Revolution #360, November 3, 2014 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/359/cornel-west-invites-you-to-a-dialogue-between-him-and-bob-avakian-november-15-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Cornel West Invites You to a Dialogue Between Him and Bob Avakian, November 15

 

October 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/357/bringing-alive-to-people-why-this-dialogue-is-something-they-absolutely-wouldnt-want-to-miss-three-basic-dimensions-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Three Reasons Why the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on November 15 Is Something You ABSOLUTELY Won't Want to Miss

October 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A historic Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion will take place at Riverside Church on November 15. 

Here are three reasons you should BUY YOUR TICKET AND GET TO THE DIALOGUE, why you should not want to miss this:

1. This is a chance to come see and hear Bob Avakian live!  This is a very rare opportunity to see him in person and hear what this revolutionary leader and architect of a whole new framework for the emancipation of all of humanity is saying about the prospects for revolution and what transformations have to be undertaken to truly get free of the confines and horrors of the present system.  How could you not want to be there?

2. This is a chance to see and hear Bob Avakian and Cornel West sharing a public stage together for the very first time, rolling up their sleeves and dialoguing together, exploring some of the important things they agree on and some of the important things they don’t agree on, no doubt surprising and challenging their audience to think more deeply, study more critically, reflect on how they might step up their own participation—with all this taking place in an atmosphere of love, mutual respect, and principled struggle, between these two people, with the shared passion for emancipation of the most oppressed and all of  humanity front and center.  How could you not want to be there?

3. This is a chance to experience what they have to say on a topic, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, that is objectively very important.  Not so much because of what any of you, as individuals, may personally think about religion. Both believers and non-believers are very welcome at this Dialogue. But individual belief or non-belief is not the heart of the matter on this occasion.  The reason the subject of this particular Dialogue is so important right now is because the topic of religion (any religion, all the many different kinds of religion) matters deeply to hundreds of millions of people, and even billions of people, not only in this country but all around the world.  We all happen to be living at a moment in time where that is very much the reality: Religion really matters to a whole lot of people, and shapes many people’s thinking and actions.  But what is religion’s place, what is its role in relation to fighting injustices and in advancing towards truly emancipatory social revolution?  Can religion help with this? Or is it a hindrance and gets in the way?  These are some of the questions Bob Avakian and Cornel West are going to be batting around and exploring together, sharing their points of unity as well as their differences with a broad audience.  Again, how could you not want to be there?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/359/an-approach-to-exceed-30000-indiegogo-goal-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Breaking It Down to Take It Higher—

An approach to exceed the $30,000 Indiegogo goal to raise funds for the November 15 Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader


#Nov15CornelAndBA

There needs to be all kinds of fundraising going on to raise the funds for the full $110,000 budget for the November 15 Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. These funds are needed to subsidize travel and tickets for youth and those who can't afford it from Chicago, Atlanta, Harlem and the Bronx; to really make this event known far and wide; and to pay for the production of a high-quality event and filming. Go here for a fuller description of why these funds can make a big difference.

The fundraising for this should include a lot of local projects—working with people in the projects to do bake sales, sell chocolate bars, collect funds in “revolutionary change jars,” and more. It also includes reaching out to higher-level donors—people who have resources and could contribute thousands of dollars. This article is focusing on a basic method to make a plan to reach the fundraising goal on indiegogo.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

How are we going to reach and exceed this $30,000 goal as part of raising the larger fundraising goal for this Dialogue?

First: We better ASK for money. There’s no way that all the people who need to hear about this event and get their tickets are going to know this is happening without major national advertising—in print, online, and on radio stations. There’s no way that all the people who need to be there, including youth, students, and the un/underemployed, will be able to be in the house without funds to subsidize tickets and transportation costs. And we will not have the funds for any of this without asking!

Get out your pad and pen and start making your lists: Think about everyone you know who was active around the October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation and the October Month of Resistance. Think about everyone you know who was following and supporting the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride this summer. Who are the people you know who have seen all or even parts of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live? Who are the people you know that have copies of BAsics? Who are the people you know that supported the BAsics bus tours that went across the country in the past several years? Who do you know that was moved by the film Stepping Into the Future?

So what does this mean concretely, and how can we break this down? Here are some ideas:

  1. Are there 10 middle-class people you know—maybe teachers, social workers, or nurses—who you can ask for a $200 donation? Think about everyone who has connected with a quote from BAsics, people who have gotten a taste of what it means that BA is best friend to the masses after reading the "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian" piece. Ten donations of $200 is $2,000 raised. If we can find those 10 middle-class donations in five major cities across the country—that’s $10,000, and we’re a third of the way to our goal of $30,000.
  2. Who are the doctors, lawyers and others we know that can donate $500 each? Four of those $500 donations comes to another $2,000—and again, multiply this happening across the country. With $2,000 raised from professionals in five major cities, we’ve got the next $10,000—and we’re more than half-way to meeting our goal.
  3. Get out on the street with the Dialogue and with the fundraising campaign! Have people take out their phones and watch the Indiegogo video on the spot. Bring to life what it would mean for them to donate $15 right then on spot to sponsor a subsidized ticket! Bring tickets with you to sell, and have them participate in the white-board project to spread this on social media with the hashtag #Nov15CornelAndBA. Ten donations of $15 out on the street would mean $150 raised by the end of the day, and in many cities that will be combined with lots of smaller donations and people contributing to the “revolutionary change jar.” If we can get 10 $15 donations in 10 cities across the country, in addition to what is raised through other grassroots efforts, that’s at least $1,500 toward our goal. (For some places this will go towards the local fundraising to send people, but this should still be reported at revcom.us and we should aim for matching contributions.)
  4. There are lots of people in the middle class who are inspired and encouraged when they see new people connecting with BA. We should use this dynamic to raise funds! In every city, let’s challenge one middle-class person to match all the $15 donations raised on the street. When we make our goal of getting 10 of those $15 donations on the street across 10 cities, we can raise another $1,500 in matching funds.
  5. Challenge lots and LOTS of people to donate $55—that donation level on Indiegogo will mean they get their own ticket to the event AND they’re making it possible for two more people who can’t afford to go to be in the house that day! This is a donation level which all kinds of people can give, including: students, young professionals, bus drivers, construction workers, janitors, waitresses and many more! Fifteen $55 donations is $825—multiply this by ten cities across the nation, and that’s another $8,250.

If we can take up and run with the five ideas laid out above, we would meet and even exceed our goal, by raising $31,250. This really is possible...and it can make a huge difference. So let’s reach out to lots and lots of people. Talk with them about being in the house for this Dialogue, about contributing and about spreading the word themselves. Let’s go!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/a-more-radical-way-of-looking-at-where-were-at-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

A more radical way of looking at where we're at...that draws me

November 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


 

 

 

What I like really about this dialogue is that it is not the typical dialogue. It is not the typical people. And it is not this very domesticated, careful mode of talking about where we're at and what we need. I think what both Cornel West and Bob Avakian are about is opening up new ground. We're in a disastrous situation. Our state, our liberal state, is in severe decay—not just ours, by the way, all around. So I think we really need to focus in a way on the extreme conditions that are often left out. We are always focusing on the middle, the medium, the mean. We really need to focus on the edges, the horrors that are happening. So I think a more radical way of looking at where we're at, where there are no easy remedies—that draws me. And each of them has a very strong category that organizes their thinking and their passions, and that is also very good. That's good theater even: religion and revolution. Can you ask for more?

Saskia Sassen—Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology,
co-chair Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/carl-dix-join-me-at-cornel-west-and-bob-avakian-dialogue-nov-15-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Carl Dix: 'Join me at Cornel West & Bob Avakian Dialogue, November 15'

November 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/the-ebola-epidemic-and-xenophobia-a-fundamental-question-of-morality-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Interview with Alan Goodman

The Ebola Epidemic and Xenophobia: A Fundamental Question of Morality

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' note: The following is a slightly edited transcript of an interview on the Michael Slate Show with revcom.us correspondent Alan Goodman. Goodman has been writing on moral questions concentrated in the Ebola epidemic in Africa and the reaction of the U.S. and other world powers.

Michael Slate: One of the things to talk to you about is generally the morality question, but then there's also this very specific thing about the xenophobia that's been really pushed hot and heavy, especially over the last couple of months.

Alan Goodman: And actually especially as we speak—I'm on the East Coast and I don't know what it's like on the West Coast and in other parts of the country and other parts of the world—but New Jersey Governor Christie, who is a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president, seized on the Ebola thing to promote just really ignorance, hatred, and fear of foreigners, particularly Africans.

A lot of this came down around the detention of a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who was one of the heroic people who was over in West Africa treating Ebola victims. She came back. She was asymptomatic. She was involuntarily detained. And Christie has been making statements like she was obviously ill, you know, he's not a doctor. He didn't see her. And, in fact, as a medical fact, she was asymptomatic.

Now, it's one thing to take Ebola seriously, it is a very terrible disease and it is contagious. But what's being done here is seizing on this to promote, yes, xenophobia. It's a term that we're all going to have to unfortunately both learn and speak out against. It's ignorant hatred and fear of immigrants with an ugly and ominously dangerous edge.

You and I were chatting earlier about some of the things that the current situation is evoking. One was the atmosphere when AIDS was first emerging as a terrible plague and primarily focused at that time in the male gay community. And instead of humane treatment, education, enlightenment, very ugly dark forces in society used that as a way to promote an agenda, which they already had, of hatred for anybody outside the norm of traditional patriarchal heterosexual relationships.

And the other thing it reminds me of and, you know, it might be a little more intense out here on the East Coast, but you feel glimpses of the atmosphere after September 11 and the attack on the World Trade Center, when anyone who looked like a Middle Easterner was subject to threats, suspicion, fear. and hatred, and so on. So that's a real danger. And then what has been the answer of... of Obama and Democrats? Well, New York Governor Cuomo, himself a very leading Democrat, has been basically hand in hand with Christie in feeding this—denouncing the CDC, that is the Centers for Disease Control, for not having strict enough measures in place.

And then there's the kind of fundamental moral point that you brought up when you referenced the article I wrote at revcom.us, which is the morality that American lives are more important than other people's lives, that only American lives matter.

And I'm on the same wavelength as your previous guest. That is outrageous. That is immoral.

But where is the Democrat who is calling out Christie as a xenophobe whipping up dangerous violent, you know, potentially violent fear of immigrants? You will find Democrats saying, oh, no, that's not the most effective way to prevent Ebola from coming here. But you won't find any Democrat of stature calling out what he's doing for what it really is.

Michael Slate: Well, let's... let's dig into this thing about the morality a little bit more, because one of the things... and in particular, in terms of American lives can't... you know, this whole idea that the message from the ruling class is that American lives count and other people's lives don't, when you look at what's happening in West Africa and you look at the way that... that the whole distortion and lopsidedness of the world and the fact that these people are left, you know, basically to hell with them, let them die, as long as we don't have to see it. And then even more, as long as it doesn't impact us negatively. And there's a lot of levels to that, that I thought you were actually getting into in your article as well.

Alan Goodman: I was out at Fox News's world headquarters dressed up in one of those fake HAZMAT suits that you can get for 10 bucks at Home Depot. And I was kind of trying to be the opposite of this guy who got his picture all over the news with it... out in front of the White House with the "Stop the Flights." And I had a "Stop the Xenophobia" sign.

I had a couple interesting experiences that I'll share. One was, you know, some people who were most offended by my "Stop the Xenophobia" sign, interestingly, were Democrats. A woman who works for Comedy Central was very oh, you're not talking about President Obama, are you?

And I made the basic point that this morality that American lives are more important than other people's lives runs through everything in America. You know, this whole logic that... that our approach to this terrible disease—should be based on how it impacts Americans, as if the lives of people in Africa don't count.

"In this world, when the president can listen to everybody's phone conversations, when they can assassinate people all around the world with drones, when they can bomb, you know, spend just obscene amounts of money to build a military that can bomb anybody, anywhere and everywhere... there aren't the resources, they say, to provide the most basic health education and medical care for African people suffering from this terrible disease. "I mean, do you need more reason to, you know, to condemn the current world order as utterly unacceptable?!"

Another interesting experience was we met a man from Liberia who's in touch with his family and other people back in Liberia. And he just described to us whole families being wiped out without coming into any contact with any medical treatment or resources or education at all.

And, you know, in this world, when the president can listen to everybody's phone conversations, when they can assassinate people all around the world with drones, when they can bomb, you know, spend just obscene amounts of money to build a military that can bomb anybody, anywhere and everywhere... there aren't the resources, they say, to provide the most basic health education and medical care for African people suffering from this terrible disease.

I mean, do you need more reason to, you know, to condemn the current world order as utterly unacceptable?!

Michael Slate: People not familiar with the scene or maybe just vaguely familiar with it, might say, well, they've done something, I know I've seen doctors going over there and I've seen some money and, you know...

Alan Goodman: Another thing I just want to bring into the conversation at this point that we made at revcom.us, as well, is that there was the New York Times article that appeared on October 23. And it reported that a decade ago, scientists in Canada were very close to a vaccine that would be 100 percent effective, well, at least in tests with monkeys, but, you know, very promising for preventing the spread of Ebola.

But this is a quote from the Times: "The absence of follow-up on such a promising candidate reflects a broader failure to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that affect poorer countries."

So, there you have it! I mean you have just the defining economic logic of capitalism, that, well, there's not enough profit in creating Ebola medicine. And the inhumanity of the outlook that well, they're Africans, so their lives don't matter as much. And again, you know, what more do you need to know to... to condemn the current world system?

Michael Slate: The big concern of the U.S. was not the spread of Ebola among the people, but the potential for destabilization inside these various African countries and what that would mean for what the U.S. has to do in the world, in Africa and around the rest of the world, as well.

Alan Goodman: Well, I think that the main destabilization issue that they're concerned about is not so much, you know, these countries that they characterize as failed states or whatever, that don't really have functioning medical care systems at all, but the possibility of Ebola spreading within the United States and having a destabilizing effect here.

And once again, we come back to the basic moral question that American lives... and I'm quoting Bob Avakian here from BAsics, "American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives," and this is... this is a fundamental question of morality. I think, you know, that outrage that your previous guest expressed is absolutely appropriate. It is unacceptable and obscene that so much, you know, there... that in a world with such incredible resources, you know, that so little, if any, have gone into this disease because African people aren't a profitable market for drug companies and because of the immoral logic that American lives are more important than other people's lives.

Michael Slate: That's a great note to end on. Thank you very much for joining us today. And we'll be following the story at revcom.us so stay tuned.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/ebola-we-re-too-interlinked-to-ignore-what-happens-anywhere-in-the-world-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Interview with Sigga Jagne

EBOLA: We're too interlinked to ignore what happens anywhere in the world

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' note: The following is a slightly edited transcript of an interview on the Michael Slate Show with Sigga Jagne—a health care professional originally from the West African nation of Gambia, currently working in the U.S. She is the former HIV-AIDS program director for the Kentucky Department of Public Health. And she's currently the executive director of Signara Global Solutions.

 

Michael Slate: Welcome. Let me ask you this. You also talk about how many health care personnel—a lot of people have been very inspired by the doctors and nurses and other health care personnel that have gone to West Africa and basically said, "I want to go get on the front lines and I'm going to serve humanity here and I'm actually going to try and really help this, help people beat back this disease and survive it." And, at the same time, though, you have people who, you know, when they get there and then there's similar people in these countries that actually have all the good desires and all the good intentions in the world to do this, but people find themselves facing a situation where you have poorly trained people and you have people who are poorly equipped against Ebola and misinformed about how to even protect themselves. And the gear they get, the equipment they get, is not actually designed to... to actually protect these caregivers, which is... seems to be a really just terrible situation.

"It's like having a tragedy and adding a tragedy upon it. And the sad part about this is that we know how to stop this. This disease had resulted in Central Africa since the '70s. It has been fought before and been controlled successfully."

Sigga Jagne: It is. You know, and it's a tragedy. It's like having a tragedy and adding a tragedy upon it. And the sad part about this is that we know how to stop this. This disease had resulted in Central Africa since the '70s. It has been fought before and been controlled successfully. Now, this is the first time it is going in an urban area with a lot of people so there... so that is a factor in how quickly it has spread.

But really, it's the failures within the processes, within the systems, like you said. Well-meaning people, qualified doctors, whether they're in Europe or in other countries, going to volunteer, to assist. And then they're overwhelmed by the lack of infrastructure. They are overwhelmed by the lack of simple things like personal protective equipment, by the lack of good protocol and just such poor public health in general. It sort of adds a layer of difficulty of turning this and of tragedy.

You know, we see how many health care workers have succumbed to Ebola just because they didn't have the right personal protective equipment, whether it's masks or gloves or a face shield or, an apron that they needed to wear, an impenetrable apron that they needed to wear, you know, things like this?

It's unfortunate, but we're suddenly I hope, whether from the World Health Organization, the United Nations or the European Union or all of the international bodies, as well as the countries, a leadership of the countries themselves, that this is an eye-opening for the world in general and it is a wakeup call that we are too interlinked, that what happens in one part of the globe can no longer be ignored by any other part just because of how interlinked we are in.

"It's like there are certain lives that are not equal enough. Some lives are more equal, so if it's African babies, African mothers, African children, African people somewhere, then we don't see it, you know, at least not until American medicals that were infected were infected, that the world decided to actually take action."

...I mean just look at the handling of this whole epidemic, I mean this whole outbreak. It happened. It was... of course, we've known about it since December 2013. But it was not until, you know, American doctors got infected, like you said, that the world woke up. It's like there are certain lives that are not equal enough. Some lives are more equal, so if it's African babies, African mothers, African children, African people somewhere, then we don't see it, you know, at least not until American medicals that were infected were infected, that the world decided to actually take action.

But, you know, this has been happening for a while. The countries where it is taking place, as well as certain organizations have been calling the world's attention to this like we've been ignorant. In this business, there are many stories like that. That's why I was saying that this is a point, you know, there's a lesson to learn for the world that, you know, we no longer can ignore the resource issues just because it's happening in another part of the world or just because it's not profitable. I mean it's... you know, it's mind-blowing.

Michael Slate: All right, Sigga, thank you very much for joining us today.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/cheers-for-kaci-hickox-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Cheers for Kaci Hickox

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Kaci Hickox is one of the courageous health care professionals who left a relatively comfortable life in her home in Maine to work with Doctors Without Borders to treat Ebola victims in Sierra Leone—one of three African countries stricken by the epidemic. When she returned to the U.S. on Friday, October 24, she became the first person forced into New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for people arriving at the Newark airport from three West African countries. This went against all medical science and scientific understanding of how Ebola spreads. Kaci had no symptoms of Ebola which means that there was no danger of her spreading the disease.

Kaci Hickox. Photo: AP

After New Jersey Governor Chris Christie backed down and allowed her to leave New Jersey, Kaci Hickox announced she would defy moves to confine her to her home in Maine and on Thursday, October 30, went on a bike ride. She told reporters, "I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based." By the end of the week, a court order had voided the quarantine orders for Kaci Hickox.

Speaking of being confined in an "isolation tent" in New Jersey without any medical basis, Kaci Hickox wrote, "I had spent a month watching children die, alone. I had witnessed human tragedy unfold before my eyes. I had tried to help when much of the world has looked on and done nothing.

"I sat alone in the isolation tent and thought of many colleagues who will return home to America and face the same ordeal. Will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners?"

And she insisted, "The epidemic continues to ravage West Africa. Recently, the World Health Organization announced that as many as 15,000 people have died from Ebola. We need more health care workers to help fight the epidemic in West Africa. The U.S. must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity."

Kaci Hickox is a hero for her service in Sierra Leone, and a hero for standing up to not just her own outrageous treatment, but for providing an inspiring counter to the wave of xenophobia (ignorant hatred and fear of people from other countries), prejudice, and persecution being whipped up by the powers-that-be in the United States.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/stories-from-the-u-s-ebola-xenophobia-front-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Stories from the U.S. Ebola-Xenophobia Front: Bullying, Beating, Boycotting, Shunning

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ousmane Drame brought his two sons from Senegal to America, to the Bronx, New York City. He wanted 11-year-old Amadou and 13-year-old Pape to get a good education. What he and his kids found was the ugliness and brutality of xenophobia being whipped up around Ebola.

Drame told news reporters that students at the school his sons attend chanted "Ebola, Ebola" and "Go back home" and beat the two brothers, punching them in the face. (New York Post, October 27, 2014)

Drame said he rushed to the school when they called him to tell him that his sons were getting beaten. He said, "My children were very hurt. Amadou was crying, lying on the floor, more than 10 children on top of him, beating him."

This totally unscientific fear—targeting anyone from Africa as being a carrier of Ebola—is being fanned by the media and various figures in government who promote the view that "American lives are more important than anyone else's."

Drame has talked about how his sons have been treated like pariahs. He said, "If they go to the gym, they say, 'Oh you don't play. Don't touch the ball. You have Ebola. Sit down there.'  For two days, they don't touch nobody, they just sit down. It's not just them.”

"All the African children suffer this."

*****

Staten Island, New York, has the largest Liberian community outside of Africa. There has been a West African market here for more than 20 years. Only a few months ago, there were 22 vendors there. Today there are just five, and the market is empty because people have a totally unfounded fear of buying goods from African sellers. One man said, "People don't want to talk with you, you walk in the street and they yell out, 'African, go back to Africa with your Ebola.'" (CBS News, October 31, 2014)

One Liberian woman in Staten Island says she was forced to take temporary, unpaid leave from her job. Similar things are happening to Liberians around the U.S. In Minnesota, Liberians have been told to leave work because they were simply sneezing or coughing. In New Jersey, some parents pressured school officials who then kept two elementary school students from Rwanda out of school. In Texas, at Navarro College, a public community college, officials mailed letters rejecting international applicants from African countries. (time.com, October 29, 2014) In Connecticut, a family is suing the school district for banning their daughter from class after she returned from Nigeria.

*****

Harlem in New York has lots of braiding salons where the women who weave hair in the African style and apply hair extensions are mostly from West Africa. In the past two months these businesses have been losing customers at a growing rate—even though the women working in them have not visited their homelands for years. Taxi drivers from West Africa in New York report being shunned by people who think they are going to get Ebola from the inside of the cab. (Voice of America, October 28, 2014)

These are only some of the stories...there are many, many more.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/265/an-invitation-from-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

An Invitation

By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/359/october 22--initial-reflections-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

October 22: Initial Reflections

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a comrade intensely involved in building O22 this year:

While I realize that the Month of Resistance isn’t even over yet, and that there is much to learn in order to fully draw the lessons from this unprecedented month of activity, I wanted to offer a few initial reflections on October 22. I’m doing this both as part of that process of drawing lessons, but also because I think that certain things that were brought forward are very significant, and need to be built on and carried forward.

Los Angeles, October 22, 2014

Los Angeles

This year’s demonstrations were marked by far greater diversity, breadth, and militancy than in many years. Over 70 cities, perhaps over 80, had at least one demonstration or manifestation against police brutality and, when the final count is in, the total participation will almost certainly be several thousand people taking the streets. College students and high school students came out in a significant way, bringing with them a spirit of defiance. People directly under the gun of police brutality and mass incarceration were joined by many people who felt they could not live in a country in which Black and Latino lives do not matter to the powers-that-be and to all too large a section of society more broadly. Communities of faith were actively out there—as were revolutionary communists, nationalists, Occupy partisans, and many others.

One very important component: Demonstrations in a number of cities—including New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, and—of course—Ferguson/St. Louis, as well as other places, directly defied the police. While previous years have sometimes seen militant demonstrations, the air of outright defiance across the board has never been anywhere near as strong as it was this year. More and more people have had ENOUGH. Of course, all this was fueled and inspired by the determination and spirit that has been shown repeatedly in Ferguson this summer, up to the present, inspired and fueled the way in which people took to the streets on October 22 this year—which in itself is good, and important.

I won’t try here to speak to all the other diverse forms of struggle that fed into this—the symposiums and campus events... the weekend of resistance in Ferguson... the cultural works that were done... the sermons that were given as part of the Month of Resistance... the prominent people speaking out on this... and many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. And the month is not done, either! All this will need to be gathered together and popularized for people, soon, as part of spreading this movement.

I am not saying that we should be in any way satisfied with this. “The dogs are still in the street,” as Gil Scott-Heron said. And besides that, there is still a way to go before society as a whole is stopped dead in its tracks and forced to confront this reality, and the whole terms of things change. That was the goal of the Month of Resistance, and we have work to do to reach that goal. But we should also not fail to realize and BUILD ON the very significant advance that was made toward that goal.

Right now, I think this means two things. I think that the people who came out on the 22nd have to be tense to the next big developments in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. One way or the other, however they go, the decisions on whether these murderers will actually stand trial for what they did must be responded to by the people, in a way that gives powerful expression to the spirit of Ferguson.

Second, for those whose minds were opened to the need for fundamental social change, the Dialogue between the revolutionary communist Bob Avakian and the revolutionary Christian Cornel West is a “must-go.” The questions that those two will be exploring have everything to do with making revolution that does away with the mass incarceration over several generations of minority youth... that does away with the daily pervasive abuse and often murder of many of these same youth (as well as older people) by the police... that does away with the demonization of whole peoples... and that ends the repression of those who step out of line and don’t “go along with the program.” Anyone moved by October 22 and the whole Month of Resistance... anyone who wants to figure out how to make fundamental change... cannot afford to miss it.

 


 

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

Revolution #360 November 3, 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/360/awtwns-egypt-government-again-lashes-out-at-children-of-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

From A World to Win News Service:

Egypt: Government again lashes out at "children of the revolution"

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

27 October 2014. A World to Win News Service. Activists who demonstrated against a law banning protests last June have been sentenced to prison for breaking that law. The three-year terms, to be followed by fines and three years of police surveillance, shocked even other activists, which might have been the intended message. One of the 23 people sent to prison was a legal observer, not a participant in the June demonstration that targeted the continuing trial of another set of activists arrested last year for demonstrating against the same law.

One of those now convicted, Sanaa Seif, 20, is the sister of the well-known blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, whose name is widely associated with those who call themselves "the youth of the revolution" and who played a major role in the toppling of the U.S.-supported Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The day after this verdict, on 27 October Alaa Abel-Fattah, who along with Sanaa Seif was released to attend their father's funeral, was again taken into custody and sent back to prison, rejoining two dozen other co-defendants to await their trial, scheduled to resume in mid-November. This current trial is a retrial after the co-defendants appealed an earlier judicial process in which they were sentenced to 15 years in prison

That same day, a law was issued stipulating that schoolchildren and university students can be tried by military courts if they are accused of "sabotaging public facilities" (for instance, by holding a protest in or near a school) or impeding traffic (the Tahrir Square revolt that led to Mubarak's downfall blocked one of the capital's main thoroughfares).

 

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/360/awtwns-marches-and-clashes-in-france-follow-death-of-environmental-activist-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

From A World to Win News Service:

Marches and clashes in France follow death of environmental activist

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

27 October 2014. A World to Win News Service. The death of a young university student during a pro-environment demonstration has led to angry demonstrations and confrontations with the authorities in almost 10 cities in France.

Rémi Fraisse was found dead in the early morning hours of 26 October after hundreds of gendarmes (national police) charged several thousand demonstrators at the site of a proposed dam across a small river valley in Sivens, in southwestern France. Just before they charged out from behind the wire fencing where they had massed, the gendarmes fired a barrage of tear gas, concussion grenades, and rubber bullets at the protesters. An official autopsy the next day revealed that Fraisse died of an intense burn on his upper back due to an "explosion," according to the newspaper Le Monde. The force of the explosion knocked him forward onto the ground, where a pool of blood could be seen the following day.

The death of a young university student during a pro-environment demonstration led to angry demonstrations and confrontations with the authorities in almost 10 cities in France.

The death of a young university student during a pro-environment demonstration led to angry demonstrations and confrontations with the authorities in almost 10 cities in France. AP photo

Ecology activists oppose the Sivens project because it would destroy forests and especially wetlands that are home to 94 protected species, to the benefit of a small number of capital-intensive farm operations. Several hundred police have been stationed on the site since the beginning of September. Proclaiming it a "zone a defendre" ("area to be defended"), protesters set up their hammocks in tree-tops and buried themselves in the forest to stop the advance of wood-clearing crews bearing chainsaws. As the trees steadily fell, some protesters went on hunger strike.

The afternoon after Fraisse's death, about 500 people rallied in the nearby town of Gaillac. A large banner said, "In homage to Remi, killed for defending nature." French flags were burned, and some youths clashed with police and rubbished banks and other business establishments.

On 27 October, actions took place in about 10 French cities. In the southwestern city of Albi, a march of several hundred people ended in a tear gas attack. In Rennes, 200 gathered in front of a police station chanting, "The police are killers" and "We call for revolt." In Rouen, hundreds cried, "The state kills, Remi died for his convictions, don't forget, don't forgive." Other protests were held in Toulouse, Strasbourg, Chambery, and Paris.

One of the biggest protests was in Nantes, where 600 marched, according to Le Monde. Nantes is near Notre Dame des Lands, a rural area where ecology activists, small farmers, youths identifying themselves as "anti-capitalist," and anarchists have been waging a long struggle against the construction of a new national airport with potentially grave environmental consequences. It was there that the "zone a defendre" occupation tactic was developed. Many observers are now connecting Sivens and Notre Dame des Landes as emblematic of resistance to the further devastation of the country's woodlands and small farms for giant profit-driven, state-run infrastructure projects.

Some people called the massive presence of the gendarmes in Sivens a state provocation, since now that the trees are all gone, the bulldozers have not yet been brought in and there is nothing for the forces of "order" to "protect" but the soil waiting to be leveled. The police attack was meant as a political message, activists argue, according to the reporterre.net website. An expert report is said to conclude that the dam project was ill-advised, but now it is too late to save the valley and construction might as well go ahead. While ministers in France's governing Socialist Party criticize the youth for not respecting the law and legal channels, the authorities seem to have been in a big hurry to settle the issue "on the ground" – with construction equipment and the repressive apparatus – before the challenge to their legitimacy could spread.

 

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/360/funeral-in-st-louis--we-are-vonderrit--you-ar-vonderrit-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Funeral in St. Louis: "We Are—VonDerrit! You Are—VonDerrit!"

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

On October 26, 500 people filled the Prince of Peace Missionary Church in St. Louis for the funeral of VonDerrit Myers, an unarmed 18-year-old Black man shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis cop on October 8.

There was aching sadness, moments of bitter indictment, and, after the service, a mass expression of defiance and commitment by youth and others in attendance. Friends of VonDerrit, or "Droop," as he was called, spoke about sharing good times and funny times, as well as sharing their dreams. They also spoke of terrible emptiness in their lives since VonDerrit's life was stolen. Their loving tributes, read through tears, were themselves an indictment of how Droop has been demonized in death by the authorities. One of the ministers commented, after the audience watched a beautiful slideshow presentation of VonDerrit's life, why doesn't the media use any of those photos in their stories after VonDerrit was killed? Instead, the media ran the usual narrative—mug shot, thug shot, "young man with record"—to justify VonDerrit's murder.

The funeral service expressed both thinking and emotions of looking to god for answers and solace, along with commentary from the pulpit that was biting and at times hilariously sarcastic about racism against Black people rooted in very earthly processes. Almost absent was the blaming of youth for the conditions they face or distancing from the rebellious protests that many have been involved in following the murders of Mike Brown and VonDerrit Myers.

Protesters were invited by VonDerrit's family to attend the funeral, given designated seating, and saluted from the pulpit. During the service, the minister asked protesters to stand up. In chorus, the church shouted "Hands up!"—which has become a rally cry for the movement against the police murders of Mike Brown and VonDerrit Myers. The minister said these are the people who we need to pass the torch to. After the service, protesters formed a chant and drum circle in front of the church. As the mourners left the church and mingled, they heard the sounds of "We are—VonDerrit! You are—VonDerrit!"

Carl Dix said in his October 9 statement on VonDerrit's murder: " 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."

What happened after the October 8 murder of VonDerrit was an example of what has begun to change. Immediately after news broke of VonDerrit's killing, carloads of defiant youth protesting for justice for Michael Brown at the Ferguson police station raced down to the south side of St. Louis to protest at the scene of VonDerrit's killing. The crowd grew to a couple hundred as people marched through the neighborhood. Many neighbors, Black and white, joined the protest. People widely did not accept the usual story and justification for another police murder of a Black youth. A few days later, during the Ferguson October Weekend of Resistance, close to a thousand people joined a protest that started at VonDerrit's memorial and marched for miles to occupy St. Louis University. There have been nightly protests over the last three weeks.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/system-prepares-for-grand-jury-decision--justifies-murder-of-mike-brown--re-arms-cops-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

System Prepares for Grand Jury Decision:
Justifies Murder of Mike Brown, Re-Arms Cops

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A million eyes and ears are tuned in to reports that a grand jury in Ferguson, MO, is about to announce whether to indict (or more likely whether to not indict) Darren Wilson—the pig who murdered Michael Brown in cold blood.

These facts are undisputed: Michael Brown was unarmed, his hands up, when he was executed by a Ferguson cop, Darren Wilson on August 9. And here’s another fact that might be less acknowledged but is none-the-less just as true: The lives and rights of Black people mean no more to those who rule this country than they did when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Black man has no rights a white man is bound to respect. Including the right to walk down a public street without fear of death at the hands of some pig—like what happened to Mike Brown, to Eric Garner in New York, and to so many more.

Immediately after the murder of Michael Brown, people in Ferguson, later joined by thousands around the country, waged the most sustained, defiant, fearless struggle seen in this country in a long time.

If they had not, Michael Brown’s murder would have been just one of hundreds every year, swept under the rug, sending a message to the oppressed that they are living under the threat of a death sentence that can be executed—literally—anytime, for anything, or for nothing. In fact, the terror and death unleashed on Black people by police in AmeriKKKa today takes more lives than KKK lynch mobs did in the depths of the Jim Crow era. A 2001 U.S. Department of Justice report calculated that in 22 years between 1976 and 1998, 3,696 Black people were killed by police. In the 30 years between 1890 and 1920, 2,254 Black people were lynched in the USA.

Ferguson sent shockwaves around the world—tearing the covers off the reality of life for millions and millions in the USA, and inspiring people everywhere. As we wrote at revcom.us a week after the uprising:

“Everything has changed: people stood up and fought back and refused to back down in the face of bullets and tanks, scolding and phony sympathy, and everything else. Fighting back and simply demanding justice for Michael Brown and that these pigs stop murdering young Black men. Simply demanding that the humanity of millions of youth be recognized. And when they did—when they went right up against the dogs and the gas and the bullets—they got sympathy from all over the world, they inspired others to stand up, and they put this question squarely on the agenda and changed the terms in which everybody thought and talked about it. People stood up and showed that the people who run this are NOT all-powerful, and that the force they use against the people is NOT legitimate. This is real progress, and it is solely due to determined struggle.”

But there is STILL no justice for Michael Brown.

There was MORE than enough evidence on Day One to indict Darren Wilson immediately after the murder. But instead, the system convened a grand jury that has all along been about COVERING up what happened. What if the roles had been reversed? Do you think Michael Brown would be a free man? More likely he’d be dead, or heading for death row.

A constant flood of bullshit and utterly not-credible “leaks” from the grand jury has been pumped out by the ruling class media and its spokespeople. They’re coming right out and saying it: The point is “to kind of let people down slowly” (as stated by Tim Fitch, former police chief in St. Louis County). These leaks are a blatant violation of the whole way the grand jury system is supposed to work. But that didn’t stop the ruling class’s supposed voice of reason and rule of law, the New York Times, from claiming—with no basis—that these illegal and unverifiable leaks “seem more exculpatory [making a case for innocence] than supportive of calls for murder charges against Officer Wilson.” (New York Times, 10/31/14)

They’re playing the same game with rumors that Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson will resign. The people have demanded this pig be fired. On October 28 there were news reports he was stepping down before the grand jury decision. One CNN commentator basically let the cat out of the bag on that one: "To me this is all calibrated and intended to take the temperature down of the community... I'm absolutely convinced we're headed for no indictment in this case.” The rumors were intended to get people to swallow injustice. And they weren’t even true. One day later, Jackson declared he was decidedly NOT resigning.

Meanwhile, Ferguson is spending tens of thousands of dollars to re-arm their cops with teargas, smoke-and-gas grenades, rubber bullets, pepper balls, and riot gear. (see sidebar, "Ferguson: Enforcing the Police State")

The struggle for justice for Michael Brown is continuing and must be built as part of resistance to the whole wave of mass incarceration and police murder and terror. And any moves to let the pig who murdered Michael Brown walk free must be met with escalated, determined protest.

Right now: Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail! The Whole System Is Guilty as Hell!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/insights-from-ferguson-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Insights from Ferguson

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers

There have been two sets of “leaks” floated out now to try to confuse, divide, chill, and isolate the struggle for justice for Michael Brown. One has been in relation to the grand jury, and the other has been in relation to a Justice Department investigation.

The grand jury is supposedly considering charges against Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Michael Brown here in Ferguson, MO on August 9. The latest round of leaks from the grand jury was the autopsy report conducted by the state, and this was THE story on October 22—the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality (not a coincidence). On O22, 100's took the streets that night in Ferguson. But the leak was THE story in the news. 

So there is, as you say, the aspect of basically making sure people get the message that it is likely there will be no indictment of Darren Wilson and to lessen the "shock" of hearing that news. On the other hand the powers-that-be know people are angry and things have not gone back to normal, even as the likelihood of a non-indictment is pushing people into other avenues of seeking redress through dead ends like “get out the vote.” 

Mainly, the powers-that-be are advertising that they are restocking their military power to repress the response to a non-indictment which everyone is expecting. The school district requested that the results of the grand jury not be released on a school day, that in their opinion it would be best if it comes down on a Sunday and that they plan to not hold school the following week. Everyone talks about the decision being after the elections—which shows how political the grand jury process is too!

Then there is a second set of leaks—the Department of Justice saying they will not be bringing civil rights charges against the Ferguson police. This was run as a major New York Times piece a week ago and a couple of days ago in the Washington Post. We are inclined to think that this, combined with the leaks about the police chief being fired and the department being recast (as has just been done in Albuquerque) is what the same pig who said "letting them down slowly" (see the article "System Prepares for Grand Jury Decision: Justifies Murder of Mike Brown, Re-Arms Cops") also called the "consolation prize." They are trying to prepare people for Darren Wilson not being indicted in any fashion and so offering some symbolic gesture even if it is the chief's job (he may not be in the loop of what is going to happen to him or this could all just be rumors).

There is a sense among at least some people that there will be overwhelming force and that the suppression can’t be taken on in a strong way and the fight for justice can’t deepen and grow.

But the system is not all powerful. A lot is going on—leaks, criticisms of leaks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, announcement of firings of the Ferguson police chief and then his refutation, an Amnesty International investigation on human rights abuses, and some exposure of the real situation getting into mainstream news. There is not controversy among the powers-that-be around a program of enforcing and justifying police murder and criminalization, nor of the need to bring vast resources to suppress people’s struggle. But there are differences among them over HOW to do it. In that, there are REAL CONTRADICTIONS AND DIFFICULTIES among the powers about how to carry out the suppression of expected resistance.

There is intense maneuvering within the ruling class around how to deal with the fact that people have not backed down in demanding justice and an indictment. The system is trying to wear the people out, drag this all out into the coldest time of year, put out all these leaks to at least turn very broad public opinion against the people demanding justice, and try to demoralize the local people and on and on. 

Over the last months the “superstitious awe of the state power” has repeatedly and badly been cracked. The stakes in this struggle for the rulers on the one hand, and on the other hand, for the people, are very high.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/359/correspondence-from-around-the-country-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Correspondence from around the country on October 22

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution/revcom.us received the following reports about actions that took place on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation:

CHICAGO

As the rally began in Daley Plaza, over 100 students who had walked out from Roosevelt University intensified the already rebellious atmosphere when they marched into the plaza, drums beating, chanting, "Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell." They joined the 400 people already gathered, including a group of high school students and other youth who face constant threats from the police, families of people murdered by police, United Voices for Prisoners, Innocents Demand Justice, Save Our Sons, students from Columbia College, Harold Washington, Northeastern Illinois and other colleges. There were also professors, clergy (including one pastor who had been arrested in Ferguson the week before with Cornel West and Carl Dix and 43 others), seminarians, anarchists, First Defense activists, and many others who came out to say NO MORE to police terror and mass incarceration.

Last week a group of high school students wondered if they would get killed coming downtown to this march. Today they picked up whistles and posters and immediately made the base of the famous Picasso sculpture their own. Two students presented passionate defiant poems about the way they are treated and refusing to live this way.

Parents whose children were murdered by police were honored on the stage. Cynthia Lane, mother of Roshad McIntosh, spoke of the heartbreak of losing her 19-year-old son in August to police murder. She and a contingent of family and friends from the West Side demanded that the cop who killed her son be named, indicted, and convicted of murder. Family members of Darius Pinex carried a banner made by his 12-year-old brother that said, "Killer Cop Killed 2 Individuals and Still Has His Job. Justice for Darius Pinex and Flint Farmer."

United Voices for Prisoners, a predominantly Latina/o group demanded their loved ones in prison be treated as human beings and an end to torture and abuse—they brought banners and signs in Spanish and English. Innocents Demand Justice and Anabel Perez exposed the wrongful convictions of their sons and the years-long fights to free them.

Many people from all backgrounds thought it was really powerful to bring together this mix of people to STOP police terror and mass incarceration. It was an overwhelmingly young crowd and they brought their energy and defiance. Several older Black people said they were thrilled a whole new generation, sparked by Ferguson, is standing up and fighting back.

When the march kicked off, with the stolen lives banner in the lead, whistles blowing, it was electric. The youth who are under the gun of the police, many who rarely if ever go downtown, felt emboldened in the march to put their banners and chants and "fuck you" right in the face of the cops. The march headed for State Street, the heart of downtown Chicago. The Pledge of Resistance was read call-and-response style at a corner, then taken up as a chant. "Hands up, don't shoot," the almost universal chant since Mike Brown was murdered, was another favorite, "Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the Whole Damned System is Guilty as Hell" was the most powerful. Police were everywhere, trying to contain the march, but couldn't contain the defiance.

Later, after the march circled downtown and arrived at City Hall, 40 protesters marched boldly inside demanding, "Justice for Roshad McIntosh" and the firing of Glenn Evans, the sadistic brutalizing district commander who until he was recently charged, was repeatedly lauded as a model cop and promoted. In the middle of City Hall people blew their whistles and chanted. Protesters spoke bitterly of the way they are treated by the police. "Police look at us like animals. We are human beings! It's not right they shoot kids, they come after us with guns. We have the power to go up against this." "We are standing in City Hall because we know we are right." "All these lives snuffed out—the pictures on the Stolen Lives banner is just a small sample, the problem is much bigger. It's all across the country. There are thousands and thousands of people killed by the police. And we have to stop it." "We will not lay on our backs when they shoot down kids. We will unite and stand up." A member of the Revolution Club said, "We gotta go after the whole system, they do the same to people all over the world."

Returning to Daley Plaza, more speakers were heard. Tio Hardiman, from Violence Interuptors Inc, called for the firing of Glenn Evans and Police Chief McCarthy for promoting Evans. Fred Hampton, Jr. spoke of the murder of his father, a leader in the Black Panther Party, 45 years ago, and how "the pigs are still operating as an occupying army, waging war on the people. They try to criminalize the people and we have to fight back." He gave a salute to the people of Ferguson and called it Mike Brown Town. World Can't Wait came out in orange jumpsuits and made the parallel between the torture in Guantánamo and the torture of 80,000 prisoners in solitary confinement in US prisons, and spoke of the need to resist all the crimes of imperialism here and around the world.

At 6 pm, hundreds protested at the Harrison District police station, called by We Charge Genocide, where the cop who killed Roshad McIntosh is stationed and still has not been named. They protested the Blue Wall of Silence, by putting blue tape over their mouths. Then a spectacular display lit up with Roshad's name. In the evening there was a cultural event at "Rebel Arts."

ROCKFORD, IL

We had a showing of about 75 people. Local media also showed up and even marched with us, including our local National Public Radio affiliate WNIJ. We also had children at our event. It was very racially diverse and contained a lot of excitement and energy for these civil rights concerns that we are marching and gathering for. We had a youth that gave the most powerful message—it highlighted some of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vivid and related words about the killings of black men in our country. The people here want to see more of these marches.

GREENSBORO, NC

Four very successful events took place for #O22; two major events on campuses (University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Guilford College), each involving about 20-30 participants and reached hundreds—and cops were called on both; demonstration at county jail brought out 70 people, four of whom entered the jail to read the Pledge of Resistance and were threatened with arrest, then came out and read it with the rest of the assembled group; and a rally and march at Smith Homes housing project started with 81 people and included solidarity statements from victims, a minister, and six local organizations and student groups, then marched with drummers through the community and doubled in size. 156 at closing rally (yeah, we counted). Cops were called by the time we got back to the rally point. They said we would be arrested if we did not vacate the parking lot, so we moved onto the grass. Almost completely dissed by local media who received multiple press notices from us, but the events should be covered well by campus papers.

 

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

Hundreds of people, mainly youth, participated in the day. The Pledge of Resistance captured and concentrated the spirit of new people stepping forward to RESIST until this horror really is "no more." Students from at least 9 high schools and 9 colleges, many organized themselves, bringing signs and banners they had made. Black Lives Matter! All Lives Matter! At least 3 contingents of students had 50 or more youth. Some charter schools from Oakland came with sizeable contingents. 60 students from UC Berkeley came, after first staging a rally on UC's Sproul Plaza where 150 students there participated in the Pledge of Resistance.

There were also people from every part of Oakland and beyond, including many youth and older Black people from the streets and communities. A number of people there had lost loved ones to police murder: the families of Richard "Pedie" Perez, James Rivera, Mario Romero, and O'Shaine Evans-Murdered by San Francisco Police after a recent Giants playoff game—his family coming straight from O'Shaine's funeral. Dionne Downs, the mother of James Romero, brought a whole crew of youth from Stockton, Ca.

Two dozen members of a local Unitarian Church, led by their pastor, marched onto the plaza. The pastor opened the day with a powerful spiritual reading of the Pledge of Resistance. Different groups of students spoke to why they came. Attorney John Burris spoke, as did Jeralyn Blueford, whose son was murdered by Oakland police. Protesters from Ferguson, Tef Poe and Tory Russell, lit up the crowd with messages of solidarity from the frontlines of St. Louis. Joey Johnson, a Stop Mass Incarceration activist and supporter of RevCom.us, drew in the bigger picture of the need to end all this shit through revolution.

Over 700 copies of Revolution newspaper were distributed along the march and there was an extremely enthusiastic response to the Day from people, especially Black people, in the downtown area.

The fully permitted march was blocked by a phalanx of pigs as it approached the downtown police station. Youth and others stood chest to chest with the riot squad demanding that they be allowed to march, taking to the bull horn and calling the pigs out. The protest did an about face and marched defiantly back to the heart of downtown and marched on Broadway.

An organizer from the Revolution Club challenged everyone who really wanted to end police brutality and the horrors of this system to attend the upcoming dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.

Interview with a Black woman from UC Berkeley:

Why are you here and what did you think of the day?

I came because of mass incarceration. Because police are killing people for literally nothing. And I am here because these are really all my people, no matter what the skin color. And I am out here because I could easily be one of the people who is shot down for nothing. So I'm waiting for change. I'm waiting for revolution. This was impactful. It made a difference and when I go back to UC Berkeley, we're going to bring this back here and try to figure out what we can do to make actual revolution, actual change. Link arms, let's go. March. Push. I am so ready.

LOS ANGELES

A Black man from South Central who brought his son and a friend to Revolution Books, L.A. after the protest, told everyone: "It's time to get involved. This is my son, I don't want him to be a poster." And he told this story: On O22 he started the day blowing the whistle. "We were at the laundromat, we saw the school police jamming this one guy up, facing the wrong way, this guy was driving the way he was supposed to be, the cop was driving the other way, but he pulled him over, jumped out the car, so I immediately got on the whistle, got my phone, it's like hey, I'm in here, we watch him, ain't no law being broke. If we don't do that, everybody who got a whistle, get out there, cause then your ass might be the one looking for help. It wasn't me getting jammed up, and it's not gonna be me, because I'm older. It's gonna be young Black men, young Mexicans, young white kids in the hood. These are our new voices."

On October 22, family members and friends of more than 12 people killed by police from Bakersfield, Victorville, Long Beach, Anaheim, Compton, Downey and other cities joined by students from college campuses all over Southern California and many others, held a powerful, determined and boisterous march through downtown L.A. that took the fight to end the crimes of police murder and mass imprisonment of our youth to the Criminal Courts, the Metropolitan Detention Center, and to the entrance to LAPD headquarters.

At times the sound of whistles blowing was deafening, as protesters showed how to draw attention to and mobilize others to resist police crimes as they are happening. People lining Broadway sidewalks watched as the marchers filled the air with English and Spanish chants: No More! This stops today! We refuse to live this way! Arrest; indict; put the killer cops in jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. Over 400 people took part in the day's events.

The march was filled with the pictures of victims of police violence on placards, carried by their mothers and fathers, their children and friends, as well as others in the crowd. Among the victims whose family members came to speak out were: Tyler Woods; Michael Nida; Steven Bours; Ignacio Ochoa; David Raya; David Silva; Dante Parker; Donte Jordan; Jorge Ramirez; Tony Francis, Jr. and others.

One artist brought beautiful silkscreen posters he'd made of Michael Brown, murdered in Ferguson; Oscar Grant murdered in Oakland; and Trayvon Martin, murdered by a wannabe cop in Sanford, Florida. Another artist made a large sign—"Stop Police Brutality"—that became the backdrop for the speakers on the truck during the rally. Revolutionaries and others carried signs with slogans of the RCP—especially "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution." And quite a few in the demonstration were wearing "REVOLUTION—Nothing Less!" t-shirts for the first time.

Some people had traveled long distances from outlying cities and towns to be there. A contingent of 20 people, Black, Latino and white, had come from Bakersfield, a hundred miles north of Los Angeles. They have formed the group Justice League of Bakersfield; one of their banners carried large photos of 5 young men killed by police in Bakersfield.

A contingent of 7 or 8 students from UC Riverside had rallied on campus at noon, before carpooling over an hour to the protest. They had held a speak-out at the campus "Bell Tower" a couple of weeks earlier. And a few days before the 22nd they erected a mock SHU—the solitary confinement cell that tens of thousands of prisoners are held in across the country for years, and decades; learning how to do this from UCLA and Harvard students. Each hour a student had sat silently in the cell from midnight to 11 p.m. A student said on the march:

We're here to support people here and all over the world suffering imprisonment; incarceration, and unjust treatment. Supposedly these people are in prison because of their crimes. Why aren't the people who deserve to be in jail in jail; that's what I'm talking about.

Many in the protest were taking up this call to resistance for the first time, and they were definitely there for a purpose. Over 30 students from an African American Studies class at one of the Cal State Universities came to the rally, along with their professor who had recently returned from Ferguson October. Many said what's happened in Ferguson—the murder of Michael Brown, and the killer cop who still walks free; and the non-stop resistance in Ferguson for nearly three straight months—made them decide they had to join the resistance to mass incarceration, police killings, and the criminalization of Black, Latino and other youth.

A UCLA student described putting up 10 tombstones on campus the week before for people killed by the police—"to make it real to people there." The previous week members of the Revolution Club at UCLA and others erected a mock SHU, and had students sit inside for an hour at a time. On October 1 these students did a public Pledge of Resistance on "Bruin Walk" that was put on TV by the campus station.

At the Criminal Courts Building the poet Jerry Quickley read the poem "Third Degree" by Langston Hughes, and another by June Jordan. And Dawn Franks of Destined Advocacy Alliance Project, condemned the Federal Mandatory Sentencing Laws that pile on years of imprisonment for first offenders.

Gloria Saucedo, the President of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, an immigrant rights group serving Mexican, Central and South American immigrants, gave a speech in Spanish and translated, when the march stopped at the Metropolitan Detention Center. A member of the Revolution Club also spoke there.

The main rally was held in front of LAPD headquarters. Reverend Frank Wulf, pastor of the United University Church on the campus of USC, who has played a key role nationally in helping to lead the Month of Resistance, MC'd a very powerful rally with a leader of the Revolution Club. Family members took the stage and told the painful, ugly stories of their loved ones brutally murdered by the police, including Terri Teramura, sister of Michael Nida; Tkeyah Boyd, relative of Tyler Wood; and the family of Dante Parker.

Lisa Bloom, defense attorney and legal analyst for "The Today Show," spoke. She is the author of Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It. And Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild also made a statement.

Joe Veale gave a statement for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Revolutionary Communist Party, exposing centuries of oppression of Black people and others in the United States; the insanity of living in such a world, and the need for revolution.

Marie Martin; whose son has been incarcerated for 38 years in the California State Prison System, including many years in solitary confinement, read the poem Gather, by Alice Walker, written and dedicated to Carl Dix and Cornel West, who were the initiators of the October Month of Resistance. And Kamilah Moore—last year's Chair of the UCLA Afrikan Student Union—spoke about the fact that any young Black or Latino youth, or anyone, could be the next one killed by the police.

The march and rally began with the Pledge of Resistance, and a statement from Carl Dix. And it ended on a high note with the crowd reciting the Pledge of Resistance.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network made clear this movement must continue to grow from here. That includes plans for the October 30 national day of wearing orange, when people everywhere are called on to Wear Orange in support of the prisoners.

Afterwards, many people new to protesting were not ready to end their day, and came back to Revolution Books to eat, meet others and share stories, hear about the protests in other cities, and learn more about BA and the movement for revolution, and the Revolution Club.

The demonstration was covered by both English and Spanish TV stations. La Opinión, the principal daily Spanish language paper for Southern California reported on the protest. The L.A. Times wrote about it in the online edition—and included a link to the Stop Mass Incarceration Facebook page, which has a slide show of photos of many of the demonstrations all over the country.

NEW YORK CITY

On a day marked by courage and defiance, 600 people rallied in Union Square and then took to the streets of New York City, in the face of a lack of permits for the last part of the march in Times Square.

The rally at Union Square was short, marked by one after another family member who had lost their son, their daughter or other loved ones to police brutality, describing what happened, conveying their love for those stolen from them, and their determination to fight so this does not keep happening. Most moving to this reporter was the story one mother told of how her son was wounded by a stray bullet and was being carried to the hospital by friends when police stopped them, and demanded—at gunpoint—that they put him down in the street, within sight of the hospital. As a crowd gathered, the police did put in a call—not for an ambulance or a doctor, but for more police to control the crowd. The young man ended up dying of his injuries.

There had been a tit for tat battle right up to the time the march started over permits, with the New York Police Department (NYPD) steadily refusing to grant permission to march into Times Square, claiming "safety issues." As Carl Dix righteously called out at the Union Square rally, what about the safety of Eric Garner, choked to death by the NYPD, of Ramarley Graham, shot dead by the NYPD in his own bathroom, of hundreds of others killed by the NYPD, and those who will be killed in the future? In the name of the safety of the people Carl declared his determination put his body on the line and march into Times Square, which is in the eyes of the whole world, and he invited everyone else to come with him. At the same time, a plan was made for those who did not want do that to legally rally near Times Square.

With the danger of police in mind, but with a real awareness of the stakes of resistance, people poured into the streets and began to march, chanting "Raise Your Voice, Raise Your Fist, We Don't Have to Live Like This!" and then "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!"

The crowd was very diverse—whites, Asians, Latinos and Black people—and a large majority were under 25. There were lots of students there from Columbia University's schools of Social Work and Public Health, some of whom had been organized to come by their professor. Some of the Columbia students also informally grouped themselves as white people determined to call out and put an end to racism. Students were also there from Fordham University, Hostos College, the New School, Queens College, City College of New York and St. Joseph's College.

There were quite a few youth as well as older people from the most oppressed sections of society, those who live with police terror every day. The whole march was led by family members of those killed by police or stolen by the prisons, carrying a beautiful Stolen Lives banner. Two people from Harlem carried a homemade banner denouncing the militarized sweeps carried out by the NYPD in the projects there in June.

The Audre Lourde Project gathered a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two spirit, and gender non-conforming people of color contingent at their office to mobilize in solidarity with all peoples affected by hate violence and joined the march at Union Square. Raging Grannies had a contingent; there were members of El Grito de Sunset Park, a group in Sunset Park in Brooklyn that has been leading protests against police brutality. Palestinian activists were in the crowd; people were also there from CopWatch, National Action Against Police Brutality, Stolen Lives Project, Project Reach, anarchists, and others.

This march touched a powerful chord among many people on the street. At one point a group of hard-hatted workers on a rooftop were pumping their fists in support, to cheers from the crowd. At another point a Black woman waiting for a bus was jumping up and down and clapping. A young Black man who was at work in the area and knew nothing about the march in advance left his job to join it.

At one point the NYPD threatened to yank the sound permit for the truck because they said people were not confining themselves to one lane in the street. The lawyers there to represent the demonstrators told the NYPD, "You don't want to arrest these parents." Later, the NYPD said they were giving the protest 1½ lanes because of the number of people.

As the two-mile march approached 40th Street, where the legal permit ended, the police began trying to turn people to the left to the legal rally site. Less than 20 people opted to do that, while the great majority streamed past the police, chanting "NYPD/KKK, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?" The family members of victims of police along with Carl Dix led the march boldly past the police and on into Times Square, where a non-permitted rally was held in front of the pig precinct there, directly under the Jumbotron.

At this point the police split the crowd and put metal barricades close around each of the two divided parts; it really felt like they were getting ready to move in on us. Noche of the Revolution Club spoke, pointing out the importance of people having defied the police to come into the Square, and then called on people to continue to "march, march, march." The crowd again took to the streets and continued to 46th Street, site of the world-famous giant red bleachers, a gathering place for tourists and visitors from across the planet. There, truly in the eyes of the world, the crowd occupied the bleachers and massively declared their determination to continue fighting to put an end to the horrors of police murder, torture in the prisons, attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters, and all the criminalization of the youth.

The leadership of the Day were definitely capturing the spirit of the people there when they stressed, repeatedly, that this is not a one-time thing, that we will not stop until these horrors are history. And when Carl Dix and other revolutionaries emphasized that it will take revolution to achieve that, this was taken very seriously by many people who had come into the streets to put an end to police terror.

FERGUSON, MO

The October 22 protest in Ferguson called by the recently formed St. Louis Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) chapter started with people gathering on W. Florissant Ave., a street seen in TV images around the world in August as people rose up after the brutal murder of Mike Brown. The Stolen Lives banner faced the traffic and was greeted by honks from passing cars. One person on the spot organized a National Day of Protest tweeting team, providing tweets for people to send out with photos real time on their cell phones. A short rally began as the crowd gathered. A SMIN rep welcomed the crowd, spoke about the National Day of Protest and the Month of Resistance and its mission to say, and make real, "no more!" Members of Lost Voices, an organization started by homeless youth in the early days of the Mike Brown rebellion and which has been at the center of the upheaval since, spoke. They indicted police terror and the whole system that murders and criminalizes Black people. "America has been run on slavery, empire, and oppression." They declared their determination and challenged others present to not back down in the face of repression and to fight on until justice is won. One organizer, interviewed on Fox 2 News, said, "We are all one, we choose to love and not hate and anything that happens to Black and Brown lives, because they do matter, and Black and Brown communities, it happens to us all." The rally finished with a spirited and determined reading of the SMIN Pledge of Resistance, with people pulling close together to speak it in unison and get it right.

Then people took the streets, taking over one side of Florissant Ave. and stayed in the streets for 3 miles, blocking traffic the whole route. It was loud, defiant, at times jubilant. Cars were a part of the parade-like march, with youth hanging out windows and standing on top waving signs. Mothers walked with children holding signs. Vehicles traveling the opposite direction slowed or stopped to get fliers or take pictures.

Midway along the route, the march veered off a main street and snaked through Ferguson neighborhoods. These are integrated, working class and middle strata neighborhoods, where both "I Love Ferguson" yard signs and people out on their porches waving support were evident. Police helicopters began escorting the march, shining high power lights on protesters from the air.

The march of 200 people included defiant youth who have been in the frontlines of the fight for justice for Mike Brown since Day 1; people from Canfield Apartments where Mike Brown was murdered and his body left in the street for over 4 hours; students from Saint Louis U, Wash U including the Brown School of Social Work, U. Missouri St. Louis, as well as a group from Tulane U. who drove all night from New Orleans to get to Ferguson early that morning. The march was majority Black while about 40% were other nationalities. Protesters were mainly youthful, but it also included older folks, including veterans of struggle, some wearing "vintage" Oct. 22 T-shirts. Members of the Organization of Black Struggle, Hands Up United, Don't Shoot Coalition and the Greens were there, along with people who have been active with St. Louis Stop Mass Incarceration Network. People came from throughout the St. Louis area, including Alton and E. St. Louis, IL.

Visible throughout the march were SMIN Stop Signs and "Justice 4 Mike Brown / INDICT Now! revcom.us" signs. Other signs said: "Darren Wilson WANTED for the Murder of Mike Brown!" "Black Lives Matter!" "Stop Militarizing the Police!" "We Are a Great Force." Homemade signs carried by students made meaningful statements: "SLU (St. Louis University) Medical Students Stand with Ferguson" and "This is What Social Work Looks Like." Carried in the march was a 10 ft. high papier mache puppet of Mike Brown with his hands up, created and carried by artists who said they constructed it because Mike Brown should be present in all the protests.

Non-stop sound of boisterous, energetic chants accompanied the march. Chants included "We wanna indictment, cops don't like it!" "Turn up, don't turn down, We do this for Mike Brown!" "Who shuts shit down? WE shut shit down!" "Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail, the Whole Damn System is Guilty as hell!" "You can't stop the Revolution!"

When the march reached its destination at the Ferguson police station (a site of regular nightly protests for the last 11 weeks), 100 more people were waiting for the demonstration to arrive. Protesters immediately marched up onto the police station property and up to a line of police barriers, which were promptly knocked over. A face-off began with riot police, many carrying rifles loaded with bean bags, cans of mace, and full body shields. The front line of protesters—made up of women and men, multinational and of all ages—stood with locked arms. Across the street from the face-off, an exchange among protesters captured something of the spirit of the night. One protester warned people to stay on the far side of the street if they didn't want to get arrested. Another person responded, "We are here to protest, aren't we?" urging people to go across the street and join people facing off with the line of riot police. And many people did.

At one point in the face-off, a bright light appeared on the wall of a building back across the street. Many raced over to see it and wild chanting and dancing erupted. A giant "Wanted Poster" had been projected on the front of the building: a picture of Darren Wilson with the words "Wanted for the murder of Mike Brown."

The demonstration at the police station continued late into the night. Five protesters were arrested and released a few hours later.

At the opening rally, 99 people signed up to stay connected with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Over 100 copies of Revolution newspaper along with Cornel West-Bob Avakian Dialogue pluggers were distributed during the protest.

The Ferguson protest was covered by Fox Channel 2 News, CBS St. Louis, CNN, St. Louis Channel 4, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and there was an article run on Common Dreams website on the National Day of Protest focused in Ferguson.

ST. LOUIS

October 22nd National Day of Protest in St. Louis began early in the day with a "mock" funeral procession, initiated by the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS). The action began in Clayton, Missouri where County Prosecutor, Bob McCullough, and other officials continue to maneuver to whitewash the vicious police murder of Michael Brown. A multinational crowd of approximately 50 people attempted to take a glass (mirrored) casket to officials, as a symbolic gesture, to make the point that county officials were being held accountable for the police murders in the district. They attempted to press their way into the front entrance of the St. Louis County police building, defiantly confronting officials massed at the front door. One of the spokespeople declared: "It's been 75 days" referring to the time that the prosecutor's office has been refusing to indict Darren Wilson, the cop that pumped a barrage of bullets into Mike Brown. A chant rang out: "75 days." This soon led to the chant, "Indict Now!" Additional chants included: "No Justice, No Peace!" "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail...the whole damn system is guilty as hell!" People in the crowd peppered the officials with questions: "Who do you serve?" "Who do you protect?" "Why are you terrorizing our kids?" Later the crowd was able to enter a side door, where they once again faced off with county police and officials who refused them access to the building. Again, chants rang out. The protest included the following: activists from OBS; a number of other individuals and members of other organizations, many of whom were wearing October 22nd t-shirts from years past; and a contingent of "Stop Mass Incarceration" supporters that came there with a large stolen lives banner. Finally protesters headed for their cars and began their funeral procession to the locations of three recent police executions in the St. Louis area.

The funeral procession wound through the streets of St. Louis, disrupting traffic and taking out their message along the way. The first stop was the memorial on Canfield, where 18-year-old Mike Brown was shot six times while his hands were in the air. Continuous mass protests over this killing have been taking place in the suburb of Ferguson for over 75 days. Fresh flowers were placed at the foot of the memorial and there was a moment of silence.

Then the procession headed to the location where, only days after the Brown shooting, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was shot 12 times, only 20 seconds after police arrived on the scene. The individual, who shot the video that exposed the shooting as another blatant murder, spoke to the crowd. He made the point that this was not a Black/white thing, but those responsible for these killings are the people in the power structure that "pull all the strings".

The final stop of the funeral procession was the intersection of Klemm and Shaw. This is the spot where 18-year-old Vonderritt Myers was shot 17 times by an off-duty cop working as private security. This shooting was immediately followed by a week of massive protests in the streets of South St. Louis. Protesters placed flowers at Vonderrick's memorial and there was a moment of silence. Then his father addressed the crowd, expressing his appreciation for their support and calling on people to keep the momentum going. Those touched by this protest left with a deeper understanding that police murder of young Black people is part of an ugly epidemic.

Some from the funeral procession then headed for the O22 rally and march in Ferguson.

SEATTLE

On October 22 in Seattle, it poured rain, but there was also an outpouring of people, determined that police murder and brutality must STOP. There was a spirit in the air that made it clear the outrage had come to a new level. There were two main events.

About 40 students from Garfield High and other high schools marched from Garfield to a police station after school. They spoke out in front of the station and delivered a statement to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) calling out an SPD officer's public support of Darren Wilson, the notorious murderer of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. It also said, "Though some may argue 'not all cops', when you put on that uniform you are no longer an individual but another force upholding a system of oppression" and "The same system whose origins of American policing are in Runaway Slave Patrols, the entire establishment is rooted in White supremacy and feeds on anti-blackness." (Full statement: www.scribd.com/doc/244000494/Declaration-to-Seattle-Police-Department.) One student reported that the atmosphere coming from the police at the station during this action was "hateful."

Soon after this, during the busy rush hour in Seattle's Capitol Hill area, about 100 people gathered to rally and march. The speakers included families of people killed by the police sharing their stories of loss; an immigrant activist and hunger striker fighting detentions and deportations; and Jen Marlowe, co-author of the book I Am Troy Davis. The crowd was diverse: high school and college students, Black and white, middle class and homeless people, political activists and revolutionaries, as well as first-time protestors who found out about the action through social media or seeing posters on the street. The spirit of and deep respect for Ferguson was in the house, as people listened intently when a revolutionary read the October 22nd statement by Carl Dix, which called on people to act to END the horrors and continue beyond October. People cheered with fists up when they heard that protesters had taken Times Square in NYC, and that protests were happening in 75 locations nationwide!

The plan had been to march and gather forces along the way before heading to the closest police station. However, people were so fired up that they marched straight towards the station, a hangout of the dreaded SPD, murderers of so many in Seattle over the years. But when still a full block away from it, they found an incredible multi-layered force blocking their way. First was a steel barricade, then behind that a row of cops on foot holding not night sticks but heavy clubs three feet long. Behind that was another row of cops with bicycles ready to use as blocking devices to hem people in. And behind them, a row of cops mounted on big horses, standing ready to run down on people. There were even police appearing far up on the roof of the station, apparently as snipers!

All this was to prevent a group of unarmed humans, who had done no violence, from approaching anywhere near their police station, to simply verbally confront the station and those within with their ongoing crimes against the people.

But the people did not turn back, and came up hard against the barricade, chanting "let us through!" and calling out in righteous fury all the many names of those killed by the SPD, demanding they be able to pass. Police hurried to pull out tear gas and bundles of plastic hand cuffs. A big speak out was held here right at the barricades, with students from the Black Student Union at Seattle Pacific University and more family members speaking out with great emotion, some directly shouting to the police and demanding answers. People really got down and testified here. A woman who was born intersex told about the poking, humiliation, and ridicule she had been subjected to when arrested, and people cheered in support of her defiance. An angry and heartbroken mother spoke out to local television media about her daughter who had been shot dead by the police after refusing to roll down her car window in a botched drug bust. One thing that was also striking was the white youth who spoke, their outrage over Ferguson and police brutality in general and their awareness that it is right to stand with those who are most under the gun of this system.

Revolutionaries agitated about the utter illegitimacy of not allowing people to nonviolently protest in front of their station while they are murdering innocent Black and brown people in epidemic proportions, but how this is no surprise because pigs will be pigs and the role of the police is not to serve and protect the people, but to enforce this unjust system over the people. At one point a spokesperson for the march, by bullhorn, asked this large formation of police to put forward someone responsible for responding to this request of people to make their rightful way in the street. The response was a chilling silence.

The protesters then decided to take the chant to "indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail—the whole damn system is guilty as hell!" to more people by marching down the busiest street, stopping along the way to block key intersections. Suddenly, at one intersection, multiple large cops were piled on something on the ground. They were stacked all over it so much you could not even see what it was. It was literally a PIG PILE. Then they picked up what they had been on top of—a human being, tightly bound up. They swiftly carried the person horizontal like a piece of lumber, and stuck them in a vehicle as everyone yelled "let them go!" It was a youth, and not a large person, and it was ugly how there were so many cops down on top of this person. People attended court in support of this person the next day, and they are now out of jail and in good spirits but facing charges of "assault."

All this was happening during periods of rain. As the march came back near its start point and dispersed, many remained gathered in the rain and darkness to share connections and talk about the need to build further actions, and how we will end these horrors once and for all.

During the evening, the upcoming Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, was also made known to people. Some were immediately interested, wanting to know more and be involved in some way. One person expressed interest in going, and a teacher said he would tell his students about it, and wanted to know how he could donate, that some of his students might want to go as a crew. Plans were made to meet about raising funds to make this possible right away.

SAN DIEGO

Over 200 participated in a march in City Heights in San Diego, organized by United Against Police Terror-San Diego and Af3irm San Diego. Shakina Ortega whose husband Victor Ortega was shot by the San Diego police in June 2012 was among those who came to protest. She told news reporters, "It's been hard. I can't see my best friend, my husband anymore. My kids don't have a father anymore....Why is he [the cop] still working and my husband is not here with his kids? For what? That I can't get over that and that's why I'm going to be fighting." Cathy Mendonça of United Against Police Terror, one of the organizers, said, "You can't trust police," and called on people to "Film them at all times. Encourage everyone it is your right if you're out in public it is your right to film police." Mendonça said.

CLEVELAND

O22 began with 55 people forming up at the Ohio women's prison, with all kinds of signs and mock prison bars. With the prison population of women exploding all over the country, this was a fitting place to start the protest. Facing the entrance of the prison, we read the Pledge of Resistance dedicated to the women incarcerated there. Then we took off marching and stopped in front of the Cleveland State University student center. With high spirits and loud chants of "Hands Up- Don't Shoot", we marched inside electrifying the atmosphere as students on the main floor and hanging over balconies listened as we again recited the Pledge. As soon as the words "Black Lives Matter" were spoken, a table of young Black women responded with an enthusiastic—"damn it's about time we heard something like that."

With spirited chants we marched out of the center to downtown with supportive responses from many pedestrians and drivers, including a bus driver honking and throwing us the v sign. Whistles accompanied chants of "Indict, Convict, Send those Killing Cops to Jail, the Whole damn System is Guilty as Hell!" Horns blew in support. At the downtown rally the crowd grew to 150 with many people joining off the street. The crowd was very multi-national with about half being youth and students and many people active in different social movements. Pictures of people whose lives have been stolen by killer cops were lined up along the front of the make-shift stage. Several high school youth who were downtown took some blank signs and wrote "FUCK 12" on them, meaning "FUCK the POLICE" They held them up for a while and then left with the signs. A mock prison cell stood at the center of the square, from where people testified about their experiences with prison and the cops . The outrage against the brutal killing two years ago of Melissa Williams and Timothy Russell when police fired 137 shots was still fresh on people's minds.

Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration, the main local organizing force behind the protest, mc'd and spoke to the magnitude of mass incarceration and police murder. Several families of people killed by the police spoke to the heart-break and anger of losing loved ones, and called for continued resistance and protest. Spoken word artists gave expression to the experience of growing up Black in this racist country, a person from Revolution newspaper spoke to people about the need for revolution and called on people to get on the bus to hear the BA-Cornel West Dialogue. A leader of the local chapter of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) spoke about the attacks and deportations of immigrants and how that must stop. There were people who spoke from the Student Socialist Club from Cleveland State University, Black on Black Crime, the spoken word group Distinguished Gentlemen, New Black Panther Party, and others.

After the rally the Revolution contingent led a militant march of about 30 people to the "Justice" Center. Once there, we held up signs of the victims that had been murdered by the police up against the glass yelling "Hands up Don't Shoot". After chanting outside for about 15 minutes, we decided to march inside and were immediately confronted with sheriffs who forced us back outside after an exchange of angry words as some protesters screamed in their faces.

As we marched back, about 12 youth saw us coming and loved it. They immediately joined in shouting "Hands up. Don't shoot." As dusk began to settle, people talked about the way forward, building resistance to the many horrors of this system, about Bob Avakian's leadership¸ about the Dialogue coming up on November 15, and how excited people were to be a part of this protest, determined that this day was the beginning of the end to this new Jim Crow.

At the end, a young white woman almost yelling and with tears in her eyes told a Revolution seller, "I told the cops we were here, and have the right to be here [at the Justice Center] and we are angry. I told the cop we are nine times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a fucking terrorist attack. What is the real scare, it's the police. They've been around for 200 fuckin years and been crooked ever since. Racism has never dwindled, it's still the same, always been and I am fuckin sick of it."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/new-law-seeks-to-silence-mumia-abu-jamal-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

New Law Seeks to Silence Mumia Abu-Jamal

by C. Clark Kissinger | November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Pennsylvania legislature has passed a new law that gives judges in Pennsylvania the power to prohibit any activity by any person convicted of a personal injury crime that "perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim ... includ[ing] conduct that causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish." In the name of "victims' rights," this new law was passed in direct response to Mumia Abu-Jamal delivering a well-received commencement address by phone at Goddard College, a school which he attended as a youth.

Mumia, one of this country's most well-known political prisoners, was fraudulently convicted of killing a police officer in 1982. He spent a quarter of a century in solitary confinement on death row until courts reduced his death sentence to life in prison. But Mumia's voice has never been silenced for a day as he continues denouncing the crimes against humanity perpetrated by this system in both audio and written commentaries.

This new law allows the Fraternal Order of Police or the slain officer's wife to get a court order to bar any future activities by Mumia that would give publicity to his fight for justice. This sweeping new law would allow the prior censorship of speech and it applies to all "offenders" in Pennsylvania, including those who have finished their sentences and have been released.

To drive home the point that the law was directed at Mumia, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett went to Philadelphia to sign the so-called "Revictimization Relief Act" into law at the street corner where Mumia was shot down by police and a police officer was killed. His attempted press conference was drowned out by 50 chanting Mumia supporters.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/how-i-spread-the-word-about-this-dialogue-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

From a reader:

$30,000
by November 11!

DONATE NOW!
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How I Spread the Word About This Dialogue

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I use copies of Revolution to make posters for the Dialogue. Say the announcement, in paper, is 8"x10"... Mount it to poster board that is larger. Use the space at top, or bottom for additional info, and I drew arrows, and wrote, "You won't want to miss this!" and I added the hashtag, and my phone. I put them in community spaces... a food co-op, and a neighborhood community space, but one might place also on bulletin boards at colleges, or in public libraries. Also, when I do this type of promotion, and I am on the road, at any stops having big parking lots, I prop it up in the car window!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/put-your-footprint-in-the-sands-of-history-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Go to the Dialogue:

Put your "footprint in the sands of history"

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A man who grew up in Cabrini Green, a housing project in Chicago, and who is working on getting to the Dialogue:

"The young guys around here—they need to understand that this could be their chance to put their footprint in the sands of history. There are speeches that Malcolm X made, that Martin Luther King made that have gone down in history. This could be like that."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/2012-case-against-bronx-youth-the-conspiracy-was-by-the-nypd-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Interview with Revolution:

2012 Case Against Bronx Youth: "The Conspiracy Was by the NYPD"

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On June 4, in Harlem, New York, 400 NYPD cops carried out a raid in the General Grant and Manhattanville Houses. Using battering rams, officers in body armor broke down doors as helicopters whirled overhead. They arrested 40 people that the NYPD claims are gang members. This is not about fighting crime and violence. It is about criminalizing the youth and terrorizing whole communities. Many of those indicted and arrested were charged with conspiracy—conspiracy cases based on police spying—monitoring over 40,000 calls and spying on hundreds of Facebook pages. In 2012, the NYPD carried out early morning raids in the Bronx, arresting 10 young Black men who were then charged with conspiracy to commit all kinds of felonies. Most of them ended up copping pleas to crimes they say they did not commit. This case also used cell phone records and Facebook messages as so-called evidence of conspiracy. Revolution correspondent Li Onesto recently talked with a woman whose son is one of these young men.

*****

Revolution: The Call for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation talked about how Black and Latino youths have a target on their backs in this society. And the story of what has happened to your son and his friends really concentrates how the youth are being criminalized and set up for a future of going to prison. So let's start there with how your son ended up in prison.

This probably started with my son and his friends—they all pretty much are the same age, a year or two older or younger; they were like around 11 and 12 years old, they would be in the hallways in one or another's building, and they had this little dance group that they were forming at that time, and they would be getting arrested for things like trespassing, even though they lived in the neighborhood, it's a public street, it's a public building. They'd get arrested in front of a friend's building, for standing around dancing, for trespassing. And I never understood how you could get arrested for trespassing in a public street. For instance, one time he was with one of his friends and they were actually standing in front of his friend's building and they were both arrested. And we had to go in; the moms had to go in with their identification to pick them up.

This is when they were 11 and 12 years old?

Yeah, they were 11 and 12 years old. Another time they got arrested, I think it was at a Burger King, there was some kind of altercation that broke out in the Burger King and my son and his friends were arrested as well, and they were like 11 and 12 years old at the time and the police arrested them for vandalism. And my son kept saying mom, we weren't part of it, we weren't doing anything but the police arrested them and he had the mark of the handcuff on his arm and he was about 12 years old at the time. They arrested him for vandalism and when I came down to the precinct with his ID, they let him go. But when you come into the precinct, it's like, oh, he and his friends were vandalizing. But then they just make copies of his birth certificate and social security and then let us go.

So they got him in the system when he was only 12 years old...

Yes and it was always so weird to me, I always felt like they were setting them up for something. Because why would it be necessary to take copies of their birth certificate and all their identification just to let them go. And my son was telling me that the police were saying to them, "We're waiting for you to turn 16 years old." And I didn't know what to do at the time.

In the beginning I thought my son was actually doing things and I would reprimand him, I would be yelling at him, saying you can't be in these places, you can't do these things, I can't come and always be picking you up, that's not right. But he would be saying, but mom, we weren't doing anything. And after a while I started to believe him because they started to get arrested more and more often. Every time I turned around I was going to pick him up. I have a whole stack of these arrest papers that they give you when you have to go to court and then they dismiss it in the family court. They were starting to arrest him so often that he had to go to Spofford [Juvenile Center] for the night, and I'd have to go to family court and pick him up from there and they'd give me a pink slip for the corporation counsel, because they don't call them DAs for children—the corporation counsel decided not pursue it and it's thrown out.

How many times do you think this happened?

In the beginning we really thought our kids were doing bad things. I mean, why would you have police contact if you're not doing anything wrong? But it turned out that this was something that they were doing in the neighborhood to get information on our children, and they were telling them that they were waiting for them to turn 16. And sure enough, when they turned 16 and 17 years old, they scooped them all up in some big indictment, charged them as gang members and they're serving prison sentences.

So how did all these kids, including your son, end up in prison?

December 5, 2012, after the police had chosen the 10 of them, they came to our homes, they raided our homes at 6 am in the morning. They came in with those things they bust your door down with, they came with rifles and riot gear on, and it was like something out of a movie. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. They bust my door down. They came in screaming, "Get on the floor, get on the floor with your hands up." "Get against the wall," stuff that happens on TV. I was terrified. We were sleeping, we were all here sleeping, and we didn't know what was going on. I was disoriented, for a few minutes I didn't even know who they were or what was going on. It was the most frightening thing I've ever experienced in my life. They handcuffed us and made us stand in the hallway and we kept saying, "What's going on? Can I see a search warrant?" The police were in my house and they didn't show us a search warrant, we kept asking for it. Finally an officer said we would see it at the precinct.

How many cops were involved in this raid?

Oh my god, there must have been at least eight to 10 officers, with rifles with lights on them, lights going every direction.... My grandchildren sometimes spend the night, but thank god they weren't here. That would have been really awful for them. But it was awful for us. I have never been arrested in my life. I have never had handcuffs on. They had us out in the hallway, and our neighbors, because it was really noisy, the neighbors were looking out the door and peeking out to see what as going on, it was so embarrassing, we were standing out there in our nightclothes. They let us back in the house when a captain showed up and said we could come back in the house. They made us sit on the couch while they searched the house for I don't know how long, for at least for about an hour and then they took my son. They said they were arresting him and they were taking him. When we went to the precinct they totally ignored us, there was so much activity at the precinct. I didn't know that they had raided about seven or eight other homes besides mine.

They did this all coordinated, the same night?

Right. They had a secret investigation going on. They were monitoring the boys' Facebook accounts and when they would arrest them, they would take their cell phones from them and they were going into their cell phones for conversations that they were having with each other and they put together this whole story where they decided they were a gang. They said they were guilty of conspiracies to commit murder, to sell drugs, to traffic guns, all this activity, that they said was supposedly going on. So they storm trooped the houses on December 5, 2012 and took 10 of these guys away. When we got to court, we found out that there was a secret indictment and they were being charged with all kinds of conspiracy charges. I have the grand jury indictment paperwork that we were able to get from the lawyer at the time. The DA painted them as if they were mobsters, something like John Gotti, as if they were organized criminals who were conspiring to further this gang activity by selling drugs and guns to supply this operation; that wasn't going on and he actually had no evidence that it was going on. What they did was take individual arrests that these kids previously had for possession of marijuana or possession of a firearm maybe a year or so before and they put this all together to make it look like this is what they were doing. These individual cases some of the boys had already went to court for, they made it a cumulative thing and said that it was in furtherance for the operation of a gang.

So they really didn't have any real evidence?

No. They didn't. Two of the boys went to trial. If it hadn't been such a serious matter, it would have been hilarious. The evidence that the DA brought up in court was from previous cases for minute grams of cocaine or minute grams of a burnt marijuana cigarette as evidence of possession of drugs—a burnt marijuana cigarette? This was his proof of drug sales.

There was no evidence against them but most of them were forced to cop a plea?

Yes, first of all they didn't know much about the legal system. You have these kids who have no experience, they have no money; it's not like we could pay for top notch lawyers to dispute any of this stuff. They all had a "criminal past." They were being told that they were facing eight to 25 years and that conspiracy charges were tough to beat and that more than likely they were going to be found guilty on something if they went to trial. And rather than face eight years or more, take a plea deal for two years or four years. My son was sentenced to two to six years. They were afraid, being young, being inexperienced, none of the parents had any experience in legal matters. We listened to these lawyers, we thought that was the best course of action to just take a plea deal and that happens a lot—all the time.

When my son and his friends were 13, 14 and 15 years old, the mothers decided let's just have group and meet with our sons because at this point they were getting arrested often and we didn't know what was going on and we were wondering what was happening to them. So as their mothers, we decided to have group and meet with them every couple of weeks, whenever we could on the weekends. We'd meet with each other and have them there, we'd talk, hang out, have finger foods, just hang out with them and see what was going on and see what kind of stories they would tell us. We became pretty friendly with each other. This was part of Commissioner Kelly's plan. He was like. "Oh, I'm not going after the big gangs anymore; I'm going after the crews." Because these kids make up names for each other, they have their little group that they hang with so they start calling each other by a name. It's the same stuff that we did—usually you name yourself after the block you live on, the housing project, whatever. So they made up names for their group, and I guess as part of their intelligence gathering these police were seeing this, "Oh these hoods are making up names and calling themselves crews and maybe we could say they are not a gang, but they're a crew and that's the same thing."

So this is when they went on their Facebook?

Yes, I don't even know how you get a probable cause for that. I guess to saying that they're a gang that's enough probable cause to go to a court and say we need to search these people's Facebook and their phones and that's pretty much what they did and how this whole indictment got underway.

I mean talk about conspiracies—this is a conspiracy by the police and the courts to put these kids away!

Yeah, the conspiracy was by them.

This does show the connection of how they were criminalizing these kids and then setting them up to put them in prison for years.

Warehousing them away in prison, that's what I call it. It's slavery in a different way, it's the same thing with the shackles and chains, behind bars and their lives are taken away from them. Now they have felonies, they can't work, they can't get educational grants, they can't get housing. What kind of life are they gonna have now? What's their future? They have no future now. At 17, 18, 19 years old, they have nothing left. It's horrible. And they are doing this, mass incarceration, in every city in the United States.

I know you're somebody who's been active with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Maybe you could say something about why you supported the Month of Resistance and what you hope comes out of it.

I'm just watching this go on and saying, this can't be America. This can't be how this is supposed to be. This can't be what is supposed to happening to our kids. Yes, something has to be done. And I don't know how I stumbled on the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, maybe I was at a rally. No, as a matter of fact, I was going to court with my son's friend, with his mom, the one that was going to trial. And Stop Mass Incarceration Network was out in front of the court protesting and I almost kept walking, but I wondered what's going on over there. So I went over and I saw the signs and I said, oh my god, there are people trying to do something about this. And I stopped and I asked for names and I gave them my email address and that's how I became a part of Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Because I said there are people who really do care, there are people who are knowledgeable about what's going on, they see what's happening, they know that this is wrong, that they are trying to criminalize all these young people but they want to make a change and I want to be a part of that because I have lived this. I have lived it with my son and his friends; I see it in the newspaper every day. And I want to be a part of what's going to happen to effect a change for these young men of color.

So that's why I am deeply committed to doing something with Stop Mass Incarceration, the Month of Resistance. I put palm cards on my desk at work and let people take them and explained it to them. I joined the West Indian parade and gave out cards to people and I said we can't allow for our children to be criminalized in this way. And I'm looking forward to October 22, when we all come together not just here in New York, Los Angeles, Ohio, Ferguson, everywhere this is happening—I mean they're murdering children now, it's beyond incarceration, they're murdering children, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. They're murdering children. And I'm telling people we can't allow this. This is not the America we want to live in.

You were in involved in the October Month of Resistance and building for October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Anything you want to say to others about this?

I just want to say we can't be idle, we can't be apathetic. We can't just look and say that that's somebody else that it's happening to. We all need to be involved. We all need to get involved and bring about this change. There's strength in numbers and we need these numbers, you need to get involved. You need to be a part of Stop Mass Incarceration and the struggle against police brutality because it's so important, it's vital to our existence.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/october-30-wearing-orange-in-opposition-to-mass-incarceration-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

October 30: Wearing orange in opposition to mass incarceration

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Los Angeles, October 30

October 30—People across the country wore orange and gathered in public places as a visible symbol of opposition to mass incarceration, and to bring the October Month of Resistance to a powerful conclusion. In this photo: Action by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at rush hour at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.

 


 

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Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

WBAI Signs on as Media Sponsor for the November 15 Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian!

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


WBAI Radio, long the flagship of progressive radio and a big part of the New York City media scene, is now a Media Sponsor of the November 15 Dialogue. In addition to various forms of promotion, WBAI will record the event for rebroadcast on its airwaves and other Pacifica stations. WBAI's logo is now appearing on event publicity.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/lets-meet-up-and-sit-together-at-the-dialogue-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

“Let's Meet up and Sit Together at the Dialogue”

An African American Studies Class Gets Tickets

November 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


From a reader:

A professor of African American studies invited us to speak in his class about the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion. He teaches at a very selective public university that has been ranked one of the most ethnically diverse in the entire country. The school has a lot of business majors, but his classes attract students from among the broader population who are particularly concerned about the conditions facing people of the African diaspora and other oppressed nationalities.

First he showed the one-minute PSA from Cornel West announcing the Dialogue, then he told the class that he was planning to attend because it promised to be a stimulating conversation between two provocative thinkers, and then he introduced me.

I started off by telling people I was here to make sure they didn't miss this historic Dialogue and that I had tickets to sell right on the spot, and if enough of them decided to come together we could even do a group rate. Then, I boldly put forward the three reasons people should not want to miss this Dialogue. I talked briefly about Bob Avakian, legendary freedom fighter and architect of a whole new vision of human emancipation, someone who has walked the walk without wavering for 50 years, and who will be appearing live and in person to talk about the real prospects for revolution and how we can get beyond the confines of the current order. The topic of police murder had already come up in class and I referenced this. I spoke of how BA came of age politically with the Black Panther Party, fighting against police murder then, and how things have not gotten better and how precious it is that BA not only never gave up on this fight but has gone deeper on the strategy to put an end to these—and other crimes of the system—once and for all.

Cornel West: "...You're going to hear agreement & disagreement... transgression & convergence... most importantly, you're going to hear two brothers who are for real..."

I spoke briefly about what a big deal it is that BA will be appearing on stage together with Cornel West for the first time. Dr. West is also a hero of the oppressed and someone who has spent decades speaking and struggling for the wretched of the earth, most recently getting arrested down in Ferguson and always bringing in his religious faith as the driving force in his commitment. And I spoke of how urgent and pressing the subject of the Dialogue is—revolution and religion—a topic that affects the lives of billions and one which both of these speakers are uniquely qualified to speak on. Hearing them wrangle together over their agreements and disagreements on this subject will certainly challenge us all, teach us many things, and provoke us to get into things more deeply and perhaps even step up our own involvement in different ways. I tried to give a sense as well that these were two people who shared a lot of love for each other and a common commitment to the oppressed, but who were not afraid to explore differences, to “transgress” as Cornel West had put it in his PSA, and that there was space and a big invitation for all of us from different perspectives to go on this journey with them.

The professor encouraged the students to make comments or ask questions, and they dove right in to some very big ones: Do we need religion to be good? Do communists have to be atheists? Do communists keep people out of the revolution by being atheists? Are people really ready for revolution? Isn't racism just too deep to ever change? What made you a revolutionary? Do you think you are making a difference? Isn't the military just too powerful to even consider an actual revolution? How is BA's revolutionary communism different than “classic Marxism”? What do you hope comes out of this event?

I responded briefly to each question, but I didn't attempt to “answer” them. Rather, I appreciated the importance of the questions, even expanding on just how urgent it is that people wrangle with and seek answers to what was being raised and what a tremendous opportunity it will be to hear these and other questions taken up by these two uniquely qualified speakers.

For example, when asked if people are ready for revolution, I posed back that one of the big questions Avakian has been working on for years is precisely the contradiction that the very things that make people need revolution—the conditions of exploitation, enforced ignorance, oppression and state repression—are also many of the things that make it hardest for people to get into the revolution. I referenced how BA has emphasized Marx's concept that the important thing is not what people are thinking or doing at any given time, but what the dynamics of the system are that they will be confronted by. For example, this system just can't get its cops to stop murdering Black youth. This is a horror, but it also means that if revolutionaries recognize this and act in relation to it, they can have a major influence in how people respond as these things keep happening and bring about leaps in terms of what people understand and how they are organized to fight back now and to go forward and, at the soonest possible time, go all the way in making revolution. How to break through on this is something that BA has spent literally decades wrestling with and developing answers to which only underscores what an incredible opportunity it will be to hear him live getting into this and much more.

There were a lot of questions about religion. This was especially interesting because people were impatient to get answers to their questions right then, and debate began to break out between them over how to go at the question of religion. One student posed that religion has been an incredible force for harm but without it there is no basis to forge moral codes. This sparked a lot of different responses and I worked to both fan this debate and to once again deepen people's appreciation of just how important these questions are to the lives of billions and returned to how uniquely qualified these two speakers are to get into this. Cornel West is one of the most courageous and consistent fighters for the oppressed, often stepping out and taking controversial positions long before others stand with him, rooted in his prophetic faith and having grappled deeply with and fought for the prophetic tradition as essential to standing up against oppression. Bob Avakian has made communism more thoroughly scientific and materialist than it has ever been, going more deeply into what he sees as the harms of religion not only politically but also in terms of the methods of thinking it trains people in—philosophically and epistemologically—than anyone before. At the same time, he has broken new ground in developing a communist approach to morality and ethics, the need for awe and wonder, and approach to beauty and questions of “human spirit.” And as different as they both are in their approach to this question, they both come at it from the common perspective of being rooted in the determination to end all forms of oppression, and they both recognize the need to stand with and work with people coming from different perspectives on this.

At every point, I worked to bring the discussion back to—and build up the significance—of attending the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on November 15 at the Riverside Church.

The professor chimed in a few different times. He explained that Riverside Church is where Martin Luther King gave some of his most famous speeches and said this event should be seen in that light. He offered his students extra credit if they wrote a short paper about the event and said they could erase one of their class absences if they showed up to the Dialogue. Finally, he offered to organize a time for them all to meet up and go together and sit together so that they could experience this as a group. “If you like the discussion today, think of the discussion we will be having in this class after we go together to this.” He made clear that he is not a communist and that he doesn't necessarily agree with everything that will be said, but he knows this is something not to miss and he encouraged everyone to be there as well.

When the class ended, eight students came up to purchase their tickets. One bought four tickets so he could bring some friends (meaning we sold 11 tickets in a class of 22). When I asked them why they were interested, several said, “It was everything you were talking about.” Others continued to dig into the questions they had posed. Several took a few extra cards to share with friends or to take to church.

Two young Black women stayed for a long time afterwards. One began by talking about how much she fears for the safety of her six younger brothers at the hands of police, and about being stopped and searched with them just for walking in their own neighborhood. She also opened up about the domestic abuse in her home growing up and how she felt her father used religion to justify keeping her and her mother controlled and submissive. The other told of a high school friend who was killed in crossfire last week and how she wanted to learn about the revolution so this kind of meaningless loss doesn't happen to anyone else. What they opened up and shared was so heavy and such an indication of the need for fundamental change. We got email addresses to stay in touch with most of the students and several students left with samples of BA's work to begin to get more familiar.

Afterwards we stayed and talked some with the professor and he was very pleased with the session. We have been invited back to speak in two more of his classes later this week.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/two-days-with-the-volunteers-harriet-tubman-americas-top-chef-and-getting-a-whole-lot-more-organized-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Two Days With the Volunteers: Harriet Tubman, “America’s Top Chef,” and Getting A Whole Lot More ORGANIZED

November 7, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


The last few days I have gone out with the crew working to bring forward people from the most oppressed sections of society, and from the youth to be at the Dialogue on Nov 15 between Cornel West and Bob Avakian: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION.  I have gone to a high school club where two young comrades led a very compelling discussion of the dialogue with a dozen or so students and several teachers; I have met a few of the core people who have bought tickets and are working hard to make the dialogue a success; and I have also met some of the volunteers who have come from other cities.  All this has provoked a lot of thoughts.

Let me start with something that a woman who is working to bring people she knows to the dialogue said last night.  We were talking about how to reach people at a dinner hosted by a few people in the Revolution Club.  I’ll call the woman Ruth.  She had brought her two children to the dinner, and as we went on into the evening, she quoted Harriet Tubman, the great Black woman who led hundreds of slaves out of bondage on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War.  Harriet Tubman said that “I freed a thousand slaves, but I could have freed a thousand more if only they had known they were slaves.”  You can just imagine the arguments that other slaves might have put up to her: “We have it better here than they do at the plantation over yonder.... Or we might get killed if we try to run away... or how could we take care of ourselves if we go somewhere new...”  But I imagine that Harriet Tubman argued strongly with people who said stuff like that.  She fought with people to face the reality of their conditions and take action accordingly.

Ruth feels a bit in the middle between the thinking of BA and Cornel on some of the questions of the dialogue—and that’s part of why she is so on fire to go to it.  Ruth feels strongly that people have to be challenged to look at their real situation and to take responsibility for figuring out how to get free.  That’s why she invoked Harriet Tubman—and that stand in fact is something that both BA and CW share.  For people whose lives are pulled in so many different directions, with chaotic needs constantly popping up, it won’t be enough to just buy the ticket.  There has to be a deeper understanding going in of the real conditions we face and our own responsibility—and capability—to understand and radically transform those conditions.

The day before I was talking with another person—someone who had really “come up the hard way”  and who had volunteered to come to NY and help out with dialogue, in the middle of a difficult personal situation.  I’ll call him David.  We were riding the train to the high school club meeting I talked about earlier.  He had had dreams of making it in a career; but David was feeling strongly that he needed to put revolution first.  As their very last question, the high school students had asked Dave and the other comrade who made the presentation to explain what made them decide to dedicate themselves to revolution.  Each of them gave very moving explanations of this, and I could tell that this deeply affected the  students.  Dave talked about the impact that Bob Avakian has had on him, and the potential for BA’s thinking and leadership to affect other people like him, and then he said something like, “Look, I could have tried to be a ‘top chef’—for what?  To get on ‘Chopped’?  When I can dedicate my life to being an emancipator of humanity instead?  It’s not even close.”

During our train ride, before the student club meeting—which went very well, by the way—we had talked about his frustrations in winning people to get with this.  “We’ve got to get more people,” he said.  “I don’t see why they hold back, when this is so true!”  I thought about this again on the way home after the next night’s dinner, and Ruth’s point on Harriet Tubman.  There is actually much to think about in the life of Harriet Tubman.  She didn’t wait for the majority of people, even the majority of slaves to come around to her way of thinking; she started right in to fight uncompromisingly for liberation.  The Abolitionist movement she was part of didn’t start out with anything close to a majority.  But they fought against the powers-that-be and they worked to change minds as they did so.  They had a rough going and they ran into obstacles and defeats... but as the contradictions of the system of capitalism-slavery began to grow sharper, their actions played a big part in the coming of the Civil War, where millions did fight to end slavery and hundreds of thousands died, and open chattel slavery was ended.  This was a great victory—even as the Civil War itself did not go far enough, and different kinds of slavery and oppression of Black people were brought into place. 

There is much to learn from the Civil War.  We can understand and reflect on the patterns of how society goes into major crisis in which you can actually make fundamental change, and we can think about how those lessons apply to our situation today.  We can draw inspiration from the examples of Harriet Tubman, of Frederick Douglass, of John Brown.  Yes, the revolution we’re preparing for will be much deeper and much more thorough—it will wipe out all forms of exploitation and oppression—but these lessons are still important.  These lessons and examples from the past can tell us something about the need to dedicate ourselves to fighting hard today to reach and challenge the thousands who can be won to stand up against modern-day slavery, and preparing them as we do to be the backbone force when all-out revolution does become possible.  Things won’t just build up bit by bit.  They didn’t with the Civil War, and they won’t in future showdowns.  Like a hurricane, the conditions in which you could make revolution will come without much warning—but we have to get as far as we can before the storm comes in order to not only weather it, but to lead people to come out of all that with the tools build a whole new world on liberated foundations.  This dialogue is one huge step in reaching those thousands and getting them ready, transforming their thinking about what is possible and desirable, even as it will also impact millions more and influence them in a positive, revolutionary direction.

In talking late into the night with people who have been working to build this, one thing that became clearer to all of us is that we need to actually do better at organizing the people themselves to take all this up.  Among those who have bought tickets are some who would no doubt take responsibility for different things that have to be done—organizing the transportation hookups that day, making sure that people who do have tickets are able to get there (that we are aware of different personal contradictions that come up and help people find the ways to handle these), raising funds ahead of time, being part of spreading the word and selling more tickets, etc.  This is extremely important and necessary.  We have to RELY on people who come forward to buy tickets and take out promotional materials; we can’t keep all this bottled up in a few hands.  Comrades were working on much more worked-out plans to do this as I left their apartment late last night, systematically going through the list of those who had bought tickets and making plans to contact them—even as many other people in the movement would still be out in the streets of the community this weekend, taking out the word to people very broadly. 

Lenin, the leader of the Revolution in Russia that gave birth to the first great socialist state, the Soviet Union, once said many years ago that the oppressed have one great weapon up against the might of the ruling class and the chaos of people’s lives.  That weapon is organization.  Our Party drew on Lenin and put it this way: “Prepare Minds and Organize Forces for Revolution.”  This, in a nutshell, is what we have to do over these next few days, both bringing all that we have learned and learning many more new things in these last few days, together with comrades old and new.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/360/teach-in-about-ferguson-it-s-time-to-be-talking-about-revolution-en.html

Revolution #360 November 3, 2014

Teach-in About Ferguson:

It's Time to Be Talking About Revolution

November 4, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A couple of us who are working on getting students to come out to the Cornel West & Bob Avakian Dialogue went to a teach-in about Ferguson at a community college in New York. The teach-in was 4 separate sessions, each with a different panel. A number of professors brought their classes to the teach-in or required that their classes attend it. Each session had at least 200 people, and we ended up getting out about 600 flyers for the Dialogue. The organizers of the teach-in were sympathetic to what we were doing so they let us flyer outside and inside the event, without any problems. 

We got there for the 2nd session. The main speaker went on and on, talking about how things are bad for African-Americans today but they’re much better than they were 50 years ago, and the fact that the U.S. has a functioning electoral system and a Black president were his proof. He even had the nerve to talk about how Black people in the U.S. are better off than anywhere else in the Diaspora. Unfortunately there was no time to speak from the floor at this panel. 

The next panel was much better. It consisted of an activist who had traveled to Ferguson to join the protests, and a young Black woman from St. Louis who described her transformation after the murder of Mike Brown from a relatively non-political person, into a hardcore and fearless protester, organizer, and agitator against police brutality. She described in detail the militarized police repression that they went up against in Ferguson and expressed great determination to continue the struggle for justice for Mike Brown and others, regardless of the Grand Jury decision.


Afterwards, I got to speak from the floor. I started by thanking the two speakers and everyone else who has been fighting back for 86 days in Ferguson and traveling there from around the country. I talked about how the police killing of another unarmed young Black man was not unique, something which happens almost every 28 hours in this country, but what was unique was that people finally stood up, and that spirit needs to spread and infect people all over the country. Then I posed the question, isn’t now the time to be talking about revolution? I referenced the speaker from the previous panel’s comments about Obama, and did exposure about what the reality is of this epidemic of police murder, mass incarceration, and deportations, and how Obama has been used to bamboozle people into going along with all this. Then I talked about how this much-needed conversation about revolution will be opened up in a big way on Nov. 15, and I announced the Bob Avakian/Cornell West Dialogue event and told people they needed to be there and can get tickets from us. The response from the speaker was appreciative for raising the idea of revolution, and emphasized that it is a word with a lot of different meanings, and people have to get clear on it. Afterwards, two students came up to us and bought tickets. Another student leader of the Black Student Union said he was going to look into getting some of the BSU budget allotted for a block of tickets. 

The last panel focused on the “Black Lives Matter” campaign. The other revolutionary I was with spoke during the Q&A about the history of this country founded in slavery and genocide and mass slaughter around the world, which continues to today. She talked about how many people have been killed by the police since Eric Garner, and raised the question of what it’s gonna take to be free of all this, and linked that to the Dialogue. Many people applauded in the audience. 

The next day we heard that one of the professors that heard us speak at the Ferguson event is giving students extra credit for coming to the Dialogue.