Revolution #365, December 15, 2014 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

The Time Is Now!

Experience, dig into, spread, and support this Dialogue getting out in the world

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is the text of a talk given at the December 14 BA Everywhere Dinner Celebrations in cities across the country. The talk followed the showing of segments of the video of the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.”

 

The preacher put the key under John Coltrane’s door, giving Trane the backing to develop. Not too many years later, Coltrane blew A Love Supreme out of his tenor sax, an inspiring gift to the world giving expression to the pain, the aspirations, and the beauty in the hearts of Black America and all who yearned for something more than what was, in the soulful and tumultuous 1960s. Cornel West made the point that together we can bring forth the new.

What humanity needs, what Cornel West and Bob Avakian came together to dialogue about, and what we are here for tonight, is to support and be a part of the great struggle to emancipate humanity. And as Bob Avakian brought out in the story at the end of the Dialogue, recalling the words of Mao Zedong spoken to W.E.B. Du Bois, is that while mistakes have been made on the path to liberation, the one mistake we have not made, and will not make, is the mistake of giving up. Indeed, a major point that BA made in his presentation and in the Q&A is that for humanity to be free, we must win, and that there is the framework and the leadership to do so, and he invited people to be a part of this great endeavor.

At a moment like this, aroused first by the actions of the determined ones in Ferguson, and now as tens of thousands are out in the streets; when people from every section of society are defiantly speaking out and acting in new ways... In a time like this, you can see in a beginning way what has been put forward in the RCP’s statement, “On the Strategy for Revolution”: that all this system does to the people, all the contradictions in the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system we live under, periodically erupts, jolting its normal workings; so that which people ordinarily tolerate, the feelings and anger so long held inside, and what all too many from better-off strata have closed their eyes to, bursts into the open—with people standing up, opening their eyes, saying Enough! And acting so that the whole world can see.

These are times when the pompous ruling tyrants of America who carry out inhuman torture and murder in the ’hoods and prisons of this country and who do the same around the world, all while proclaiming that this is the greatest country in the world, stand exposed in the eyes of millions for the murderous brutality that is the way of their system... A time when their inability to provide anything remotely close to a just world in which people could live like human beings stands nakedly exposed and their legitimacy begins to be called into question. This is a moment when people begin to sense their own potential.

No President Obama... the Torture Report is who and what America is... this was not an aberration—from the genocide of Native Americans to enshrining slavery down to today you can not find a year when the U.S. is not committing and justifying unspeakable crimes. At a moment like we are living through right now, the potential for far deeper change, for building the understanding and the organization to bring about a radically better world through revolution seems more possible, more real, to more people.

We break bread tonight, we celebrate, and we plan so that in 2015 what has begun over the summer and fall of this year continues—with people’s understanding, determination, and organized strength growing in leaps.

We just watched a small taste of the historic Dialogue that took place on November 15, 2014 between the revolutionary Christian, Cornel West, and the revolutionary communist leader, Bob Avakian. The world has not seen an event like this... 1,900 people at Riverside Church in NYC... from the projects of Harlem and Chicago; front-line fighters from Ferguson; parents whose children’s lives have been stolen by murdering police... high school and college students... and people from all walks of life, including world-renowned musicians, professors, actors, and filmmakers. Think about how unique this mix of people is, and the potential it represents. And for what? About what? For a rare opportunity to hear Bob Avakian in dialogue with Cornel West digging into REVOLUTION and Religion... The FIGHT for EMANCIPATION and the Role of Religion. At this moment. At this place. With these people.

BA and Cornel West electrified the room with a fire of intolerance for oppression, a deep palpable love of the people, and a passionate belief in people’s potential to change themselves and the world. No quarter was given to accept, acquiesce, or be complicit with the crimes and outrages of this system. BA and Cornel West struggled with the audience for a morality and a moral courage that these times demand. They fought for people to see the need for radical, revolutionary change—each of them coming from different philosophical frameworks. There was, as Cornel West forecast, transgression and convergence. They modeled and challenged the audience to think and to act on their convictions and to do so with courage.

This comes alive in an up-close way on the video of the simulcast that is available on www.revcom.us. You can feel Cornel West’s and Bob Avakian’s chemistry with each other and the audience—the rapport, respect and love, even when they disagree. All of this will be even more evident when a high-quality film is made of the event with the financial support that we are going to go forward from this celebration today to raise.

Right now, when hundreds of thousands of people do not want to go back, when eyes and hearts are opening, when people are finding their voice and their courage, when so much could be possible, when people are posing big questions like what will it take to end the oppression of Black people and the murder and incarceration of our youth... with all this in the air, people need to experience, dig into, spread, and support this Dialogue getting out in the world. It can have a big transformative impact on how people understand why all the horrors of the world today keep happening, and how they could be radically transformed and a new society, a new world, forged through revolution.

Bob Avakian’s opening presentation was a full-out, no-holds-barred, passionate presentation of why we need a revolution to overcome ALL forms of oppression and exploitation. Addressing the role of religion in the fight for emancipation, he broke down why we need to understand reality—that is, the world we live in—as it actually is. With great humor he made a scientific approach to reality understandable; and he brought forward a profound communist morality—of how the world ought to and could be through a revolution where all the divisions that this system sows between people could be overcome.

Think about the strategic potential in the audience’s powerful response to BA’s “What If’s” that we saw tonight in the excerpt from his talk. BA reframed all the horrors of the world as it torments and confines life today as questions of what could be, providing people with a materialist morality and a vision of what could be, posing: “What if the world doesn’t have to be this way?”

At this moment of upsurge, there is a tremendous basis and an urgent necessity to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to see this Dialogue. For people here to be finding out what people think about it, and unleashing a social movement around the revolutionary content and the questions that are concentrated in the Dialogue.

The invitation to today’s dinner said: “Come together to celebrate the victories and achievements of the past year, even as we remember the outrages and horrors that people faced.”

When Eric Garner said to the pigs who were harassing him on July 17: “THIS STOPS TODAY,” a chain of events seems to have started, beginning with his murder, captured for the world to see on video. Then three weeks later, on August 9, Michael Brown was shot in a town few had heard of, but by the actions of the masses begun that night, Ferguson became a rallying cry the world over. Yet, these events concentrated a whole history that continues to be lived today.

These events are the legacy of what Bob Avakian has called the “simple and basic truth” that “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery,” a legacy that has continued, and morphed into new forms of white supremacy, still central to this society.

Six years into Obama and people’s hope for change has run up against the reality that he is the commander in chief of the whole system, and a war criminal to boot. And, it’s not just the oppression of Black people. Just this past year, tens of thousands of immigrant children were imprisoned on the border and many deported; a woman’s right to abortion was stripped away in state after state; and the environmental crisis grew even more dire.

Stepping into that situation this summer, the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride put forward a program of determined struggle for the right of women to control their own destinies. September saw the biggest demonstration against global warming in U.S. history. This too was a summer when the Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration issued by Cornel West and Carl Dix was spreading, culminating in defiant demonstrations on October 22.

The current upsurge, which seems to have come out of nowhere, did not come from nothing. All of this, from the nature of the system and its workings, the responses and anger of people, and the conscious work of revolutionaries and others contribute to the mix. What is even more important at moments and junctures like this is raising people’s sights to a radically different world, grappling with what is the underlying problem, and what is the solution to all the madness and horrors that people are confronting, resisting and rising up against, in the thousands and in the millions.

This speaks to the immediate and long-term import of people coming to know about Bob Avakian and the work he has done. This is the purpose and mission of the BA Everywhere campaign. It is a mass, multifaceted fundraising campaign to make BA and the work he has done known in every corner of the country.

From the excerpts we watched earlier from the November 15 Dialogue, you got a living sense of BA’s love and feeling for the masses of people, his sense of outrage and hatred for all the ways in which people suffer needlessly, and his fire for revolution. This is the product of decades of work, sacrifice, and risk to develop the scientific method, the strategy, and the vision that humanity needs to get free. Bob Avakian has developed a new synthesis of communism which is a scientific method for knowing and changing the world. Communism is method, it is a revolutionary political movement, and it is an actual goal of a society that really could be... free of all forms of oppression and exploitation. And BA’s work has put this on a more scientific foundation, made it more viable and visionary.

With a combination of far-sighted vision and great practicality, BA leads the RCP, USA so that it is out in the world, standing with the people, FIGHTING THE POWER, AND TRANSFORMING THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION. Bringing to people the understanding they need through Revolution newspaper and www.revcom.us. Working concretely today to GET ORGANIZED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION.

We have just made an enormous step in making BA known on a whole other level through the November 15 Dialogue. But, we have just begun. The video of the simulcast has been watched by thousands online. Tens and hundreds of thousands need to see it. Now, in the thick of the upsurge, and in ongoing way.

For the next two months, getting this Dialogue seen, watched, and discussed will be the central focus of the BA Everywhere campaign. Tens of thousands of dollars need to be raised to make and promote a high-quality film of the event.

Today we are putting forward some basic elements of a plan that can be enriched and developed by growing BA Everywhere Committees around the country, by Revolution Clubs where they exist, by Revolution Books stores, and by everyone who recognizes the difference it could make if people saw this Dialogue, engaged the content of it, and involved others in supporting and making it a big deal. Here we go:

# 1) A reader wrote revcom.us: “we have to bring people back to, and bring them forward from, this Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West,” watching it together, asking them what they think of it, what their questions are, and digging into it. We are in a moment when people are out all day and often into the night fighting the power. What a great way to raise and deepen understanding of why these outrages keep happening and what is to be done today in preparation for tomorrow than for people to watch and dig into “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.”

# 2) What better time to do this than over the holidays? Watch it with everyone you can. House parties and showings. Send the link out to everyone. Distribute 100,000 palm cards starting now and on through January. Raise funds. Use the new donation cards to raise funds from relatives, friends, and people you meet.

# 3) As soon as school starts after the new year, set up showings in classes, in dorms, in high school and college clubs. Palm cards and posters for the Dialogue should be everywhere on campuses.

# 4) Reach out to people who could donate big money to make a high-quality film of the event. The event was professionally filmed and great footage exists, different from what is in the simulcast. Show the simulcast so people get a sense of its power and potential.

# 5) The movement for BA Everywhere needs to grow, and spreading the Dialogue holds the potential for many people to take it up. BA Everywhere Committees should broaden and involve all of those who see, or who can be won to see, that it would make a very big difference if what is represented by Bob Avakian and the new synthesis were to be a point of reference, the subject of discussion and debate throughout society—even as they are themselves coming to know more about it, and are working out their thinking. Alive with discussions of the Dialogue and the responses to it, the BA Everywhere Committees will reach out to all sections of the people. In the projects and the neighborhoods... involving people experienced in social media, film production and/or the graphic arts... lawyers, doctors, social workers and teachers... prominent and wealthy people financially supporting and using their public platform to make this known.

***

In conclusion, we have spoken of bringing people back to this Dialogue and we have looked briefly back at 2014 and what has changed and what is changing. All of this is for the purpose of moving forward—to enable tens and hundreds of thousands and even millions to come to see and feel that, indeed, humanity does not have to live like this. BA, Bob Avakian, and the Party he leads, and this Dialogue are about getting free. People need to know that there is a viable vision, plan, and leadership to bring forward a radically different and far better world through revolution. Today, more than ever they have ears to hear this message. Let’s bring it.

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

What the Senate Report Reveals... and Covers Up
Torture to Enforce a World of Horrors

by Alan Goodman | December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 9, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued a “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.” This is a report on the orgy of officially approved torture carried out by the CIA in the aftermath of the attacks launched by Islamic fundamentalists on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, and of CIA moves to lie about the scope, nature, and results of this torture.

The Senate report is highly censored. It is a product of years of infighting within different government agencies and factions over how much (or little) torture to reveal, how to package that torture, and who to blame. It covers up or glosses over the fact that—even if all the details were not known—top leaders of both parties knew the basic picture of this torture and signed off on it.

BAsics 1:3

Most essentially, from beginning to end, the Senate report frames the torture carried out by the CIA in terms of whether or not that torture “saved American lives,” produced “useful intelligence” about Al Qaeda, and whether, in the end, this torture was in the “national interest of the United States.”

That’s an IMMORAL framework. The interests of rulers of the United States are the interests of a global empire of exploitation and oppression. American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. And nothing justifies torture.

In 2009, in the midst of earlier revelations of the torture that took place under the Bush regime, I wrote at revcom.us: “Let’s make it plain: torture is, literally and in essence, a crime against humanity. Like rape, it is a systematic attempt to violently degrade people and rob them of their very humanity.”

Abu Ghraib

Ali Shalal, above, was tortured as a prisoner by U.S. military and CIA interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003. He was told his hands were attached to electrical wires and that he would be electrocuted if he moved. Photo: AP

The scale of torture, the randomness with which victims were grabbed up, and the official endorsement of all this points to the real and essential motivation behind it: to instill terror across a wide swathe of the Middle East and Central Asia, and to send a mob-style message that nobody fucks with the U.S. empire... or else.

The Most Depraved Crimes

The report describes extensive waterboarding—previously portrayed as a less sadistic and deadly form of torture—as a “series of near drownings.” One detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was subjected to this horrific torture 183 times. In addition, he was deprived of sleep for seven and a half days, mostly forced into a standing position.

The CIA torturers took sadistic and ghoulish delight in inflicting sexually degrading torture on captives. Detainees were frequently stripped naked and forced to urinate and defecate on themselves. The report describes “rectal feeding”—forcing material up the rectums of detainees, a form of rape.

Detainees were subjected to constant and viciously realistic death threats. They were placed in tubs of ice for extended times. One detainee was chained partially nude to a concrete floor and died of hypothermia. Prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation for up to a week, driven to “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.”

Artwork of waterboarding

Artwork: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

 
Other People’s Lives Matter!

In the wake of the Senate report, the airwaves have been filled with “debate.” Not over what kind of a system would produce such obscenities. Or what it will take to bring about a world where such things never happen. Instead, people are being trained to think that if torture saved American lives, then it was OK, and if it didn’t, then maybe it is not OK. As if any crime, no matter how barbaric, is fine if it protects American lives. And that other lives don’t matter.

Do you hear a familiar, ugly message here? You should. The same oppressive, genocidal, murdering system that enforces a reign of terror in Black communities from Ferguson to Staten Island, from Cleveland to Albuquerque, carries out even more naked oppression around the world. And just as Black lives do NOT matter to those who rule this system, the lives of the people of the world do not matter to them either.

The people who rule this empire of plunder they call the USA look down at the slums and barrios of this country and the world, at the workers who pick their crops and sew their clothes, at the angry, alienated youth. They see slaves to be kept in line. They see threats and potential threats to their whole setup. And they see vast sections of humanity as “extraneous”—unnecessary and unwanted—to be locked up and kept down through violence, terror, and TORTURE.

That is why when their police murder Black people, even if this or that politician wrings their hands in angst, over and over again police walk away with a pat on the back. And that is why, even if senators argue over just how the CIA should terrorize the people of the world, they will never stop doing what they do as long as this system stays in power.

The fact that the events of September 11, 2001 were carried out by reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces doesn’t justify anything the CIA did. Nothing justifies torture. And as a matter of fact, those forces—including Osama Bin Laden who took credit for the 9/11 attacks—were originally put in business by the CIA to wage a war in Afghanistan in the 1980s against the Soviet Union, which at the time headed up a rival imperialist bloc that confronted the U.S. around the world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these forces had a “falling out” with their former U.S. sponsors. And after 9/11, like a big-time mob cartel—when the U.S. thinks anyone might get the idea that it is vulnerable—the U.S. lashed out. With invasions. And with torture. To send a message to anyone who might think about getting in its way.

Not “Saving Lives” But Enforcing a World of Horrors

It has to be repeated: Even if it was the case that torture “produced useful intelligence” or “saved American lives,” the objectives of the rulers of the U.S. empire are not in the interests of people anywhere. And torture is immoral in any instance.

But in that light, it is revealing that the Senate report basically exposes that the stream of news reports aimed at the U.S. audience to justify torture was all lies. A slavishly compliant U.S. mainstream media channeled CIA “leaks” into articles and stories aimed at convincing Americans that whatever the CIA was doing was producing “successes” in the so-called “War on Terror.” The report documents that of “the CIA’s eight most frequently cited examples of ‘thwarted’ plots,” those “CIA representations were inaccurate and unsupported by CIA records.” (See pages 223-225 of the report.)

The conclusion this leads to—but which the report does not touch with a ten-foot pole—is that torture was carried out not to “gather information,” much less “save lives,” but to instill terror.

Ghoulish Criminals Must Be Held Accountable

President George W. Bush, cabinet officials, and congressional leaders of both parties were in the loop from the beginning, and in various ways gave the OK for all these crimes, and took the exceptional step of formally authorizing them.

In February 2002, Bush signed a presidential edict stating that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (an international agreement to which the U.S. supposedly subscribes), which prohibits “mutilation, cruel treatment and torture,” did not apply to anyone suspected of being associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban—the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist force that ruled Afghanistan.

Mutilation? Torture? If you were a CIA operative, how would you “interpret” that as anything but a blatant green light to carry out “mutilation” and “torture”? The White House office of legal council was assigned to, and repeatedly issued concocted legal excuses for torture during and after the fact. Anyone in the office who objected, even mildly, was pushed out of the way.

Bush’s open embrace of illegal assassination and torture outraged many people in this country and became an international scandal. Obama ran for president with promises to end torture. But Obama insisted early on that he would not prosecute anyone who committed these crimes. A New York Times piece summarized how Obama has handled torture: “Court cases continued to be shut down before a word could be argued; officials who spoke to the press about this and other issues like wiretapping have been prosecuted, along with reporters themselves, with a disturbing enthusiasm.”

Any government which not only tolerates such things but which, from its highest offices, justifies and insists on them... any government which does not, once this has been exposed, prosecute the perpetrators but instead provides them in advance with immunity... reveals itself as a government of a system that requires such crimes, and such criminals, for its functioning.

And any people who do not resist such crimes, and demand prosecution of the torturers and, even more so, those who formulated the policy at the highest levels, reveal themselves to be complicit in those crimes. And in passively allowing the humanity of others to be degraded and attacked, they lose their own.

Nobody should accept a world like this. The perpetrators of torture and those who gave the orders must be confronted, exposed, and people must demand they be prosecuted for their crimes. Doing that has a thousand links to, and will strengthen, the movement being built for an actual revolution that will put an end to this criminal system.

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

The Myth of the "Dirty Bomb" and the Torture of Jose Padilla

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For years, the public in the U.S. was bombarded with horror stories about a so-called dirty bomb threat against U.S. civilians by a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla.

The hype had the impact of incidents such as when police, government officials, the courts and media fabricated mass hysteria and a lynch-mob atmosphere against the Central Park 5—Black and Latino youth coerced and tortured into false confessions that they carried out a vicious rape of a white woman in Central Park.

The CIA claimed that Jose Padilla was thwarted from carrying out an attack that would unleash deadly radioactive material in the U.S. because of information produced by torturing a CIA detainee named Abu Zubaydah, including with waterboarding. This was a classic case, it was claimed, where torture was justified because it saved American lives.

According to the Senate report on torture (see "What the Senate Report Reveals... and Covers Up: Torture to Enforce a World of Horrors"), torture was inflicted on Abu Zubaydah after Jose Padilla was arrested in May 2002. And no substantial information about Padilla was ever produced by interrogating or torturing Abu Zubaydah... period. The report concludes that “the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques played no role in the identification of ‘Jose Padilla’ or the thwarting of the Dirty Bomb or Tall Buildings plotting.” (Page 230)

Furthermore, there was no “dirty bomb” plot. The Senate report reveals that the government never took this “plot” seriously. One internal CIA email declared that such a plot would most likely kill Padilla himself, but “would definitely not result in a nuclear explosive device.” Another CIA email called Padilla “a petty criminal” and described the “dirty bomb” plot as “lore.”

Padilla himself was subjected to torture in various forms, driven insane, and then framed for charges completely unrelated to the original accusations against him, “crimes” that were essentially thought crimes based on opinions he posted online. (See “Jose Padilla Convicted—The Expanding U.S. Machinery of Repression: Thought Crimes, Preventive Detention, and Torture.”)

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

War Criminals and Torturers Claim the Moral High Ground

by Alan Goodman | December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

How does an empire consistently inflict the most barbaric torture and terror on the people of the world, and at one and the same time brand itself as the global champion of human rights?

It’s not easy.

The point of the wave of openly authorized CIA torture, revealed—in small measure—by the Senate report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, was to terrorize the people of the world. Word-of-mouth news of the atrocities carried out by the CIA torturers reached every household in the Middle East. That was the intent: to send a message that nobody—even reactionary forces who were originally put in business by the U.S.—had better mess with the U.S. empire and its interests.1

And yet, the rulers of the U.S. also find it invaluable to exploit an image as the champion of human rights, to divert opposition to other oppressive regimes into channels that serve their interests.

You can get some sense of what is going on here from the fact that the person often described as the most passionate advocate for publicizing this Senate report (within the ruling class) is Senator John McCain. McCain insists that the release of the report enhances America’s “stature in the world.” And he has the gall to claim, “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”

This self-same John McCain is a certified mass murdering war criminal.

He was a pilot in the genocidal U.S. war on the people of Indochina that resulted in the deaths of millions. U.S. military pilots chemically poisoned the earth and water of Indochina. They bombed dikes to destroy irrigation in order to starve the civilian population. They littered Vietnam with fake toys that exploded when children picked them up.

McCain’s plane was shot down by the Vietnamese and he was detained by them. His claims that he was tortured by the Vietnamese have been his calling card for decades, and used to try to reverse verdicts on the U.S. war on Vietnam. McCain, not so by the way, was a principal representative of the U.S. ruling class in orchestrating the events in Ukraine this past year that deposed a government more favorable to Russia, replacing it with a pro-West regime (which McCain christened a force respecting human rights despite the major role of overt Nazis within it). And he is a “hawk” in demanding the U.S. more quickly escalate military attacks in Iraq and Syria.

The fact that McCain is the point man for this Senate report is a metaphor for the actual aims of the powers-that-be in producing it.

After years of political infighting among different forces in the ruling class to figure out what could be considered acceptable forms of interrogation, and even before the agency interrogated anyone, the CIA’s lawyers wrote in a November 2001 memo that it would be easier to defend against torture allegations if the tactics saved lives. There are eight cases cited in the Senate report where the CIA made the argument that its tactics thwarted plots and led to the capture of terrorists, and how the report undercuts those accounts.

It is not that torture is new to the rulers of the U.S. empire. They inherited and adopted waterboarding from dark ages torturers of the Spanish Inquisition in the 1500s (who used it among other things to force Jews to adopt Christianity), and they used it against anti-colonial rebels in the Philippines fighting U.S. occupation at the end of the 1800s. And U.S. “proxies”—regimes installed and in service of the U.S. empire—have almost universally employed torture, from the “tiger cages” in which political prisoners and rebels were tortured in Vietnam to the Shah of Iran’s hated torturers, the SAVAK.

But the United States, as a democratic-style imperialist oppressor, has attempted to have its cake and eat it too—to portray itself as the world’s greatest champion of human rights even as, in reality, it is the world’s greatest perpetrator of mass murder and genocide, going back to its roots in the genocide of the Native Americans. This façade of human rights, tattered as it is, has served the rulers of this country in contention with other oppressive regimes.

This sick deception has served to confound and confuse people rising up against oppression in places like Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and to channel their uprisings in many cases into demands and agendas that serve not liberation, but the overall aims and objectives of the U.S. empire.

Have no illusions—the essence of the “human rights” perpetrated on the world by the rulers of the United States is revealed by the obscene, sadistic torture carried out by the CIA, and the refusal of Obama to prosecute those who ordered and carried out these crimes.


1. The fact that the events of September 11, 2001 were carried out by reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces doesn’t justify anything the CIA did. Nothing justifies torture. And as a matter of fact, those forces—including Osama bin Laden, who took credit for the 9/11 attacks—were originally put in business by the CIA in the 1980s to wage a war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, which at the time headed up a rival imperialist bloc that confronted the U.S. around the world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these forces had a “falling out” with their former U.S. sponsors. And after 9/11, like a big-time mob cartel—when the U.S. thinks anyone might get the idea that it is vulnerable—the U.S. lashed out. With invasions. And with torture. To send a message to anyone who might think about getting in its way. [back]

 

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Craig Murray's Stand on Torture

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Craig Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2002. After exposing torture that was backed by the U.S. and Britain, he was forced to resign as ambassador in early 2005. Accepting an award for Integrity in Intelligence in 2005, Murray said:

"I would like to say something about the advance of evil and how easily it advances. I genuinely at no stage felt I was doing anything either heroic or exceptional. When I came across cases of people being boiled alive, cases of daughters being raped in front of their fathers, cases of torture of children, and the fact that we were receiving intelligence from those torture sessions, it seemed to me axiomatic that anyone brought up in the United States or the United Kingdom would believe their overriding and only duty was to stop it. And, perhaps naively, when I started trying to stop it internally, I actually believed that this must be the work of renegade people at lower levels and that once senior politicians in the UK and U.S. knew what was happening, they would stop it. I was quickly disillusioned. I discovered this part of a wider international policy of the use of torture in the pursuit of the war on terror. It was a terrible moment for me. I discovered that the system and the country I'd served my whole life didn't stand for what I believed it did. And I went to meetings with colleagues of mine. People I had known for over 20 years. Ordinary nice people who were setting down on paper strategies by which what we were doing could be said not to circumvent the UN convention against torture. And I was looking at them thinking, 'I know you. I know you. We've drunk together. We've played golf together. You are setting up justification for torture. How did this come about?'"

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/week-of-outrage-coast-to-coast-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Week of Outrage Coast-to-Coast

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 7, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) held Emergency Mass Meetings in cities around the U.S. to develop plans to continue and build the movement against police brutality and murder—to take things higher. Meetings took place in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, St. Louis/Ferguson, Los Angeles, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Throughout the past several days, revcom.us has posted news of events that have taken place during this Week of Outrage. The following is a fuller wrap up of actions during the Week of Outrage that revcom.us/Revolution received reports about. We encourage readers to send reports of Week of Outrage protests and events to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

Day1—Monday, December 8

New York Press Conference. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network kicked off the Week of Outrage with a press conference announcing the week of activities in solidarity with and to continue the protests that had erupted nationwide after grand juries refused to indict the cop murderers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Carl Dix, co-founder of SMIN, was joined outside City Hall by Elena Cohen, president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, artist and NYC Revolution Club member Jamel Mims, as well as parents of victims of police murder, Juanita Young and Nicholas Heyward Sr.

Carl Dix said: “Our message is very simple. Since the ‘normal routine’ of America has always included murder of Black and Latino people by law enforcement, this week that normal routine must be disrupted.”

 

Die-in at Barclays Center, Brooklyn. Lots of media were at Barclays Center to cover the New York Nets-Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game because two persons from the British royal family were attending. Cavaliers star player LeBron James and a number of other players on both teams took the floor for warm-ups wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts. James later spoke to the press about his support for the movement against police murder and support for the families who are victims of police murder. Meanwhile, outside, despite bitter cold and a very heavy and aggressive police presence, well over 1,000 people protested—staging a powerful die-in. Crossing to the arena plaza, voices resounded off the architecture. “Black Lives Matter!” and “I Can’t Breathe!” were signature chants that were strongly interspersed with “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail; the Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!”

Day 2—Tuesday, December 9

New York Flash Mob. Artists organized a flash mob of over 100 people at Grand Central Terminal, in the center of the major transportation hub where many commuters take their trains to the suburbs. Protesters used a combination of theater and dance, solo artists, and well-rehearsed crowd participation to re-enact Eric Garner’s last minutes of life. This became a focal point, drawing crowds for almost two hours, and received major media coverage.

 

Students and faculty at University of Chicago Law wear black to protest Ferguson decision.

 

Religious leaders sing spirituals outside City Hall in New York City as part of the Week of Outrage.

California interstate shut down. For the second night in a row, protesters shut down Interstate 80 in Berkeley. One protester told CNN, “We are out here because the system has made it obvious that Black lives do not matter, and us as a people are not OK with that.” Fifty people were arrested for blocking the freeway. Protesters also blocked a train from moving in Berkeley by sitting on the track.

 

Nashville die-in protesting the grand jury decisions

Chesterfield County, Virginia. A group of Meadowbrook High School students organized a “Hands Up” demonstration outside their school. The demonstration, which lasted about 15 minutes, took place between classes.

 

London

Day 3—Wednesday, December 10

NYC die-in at Macy’s. A nonviolent civil resistance die-in was held at Macy’s massive flagship department store. The day’s action weaved through the Christmas-shopping sidewalks and tourist attractions amid cold rain and snowfall. Many among the pedestrians joined in chanting “I Can’t Breathe, I Can’t Breathe!” as this protest chant was sent pealing off the buildings and amid busy traffic.

 

110 Freeway shut down in Los Angeles

 

Artists at Grand Central Station.

 

“WhiteCoats4BlackLives.” Medical students, joined by some medical professionals, staged protests at over 70 medical schools around the U.S., denouncing police violence and other forms of systemic violence against people of color as a health emergency. Protests took place at many of the most prestigious schools in the U.S., including Columbia University in New York City, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. These protests involved at least 1,000 people and were endorsed by Students for a National Health Program, a group with 19,000 members.

 

Eric Holder Halted. Interruption of Eric Holder’s speech

Day 4—Thursday, December 11

Returning to Scene of the Crime in Staten Island. Protesters returned to the scene of the crime in Staten Island—to where a NYPD cop choked Eric Garner to death. Daughter Erica Garner organized a vigil and a die-in to call for an end to authorized law-enforcement brutality in the name of her late father. Protesters, including members of SMIN, stood in the cold on Bay Street in St. George, remembering Eric Garner with a solemn vigil and then took off on a march that snaked down Bay Street and Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville, now a place of pilgrimage in the fight against police brutality, lined with burning votive candles and flowers. Erica Garner lay down in the very spot where her father was killed in July and then more than 50 also lay down in a die-in.

 

Erica Garner at the site of murder talking and being interviewed

 

Bryant Square NYC

 

#BlackLivesMatter Trinity United Church Protest

 

Dozens arrested in mass die-in in London

 

Bay Area Educators Against Police Brutality

Day 5—Friday, December 12

Harlem Die-In. The sidewalk and street in front of the famous Apollo Theater was the site for a 5 pm die-in in which 150 people participated. Then at 6 pm, a block away at the State Office Building, people from the die-in and others joined the Revolution Club and SMIN for a speakout during which testimonials were heard from those whose families are caught in the nightmare of life under NYPD terror. The speakout was followed by a rally and march—with whistles blowing all along the way—to the well-hated 26th precinct in West Harlem where more testimonials were defiantly and bravely made right up in the face of the precinct!

New York City Teachers joined nationwide protests against the grand jury decisions in the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, gathering outside a police precinct in Harlem.

 

Rockford, Illinois, in solidarity with #MikeBrown #ericgarner #ferguson #ICantBreathe

 

The whole world is watching, Times Square #icantbreathe #ericgarner #akaigurley #shutitdownnyc #handsupdontshoot

 

Die-in in front of Harpo’s in Ferguson

Jackson State University (Mississippi)

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

December 13: Tens of Thousands March Across the U.S. Against Police Murder

Updated December 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Saturday, December 13, tens of thousands converged on Washington, DC for the "National Justice For All March." Protests also marked the day in dozens of other cities around the country, including tens of thousands in New York City. Other cities with protests include Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco-Oakland, Houston, Boston, and more. There was also a large police presence at these protests, and reports of multiple arrests in Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Oakland.

In Washington, DC, parents and other family members of people killed by police lined the front of the stage. In NYC the march, starting at 2 pm in Manhattan, was still marching at 11 pm in Brooklyn after having crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.

Below are initial reports of the day from some of the cities. Stay tuned to revcom.us for more.

 

Washington, DC

From a correspondent:

Over 10,000 people of all nationalities joined in the March for Justice called by Al Sharpton's National Action Movement. A large majority of the crowd was made up of Black people from the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region, many of whom had not participated in protests in the past, but who felt compelled to speak out against the seemingly endless waves of murders of young Black men and even children at the hands of the police who are never punished.

Fear for themselves, their children, their brothers, along with sorrow, frustration, and anger at the all-around injustices facing Black people today, were the frequent reasons given for turning out.

There was also a smaller but substantial section of white people—high school and college students as well as religious groups, professionals, and others who felt a deep responsibility to speak against the way in which most white people still go along with this. Many carried signs like, "White silence=complicity."

While there was a great deal of lame reformism from some speakers at the rally, there were also powerful speeches including ones from a defiant fighter from Ferguson and from an organizer of the highway takeovers in DC, who spoke to and captured the anger and uncompromising spirit of the people who are in the streets now. There were also deeply moving speeches from a number of family members of those whose lives have been stolen by the police—mothers, fathers, spouses, children of people like Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, and Amadou Diallo. These speakers expressed tremendous determination to keep fighting and deep love and appreciation for the protesters around the country and the marchers who have given voice to their loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves—and this love was warmly reciprocated by the crowd.

In this scene, the "We Need Revolution" contingent was welcomed by many, many people. Many people were drawn to march behind its banner reading, "Police Brutality and Murder Must Stop. We Need Revolution." Well over 100 took up signs with similar slogans. People around the contingent joined in chants like "Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell." Close to 1,000 copies of Revolution newspaper, as well as many palm cards for the video of the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian got out.

New York City

From a reader:

Photo: Special to revcom.us

Tens of thousands of protesters formed a river of people pouring out of Washington Square and flowing rapidly up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Very diverse in background, and unmistakably young in character and energy – students from high schools, colleges and universities and youth in general carried much of the day's fast-paced march. Huge creative banners read: This Stops Today; Black Lives Matter; Stop Killing Our Friends; Real Thugs Wear Flag Pins.

Helicopters hovered overhead and police lined the avenues with gates, vans and huge white Corrections Department buses. A highly repressive, mass-incarcerating torture state—that is tormenting the very environment needed for life—saw fit to keep its pig apparatus on display today. This was not done in the most naked and brutal way used against the brave and defiant ones in Ferguson. But make no mistake, NYPD's top voices are blatantly asserting in the pages of New York's newspapers their right to murder with impunity.

One Black woman college student who came with a group of friends from different schools said, "We need to convict these cops... If you're never going to jail behind killing an unarmed kid you are not going to stop. Here we are—losing youth in large numbers. What kind of state of mind will we end up in if we let this go on? This is unacceptable."

 

From another reader, phone report from middle of the march:

Photo: Special to revcom.us

I’m with a handful of folks with the Revolution Club and they are running with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network that began prepping a few hours before the march. The march stretches at least 28 blocks.

Got out a lot of posters that read “Ferguson is Everywhere. Justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Police Brutality and Murder MUST STOP! www.revcom.us." The largest banner was "Get organized for an actual revolution. NYC Revolution Club.” Also there were two dozen high-school-aged students who have held up the banner and called out the chants: "What’s the problem—the whole damn system. What’s the solution? Revolution!"

I asked one of the students, what you think the ultimate solution would be to this kind of problem? The response was along the lines of: shutting down the U.S. society and making everyone notice, bringing an awakening and more consciousness.

An older gentleman who has taken a leading role said he met the Revolution Club around organizing for this year's October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and Criminalization of a Generation. He was disenchanted with lots of the organizations that he had seen, and had become more and more convinced that we need revolution to answer police brutality. He was really impacted by Bob Avakian's quote from his book BAsics, “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.”

This is one of the most varied demonstrations that I have seen, especially on police brutality. Lots of children, mothers carrying their babies, huge core of teenagers. I asked a group of five women that were walking along the sidewalk what they thought—they were five Black women from Detroit visiting, and they said that justice should be for everyone and the police should not have privilege, and they should be accountable.

 

Later on Saturday, a section of the march went over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn—and then marched in Brooklyn for hours into the night. Next day, Revolution/revcom.us talked to two people who were part of that march.

1. S, Black woman from Staten Island, active with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Revolution/revcom.us: Tell us what happened in the march.

S: What happened was, when we got to the Brooklyn Bridge, the police tried to stop us. The people said—and it was the youth—we're not going to stop, and they went through the police. The police couldn't stop them. There was a lot of police—but they still didn't stop them. And I followed. There were hundreds of people at that point—because even at the end, it was like 300, so it was much more than that at that point. They not only took over the traffic on one side of the bridge, then they went over and stopped the traffic on the other side. At one point, the police did grab somebody, but I was pleasantly surprised, because the cops were extremely non-confrontational...

Whoever was there, I hooked up with them. I was first with a group from Staten Island called NAAPS, that's North Americans Against the Police State, and they have a t-shirt that says "Don't Shoot I'm Human" or "Don't Shoot, I'm Black." The I ended up with the Light Brigade of New York and they had signs that says "Black Lives Matter" or "Fire Bratton" or "Justice."

We went over the bridge. There really was no direction, right? But we just kept on going—going into the traffic, going into the traffic. The police would cut us off at the bend and so we would go another direction.

The youth were extremely motivated. Then they decided to go to the Pink Houses [housing projects in Brooklyn] where Akai Gurley was killed by cops [on November 20].

Revolution/revcom.us: Before that, you went down Eastern Parkway, a major street in Brooklyn, and stopped traffic.

S. Yes we did. We stopped traffic every-where we went. And we got a lot of extremely good reception from the motorists. They would honk their horns, they would take flyers, put their fists up, hold out their hands to high five. Don't get me wrong—there were a few who were not feeling us. But we were not deterred.

At one point, it seemed like people were getting tired. But the youth were saying: Don't you dare give up! We've come so far. Don't you dare get on that subway. So we kept on going.

Revolution/revcom.us: Where were the youth from—who were they?

S. It was the youth from the streets. Some didn't even know each other. I talked to different youth. They didn't know how to do mike checks, so I taught them how to do mike checks. And they got the hang of it.

Revolution/revcom.us: What were the youth saying? Why were they out in the streets?

S: They were talking about "No justice, no peace, no racist police." There's this song, and I wish I could remember how it went—but it was something like: I hear my brother crying, "I can't breathe." We have to deal with these racist police. We're not gonna give up till we are free. And they kept singing it over and over and over. There was this little girl—she was only six years old, with her mother. She was singing—and she was louder than some of the older people! There were youth from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan. They went on the Internet and they saw, and they just wanted to partake... They just kept on going and going and going. People were just riled up, and they just wanted to keep on going. They were working so well together. I thought they knew each other—but they didn't. They were just marching and saying, "We've had enough, we're tired of the racist police, the racist system. They were very receptive to me—I gave them information about the Stop Mass Incarceration Network...

There was a sister in the march who was making statements—she said she was related to Ramarley Graham [18-year-old youth who was killed by police in the bathroom of his own house in the Bronx in 2012]. She said she was still devastated by what took place, and what continues to happen. She doesn't want it to keep on going on.

At certain times we did die-ins, and people would make different testimonies and say how they felt about what was happening. We also stopped in front of one of the police precincts. And that got confrontational with the police. One sister asked, "Why do you go and come out, and instead of shoot to wound, you shoot to kill?" She was asking them that. Of course they didn't give no answer... The youth were just so angry, so angry. But it's being directed in a positive way. They are very well aware that it's hard out there. Because they're from Brooklyn, they're from the Bronx, they're from the streets where it's happening. And so they say, "No, we're not going to be deterred." I would say there were about two-thirds of the protest that was the youth. And I have to hand it to them. They kept me going. Because, I'm telling you, I was aching—but my mind was still strong.

2. O; Black man from Brooklyn—his two sons were killed by police

Revolution/revcom.us: Tell us what you saw.

O: When I got off the train at West 4th Street [in Manhattan], and found my way around, one thing I saw that was good was the variety of people from many walks of life. So what that said to me was that, something had happened that had hit the vein or the core of people of many walks of life. Or it hit the soul of people, to put it that way. There was a common denominator that many people felt, for the things that had happened regarding the grand jury decisions not to indict the police... What it showed me was that there was a cry from the heart and the souls—the stones were crying out. The base root of people's souls were saying, what was done to let the police get away with it, and for the legal criminal justice system to permit it and allow for it to happen—that was a crime...

The protest on Saturday said that people are tired, and they're not going to take it anymore. I loved to see the many-cultured, many-aged...it was just a variety of people. We said we're not going to take it anymore. We said Black lives matter. Because the decision by the grand jury was that Black lives do not matter. They said it in Missouri. They said it in Staten Island. And they said it with Trayvon, even though that wasn't a police issue but it had to do with police state of mind—that a person can take on the authority of a police person. So all I'm saying is that people were saying from all walks of life on Saturday, this is wrong.

Revolution/revcom.us: Where did you march?

O: I didn't know I had it in me, to be able to be standing here today, Sunday—after marching Saturday, from W. 4th Street to 32nd Street, back to W. 4th Street, from W. 4th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge, over the Brooklyn Bridge, all the way to Linden Blvd. in the Pink Houses—and then back to New Lotts Ave.

Revolution/revcom.us: What happened at the Pink Houses?

O: We got to the Pink Houses, thank god. We stood in front, and we read the names and said "rest in peace" of so many victims, including Akai Gurley—he was the first we read. Then they read the names of eight women who were killed by police. That really touched me... This protest Saturday was necessary, at a very important time, to prepare us for 2015 and on.

Revolution/revcom.us: Another person we talked to who was at the march said there were a lot of young people there.

O: Yes, there was a lot of young people. As a matter of fact, we picked more up as we went through the projects. As we went through the projects in Brownsville. As we went through the projects in Cypress Hills. As we went through the projects in the Pink Houses. Each place we went to, we said to them, "Come on out." And they came on out. What is that saying? It's saying that the democratic process is broke. And that's a profound statement because—the democratic process has to do with the Democrats and the Republicans, the so-called electoral voting process. It's telling us that we have people in office that we're paying to kill our kids?! I don't think so! No! I'm not paying no police to kill my two sons--or anybody else's family members and/or to run into the projects and get children...children! I marched with this six-year-old boy and her mother, and that really motivated me. It reminded me of my two sons. We have to train our kids, inform them that you're very important. I saw other people with their children there. That's very enlightening. Why? Because it tells us that there is a future. And the show of force of people from gray-haired, middle aged, young people—it shows us that somebody in that electoral process is wrong, that people are being lied to and going along with the lie. But this is saying that, you know what, we're not going to go along with the lie no more. They don't want to be deceived no more... The police force—they're monsters. They're demonic monsters.

Chicago

From a reader:

Photo: Special to revcom.us

At 1pm on Saturday, December 13, an overwhelmingly young and very multinational crowd began to gather at State and Jackson in downtown Chicago as part of the National Day of Protest against police terror. There were some short speeches and then the march took off, but not before the Chicago Revolution Club marched in as a contingent led by a banner proclaiming “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. Chicago Revolution Club—Revcom.us.” And the whole march had a very radical edge. Revolutionaries and Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) members worked with other groups who played a very dynamic role throughout the march. Some people brought homemade signs, many carried SMIN signs, and all the posters from www.revcom.us were grabbed up too, including by a woman who put down the poster she had been carrying because it seemed “too wimpy” in comparison. There were a lot of new people on the march, and there was a lot of love among them as they expressed their determination that police terror has to end.

There was a massive showing of Chicago pigs who were aggressive and vicious. Early on, the mc of the rally from SMIN and two others were arrested for stepping out into the street. And as the march continued, the police jammed people back onto the sidewalk. One foot in the street got another person arrested. But the march was not deterred.

Two young members of the Chicago Revolution Club were targeted for vicious attack by the pigs outside the Nordstrom's store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile upscale shopping area. News coverage shows the woman being wrenched toward the police van with her arms being pulled backward and upward. The young man is reported to have suffered a broken nose and several lacerations to his face. He is facing a bogus felony charge of assault on a police officer, and $75,000 bail, as is another protester. We demand the charges be dropped against all those protesting police murders.

Once over the Chicago River, at the south end of the “Magnificent Mile” of Michigan Avenue, teeming with Christmas shoppers, a die-in was staged for four and a half minutes—one minute for each hour that the pigs let Michael Brown’s body lay in the steaming street where he had been shot down and murdered—by around 400 demonstrators. The shoppers moved into the street to pass by. Many joined the march after it stepped off, as it covered a good two city blocks heading north. The march stopped again at the north end of the Mag Mile, across from Macy’s, where a tense stand-off took place as the march strove to cross the street. Blocked by the police, the demonstrators staged another die-in at this major intersection, packed with holiday shoppers. During the four and a half minutes, an eerie silence befell the entire area, not just among the demonstrators. It was as if time stood still, and the mad dash to obey-consume-repeat was halted for a reflective moment.

The march lasted over four hours. At one point it headed south again, to Nordstrom’s department store. While some people held a big “Stolen Lives by Police Murder” banner in front of the store entrance, a number of marchers zipped in and staged a die-in. The police soon realized what was going on and swooped in after them—arresting at least 11 people. More arrests and vicious assaults on the crowd were made back on the street where the pigs grabbed several people, including a young woman from the Revolution Club, and viciously beat another young Revolution Club member who has been very active in the protests. These young revolutionaries were targeted by the police. (See box.) All told, 23 people were arrested and three people are facing felony charges. (One of the felonies was reduced to a misdemeanor on December 14.)

Photos: Special to revcom.us

These outrageous attacks did not go down unopposed. The police department got so many calls condemning their actions that they resorted to not even talking to people, instead just making stupid sounds. Nordstrom's also must have thought twice about their role in this because they refused to press charges against all those arrested in their store. Supporters immediately went to the police station where people were being held to demand their release, staying till after midnight. As of this writing, several of those arrested on misdemeanors have been released on their own recognizance. And right now people are planning to pack the bond court Sunday, December 15, when the two still facing felonies will be arraigned.

Update December 14: Bail was set at $75,000 for each person with a bogus felony charge, which requires posting $15,000 in order for them to be released from jail. One of the people facing a felony charge is from the Revolution Club. He is well-known to the Chicago police for his role in the protests since the pigs walked in the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Contact Revolution Books Chicago to find out how to donate to the bail fund.

San Francisco Bay Area

From readers:

San Francisco. Photos: Special to revcom.us

Thousands marched in the SF Bay Area as part of national demonstrations against police brutality and murder, called by “Millions march,” a “Day of Anger because Black lives matter.”

There were major protests in both downtown San Francisco and Oakland. In San Francisco, an estimated 4,000-5,000 people marched down Market Street, the main street in downtown San Francisco. The entire downtown was at a standstill because of the march, as a broad and diverse group of protesters took over all of the broad avenue, stretching for blocks. This was a very carefully controlled march, flanked on both sides by hundreds of police. People who wanted to enter the march from the sidelines had to go through police lines, at least near the front. Chants of “Black lives matter” as well as many others from the weeks of protest echoed through San Francisco streets. Banners and signs reflected different political organizations, as well as unions and church groups. The movement for revolution was represented by many signs throughout the march, and also several large banners, including “No More Police Murder—We Need Revolution. www.revcom.us” and a banner from the Revolution Club.

The march was very broadly supported by many, many people along the way. Comments ranged from Black people eagerly voicing their support for the march, in some cases with angry calls for revolution when asked what they thought the solution to police murder is; to firm supporters of the march from a wide range of nationalities; to white people with large holiday shopping bags near high-end department stores thoughtfully making clear that they support the cause of equality, and understand that it does not exist in America today, while at the same time hesitating to say exactly what they thought of the grand jury verdict in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. And a few who mumbled about “riots,” echoing media distortions of the protests to date.

East Oakland. Photo: Special to revcom.us

The march started at the Ferry Building on the San Francisco waterfront and ended up at City Hall, where there was a rally. As the rally was breaking up, the Revolution Club called for people to continue to march, and hundreds joined, marching back down Market Street to the main shopping area in SF centered on Powell and Market. At one point, police blocked the march and threatened the protesters. There were hundreds of shoppers watching, and some had joined, including some in Santa Claus outfits. An agitator on a bullhorn called on shoppers to support the march against police threats. Many, many shoppers raised their hands and chanted “hand up, don’t shoot,” a moving and powerful display. The agitator at one point called out “If you refuse to live like this, let me see you raise your fists” and at least 50 people on the streets behind police lines raised their fists. The cops, who had probably 400 hundred cops mobilized to follow this demonstration, eventually declared an illegal assembly; people were still in the street as we sent off this report.

In Oakland, about 3,000 people gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland. There was a contingent of students from UC Berkeley, at least several hundred, that marched from the University, down Telegraph Avenue, to Oakland. 

After a rally at 14th and Broadway, the group marched to the County Courthouse on Fallon St., near Lake Merritt. Again, a massive force of police was mobilized to contain the march.

As we are writing, some are continuing to march while others have left.

St. Louis-Clayton, MO

From readers:

About 125 people gathered at Hickey Park in North St. Louis to march to the Hall Street Work House (i.e., jail). The crowd was multi-national and all ages. Drummers, women in orange jail suits, and the stolen lives banner led the march. This was one of the first marches here to speak to mass incarceration and the millions of men and women locked up. It also happens to be one of the jails holding many of the courageous protesters from the Ferguson uprising.

As we marched to the jail chanting "let them go" people rushed the fence and began calling the prisoners to come to the window. Many did, shouting "No Justice no Peace." They spoke of the demand to be free. One ex-prisoner spoke of the horrific condition, while brothers inside shouted "this is a shit hole." Unsanitary conditions, fights just to get food, healthy inmates locked up with people with tuberculosis. Infection rampant throughout the jail. A rally was held at the fence with the bullhorn toward the prisoners. People spoke of the millions behind bars, how the "war on drugs" had put many in jail for long sentences and the demand that all the people arrested be immediately released.

At the end of the rally one of the organizers of the protest read the Stop Mass Incarceration Network pledge and people joined in. People left the jail and marched to a major intersection and held a die-in. Many people along the way honked and people came out of their homes to get Revolution newspaper and other information about mass incarceration.

The day before people staged the "Circus of Injustice" downtown with about 150 people marching all throughout the downtown streets and to the courthouse to deliver the demands to the Dept. of In-Justice to prosecute Darren Wilson, the murdering pig who killed Mike Brown, an unarmed young Black brother. A large pink papier-maché pig with Darren Wilson's name on it was pushed toward the riot police guarding the court house. One of the riot cops had Wilson's name on his uniform. The march then went to Clayton High School for a short stop. A number of organizers came out with some students and marched into downtown Clayton. 70 students had walked out from here the week before.

Houston

From readers;

For the second time in as many weeks hundreds of people marched through an up-scale shopping district in Houston, Texas, bringing the message that Black Lives Matter and a deep-felt determination to STOP police murder and brutality to a broad array of people of all nationalities. The demonstration the week before had almost literally taken over the Galleria mall, and had attracted showings of interest and support from many shoppers. This time the police did everything they could to throw up a wall of repressive force and keep the fight for justice from reaching and inspiring yet more people. They set up signs all around the mall specifically warning that any protestors entering would be arrested.

In this situation there were ongoing efforts on the part of individuals and groups to find the ways to break protest out and stop business as usual. When a small number of young people did step into the street the cops viciously grabbed who they thought were the leaders, including putting one of them in a chokehold. People fought back, and were able to pull their fellow protesters to safety only to lose them again to thuggery by the police. In spite of the authorities' viciousness, people participated in a number of die-ins blocking entrance to shops and restaurants in the area. 

The message of revolution got out through our Revolution—Nothing Less banner and the many signs with slogans like "No More Police Murder—We need a revolution" taken up by the crowd. Several dozen Revolution papers got out as well. But the question of the possibility as well as the necessity for revolution was quite controversial. We got out our invitation to the BA Everywhere celebration to everyone we spoke to,with the message that here would be a chance to get deeply into the burning questions people are confronting regarding what will it take to stop police murder, and all exploitation and oppression.

Los Angeles

From readers:

Several hundred protesters of many nationalities and all ages came together at Hollywood and Highland in righteous anger at the wanton police murders of unarmed Black and Latino people; but also with the joy of being a part of this powerful uprising taking place across the country. There was a short rally near the spot where, a week before, LAPD cops had gunned down a young white man in front of many people. People were invited to come to the microphone to speak. And then the march took off.

Among the speakers was Professor Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, who said that he was there because he has three sons and he's had to think about this since they were 5, 6, 7 months old... that they're profiling them in the cradle, and from the cradle to their grave. And he went on: "Talking goes so far. But we also gotta do, and part of doing is sticking your head in the lion's mouth and taking some risks. Taking risks when we see flagrant... you mean to tell me that wasn't a chokehold? Okay, enhanced interrogation isn't torture?... This is like Rodney King. We saw it with our own eyes.... People waited for justice. And when the justice system betrayed them, when the promise of justice was so flagrantly flouted, then we exploded in L.A.... This is a powder keg we're sitting on."

Someone from the Revolution Club spoke to the crowd as well, and said in part: "Today, and what we have been doing the last three weeks, all across the country, we have become a new people, that are saying 'No more!' That are not gonna put our heads down when they execute our people in the street. We're a new people, and we gotta take this higher, and we gotta take this farther.... They are showing us that the only thing their system's got is their violence, and their bullets, and our fear. And we give up our fear today!" And the crowd took up the chant: "We give up our fear today."

The march took off in high spirits, chanting all along the 2+ miles route. Three times there were 4 ½ minute "die-ins" in the intersections along the way—to remember the 4 ½ hours Michael Brown's body lay in the street.

The cops surrounded the demonstrators after the second die-in, and tried to make them disperse. Instead the marchers regrouped and took the street again, marching back toward the starting point. A block before Hollywood and Highland, the police completely surrounded the demonstrators, declared it an illegal assembly, and gave them 10 minutes to disperse, or face arrest.  There was a third die-in. Then the police issued a threat to use violence, claiming the protesters had violated a penal code and that if people didn't leave they would be arrested and if they regrouped again, they might get hurt. Then they listed all the weapons in their arsenal that they could use against the protest.

Boston

From a reader:

A crowd ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 people marched from the statehouse in downtown Boston to North Station with the goal of shutting down I-93, the interstate highway. "Shut this racist system down" was a popular chant among the crowd of mainly college students along with community activists and some ex-'60s people. Some Harvard students were there, just off a major march there the night before that shut down portions of Cambridge. Speakers shouted out the names of Black people killed by the police, including Bo Ramsey killed in 2012 in Boston. One professor spoke about being brought to tears over these grand jury rulings, and said she told her class that if they didn't feel that, then they needed to check their humanity.

Meanwhile an army of cops had been mobilized to block off access to the major highways, and when people tried to push through 23 were arrested. The march continued and rallied outside the Nashua St. jail. One prisoner put up a message on his window, "They beat up the inmates." And people chanted "we see you." The march went back to downtown and another "die-in" on Tremont St., the main thoroughfare. People grabbed up "Ferguson is everywhere" and "Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution" posters promoting the www.revcom.us website, and many got papers and leaflets as well.

Honolulu, HI

From a reader:

About 30 people held signs at the entrance to the Waikiki tourists area, and marched around Ala Moana Shopping Center where thousands of people were doing their holiday shopping. An attorney related the story of her client, a man who was asphyxiated last year when four large policemen held him face down as he cried "I can't breathe." Die-ins held up traffic at two major intersections. Response from people driving by or on the sidewalk was awesome—with some stopping to share their stories of police brutality.

Cleveland

From a Reader:

Thirty of us—activists from Puncture the Silence (an affiliate of Stop Mass Incarceration Network), revolutionary youth and others—went into the West Side Market packed with people on Saturday morning. We went up to a balcony overlooking the market and did a banner drop. The banners said “Justice for Tamir” and “Justice for Tanisha Anderson,” two Black people killed by the police here in November. Then people sang a spiritual calling for justice and then chants of “Black Life Matters” rang out. People there, including many white people from the suburbs, looked up and took notice, many giving approving gestures.

Then we went to Tower City, the main downtown shopping area, and we did a die-in for 35 minutes. At one point, a revolutionary youth read the Stop Mass Incarceration Network “Pledge of Resistance” and then an activist did a mic check challenging people to think about the realities of life for Black people in this Christmas season. In a dramatic presentation, he said, “Merry Christmas Cleveland, ‘Jeez-us’ did you know the police can kill Black people with impunity?” He told me afterwards, “At Tower City people brought their children out for the Christmas fanfare. They were confronted with the element of reality and surprise. Disruption of the Christmas spirit is a huge piece of revolution. In the season of the solstice we must continue to remind people of the realities of the inequities, using the things they love to escape with to remind them what’s actually happening in our world.”

Then we got up and marched through the building chanting, and we got noticed. We heard parents telling their young children what the scene was all about. Hearing “Black Life Matters” a Black man said to one of us, softly and deeply, “Thank you.”

After this some of us went out into an area of the Black community putting up posters like, “No More Police Murder/We Need Revolution” and “Get Organized for an Actual Revolution.” And people checked them out, some agreeing with what they say. We agitated and got some Revolution papers out broadly and in stores. People who did the actions felt that even if small, we did impact hundreds of people with our message of “No More to Police Murder,” including for some of us revolutionaries, the message that this is an illegitimate system and we need to make revolution as soon as possible.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/ft-greene-brooklyn-emergency-town-hall-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, NY

Emergency Town Hall: Rodney King to Eric Garner

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Lesson One—don’t head out to any public gathering these days unprepared for the unexpected. This past Sunday, December 7, 200+ people showed up at BRIC (a new theater/arts center in Ft Greene, Brooklyn) for the final performance of Roger Guenveur Smith’s RODNEY KING.

Ft. Greene

Ft. Greene

Ft. Greene

Photos: Dread Scott

Roger Guenveur Smith’s play, a virtuoso one-man show, recounts the story of Rodney King, possibly the first person to have his brutal beating by LA police go “viral” by way of national TV in 1992—leading to the LA Rebellion when the guilty cops were acquitted of beating King. The play was followed by “An Emergency Town Hall: Rodney King to Eric Garner” with Roger Guenveur Smith, his musical collaborator Marc Anthony Thompson, and a range of political commentators and writers. A lively back and forth erupted around what it will take to stop this epidemic: policy changes and “better policing” or...

Revolutionary artist Dread Scott spoke from the audience: “We wouldn’t have even heard of Mike Brown if the defiant ones in Ferguson had not gotten into the streets. This is a system! This country was founded on slavery, then Jim Crow, now New Jim Crow—the police are there to enforce this and it will take people staying the streets to make Black lives matter, to stop these police murders.”

As the meeting drew to a close, Roger Guenveur Smith called on the audience, mostly theater and arts people, to march with him out of the theater and into the streets. Many did just that, and we ended up a few minutes later in the intersection of Flatbush and Fulton. The group stopped three lanes of traffic in each direction on Flatbush (artery to the Manhattan Bridge) for nearly half an hour in the bitter cold, chanting “Eric Garner, Mike Brown—Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!” Revolution newspapers, Carl Dix statements, Alice Walker poems, and 10 revcom.us posters that we’d brought were put to very good use.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/cleveland-state-university-students-speak-out-against-police-brutality-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Cleveland State University Students Speak Out Against Police Brutality

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Cleveland State University student:

On Thursday, December 11, Cleveland State University students participated in a “die-in” in response to the recent police killings of Eric Gardner and Michael Brown, as well as those of local Clevelanders Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson. The event, organized by the Black Student Union at CSU, involved several other student organizations including Students for Justice in Palestine, Progressive Student Action, Student Socialist Society, and Latinos United.

At noon, approximately 30 students, clad in black, entered the student center where they joined a number of local activists. As a banner with the names of victims of police murder was unveiled from the second story, a voice shouted out “I can’t breathe!” at which point several students fell and lay on the floor. A second call of “hands up, don’t shoot” went out, causing a number of other students to join those already on the ground. Calls echoing the many victims of police violence continued until 40 students and activists lay on the ground, at which point a professor from CSU’s Black Studies department began to read names of victims of police brutality.

Crowds gathered on the various levels of the student center as names of the oppressed echoed throughout the building. Some students watching used smartphones to capture the event, while others watched intently. Throughout the litany of names, students lying on the ground spoke up with demands of “justice now!” and cries claiming that police brutality was “killing us!” As the list of names came to an end, the students rose to their knees and raised their hands, symbolic of the nationwide struggle against a police state that gunned Michael Brown down in the streets of Ferguson as he surrendered. A number of chants rose through the building, again “hands up, don’t shoot” as well as “no justice, no peace.” Soon afterward, students sat down and listened to spoken word from a number of local poets, as well as moving stories from local activists regarding their own struggles against police brutality, ending with a final chant of “hands up, don’t shoot” before the demonstration dispersed.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/san-lorenzo-calif-high-school-students-walk-out-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

San Lorenzo, California:

High School Students Walk Out to Demand Justice Now

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From Stop Mass Incarceration Bay Area:

30-40 students walked out of school at noon at KIPP King Collegiate High School, marching to the intersection of Hesperian and Llewellyn in San Lorenzo, California, chanting, “Hands up, I can’t breathe” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” They were supported by honking motorists along the way. A Latino man stopped his car and said, “What these kids are doing is right. They’re not into drugs or gangs, and they’re not playing hooky like I did when I was a kid. Even as an adult today, I get pulled over for absolutely nothing. These kids are the future and they’re not going to put up with what I put up with.”

The youth did this action on their own without a teacher escort and were told they would get a 30-minute detention. One of the young women said, “We’ve been planning this, and knew there would be consequences. This is really a small price to pay... but we’re going to protest the detention anyway. The whole school should have been out here.”

They marched back to school with a lot of pride in their stride to receive what they do not consider a “punishment.”

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/talking-to-revcom-us-i-cant-sit-it-out-any-longer-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Talking to revcom.us

"I can't sit it out any longer"

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A correspondent for revcom.us/Revolution newspaper talked to people at Union Square in New York City who were gathered on Tuesday, December 9, for a flash mob action that was part of the December 8-14 Week of Outrage Against Police Murder. Here is some of what people said.

 

Young white guy, a recent graduate from a liberal arts college in Maine:

How can this wanton murder of unarmed youth by the police be stopped?

This is such an important issue and I wonder if there is a way that’s preventative of civil war. I don’t know another way of saying that. Protesters are getting a very aggressive response from the police.

Last night we were at Barclays Center [in Brooklyn]for the [NBA basketball] Nets-Cavalier game and police whipped out their batons, mace-ready, and pointed them at us. Police were making very intimidating comments to us and were clearly upset they couldn’t be more aggressive—that they were asked to refrain from that. They seemed to want to respond in a violent way. At Barclays last night they used an orange plastic fencing to corral protesters and were physically pushing us. We heard there was a confrontation with police in the subway. Also that they were using Stingrays to tap people’s phones. I’m not surprised that they’re violating our rights.

I think part of the solution is getting more than just the protesters that are already out here involved, not just the young people and the African-Americans and the civil rights activists that are already out here. We need more than that. We need people who don’t care. We do actions among them, but does it make them care? Looting, I understand, is a result of oppression, part of the history people have suffered. I don’t think we need aggressive protest and I hope the police respect that [laughs] but then they don’t know that word, even though it’s on all their cars.

I’m out here to show my support and I am listening to ideas. Blue-collar people seem to be overwhelmingly supportive. Then people sitting in their Mercedes are not caring at all. I was born in NYC and went to college in Maine. This is only my second day out here. I’m partly out here, too, because my younger brother has been in the midst of protests every day, coming home with all the stories, and I can’t sit it out any longer. He told me a few days ago he had glass bottles thrown at him from up in a building. My parents support our coming out to protests but they also worry a lot; they say, “Watch out, watch out!”

***

Young Black guy, 23 , from the West Coast

Yesterday I led a group of 15 people from midtown [Manhattan] all the way to Barclays Center [in Brooklyn]. We grew to 30 people at one point on the way and made it there in one hour. This was great but it was my first time leading people from one spot to another and I found it very scary at times. Twenty of us actually made it all the way to Barclays Center because 10 people got split off when we marched through Chinatown where a series of back alleys and cops pursuing us made things difficult to stay together. I don’t know what happened to those 10 people. I feel responsible for the group I was leading.

It is great that people are coming together and there’s lots of room for leadership and for people giving direction. I’m looking forward to Saturday’s “Millions March.” I come to Union Square every evening 5-6 pm. People are starting to know each other’s faces, and when we see each other around we express appreciation. And that’s nice.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/interview-with-high-school-student-protesters-SF-Bay-Area-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Interview with High School Student Protesters in SF Bay Area:

"Students Are Powerful and They Won't Shut Up"

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

A revcom.us/Revolution correspondent in the San Francisco Bay Area talked to three high school students who have been involved in recent protests and walk-outs against the grand jury decisions letting the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner free.

Question: Why do you think it is so important to protest against the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the grand jury decision to let the cops go? What is motivating you, and why do you think so many other students walked out of high school? 

Students from one of the high schools in the SF Bay Area that walked out in the last week. Photo: revcom.us

Student 3: For me, what is kind of motivating is that my life is on the line. I know there is no justice, the killer of me would not go to jail—that is frightening, it gives the police even more power, that there are no consequences following them. And they already have enough power. But the government not saying anything, gives them even more power to do whatever they want to brutalize citizens like they did to me when I was protesting. Saturday night I was attacked by an officer and I was injured.

Student 2: And they didn’t take care of him at all. He could have had a concussion, no medical help. He came to my house, there was blood rushing down his face, there is blood on my floor. 

Student 1: They are supposed to be protecting us. He had to be a fugitive from the police, he had to hide and not go to school. He had to interrupt his life

Student 3: So I do not want other students to be in my situation. I actually had to hide from the government for a couple days. And I don’t think anyone should be afraid of their government. So if there is no voice, and people don’t speak out, then they will follow with more. If you don’t speak up, they will assume you are fine and will keep going with their brutality and abuse. So that is why it is important to be at every protest and give my voice, and hopefully it will be heard and there will be some kind of change.

Q: What did you think when you heard about the murder of Eric Garner and the grand jury decision letting the cop go free without charges?

Student 3: I was not surprised, but I was also shocked. I was not surprised that they let him off because that is the whole government, that is the system. But I was shocked because they knew the whole nation was watching them, not just the nation, the world, to see what they were going to say. And I was so insulted that they just laughed at us, that you guys really think there can be justice for you guys, even if you stop the nation, you know? It was really insulting, not surprising, shocking, and just I didn’t actually know how to react, it was so mind boggling they actually proceeded with their decisions. It wasn’t just the case that no one heard, that it was just a small room and it was just them, it was the whole nation watching, and for them to make that decision was so upsetting, so upsetting, shocking. But it also reveals the truth of this nation, this country, it really does, it just outlines it. That Black lives don’t matter. There is not justice for colored people, minorities, not just African Americans. It was really a big wakening moment. Before it you just kind of heard “there is no justice.” But when they actually show to your face and to the whole world...

Student 2: It was a slap in the face.

Student 3: It was a slap in the face to me. It was an insult and slap in the face.

Student 1: A slap, a kick, a smash, anything, just to instigate us, anything...it was literally rubbing the salt into the gashing wound, it's ridiculous. 

Student 2: And my thing is some people get scared to fight against like the system and stuff, and like I get frustrated and irritated with them, but also I step back and think like this system is built to scare people and it is working. So we have find a way to get people to step out of that, their scaredness, and that is my main goal, to figure out ways for people to not be scared, to try to get out, and that is what we need. Like her dad is an example of someone, he thinks that we need to be selfish, that protesting won’t do anything, and blah, blah, blah. But if people thought of that in the civil rights movement, then nothing would have happened, nothing would have changed. So we need people more and more to get stronger and braver. My goal is to put that bravery into their minds.

Q: These protests are really important, but you are talking about how the government won’t listen to us anyway. What will it take to change that? To put an end to this kind of oppression of Black people and others? How do you think about that and how are you working to get there by what you are doing?

Student 3: What I am hoping is that we get a huge mass, instead of a couple thousand, 20,000 to start and that number keeps growing. For a change it has to be a lot of voices to be heard, not just a couple thousand marching on a Tuesday night. What we really need is people with the connections to the politics to be in the offices to understand where we are coming from, so they can talk to their friends who have the power and the connections to actually change the laws. And also just the mass of that many people being on the streets and speaking their voice will catch their attention I hope, that is my hope. And that I what I think it will take. And everyone unites with it. 

Student 1: My view is, students are powerful and they won’t shut up if you give them the right mind-set. Once they are onto something they won’t get off it. That is the magic of being young. We still think we are invincible. So if we can convince the high schoolers that everything we say is important and everything that we do is being taken into account by adults—if high schoolers didn’t go to school .If we just stopped. Every single day. That’s what I think. Just high schoolers on the street, milling around, and downtown, getting in everybody’s business about it. That is what it will take. What we need to do is get them focused on that one goal only, and that goal is change. It is hard when the mind-set of being selfish is so much easier to stay in at this point. Like I am supposed to be going to class right now. We are supposed to be talking about buying each other Secret Santas! And I am just saying that you guys are just thinking about buying materialistic things for each other—is that what is happening at this time?... It is not a joke what we say. Sometimes we feel like it is because adults look down on us. But if we are not timid, if we let all the rage out, people will listen. They do listen if we really get down to it and let them know it is not OK....

Q: What is that rage you are talking about? Why are the students angry? Why are you angry? 

Student 1: I am so angry because I left a country to come here for justice and I am not finding it. My law is justice. I believe in the earth and I believe in justice and that is what the high schoolers believe in. We are trying to make our way in the world and everywhere we turn we are finding brick walls. We cannot go to college because it is too expensive. We cannot drop out because we end up on the streets. We can’t walk now if we are a darker shade because we will get shot down. We can’t be women because we will be raped, one in three of us. Where is the right in the world? We feel like this transition period between the innocence of childhood and the despairing of adulthood, we don’t know where to go. And it is like there is only one way to go, and that is to be a despairing adult and we don’t want to be that way. We want to be the change. We want to see the change.

Student 2: I think what [student 3] was saying, that we have to get people at the higher power to be on our side is the key thing because they are the main people that have the authority against everybody. If we get their attention and stuff they can help us, like what we said, change the laws and everything. So that is most important. That is what we are fighting for I guess. 

Student 3: For me, I think it is very important that we have people going to, you know how we have in middle school, we have presenters come and talk to us about bullying, and talk about not to do drugs once you get to high school. We need spokesmen, people like that, going around the country, talking about the issues that we have. Parents most of the time just tell us, just be selfish, everyone is for themselves, get your education, get a good job, get a family. That is what we have been taught. Our history classes teach us history about the 1800s. OK, you can learn about that. But it is very important, we need to know what is going on right now and how our rights are being violated. No one in school or media is teaching us that. So most of it we have to go and seek that education for ourselves. But for most high schoolers and teenagers they are not going to do that because they are busy with their own lives. And I try to talk to people, to get them to walk out, be part of the protest, but they say oh no, I have this obligation, which is also keeping them from really knowing what is going on about their lives and their rights. So I think it is very important that we have spokesmen, have meetings at school with the whole school, where we have spokesmen come and talk about what is going on, the issues, why students should protest, speak out and do what they need to do. I think it is very important because they are not being taught that—and the media is not always telling the truth, they are always spinning the stories about protests are being violent and not working so people don’t want to go to protests. They think from watching the media that everyone is just out there to look and be violent and beat each other up. Of course people don’t want to be a part of that. The media is not covering that people are out fighting for a cause they believe in. So I think it is very important that we go out and reach to the students who are not getting the right message. So I would like for some kind of committee or something nationally to start that has the spokesmen going around the country speaking to every middle school and even elementary school, they have the right too to know what is happening. Their older brother might get shot, they won’t know why he got shot and whether there is justice for him or not. So I think it is very important that we educate the young kids and not just assume they know what is going on and are just being silent because half the time they don’t know what is going on and they are being fed the wrong information, and the way they are reacting is maybe not the way they want to react. They just react with what they know, with what they have been told. We need to tell them the right message. The media is not doing that. And I am sure some parents are telling them the right things but not all parents. So I think that would be a really good start, to hold all these meetings and speak to students. Nationwide. High school, middle school. That is very important. I know that would change students' minds, if not the whole school, a couple, and those couple can tell their friends and might change their minds and go speak to their parents, and their parents might speak to their colleague, and there might be a change...

Q: What do you think of the Revolution Club, and the movement for revolution? You have had some encounters with the Revolution Club, what do you think?

Student 3: I am for the revolution, I dream of revolution every day. I am all for it and whatever it takes. I support the revolution in America 100%.

Student 1: I think the Revolution Club is the most necessary aspect of this, but in a way it is unnerving that it is not more widely known among the young people especially. Like nobody knows the Revolution Club, or the [Revolution] bookstore, nobody does. And I think that is the first thing, we have to let them know. When we found you guys, it was hope. Now we have hope. They don’t have that much hope. And I think it is really vital that we have hope. And I think the start of it is adults that understand what it is like to feel oppressed, because we don’t get that much understanding from adults. We feel oppressed by our school system but it is different, it is sort of an oppression that the adults put us into daily, they don’t really connect with us about it. But with any oppression, as long as you can feel a companion with you, that is vital. I think what the bookstore needs to do is spread out into high school levels more. They will go home and they will tell their parents...

Student 2: I think that the Revolution Club is really important and it is really good that we have this in the world, but also it definitely needs to be more worldwide. And like the Black Panthers were, they had similar aspects and they are widely known, and I think that the Revolution Club should become something like that where people like us can go and start fighting back and have a place to talk to grown-ups and have people that are there for us and understand what we are going through and listen to us and fight with us. I think that is really important because we don’t have that. Grown-ups don’t listen to us. They are like, “Oh, whatever, they don’t know what they are talking about.” They have never seen what we have seen. We have seen all this bullshit going on that they have created for us. It made us livid, you know. So I think that we need to like get into a way that we can make this organization bigger because I see it as something really important for me—like, this basically saved my life pretty much and like there are people out there that can use this type of thing. And I just wish we could get it into younger kids that need to have grown-ups listen to them. Black kids need to have people who are there for them that will protect them and will fight for them and they don’t have that. All they see is violence. And we are marching on the streets and trying to peacefully and sometimes not peacefully get their attention and everything. So I think it is really important that we get into the schools and make it more of a bigger, widely known thing. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/cal-womens-basketball-protest--black-lives-matter-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Cal Women's Basketball Protest: "Black Lives Matter"

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Saturday, December 13, the University of California at Berkeley women’s basketball team came out for warm-ups wearing home-made shirts to protest the murder of Black people by the police. The backs of the shirts said “Black Lives Matter” and “We are Cal.” But it was the fronts of the shirts that made this a very special protest, where every player had the name of a Black person who had been killed by police and the year they were killed. Some of those named were Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Kimani Gray, Michael Donald, and Laura Nelson. Before the game the Cal players stood at half-court with their hands up (“Hands up, don’t shoot!”) during the national anthem.

After the game, Lindsay Gottlieb, the Cal women’s head basketball coach, gave this statement in support of her players:

I’m a basketball coach, and I’m competitive and winning is important. Our standards at Cal are high, and of course losing this game is disappointing. That said, however, I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of these players or our whole team and staff.

As student-athletes at Cal, our young women have a voice and a platform, and they chose to use it today. They want to be part of a solution, and they took the steps that were in their power today.

We can talk about X’s and O’s all day, but in reality there are bigger life issues and the moral consciousness of our players is something I’m proud of. I don’t tell them what to think, but I do encourage them to think.

Earlier this week, the captains came to me and said, as a team, they wanted to wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts next Sunday when we play at home against Louisville. This morning, we got out of shoot-around and were quickly met with images from our campus that were disturbing. These images may have been to bring awareness to injustice, or they may have been an act of cruelty; either way, they elicited strong emotions from everyone. The entire team came to me. They were compelled to act. We met for 45 minutes about how to best use our voices. As a group, they decided to wear shirts that brought attention to lives lost—recently and throughout history—and to stand and say that black lives matter; all lives matter.

I wish we had won today. It was a brutal loss, but our players wearing handmade shirts to symbolize something poignant and important is what I will remember proudly from today. I love this team and staff for who they are as people. (See “Cal Women's Basketball makes a statement.”)

The “disturbing images” Gottlieb was referring to were two effigies that were found hanging on the Cal campus that Saturday morning. The effigies were cutouts of two Black people. One effigy had written on it, “#CANT BREATHE.” The other was of a Black woman and written on it was “#I CANT BREATHE” and “Laura Nelson, Year: 1911,” referring to Laura Nelson, a Black woman who was kidnapped and lynched with her son in Oklahoma in 1911. Michaele McBride, a Berkeley pastor, said, “...the images evoked terror and reminded us that the bodies of Black people in this country are still vulnerable.” (See “Depiction of apparent lynching hangs from Sather Gate on Saturday morning,” Melissa Wen, The Daily Californian.)

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/ferguson-is-everywhere-its-right-to-rebel-open-mic-a-revolution-books-los-angeles-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Ferguson Is Everywhere.... It's Right to Rebel! Open mic at Revolution Books Los Angeles

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Early evening, Saturday, December 6, Revolution Books in LA filled with artists, poets, singers, visual artists, and more who came to participate in an open mic. The featured poets and playwrights were Jerry Quickley and reg e. gaines. It was an emergency event—to respond to the urgent current situation, to provide a platform for all those who wanted to lift their voices in song, poetry, and anger around the non-indictments of the murderers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and to raise the rent for this precious bookstore to keep its doors open during these crucial times. The event came together over a 48-hour period; word spread as artists called their friends; a single announcement was made on the Michael Slate KPFK radio show the morning before; and an email notice went out from Revolution Books.

Norton Wisdom

Norton Wisdom. Photo: (photo by FTW)

Behind the poets and singers, Norton Wisdom did live painting on a light board, creating a whole different form of collective listening. Also displayed was art from Visual Renegade, who got up to describe his work, and the artist Vasta, who made beautiful portraits of Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, and others killed by the police. All these artists donated prints to Revolution Books as a fundraiser.

Jerry Quickley. Photo: (photo by FTW)

Jerry Quickley read a poem he wrote years ago about Abner Louima, a Haitian man raped by the NYPD with a plunger in 1997: “...it hurt so fuckin much all I could do was scream along.” He also read a poem called “The Police Brutality Fairy.” James Mather, an artist, poet, and filmmaker, read a poem that ended, “this is not a teachable moment, this is a transform or perish moment... you cannot become the soul you have not created. Create your soul today. Don’t wait, and they will never know what hit them for heaven is not more empty than their hearts.” (see http://youtu.be/3SY0PCQQtvA) reg e gaines brought the night to a close with powerful images of the whole history of Black people, from slavery on, through the hoses and police dogs set on civil rights protesters in the ’50s and ’60s, to the four little girls who were firebombed in a Birmingham, Alabama, church in 1963, up through today with police killing unarmed Black and brown people, with jazz and the blues as bloodstained tomes, asking whether we will always be the ones “carrying the weight.” Running through the poem was the powerful line, “we was once slaves, profiled and tased, now we ain’t slaves no more....” (see http://youtu.be/f4xdH7kkrXY).

reg e gaines

reg e gaines. Photo: (photo by FTW)

The styles and voices in the open mic ranged widely: slam-style poetry pointing to the way Black and Latino people get played by the divisions amongst each other; a powerful monologue in iambic pentameter (the meter that Shakespeare used) in the voice of someone rising up against the rulers; songs, and hip-hop rhymes. These included a poet who had spent the night in jail with people from the Revolution Club, others who heard about it from friends performing, and a few people who heard about it that afternoon at a protest called for by Blackout Hollywood—a demonstration of Black artists in Hollywood. Elijah Rock, a singer and actor, moved the whole room to great depths when he sang a spiritual from a new theater piece he’s in called Breath and Imagination: The Life of Roland Hayes, a Black operatic singer who went up against a world of racism at the turn of the century. And jazz trombonist Phil Ranelin had delivered CDs to raise funds as his contribution to the event. Also, someone from the Revolution Club read Alice Walker’s poem Gather, dedicated to Cornel West and Carl Dix.

The night before the event, a man was murdered by police in Hollywood—in an area crowded with tourists not even a mile from Revolution Books. Someone who knew him well came and told his story. The police said he had a weapon... a pocket knife. But there are a lot of holes in the official story. As they always do, after they have filled a person with bullets, they handcuffed him as he lay dying. He talked about how this man was trying to get his life together, that he was so young and “didn’t even know what life was yet,” that he was a good person. Those who say they are there to protect and serve are lying. Instead of helping, they murder. He said he was going to do everything he could to fight for justice because this has to stop.

Annie Day, who mc’d the evening, welcomed the packed house to Revolution Books. She quoted Cornel West from his recent Dialogue with Bob Avakian that sometimes you just need to sing a song. And with the pain brought on by this system, but also the joy of resistance, we were thrilled to all be there together to write and sing new songs. She spoke about the two sides of “Ferguson Is Everywhere.” The reality that the police murder our youth... and the pain, outrage, and fury that this really does happen everywhere. But there is another side of this too. That we will refuse to accept this, that we will disrupt business as usual, that we will stop highways, byways, bridges, and tunnels... this resistance is now, too, everywhere. She talked about the need for revolution, the whole new world that revolution makes possible and the role of Revolution Books in that context—as a vibrant center in the fight for revolution. She called on people to support Revolution Books and make it where they come when they have the biggest, deepest questions about why the world is the way it is, and what can be done to change it. And in particular, to get into the work of Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party which he leads.

As part of closing the evening, she led people in a mic check: we are now changed people, we are not the submissive ones, we are the defiant ones, we are the fighters and dreamers, we will not keep quiet, we will not “be reasonable” in the face of what is intolerable, we will fight for a different future. All they have to rely on is their force and our fear, and their force is illegitimate, we have right on our side, we have the people of the world in our hearts, we will stand together, we will fight for a whole different way the world could be, at the top of our lungs, with our feet in the streets, and our pens to the page.

This event was brought together by Revolution Books in a little over 48 hours. The event itself, but also all the people who stepped forward to help make it happen, spoke volumes about the deep well of hatred that so many collectively feel for the brutality of this system. And through all of the anger and pain that was expressed that night, there was also so evident in the room the tremendous creativity and beauty that we are capable of. A common thread that ran through the night was that this had to be “no more,” that we deserve a better world than this, and that Revolution Books is a place that is dedicated to bringing that into being.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/artists-capture-our-outrage-and-desire-to-change-the-world-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Artists Capture Our Outrage and Desire to Change the World

Updated December 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

D’Angelo and the Vanguard:

Black Messiah

After nearly 15 years D’Angelo released his long-awaited new album Black Messiah on December 15. The album was originally slated to come out in 2015, but D’Angelo decided to rush the album’s release because of protests over the police killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. After the grand jury decision not to indict the cop Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown, D’Angelo said, “The one way I do speak out is through music... I want to speak out.”

The Black Messiah album notes say in part: "For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world... It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album 'Black Messiah' creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest."

One of the tracks on the album, "1,000 Deaths," begins with a soundbite from "The Murder of Fred Hampton," a 1971 documentary about the Chicago Black Panther shot dead by the police. Another song, "The Charade," has this chorus: "All we wanted was a chance to talk / 'Stead we only got outlined in chalk / Feet have bled a million miles we've walked / Revealing at the end of the day, the charade."

 

J. Cole on David Letterman

"Be Free"

On December 10, J. Cole did a powerful and moving version of his song "Be Free" on the David Letterman show. 

 

Samuel L. Jackson

Call To Action

Samuel L. Jackson challenges celebrities to sing the "We Ain't Gonna Stop Til People Are Free" song and call out the "violence of the racist police."

 

Revolution Books NYC

December 5, 2014

An Evening of Performance & Art
Ferguson is Everywhere! It's Right to Rebel!

On December 5, 2014, at Revolution Books NYC, an evening of poetry, music, and visual art to support the growing movement against the murder by police of youth of color. The event featured poets Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, and Carl Hancock-Rux, with music by Daniel Bernard Roumain, and unannounced appearances by Daniel Watts, Vernon Reid, and Faith Ringgold. The evening opened with the band Outernational and the walls were decorated with the works of visual artists Dread Scott, Kyle Goen, Seth Tobocman, Jenny Polak, Mr. Fish, Amaris Modesto, and Danica Novgorodoff.

Ferguson Is Everywhere! from Revolution Books on Vimeo.

 

Outernational

"It Stops Today"

This is a historic and important moment!  People from all walks of life have been courageously taking to the streets and stopping business as usual in response to the non-indictments of the police who murdered Mike Brown and Eric Garner. As part of the #WeekOfOutrage to police murder, we wrote and recorded this new song, IT STOPS TODAY. "It stops today" was one of the last things Eric Garner told the NYPD before they choked him to death. This is a contribution to all the courageous fighters and dreamers out in the streets! Share this song everywhere!

 

 

Ferguson Is Everywhere.... It's Right to Rebel! Open mic at Revolution Books Los Angeles

Jerry Quickley “Police Brutality Fairy” with Norton Wisdom painting. Video by Visual Renegade

 

 

reg e gaines: "We were once slaves." Video by Visual Renegade

 

 

 

We Not Goin Back

Jamel Chapel

"We Not Goin Back" is a music video project written, shot, and edited by Jamel 'Jam No Peanut' Mims. @jamnopeanut

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Drop the Charges Against Grant Newburger and Everyone Arrested!
They want to punish a Revolutionary and make you afraid to stand up!

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a leaflet from the Chicago Revolution Club:

Chicago, November 27

It was the day before Thanksgiving and Chicago saw the first arrests in the protest against the grand jury’s decision not to charge the murdering cop who stole Mike Brown’s life.

Grant Newburger was charged with aggravated battery against a cop—a felony charge that carries a possible 17 year prison sentence.

Grant was deliberately assaulted by cops using their bicycles as weapons. He was knocked to the ground, striking his head hard against the pavement. What was he attacked for? For walking with two others into a downtown intersection when the light was green holding a banner that read “Justice for Mike Brown!” The other people who were holding the banner were roughed up, arrested and charged with misdemeanors. Grant and one of the other protestors went to the hospital to seek medical treatment. A legal observer and video and photographic evidence document that Grant is innocent and it was he who was assaulted.

Police in court hearings admitted, and the police report confirms that no cop had been injured. At the court hearing to determine probable cause for continuing the case prosecutors changed the charge to “aggravated battery to a police officer by knowingly making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature.” Even this reduced charge is a serious Class 2 felony carrying up to 5 years in jail. The fact that the charges were not just thrown out—given how trumped up they are—is further indication that this attack on Grant is deadly serious.

Grant was arrested and brought up on felony charges because he is a revolutionary who is leading protest out in the streets, not because he assaulted any cop. The authorities are attempting to make an example of him. They intend to send a message to others who are stepping into the fight against police brutality and the movement for revolution that anyone doing so will pay a heavy price if they keep it up.

In August determined people in Ferguson, MO stood up and, defying the powers-that-be, broke out of protest-as-usual after a murdering cop killed Mike Brown. They stood strong in the face of teargas, tanks, rubber bullets and machine guns. Youth who have been cast off and criminalized by the system were in the very front lines. This set an example for people everywhere. The rulers of this country are very, very afraid of that defiant “Ferguson spirit” spreading.

After the grand jury let Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Mike Brown, walk a call went out to “Bring AmeriKKKa to a halt.” The powers-that-be really hated that and they hate the role Grant and others like him played in the protests that erupted.

Grant is well known and respected on the South and West sides of Chicago for bringing the revolution to people and helping to form the Revolution Club of Chicago—bringing together people who are fighters for the emancipation of all humanity. He is known to friend and foe alike for many years of fighting against police brutality and murder and for building a movement to make a revolution at the earliest opportunity. A revolution that would sweep aside a system soaked in a bloody history of centuries of oppression of Black people; first slavery, then Jim Crow and now the NEW Jim Crow of mass incarceration, police murder and brutality.

Grant was returning from Ferguson in late August with family members of people killed by police in Chicago—family members who had gone to Ferguson to support people standing up there—when he learned about the police murder of Rashod McIntosh. He and the carload of family members went directly to the West Side to stand with the outraged people in the community who were facing off with police. As people confronted the cops chanting “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” Grant was grabbed out of the crowd and arrested. At the police station he was told by a commanding officer that the police were going to press the “heaviest charges possible” against him. One detective explained “We aren’t having Ferguson in Chicago” while another detective clearly expressed how the police see things shouting, “What the F_ _k were you thinking stirring up the savages?”

For years Grant has fought to expose CPD murder of person after person, uniting with the families of people killed by and people in the communities to stand up against these outrages. The banner that says “Murdered by Police” with pictures of just some of the people whose lives have been stolen by murdering Chicago police is widely recognized and hated by police. Grant is well known for organizing the annual October 22nd National Day of Protest against Police Brutality which, in 2014, saw 500 people march downtown.

The powers-that-be are terrified of people rising up and not staying “in their place”... inspiring others with their rebelliousness and defiance—especially those trapped on the bottom of society who catch the hardest hell every day. And most of all, the rulers are afraid of the defiant ones coming together as an organized revolutionary force to overthrow their system. It is not surprising that Grant is hated by the police who want to take him off the streets altogether and who want to send a message to intimidate and threaten others who yearn for a different world.

We have to turn Grant’s case into a further indictment of a system that lets cops kill Black and Latino people with impunity but arrests those who righteously call out the whole system as illegitimate. We have to fight to defeat these charges against Grant and against everyone arrested in conjunction with protests in Chicago and all across the country.

In response to these efforts to derail and intimidate more and more people, many more need to step into the protests against police murder and brutality. Very importantly, many more need to step into the movement for revolution that is fighting for a world where these things never happen again. A world where the police, courts, prisons and military are dismantled, where the domination and exploitation of whole countries by the U.S. is ended; where white supremacy and patriarchy (the oppression of women) is being radically dug up and where, together, we fight for a whole different future for our youth.

Come to Court:

Next hearing for Grant is Wed, December 17, 9:00 am
at the Cook County Courthouse (26th & California)

For more information contact Revolution Club Chicago at 312-804-9121

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

#WhiteCoats4BlackLives

December 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Wednesday, December 10, medical students and heath care workers of all nationalities, at over 70 medical schools around the country, held die-ins and other forms of protest, coordinated at 3pm eastern time, under the hashtag #WhiteCoats4BlackLives.

Reports and pictures have from 70 to over 100 students at each campus taking part. Pictures show students and others in white lab coats, holding signs and doing die-ins on the campus commons or in the lobbies, die-ins marking the four and and a half hours Michael Brown's body lay on the street, and marking the 11 times Eric Garner said "I can't breathe." Signs included "White Coats 4 Black Lives," "I Can't Breathe!", and "Silence Does Harm!"

One student was quoted saying "Being healthy is more than having a healthy heart, it's about being safe in the environments that they live in an where they are growing up." At another school, a student ended the silent protest by reading part of the oath medical students take: "I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science... I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings."

Schools where students took this up included:

University of Chicago

Above: University of Chicago. Photo: via Twitter

Below: Northwestern University. Photo: via Twitter

Northwestern University

Albany Medical College, Albany; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York; Boston University School of Medicine, Boston; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland; Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program, Los Angeles; Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago; Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York; Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden; Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Hanover; David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles; Duke University School of Medicine, Durham; Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac, North Haven; George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, D.C.; Harvard Medical School, Boston; Howard University College of Medicine, Washington DC; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Keck School of Medicine of USC, Los Angeles; Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Meharry Medical College, Nashville; Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing; Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta; New York Medical College, Valhalla; New York University School of Medicine, New York; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus; Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago; Rush Medical College, Chicago; Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark; Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick; Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield; Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook; SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn; Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Worth; Touro University California College of Medicine, Vallejo; Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans; University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo; University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix; University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Little Rock; University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento; University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego; University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco; University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine; University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati; University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago; University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana Champaign, Urbana; University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester; University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor; University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis; University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford; University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh; University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, N.Y.; University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston; University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas; University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville; Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond; Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem; Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence; Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Weill Cornell Medical College, New York; Yale School of Medicine, New Haven

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/364/BA-everywhere-fundraising-cards-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

From BA Everywhere:

Fundraising Cards to Expand the Reach of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

Updated December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The BA Everywhere campaign to raise big funds to project Bob Avakian's vision and works throughout society has produced a new card to mail for contributions. Over the coming weeks, this can be sent out to many, many hundreds—to people who were touched by the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West and who would want this to be seen broadly, and people who haven't yet seen it, but should.

A lot of people make financial contributions at the end of the year. And now especially as millions have come to consider the biggest questions about the nature and future of this society, this Dialogue should have a very wide reach. This includes people stepping forward to help fund its impact throughout society.

Note: There are two pieces here.  Be sure when printing to select "actual size" or "None" for "Page scaling". DO NOT select "print to fit" or "shrink to fit".

 

The entire package should be inside an envelope that can be given to people. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/chicago-oppose-the-vicious-and-outrageous-charges-against-those-who-protested-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Chicago: Oppose the Vicious and Outrageous Charges Against Those Who Protested Police Murder!

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Saturday, December 13, at the Chicago march to end the epidemic of police murder and brutality, 23 people were arrested including along the “Magnificent Mile”—the heart of Chicago’s upscale shopping district. There were huge crowds of shoppers who witnessed hundreds of protesters marching and holding die-ins on the sidewalks for four hours. Stepping one foot off the sidewalk resulted in an arrest.  (See "December 13: Tens of Thousands March Across the U.S. Against Police Murder") 

Particularly vicious was the arrest of one member of the Chicago Revolution Club who is well known to the police for his participation in the protests that have swept the country for the last few weeks.  “Iggy” is a young Black revolutionary and street musician from the south side of Chicago who was assaulted by police when the police went wild outside in front of Nordstrom—wading into the crowd shoving, hitting and knocking people to the ground. There were protesters inside Nordstrom staging a die-in. Iggy and the rest of the protesters were outside the store on the sidewalk. Iggy sustained facial injuries, yet outrageously it was he who was charged with felonious assault on a cop. There was another protester, Alfredo, who was arrested and charged with a felony during the same police riot outside Nordstrom. 

At the same time, a young woman in the Revolution Club was singled out and arrested and charged with misdemeanors and released late that night but on her own recognizance.

At a court hearing on Sunday, December 14, the judge ordered Iggy and Alfredo held on $75,000 bail each. This is very high for first-time offenders with jobs and ties to the community. Many people turned out to show their support at the bond hearing and have vigorously taken up raising the $16,000 to bail Iggy and Alfredo out of jail as soon as possible.  

The Chicago Tribune, which did not manage to cover the anti-police brutality protest in Chicago, belatedly ran an article with both men’s mug shots and home addresses (the block of their residence)—a threatening and dangerous practice given how the police retaliate against all who stand up to them.

There has been an outpouring of support for all those arrested but more is needed. For the latest updates and to learn how to help, go to the Facebook page for The Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago or call the SMIN in Chicago at 312-933-9586.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/berkeley-people-of-faith-take-to-the-streets-saying-black-lives-matter-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Berkeley People of Faith Take to the Streets Saying "Black Lives Matter"

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

December 14—In Berkeley, several hundred members of religious denominations, community members, and students took to the streets on “Black Lives Matter” Sunday, part of a nationwide day of action by people of faith against police brutality and the murder of Black people by the police.

The day started at the first Congregational Church of Berkeley where several hundred marched through the Telegraph Avenue area of Berkeley after church services carrying signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “People of Faith Respond.”

Berkeley, December 14

Berkeley, December 14

Photos: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

Before leading the march in four and a half minutes of silence (to mark the four and a half hours that police left Michael Brown’s body lying in the street, Reverend Sally Juarez with Saint John's Presbyterian Church said, “There must never be another Oscar Grant. There must never be another Michael Brown or Alan Blueford or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice at 13 years of age. There must never be another young Black life lost to an officer’s bullet... so today we take to the streets and we must be prepared to come back again and again and again until God's justice in this world is woven into the fabric of American life and until every Black person grows up knowing that they are honored and cherished and loved and respected. So we proclaim today that Black lives matter.”

After the march through the Telegraph area, a contingent of more than 100 marched down University Avenue to the Way Christian Center in West Berkeley. There about 300 people blocked both lanes of University Avenue for more than one hour, staging a die-in for 11 minutes representing the 11 times that Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe,” while a UC Berkeley student, who led a five-mile march from Berkeley to Oakland the day before, and a Berkeley High school student testified about the racism and police abuse they face.

Ministers of different faiths led the people in a litany for the day written by Rev. Anne Henning Byfield and read across the country as part of Sunday’s actions.  The litany said in part:

One: We stand today as ONE to demonstrate our resolve to stop the murder of Black men and women.
Many: Black Lives Matter.
One: This is more than a symbolic gesture. We call on the NAME OF GOD to bring liberation and deliverance.
Many: With passion we unite our compassion with determined action to eradicate entrenched systemic racism.

The rally concluded with Pastor Michael McBride of the Way Christian Center leading a chant: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win!”

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/200-oakland-high-school-students-walk-out-determined-to-be-heard-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

200 Oakland High School Students Walk Out: Determined to Be Heard

December 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

Monday, December 15—Students from a number of different high schools in Oakland, supported by many teachers including Bay Area Educators Against Police Brutality, organized a powerful walkout and protest today against police brutality. Students walked out and gathered at 3:30 at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland (the station where Oscar Grant was killed by a cop in 2009). About 200 students walked out from different schools in Oakland: Oakland High, Oakland School for the Arts, Skyline, Oakland Tech, Met West, Arise, Life Academy, and others. It was mostly Black and Latino students, but there were also a number of Pacific Islander and white students.

The youth were very energized and immediately took charge of the protest with bullhorns and a microphone, determined that today the youth will be heard! A Black student from Skyline said his best friend was killed by the police—he's tired of it, and he doesn’t want to go through that again. Another student spoke about not wanting to see another mother cry for their dead child. He said it shouldn’t happen that the children die before the parents. A number of students expressed the importance of different races standing together today, that this is something everyone should care about.

After the short rally, students did a die-in front of the BART station, then took off on a fast, loud, and joyous march all the way to Lake Merritt (which is a long way!). All along the way, students got a lot of love from drivers and people on the sidelines. 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/seattle-12th-man-4-black-lives-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Seattle: "12th Man 4 Black Lives"

December 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:
In Seattle there are continuing and ongoing protests and marches happening at least several times a week against the murders of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and all the other murders by police nationwide. This Saturday, December 13, there were three different protests and marches across the city, and repression by the Seattle police (SPD) to prevent these marches from joining up was intensive.

Photo: Special to Revolution.

Then on Sunday, December 14, there was a big game day in Seattle, with the Seahawks football team playing the San Francisco 49ers. Inspired by the athletes speaking out across the nation against these murders by the police, calls went out for players and fans at the big football stadium to get involved. Some people, including activists from the October 22 Coalition, revolutionaries, and others, met up at Occidental Park. There was a banner displayed there that people had made saying "12th Man 4 Black Lives! Justice for Mike Brown and Eric Garner" in the green and blue Seahawk colors. The "12th Man" is a local term for the Seahawks fans.  
The 49ers are key rivals of the Seahawks. Many football fans pass thru Occidental Park on their way to the big stadium. While we were displaying the banner and doing agitation, some 49er fans stopped to give their warm and supportive approval. A revolutionary posted a pic of this to Twitter (see the accompanying photo). And later in the day it was re-tweeted by Richard Sherman, Seahawk cornerback (#25). Last year Sherman was attacked by the mainstream media and commentators as a "thug" for being outspoken in comments to the press after the Seahawks Superbowl win. Sherman took this on publicly, calling out the word "thug" as a racist code word. 
We soon marched with our banner and other signs from the park and up thru the plazas leading to the stadium. With loud chants we drew others to us, and the procession grew as we approached the stadium. There was another big group of protestors already there, and as we joined them our forces at one point swelled to about 400 people. There were speak-outs and die-ins happening right in the midst of the throngs of spectators going into the stadium. Many of the protesters were ardent football fans also. Many spectators were supportive, and joined in. Some were hostile and even threatening, and protestors and revolutionaries argued with them to get some understanding of the issues.
During all this, one thing revolutionaries engaged people with was the latest copy of Revolution newspaper, with the article "An Illegitimate System... and the Need for Revolution—Burning Questions" 
More actions are being called for—Seattle is not backing down!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/nyc-indict-murdering-police-not-people-protesting-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

NYC: Indict Murdering Police, Not People Protesting Police Murder!

December 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After a march of over 25,000 people through New York City demanding an end to police brutality and murder on December 13, NYC police commissioner Bratton posted photos of six protesters accused of trying to free another protester from the clutches of police. He announced at a press conference that was broadcast nationally on CNN, that the police were hunting for these protesters: "We do not take attacks [sic] on police officers lightly — never have, never will." Going after these protesters is part of what seems to be a larger trend of increasingly vicious attacks on those demanding justice for victims of police murder (see Chicago: Oppose the Vicious and Outrageous Charges Against Those Who Protested Police Murder!)

Meanwhile the NYPD and every police department in AmerKKKa brutalizes, terrorizes and murders Black people without fear or prosecution.

There will never be justice for Michael Brown, for Eric Garner, for Tamir Rice, for John Crawford... for so many more, without determined struggle. Those who send their police to terrorize and kill people of color, and their paid mouthpieces in the media, and those who fear righteous resistance more than they hate injustice...  have no right to define what is a “good protester” against police brutality and murder.

Indict murdering police, not people protesting police murder!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/an-end-of-the-year-challenge-to-all-revolutionaries-and-freedom-fighters-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Letter from a reader:

An End-of-the-Year Challenge to All Revolutionaries and Freedom Fighters

December 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Did you know that almost half the money that people donate all year long is donated in the final weeks of the year?

This makes sense. The end of the year is a time when people take stock on what the past year has brought, examine their hopes for the New Year, and reflect on what gives real meaning to life. Because giving money is one of the most concretely impactful and meaningful ways to support a cause, this is a time when donations are highest.

Everyone who is serious about changing the world should not only take part in this end-of-the-year giving to support those efforts that are going to the heart of the problem and offering real solutions (as gone into below), they should also be enthusiastically and energetically going out to everyone they know – and many they don't yet know – to raise money for these same efforts!

Who should we go to, and what should we ask them to support?

The BA Everywhere campaign:

ON NOVEMBER 15, 2014, at the Riverside Church in NYC, 1,900 people witnessed a historic dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, infused with the fire and passion to bring an end to all forms of oppression. They cut to the bone on the outrages of today's world and the need for radical change.

It was a dialogue of transgression and convergence... a challenge to people to discard the mental traps and allures of this system... a stirring model of struggle and unity... a call to Stand Up and Act.

Make a contribution today for this Dialogue to be known about and seen throughout society.

Your contributions will go towards producing a quality film that will bring this Dialogue to people everywhere. In addition, the full video of this event is available for viewing online at revcom.us. Help fund a national publicity campaign to make this known right now.

This Dialogue took place days before a profound sea change with tens of thousands pouring out onto streets, bridges, tunnels, onto train tracks and freeways. People everywhere are asking what kind of society is this that would murder and criminalize our youth, what kind of system is this that denies millions of their humanity, what would it take to change this fundamentally, and what kind of world is possible.

Now more than ever, make the biggest contribution you can to getting this Dialogue everywhere.

Give online or send a check or money order to The Bob Avakian Institute or Revolution Books, NY.

Think of the questions that were opened up, the breadth of people brought together, and the incredible life experience, integrity, and wisdom that came from the speakers during the recent historic Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Aren't there many hundreds who were in that crowd, and thousands more who watched around the country and since, who could appreciate the tremendous difference it would make if millions were to hear about and watch this Dialogue? Think of the decades of work that Bob Avakian has done in the realm of theory to bring forward the scientific method, strategy, and vision needed to make revolution and bring into being a radically new world where all the horrors that humanity suffers unnecessarily would be no more. Think of how he breaks all this down for people without even slightly watering it down. Think of how he daily takes responsibility for leading a party and a movement to make revolution right here in the most powerful imperialist country in the world and how he has dedicated his entire life to the emancipation of humanity. Aren't there many thousands who could appreciate the difference it would make in lifting the sights of people throughout society, in opening up the deepest questions, in bringing many into making real revolution – something that would change the lives of billions on this planet – if his work were very broadly known?

Right now, we should all be calling and sitting down with these people and asking them to give generously to the BA Everywhere campaign and we should be working with many to organize fun and meaningful ways to come together with others to raise money for this as well. People can click here to donate to BA Everywhere.

Revcom.us and Revolution newspaper:

Think of the growing thousands who are coming to and learning to rely on this website (revcom.us) and this newspaper – and the millions more who need to – to learn the truth of what is happening in the world, how the many different crimes and outrages all flow from the same system and what kind of revolution is needed to bring into being a far-better and fully liberated world... who are getting organized and trained in the movement for revolution through this and seeing people both like themselves and very different from themselves getting into this movement too. Aren't there huge numbers of people who could appreciate how meaningful it would be to donate to and even sustain this website and newspaper through 2015?

WWW.REVCOM.US/REVOLUTION NEWSPAPER brings alive a scientific analysis of major events in society and the world—why they are happening, how different events and developments relate to each other, how all this relates to the system we live under, where people's interests lie in relation to all this, how revolution is in fact the solution to all this and what the goals of that revolution are, how different viewpoints and programs relate, positively or negatively, to the revolution that is needed, and how people can move, and are moving, to build toward that revolution. Revcom.us/Revolution is the guide, the pivot, the crucial tool in drawing forward, orienting, training, and organizing thousands, and influencing millions—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution—hastening and preparing for the time when we can go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.

In 2015, the people need this website to grow even stronger and reach even further. Your non-tax-deductible donation will ensure that this happens. People can click here to donate to Revolution/revcom.us.

Right now, we should be going to all sorts of people – whether they've relied on this website for years, just found it, or are learning of this first when we bring it to them – and asking them to donate to support and spread this publication. People can click here to donate to Revolution/revcom.us.

Revolution Books stores:

Think of the incredible programs and amazing books and understanding provided by the Revolution Books stores across the country. Where else can people come to learn about the world in every sphere – from the arts to the sciences to history and the future – while at the same time connecting with a community that has as its beating heart the movement for real revolution? Where else can people come to not just learn about, but regularly dig into with others, the breakthroughs and practical application of Bob Avakian's new synthesis of revolution and communism and how this bears so greatly on humanity's hope to finally get free? Think of all the heartfelt appreciation that has been expressed by customers and students and authors and artists and international visitors for these incredible bookstores. Isn't this the time for all of them, and many more, to donate tens of thousands of dollars to keep these stores not only alive, but thriving? Isn't this the place where everyone should be doing their holiday shopping? People can click here for a list of Revolution Books stores.

Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF):

Think of all those who themselves have spent years or even decades locked in Amerikkka's dungeons... think of their families and friends... and think of all the millions who have never had this experience but are having their eyes newly opened up to this horror. Think of all those who have been – or could be – deeply inspired and moved by the liberating transformation going on behind those walls by prisoners who get connected to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund. Aren't there thousands who would love to enable more prisoners to lift their heads and become emancipators of humanity? All of them should be given the chance to buy a book, sponsor a subscription, or underwrite a whole wing of the PRLF's efforts to reach inside the prison's walls. People can click here to make a tax-deductible donation to PRLF.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

Think of the outrageous genocide that is going on against Black people and other oppressed peoples in this country through the grinding jaws of mass incarceration and the devastating deaths at the hands of police. Think of the tens of thousands who have defiantly stepped into the streets and out in other powerful ways to make their opposition known and felt. Aren't there millions right now who are just aching for a way to be sure this doesn't pass as just a great “moment” but instead is forged into a lasting movement that doesn't stop until this genocide is brought to a halt?!All of them should be giving very generously right now to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Two important ways to donate to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network: Through December 20, 2014, go to Indiegogo to make a non-tax-deductible donation. People can click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

Stop Patriarchy:

Think of the horrendous and deepening war on women – from the all-out assault on abortion rights to the epidemic of rape and sexual assault, the pornification of society, and the way in which people are constantly told that this is just “human nature” that we must “learn to accept.” Is there any force that has been more determined, more consistent, more uncompromising, and more willing to go to the front lines wherever they may be to stand up for the lives and future of women than Stop Patriarchy? Just flip through the highlights of last summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas for one powerful example. Aren't there hundreds around this movement – and more broadly in society – who would love to be part of taking this further by donating and by joining their “$15 for '15” campaign and becoming an ongoing sustainer?  People can click here to donate to Stop Patriarchy.

*******

The fact is: Fundraising is always an essential part of building a serious movement for change.

But even more: Right now, at the end of the year, there is both the need and the tremendous basis for all of us collectively to make a serious and much-needed leap in this essential work.

Without serious funds, even the best efforts remain at the margins of society. Even more than that, winning and organizing many, many, many people to give – and to join in fundraising efforts – is one of the most critical ways to organize growing numbers of people into these movements. Giving money is one of the most meaningful ways that people can contribute to change. And, asking others for money is one of the most meaningful ways to open up and forge new relations with people that bring them into these movements.

With all that said, I conclude with a challenge.

If you are part of the movement for revolution as a whole or any single dimension of the movements mentioned above, make it your mission during this holiday season to talk to everyone you know about making a meaningful donation to one or more of these efforts. Talk to family. Talk to friends. Talk to co-workers. Talk to all the folks you may have met recently in the street or at programs or in any other way. Open up a serious discussion of the state of the world and the incredible and essential efforts underway to change it and huge difference their donations could make.

If you are at the center of leading and organizing any of these efforts, take this time to not only do this yourself but to actively lead others – everyone you have reached and touched in the last year – to join in a mass efforts to raise funds. Most people are hesitant to ask others for money, but if you talk with them many can very quickly become very excited and unleashed to do so. Remind them – and remind yourself – that asking people to donate to these movements is not a “personal favor.” It is giving them the opportunity to do something that really matters to the future of people everywhere.

Finally, keep these tips in mind:

The more concrete you are about how much you would like people to give; the more likely they will be to do so. Ask for an amount that would be truly meaningful; people will let you know if they can only give less but are much less likely to give more than you ask. Don't rule anyone out; many people will surprise you and donate if you take the time to talk with them. Lastly, if you are not going to a lot of people who say no, you are not going out broadly enough. Even when people say no, by asking them you have got them thinking about something new, learned more about their thinking, and opened up a conversation that may lead to some other form of involvement or a donation in the future.

Together, let’s use these final weeks of the year to make a major leap in raising the money and expanding the base of participation and support to make 2015 even more transformative than 2014!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/rock-in-the-new-year-with-resistance-to-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Rock in the New Year With Resistance to Police Murder!
NO NEW YEAR UNDER THIS OLD SYSTEM! WE CAN'T BREATHE!

A Call from Carl Dix

December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On New Year's Eve, as the clock winds down on 2014, the powers that be will hope to be ringing in a new year that carries forward business as usual. That must not be allowed to go down because business as usual in Amerikkka includes wanton police murder of Black people. The refusal of grand juries in Ferguson and Staten Island to indict the cops who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner made this clear. So the powerful, beautiful and necessary outpourings that have disrupted this society's normal routine must continue and escalate on New Year's Eve and into the New Year.

Photo: AP

We should live in a society where those who are entrusted with public safety would sooner risk their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. But in this society, cops who brutalize and murder are given the benefit of the doubt and are almost never punished in any way for their crimes. This is illegitimate and unacceptable. It must be STOPPED, and it's up to us to stop it! On New Year's Eve, we must act in many different ways to do just that.

If you think that police murder must STOP, be out in the streets with that message on New Year's Eve. Say in a loud, clear voice—NO NEW YEAR UNDER THIS OLD SYSTEM! And—WE CAN'T BREATHE! Bring your whistles and blow them loudly. Bring your signs and banners.

And if you think that torture, that violence against women and attacks on women's rights, that attacks on immigrants and the pillaging of the environment of the planet, that U.S. wars for empire and attacks on people for who they love and how they love and more must be stopped; join us in the streets on New Year's Eve. Bring your signs and banners too. Figure out imaginative ways to say NO MORE to all these horrors.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/new-indian-printing-of-bob-avakians-democracy-cant-we-do-better-than-that-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Exciting Announcement:

New Indian Printing of Bob Avakian's Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?

December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Phoneme Publishers of Delhi, India has republished Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? by Bob Avakian. This is a welcome event. It brings Avakian’s text—the most comprehensive Marxist treatment of democracy—to a much wider audience in India and elsewhere. For this new printing, Raymond Lotta has written a special introduction. 

Is democracy, or "true" democracy, the pinnacle of human social organization? Is the fundamental goal of socialist revolution the broadening and deepening of democratic institutions? Bob Avakian argues that there is something far more subversive of the status quo, something far more liberating, than democracy. Avakian’s landmark work, originally published in 1986, takes on heightened relevance in today’s world. 

Revolution Books in New York City has a limited number of copies available for $20. When inventory is depleted, special efforts will be made to fill orders. Orders can be made online at revolutionbooksnyc.org or by phone at 212-691-3345.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/richard-pryor-routines-or-why-pigs-are-pigs-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Richard Pryor Routines...or Why Pigs Are Pigs

By Bob Avakian | December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This was first published as an article by BA over 30 years ago, and was then included in the book by BA, Reflections, Sketches & Provocations.  The piece refers to the “RW” – the Revolutionary Worker which has been renamed Revolution newspaper. It is being published again now because it remains very relevant—indeed more relevant and important than ever—in speaking to the murder of Black people and other oppressed people by police, why this keeps happening, and what can finally put an end to it.

The following is an excerpt from "Hill Street Bullshit, Richard Pryor Routines, and the Real Deal" by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP. The complete essay, written in 1983, is in the book, Reflections, Sketches & Provocations by Bob Avakian.

Recently I was reading reports of police assaults on Black people and of Black people fighting against the police in Memphis and Miami. This called to mind a story I was told a while back. A rookie cop was riding in his police car with his veteran partner when a report came in that there was a Black man in the vicinity with a gun. As their car screeched around the corner, a young Black man suddenly appeared sprinting up an alley--into a dead end. "Shoot him!", the older cop screamed, "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"

"It's free!" Think about that for a second. "It's free!" In other words, here's a chance that gets a pig to sweating and salivating with anticipation—a chance to "kill a nigger" with the already provided cover that a Black man—a Black man, any Black man—was reported in the area with a gun. This is an opportunity too good to pass up: "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"

Well, in this case, the rookie was not ready for that--perhaps he was one of those rare ones who joins a police force actually believing the "serve and protect" bullshit—and that particular Black man did not die that day. But one of the most telling things about this whole incident is the fallout from it: The rookie cop had to resign. If he wasn't ready and willing—if he didn't have the proper attitude to do what his veteran partner was calling for, what came naturally to the seasoned "peace officer," what any pig in his place and in a pig's right mind would do—then there was no place for him on the force. It was he, the rookie who hadn't learned, and couldn't learn it seems, what it's all about—it was he who was the outcast and felt he had to resign...

Pigs are pigs. Of course, that's an image, a symbol—in the most literal sense they are human beings, but they are human beings with a murderer's mentality, sanctioned, disciplined, unleashed by the ruling class of society to keep the oppressed in line, through terror whenever necessary and as the "bottom line," as they like to say. Terror against the oppressed is even a special reward for "carrying out the dangerous and thankless duty" of being the "thin blue line" between "civilization on the one side and anarchy and lawlessness on the other." Think about it once again: Terror against the oppressed is not just part of the job, it's also a reward. That is one of the deeper meanings of the story at the start: "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"...

But maybe some liberals (of the "left" or "right") will object that these stories I've recounted are after all only stories, and even if we allow that they themselves are true stories, still they are only a few cases—the famous "isolated incidents" perhaps. Well, anyone who still really thinks that, or says it, has got to answer one basic question about the following Richard Pryor routine:

Cops put a hurtin' on your ass, man, you know. They really degrade you. White folks don't believe that shit, don't believe cops degrade;— "Ah, come on, those beatings, those people were resisting arrest. I'm tired of this harassment of police officers." Cause the police live in your neighborhood, see, and you be knowin' 'em as Officer Timpson. "Hello Officer Timpson, going bowling tonight? Yes, uh, nice Pinto you have, ha, ha, ha." Niggers* don't know 'em like that. See, white folks get a ticket, they pull over, "Hey, Officer, yes, glad to be of help, here you go." A nigger got to be talkin' 'bout "I AM REACH-ING INTO MY POCK-ET FOR MY LICENSE—'cause I don't wanna be no motherfuckin' accident!"

Police degrade you. I don't know, you know, it's often you wonder why a nigger don't go completely mad. No, you do. You get your shit together, you work all week, right, then you get dressed—maybe say a cat make $125 a week, get $80 if he lucky, right, and he go out, get clean, be drivin' with his old lady, goin' out to a club, and the police pull over, "Get outta the car, there was a robbery—nigger look just like you. Alright, put your hands up, take your pants down, spread your cheeks!" Now, what nigger feel like havin' fun after that? "No, let's just go home, baby." You go home and beat your kids and shit—you gonna take that shit out on somebody.

from That Nigger's* Crazy, 1974

The question is this: Why, at the crucial points of this routine, does Pryor's audience erupt in tense, knowing laughter, coupled with prolonged applause? Can it be for any other reason than the fact that Pryor has indeed captured and concentrated—with humor, higher than life, as art should be, but the stone truth, all too true, at the same time—a situation that is typical for the masses of Black people in the U.S.? Something which, if it has not happened directly to them (and the odds are pretty good that it has), is subject to happen to them tomorrow, or the next day, and has already happened to a relative or friend. To anyone who wants to defend the police, to say nothing of prettifying them, showing them as just ordinary human beings, etc., etc., ad nauseam; and even anyone who wants to raise pious doubts and petty amendments about calling them what they are, without reservation or apology; you can't get around this question: you have to confront it straight up. And don't tell me Pryor's audiences aren't a fair representation: The response will always be the same from any audience that includes a significant number of the masses of Black people, or other oppressed masses (as, in fact, is the case with the audience for Pryor's live performances).

A relevant fact here, drawn directly from "real life." I read in a recent RW, the report about the announcement by the Los Angeles District Attorney that—once again—no charges would be brought against the two pigs who beat and choked a 28-year-old Black man, Larry Morris, to death without any justification, even according to the authorities. The RW article went on to expose that "This is just the latest in more than 200 `investigations' of police murders [that is, murders of people by police] since the forming of the D.A.'s `Operation Rollout.' This program has so far endorsed the police's right to kill every time." And after everything else, we're still bound to hear from some quarters how this is just Los Angeles, where the police are known to be particularly brutal etc., etc. This really shouldn't have to be answered, but it does, so let me answer it by turning again to a Richard Pryor routine, this one from the same performance, in Washington, D.C. in 1978, as the one cited at the start of this article:

Police in L.A., man, they got a chokehold they use on motherfuckers. Do they do it here, do they choke you to death? (Voices from the audience, many voices from the audience: "Yeah!") That's some weird shit. Cause I didn't know it was a death penalty to have a parking ticket.

But for the masses of Black people in this "great land of freedom and justice for all" it can be—and it has been for hundreds, at least, every year. Of course, this kind of freedom and justice is not reserved for Black people alone in the U.S., though they are special "beneficiaries" of it. It also lashes out and ensnares millions of the masses of other oppressed nationalities, immigrants (so-called "legal" as well as so-called "illegal") and in general those who are without wealth and therefore without power, including many white people, for whom Officer Timpson is hardly a friend, either.

In short, the armed force of the bourgeois state exists for the purpose of suppressing, by force and arms, the proletariat and all those who would step out of line and challenge this "great way of life" founded on robbery and murder, not only within the U.S. itself but throughout the world. And that, simply, is why pigs are pigs, and will always be pigs—until systems that need such pigs are abolished from the earth. A hard truth—but a liberating truth.

* This material is reproduced here as it was performed by Richard Pryor at the time, including the use of the word "nigger"; this is for the sake of accuracy and not out of any disrespect for his feeling, after a trip to Africa, that he should no longer use the word "nigger" because it is dehumanizing.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/some-points-of-orientation-principle-and-method-regarding-the-accusations-against-bill-cosby-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Some Points of Orientation, Principle, and Method Regarding the Accusations Against Bill Cosby

Updated July 20, 2015 \ Originally published December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This article was originally posted at revcom. us on December 18, 2014. While various depositions Bill Cosby has given have come to light since this article was written, the method and approach argued for in this article remain very important.

 

Fundamental relations of oppression, and fundamental matters of principle and method, are involved in regard to these accusations against Bill Cosby, and how this is approached. It is a very real phenomenon, and an egregious outrage, that many women who are raped and sexually assaulted are then intimidated, or otherwise prevented, from coming forward or from pursuing this. This needs to be resolutely opposed and fought against. At the same time, as outrageous as this is, as much as it is an additional assault on these women and on women overall, that is not the same thing as saying, and should not lead to an approach that says, that every accusation of rape or sexual assault is automatically (or almost certainly) true—nor even that if there are many people making similar accusations, then those accusations are therefore true (there have been more than a few instances where multiple accusations against a person have proven to be false). What is true has to be determined by a scientific approach, relying on evidence and the correct analysis and synthesis of what the evidence as a whole indicates. Accusations are a kind of evidence—as are denials of those accusations—but in and of themselves they do not constitute a sufficient basis to draw definite conclusions.

It is not possible at this point to determine—on a sound, scientific basis—whether these accusations against Bill Cosby (or his denials) are true. What is clear is what the major mass media are doing and how this creates and contributes to a very bad atmosphere and approach to things. What has been unfolding with this whole media campaign around Bill Cosby is in no way an attempt to create and encourage an approach that contributes to getting to the truth of the matter and seeking justice, but rather one that works against and undermines that and feeds a frenzied culture of "tear down blood lust" that these media have already done much to create and foster. What we see in the way these media operate in situations such as this—a process that hardly involves even a pretense, let alone any real substance, of due process, which in fact such mass media are not designed or constituted to create—is a one-sided "trial by media" and a "media tyranny" where, once a person has been targeted, there is no real basis or possibility for them to defend themselves in any meaningful way—where denials are treated as evasions and yet more occasion for going after the person—and all this works, in very harmful ways, to create and reinforce the kind of culture and atmosphere that no decent human being should want

Our Party has put forward very sharp criticisms of Bill Cosby, based on what he has clearly said and done, in his attacks on the masses of basic Black people—blaming them in effect for their conditions of oppression—attacks by Cosby which have been welcomed and widely broadcast, in a favorable way, over many years, by the very mass media that are now relentlessly going after Bill Cosby. Criticizing, even sharply denouncing, someone based on what they have undeniably said and done—for example, how Bill Cosby has repeatedly attacked masses of Black people and aggressively upheld doing so–is very different from how these major mass media have proceeded in regard to accusations of rape and sexual assault against Bill Cosby which (at this point at least) have not been proven and which he denies.

Something that very few, if any, commentators, etc., seem to be raising, but which should be very much a part of the overall approach to this, is the question: Has Bill Cosby in some way angered forces in society who in fact wield much more wealth and power than Cosby does—forces among the ruling class of this society, including those who own and control the major mass media—and what might this have to do with the role that these media are playing in all this? And another dimension to this that needs to be explored is: Does the way the media are dealing with accusations against Bill Cosby have something to do with other things going on in society, in particular the assaults on Black people, and more particularly Black men, being carried out in a concentrated and acute way now by the ruling class and its major institutions, including the mass media as well as the police and the "legal system"? The fact that Bill Cosby has himself, over many years, said and done things which constitute very harmful reactionary attacks against the basic masses of Black people does not necessarily rule out the possibility that the way he is being gone after now might in some way be linked to, or part of, an overall assault going on against Black people.

These kinds of things, which do need to be thought about and explored, are not the same as, and do not answer the question, whether the accusations of rape and sexual assault being made against Bill Cosby are in fact true, or false. That is something that needs to be determined in its own right—through a scientific approach and method—and it may be the case that it will not be possible, at least for some time, to definitively determine this (or determine it with sufficient scientifically-based certainty). While that remains the case, and even as efforts are made to scientifically approach and evaluate this, and  other possible dimensions of what is going on with this whole thing around Bill Cosby, it is very important to fight to, first of all, create the kind of atmosphere in society overall and in different institutions and parts of society, that make it much more difficult for rape and sexual assault to be carried out, and that encourage and support women in resisting this and in coming forward to raise this and seek justice when it does happen, while at the same time insisting on a consistent approach of proceeding in relation to accusations of rape and sexual assault, and accusations of crimes and wrongdoing in general, through a process that relies on a scientific method and approach and where the kind of "trial by media" and "media tyranny" that is so commonplace these days, and the very poisonous atmosphere this creates and reinforces, will be firmly rejected and denounced.*


*Where a person is involved as an accused in legal proceedings, but this person is part of the apparatus of state power, and the "prosecutor" is also part of the apparatus of state power—such as those very rare instances where a cop who kills someone has their case brought before a judge or grand jury, and the even more rare cases where this actually goes to a criminal trial—and particularly because there has been, over a whole long period of time, a very clear pattern where killings of this kind are almost always declared "justifiable," it is correct, there is a sound scientific basis, for believing that the regular procedures of the legal system are very unlikely to result in a just outcome, and that any investigation and legal procedures involved are very likely to be fundamentally tainted in a way to result in no indictment or, in the very rare cases of indictment, no conviction. But that is different from a situation involving an individual, even an individual with considerable wealth and influence, who is not part of the apparatus of state power.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/a-young-latina-on-the-protests-something-ive-only-seen-be-told-in-history-books-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

A Young Latina on the Protests:

"Something I've only seen be told in history books"

December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A young Latina student who has been very active in protests over the last few weeks was asked to describe what she thought of the NYC Millions March on Saturday, December 13. This was her response.

To stand in the middle of 50,000 people , to march side by side yelling at the top of our lungs “black lives matter” has been a life changing experience. This has been something I've only seen be told in history books, and at no time did I think I would be part of something this great. To hear the people sing, to see all the signs held by children, to see the crowd leading blocks ahead when they went up a hill, will forever be embedded in my mind. That day I saw people pour into Washington Square Park in every direction. All shapes, colors, ages, and sizes marched that Saturday and we all made it clear that BLACK LIVES DO MATTER. We have all come to realize that in this government, they are saying that black lives do no matter, that the injustice will continue. But that day, days before and days that follow, the people will continue to march. They will continue to protest, because if there is no justice, then there will be NO peace. To say I am proud of the people who marched nationwide, would be an understatement, I am left without words to describe the emotion I felt. But there's one thing for certain the millions March has shown me, that people do care about black lives. And people want change.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/avakian-serious-about-making-an-actual-revolution-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Serious About Making an Actual Revolution

December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party - ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION

 

 

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

 

You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future - An Interview with Raymond Lotta

“What I can say is that this is serious. We’re taking this very seriously. And I would direct you to the website, revcom.us, and Revolution newspaper, and what we get into in documents like On the Strategy for Revolution; On the Possibility of actually making revolution and winning; what the new society should be like as envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America; what we can learn from the previous experience of communist revolutions as set forward in an interview with Raymond Lotta, The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future. If we’re serious—and we have to be serious—then we need to dig into all this and grapple with it. And a lot more people need to be doing this.

“We need to not just resist, though we definitely need to resist and we can’t put up with any more of this outrage any longer. But we have to go on and fight to actually create the basis to go all out and win–and put an end to this madness once and for all.”

—Bob Avakian
From “REVOLUTION & RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion
A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

(Riverside Church, New York City, November 15, 2014)

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/things-that-should-be-clear-to-revolutionarires-right-now-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Things That Should Be Clear to Revolutionaries Right Now

December 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader

To be as clear as I can be: Fighting the power—standing up and fighting back—both in an ongoing way, and in specific relation to the police murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the outrageous grand jury decisions to let their killers walk and everything these decisions concentrate, is extremely, extremely important, inspiring, and righteous. In fact, this resistance is not only important but essential, both because it is morally imperative to resist crimes against humanity that really do constitute a slow genocide against Black people that could easily accelerate to a fast genocide, and because organizing people—including those most viciously oppressed by this system—to stand up and fight back against these crimes and against the key pillar of this system and society represented by white supremacy and the oppression of Black people— is an essential part of working to bring closer, and prepare for, the future conditions when going all-out for revolution would be possible and an essential part of accumulating forces for that revolution. As spoken to in several recent very important statements and articles in Revolution newspaper/revcom.us, this resistance needs to not only continue but get even broader, deeper, and more defiant and determined.

At the same time, for those of us who have come to understand that nothing will fundamentally change without revolution—a real revolution that, when the time is right, overturns this capitalist-imperialist system and brings into being a whole new socialist system and society, on the road to a whole new communist world—I think the following is really important to constantly have in mind and proceed from: While it is essential to resist and fight injustice, what we are even more fundamentally about is getting to a world where there is no longer the need to resist and fight injustice, because there is no more injustice, oppression, exploitation, or divisions between people. In other words: We are about radically changing the whole fucking world through revolution.

If we understand that and keep that in the forefront of our minds—that everything we are doing is about making revolution and bringing a whole new world into being, and getting to the point of being able to lead millions of people to actually make this revolution at the earliest possible time—then a few other things should quickly become clear:  

First, it should be clear that in everything we are doing, including right in the heart and on the front lines of struggle, we should be connecting people in a big way with the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and getting BA Everywhere throughout society. BA, and his work and leadership, concentrate the understanding, strategy, vision, and method—the theoretical framework—we need to make this revolution, and millions of people need to know about and dig into BA’s work and get with his leadership. Right now, one key way—definitely not the only way, but one key way—of doing this is by making a really huge deal out of the recent historic Dialogue between BA and Cornel West. We should be directing everyone to the Livestream of this Dialogue, urging them to watch it, watching and discussing it with groups of people, working to set up showings in campuses, housing projects, and many other places, and in all different kinds of ways projecting this Dialogue and the continued excitement and buzz about it throughout society.  This Dialogue is a fantastic concentration of who BA is, and what his work and leadership are all about.

Second, it should be clear that in everything we are doing, including right in the heart and on the front lines of struggle, we need to connect people in a big way with the website revcom.us and Revolution newspaper. This newspaper and website are, as BA says in the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!—not only a “collective educator” but also a “collective organizer” for this movement for revolution.  By connecting people with this newspaper and web site, we are not only connecting them with critical coverage and analysis of major events and developments in the world, but even more essentially connecting them with a resource that, in an ongoing way, powerfully brings alive the need and possibility of revolution; connects people with BA, the leader of the revolution; provides a living sense of the development and growth of the movement for revolution that BA is leading; and gives people concrete ways to be part of that movement for revolution. We should be telling people about all of this , about Revolution newspaper and revcom.us. And we should be not only getting visuals with the newspaper and website everywhere, which is definitely very, very good and important, but also selling lots of copies of the newspaper, signing people up for free e-subscriptions, and working to develop organized networks around the newspaper and website in housing projects, college dorms, communities of artists, and much more.

Third, it should be clear that in everything we are doing, including right in the heart and on the front lines of struggle, we need to be working to actively organize people into the movement for revolution through a very broad range of forms and on many different levels. Right now, as pointed to in the recent piece on revcom.us “Get Organized,” this work to accumulate forces for revolution very crucially includes actively organizing people into Revolution Clubs and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Let’s just tell it like it is:  Without getting to the point where millions of people are ready to go all out for revolution, there is no chance at winning against the forces of the most powerful imperialist country in history. We are not at that point of having millions now, but we have to be working every second to get to that point, accumulating forces for revolution. And we need to get to the point where there is an organized, disciplined force of thousands of people ready to lead the millions of people, when those millions are ready to go all-out for revolution.

This brings me to the final point I want to make here: It should be clear that in everything we are doing, including right in the heart and on the front lines of struggle, we need to be letting everyone know about, building, and strengthening the vanguard force of the revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party that BA leads. Without a vanguard party that is taking responsibility for making this revolution and whose members have dedicated their lives to this—without a unified, organized, disciplined force that is, on an advanced level, collectively and in a continuous way applying the new synthesis of communism developed by BA to making revolution, and on that basis, constantly summing up and applying the lessons of advances made, contradictions and setbacks encountered, challenges presenting themselves and how to approach those challenges, openings revealed, key tasks that need to be taken up, and more—without such a party, a real revolution cannot be made.  And in fact, without that party growing to include thousands of people ready to lead millions, a revolution cannot be made. 

It is true that when people are first getting introduced to this party and what it’s all about, they are not yet ready to—and shouldn’t—join it on the spot. And it is true that joining the party is a serious, life-long commitment that can’t be approached casually. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t be telling everybody about this party, working to project its influence throughout society, and working with those who are supportive of the party to get even deeper with the party and to take the leap to joining it. We have to do this! How are we going to get to the point of thousands and thousands more people joining the party if we are not constantly building support for it, strengthening it, projecting the reach and influence of the party throughout society, and working and struggling with those who are already close to the party to get even closer and, on the right basis, joining it?   

In short: In this moment, and all throughout the process of making revolution, we need to manifest, bring alive, and put the challenge to people—in words, images, and deeds—what is spoken to by BA in this quote from BAsics:

If you want to know about, and work toward, a different world—and if you want to stand up and fight back against what’s being done to people—this is where you go. You go to this Party, you take up this Party’s newspaper, you get into this Party’s leader and what he’s bringing forward. (BAsics 3:34)

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/lawyers-step-forward-to-join-and-support-the-fight-against-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Lawyers Step Forward to Join and Support the Fight Against Police Murder

December 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 18, public defenders and other lawyers in a number of cities across the U.S. took action to say "Black Lives Matter" and to protest police murder and brutality. The following are reports from readers from three cities.

NYC: No Business as Usual at Brooklyn Criminal Court

Special to revcom.us/Revolution

It definitely wasn't business as usual at the Criminal Court in downtown Brooklyn on December 17. The streets around here are always full of people going in for court appearances and lawyers going to do their best to try to get a little bit of justice for them – which doesn't happen often. But December 17 marked the five-month anniversary of Eric Garner's murder by cops, and while there were a lot of lawyers on the streets, they were heading to Brooklyn Criminal Court with a different mission.

“I came out today to take a stand against what happened to Eric Garner and Mike Brown and to show our clients that we understand that they get arrested for no reason every day and have to face this unequal system,” one woman in a court-appropriate black suit and heels said. A Legal Aid attorney in Brooklyn, she was one of some 200-250 attorneys who poured onto the sidewalks around the Brooklyn Criminal Court and then into the surrounding streets.

The action was initiated only the day before by Legal Aid attorneys who called for attorneys “from all organizations” to participate. They announced that there would be a die-in at Brooklyn Criminal Court lasting 7 minutes “to represent the 7 minutes in which Mr. Garner lay on the ground before anyone tried to assist him.” The crowd filled the sidewalk and marched around the Courthouse chanting “Eric Garner, Michael Brown – shut the whole system down!”; “We can't breathe”; “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and other chants. Outside the Brooklyn Detention Complex about 150-200 did a die-in, lying down and filling the sidewalk in their court attire—suits and ties, dresses and heels. After 7 minutes, a minute of silence was called for, and  then everyone got up and moved into the street, taking over two lanes of the main road leading to the Brooklyn Bridge for several blocks, snarling traffic heading into Manhattan.

Special to revcom.us/Revolution

The march was led by a banner from the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW 2325, which had organized the event. One sign read, “We are the Public Defenders of NYC. Black Lives Matter.” When the march circled back to the Brooklyn Criminal Court, a long line of people waited outside to go in for their court appearances. The attorneys massed on the street, chanting “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” The people waiting to get into court at first didn't know what was going on. When they realized it was their lawyers making the noise and blocking the street, some raised their fists in solidarity. One man said that “it's great” what the lawyers were doing. Another pointed to the building and said angrily, “It's two different systems in there—if they use video against us, why can't we use video against them!” (referring to the video of the cops choking Eric Garner).

Bina Ahmad, Staff Attorney with Legal Aid in Staten Island and also the National Co-Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild, pointed out that Eric Garner had been one of their clients. She said the action was organized because, although lawyers had participated in some of the previous mass protests over the past weeks, there hadn't yet been an action specifically organized for lawyers. She said, “Our clients deserve to know that their attorneys are standing in this fight with them!”

 

San Francisco: "If the System Won't Indict the Cops, Then We Indict the System!"

Special to revcom.us/Revolution

Today at noon over 100 lawyers and staff from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office stood together outside the city’s main courthouse, police headquarters, and jail, for a rally to support the fight against police brutality and police murder.  The protesting lawyers stretched across the entire front steps and held up large signs: “If the System Won’t Indict the Cops, Then We Indict the System!” “Lawyers 4 Black Lives” and “No One Is Above the Law.” They opened and closed their rally chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” Most wore black-and-white T-shirts emblazoned with those slogans, with “SF Public Defender” across their backs.

Chief Public Defender Jeff Adachi led the speak-out, which included the executive director of the Bar Association of San Francisco and Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, whose nephew Oscar Grant was murdered by a BART (rapid transit) police officer in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009. Ringing denunciations of the injustice, racism and abuse of the criminal justice system came from different speakers, as did a variety of proposals for its reform.

Special to revcom.us/Revolution

This demonstration was coordinated with similar events today called by public defender’s offices and other attorneys in other Bay Area counties including Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, and Santa Clara. 

Between speeches, the lawyers turned toward the windows where, they hoped, people in the jail and the courtrooms could hear them, and chanted as loudly as they could: “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!” At the end, they stood for 4 ½ minutes of silence, in tribute to Michael Brown (whose body was left lying in the street for 4 and a half hours). For half of this silence, the protesters stood facing the doors to what many here matter-of-factly call the Hall of Injustice.  And then they turned about face toward the street, the news cameras, and their supporters, saying “Now we’re facing outward, to the work we have to do.”

 

Los Angeles: "We have a responsibility to condemn the racist criminal justice system"

Amid calls for justice and chants of “black lives matter,” more than 100 lawyers, law students and others staged a “die-in” outside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse Tuesday. “As legal actors, we are sworn to uphold and enforce the law, so we have a responsibility to condemn the racist criminal justice system of which we are a part. Today we must challenge this structure and take a stand against it,” said one of the lawyers who helped to organize the "die-in." The group blocked a lane of traffic and clogged the walkway leading to the Hill Street entrance of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, making it virtually impossible for passing motorists and court visitors to ignore their message.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/seattle-police-target-people-righteously-resisting-police-murde-and-brutality-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Seattle Police Target People Righteously Resisting Police Murder and Brutality

December 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:


Hundreds in Seattle are protesting in marches and rallies at least several times a week, sometimes several times a day! They have united with others nationwide to demand justice for Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and an end to this deadly war against Black people. The Seattle police (SPD) are targeting this movement of righteous resistance, as police are now doing in other cities.

At least 22 people have been arrested here in recent weeks of protests. People have been charged with trumped-up felonies. They have been injured by chemical sprays and grenades flung by cops. Undercover cops are taking pictures of people and tailing people. This "undercover" work is often made obvious, as an intentional form of threat and intimidation. Undercover cops are participating in arrests. Police are specifically targeting people leading marches and speaking out against the police. People in possession of bullhorns are being watched. 

One person targeted for being outspoken and then snatched from the sidewalk when alone, Andrea Lister, has now been in jail for two weeks without a trial. She is being held on $25,000 bail on an alleged misdemeanor! Activist Emma Kaplan was also targeted, then snatched after a protest and jailed. Cops then said it was "mistaken identity" and used the opportunity to post pictures and video of other people they accuse of trying to free another protester from the claws of the SPD. This posting of peoples’ pictures is another way to intimidate and punish.

In a December 11 letter addressed to Seattle Mayor Murray and Seattle City Council members, the Seattle chapter of the National Lawyers Guild said: "...we urge you to investigate in a public fashion the emerging pattern of police misconduct directed toward non-violent protesters. In a coordinated fashion, our police force has been regularly intimidating non-violent protesters, showing up to every protest with dozens of heavily armed officers who follow, box in, spy on, and harass people who criticize police violence. In a blatant exercise of content-based discrimination, officers have illegally, without authority of law and without civilian oversight, blocked public access routes to downtown, including sidewalks, to people exercising their First Amendment rights, while explicitly giving preference to shoppers. Officers have also used chemical weapons and concussion grenades on protesters to enforce their orders to suppress speech in downtown, and have selected protest organizers to arrest (recently arresting one organizer and then admitting they had made a “mistake”)."

In Seattle and around the country, we demand the arrest of killer cops, NOT people protesting police murder!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/chicago-prosecutors-pile-on-more-felony-charges-against-grant-newburger-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

UPDATE:

Chicago Prosecutors Pile On More Felony Charges Against Grant Newburger

December 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It was a complete outrage in the first place that on November 23, Grant Newburger—well known and respected on the South and West sides of Chicago for bringing the revolution to people and helping to form the Revolution Club of Chicago—was charged with one count of felony assault on a cop for literally carrying a banner reading “Justice for Mike Brown” into a downtown intersection on a green light during a protest against the grand jury decision not to charge the cop who killed Michael Brown! Grant was deliberately assaulted by cops using their bicycles as weapons. He was knocked to the ground, striking his head against the pavement.

Now, at the December 17 court hearing, the prosecutors have added two more counts of felony assault on a cop for the same incident. (See a leaflet from the Chicago Revolution Club for background to the case and why the authorities are out to railroad this revolutionary.)

This needs to be widely condemned, and people rallied so it will backfire—the charges need to be dropped, and many more people need to step into the struggle against police brutality and help build the movement for revolution.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/365/nyc-clergy-led-die-in-in-the-name-of-justice-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

NYC: Clergy-Led Die-in In the Name of Justice

December 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Clergy and others stage a die-in at the busy 120th and Broadway intersection in Manhattan, NYC December 18

Clergy and others stage a die-in at the busy 120th and Broadway intersection in Manhattan, NYC, December 18. Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

From a reader:

On Thursday, December 18, after a "prayer breakfast" attended by over 150 people at the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, there was a "clergy-led die-in" at the busy intersection of Broadway and 120th Street—with the Union Seminary building in the background and Barnard College, Columbia University, and Columbia University Teacher's College on the other three corners.

The invitation for the prayer breakfast included the following:

"We gather in the spirit of prophetic witness. In light of the recent non-indictments that have galvanized a new focus on diverse movements for social change, we hope to provide an opportunity for all people to uplift one another in the name of justice.

"The breakfast is sponsored by Union, the Riverside Church, Drum Major Institute, Jewish Theological Seminary, the Interfaith Center of New York, and Auburn Seminary. It will include local clergy as well as organizers and clergy from the protests in Ferguson, MO."

At the breakfast a powerful call was issued by three young protestors from Ferguson who said they were in a continuing "war zone" with the police, and needed the clergy and church to bring the resources needed—"band aids, communications technology, food and more...to be in the community with the people." They said that most of the churches in the Ferguson area have literally refused to open their doors to the protestors. One of them said, "We are the ones on the front lines...I have been tear gassed nine times... for Black people this is a state of emergency...we have been fighting for our lives since this country was founded." At the close they led all the clergy and others at the breakfast in chants including, "We are the ones we have been waiting for" and "We have nothing to lose but our chains."

The die-in tied up traffic in all four directions for some 20 minutes.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/366/importance-of-actions-on-new-years-eve-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

What is the importance of the actions that have been called for on New Year's Eve, from the standpoint of actually making revolution—at the soonest possible time?

December 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

If you really want a revolution, you have to start from what we need to get one. You need a crisis in the ruling class and government, in which the powers-that-be are fighting among themselves and the advocates of reforms find themselves scrambling and on the defensive; you need masses of people, in their millions, finding the old way of living intolerable and willing to put everything on the line to end it; and you need a powerful revolutionary organization, with wide influence and deep roots and an experienced and scientifically-oriented core, able to give leadership to all this.

We don’t have all that today. But we do have a huge social eruption around a contradiction that is at the very heart of this society: the oppression of Black people, and for which the ruling class has no fundamental answer. We do have a situation which has “[compelled] many people to question and to resist what they usually accept,” (from A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party: ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION) and in which people are much more open to hearing and thinking about and taking up the revolutionary line, the revolutionary analysis of the problem and the solution, and what to do about all that right now. We do have a vanguard which does have a fundamental answer—a solution—to this and all the other horrors and outrages of imperialism, a way to not only resist them but to actually MAKE a revolution, and the orientation to make the most of situations like this FOR revolution. And we do have a situation in which “nobody can say exactly what the conscious initiative of the revolutionaries might be capable of producing, in reacting upon the objective situation at any given time—in part because nobody can predict all the other things that all the different forces in the world will be doing.” (From Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, by Bob Avakian. This work is available as part of the Revolution pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation. The citation is from p. 40.)

What we CAN say is that revolutionaries must work to push, and keep pushing, this situation as far as it can actually go, working along the lines laid out in the oft-reprinted “Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution,” by Bob Avakian (BAsics 3:30). This sheds important light on how revolutionaries should approach the actions being called for on New Year’s Eve. These actions should be as large and powerful as possible, rallying people who have been in the streets during this whole past period and rallying many more beyond them—people who have been inspired by all that, people who feel that they too “can’t breathe,” people who want to step out and step forward. Indeed, these demonstrations should, as Carl Dix put forth in his original call, be a time when people who are fighting on many different fronts to STOP the various outrages of this system all pour into the streets as well, around the slogan “No New Year With This Old System!” Revolutionaries should lead in reaching out very, very broadly to bring people to this.

At the same time, these demonstrations on New Year’s Eve should be a time when the fact that there IS a way out of this madness—that there is not only an understanding why the old system keeps doing what it does but a) what could be put in its place which could enable humanity to begin to overcome and transcend these horrors, and b) how this current system could be defeated for real in an actual revolution—is very much infused into all this. It should be a time when the leadership for this revolution—the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and its leader, Bob Avakian—get much more widely known, in various ways, including through the propagation of the recent dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West (REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion—A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian), as well as through broad distribution of Revolution and promotion of the website www.revcom.us. It should be a time when the organized forces of the revolution dramatically and coherently project themselves and draw others, on the spot, towards and closer to these organizations.

In short, revolutionaries must view this from the vantage point of “Some Principles,” and on that basis “carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, can transform the political terrain so that the legitimacy of the established order, and the right and ability of the ruling class to rule, is called into question, in an acute and active sense, throughout society; so that resistance to this system becomes increasingly broad, deep and determined; so that the ‘pole’ and the organized vanguard force of revolutionary communism is greatly strengthened; and so that, at the decisive time, this advanced force is able to lead the struggle of millions, and tens of millions, to make revolution.”

It is from that framework that plans should be made and goals set, and progress toward those concrete plans and goals consistently evaluated.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/366/carl-dix-murder-by-police-should-not-be-tolerated-en.html

Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

MURDER BY POLICE SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED!

A statement from Carl Dix

December 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Special to Revolution/revcom.us

Today in America, police murder people and get away with no punishment. This happens again and again and again. But something new has also begun to happen, and people have risen up against this, in the tens of thousands, across the country. The outpourings of resistance to this wanton police murder have been beautiful, powerful, and very necessary. Our movement of resistance must broaden, becoming even more diverse, and its determination to stop police murder must be strengthened and deepened. It must continue and escalate until these horrors are really ended.

When police murder people as they did with Eric Garner and Michael Brown, it is unlawful, illegitimate and should not be tolerated in any society that anyone would want to live in.

 


 

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Revolution #365 December 15, 2014

Points of Orientation in the Wake of Events on December 20, 2014

December 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Two New York City police officers were shot and killed on Saturday, December 20.  The police have stated that they identified and chased the assailant and that the alleged assailant killed himself in the subway.  This has become a major news story and has been seized on to carry forward a major political attack on the movement to stop police murders.

In evaluating what is going on, and without commenting on the incident at hand, people need to be clear on some key underlying truths.  First, as has been brought to light through research, police and other security personnel in the U.S. kill someone nearly every day, and very many of these victims are unarmed and not even alleged to be committing a crime.  New York has an entire roster of people, mainly Black and Latino, murdered by police while unarmed—this includes Amadou Diallo, murdered as he stood in his doorway reaching for his wallet; Patrick Dorismond, who told an undercover narcotics officer to get out of his face; Anthony Baez, whose crime was that his football hit a police car; Malcolm Ferguson, slain days after participating in a protest against the exoneration of the pigs who murdered Diallo; Eleanor Bumpurs, a grandmother supposedly resisting eviction; Nicholas Heyward Jr., a 13-year-old boy playing with a toy gun; Ramarley Graham, murdered in his bathroom by a rampaging pig; Sean Bell, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, Kimani Gray, Gidone Busch, and many many others.  In fact, you can travel to the house of Margarita Rosario in the Bronx where an entire side of her house is a mural containing the names of these stolen lives, just for New York City—including the names of her son and nephew, Anthony Rosario and Hilton Vega, murdered by NYPD officers as they lay face down.

This speaks to the reality of the racist and murderous brutality of the police and the whole apparatus of repression of this system, which is widespread, continual, and systematic, and which is not simply a particular feature of the NYPD but is characteristic of police and the "injustice system" in the country as a whole, in the service of a brutally oppressive system, a system which has white supremacy built into its very foundation and structure.

Second, at long last, after yet two more unarmed Black men were murdered by police and their killers were not even indicted, a powerful movement for justice has arisen.  When this movement did not “peter out,” to paraphrase NYPD chief Bratton, governments all over the country took measures to suppress this.  In New York, these measures included lawsuits from Mayor de Blasio demanding the ability to sweep up, detain and arrest demonstrators en masse without warning; hysterical “trials by media” of someone accused of throwing a garbage can during a protest and others attempting to defend a protester against attack and arrest, right down to “Wanted” front-page pictures in tabloids of the people alleged to have defended a protester and urgings to the readers to turn them in; and more and more arrests of demonstrators; etc.  (It should also be noted that for all the talk of a new, more “permissive” NYPD, hundreds were nevertheless arrested for exercising their rights in the early days of the protests.)

Third, this event also happens against the backdrop of intense antagonism among different sections of the ruling class and government apparatus, especially between the police themselves and sections of the bourgeoisie supporting a continued “free hand” for the pigs, and the camp of de Blasio, which has made a show of (supposedly) discontinuing some elements of the former repressive package while maintaining and intensifying others.  Even these essentially cosmetic changes have been too much for some in the ruling class.   These conflicts have also featured incidents to which there seems very likely to be more than meets the eye, and the utilization of leaks to the media to discredit and/or effectively convict people who have gotten in the way of powerful forces. 

In this atmosphere, given the NYPD’s proven record of lying (there are currently scandals in New York of cops framing scores and perhaps hundreds of innocent people), frame-ups (the notorious case of the Central Park 5), and setups (the police whistleblower Frank Serpico in the 1970s nearly lost his life to his “brother police”), nobody should believe any story that comes from the NYPD nor take at face value anything out of the mouth of anyone connected to the police department.

Now this incident is being used to distort the character of this protest movement and to nip it in the bud.  Let us return to the facts: the police kill hundreds of people a year, and are rarely if ever even threatened with being brought to trial.  Let us dig into a deeper fact: these murders grow out of a system of white supremacy which has been bred into the bone and psyche of this rotten society since Day One and which, while it has morphed into different forms over the centuries to meet the changing needs and circumstances of those who have ruled America, has never been eradicated.  Today the police departments have in large part replaced the patrollers of slavery days and the lynch mobs of Jim Crow—but the function is the same. 

Given all that, the protests that have been going on, and the new protests that are being planned, should not and must not cease and must indeed deepen and grow even more broad, diverse and determined.  People must not allow themselves to be thrown on the defensive.  Further: the serious repressive moves by the de Blasio/Bratton administration must be strongly opposed, and the attempts now by de Blasio to turn everyone in New York into a snitch should absolutely NOT be tolerated.

Finally, without in any way commenting on this incident, let the following be noted: We are building a movement for revolution—a revolution which, in order to have a real possibility of winning, would need to involve millions of people who have become convinced of the need for this revolution and who, with the emergence of a deep-going revolutionary crisis in society, would be determined to fight to carry out such a revolutionary struggle and fight to win.  All of the work we are doing is aimed at contributing to the development of such a revolutionary movement, guided by this strategic understanding, orientation and approach.  If people want to learn more about our strategy for revolution—as well as why we think such a revolution is urgently needed by the masses of humanity, and why and how it is possible—they should further check out this website revcom.us.