure this strategy out because we are actually going to do this revolutionary war"—that was an important element.

Comrade X: Yes, there was that spirit. And there was a lot of people, I would say thousands and thousands of people, who were seriously taking it up and struggling over these questions of how could the armed struggle be waged in a country like the USA. And that is a positive legacy that we have in terms of going into the '90s and preparing for DOING THE DOG IN BABYLON, as Huey used to say. But there was also that frustration that there wasn't a clear understanding of how would you bring this system down.

There was determination to do it. It was like what Malcolm used to say about the house slave and the field slave: The master's house would be burning down and the house slave would talk about, "Our house is burning down." And if you were gonna run away, the house slave would say, "Where are we going to go?" and the field slave would say, "Well, it doesn't much matter, cuz we got to get out of here." The point is not that we don't need to know where we are going, but in the '60s there was that sense that one way or the other we've got [to] bring this whole thing down. And at the same time a lot of his wasn't really thought through in terms of how would you go about bringing this whole thing down FOR REAL.

RW: Well, we need a whole new generation to make this revolution for real, so it's up to the youth now.

Comrade X: This is something I learned early in my experience—in every revolutionary struggle the youth play a very important role in that. So it's very critical, these questions that we're raising for struggle among the youth. In the May Day manifesto this year there was a very profound point from Mao: "When revolution has its day, people see things another way." And in the Chinese revolution led by Mao, when things went over to armed struggle and when people began waging armed struggle, a lot of youth who were considered previously as not being able to play any role were actually transformed and came forward to play a very important role in that revolutionary struggle.

Taking out BAsics, by Bob Avakian

Taking out BAsics, by Bob Avakian, 2012. Photo: Special to Revolution/revcom.us

RW: Righteous on that. Let's talk about some of the questions that are vexing the youth, things that make them hesitate towards getting down for PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION. For instance, coming up young and Black in America a lot of youth think there's not much hope for white people. They wonder if any of these people could be on their side. What was it in your own experience that gave you some insights that there would be some allies?

Comrade X: First of all, I went through a period of nationalism and being anti-white as a result of becoming more consciously aware of white supremacy and the whole history of slavery and the whole history of Black people in this country. So at first I did not have much confidence that there was much hope for any kind of unity or even any basis for going up against the system in terms of whites and Blacks together. But here again is where the overall revolutionary movement in the country at that time did have an effect, because it was hard to argue that all whites were hopeless because you did have people in the streets like at the Democratic National Convention. On television it was being shown how people were being beaten into the ground with clubs by the pigs and savagely attacked. I can remember being in prison and seeing that on television and that having a very profound effect on me. There was also the murders of the students at Kent State, and there was a lot of things where a lot of white youth were putting themselves and putting their lives on the line, including in terms of defending the Black Panther offices. So those kinds of things not only helped me to see things in a different way, but it was also material that I would use in struggling with other people to see how there was a basis for unity and to go forward.

RW: The youth themselves putting their politics and their life on the line...

Comrade X: Right, being willing to stand by what they believe in...

RW: It made the oppressed take heart...

Comrade X: Right. There was a back-and-forth kind of thing that went on there. The whole Black liberation struggle had a profound impact on a lot of people, including a lot of white youth. And then in turn the white youth going out in the streets in opposition to the war in Vietnam and against the draft—those things had a very profound impact in helping people to see that there was the potential for alliances.

And also, as I began to study history more, I found there were people who came forward and took a certain stand on the basis of principle and were willing to fight and die for it. I can remember studying about John Brown and Harpers Ferry and being affected by it in a positive way. But overall it was the climate in the country and what was going on in the country. People were putting themselves on the line and going up against the system, including white youth taking on more radical politics like carrying the NLF flag—which was the flag of the Vietnamese liberation fighters—and making firm statements in opposition to national oppression.

A lot of the struggle that went on—and it went on throughout the whole country—was trying to figure out who are your friends and who are your enemies. If we were going to bring these imperialists down, first of all we had to figure out—and this is something Mao talks about—who are your friends and enemies. Mao also talked about UNITING ALL WHO COULD BE UNITED AGAINST THE ENEMY. These are some of the things that we learned from Mao and then in turn tried to apply and tried to figure out, which I think led to breaking with some of these notions that it's just your people and just your nationality.

And as I began to broaden my view I started seeing that it's not just a question of my people, first and foremost, but beginning to look at and hate the oppression of people in China or the oppression of people in India, to hate the oppression of people in other parts of the world as much as I hated the oppression of Black people. I came to understand that the fight against national oppression—where imperialist nations lord it over oppressed nations and imperialist peoples lord it over oppressed peoples—was part of the fight to bring down imperialism and ALL kinds of oppression. And that it was not just a question of different races all around the world trying to get their thing together but coming to understand that throughout the whole world there were PROLETARIANS, there were propertyless people, there were people with nothing to lose but their chains. And when I talk about OUR PEOPLE, that's who I'm talking about. And that became what defined the struggle for me.

RW: Was it controversial among your friends that Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, is not Black?

Comrade X: Yes, that question came up in a big way! But I can remember playing the May Day speech that the Chairman gave back in 1979 for members of my family and many other people. And the thing I can remember is people just being blown away by that, that he was speaking to shit that they had felt all their lives, but he was putting the shit together in a way that they had never heard it put together before. And more recently I have heard of cases where people have been checking out Bullets, the silver book of quotations by the Chairman, and being really blown away by what he was saying and then turning to the front of the book and seeing his picture and seeing that he is white and not being able to put that together with the powerful shit that he was saying in that book. I actually heard a funny story a few years ago, where after reading something by the Chairman or hearing an old tape of one of his speeches, someone who is Black asked if he was "raised by a poor Black family."

So the point is that this question came up and it still comes up, and we have to fight through on that question with revolutionary people coming forward who, because of nationalism, might find that difficult to deal with or whatever. On one level it is not so surprising that questions like this come up even from the oppressed among our people. After all, the oppression of whole nations and peoples is a fundamental pillar of this imperialist system. H. Rap Brown used to say that "violence is as American as apple pie," and borrowing from that statement I would say that "racism and white supremacy is also as Amerikkkan as apple pie."

But let me say this: I have fought with many people over this question over the years but I have never been defensive about who our Chairman is or that he is white. And there is absolutely no reason to be defensive about that. It has certainly been a disadvantage that this brother has not been able to function openly, hasn't been out there in a public way, though his voice and his leadership is definitely on the scene. But the fact that he is not out there in that public way and in fact is in exile just shows how goddamn serious we are—serious about slam-dunking this whole putrid system, serious about winning.

In one of his recent articles, "Some Thoughts, Some Further Thoughts," the Chairman comments in paraphrasing Mao that what most stood out about Lenin wasn't "his political acumen or strategic and tactical sense, nor even his important theoretical developments and contributions in terms of revolutionary science... but instead the fact that HE GAVE HIS HEART TO THE MASSES, to the oppressed." On a personal note, having had the opportunity to work with the Chairman in the past in a number of situations, including going into housing projects with him when he could operate more freely, I can say without exaggeration—and I'm sure other comrades would join me in saying this—that our Chairman too has given his heart to the masses, to the oppressed, not just in this country but the world over. And this comrade is thoroughly intoxicated with the revolution. His leadership has been decisive at key turning points in the revolutionary movement in this country—going back to the '60s—and it is crucial today and looking ahead to the future. As we have said, our ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, our vanguard is the RCP and our leader is Chairman Avakian.

I realize a lot of the youth today, Black youth in particular, are looking back to things like Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party for direction, and it is not surprising, nor a bad thing, that many of the Black youth who are awakening to political life are attempting to learn from the revolutionary legacy of the '60s. It also seems that there is a broad sentiment that another BPP or Malcolm X is what is needed. Now, revolutionary nationalist leaders exist today, and it seems likely that as the situation sharpens new revolutionary leaders will emerge from the struggle of Black people, and I can only say right on to that. But what OUR people, the oppressed of ALL nationalities really need—what we already got in our Chairman and in our Party—is REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST/PROLETARIAN INTERNAITONALIST LEADERSHIP. Mao said, without a party, without a party based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the masses of people have nothing at all! Well, that kind of party already exists and the question is that proletarians of all nationalities have to step forward and join it and help build it and help prepare for all-the-way—stone to the bone!—revolution. And ain't nothing soft about that!

RW: Let's talk about some of the changes that people go through when they start becoming revolutionaries; for instance, we have a different attitude toward criticism/self-criticism, and one of our points of discipline is around criticism/self-criticism. It's a different way of looking at criticism and it's also kind of hard when you are a young brother or sister coming up to engage in this criticism/self-criticism.

Comrade X: Oh, yes, this is very difficult. That's definitely true in my own experience. This is one of the things early on in the Red Book that we learned and were able to put in some perspective. Because the code of the streets and even in prison is not just that you don't criticize somebody. A lot of times if you just say the wrong thing to somebody or offend somebody in some kind of way, it can actually go over to physical struggle and sometimes people get killed. This whole thing I was talking about earlier about "face" and "manhood" or even your understanding or knowledge getting called into question could lead to people getting seriously hurt.

So this question of criticism/self-criticism was a very difficult question. But I think the thing that was instrumental in helping to get over some of those barriers and to grasp this a lot better was the Red Book. Mao talks about why criticism and self-criticism is important to the revolutionary struggle and why not having criticism and self-criticism is corrosive to the revolutionary movement. And I can remember at a certain point when we came to grasp that and the importance of that. It's not like it was easy even after understanding it, but at least there was a certain perspective you had of why it was necessary. In other words, there were certain things we learned from Mao about if you have a dirty face somebody has to tell you and you have to wash it. Or if you are sweeping, where the broom doesn't hit, you won't clean the room. So those things—in the very basic and down-to-earth way that Mao put it together—helped us to understand why this was a very powerful weapon in the hands of the people and was something that was entirely different from the way the enemy does things. It's part of FIGHTING OUR WAY, as opposed to fighting their way. You take this up as a powerful weapon in the revolutionary struggle—to strengthen the ranks, not to tear people down. And what we did, as we began to understand and grasp that more, we actually tried to memorize those things and then live by it.

RW: Also there's a difference between how you deal with contradictions of the enemy and how you deal with contradictions among people, but on the street and in the gangster life, those things get very blurred.

Comrade X: That was a very important lesson to learn, because from the standpoint of the gangster mentality, you can't let anybody cross you, you can't let anybody get one up on you. You can't let anybody put you down or something. And that's resolved by violence and that's the way it is. I can remember coming up—and this whole thing about dissing reminds me of what we called signifying—we'd sit around and poke fun at this or that about the other person, and a lot of times those kinds of situations would go over to violence. Because if someone felt they were put down in the wrong way or they were insulted some way, it would actually go over to violence. But again, we learned from Mao the necessity of this criticism/self-criticism to the revolutionary movement, but also the character of it—the character of it should be around political weaknesses and not a question of personal attacks. Some of those basic lessons that we learned from Mao I think are still quite valid today and very useful in terms of the youth in being able to MAKE A LEAP, and I think that is a point to emphasize. Coming forward and taking up this revolutionary politics is a leap.

And maybe some people will look at it and say there is no way I can make that leap. But there's an article that the Chairman wrote some years ago and it has been reprinted in this new book of his writings, Reflections and Sketches, called "Proletarian Internationalism, Or If You Have Ever Been Mistreated You Know What I Am Talking About." And that particular article was a very important one in the Party and I think it's still important. And one of the points he makes in there is that becoming a communist is a leap. And he talks about, in terms of the masses making that leap, that it is a leap from their life experiences and their conditions of life, but it's not a leap from nowhere. And I think that's important. There is a lot in the life experiences of our people and their conditions of life which provide a firm basis to be able to make that leap and to be able to understand in a more profound way a lot of things about this system. But that has to be combined with the science of revolution.

RW: So the oppressed people, even coming from the basic masses, still have to understand how to apply the mass line.

Comrade X: There's two things, because you come from the masses, it's not just "come as you are." There's a leap that has to be made in taking up MLM. Taking MLM to the masses in one sense is like taking it home. But there is a leap that people have to make to actually grasp it and go to a higher level. And that's definitely true in my experience. It is a struggle to understand that the masses are the makers of history and how to learn from the masses and lead the masses.

It's not just enough to have the hatred for the Man. Without that you don't have nothing, but that has got to be taken to a whole other level with the science of revolution, with MLM. It's the Party and the masses which gives us the strength to be able to stand up to whatever the enemy can throw at us—and be able to not only stand up to it, but advance through it and to defeat them.

RW: Sometimes the youth are hesitant to be the first in their set to step out.

Comrade X: I've been stressing this point about a revolutionary movement and politicized atmosphere. I think that as a vanguard we have a tremendous responsibility in helping to bring that into being, and the youth have to be in the forefront of leading the masses into struggle and going up against the other side and the shit they are trying to bring down on people these days—as part of preparing for revolution and looking ahead to and laying the groundwork for bringing into being in the future a revolutionary army of the proletariat. There's a certain responsibility we have, not totally unlike that of the Panthers in the 1960s. In a certain sense we are standing on their shoulders and on the shoulders of the previous movement and what has gone on, but WITH ALL OF OUR STRENGTHS.

And I do think that even a small number of people stepping forward to play that kind of role can play a tremendous part. Looking back to the rebellions we led in prison [See Parts 2 and 4, "Burning Down the House" and "In the Spirit of Attica."]—they had a profound impact throughout the prison and even broader than that. It had a profound impact of a relative minority of people stepping forward and taking a certain stand and playing a certain role in terms of being able to cause others to stand up and take note and for them to check this out in a more serious way. So there is that kind of dialectics—that kind of back-and-forth—that does go on and needs to go on.

So I was thinking about that in terms of some of the hesitations that some youth have in going to another level than where others in their posse might be at. It's not a question of making a leap yourself and writing the others off, but of making a leap and, precisely because there are those connections and links, seeing that as the basis for fighting to win the people over. You have to be down for the revolution and you have to love the people. That's really a critical principle.

The Chairman has talked about that in terms of the experience of the Black Panther Party, how Huey and Bobby stepped out in a certain way and played a role in drawing forward people and actually taking the struggle at that time to a whole other level beyond where Malcolm had been. This is something that's played itself out in different ways in various countries throughout the world and still continues to do that. And the situation going on right now in Peru, where the people's war led by the Communist Party of Peru is gaining victories, is a very good example of what I am talking about.

RW: Actually taking on and fighting the enemy brought the people forward.

Comrade X: Right. The path to power is different in a country like the U.S., and you can't engage in the armed struggle before the conditions are ripe for doing that. But I do think there are some lessons that can be drawn from that in terms of the political struggles where people are taking on the powers. It is precisely the point you're making about engaging the enemy, and that's something that is absolutely crucial right now in terms of what is coming down, the attacks that are being brought down on the youth and on the people.

RW: How did you get out of prison?

Comrade X: That's a funny story in its own right. In looking back, it actually surprises me, not only that I got out of prison but that I am still alive, cuz there was a lot of things that happened in my life and any one of them could have been the end. First of all, just before I got out I was involved in leading that prison takeover where we had three cell houses and three guards as hostages. And one of the demands that we made was for amnesty, and we were able to back the prison authorities down. They didn't charge the cell houses and kill anybody, and they basically were forced to go along with our demands. Again I think that had a lot to do with the whole atmosphere in the country, including what had happened in Attica no doubt figured into why they did what they did.

But just previous to that rebellion, there was this funny coincidence. There was this guy I had met when I first got into prison who was a teacher in the prison. And during the course of time he had actually quit his job and went back to school and had become a lawyer. So he came back to the prison and saw me locked up there and he was astounded that I was still in prison. And he took my case and took it back to court and some time later I got a reversal of my verdict, and to make a long story short I was released. So it was like a fortunate set of circumstances. Also at that time, the prison authorities—as part of their whole tactic of "cut off the head and the body will die"—they wanted to get some of us out of the prison. So they transferred me to a minimum security situation. And it was a very difficult decision in terms of whether to do that or not, because it was very clear what they were trying to do—they were trying to diffuse the level of resistance that existed in the prison. So I talked it over with some of the other comrades, because pretty much the prison officials had told me to basically leave quietly or else—it was like an implicit threat that they were going to kill me. So we decided that the best way was for me to go. Our Chairman talks about how the enemy comes at you with sugar-coated bullets and real bullets, and I think the prison officials thought that if I got out I would forget about all this revolution stuff—that this was just something I did when I was in there and I was just angry and when I got out I would forget it. But they made a mistake.

RW: Yes they did, and good for the proletariat. You spoke earlier about the slogan the Chairman raised, "Fear Nothing, Be Down for the Whole Thing." So in wrapping up this interview, what do you have to say to the youth who are coming up like you about the special significance of this slogan for them.

Comrade X: I think that the possibility to bring this system down is something real, and not only that, the opening to be able to do that could come soon, but we got some work to do to prepare for the time when we can actually go over to an armed struggle to bring these people down—which is precisely what it is going to take.

There is a song that was popular not that long ago, and I don't think the artists were revolutionaries, but it had a beat to it and the song goes something like this, "Are you ready for the time of your life, it's time to stand up and fight." So if you are ready for the time of your life, it's time to stand up and fight, it's time to prepare for revolution, it's time to fight the power and prepare to bury the system. Not only can we end the shit that exists in this country—all these oppressive relations that exist in this country—but we can end this downpressing shit throughout the whole world, together with our people throughout the whole world. And that's the vision that I think is worth living for and the vision that is worth fighting and dying for. That's what I would say to the youth and that's very much captured in the saying "FEAR NOTHING, BE DOWN FOR THE WHOLE THING."

1. Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA [back]

2. "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM)" is how the science of communism was referred to at the time of this interview. That science has continued to be developed. [back]

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/september-28-ferguson-barbeque-in-the-afternoon-defiance-and-indict-now-at-night-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

September 28th, Ferguson

Barbeque in the Afternoon....Defiance and "Indict NOW" at Night

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us received the following correspondence from Ferguson:

Sunday night, September 28, about 300 people gathered on South Florissant Road across from the Ferguson police station. The Organization for Black Struggle invited their “white allies” to join them with pots and makeshift drums to make a lot of noise, which they beat while chanting and calling out the police. This was a very good development as the crowd included people of all different nationalities including close to 40% white students, middle class people and some from the ’60s.  It expressed that Black people are not alone in the struggle for justice for Michael Brown.

A wall of officers, some carrying riot gear, formed a line down the street facing the protesters, who at times hurled expletives and shouted: “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” “Michael Brown did not have to die, we all know the reason why, the whole damn system is guilty as hell.” “Indict, convict, send the killer cop to jail.” “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Darren Wilson has got to go.” There were many comments yelled at the police by protesters who faced off with the cops. People were loud, defiant and up in the cops' faces.  Many young white women and men joined the front lines, locked arms and blocked any attempt by the police to surge into the crowd.

The protesters defied the police over and over again. At a certain point after marching and a short rally, people marched back, then took the streets, refusing police orders to remain on the sidewalk. Police cruisers with their lights blaring surrounded the protesters, but at that point they were unable to do anything, so they backed up. This happened a number of times where the police took the middle of the street, then pulled back with people waving and singing “good-bye.”

Eight people were arrested on charges of resisting arrest and failure to obey the police. The cops in riot gear surged into the crowd a number of times, knocking people down and grabbing people. Women on the front lines were fiercely opposing people getting busted. The tensions grew very high, people calling out anyone who collaborated with the police in no uncertain terms. Several legal observers said people appeared to be picked out of the crowd randomly while legally protesting on the sidewalk.

The arrested—some who seemed to be targeted, other grabbed randomly—were being treated like hostages, being used to try and intimidate and manipulate other protesters. There was sharp debate among the protesters—should people negotiate with the police to try and get people out of jail without charges or bond if they “toned things down” and remained on the sidewalk? Others were saying, no way should the people negotiate with the police. The police had in the last week been raising bond to $1,000 vs. just cutting people loose with or without charges.

Throughout the protest people held up Day 49, Indict NOW! revcom.us. Revolution newspapers had been out in the crowd the days preceding at many of the protests, and many people had gotten them. Most protesters had “Indict NOW” buttons on which people loved, repeating “Not tomorrow, not next week but now!” One of the people from the Stop Mass Incarceration committee passed out the call for the Month of Resistance activities. Protest continues every night in front of the police station.

Earlier in the day a few revolutionaries were invited to a barbeque over at Canfield Gardens, the site of the murder of Mike Brown. When we got to Canfield there were artists painting pictures of Mike Brown and other art forms to be sold to raise money for his family—as part of an October contribution for justice. Some were part of the Hands Up Coalition and others were drawn by the need for creative people to speak out in their own way to help the family.

The site of Michael Brown's murder draws people from all over. Just today people from Nashville, other cities in Missouri, students, people who used to live in the neighborhood, and five female pastors all came to look at, pay respect and take photos of the memorial.

Some ministers were here from churches in the Chicago area and spoke to how they had read about the murder of Michael Brown but that it was another thing to come down and see the memorial and meet the people who had been fighting to get justice.  They were moved by the poster we had—“We refuse to accept slavery in any form.” They said that this poster really spoke to all oppression and took a number to post at their churches. They were intrigued by the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion, wanting to know if buses were leaving from Chicago. People took stacks of the pluggers about the Dialogue to get out to their friends and churches in Chicago saying they would call the number on the plugger when they got back. People discussed what it would take to get rid of the crimes of mass incarceration, police brutality, and the criminalization of a generation. 

We got into how people need to get free from this capitalist system; that it would take a revolution and that we were building that movement now. We talked about how the October Month of Resistance and the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian were two major ways that people needed to be part of changing the whole trajectory around police murder and bringing forward a whole new morality.

The question of the youth among people was a big one, with most thinking that the youth needed to come to god to get that morality. We said you need to be at this Dialogue and engage this question. We showed people Revolution newspaper with the call for the Dialogue and the need to get this postcard out; there is nothing like this happening anywhere and you need to be there!

They were also into mentoring women on domestic violence so they got a copy of Break the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution. One pastor was excited and said, we were just talking about “breaking the chains.” When we asked her what that meant she said women have to get free of abusive relationships and be able to stand on their own.

As people from the neighborhood dropped by, some listened to Chuck D’s new audio, reading the pledge for the October Month of Resistance, most took up the” Indict Now!” button and Revolution newspapers and fliers for the month. One brother wasn’t sure if he would put it on, saying “people might think I want to be indicted.” But then since everyone had it on so he did. During the afternoon there was spoken word, drumming, and singing. Copwatch was present, who have given cameras to all the residents along with “Know your legal rights” pamphlets.

Last week the memorial to Michael Brown had been burnt to the ground under very suspicious circumstances.  Today, out of nowhere, a red car came driving backwards down the street at high speed and took out part of the memorial. It happened so fast it took your breath away. People ran into the street, but the car continued to race backwards up the street and around the corner. It was a cowardly act, but the memorial was quickly rebuilt.

A young brother from the project took responsibility for the barbeque. He raised how he had been thinking a lot about history in a more scientific way. We got him the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and will be going back to talk to him. As we left more people of all nationalities and ages were coming by to sing and dance.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/requiem-for-michael-brown-at-st.-louis-symphony-hall-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Requiem for Michael Brown at St. Louis Symphony Hall

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The night of October 4, at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, right after intermission, the conductor raised his baton to begin the Brahms Requiem. Then a man in the audience stood up and began singing in protest and in honor of Michael Brown, the unarmed, Black 18-year-old shot and killed by Ferguson police on August 9. A woman with an operatic voice a few rows away joined him. Then many others throughout the hall, of all nationalities, stood and began singing too. Their song was “Which Side Are You On?” a miner's union organizing song written in 1931—with added lyrics about Michael Brown. They sang: "Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on? Justice for Mike Brown means justice for us all." They sang beautifully, with great feeling and great harmony.

As they sang, banners were unfurled from the balcony that read: “Requiem for Mike Brown, 1996-2014,” and “Racism Lives Here” beneath a portrait of Mike Brown. The protestors then marched out, chanting "Black lives matter" and red paper hearts were scattered over the edge of the balcony that read: "Requiem for Mike Brown, May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014."

You can go up to YouTube to see and hear this.

 

Some in the audience seemed disturbed or perplexed. But many others applauded along with some of the St. Louis Symphony musicians. And the conductor, Marcus Stenz, stood respectfully during the protest.

One of the organizers, Derek Laney, quoted in the Washington Post, said, "It went to show that there are people among that crowd who think that the protests matter, and that it's not okay to just kill black children, and they'd be receptive to hear that message." He went on to say that protesters wanted to "speak to a segment of the population that has the luxury of being comfortable. You have to make a choice for just staying in your comfort zone or will you speak out for something that's important. It's not all right to ignore it."

This inspiring and creative action broke into mainstream news—including coverage on “all-news” radio in the area.

This protest came 56 days since the shooting of Michael Brown—as evidence of murder piles up. But still the cop, Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown, is not indicted and is still walking free!

Thanks to readers who contributed to this story.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/fight-for-justice-for-michael-brown-in-ferguson-outrageous-arrests-of-protestors-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Fight for Justice for Michael Brown in Ferguson:

Outrageous Arrests of Protesters

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The fight for justice for Mike Brown worked hard to stay on the offensive, as a group of about 50 people defiantly marched through a local Walgreens and Stop & Save in Ferguson on October 2, chanting and buying snacks, before heading to the infamous Ferguson police station. Though none of the protesters were in the street, they were suddenly and without warning set upon by police who marched in and grabbed and arrested about a dozen people. Witnesses said some of the youth arrested were identified and targeted by the cops. During the past week, the Ferguson police station has been the scene of determined protest night after night, and repeated arrests. Earlier in the week there was both a ministers’ protest and a protest marked by college students and other activists of all nationalities joining in larger numbers than before. These protests also resulted in many arrests.

Ferguson protesters leave arm-in-arm after being released from jail October 3. People have continued to demonstrate and confront authorities demanding that charges be brought against the cop who murdered Michael Brown nearly two months ago. (AP Photo)

 

Arrestees were eventually taken to a neighboring police lockup, put in orange jumpsuits (a first for Ferguson), slapped with high bail, and locked behind bars for hours longer than most others arrested in earlier demonstrations. Initial charges reportedly included failure to comply with a police order, noise ordinance violations, and resisting arrest. Ultimately most got out with no bond while three got out on a combined $2,000.

The continuing repression directed against protesters who refuse to be deterred has provoked growing outrage about wanton violations of people’s rights as well as sent authorities scrambling about how best to get control of the situation. On Thursday night, immediately after the arrests, religious people set up a vigil in the St. Ann police station demanding the arrestees’ release, as well as raising funds to pay bond. And on Friday, a change of command was announced. The St. Louis County Police would take over protest “security,” in others words, protest repression. The official announcement referred to the Ferguson Police Department being over stretched. The new commander, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, also stated that Thursday night did give him a “sense of urgency.” Keep in mind that St. Louis County police themselves were involved in the Thursday night sweep and arrests, and they have been involved repeatedly over the last seven weeks in suppressing protest and brutalizing protesters.

The heart of the problem for authorities is that despite hundreds of arrests, and the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, dogs, “reform” packages and the Department of Justice's active role, the use of ordinances and many different police forces, a campaign of distortion and vilification in the media aimed at the defiant youth and also at revolutionaries, they have not been successful in stopping the protests. It’s day 55 since the murder of Mike Brown without an indictment or a day in jail for the killer cop, Darren Wilson.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/activist-cecily-mcmillan-back-in-court-for-videotaping-police-officers-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Activist Cecily McMillan Back in Court for Videotaping Police Officers

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us received the following press advisory about the upcoming trial of Cecily McMillan, who recently served 58 days in New York’s Rikers Island prison for an Occupy Wall Street case.

On December 7, 2013, Cecily McMillan was arrested for attempting to document by video the arrests of a young man and woman in the Union Square subway station. Cecily saw two plainly dressed men begin to abusively confront and interrogate two young Latino people. When she began to question them about the harassment, it turned out the men were police officers who then arrested them. Cecily followed them to the subway precinct, watching to make sure they were not further abused, and began to take a video of the arrest process from outside the precinct doors.

Cecily was arrested and has been charged with “obstructing governmental administration” even though nothing was obstructed, for the two arrestees were issued summonses and released. Cecily was harassed by police officers, particularly when they found out that she was the OWS [Occupy Wall Street] protester awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a police officer. In May of 2014 she was convicted on the assault charges, currently awaiting appeal. She spent 58 days incarcerated in Rikers Island, after which she has advocated for improving the deplorable conditions in the city’s largest jail.

Cecily’s supporters are calling for allies to pack the courtroom. The U.S. Constitution protects the right to film police activity, as confirmed in a recent internal memo to all NYPD officers in response to public outrage over video evidence showing a police officer fatally choking Eric Garner this summer. Police officers continue to harass or arrest activists and bystanders that record police misconduct. On Wednesday at 1:15 p.m., supporters will hold a press conference outside the courthouse with activists as well as city officials in defense of the right to film police activity.

What: Cecily McMillan on trial for videotaping police misconduct

Who: Cecily McMillan, Occupy Wall Street Activist and Prison Justice Advocate

When: 9:30 am EDT, Monday, October 6, 2014

Where: Manhattan District Court, 100 Centre St., 4th floor, Jury Part 13.

See also "Cecily McMillan: 'Bring voices back to those who have had their voices taken away'".

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/cecily-mcmillan-bring-voices-back-to-those-who-have-had-their-voices-taken-away-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Cecily McMillan: "Bring voices back to those who have had their voices taken away"

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following talk by Cecily McMillan was given at the August 2, 2014, New York City kick-off meeting for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Cecily McMillan had recently gotten out of Rikers Island prison in New York City after serving 58 days for an Occupy Wall Street case in which she was attacked and sexually abused by the NYPD.

Cecily McMillan speaking at a press conference announcing the Month of Resistance, August 5, 2014.

My first experience with prison, with the mass incarceration network, comes from Southeast Texas. I grew up in a trailer park and where I come from there is also a war on drugs being waged against the young, mostly white men there. My brother is a victim. He is an addict. He was taken, starting at the age of 17, and has spent most of his life in and out of jails, long term stints, all related to drugs. As I worked with him in his imprisonment, I had some sense of what went on in prisons. I often called the warden for his treatment. But it was not until I went to Rikers and was imprisoned there on May 5 for my work with Occupy Wall Street that I really understood what was happening in there. When you're so divorced by the fences, by the bridges, by the razor wire and you have 21-minute phone calls that can cost you up to $15 for that phone call, it's really hard to get a sense of what goes on in there. So despite what I thought was a familiarity with the horrors and the atrocities of the jails and the prison systems through those phone calls with my brother and my friends, I had a very rude awakening upon my time in Rikers.

I experienced much more closely to what [people have been talking about here today]. I only met a handful of folks that were from Manhattan. The large majority of folks came from the Bronx and from Brooklyn. I was never in a room with more than two or three women that looked to be white. And most of those women I found out were at least half Latino. The women I did meet were incredible. I consider them to be organizers in and of themselves. When I listened to their stories, when I talked to them, when I related to them, I found it incredible that they managed to organize their communities, even while inside on the phone, often screaming things like, "what do you mean you don't know the PIN number, the PIN number is your birthday, you have to pay this bill, you have to give $25 to this person, and $100 to this person."

It was incredible to see that these women managed to, in spite of roaring atrocities both in and outside Rikers, organize themselves to be human beings, to even live every day, to maintain a humanity, to continue to take care of their communities as they are completely under attack every day, both inside and outside Rikers. I met a woman with a child that was one year old that had been diagnosed with a serious heart defect. They would not consider her, her insurance would not cover the surgery that he needed and she needed to come up with $50,000 fast. She had gone to college, she went to CUNY. She was studying the internet, web stuff and she found a way that she could get that money fast. She was taken down in the conspiracy investigation of the Target credit card scandal. I thought this was very interesting in that nobody in our banking system has been taken down yet.... But she got the money that she needed. This woman was not stupid, she was very intelligent. She knew that she was going to get caught. Getting that much money that quickly. She knew that she was gonna go down. But she knew that she could save her child's life and she did what she needed to do to take care of her child. I met another woman who defended herself with a knife against her ex-boyfriend who came at her after years of abuse.

Because she was a police officer, the DA argued that she was not helpless, that she had the training to de-escalate the situation and therefore she was forced to take a plea bargain of a year in jail for protecting herself, for daring to be a woman that would stand up for herself and refuse to take another beating from a man. Like these woman, many of the women I met at Rikers were what I would call political prisoners. To me a political prisoner is someone who goes against social norms or rules to stand against oppression, to stand for what is right, or to stand up for those they love. All of the rest were victims of what I believe to be political repression. When our government consigns entire classes and communities to cyclical homeless and joblessness, to racism and classism and then criminalizes this helplessness that comes out of this, as characterized by the "broken window theory" or by the war on drugs—this is political repression. And when they put our people in prison they not only separate our people from society, they take away their personhood. At Rikers I learned, I felt and I suffered the reality that the term "prisoner" is divided from the word "person." That criminal is distinguished from citizen. That being convicted of a felony meant in a very real way that I was no longer seen as a worthwhile contributor to society.

The very society that I love, the very society that I have fought for and the very society that I went to jail for. When our society creates these false distinctions, when our society makes it so that there can be people as a part of our society that can be degraded to the level of prisoner and silenced and they can no longer participate in the process that governs their lives, this falls in the face of everything that this country says that it's supposed to be. It falls in the face of democracy and it is a great wound to humanity. It cannot exist. This cannot go on any longer. We cannot put people in a distinction that makes it so they cannot participate in the everyday decision-making that governs their lives.

We must make it so every person has a voice, that their voices can be heard—and that is a division that must be separated from our prison system. So I'm joining this Call [for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation] because I want to make sure that everybody from here on out can at least have a voice and the circumstance that have rendered so many voiceless. I want to make sure that everybody from here on out can at least have a voice in the circumstances that have rendered so many voiceless.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/oct-1-pledge-of-resistance-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

A Pledge for the Month of Resistance
Actions on October 1st

Updated October 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

  • SMIN Rally in Chicago - Pledge of Resistance
  • Oct 1 - Build up to a Month of Resistance at City Hall in NYC
  • Cleveland, Bringing Pledge of Resistance to campus
  • Students in Harlem raising their voices for Stop Mass Incarceration
  • Students in Southern California taking up the Pledge of Resistance
  • Stop Mass Incarceration Network launching Month of Resistance in Harlem
  • Chicago, mother speaking out on the wrongful conviction of her son and the Month of Resistance
  • High school students launching Month of Resistance at University of California, Berkeley
  • UCLA students kick off Month of Resistance with a defiant edge
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Slide show October 1, 2014

Early reports from October 1st paint a picture of diverse, determined, courageous people taking the Pledge of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They are people from the housing projects and inner cities – people who have been told their voices mean nothing. They are people who are not "under the gun," literally and figuratively, but who join in insisting that "Black lives matter, Latino lives matter, All lives matter." They took the pledge on campuses, in parks, in front of jails, and in public spaces. They set a tone, and issued a challenge for MONTH OF RESISTANCE.

Twenty people gathered in Ferguson, Missouri to read the pledge. This is the town where Michael Brown was killed by police on August 9th. The people of Ferguson rose up in rebellion. The cop who murdered Michael Brown has STILL not been charged or arrested. The city has become a focal point in the battle against police brutality, murder, terror and repression.

In New York City, the Pledge of Resistance was read in English and Spanish in the early morning in front of Manhattan's Criminal Court – known as "the Tombs," and at an 11am press conference in front of City Hall, and in front of the State Office Building in Harlem. A wide range of backgrounds and perspectives were represented including child welfare activists, religious forces, and Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party. At every stop, people testified with bitter stories about police abuse. In the afternoon, in Harlem, high school students rallied around a banner with the Pledge in a park. Later they blew whistles when they saw police threatening a man in a near-by subway entrance -- to make a statement that they would not tolerate him being abused. In the evening organizers headed to the Sunset Park district of Brooklyn, where 150 people had marched earlier in the week against police brutality.

As of early evening, October 1st, revcom.us received word of the Pledge of Resistance being read in front of the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, at Cleveland State University, at the LAPD headquarters and UCLA in Los Angeles, in Seattle, and in the Bay Area. Stay tuned for updates.

   Oct 1st Video

Taking the Pledge of Resistance, Ferguson Missouri.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)


Rabbi Michael Lerner at University of California Berkeley reads Pledge.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)


An activist in the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) in East Harlem speaks out.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)


Carl Dix, Oct 1, 2014.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)


Poet Elmaz Abinader & journalist Tara Dorabji Pledge RESISTANCE TO MASS INCARCERATION...


Other Significant Events Around the Country on October 1

Two Editorial Endorsements for the Month of Resistance

The San Francisco Bay Guardian editorial board as well as a writer at the National Catholic Reporter have endorsed the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

A September 30 editorial titled "End Mass Incarceration" began: "We at the Bay Guardian wholeheartedly support the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and its call for the month of October to be 'a month of resistance to mass incarceration, police terror, repression, and the criminalization of a generation.' It's time to rediscover our humanity, redirect our resources, and invest in this country's underclass instead of attacking it." The newspaper went on to expose the scope of mass incarceration and cited the Stop Mass Incarceration Network's "National Vision Statement": "If you don't want to live in a world where people's humanity is routinely violated because of the color of their skin, JOIN US. And if you are shocked to hear that this kind of thing happens in this so-called homeland of freedom and democracy—it does happen, all the damned time—you need to JOIN US too—you can't stand aside and let this injustice be done in your name."

"October has been declared a month of resistance to mass incarceration, police terror, repression and the criminalization of a generation," Mary Ann McGivern wrote in a September 25 piece in the National Catholic Reporter titled "A call to resist mass incarceration." She continued: "These are strong words, a strong call by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Talk about mass incarceration and police terror makes me squirm a little. But that doesn't make the accusations of repression and criminalization false. Read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. That would be a good way to participate in this October action."

Both these endorsements are very significant and point to the need and potential for the Month of Resistance to become known and supported throughout society.

Religious Voices Join in October 1 Kick Off

Religious voices helped make October 1 a powerful kick-off for the Month of Resistance. Here are some these voices:

At the University of California, Berkeley, following a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement which helped launch the 1960s, Rabbi Michael Lerner—editor of Tikkun magazine, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley—did a video-taped reading of the Pledge of Resistance.

In New York City, a representative of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace organization joined the vigil at City Hall where the Pledge of Resistance was read and spoke at a press conference afterward about her group’s efforts on behalf of refugees—not immigrants—forced to flee Mexico and Central America.

In Chicago, Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of Theology and Culture, Religion and Society, Princeton Theological Seminary (and a member of the Host Committee for the November 15 Cornel West-Bob Avakian Dialogue on Revolution and Religion) joined in a reading of the Pledge of Resistance and a speak-out at the Cook County Courthouse and Jail. Later, Charles Perry, the head of the prison ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ, spoke at a 5 pm rally downtown.

Such voices are a critical component of making the Month of Resistance like a giant STOP sign that cannot be ignored. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network Faith Based Initiative has called for sermons against mass incarceration around the country during the week of October 3-10. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, 21 churches, synagogues and mosques have announced they are participating.

Campuses, Communities, and Public Squares

LAPD Headquarters

Fruitvale Station

In a number of cities, groups of people went to campuses, housing projects and inner city communities, and took the streets and public squares on October 1 to read the Pledge of Resistance and to call on others act together on this day. Students at the University of Houston did the Pledge at a busy intersection—and in the evening, people took out the Pledge to the front of the notorious county jail in Houston. In Cleveland, a crew got quite a response to the Pledge at a food court of a university. Then they went to a mostly Black neighborhood where last month the police had shot dead a Black man who relatives said was emotionally upset over the recent death of his mother.

In the Los Angeles area, Pledge actions took place on campuses like UC Riverside and UCLA as well as at the downtown LAPD headquarters. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there were readings of the Pledge at UC Berkeley, College of Alameda, and other campuses, at the downtown Oakland Oscar Grant Corner, and in front of Oakland City Hall. At the Fruitvale BART Station—where Oscar Grant was killed in cold blood on the train platform in 2009 by a cop with a shot to the back—more than a dozen people, including Oscar's uncle, Cephus Johnson, gathered on the platform to read the Pledge together.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Setting the Record Straight: The Real Role of the Revolutionary Communist Party in the Struggle vs. Police Repression

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Over the past few months, there has been a concerted attack on the Party and its role in the struggle against police brutality. Some political forces have not only spread rumors, but have actually accused the Party or people associated with the Party of criminal acts, or—either alternatively or at the very same time—of being police provocateurs. THESE SLANDERS ARE LIES. THOSE WHO SPREAD THEM ARE LYING.

In addition, and even more serious, some people and forces have made physical threats, attempted to organize physical attacks and actually have carried out attacks. At times this has included fingering people for the police and actively working to help the police. SUCH ATTACKS ARE OUTRAGEOUS AND MUST BE OPPOSED, AND ACTUALLY RENDER AID TO THE POLICE AND POWERS-THAT-BE. SUCH COOPERATION WITH THE POLICE MUST HAVE NO PLACE IN ANY MOVEMENT THAT REALLY OPPOSES POLICE MURDER, ABUSE AND BRUTALITY.

Not only that: such slanders, threats and attacks are designed to enable, or in any case could objectively enable, the state to escalate the attacks on the Party and those who support and work with it to even more serious and grievous dimensions. These kinds of slanders and this kind of atmosphere played a major role in creating a situation during the 1960s and '70s in which poisonous conflicts were fomented by the FBI and other organs of the state, and important invaluable leaders were killed off, with the authorities able to hide their hand and blame it on “internal conflicts.” These slanders and attacks are also designed to create a situation where honest people who should know and do better—who would defend people against open attacks by the state—retreat into confusion.

The terrible damage done by this includes the assassination of Malcolm X, in which the outrageous slanders and threats against Malcolm coming from members of the Nation of Islam and their newspaper enabled the FBI and police to conceal their role in Malcolm’s murder. It also includes numerous incidents around the Black Panther Party, including the murder of Panther leaders Bunchy Carter and John Huggins by people associated with the cultural nationalist US group. And there are literally thousands of other such incidents, not so well-known, which were orchestrated in the same way.  This is STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE of the people who run this system—the “power structure”—the imperialist-capitalists.

Such slanders and threats were part of the whole “toolkit” of the FBI, a fact which only came to light in 1971 with the exposure of the FBI’s “COINTELPRO” program. These bitter and costly lessons, paid for with the blood of great leaders and the despair and suffering that came in the wake of all this, is today ignored by too many who know it, and not known by too many who should. Those engaging in these slanders are doing something very criminal, counter-revolutionary and dangerous and need to STOP.

Right now such attacks are particularly focused on Joey Johnson, as well as some supporters who are in Ferguson. These, again, are outrageous. And again: they must stop, and honest people, whether or not they agree with everything about the RCP, must oppose them.

Of a somewhat different order, but also doing damage and great harm and often working in tandem with the first, is a second set of lies: the notion that the Party is a bunch of people with no connection to the masses who care only about self-promotion. THESE TOO ARE LIES AND OUTRAGEOUS DISTORTIONS. Anyone who had a serious attitude—who actually looked into our history and practice going back 40 years and more, who read our press or examined our positions—would see this in a minute. But particularly in today’s culture of snarkiness and the attitude of “I-read-it-on-the-internet-and-I’ve-heard-it-around-so-it-must-be-true,” this has confused some people. To that end, we have included here for people’s reference a brief summary of the Party’s history in this struggle. Left to stand, this lie undercuts and destroys the unity needed to actually stand against a common enemy and STOP the horror of mass incarceration and police murder. And it creates the attitude where people stand back and do nothing when the state goes after revolutionaries and radicals who stand against it.

What Actually Happened in Ferguson

Much of this current round of attack has focused up in and around Ferguson. On August 9, Michael Brown was wantonly murdered by the cop Darren Wilson and his corpse was left lying in the streets of Ferguson, like so much trash, for hours. Immediately on hearing this, Party supporters came down to the city to join with people who were standing up—as they should have, and as did many other people. Throughout that time, the Party stood with those who made sure through the fierceness and unquenchable determination of their struggle that this murder would not be covered up, not be tamped down by yet another round of the dead-ends of voter registration drives, lawsuits, investigations and everything BUT justice for yet another callous murder of an unarmed Black person by the police.

This stand in particular incurred the wrath of two kinds of people and has been the proximate cause of the threats, attacks, slanders and lies that made this article necessary. The first are those who outright work in or for the system (Ron Johnson, who is after all nothing but a PIG, Antonio French, the politician whose great claim to fame seems to be that when police in his district murder somebody they give an excuse for it; Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo, mouthpieces for the ruling class media; etc.); and the second are those who are not themselves part of the power structure but still wish to steer masses of people away from defiance and rebellion and into the tried and untrue meaningless dead ends of voting, “conversations,” “working through the Justice Department,” etc.

As for the cops, politicians and top news commentators, these people are enforcers of the system, pure and simple. There is no common ground with them. As for those who attempt to police the masses and attack the revolutionaries for standing with those masses—they fear the specter of the people rising up much more than they hate what the police do every day; this is why you see them doing the work of the police, telling the people to go home, fingering those who they claim are agitators, etc. They cannot conceive of anything beyond reforming this system, and more than anything they want “in” on it, and so they also fear and hate talk of revolution—especially as this gets a hearing among the people. Such people need to be sharply struggled with to see the consequences and implications of their actions and to get off them, and to be won over to at least friendly neutrality. Finally, all this has led to confusion of those who seem content to believe anything that they see on the Internet, who are not driven to find out the truth for themselves, and who just “go along” with the crowd—and this too does significant damage to the actual crucial fight that must now be urgently waged.

Those in the streets, the defiant ones, see no place for themselves in this system—they understand on a basic level that there is no future for them, and when the outrages just get to be too much and the chance comes to stand up against these outrages they fearlessly do so—these represent the hope for real change, if they are given leadership and support, if they are worked with to see the source of the problem and its solution, and if work is done to rally people very broadly to support their righteous stand. To the accusation that we have worked with and supported and provided leadership to these forces, we plead “innocent as charged.”

The Party’s Aims and Objectives

The RCP works with and stands with the masses to resist police terror and mass incarceration all over the country, in many different forms, AND we work to expose the real source of the problem—capitalism—and the real solution—revolution. These two aims flow out of a single place: our implacable opposition to the horrors that are brought down on masses of people based on our deep conviction that not only is this totally unjust and illegitimate, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We could get to a whole new situation where the police terror that comes down on masses could be ended—through REVOLUTION. This understanding not only leads us to be at least as outraged as anyone else by these horrors, and at least as driven as anyone else to end them... it also leads us to grasp that UNLESS people are inspired and organized to stand up against these, they will be driven down and broken, unable to wage the larger struggle for emancipation. And we understand—through actually digging into WHY police terror and mass incarceration has grown like a cancer these past four decades, how this is linked to the capitalist system—that unless this is stopped, what is now a “slow” structural genocide could be escalated at some point into a fast, horrendous “final solution.”

Our aims and objectives in entering into these struggles are:

  1.  to build the strongest, most determined and broadest possible resistance to police terror and mass incarceration...
  2. to build up the people’s consciousness and fighting capacity against the enemy (the state—that is, the governmental structures of violent repression and decision-making), with particular emphasis to organizing and standing with those directly under the gun...
  3. at the same time, to reach out broadly to many, many others in all walks of life in society to go against the demonization and isolation of those on the bottom who are the objects of this terror and imprisonment...
  4. to instill in millions a sense of the systematic character of all this and the total illegitimacy of a system that requires this...and
  5. through all this to both change the terms in society in such a way that the rulers are put on the defensive and forced to back off on this program AND to prepare people, in their millions, to actually make revolution and DO AWAY with this madness at the earliest possible time.

All this flows out of and is part of our strategy to actually make revolution in the U.S., at the earliest possible time. People can and should check out our explanation of this strategy: “On the Strategy for Revolution.” In another sense, this strategy is concentrated in the slogan “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.”

Does this constitute a hidden agenda? No, it constitutes a larger agenda. And, anyway, so what? “Having an agenda” is far from unique to the Party! As one minister working within a coalition put it, “look, everyone in here has an agenda—I’m a Methodist minister and I’m coming from that point of view.”

Methods and Principles

As part of building the fight to actually STOP this outrage right now we work with many different people and political forces. We come together and make plans on how to unite in common struggle against a common enemy. And within that, there should be a spirit of lively wrangling over differences. If done in the right way, with largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, this kind of wrangling actually deepens the unity of any group of people working together.

At the same time, there should be and must be a few simple principles of what does NOT go in this movement. One of those principles, which everyone should be able to agree with, is this:

Differences among groups should be struggled out in a principled way. There must not be physical threats, let alone physical attacks, against anyone in the movement to end these outrages. Nor can there be accusations of working with the police—being a provocateur or informant—without actual evidence. And as for “working with the police,” there are often instances where it is necessary to negotiate permits, etc.; but in no instance is it ever permissible for people in struggle to finger, or turn over, others to the police or to speculate to the press—who often work closely with the authorities—about someone else in the coalition. Such activity should actually be cause for barring people and individuals from the people’s movements, until they renounce and change these practices.

Where We Are Now

Let’s face it: any honest review of the Party’s history over literally decades leading up to today would have to conclude that, as one minister put it, without the RCP this struggle would be far weaker than it is. However, because most people don’t know the history of the Party in this struggle, we have included an appendix going into this.

In April of this year, the RCP united with the initiative coming from Carl Dix and Cornel West for the Month of Resistance, now going on. 90 people, representing individuals and groups, met in April to hammer out a call for the Month. As of Sunday, October 5, 327 people have signed this call and hundreds are working actively on it in many different ways. Artists, including Alice Walker and Chuck D, have contributed important efforts. Clergy have begun to give sermons, as part of a concerted effort to bring religious communities into, or further into, this struggle. Students have taken up different plans on different campuses, including building mock prison cells, holding symposia, group “hands-up” pictures, and other efforts. Plans have been made and are going forward for massive demonstrations on October 22. And, while called by a coalition of other groups, the forces organizing the Month of Resistance (the Stop Mass Incarceration Network), including the Party, have enthusiastically endorsed the weekend in Ferguson.  There is a great deal at stake here in making this month a real blow against this whole genocidal program, a massive STOP sign right in the face of U.S. society.

Right now, as we said earlier, we are, with many other people and groups, working hard to make October a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror and the Criminalization of a Generation. To actively work to wreck this effort, as some are doing, is unconscionable and shows only that they hate revolution and resistance more than they do the system and its horrors; to stand aside based on rumors and hearsay, to fall for the distancing carried out by others, some of whom are in league with the authors and perpetrators of these horrors, without yourself digging into the facts, is, in its ultimate effect, just as bad.

The juncture is clear: we have an opportunity over these next 3½ weeks to change the terms of things in this society, to seize the political initiative to create a sea change in how people view this outrage—to take a huge step toward actually STOPPING this. Not mitigating it, not ameliorating it, not carving out alternative space within it for a few—but STOPPING it. There is much right now going on that is different and extremely positive—much of it that has been sparked by or influenced by the call issued for the Month of Resistance and much that is independent of that and welling up from many different quarters. There is tremendous potential.

But to realize this potential—to really take this giant step toward changing the very terms in which millions of people view what is just, what is legitimate and what must be done—we must all go much further. That will take many, many people and political forces from a very broad diversity of viewpoints working together, in many different kinds of activities. Let’s DO this. Let’s honestly struggle over differences, learning from each other and developing our individual and collective understanding of the problem... but let’s most of all really go forward with the broadest, most united fight possible against a common enemy that is killing people and mutilating spirits even as you are reading this.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014


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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Stolen Lives:

There IS An Epidemic of Police Murder!

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A group of volunteers for Revolution/revcom.us is compiling statistics for police killings since cops on Staten Island, New York, used a chokehold to kill Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, on July 17, 2014. So far the group has established that from the date of Garner’s murder, through the months of August and September, police around the U.S. killed at least 198 people—more two a day. This is staggering and outrageous--there IS an epidemic of police killings in the USA!

Valuable work on exposing police murder in the U.S. has been done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Coalition and others. The revcom.us group is continuing to document lives stolen by police since July 17 and asks readers to contribute to this work. Send instances of police killings you know of to:
revolution.reports@yahoo.com. The world needs to know this AND people need to be part of putting an END to the epidemic of police murder.

*****

Let’s be Real About WHO The Fuck Poses Threat and Bodily Harm to Society!

As we research the various accounts of people being murdered by police throughout the country—there is a theme that comes though—which is that over and over the justification by the police or the DA for the police killing in question is  “justifiable homicide,” a determination which results in a decision not to charge the police involved because the victims posed a threat to the “security” of the officers involved. In so many cases, this justification flies in the face of reality. The following are just a few of the particularly egregious killings that have occurred in the last couple months:

1. August 9, Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri:

It was the middle of a Saturday afternoon and dozens of people saw it happen. 18-year-old Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were walking home from the store. Johnson told news reporters: “We wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all.”  Johnson says the two were walking in the street when a cop rolled up on them and told them to get out of the street. They kept walking and the officer got out of the car and fired a shot. Johnson said they were scared and started to run away. Then:  “He shot again and once my friend felt that shot he turned around and he put his hands in the air and he started to get down but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots.”  An independent autopsy backed up Johnson’s and other witnesses’ testimony: Michael had been shot 6 times in the front of his body and his wounds were consist with having his hands raised.  Subsequent audio and video evidence corroborates this, yet Darren Wilson has still not been indicted.

2. August 24, Joseph Jennings, Ottawa, Kansas:

From a KCTV5, Kansas City news report on the police murder of 18-year-old Joseph Jennings: “I told them it is Joseph Jennings. He is suicidal. He is upset, don't shoot him," she [Brandy Smith, his aunt] said. Her husband also tried to help. "My husband was going to tackle him. He was within arms-reach. They said to get back or they were going to shoot him," Smith said. Smith says her husband backed off and after this the police yelled out, “bag him” and then shot him. “They shot him in the back of the leg and the back of the shoulder," Smith said. After these shots fired into Joseph, he was taken to the local hospital and later died.

Joseph’s aunt reported that the two cops who killed her son were the same two cops who had been called to their house just hours earlier when he took 60 pills in a suicide attempt and was taken to the local hospital.  It was evident that these cops KNEW that Joseph was mentally unstable and also KNEW that he might have in hand a BB gun because they had also stopped him earlier--fifteen minutes after he left the hospital-- and confiscated one that he had in his possession, but did not arrest him. And YET—knowing all this—they STILL proceeded to shoot him down because they said they felt “threatened” by a BB gun that he was holding as he was coming out of the hardware store where he was killed.

3. August 19, Kajieme Powell, St Louis, Missouri:  

25-year-old Kajieme Powell was killed by St. Louis police ten days after the murder of Michael Brown, as he was walking home from the store. Responding to a shoplifting call, police arrived on the scene and within seconds fired a dozen shots into Kajieme which killed him instantly. Neighbors reported that Kajieme was mentally ill and heard him shouting, “Shoot me, shoot me, shoot me, shoot me now, motherfucker!” as he approached the officers. These shouts clearly indicate a person in pain and anger. After the killing, St. Louis Police Chief Dotson described Powell’s death as “suicide by cop.”  

Police Chief Dotson also said that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within three or four feet of them holding a knife "in an overhand grip." However, a police-released cell phone video contradicts this description. The cell phone footage shows Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets. And the video shows Kajieme was walking sideways and looking backwards.

Even after the police release of the video which contradicted the police story, Police Chief Dotson still defended the actions of the police officer involved. The justification of this, in the words of Chief Dotson: “Every police officer that’s out there has a right to defend themselves, officer safety is the number one issue.” The safety of the police was in no way in question by the presence of Kajieme Powell. What about the safety and welfare of those they gun down and in this case—for being mentally ill and in pain!

A witness on the scene says: “They puttin’ him in cuffs. He’s dead, oh my god. They just killed this man. He didn’t have a gun on him. Now they’re cuffin’ him he’s already dead. The man is already dead. How the hell can a dead man be of ANY threat to anybody?!"

4. August 31, Jose Walter Garza, Laredo, Texas:

Six police with AR-15 rifles fired 61 shot and killed 30-year-old Jose Walter Garza at a truck stop in Laredo. Walter's grandmother said that her grandson “had no face” after being shot. (Source: New York Daily News, September 5, 2014). Family members admitted Garza could be disruptive when off his medication for schizophrenia, but “he wouldn’t get aggressive, he wouldn’t hurt anyone,” cousin Andrea Martinez told the Daily News. “He’s a good kid,” she said. “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg, or the arm or something? Not like that.” Walter was well-known to the cops in that area—they had arrested him 30 times in the past and he was committed to a state hospital in 2010 after a suicide attempt. Hours before the police killing at the truck-stop, police had spotted Garza with the replica BB gun and confiscated it, but did not arrest him.

News report (from New York Daily News, September 6, 2014) reported: “Surveillance video taken at the truck stop, obtained by the Laredo Morning Times, shows squad cars on scene with lights flashing. About 10 seconds in, gunfire erupts and Garza body rolls into view in a fetal position. Three officers, including one armed with a rifle, approach the man with guns raised. One cop reaches in with his foot and kicks away what appears to be a black handgun that had fallen next to Garza’s body.” (Police reports later indicated that what appeared to be “black handgun” was a “pellet gun–a semi-automatic 'replica'”)

The video shows the cops involved in the killing giving each other props with fist bumps— celebrating their execution-style crime.

5. August 2, Omar Abrego, South Los Angeles:

(Source KTLA 5 August 16.2014) 37-year-old Omar Abrego died from a brutal beating by LAPD as he was driving home four blocks from where Ezell Ford was killed by the LAPD on August 25. The LAPD say that “an altercation ensued” when they caught up with Omar trying to run away from them. This was contradicted by family members and witnesses who said that they saw the officers beating Abrego. His brother said: “They were beating him real bad, and he died of the wounds.” Another witness said that it appeared that the cops were beating Abrego for 10 minutes with a baton. News reports said that cell phone videos appeared to show Abrego’s face bleeding when he was on the ground. Abrego died 12 hours after the beating.

Abrego’s sister said: “It makes me feel angry because, police officers are supposed to try to protect us, not to harm or even kill." So, the price you pay—for running away from a gang of cops who are hunting you down like a dog is to be subject to a brutal beating and ultimately death at the hands of murdering pigs who are supposed to “protect and serve.”

6.  August 25, Ezell Ford, Los Angeles:

A police news release reported that the two cops pursued Ezell Ford, who was walking down a South Los Angeles sidewalk, to try to talk to him but that he [Ezell] continued walking and made suspicious movements, including attempting to conceal his hands. The police report claimed a struggle ensued and Ezell was shot because he attempted to remove the officer’s gun from its holster. Witnesses and relatives give a completely different story. News account from the Los Angeles Times reported that Dorene Henderson, who witnessed part of the incident, said that she “saw no struggle between the officers and Ford.” (Source: Washington Post, August 15,2014)

Ford’s cousin reported to LA news station KTLA: “They laid him out and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division knows that—that child has mental problems,” the man said. In addition: “The excessive force... there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he was laying down? No. Then the mom comes, they don’t try to console her... they pull the billy clubs out."

Ford’s mother, Tritobia Ford reported to KTLA that her son “was lying on the ground and complying with officers’ command when he was shot three times.”

7. August 14, Diana Showman, San Jose, California

19-year-old Diana Showman’s father was on his way from taking time-off from work to assist his daughter in enrolling in a program to assist developmentally disabled patients to live independently when his path was blocked by police cars. He didn’t find out until hours later that his daughter had been shot dead with a single shot by a San Jose Police Officer. He got to the shooting scene at 10:30 a.m. Diana Showman was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m.

Diana was walking out of her home holding a drill when officers arrived in response to a call that someone had an Uzi and had intentions to do harm to their family with it. There was no one home except Diana. She was walking out of her home and the officer shot her with a single shot as she walked towards him. She was taken to the hospital and died two hours later. The supposed gun that the officer thought she had in her hand was a cordless drill.

The San Jose Mercury described how Diana’s parents, Victoria and Jim Showman were treated at the time of the shooting death of their daughter: “As the Showmans struggle with her death, they are also questioning whether the shooting was necessary, and why police wouldn't let them be by her side in her final moments. Jim Showman was whisked away to San Jose police headquarters and led to an interview room. Victoria soon followed. Police refused to tell them what happened to Diana.” Jim Showman said : "I told them, 'What you're doing is cruel. We don't know if our daughter's alive.”

8. September 10, Darrien Hunt, Saratoga Springs, Utah

The police say they were responding to a call about a "suspicious" man walking down the road carrying a "Samurai-type sword" and that they shot him after he lunged at them. But an independent autopsy performed at the family's request shows that 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was shot numerous times from BEHIND as he ran away from the police. And Randall Edwards, an attorney for the Hunt family said, "This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police."

Darrien Hunt's mother is white, his father is Black. Susan Hunt said, "They killed my son because he's Black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away.... Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."

9. September 18, Charles Smith, Savannah, Georgia:

News reports say the police arrested 29-year-old Charles Smith on outstanding warrants, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car. Police say that Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out a window of the patrol car, that he had a gun when he tried exiting the car and was then shot by an officer.

But this contradicts what eyewitnesses say. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: "Eyewitness Maurice Williams, 27, said he knew Smith from the neighborhood. He said about 11 a.m. he saw Smith in the back of a police car. He stopped to watch it go by when Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, kicked out the window, folded his legs out and pushed on the door. Williams said the officer exited the patrol car as Smith kicked the window a third time. Williams said he heard the officer say, 'Do you want to die?' while he shot Smith in the legs. Williams said he saw Smith, still handcuffed, escape out the window and fall to the ground. He said the officer fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back." A minister told the crowd: "More of our black boys are being killed by police than were killed by the Ku Klux Klan by rope."

10. September 14, 2014, Richard "Pedie" Perez, Richmond, California:

24-year-old Pedie Perez was standing with friends out in front of a liquor store when Officer Wallace Jensen drove up for a "security check." An older woman who was with Pedie when the police rolled up said she was there when Pedie was gunned down, "Police told me 'go, go' and made Pedie sit on the ground. As I turned the corner I heard shots." She said she ran back and tried to go to Pedie and the police pointed a gun in her face and told her that if she didn't move back she would be "laying down with him."

John Burris, the family's lawyer, says Pedie was unarmed when Jensen shot him at least five times and that the cop's claim that the shooting was necessary because Pedie had grabbed for his gun was a "flat-out lie," contradicted by every single witness they had interviewed. Burris said, "This officer should be prosecuted for murder."

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

The Case of a "Model" Cop in Chicago: Promoted for Years of Brutality

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

You can tell a lot about what the real role of police is in the system we live under from the kind of cops that are promoted as "models." Let me tell you about one in Chicago. And he's Black.

Rickey Williams

Former Chicago police commander, Glenn Evans, was indicted by a grand jury on felony charges in August of this year for shoving his gun down the throat of a 22- year-old Black male, Rickey Williams, above, while holding a Taser to his groin and threatening to kill him. Evans is currently on paid administrative duty.

One of the 22 police district commanders in Chicago, Glenn Evans was indicted in late August on felonies for shoving his gun down Rickey Williams' throat while holding a Taser to his groin and theatening to kill him last year. Williams, a 22-year-old Black man, survived and was brave enough to file a brutality complaint. After this complaint was filed, Evans was promoted to commander of another district. And as late as five days before he was indicted and arrested (when the incident was long known by the police and city administrators), police superintendent Garry McCarthy lauded Evans on camera for his "aggressiveness, work ethic and dedication to the job."

It is very rare for any cop to be indicted for anything, so you might think this is a case of justice finally being done. But the reasons why Evans was indicted seem to have everything to do with 1) people in Ferguson standing up for justice after Michael Brown's murder and the authorities' fear of "another Ferguson" happening in Chicago; 2) Evans's decades-long suppressed history of extreme brutality, along with that of hundreds of other cops, coming to light in the midst of the nationwide outrage against the wanton murder and brutalization of generations of young Black men, like Mike Brown, by the police.

The Chicago Tribune won a long court battle, forcing the city to make public the internal police records of complaints of brutality. Before that, the city had refused to reveal whether or not any disciplinary action was taken unless the cop was found at fault, which is practically never—so evidence of the constant brutality and even murder was officially covered up for decades.

The Tribune investigation into the records showed that Evans had been leading and modelling this kind of brutal example for years and was continually rewarded for it. Fifty complaints were filed against Evans from 2001 to 2014, and he was never disciplined, except for one two-day suspension. Nine of these complaints were filed after he was promoted to commander in 2012.

Further, Evans was given a pass on all of these complaints by the so-called Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which supposedly investigates every police murder and charge of brutality. The review board sustained NONE of the charges—nor did the investigative agency that IPRA replaced and the Internal Affairs Division, according to the Tribune.

Chicago

Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

This is the pattern for almost every case of police murder and terror: no charges are filed against the cop, and the cop is not even fired and in many cases not even named. Between 2001 and 2006, there were 662 cops with 11 or more complaints each. Remember this is only the tip of the iceberg—these are just the complaints that were filed. Most people who are abused by police never file a complaint, yet Evans had 14 complaints in this period. And in addition to the complaints filed, Evans was sued "numerous times." The city never admitted any guilt, while paying $225,250 to settle seven lawsuits against Evans. In fact, he was being extolled as an exemplary leader and promoted.

In investigating the lawsuits, the Tribune's Jeremy Gorner exposed another one of Evans' many direct victims (not counting brutality committed by other officers under his command). Three years ago Evans, a lieutenant at the time, went into a restaurant in plainclothes, grabbed a customer by the shirt and dragged him out of the booth. What was his supposed crime? Selling illegal DVDs! Chas Byars was eating in another booth with his four-month-old son. He told Evans that he didn't need to do that, and Evans shot back, "Shut up, bitch, or you can go to jail too." When Byars replied that he hadn't done anything wrong, Evans grabbed him and handcuffed him to the other man. Then Evans grabbed the baby carrier, "jerking the infant out of his unstrapped seat and knocking his head onto the table," according to the Tribune. Byars was hit with a police radio above his left eye and held in jail for 13 hours, not knowing what happened to his infant son or if he was OK. Byars was charged with "several misdemeanors, including obstructing an arrest and reckless conduct for allegedly failing to safely secure his son in the baby seat! Evans was never charged for this.

This is just ONE of the dozens of complaints and lawsuits against Evans where no crime or even misconduct was found, even though there was a settlement with Byars for $71,000.

Evans was promoted again to Harrison District commander on the West Side. He was in command when 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh was murdered by the police in late August. Roshad had his hands up in surrender when he was shot, according to witnesses. (See "Learning from Ferguson: People Stand Up to Chicago Police Murder of 19-Year-Old Roshad McIntosh.") Evans himself was right out there leading the charge against angry protesters the day of Roshad's murder. The police at this station showed their fear of, and contempt for, the people in the community protesting Roshad's murder when one cop said to a revolutionary, "Why are you out here riling up the savages?" Another cop told him that the police were going to put the heaviest possible charges on him because "we're not having Ferguson here."

For months, people had been exposing Evans' brutal assault on Rickey Williams and calling for his indictment and firing. When the uprising in Ferguson broke out, the demands that Evans be arrested and fired were stepped up, and Evans' crimes were exposed as part of the systemic nationwide program of police terror and joined with the demands for Justice for Mike Brown. It was two weeks later, during the outrage around Roshad's murder and almost daily protest marches to the police station, that Evans was finally charged and arrested. He still has not even been fired by the city. And the cop who killed Roshad McIntosh? He has still not even been named, much less indicted.

What is the role of the police? Bob Avakian answers this succinctly in BAsics 1:24: "The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness."

Having more Black cops will not stop police brutality. Black, white, Latino, Asian—once they put on the uniform, they are going to serve the system and come down on the people. And having "independent" police review boards will not stop it, because they are simply another part of the repressive machinery against the people.

WE are the ones who need to stop these horrors NOW. Ending this once and for all will take a revolution, and we are building a movement for revolution to uproot this illegitimate system as soon as possible. And a major part of this is for everyone who hates police terror to come together in mass determined resistance in the October Month of Resistance to Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Berkeley, California

A Speak-Out and Call to Action:
Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Friday, October 10 at 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Boalt Law School Room 105, UC Berkeley
Berkeley, California

Moderated by:
Ula Taylor, professor African-American Studies
Reiko Redmonde, Revolution Books

SPEAKERS:
*Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, murdered by BART police in Oakland
*John Burris, civil rights attorney
*Lateef Abdullah, formerly incarcerated in the SHU at Pelican Bay and Corcoran State Prisons
*Dionne Smith, mother of James Rivera, 16-year-old shot 48 times and murdered by Stockton Police Department
*Jevon Cochran, poet and community organizer, performing “Every 28 Hours”
*Silvia Lopez, Mujeres Unidas y Activas
*Anita Wills, author and activist
*Nate Williams, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin Adjustment Center
*Mylo Mu & Gabrielle Shuman, Co-chairs of the Black Student Union, UC Berkeley
*Stop Mass Incarceration Network
*Bay Area Revolution Club

 

Today we pledge:
Black lives matter. Latino lives matter. All lives matter. Mass incarceration: WE SAY NO MORE!
Police murder: WE SAY NO MORE!
Torture in the prisons: WE SAY NO MORE!
Criminalization of generations: WE SAY NO MORE!
Attacks on immigrants: WE SAY NO MORE!
We will NOT be silent. We WILL resist!
Until these shameful horrors really are... NO MORE!

Sponsors: Black Student Union, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., African-American Studies Department, Center for Race and Gender, Revolution Books, Stop Mass Incarceration Network

STOPMASSINCARCERATION.NET 510-984-3648 stopmassincarcerationbayarea@gmail.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1556827217862078/

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/federal-court-shuts-down-all-but-eight-abortion-providers-in-texas-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Federal Court Gives Green Light to Extreme Anti-Abortion Law in Texas
This Must Be Opposed Right Now!

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

On October 2, a three-judge panel of a U.S. appeals court threw out another judge's ruling that had blocked the State of Texas from enforcing an unjust and immoral anti-abortion law. As an immediate result, 13 abortion clinics in Texas were forced to stop providing abortions. The 5.5 million women in Texas of reproductive age now have only eight clinics left performing abortions—all in Houston, Austin, and two other metropolitan regions. No clinics will be providing abortions west or south of San Antonio.

Emergency demonstrations were held in four cities against the October 2 appeals court ruling that forced 13 clinics to stop providing abortions. Here, Berkeley California demonstration. Photo: special to revcom.us.

This means even greater numbers of women in vast areas of Texas will be forced to bear children against their will—leading to destroyed lives, shattering of plans and dreams, and enforcement of a status of incubators on human beings. Others will die from attempts at illegal abortions. And a horrible precedent has been set—the right to abortion nationwide hangs by an even slimmer thread. The implications are stunning and horrific—and MUST BE OPPOSED RIGHT NOW!

The basis of the federal court's ruling was obscene. The judges decided that their ruling—which will affect huge areas of Texas—does not deprive a "large fraction" of women of their constitutional right to abortion. They said they based this reasoning on the data provided by an "expert" for the State of Texas who claimed that one out of six Texas women seeking an abortion lives more than 150 miles from the nearest clinic. The court basically ruled that these people don't count. But these women are human beings who, in many, many cases, are now prevented from having access to an abortion. This is like saying slavery wasn't so bad because only one-sixth of all people were enslaved. And the one-sixth is understated.

Who do you think these "non-people"—in the eyes of the court—are? Some are desperately poor immigrant women in South Texas who might have been raped on the perilous journey to the U.S. Some are young women in abusive or incestuous situations forced, on top of everything else, to bear a child against their will. Some are poor women who can't afford the expense of a long trip for what should be a routine medical procedure. Some are women who will attempt to self-abort, with horrible consequences. This is not tolerable!

Take note that one of the judges in the appeals court panel, who concurred with at least part of this reactionary ruling, was appointed by Barack Obama. This is a tragic and terrible example of the vicious harm posed by relying on the Democratic Party in any way, shape, or form.

The court's ruling is a shameful violation of rights supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court's earlier rulings on abortion—and of supposed constitutional guarantees of equal protection for everyone. It must be reversed!

StopPatriarchy immediately called for protests after the ruling, and there were defiant actions in response to the call in New York City, Seattle, and Berkeley as well as a protest in Austin that revolutionaries joined. And these latest developments underscore the importance of the plans for the January anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, to be marked by major protests raising the just demand: Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Prisoner Correspondence Column

From Behind the Walls

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This week we’re beginning this important new column: letters from prisoners that speak to a wide range of issues, and point to the potential of those locked away in the system’s dungeons to become revolutionary emancipators of humanity.

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.

 

“The world needs more revolutionarys”

9/9/14 
California

Greetings RCP,

I'm 4 weeks behind on the paper, but they're coming now. Staff broke my T.V. back in late April, refused to take responsibility for it so I assume it was intentional, so I've been without news since.

Finally found someone to order one for me, been here for 50 days trying to fight to get it ...

Been in the hole 30 days now. As you may recall just got out of the SHU in Feb. was in SHU from 2012-2014 was out of the SHU 5 months in 2012 and before that was in SHU 2008-2012. Regular ol' nightmare right here. Don't know how to adjust to this bullshit and tired of fighting for every breath.

If it wasn't for my indignation & hatred at what they're doing to me, to us, to the world I may have collapsed long ago. If I didn't see the big picture capitalism-imperialism and didn't believe we owe the world something better & not just any ol' something either but scientific-socialism then I'm sure I would've fail by the waste side. Though quite lonely being a conscious man in prison I must say this is what has sustained me all those years.

But they do make life hella ugly.

Love the "putting on our boxing gloves..." series, read 2 so far. Like this last one 'bout counter revolutionarys & how to confront peoples opportunism. I always have a hard time trying to understand why so many think chasing $ is a solution as if we had money we could get our oppressors to stop giving us hell or we could come up with an alternative. But it just serves to reinforce the nightmare. So I like such talks that help think through that contradiction & furthers the principal of unity/struggle/unity. But I do also understand peoples real need to get by in this shitty ass system so I know it's not a simple contradiction.

Also love all the exposure on abortion, porn, rape & bullshit music that beats down woman. We all need more of that sort of exposure. Love Sister Taylor for her full court press. Yes this is what the world needs more revolutionarys willing to speak up & expose & not just any revolutionarys but communist ones. No reform here.

Fuck Obama's racism Yup I said it. Thats all that boarder shit is amongst those Red White & Blue types. All they see is brown people invading. So ‘though Obama's agenda - Americas agenda is much more complex (which you break down well) and their response is much more complex than race thats what gets played on and its orgin lays wit the system & those who uphold it. Americas racism therefore Obama racism.

Love you guys, you know what it is!

Oh, theres a song "Turn it down for what?" meaning music or/and the braggadocio behavior. Well I say "Dum it down for what"! 

I'm just sayin.

 

“Break All the Chains”

9/6/14
Pelican Bay, CA

Dear PRLF,

Hello there. Please receive my warmest regards. This here letter should've come earlier but I havent the time so here I am now.

You had ask for comment and feedback on the sampler edition of "Break all the Chains". (Applause)! If this was a sample edition I look forward to the whole edition!! Not only was it very poignant but there was very simple concise examples of how 'popular' culture is not only degrading or oppressive towards women, it fuels and continues it. Especially the part about G.I. Jane and how she says "Suck my dick". It seems this phenomena has continued as we see singers that are female holding there crotch area as if they have a penis like a male. We know rappers do this to somehow show off there masculinity.

I also found the example of "go in/get in there bitch" very, very true. Here in prison, it is considered the top disrespect for someone to call another man a bitch. The darnest thing is that I hear prisoners referring that word to women all the time. I call some on it yet they've yet to understand "things," more so revolutionary things. so they just keep saying... "I'll fuck that bitch, that bitch is stupid"... I then say, "I didn't know you were into dogs/beastiality!" That there gets them going.

The abortion thing is fucked up too. Women aren't incubators for children nor are they or should be forced to have babies. Yet how many movies are shown where the women is depicted as the good wife, stay at home mom and is only dedicated to her children?? Theres nothing wrong with a mother been very dedicated to her children, at the same time theres nothing wrong with daycare either. And that stigma of not being a loving mother if you don't be with your kids % 100 of the time has to be done with.

Now, what I found missing and what should be put in, is the whole issue of marriage and how that enhances property relations and the subjugation of women. Bob Avakian spoke on this in his book Away with all Gods.

All in all the sampler edition was very good. I thourghly enjoyed it. {smiley face}

I also would like to take this time to say thanks for all the literature I receive from you. Not only does it uplift me but makes me better equiped to fight the good fight. I would also like to ask for Capital Vol. 3 if one is available. It'll be appreciative. Thank you for your time and do have a nice day.

 

“The Judicial system here is a malicious monster destroying lives”

9/10/14
Alabama

To whom it may concern, My People of the Revolution!!!

First let me say that I hope & pray that this letter reaches you in good health & great spirit... My name is XXXX I'm a 33 year old Black male in the Alabama Dept. of Corrections serving a 20 year sentence I have 11 years... Being born & raised in Alabama the Home of the civil rights movement it truly hurts me to see that we are still living amongst the "Jim Crow" mentality. There is so much Political Oppression going on right now as you read this!! The Judicial system here is a malicious monster destroying lives of Black men & women in the name of Justice.

In my research I have found out that the Federal Government has the State of Alabama under investigation!!! This Republican State has some atrocious laws that contradict the U.S. Amendments & Bill of Rights, for one there is no Equal Protection Clause in the Alabama Constitution, it has not had one since 1901 when they took it out... This is the most vital reason that Alabama has more prisoners per capita than any other state. If the United States holds more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world then Alabama is #1 in the world!!

Our sentencing guidelines are very cruel & unusual for numerous of reason e.g. one being the 446 Act or Habitual Offender Act i.e. This a powerful weapon given to the Judges to place upon whom they feel which the majority is Blacks e.g., Habitual Offender Act is that enhances felonies and the time that is place upon the person whom is convicted... Meaning if you catch a Burglary III which is non-violent and carries a sentence 1 year to 10 year, the Habitual Offender Act will enhance that to 2 years to 20 years...

This is a very bias, prejudice & unjust Act. I have witness this same Act punish black with life without the possibility of parole for property crimes... How in the world can you sentence a man to death because that's what it is if he can never physically be free again for a Burglary, Theft or Possession charge??

Secondly why this State prison population is so overcrowded is because of the Alabama Dept. of Correction Prison Administrations are contradictive, inhumane and unreviewed... They have a system of writing prisoners up for no reason causing him/her injury by losing good time, placing them in Solitary Confinement and or denying them Parole when they come up for such... They also do not have a Disciplinary Board or Adjustment Commitee of three or more officials to govern these hearings to make sure that these hearing are not held by poorly trained officials who are motivated by malice, vindictivness, intolerance, prejudice or jealousy.

I'm currently in Solitary Confinement under 72 hour Administration Segregation due to the falsehood of one poorly trained officer named YY. I'm currently learning the laws and procedure thereof so that I can build and plea my case. I would write and tell you more about but my pen is running out of ink and I have to preserve this ink because like I say I'm in lock-up and my resources are limited I pray that my hand written is legible and you can understand my "War Cry" and end & assist me with publicizing my/our issue, also helping me with any vital information please!!!

One Love & God Bless

P.S. God is truly good they just told me I was on transfer. If and when you reply first look on the internet...it will tell you which prison I’m in!!...Please send me a copy of the Revolution newspaper.

 

“I was glad to see revcom there”

9/17/14
California

Greetings comrades

How goes the struggle? I happen to see the presence of Rev.com picket signs in St. Louis while I was watching the mainstream controlled media. Upon seeing this I was both filled with Revolutionary vigor and then angered at what has transpired as well as angry with myself for being here and not there. Also on the news I seen that the media was covering the speach of some spineless idiot speaking to the protestors about working with the police to get Justice and reform by "peaceful protest", while at that very moment and as I speak now the capitalists are buying tanks, gadgets, and most of all are undergoing military training exercises to which all of this is being payed for by hard working taxpayers. That craven traitor to the black community speaks of peace while the enemy prepares for a massacre.

The weak masses protest everything as though those in power care about the idle words of those without power. Had I been there while that traitor spoke of peace while war was being perpetrated I would have scorned and ridiculed him for all the public to see his absurdity and lack of his manhood. Then I would have given a grand speach of my own about how this incident of Michael Brown's murder is not the first nor will it be the last. Furthermore from my mouth will come the solution of Revolution as I speak of what is needed, what is to be done and that what I speak is pure emotional response to injustice and murder, felt from the heart but spoken from the intellect of the mind for the reason of preparing and acting with reason not unorganized, uncontrolable, unrestrained emotion.

Back to the tragic topic of Michael Brown's murder and the reaction of the proletariat to it, I will say that most significantly they the people of St. Louis need the guidance of the party to properly mobilize for liberation. I was glad to see Rev.com there considering that had our comrades not been there to assist, the weak passivist giving his pointless speach would have further poisoned the delicate untapped minds of the victims to American tyranny.

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Murderous Religious Fanatics As Allies? All Part of "America's Role" in the World

by Larry Everest | October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The U.S. often seeks to justify and legitimize its wars and military attacks by claiming it has the support of “allies,” or that it’s built a “Coalition” to joining in carrying out its plans.  Obama justified the new U.S. war in Iraq and Syria before the UN by saying, “America is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security” ...  “The strength of this coalition makes clear to the world that this is not just America’s fight alone.”

But who are these allies?  Who’s included in these coalitions?

Roger Cohen is a columnist for The New York Times, a publication representing the views of the liberal wing of the U.S. imperialist ruling class.  On October 2, he wrote a column called Iran - The Thinkable Ally that argued it was “critical” to cut a deal with Iran over its nuclear program and to work with it in the region because it would boost “America’s ability to play a role in a rapidly changing the Middle East.”

So what about all the vicious crimes committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the massacre of 5,000 to 10,000 revolutionary communists, intellectuals, radical democrats and others in the early 1980s?  What about its medieval treatment of women?   What about the human rights violations the U.S. rulers have denounced for over decades? 

First of all, for their own reasons, the rulers of this country have actually downplayed the crimes of the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran – how many people in this country know that they massacred thousands of communists and radicals in the 80’s? But beyond that, Cohen revealed the essence of how the U.S. looks at such butchers, saying of Iran: "[I]ts human rights record is appalling, but then that is true of several countries with which Washington does business.” (Emphasis added).

No kidding.  Take two key U.S. allies in the Middle East.  Israel is a genocidal apartheid state that’s carried out ethnic cleansing against Palestinians for over 60 years, including routinely committing crimes against humanity.  Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, which enforces a barbaric, fundamentalist version of Islam, and exports it throughout the region.  And you can look at any region in the world, and you’ll find similar U.S. “partners.”

And if it does turn out the U.S. can “do business” with Iran – that is, bring Iran more into the U.S. orbit and involve its reactionary rulers in some way in enforcing the agenda of the U.S. empire, than we might not be hearing so much about those “appalling” human rights violations in Iran.

So next time you hear the U.S. rulers denounce SOME countries or groups for being  backward, brutal oppressive religious fanatics, think about the point made recently in Revolution:   

“Today the representatives of the U.S. express shock and outrage at such tactics. But fundamentally, to the USA and other imperialists, whether or not to support this kind of religious fundamentalist fascism is a matter of taste—their only criterion is whether it works for, or against, how they view their interests in any situation.”  (“A Comment on Events in Syria and Iraq,” Revolution #353, Sept. 15, 2014)

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

U.S. Bombing of Iraq and Syria: Another War Based on Lies!

by Larry Everest | October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 23, the U.S. escalated its new war in the Middle East by bombing northern Syria for the first time.  This came after a new round of U.S. bombings and troop escalations in Iraq beginning in early August.

One of the main U.S. justifications for these bombing attacks was that a new terrorist group called Khorasan was “nearing the execution phase” of an attack and was a “direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation.”

It has now been documented that this whole story was a lie - fabricated by the Obama administration and then uncritically repeated by the U.S. media. 

In "The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria" (The Intercept, Sept. 28),  Murtaza Hussain and Glenn Greenwald document how the U.S. government made up the name “Khorasan group” to describe some individuals in Syria, and then made up their supposed plot and “imminent threat.”  Then shortly before the attacks on Syria, they fed this “intelligence” to the media (first to the Associated Press on September 13) which widely and uncritically repeated the lie, whipping up fear and preparing public opinion for the bombing.

Then, right after the bombing, U.S. officials and other ruling class figures began explaining that “imminent” might mean six months from now and that perhaps the group was just thinking about attacking the U.S.  The media did not then call out the fact that they’d been lied to.  They went along with it and said the post-bombing double-talk was just adding “nuance” to the story!  But meanwhile the new escalation was under way and people in Syria were being murdered. 

What does this show?

1. The U.S. rulers routinely and repeatedly lie about their objectives.  George W. Bush and his team lied about Saddam Hussein of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Now Obama and his team are lying about Khorasan and an “immediate threat” to the U.S. to justify expanding its war and bombing Syria. 

2. They lie because their interests and objectives are not the interests and objectives of the vast majority of humanity – they are the interests of the U.S. ruling class.

3. The U.S. media is not “objective,” and it’s not an independent “check” on the system.  It’s a key cog in the ruling structure of the capitalist-imperialist system.  One of its functions is creating public support for the system’s crimes, including by propagating bald-faced lies.  (It was recently revealed that some reporters at the L.A. Times had been checking their stories with the CIA before publishing them!)

 

Notes

Murtaza Hussain and Glenn Greenwald, "The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria," The Intercept, Sept. 28

Interview with Murtaza Hussain: “How the U.S. Concocted a Terror Threat to Justify Syria Strikes, and the Corporate Media Went Along,” Democracy Now!, Sept. 29

Ken Silverstein, "The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with Agency Before Publication," The Intercept, Sept. 4

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

You Have a Chance to See “The Jimi Hendrix of Revolution.” Live.

October 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a young revolutionary:

November 15, 2014.  Riverside Church.  New York City. “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.” Bob Avakian, the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and leader of a new stage of communist revolution, in dialogue with Cornel West, fellow champion of the oppressed and one of the most provocative public intellectuals of our time. 

There are several reasons why this Dialogue will be, to put it quite simply, a historic and extraordinary event that is not to be missed.   Here, I want to speak briefly to one of those reasons—and it’s huge:  the opportunity to see Bob Avakian, live and in person.

In thinking about what this opportunity means, and how to drive this home, I was reflecting on my passion for music, and live music in particular.  Sometimes, for fun, I think—and talk with friends and loved ones about— all the great musical artists of the past 50 years or so, and who among them I would give anything to see live.  Sometimes, the discussion turns to whom I would most like to—but sadly never will get the chance to—see in concert.  I always come up with the same name at the top of that list: Jimi Hendrix.

People who are expert musicians, or who know more about the technical aspects of guitar-playing, could no doubt write very insightful and compelling explanations of what set Jimi Hendrix apart in that regard.   I just know that he played unlike anyone else, before or since.  Of course, he was influenced by those who came before him – Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Guy, to name just a few.   But Jimi was just on a whole other level. He did things on the guitar that no one else had done.  There was not just music coming from his guitar: there was truly unique poetry and beauty and emotion. Anyone who wants to—or at least deserves to—be taken seriously as a guitarist is deeply familiar with, and studies, Hendrix and his work.   And Jimi also connected with, and profoundly inspired, his audience in a way that they did not just hear his music but could feel it

I highly doubt that very many people lucky enough to see Jimi live said: “Well, okay, I’ve seen him live.  No point in listening to his albums anymore.”   On the contrary, I would imagine that people who saw him in concert left with a feeling of being on fire to get into—or deeper into—his albums.    On the flip side, it is difficult to think that anyone who knew about Hendrix and had the actual opportunity to see him live said: “No, that’s okay. I’ll just listen to his albums.” 

On November 15 at Riverside Church in New York City, you have a chance to see the Jimi Hendrix of revolution: Bob Avakian.

Bob Avakian (BA) was also heavily influenced by—and has gone forward on the foundation of—those who came before him. Most notably: Marx, Lenin, and Mao.  But BA, too, is unlike anyone else, before or since.  When it comes to the science of revolution and communism—of how humanity can get free—BA has done things that no one else has done before.  Specifically, he has done the work that no one else has done and made breakthroughs that no one else has made on the biggest questions bound up with human emancipation. Anyone who wishes to be taken seriously when it comes to radically changing the world needs to study, and learn all they can from, BA’s work.  BA has brought forward a new synthesis of communism—the theory, method, strategy and vision for how, through revolution, humanity could overcome thousands of years of brutal exploitation and oppressive divisions between people. This new synthesis provides the framework to bring into being a society and world where people’s basic needs are met, where people relate to each other in a completely different way, where society is alive and pulsing with wide-ranging intellectual, scientific and artistic exploration and revolutionary joy, and where humanity as a whole works together for the common good and works to protect the planet.   And BA is leading a party and a movement for revolution on the basis of this new synthesis that he has brought forward.  

BA will be bringing all of that to the Dialogue with Cornel West at Riverside Church on November 15. But that isn’t all. He will also be bringing the experience of BA speaking, live and in person.

Like Jimi Hendrix, BA connects with and profoundly inspires his audience in a way that people do not simply hear but viscerally feel.   It’s in the way he continuously lays reality bare, fearlessly exposing this system and society—and everything that keeps them going—unearthing and boldly putting forward the truths that are hidden and that people are not allowed to think and say. It’s in the way he rips the mask of legitimacy and permanence off the existing order, dismantling any notion that things have to stay as they are, lifting hearts and sights to a whole different way the world could be.   It’s in the way BA does all this with rage and joy, humor and defiance, passion and poetic spirit, utter contempt for the system and those who rule it and deep compassion for all those who can and must be part of the fight to sweep that system away, especially those on the very bottom of society who are most viciously oppressed.  It’s in the way he breaks concepts down so that a professor with a Ph.D. or someone without any formal education can understand and take up these concepts.  It’s in the method with which he approaches reality, always going for the truth, always looking at things scientifically. It’s in the way he illuminates the link between where we are today and where we can and must go tomorrow, and speaks to the biggest obstacles and contradictions standing in the way.    It’s in the way he ranges very broadly, through different spheres of society and different historical eras, without ever losing the core of revolution and communism.   It’s in the way he weaves so many different threads together.  It’s in the way he can break down the strategy for revolution or talk about the historical experience of communism in one moment, and then reference lyrics from The Clash or routines from Richard Pryor the next.  

As with Jimi Hendrix, there is a total synergy, not an opposition, between the opportunity to see BA live and in person and the importance of studying his works in an ongoing way. Failing to fully recognize the incredibly special and unique opportunity to see BA live and in person because one is already familiar with BA’s works would make no more sense than people failing to recognize how special it would have been to see Hendrix live and in person because they already were familiar with his albums. Similarly, people who do see BA live and in person should only leave the room even more determined and inspired to dig into his works.

I’ll end on this point: With Hendrix, one could definitely have explained what set him apart and what made him and his work so special, and that was certainly worthwhile and important to do. But at a certain point, people simply had to wake up and realize—and make the decision—that they better go see for themselves.

The same is true with the opportunity to see BA live and in person. There is a lot that can, and should, be said about what sets BA apart, and what makes him and his work so special.  But then, at a certain point, you just have to wake up and realize that you need to go see for yourself. 

You have this opportunity at Riverside Church, in New York City, on November 15.  Don’t miss the chance!

 

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Taking Responsibility for the Line of the Party—At the Highest Level

October 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I was in a recent discussion where someone asked what it means to join the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). I want to begin to answer this question—having made that leap to join within the last couple of years. In addition, I encourage everyone to read Lenny Wolff’s article, “Why You Absolutely Need a Vanguard Party to Make Revolution,” as this frames the scientific importance of a vanguard party.

First, joining the Party is an ideological rupture; it means being a thoroughgoing communist and subordinating oneself to the vanguard party. It is a life commitment and it is not something to do or take lightly. But, there’s nothing more important your life can be about than making revolution and contributing at the highest level to the emancipation of all of humanity. I encourage everyone to get into and proceed off of the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, as this gets deeply into what it means to be in a vanguard party. 

Think for a second what a real revolution would mean—actually being able to end the tremendous suffering and horror inflicted on the people of the world—because this is what’s crying out to be done. As the Party itself has correctly emphasized, there won’t be a revolution without a revolutionary party.  

Being in the Party means taking responsibility for the line of the Party as a whole and among the ranks of the Party. As the Constitution states: “The party’s line consists of its understanding of the scientific method and body of knowledge of communism (of communist theory, in the most sweeping sense); its application of that theory to reality; and the basic principles, strategy and policy that result from that application.” So when you’re taking responsibility for the line of the Party as a whole, it means you are taking responsibility for whether this Party stays on the revolutionary road, it means you’re taking responsibility for whether this Party is really straining against the limits of the objective situation and hastening to the greatest degree possible the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in their millions. This is the highest, and most important, level of responsibility for anyone in the Party.

As a part of that, one of the things that has struck me the most about being in the Party is what it means to take responsibility for the line of the Party at this whole different level. In the Party, you are a part of the chain of knowledge (a team of scientists)—constantly contributing to it, wrangling with it, and collectively wielding it to transform the world... and drawing theory out of that process (along with other developments and changes in the world), which goes on in a larger process of what we call the “theory/practice/theory” dynamic.

This is wrangled with, above all, collectively but is also done through a system of reports. This is described as well in the Party’s Constitution. And actually writing reports is part of the process of being more scientific: you step back, look at the work we’ve done, systematize what we’ve done, and within that you’re looking for trends and patterns that are significant. You have to ask questions: How reflective was this practice of the overall strategy for revolution? Did we max out as much as possible? What were the advances—both qualitative and quantitative? If there were shortcomings, you have to identify those and wrestle with why. What did we run up against? What didn’t we understand, or what did we understand wrong? Was it objective or were there subjective elements that pulled on not being able to really max out and wield the line to the maximum degree possible?

You also have to work at thinking of ways—and this is part of taking responsibility—to further seize on openings or opportunities as part of leading the overall movement for revolution, even as you are working on a particularity that is feeding into the broader work the Party as a whole is doing.

In addition to summing up our practice, you are summing up trends on the terrain—obstacles in people’s thinking that we’re reaching out to, ideological and methodological questions that need to be spoken to or ruptured with among different sections of people. You are summing up the larger motion and dynamics in objective reality—which holds the material basis for revolution in the first place.

In writing reports, one thing I’ve paid attention to is working to make sure it’s reflective of reality, and not political truth that can sometimes slip in (in other words, making shit up that sounds good but actually doesn’t reflect reality)—it really matters whether you’re basing yourself on reality; and that the whole Party—in this larger collective process—is really able to proceed from scientifically understanding that reality at the deepest level possible. Truth—to the deepest of our understanding at that point—really matters.

All this has to be done systematically because it is feeding into the larger process. And you are trying to synthesize as much as possible to really contribute at the highest level you can. I’ve found that approaching it this way, I’ve actually further developed a scientific method and approach. Not just in what difference it makes to wield the line, but to be better able to learn from and synthesize key trends in reality in a more breathing in-and-out way—while this is a conscious method and approach, it’s not something that is imposed on reality. This too contributes to being able to take responsibility for the line at an increasingly higher level.

Related to this, I’ve more deeply recognized the importance of being a part of this disciplined collective process to coming to understand—and be able to transform—reality itself more deeply. Democratic Centralism in a vanguard party really is the best way to know and change the world. The Constitution uses the analogy to a team of scientists: “Party units should function like teams of scientists—plunging into vigorous struggle over the character and dynamics of the material reality they are engaging, then applying the resulting analysis to transform that reality, and summing up results with the same orientation and method, as thoroughly and sweepingly as possible, as part of the overall chain of knowledge and chain of command of the party.”

We are able to learn so much more this way—acting collectively in a disciplined way on what you’ve come to understand to be true instead of proceeding from yourself out and essentially ignoring or stepping around the actual scientific breakthroughs that have been made up to that point through a collective process.

This approach goes up against how we’re taught in this society—“I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do.” Aside from the fact that you’re being told what to do and think all the time in this society, you will actually learn less this way and it will undermine the collective process of developing a revolutionary line. BA talks about this in the talk, “The Method and Material Basis for Making Revolution.”

There’s another point he talks about in that talk as well which I’ve come to appreciate: “having the humility to allow yourself to be led, but without a hint of slavishness.” You’re applying that synthesized leadership to being able to understand and change the world and acting consciously based on that leadership—that’s the first part. And if in that process, you see a problem in that synthesized line, or you see a problem in how things are being carried out or if there are other people raising things that are more reflective of reality, that has to be raised and wrestled with. It could contribute to a better understanding and approach, but only if it’s part of this larger, collective scientific process. And when there are disagreements, you have to do the work to raise that to the level of line from the perspective of why that wouldn’t be reflective of the great need we are aiming to fill—that great need being to change all of society in a direction favorable for revolution.

One rupture I’ve had to make has been with the idea of feeling daunted at taking on responsibility—especially at a higher level—out of a fear of making mistakes. Not because of how I’d look but because of the stakes involved—we’re up against so much, and we really can’t afford to fuck things up, or to lose this. Someone was struggling with me about this and talked about the difference in orientation between playing not to lose and playing to win. The choice is not between making mistakes or not making mistakes, it’s between setting out to transform the world radically and making mistakes in that process (even as we should try to minimize them) or doing nothing. You can’t have a party culture where leadership develops the line and everyone else just carries it out—that will just ossify everything and contribute to the kind of religious bullshit that BA has been struggling against... there is no formula, we have to probe reality, make analysis and synthesis, we are standing on a very developed line but there are no guarantees and all of us—individually and collectively—have to dare to take initiative on the basis of the best synthesis we can forge at any given time (standing on and building on the fundamentals... even as we are open to questioning those). It’s a living science and if we’re really leading the process that has to be led, we will make mistakes—but again, the biggest mistake is to get comfortable in that stagnant pool and leave the world as it is with the system humming in the background, destroying lives and crushing spirits.

This is what it means to take responsibility for changing the world. There is great importance to leadership and there is a dire need for more communists in the world who are wielding the new synthesis of communism. The world, as it is, is a horror and it does not have to be this way. But that can only change if the scientific method and approach of making revolution and emancipating all of humanity is actually wielded.

Related to this, a point I constantly wrestle with is the two roads for humanity—the reality of the potential for human emancipation or the world staying as it is, with the system in place with all of the horrors that means for the billions of people on the planet, and the planet itself. As a part of the vanguard of the revolution, I am doing all I can to contribute to that first road—working to make revolution at the earliest possible time. And wherever people are at, they have a responsibility to throw into this as they themselves are going through a process of determining what their life should be about—directly related with what kind of world we want to live in.  

 

 


 

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Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

From A World to Win News Service

Mexico: Rising Protests after the Kidnapping of 43 Students

October 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Demonstrators chant slogans during a march to protest the disappearance of 43 students from the Isidro Burgos rural teachers college in Chilpancingo, Mexico, October 8. AP photo.

Demonstrators chant slogans during a march to protest the disappearance of 43 students from the Isidro Burgos rural teachers college in Chilpancingo, Mexico, October 8. AP photo.

October 6, 2014. A World to Win News Service. Protests are building in Ayotzinapa in the State of Guerrero in southwestern Mexico after a police attack on teachers college students there that left six known dead and 43 missing, many of whom may be among 28 charred bodies found near the neighboring industrial city of Iguala on 5 October. Nationwide shutdowns were called for 8 October to demand that the government produce the disappeared. Despite the fact that Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has sent in national security forces, a member of a newly formed Ayotzinapa parents' group declared, “There is no reason to trust the government if the government itself kidnapped them.”

The 500-student Ayotzinapa Normal School, like other rural teacher training institutions, has been known for decades as a hotbed of opposition to the government and the prevailing state of affairs in Mexico. On 26 September, about 150 youths from this mountain city went to Iguala, population 130,000, to agitate for student demands and raise funds to travel to Mexico City for a demonstration to commemorate the infamous 1968 Plaza Tlatelolco massacre when government security forces killed hundreds of students and other demonstrators.

The students left Iguala to return to Ayotzinapa that night. The three buses they were traveling in were met with police gunfire as they left the terminal. A few kilometres farther on, the police and other men attacked the buses again, cutting off the road and firing with assault rifles, forcing the students to get off. Three students seem to have been killed on the spot, although reports have been contradictory. Another 43 have not been seen since. Witnesses said their classmates were grabbed, forced into trucks and driven off into the darkness.

Many youths were able to flee. When some returned to the scene a few hours later with local journalists, they were attacked again by men shooting from unmarked vans.

In another incident that night, masked men shot up a bus carrying a local youth football team, apparently thinking that students were aboard, killing two people and a woman in a passing taxi.

The local authorities tried to claim that the students had “hijacked” the buses and the police were simply trying to halt the stolen vehicles. (A survivor later said the bus drivers had agreed to take them home.) They claimed that the missing students were hiding to avoid arrest. It was left to students and families to compile a list of the missing.

The official "investigation" of the incident was so half-hearted that family members of the disappeared began seeking out possible witnesses. They seized a local radio station to broadcast a request that anyone with information come forward.

On October 3, students and relatives staged a night-time torch-light march in the state capital Chilpancingo to demand that their comrades be brought back alive. They were joined by students from another teachers college in the region. The next day, hundreds protested outside the governor's residence, and clashed with police when they were told they would not be allowed to visit suspected burial sites to identify bodies. On 5 October, when the authorities confirmed that they had found mass graves, about 2,000 students and relatives blocked a major highway in Chilpancingo with a huge banner saying, “They were alive when you took them and we want them back alive." Streets were also blocked in Acapulco, the region's largest city.

State-level authorities announced the discovery of at least 28 burned bodies buried in the hills in the outskirts of Iguala. One journalist was told that the dead were apparently driven to the end of a dirt road, walked up a hillside and shot, and their bodies burned and buried in several pits. But other media people have been told that the mass graves may have been the result of one or more older, unrelated incidents involving drug cartels. Officials have said that it may take weeks or months to identify the corpses. A forensic team has come from Argentina, specialists in identifying bodies of the thousands disappeared during the political repression there in the 1970s and '80s, although at least until now the Mexican armed forces have been keeping the graves under their exclusive control.

So far, 37 relatives have given DNA samples that has had the effect of undermining official attempts to imply that the identities of the dead and other facts may never be understood. In a country racked by unresolved mass murders, with 13,000 people currently on the official disappeared list, the authorities have not found it difficult to sow confusion.

State authorities have begun blaming the local government, saying that many police were in the pay of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, so that "they weren't really policemen." Some 30 police and alleged cartel members have been arrested. Students have told the media that local officials and police enlisted the help of "sicarios" (hired killers) to put down a political challenge.

Federal police and other security forces and the army were sent to take over Iguala, whose mayor and police chief were conveniently lost from view when a warrant was issued for their arrest. Rather than this federal presence being taken as a reassuring sign, many people remember the army massacre of 21 youth last June in Tlatlaya, in the State of Mexico, which borders the State of Guerrero. At that time the national Secretary of Defence, in charge of the armed forces, claimed that the soldiers were defending themselves from a drug-gang attack, but later evidence indicated that the youth, from a very poor area, had surrendered to the army and were then summarily executed.

An opinion column in the national daily La Jornada called the killing and disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students "a state crime" – "repression carried out by a government that has brought organized crime violence into its service."

For all the bluster from the state and the Mexican federal government seeking to confine the blame to local officials and corrupt police, there is much to contradict that claim, including the history of another attack on Ayotzinapa students in December 2011. An article back then in Aurora Roja, the publication and website of the Revolutionary Communist Organization of Mexico (OCR) explained the responsibility of the State of Guerrero governor, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, a representative of the ruling Party of the Democractic Revolution who still runs the state, and the federal government itself.

In that incident, hundreds of students had joined with a peasant organization and a Mixtec group (a native ethnicity) to block a highway demanding that Governor Aguirre meet student demands such as easier entrance requirements, better food facilities and food, and jobs after graduation. Two were killed, shot in the head, and others wounded. Security forces kidnapped a student and forced him to fire an AK-47 to fabricate evidence that armed students had attacked the police. The governor denounced the demonstrators as "pseudo-students" with unreasonable demands. Many people felt that Aguirre was behind the 2011 attack. Still in office, he is now blaming the Iguala police and mayor for this latest crime.

The Aurora Roja article refutes the governor's argument that there is no need for teacher training because there is no need for more teachers. "Teachers are lacking in many rural communities, especially indigenous communities... The government blames demographics when they close schools, but if the population is falling, it is because big capital is driving people from the countryside, grabbing the water, woodlands, gold and farm land, plundering the peasants and leaving them with the choice of immigrating or starving, or simply sending police and paramilitaries to shoot them.

"'No more teachers' is the position taken at all levels of government, not because there are no children who need them but because more teachers are not a priority in the new educational schemes cooked up by imperialist institutions such as the OECD and the World Bank... resulting in a general attack on public education, creating more inequality...

"The government wants to eliminate [the rural teachers colleges in Mexico set up after decades of struggle] for several reasons: Because these institutions are not in the interests of their system, and because of the social activism in these schools, which they label 'seedbeds for guerrillas.'" Several prominent guerrilla leaders of the 1970s came out of Ayotzinapa and similar rural educational institutions, and today's government has often clashed with organized groups of teachers.

In short, now and for years, students in Ayotzinapa and similar schools have been a major political thorn in the side of the Guerrero governor and federal government.

The OCR has joined with others to launch a "National Network of Resistance – Stop the War Against the People" and to organize a "Week of Resistance" from 20-26 October. The call for the week's events denounces "the massacres committed by the armed guards of this capitalist system whose political and military chiefs are in collusion with the chiefs of the narcotics cartels" in a war that is both between different sections of the state and the capitalists and their respective drug lord allies and above all against the people. A war in the service of an exploiting and illegitimate system, armed and under the thumb of the rulers of the U.S., whose government and military is deeply involved in these state and non-state criminal structures. (See aurora-roja.blogspot.com, in Spanish)

 

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/357/carl-dix-police-murder-must-stop-st-louis-cop-kills-another-black-youth-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

Police Murder Must STOP!
ST. LOUIS COP KILLS ANOTHER BLACK YOUTH

by Carl Dix | October 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A white off duty St. Louis cop gunned down Vonderrit Myers Jr., an 18-year-old Black man, last night. One day short of 2 months after the police murder of Michael Brown, another Black life is stolen. THESE POLICE MURDERS MUST STOP, and it's up to us to stop them.

The police say that Myers and several friends ran when the off duty cop tried to make “a pedestrian stop” on them and that Myers shot at the cop first. So, according to them, the 17 shots the cop fired were in self-defense. Witnesses to the incident say Myers was unarmed, that he had just bought a sandwich and that’s all he had in his hands when he was chased and gunned down. People gathered at the scene of the murder to protest it within minutes and soon the crowd had grown to several hundred angry people. A resident whose son had been with Myers on Wednesday night said, "They have been harassing him all day like they do all the time, pulling him over, stopping him." "That's how it is. They harass the kids in the neighborhood. Our kids walk around in their own neighborhood and get harassed for it." This is the reality of life in this country for Black people. It has become a daily fact of life that Black youth have to fear for their lives, and face the danger of summary execution by police at any time, for doing anything, or nothing.

Why does an off-duty cop feel like he can be making “pedestrian stops” of Black youth while he's moonlighting as a security guard? This killing and the story the police are using to justify it reflect how Black people are criminalized in this society. Some Black youth walking together are suspicious and need to be jacked up by a cop, even if the cop is off duty. This is like the Black Codes that southern states, including Missouri, enforced during the days of slavery which gave whites the power to break up any gatherings of 3 or more Black people. And it brings to mind the 1857 Dred Scott decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which said that Black people had no rights that white people are bound to respect.

THIS SHIT MUST BE STOPPED, AND IT'S UP TO US TO STOP IT.

This police terror concentrates an overall program of suppression, a program that includes warehousing more than 2.2 million people in prison, subjecting tens of thousands of these people to the torture of long-term solitary confinement and treating the youth like criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This program has genocidal implications, and it must be STOPPED!

Things don't have to be this way. Thru revolution, communist revolution, we could end these and all the other horrors this system enforces on people here and around the world. We have the leadership needed to make this kind of revolution in Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party. And we are building a movement for revolution and building the party as its leading core. Get with this movement for revolution.

And right now we need massive resistance to these horrors. Everybody who hates the fact that in this country the color of a person's skin determines whether someone lives and how they live needs to come together to say NO MORE to police murder, NO MORE to mass incarceration and all the other abuses of the criminal “injustice” system in this country.

Many people who suffer this abuse are beginning to stand up and resist This resistance must continue and grow. All those who don't suffer this abuse, but who don't want to live in a society where these horrors are the daily lot for tens of millions of people need to join in the resistance.

And now is the time. Get ready to take to the streets on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Go to the web site stopmassincarceration.net/, find out what's being planned for October 22 in your area and mobilize people to come out to the demonstration. If nothing's happening in your area, then organize something.

This is not time to be talking about gradually reducing how many people are in prison or appealing to the federal Department of Justice to oversee brutal, murdering cops. A big STOP SIGN to police terror, mass incarceration and all their consequences must be put right in the face of U.S. society, and it needs to be done NOW! Not some time off in the future, but RIGHT NOW!

October is the time to make a big leap in doing this, and you need to be part of doing that. Let's make October a month of the kind of resistance that can be the beginning of the end for mass incarceration in this country.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/357/st-louis-police-murder-another-black-youth-in-a-barrage-of-bullets--this-must-stop-now-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

St. Louis Police Murder Another Black Youth in a Barrage of Bullets: This MUST STOP NOW!

October 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

On October 8, St. Louis, Missouri police shot multiple times and killed a young Black man on the south side of St. Louis. An off duty cop working as security, in his St. Louis police uniform, pursued four young Black men who had come out of a store, chased them down and shot and killed Vonderrit Myers Jr. People on the scene said they heard a barrage of gunfire. They estimated 16-17 shots fired.

Immediately this went out on social media. The brave and defiant Black youth hit the streets and were on the murder scene, chanting and calling out the police. It was an intense and volatile situation. Other people who had been protesting at the Ferguson police station jumped in their cars and took off to the murder site. Within a very short time, they were joined by many young people from that south side St. Louis neighborhood. Ministers were there to join in protesting the killing. The crowd was multinational—many white young men and women joined the protest. This was a welcome development. The south side had not been a place where people had expected protest against police murder. In the face of yet another infuriating, unjust murder of a Black youth, it is very important that people are standing up.

The family of Vonderrit Myers Jr. arrived on the scene of the killing and spoke out. A cousin, Teyonna Myers, said, “It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”

The authorities are putting out various stories about what happened. Relatives of Vonderrit Myers Jr. who came to the scene disputed the police version. Family members said he didn't have a weapon. According to Jackie Williams, “My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich... I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”

A neighbor who lives in the area and happened upon the scene said he heard 14 or 15 shots as he was in his car. “When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him (Myers) then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip.” He heard others nearby telling the officer, “You killed my friend.” A resident who lives in the Shaw neighborhood said his son was with Myers on Wednesday night. "They have been harassing him all day like they do all the time, pulling him over, stopping him. That's how it is. They harass the kids in the neighborhood. Our kids walk around in their own neighborhood and get harassed for it."

This murder took place in the context of a wave of police assaulting, choking, brutalizing, terrorizing, and shooting down young Black and Latino men. For holding their hands up in the air saying “Don’t shoot!" like Michael Brown ... for being suspected of selling loose cigarettes like Eric Garner... for having mental health issues like Kajieme Powell ... for supposedly not having seat belts fastened and the list goes on and on and on. Here’s the situation: It has become a daily fact of life that Black youth face daily harassment and even have to fear for their lives, and face the danger of summary execution by police at any time, for doing anything, or nothing.

As word spread, the crowd grew to 200-300 people. In the mix Revolution newspaper and the Call for the October Month of Resistance got out. Chants of “Fuck the police,” “No Justice No Peace,” and banner and signs that said “Black Lives Matter,” “Quit Killing Black People,” and “Day 60, Indict Now!” were seen and heard.  A police car was surrounded by protesters and damaged during ensuing demonstrations; windows broke, back light kicked out, and people pounded on the car. The cop car managed to get out.

Many of the people had been influenced by the murder of Mike Brown, others said that this was their first time out in the streets. Some we had met at Peace Fest around the time of Mike Brown’s murder. One guy said he had been at a book club when the murder occurred. They broke up their meeting as soon as they heard and got into the streets.

People at the site are not buying the police story; if a young Black man is shot, people are filled with anger over this happening time and time again. Mike Brown was unarmed when he was gunned down by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9, and his death set off a defiant righteous rebellion and has had national and international impact. A grand jury, which has been nothing but a cover-up, has refused to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, who shot Mike Brown. It’s been 61 days since Mike Brown was murdered and there has not been an indictment. Protesters have spent more time in jail than the murdering pig Darren Wilson.

The shooting took place as the St. Louis area prepared for a planned “Weekend of Resistance.” That whole weekend is shaping up to be very significant. Many people from around the country will be pouring into Ferguson and the St. Louis area. As part of that, the National October Month of Resistance to Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation will be marching in a contingent, building a national movement and building and spreading for October 22nd, the National Day of Protest against Police Brutality. Some of us are inviting and challenging people to come to the historic dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on November 15 in NYC at the Riverside Church.

Hands Up Coalition and others organizers have scheduled protest marches, acts of civil disobedience and, on Sunday night, a mass meeting at Chaifetz Arena, which is on the campus of Saint Louis University, with Cornel West and others.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/october-13-not-one-more-deportation-march-and-rally-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

October 13th: "Not One More Deportation!" March & Rally

October 10, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following was sent to revcom.us by the Bay Area Chapter of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

This beautiful color poster calling for the October 13 march and rally was prepared by Pablo Paredes of 67 Sueños Project.

Please post far and wide.

We will email the poster by request.  Send requests  to: StopMassIncarcerationBayArea@gmail.com.

All out for the October 13 rally and march! Make our voices heard far and wide!

As an important part of building for a Powerful October 22nd Rally and March to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
October 22nd, 1 pm, 14th and Broadway, Oakland

"...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 US 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!"

From "WE SAY NO MORE!", A Call for October 2014 -  A MONTH OF RESISTANCE TO MASS INCARCERATION, POLICE TERROR, REPRESSION AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF A GENERATION!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/356/cecily-mcmillan--not-guilty-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

October 10, 2014

Cecily McMillan—Not Guilty!

October 10, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us received the following press release from the Justice for Cecily Committee—which also calls on people to support Noche Diaz at his upcoming October 14 court appearance:

 

Cecily was found not guilty!

The jury returned their verdict around noon, finding that Cecily had not committed Obstruction of Government Administration. The charge carried a maximum sentence of one year in Rikers, the infamous jail complex where Cecily served fifty-eight days over the summer.

In the courtroom, we breathed a collective sigh of relief as the jury foreman read the verdict, in surprise that the police and prosecution's efforts were thwarted by members of the public. We hope our success today sets a precedent for solidarity efforts with activists facing criminal charges.

Cecily participated in a press conference with Green Party candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins shortly before the verdict was read. Mr. Hawkins pledges to exonerate and expunge records for all nonviolent drug offenders, and has supported Cecily since her felony trial.

After the verdict was announced, Cecily spoke outside the courtroom along with defense attorney Marty Stolar, reiterating the need to film police and fight retaliatory charges in court.

Thanks to everyone who came to court and supported Cecily! We emphasize that most people who film police are harassed, abused, and convicted with impunity. Now more than ever, it is necessary for us to support one another in the struggle for justice for all.

We ask our allies to stand with Noche Diaz as he appears in court on Tuesday, October 14 on six misdemeanor charges related to his participation in a Ferguson solidarity demonstration. We will be holding a rally outside the courthouse at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan at 9:00am on Tuesday, October 14. Please RSVP on Facebook here to support Noche and the right to protest! 

Love and solidarity,

Paul Funkhouser
justiceforcecily.com

For more on Cecily McMillan, see:

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/357/to-the-youth-who-this-system-has-cast-off-this-dialogue-is-for-you-en.html

Revolution #356 October 6, 2014

To the Youth Who This System Has Cast Off:
This Dialogue Is for You

October 10, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From an ex-prisoner:

To the youth who this system has cast off and counts for nothing, but who can actually count for a great deal:

The Dialogue on November 15, 2014 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is for you. This is a conversation between two people who have a deep love for people just like you. With everything that keeps you fucked up and doing fucked up shit to each other, neither one of these two people are willing to turn their back on you.

The main reason I am going to be there is because I want to see Bob Avakian (BA). I feel a strong connection to BA because his writings transformed me. I was caught up in the senseless shit that goes down in the neighborhoods, spent too many years of my life behind prison walls and treated by this system as less than nothing. Through BA, I learned the world doesn’t have to be this way, that we could make a revolution and that we have to start working on that now. Through BA, I learned that even though this system treated me as human waste, I could count for a great deal by being a part of the movement to get rid of that system. BA helped me understand all these complex things I couldn’t understand before, things that used to go right over my head. I recognized in BA a precious leader that we really do need—that his leadership could actually get us out of this shit.

I want to see this Dialogue unfold—the whole conversation, I want to be there as it happens. And I really, really, really want to see BA. It’s a rare opportunity to see BA speak publicly, live and in person.

Bob Avakian is the leader of a group that aims to make a revolution. Yes, a revolution. A physical overthrow of the system that rules over society. That group is the Revolutionary Communist Party and its ranks are filled with people who have stepped up and are down to lead this whole process. From building the movement for revolution today to a future revolutionary situation, when this revolution can fight to go all the way in defeating the repressive forces of the state, not just the police but all the other forces this system will send to crush this, including the army. This will be difficult and it will involve a lot of sacrifice. But they’re not waiting for people to agree that this is a good idea—they have a strategy for revolution and they are calling on you to be a part of this.

Even while people down here are caught up in all kinds of fucked up shit fighting and killing each other, making money from selling drugs to people whose life is even more fucked up than theirs... even with all that, BA and the Party he leads believe that people down here will be the backbone for this revolution because we have nothing to lose and everything to win. It’s the fact that we are all “down here” that we get caught up in this fucked up shit in the first place. That’s why BA and CW (Cornel West) have so much love for people on the bottom of society—even when they are caught up in shit that involves hurting each other. Because BA and CW understand, on different levels, why this shit keeps happening and that we are capable of so much more.

BA especially understands that it will keep happening until people are living under a whole different system—a system that doesn’t treat so many Black and Brown people as less than human, a system that values the lives of people like you, a system that doesn’t allow pigs to keep killing unarmed youth and never paying for the lives they’ve destroyed.

Like I said, this Party isn’t asking anyone permission to stop all this shit. They are building a movement now to seize on the next opportunity this system itself throws up to wage the struggle for power. And they’re out to recruit people just like you.

Revolution and Religion; The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. This Dialogue is for you and you need to be there. This Dialogue is about freeing people from the fucked up conditions that causes them to be fucked up to each other, and the role of religion in all of that.

BA and the Party he leads are atheists. They don’t believe in god. They don’t think praying to the sky will change anything. They know that no matter how much or how hard mothers, like the mother of Michael Brown or Ezell Ford, pray for their sons to come home safe, there will be pigs ready and willing to pump them full of bullets. BA and the RCP believe that the idea of an imaginary god stands in the way of people fully understanding why shit is so fucked up throughout the world and what people can do to change it. At the same time, they don’t turn their backs or look down on people who believe in a god. And they don’t tell people they can’t be part of making revolution if they hold on to those beliefs. They unite with people all the time who believe in a god as they fight the power while building a movement for revolution.

Cornel West is someone who, coming from his religious and moral beliefs, hates what’s happening to poor people under this system and at the hands of the police. He sharply exposes all kinds of shit that is done to people under this system. He’s passionate about people around the world and has a deep love for the oppressed.

With this Dialogue, people who don’t believe in god, and people who do believe are coming together to say no more to all this oppressive shit. They’re saying, to quote BA, “No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born...” Both BA and CW understand that, whether you pray or not, making that “no more” a reality is going to take concrete actions. They understand that it’s going to take millions of people both religious and not religious rising up to change this. And it’s going to take people digging into the biggest questions of how to get free, including ones that will take them out of their comfort zone, challenging them to play a radically different role than they are playing now.

If you’re sick of being dogged and degraded by this system... if you’re sick of seeing young women tricked out as someone’s property... if you’re sick of the pigs having free reign to kill and brutalize unarmed youth... and if you want to see people here and all around the world finally free from this shit... then this Dialogue is for you.

Now is the time for you to raise your head above the day to day bullshit, playing this system’s game with no prospect of ever winning. Get into BA and get ready to hear him in dialogue with Cornel West, get ready to hear him speak directly to you. Set aside the time. Get there, get others there. Be part of raising funds to get this known throughout your neighborhood and across the country. Saturday, November 15, doors open 1:30 pm—be there. This is for you.