Revolution #379, March 23, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

This Spring

What WE do Matters a Great Deal!

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In speaking to the youth in the inner cities and to people throughout society in his “Call To Revolution,” Bob Avakian made the point that “what we do matters a great deal.” In today’s situation, this truth is magnified. There is great potential right now for the fight against oppression and the fight for revolution to make very big advances. The things being called for over the next three weeks in this issue of Revolution—the premieres of the filmed dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion” and the massive nationwide “shut-it-down” actions against murder by police on April 14—are a huge part of that.

To get a hint of how that is so, let’s look at the situation we are acting on and working to change. This past Thursday, the police chief of Philadelphia called a community meeting to talk about why— yet again— criminal charges had not been filed against a cop who killed a young Black man. But in this case, something different happened. In the words of the New York Times, “instead of a conversation about the man’s death, the meeting descended into lawlessness. Residents angrily shouted at the commissioner and pointed fingers in his face. Metal folding chairs were hurled. Protesters tussled with police officers. There were 10 arrests.” (Here we’ll pause only to say that while the Times may find these actions “lawless,” they are definitely just— and especially when the authorities find murder after murder of Black and Latino youth by police “lawful”!)

The article goes on to say that this is all part of an effort of police to “break away from images of them as hostile, occupying armies.” Think about what that means for a minute— the pigs have to send their biggest honcho into a meeting where they are forced to listen to just a little bit of people’s righteous anger because they are worried that people are seeing their true nature and this freaks them out!

This comes right in the middle of a steady stream of actions, one after another, in which people stand up, protest, demonstrate, take over streets, and blow whistles in response to the wanton, racist murder and brutality of the police, making it unmistakably clear that “WE AIN’T HAVING THIS SHIT!” You can see it in the many articles we have in this issue and in issues over the past few months—there is a different mood. (Also see the "Stop Mass Incarceration" section of this site.)

In the face of this, those who rule this society have no answers. They talk about “body-cams” for pigs— and then just this week we see a video of cops in Dallas shooting down in cold blood yet another mentally disturbed Black man—and still nothing being done, even with their damn body-cam. They admit that the Ferguson police are little more than racist extortionist gangsters in one breath, and then immediately go on to justify the cold-blooded murder of the unarmed youth Michael Brown in the next, in an attempt to spread confusion. They talk about “we need better statistics, we need more studies”—and then someone comes up with a study that shows the government’s own statistics undercount murders by police by more than half. Think about that Times article we quoted—the police are worried that people view them “as hostile, occupying armies.” And those on top are in conflict over how to handle this, attacking one another not over whether to clamp down—but how best to do it. Again: they have no answers.

Our experience bears out tremendous potential, among all sections of people. Take just one story among hundreds. A man working as a professional at a ghetto hospital brushes by people leafleting for the premiere of “Revolution and Religion”— “I don’t need that stuff,” he says—but then he thinks twice, stops and comes back. He bares his heart to tell how last week, on a “dad date” with his 7-year-old daughter, the police pulled him over and his daughter clutched him and began crying, “please don’t kill my daddy.” “I can’t live in a society like this,” he said, and got materials for the premiere. Other people in the middle class tell us of their disillusionment with Obama and their desire to learn about revolution, and to do something about the horrible shit coming down. People very broadly are feeling a moral challenge—and they are in a mood to respond to it, if those who do have answers step to them.

To put it another way, over the past six months or so “the equation has changed”— and we must change it even more. By this we mean that the ways in which those who rule society had people on the bottom believing that it does no good to fight back, that nothing else is possible beyond what we have today... the ways in which they had people in the middle thinking things are pretty much okay... that is beginning— beginning—to break down. Those who are fighting for justice find people who want to fight with them, more and more—not in a straight line and not all at once, but these articles tell you it’s happening.  

And those who understand that revolution is the only answer to all this are finding a different response as well. The fact that nearly 2,000 people came to hear Bob Avakian and Cornel West in dialogue in November, and that thousands more have watched the live-streaming of it... that tells you that revolution, especially in the form of what BA brings, is striking a chord with people. The fact that the vast majority of those who were there found it gripping and totally absorbing tells you about the potential for this message to spread far and wide, and to begin to take hold deeply.

At the same time, the ways in which the movement for revolution fought in Ferguson and all over the country meant a whole lot. People saw the revolutionaries standing with defiant ones... spreading the spark of the struggle for justice all over... refusing to back down in the face of slanders, brutality and threats. This too had an impact—on friend and foe alike. Those actions, along with the Dialogue, are also “part of the equation” and should not be underestimated. For sure, those who want to maintain this oppressive system do not underestimate the potential, and neither must we.

We cannot miss this opening. We cannot fail to see the patterns before us, manifesting themselves in different ways. Yes, the situation is full of conflict and contradiction. Yes, we are going to have to put our heads together and figure out answers to a lot of hard problems. And yes, people who want change are going to have to struggle for that. Struggle in two senses: struggle against the powers-that-be... and struggle with the people over stepping out further and going deeper into the WHYs of this madness, and WHAT to do about it. This is not going to be easy—it's going to require sacrifices, sometimes very hard sacrifices, because those in power have their machinery of repression...but they are also not all-powerful.

If you read BA’s statement on the kind of situation you would need to make a revolution, you see that he starts out with a “deep crisis and sharpening conflicts in society and in the government and ruling circles, where they cannot find a way to resolve these conflicts—in society and among their own ranks—which do not make things worse for them and call forth more resistance and further undermine people's belief in their ‘right to rule’ and in the ‘legitimacy’ of their use of force to maintain their rule.” No, that’s not where we are yet—but can’t you see the embryos of that in the conflict around Israel that we talk about in the article "Israel's Ugly Election—Heightened Conflicts, New Challenges," or in the way the Times says that the police are worried that people see them as a “hostile, occupying army”? When you see those kinds of embryos, you don’t just sit back like a spectator and hope for the best—you work on it, you fight like hell to build up the people’s resistance AND to build up, to make huge leaps, in their understanding of what it will take to finally GET FREE AND TRULY EMANCIPATED. The whole piece by BA bears repeated study and reference.

With all that in mind, we call on those reading this to take up the struggle to build these premieres with new vigor, along the lines laid out in the article "4 POINTS to Launch the New Film of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION," to take up as you do so the battle to build Shutdown A14, again going off the guidance in this issue... to link both of these together as part of making big leaps toward getting free... and to bring people INTO the movement for revolution and the different critical fights against oppression, at whatever level they can.

 


 

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Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Three reasons why EVERYONE who cannot tolerate the epidemic of murder by police should act April 14

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

3 reasons to take part in A14Download 8 1/2 x 11 flyer (PDF)   audio Listen

Last fall, people all across the country rose up against the egregious murders of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others by police and the exonerations of their killers. Their actions woke people up all over the world.

All winter, resistance to this has been bubbling. From Pasco, Washington, and Atlanta to Madison, Wisconsin, and Virginia—people are refusing to take this.

But the murders keep happening.

More must be done to stop this daily, deeply seated, deadly horror.

On April 14 people all across the country will shut things down, bringing the “normal operation” of things to a halt through mass political mobilization and action.

  1. These actions will make it absolutely clear that these unpunished murders by police must STOP—and that the whole genocidal agenda that they are part of must be reversed!
  2. These actions will let the world know that this is not just a problem in Ferguson, Missouri, or Madison or Oakland or any of the other places in the headlines day after day. These actions will make clear that this is the reality of America. That this is not a few bad apples or bad departments, this is systemic! And it will be fought that way.
  3. Most of all: these actions will sound a loud call to millions, here and around the world, that there are people determined to STOP this... It will make it clear that there are people—and there is a movement—determined to fight for a future where our youth are not cast off, locked down, warehoused, routinely abused and even murdered—a future where they can instead live with their humanity fully recognized. A movement determined to call on, inspire, and organize many, many others to join in this battle. These actions will say to the millions now agonizing to come out and be part of changing the future!

Be part of this. Find out more. Go to: stopmassincarceration.net.

 


 

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Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Resistance Bubbles and Boils Around the Country

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is resistance bubbling and boiling across this country. Daily outrages continue with police killings of unarmed Black youth and others; racial profiling and brutality by cops. But here, there, in unexpected places... from those who catch the most hell every day to students at elite universities... people are saying: “We ain’t taking this shit!” In just the past 20 days...

Los Angeles: As soon as word got out of the LAPD murder of a homeless man known as “Africa” on March 3, people took to the streets — 200 people, including many homeless, marched through downtown LA. They went right up to the entrance of the LAPD headquarters and faced off against a line of cops. The Police Commission was inside “discussing” the killing, but people weren’t having another “behind closed doors” cover-up. Dozens went right inside and challenged the Police Chief and the President of the Police Commission. Four days later more than 100 people converged at LAPD Headquarters then took to the streets again to express outrage at the killing of Africa.

In Madison, Wisconsin, March 6, protest broke out immediately after the police murdered 19-year-old Tony Robinson. For days people stayed in the streets. High school students – thousands – walked out. Saturday March 7, students at the high school Tony went to wore all black at the basketball game. On Sunday, churches held vigils and speak-outs. On Monday, March 9, 2,000-3,000 students from four high schools, as well as middle schools, walked out and took over all lanes of a main street leading to the State Capitol. Students from the University of Wisconsin joined them, and together they occupied all three floors of the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda.  Two days later a thousand students again took to the streets demanding justice for Tony.

The very day that thousands of high school students were marching in Wisconsin on March 9, police in DeKalb County, George murdered another Black man, 27-year-old Anthony (Tony) Hill. Most of Tony’s neighbors are Latino, but dozens stepped across language and cultural barriers to join with the Atlanta Revolution Club in a protest the next day chanting, “Policías Asesinos, ¡No Mas!” and “Police Murder, No More!” Middle and high school youth on skateboards took handfuls of #ShutdownA14 stickers. The next day 200 people marched through downtown Decatur to protest the police murder of Anthony Hill.

East Oakland: Blow the Whistle!

On Blow the Whistle on Brutal Murdering Cops day, people learned to blow the whistle when they see the police

In the midst of all these police murders – and GROWING RESISTANCE -- the Stop Mass Incarceration Network put out a call for March 14 to be a day to: “Blow The Whistle On Brutal, Murdering Cops! Mobilize For A Day Of Blowing The Whistle On Brutal, Murdering Cops On March 14.” In response, actions were held in cities around the country including New York, the San Francisco/Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, and Cleveland. Hundreds of whistles and materials about Shutdown April 14.

Kenwood Academy high school students challenge students at the University of Virginia to join them walking out of school on April 14 against police brutality. Justice for Martese!

March 18, University of Virginia. The day after Martese Johnson, a Black student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was grabbed by police outside a bar, tackled, thrown to the ground and had his face slammed to the ground and bloodied—up to a thousand students, including many white students, rallied on campus. Students chanted: “If we don’t get it, shut it down.” On March 20, 750 miles away, in Chicago, students at Kenwood Academy (where Martese Johnson graduated from) called on University of Virginia students—to join them in taking the struggle to another level, to walk out on April 14.

On March 19, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and District Attorney R. Seth Williams appeared at a town hall meeting to tell the public why – once again – NO CHARGES were going to be filed against a cop who had killed Brandon Brown, a young Black man last December. But in this case, something different happened. As described in the New York Times, “instead of a conversation about the man’s death, the meeting descended into lawlessness. Residents angrily shouted at the commissioner and pointed fingers in his face. Metal folding chairs were hurled. Protesters tussled with police officers. There were 10 arrests.” People chanted “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and called the murderers out as pigs. (As we note elsewhere in this issue, while the Times may find these actions “lawless,” they are definitely just— and especially when the authorities find murder after murder of Black and Latino youth by police “lawful”!)

3/21: Dozens in Cleveland protest at spot where police killed Brandon Jones. Photo: special to revcom.us

On March 21 dozens of people gathered Saturday night at the spot where 18-year-old Brandon Jones was killed by a Cleveland police officer on March 19 to demand justice. People made links to other police killings going on – the epidemic of police killings, carrying photographs of 12-year-old Tamir Rice killed by the Cleveland police for playing with a toy gun on November 22 and Tanisha Anderson, a mentally ill woman who died after police forced her to the ground November 13.

 

*****

All this... and MORE is needed to build the movement to STOP police murder and brutality. All this needs to go forward and go to a whole other level on:

April 14—Stop Business As Usual! We Will Not Go Back!
No School! No Work! Say No More to the System Giving a Green Light to Killer Cops!

 


 

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Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

A Message to Students and Young People of ALL Nationalities

March 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a former prisoner who is now an emancipator of humanity:

People on the bottom of this society are being brutally oppressed, growing up with targets on their back, incarcerated in huge numbers, constantly fucked with, beaten, and murdered by the police. This is part of a whole program of repression that targets Black and Brown people, and it is on a genocidal trajectory. This program can and will escalate as this system gets into a deeper crisis and if the capitalist-imperialists who rule this society are able to get large sections of the population to go along with it. The ruling class and its enforcers expect you not to notice or to look the other way as they carry out their genocidal assault against Black and Brown people. But as murder after murder by the police and people’s righteous resistance to it makes this brutality harder and harder to ignore, they work hard to try to get you to go along with it, getting you to abandon all sense of morality and accept the racist justifications that say its okay to choke a Black man to death if he sells loose cigarettes, it’s okay to riddle a Mexican immigrant with bullets if he throws rocks at a car, and it’s okay to blow away a 12-year old Black child if he’s playing with a toy gun!

A14 Shut It Down

Read more


Click here for Students and Youth Organizing page
#ShutDownA14

What this situation demands of you is not to focus on “doing good in school,” on increasing the economic and social distance between you and the people on the bottom so that you can become the “leaders of tomorrow” that will somehow magically change all this in the distant future, which is impossible as long as this system and its repressive institutions remain in place. No, the urgency of this situation demands that you stand with those people on the bottom and everyone who is willing to resist and fight back. What you do or don’t do matters a great deal, it matters for people in the lower sectors of this society who see no way of fighting back without getting crushed and it matters for the future of all of humanity.

Those of us who are committed to fighting back have already pledged that we will not go back, we will not accept the continual killing of our youth by the police as the new normal. Our resistance will continue and escalate as this system continues and escalates its fight for the freedom of its police to keep killing us and continue to carry out its vicious, genocidal program. “Calming down” is not a choice that we can afford to make because Black and Brown lives DO MATTER to us and those lives are at stake right now.

And especially for those of us who are revolutionaries, we are not in the streets registering people to vote, misleading them into thinking that turning in a ballot will change the violently repressive nature of the police, and we are not in the streets telling people to shop at Black-owned businesses, pretending that putting more money in a Black person’s pocket will stop a pig’s bullet from tearing through an unarmed youth’s body or skull. We are in the streets building a movement FOR REVOLUTION to STOP all this, organizing people as they fight back, introducing them to the leadership of Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party, calling on others to get with and join this leadership, strengthening and increasing its reach so that when conditions are right millions can be led to go all out for an actual revolution, with a real chance to win. We have a scientifically developed strategy to carry out this revolution and we have a Constitution that lays out the kind of society we intend to bring into being if we’re successful. Our line is clear on how we intend to get rid of all this on revcom.us and in the pages of Revolution newspaper.

You don’t have to agree with everything that we have to say, even though you should engage it if you are serious about wanting a world where all lives DO matter, but the undeniable fact that there is an epidemic of police murdering Black and Brown people and an urgent need to resist this will be a reality that you’ll continually be confronted with. The challenge will continue to pose itself, “What are you going to do about this?” If what you want is to leave behind a better world when you die, then you need to join the fight against what is happening to Black and Brown people and not let the social divisions that this system relies on determine whether or not you stand against any injustice. Regardless of your nationality or social position your place is in this struggle, not on the sidelines. On April 14 you have to be in the streets, shutting down your campuses, taking over freeways and taking over buildings, sending a clear message to everybody in society that you will not let people down here be continually brutalized and murdered then demonized and isolated as this shit goes on. The actions on April 14 must let these people know they are not alone, and that the fight against what is being done to them will be joined by youth from different strata and many different nationalities. That message needs to be made clear to those on the top as well as those on the bottom.

As someone who has never stepped foot in a university classroom and only caught glimpses of what life is like outside ghettos and prisons, I can tell you that when you’re cast off and counted as nothing, you often see yourself as the least able to change anything. But when you rise up against the conditions that you didn’t choose but were born into, and you see people stand with you, who come from sections of society that you learned to assume could never give a fuck, then that defeatism begins to break down and the possibility of getting rid of all this shit begins to come to life.

That’s why unity in righteous struggle between people coming from many different backgrounds is not just a beautiful thing to see, that unity represents nothing less than a way out for the oppressed throughout the world and a nightmare for their oppressors. When people begin to break out of the divisions and the accompanying outlook that have worked so well for this system, when Black, Brown, and white people stand with each other, when so-called “thugs” from the inner cities and suburban youth from college campuses are coming together to get organized to fight the power, they can have tremendous impact on all of society. You can not only shake the whole country awake to what is happening, but also break open possibilities to changing the whole world, bringing forward fighters with nothing to lose but their chains.

The problem is real. The challenge is real. The role you choose to play in the face of this will also be real.

 

 


 

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Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Israel's Ugly Election—Heightened Conflicts, New Challenges

by Larry Everest | March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On March 17, Benjamin Netanyahu, the reactionary leader of Israel, was re-elected. More significantly, to win re-election Netanyahu openly reversed his previous professed support for a Palestinian state and actually whipped up racist hysteria against Palestinian Israelis who were exercising their (legal) right to vote in the election. In doing so, Netanyahu significantly widened the depth of his public disagreements with Barack Obama. The consequences of this are unpredictable—but what is clear is that the potential for this sparking a “chaotic situation in the region,” in the words of Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu, has gone way up. Why did this happen? Why is there so much controversy over this? And what challenges does all this pose to people who want justice, and to the movement for revolution?

Israel: An Illegitimate Settler-Colonial State and Hit Man for Imperialism

Israel is a Zionist, settler-colonial state built on the terrorist expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population. Israel has, from its founding to the present day, subjected the Palestinian people to repeated massacres and daily humiliation and brutality. Prime Minister Netanyahu is on the hard-right edge of that political spectrum. He is notorious for unapologetically upholding Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians and belligerently demanding that nobody interfere.

Last summer’s barbaric military assault on Gaza was just one example. Israel, led by Netanyahu, unleashed a torrent of bombs and missiles, murdering more than 2,000 Palestinians, 500 of them children. Much of Gaza was reduced to rubble, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. And this was done to further punish and terrorize Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians who were already confined to what is in effect the world’s largest outdoor prison—cut off from contact with the outside world and the ability to live.

Netanyahu and Israel are increasingly exposed and isolated around the world. And they’ve been sharply at odds with the Obama administration over key issues. For these and other reasons (including elements of disaffection among Israeli voters), many observers predicted that Netanyahu would be defeated by a coalition of less virulent political parties. This was clearly the preference of Obama and West European powers. They depend on Israel as a key ally and enforcer in the Middle East, but have growing differences with Israel. And they are increasingly uncomfortable with the regional and global political fallout that supporting Israel brings.

But Netanyahu wasn’t defeated. He and his Likud Party scored a resounding victory, winning 30 seats in Israel’s Parliament, 12 more than in the last election, and six more than its closest competitor. And Netanyahu didn’t win by becoming more “moderate,” just the opposite. Faced with the possibility of an election defeat, he went even further to the right and appealed to and called forward the ugliest, most fascist elements in Israel.

First, Netanyahu threw out stated U.S. and Israeli policy, and vowed there would never be a Palestinian state. Then he went on an openly racist rant warning right-wing Israelis that “Arabs” (Palestinian citizens of Israel*) were streaming to the polls “in droves,” threatening to steal the election.

What does this mean, and not mean?

For decades, the U.S. and Israel have maintained two fictions. First, that Israel is a democratic state—the only one in the Middle East—in which all of its citizens are equal. Second, that Israel is sincerely trying to satisfy the national aspirations of the Palestinian people by negotiating with them to create a separate Palestinian state—the so-called “two-state solution.”

The two-state solution has never been about anything but a promise of a surrounded, oppressed micro-state, utterly dependent on Israel and defenseless in the face of Israeli violence. And Israeli democracy has been and is a form through which the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine takes place. But it’s a big deal that Netanyahu has now publicly and openly rejected these longtime legitimizing myths. He was elected on a campaign and platform that in effect denies Palestinians a voice in the democratic process in Israel and the right to any form of statehood. This amounts to a call for Israel to be put on a more openly fascist, genocidal, and warlike footing. Miko Peled, a progressive critic of Zionism, called Netanyahu’s election a declaration of “war on Palestinians everywhere,” and “a mandate for the Israeli government to murder Palestinians.”

No one can say exactly what the reverberations from all this could be, but they could be far-reaching and profound—in Israel, regionally, and globally. Netanyahu’s election could be a major blow to any remaining sense of Israel’s legitimacy even for some within Israel and for many, many people around the world. It could spark struggles and upheavals in Palestine. It could also have serious and unpredictable political consequences in Europe, and lead to much more dramatic disaffection in the U.S.—among liberal Jews and especially among students. Such developments might propel even more powerful and energetic anti-occupation/boycott-divestment campaigns on campuses in the U.S. and worldwide (where such movements are a major and positive force).

All this could be part of more deeply cracking open the overall political-ideological terrain and atmosphere. What has seemed to be a horrific yet permanent situation may now be seen by many as breaking down, and not necessarily so permanent.

Israel is a key linchpin in the imperialist world order. So it is a big deal that the legitimacy and credibility of this whole sordid setup could end up being called into question for many, many more people by Israel’s more openly genocidal posture. And that “turn to the right” in Israel is one product of intensifying and intractable contradictions confronting global imperialism on many different fronts.

A Host of Conflicts and Contradictions

This intensified tension between the U.S. and Israel is happening when the U.S. rulers face a host of other contradictions at home and around the world. Among other challenges, instability and in some places chaos is spreading across the Middle East and North Africa where reactionary Islamic fundamentalists like ISIS have made big advances. Just this past week, the U.S. was forced to withdraw its military forces from Yemen. And this is all mixed in with growing challenges to U.S. global hegemony (domination) from rival oppressive powers including Russia and China. The “individual choices” made by political figures like Netanyahu interact with this complex and chaotic political landscape, again—in this case—with consequences yet to unfold and emerge.

They feud...but they share basic values

The Obama administration reacted very sharply to Netanyahu’s election victory, condemning his campaign positions and warning that the U.S. may now shift its position on Palestinian statehood in the UN—against Israeli wishes. In an interview with the Huffington Post (March 21, 2015), Obama warned that Netanyahu’s renunciation of the two-state solution was forcing the U.S. to “evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.” Intersecting with all these challenges to the U.S. empire and tensions with Israel are U.S. moves to integrate Iran into its networks of oppression in some form, and Israel’s adamant opposition to these moves (see “Missing from the ‘Debate’ over Iran: the Interests of Humanity!” at revcom.us). And there are real differences between Obama and Netanyahu over how to handle the Palestinian issue. All these conflicts boil down to disagreement over how—not whether!—to enforce domination of the peoples in the Middle East.

To be clear, the U.S. at this point is not “cutting off Israel.” Obama has made clear that the billions of dollars in U.S. aid that have made Israel the most powerful military in the region will still flow. But when possible forces of “chaos” have been released, neither Obama, nor Netanyahu, nor any single actor can predict everything they will and won’t do, all the consequences of their actions, or where things will go. Things are not under the control of any single force, as the recent eruption of U.S.-Israeli tensions, in response to the many contradictions each faces, shows.

The potential for upheaval in all this is heightened by the sharp conflicts between Obama (and those who support him) on the one hand, and the Republican Party on the other. The Republicans invited Netanyahu to address Congress and to criticize Obama’s effort to make an agreement with Iran over Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear power. It is virtually unprecedented for competing groups of rulers in the U.S. to invite a foreign leader into the middle of a conflict they are having over foreign policy! That they would do this shows, first, how high-stakes the disagreements over how best to dominate the Middle East are; and second, how these conflicts mix into a whole matrix of contradictions that these rulers have over how to “navigate” imperialist interests at a time of great upheaval and challenge.

In the face of these serious challenges, the U.S. and/or Israel may well feel compelled to make extreme moves that would bring even more death, destruction, and suffering to the region. The current situation is extremely ominous for the Palestinian people. It’s hard to imagine how—after decades of brutal military occupation and wars—things could get worse. Right now, to take one example, children in Gaza are still living in rubble from last summer’s Israeli blitzkrieg... and are freezing to death! Yet given the situation in Israel, occupied Palestine, and the region, Netanyahu’s election and repudiation of even a token Palestinian micro-state points toward even more openly genocidal atrocities being carried out by Israel.

It is crucial during this period that revolutionaries, as well as all people with a basic sense of justice, be alert to and take initiative to combat further Israeli or U.S. outrages. This is particularly true on the campuses, but out in the broader society as well: as the “5 Stops” palm card puts it, “STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation and Crimes Against Humanity!” The need to make that real will likely be very acute in the coming period.

But there is another level as well. None of the current “alternatives”—neither Western imperialism nor Islamic fundamentalism in any of their forms—can bring an end to the one of the greatest and most blatant crimes of the last 100 years: the ethnic cleansing, suppression, and genocide against the Palestinian people. Nor do any of the forces in the field—the U.S., the European powers, Russia or China, Iran, ISIS—have any answers to the horrors the people of the region as a whole are up against. They do not offer a way out for people.

There is a crying need to bring forward another way! The article “Missing from the ‘Debate’ over Iran: the Interests of Humanity!” makes the point that people in the Middle East and beyond “never stopped struggling against oppression. But what they lacked, or what they have lacked in sufficient strength, was a leadership that had a vision and strategy to unite all positive factors and really break through to bring forward societies that liberate people, with the aim of a world without oppression of any kind.” And that article points to the potential when there is that kind of leadership, that “represents the interests of the most oppressed and exploited people in society, those who, as a class of people, have no stake in any oppression. Such a force can bring forward and give full play to positive factors for revolution in a way no other can, including very importantly unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution. Such a force can unite very broadly, while continually focusing the struggle against the enforcers of exploitation and oppression.” The force that can play this role is a genuine revolutionary communist party based in Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. (To learn about and connect with Bob Avakian and the new synthesis, get into the material at revcom.us/avakian,) Imagine what a difference a party like that would make in the current situation, and in the range of possibilities that might arise.


* As a matter of policy, Israeli officials refuse to refer to Palestinian people who are survivors of the ethnic cleansing of their land as Palestinians. Instead, Israeli officials use the term “Arabs” (a more general ethnic category that includes Palestinians). This is a cultural and ideological component of Israel’s ongoing genocide—denying the existence of the Palestinian people.[back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/twelve-years-after-the-u-s-invasion-of-iraq-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

12 Years After the U.S. Invasion of Iraq—Legacy of Death, Torture, Displacement, and Horror

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Twelve years ago—on March 19-20, 2003—the U.S. invaded Iraq, overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime, and then occupied the country for the next eight and a half years. The Bush regime claimed the U.S. went to war to eliminate “weapons of mass destruction.” That was a bald-faced lie to justify a war for greater empire. Barack Obama said the U.S. military had given “Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future.” The reality is that the U.S. war and its aftermath have brought nothing but immense death, suffering, and horror to the people of Iraq.

U.S. Marines walk past bodies of people killed in the U.S. assault on Fallujah, Iraq, 2004.U.S. Marines walk past bodies of people killed in the U.S. assault on Fallujah, Iraq, 2004. AP photo.

Iraqis killed as a result of the U.S. war, directly or indirectly (due to destruction and disruption of war, including to water and power systems, health care, and food production): 655,000 according to a 2006 study by the British medical journal The Lancet. Current estimate of Iraqi deaths: 1.2 to 1.4 million. Iraqis injured: 4.2 million. (See warisacrime.org/iraq)

A house destroyed by a U.S. airstrike in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. Four houses were hit and five people seriously injured.A house destroyed by a U.S. airstrike in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. Four houses were hit and five people seriously injured. AP photo.

 

The U.S. war and occupation forced 4.5 million Iraqis from their homes.

A prisoner being abused in Abu Ghraib prison.A prisoner being abused in Abu Ghraib prison. AP photo

The U.S. military tortured and sexually degraded and abused thousands of Iraqi prisoners. At Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. troops stripped prisoners naked and terrorized them with dogs. No U.S. government or military official has been charged, much less convicted, for the torture they oversaw and commanded.

Far from “liberating” women, the U.S. war intensified the oppression of women in Iraq. Two million Iraqi women were widowed over the course of more than two decades of U.S. intervention, invasion, occupation, and U.S.--instigated wars, with many forced into prostitution. The U.S.-backed regime replaced the secular constitution with one based on Sharia (Islamic religious law) with separate, unequal status for women. There has been a rise in violence against women, including “honor killings” and forced veiling.

Screenshots from the Collateral Murder video, one of the documents Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was accused of leaking. The video shows American soldiers in an Apache helicopter in Baghdad, 2007, firing on and killing 12 Iraqi civilians.

One of the many war crimes carried out by U.S. troops was a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad when U.S. troops gunned down Iraqi civilians, journalists, and passers-by who tried to help the wounded and dying. The video of this massacre was one of the files that Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), a U.S. Army private, released to WikiLeaks. Manning was convicted in a military trial and outrageously sentenced to 35 years in prison for her courageous act.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/parents-of-disappeared-students-bring-struggle-to-the-u-s-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Mexican, U.S. Rulers Have Blood on Their Hands

Parents of Disappeared Students Bring Struggle to the U.S.

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 26, 2014, buses carrying students from the Ayotzinapa—a teacher training college in Mexico’s southwest state of Guerrero—were ambushed and fired upon by police. Three students and three passersby were shot dead and dozens wounded on the spot, and 43 students were taken away in patrol cars, never to be seen since. Protests have wracked Mexico ever since. (For the story of the massacre and background to the protests, see “Mexico Burns, U.S. Needs to Feel the Heat.”)

March 21, 2015: Ángel Neri de la Cruz, one of the survivors of the massacre of Ayotzinapa massacre of student activists in Mexico, speaks in Los Angeles.March 21, 2015: Ángel Neri de la Cruz, one of the Ayotzinapa students who survived the Guerrero massacre, speaks in Los Angeles.

In mid-March family members of 43 “disappeared”—along with two students who escaped this bloody massacre—began three caravans with stops in more than 40 major U.S. cities in over 20 states to tell their story and take their demands to an international audience, including the huge Mexican immigrant population in the U.S. The caravans plan to come together in Washington, DC, and then go to the UN in New York City.

The caravans are holding press conferences; speaking on college and high school campuses; and to groupings of people and organizations in the communities.

In Los Angeles, at a cultural and speaking event held at the headquarters of the United Teachers, Los Angeles, one of the surviving students—Ángel Neri de la Cruz, 19—told his story. On September 26, he was in one of several buses the students had commandeered—a usual practice—to get them back to their teachers college in Ayotzinapa, after fundraising in the city of Iguala. The police and other people attacked the buses—three students and three passersby were killed and 25 more were wounded. Ángel was able to escape; the police then turned 43 more students over to a local drug gang. They have never been heard from since that day.

One of the main demands of the caravana is for the continued investigation of the events of September 26 and since, and the return of the missing students. The Mexican government claims that the mayor of Iguala and his wife ordered the police to carry out this attack and that the surviving students were turned over to the gang Guerreros Unidos, which killed them, burned their bodies, and threw the remains in a river. The case is now declared closed. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto declared that it was time for the parents to “get over it”. However, the government’s case has always been fraught with wild contradictions, tortured witnesses, lies and coverups. Independent journalists have documented explicit involvement of the federal government on the night of the massacre and since, yet there has never been an official response to this investigation.

According to Caravana 43 organizers: “The main aim is to provide an international forum for the parents who have lost their children in a government of systemic violence and impunity. Anther important goal of the caravana is to shed light on U.S. foreign policy, specifically the Mérida Initiative and its connection to socioeconomic conditions and violence in Mexico.” The Mérida Initiative, also known as Plan México, has provided $2.3 billion to the Mexican military and police forces in the name of a war on drugs. Since the start of this U.S.-orchestrated drug war in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed, and over 25,000 disappeared. The Ayotzinapa solidarity movement has raised the demand for the U.S. government to “halt U.S. military support to Mexico.”

It is very significant that the caravana has focused on bringing the issue of the disappearance of the students to people in the U.S., and especially to students and youth. What is often overlooked (or deliberately covered up) in the criticism of the open corruption and repression by the Mexican government is that the U.S. imperialists are involved up to their necks in the funding and training of the Mexican security forces.

This caravana has just begun, and its events and programs are already drawing large crowds and getting media coverage. On the afternoon of March 22, people filled the streets in a march to the Mexican consulate in downtown Los Angeles. Organizers said that a March 20 event at Cal State Northridge attracted so many students a second session had to be arranged.

Another significant aspect of the caravana is that the participants and the parents of the disappeared students have insisted that the campaign is not connected to any political party in Mexico. Also, the caravaners are calling on Mexican citizens in the U.S. to not vote in the coming elections in Mexico. In fact, in Mexico, many people in the struggle for justice for the 43 students are calling to boycott elections in Mexico.

Hundreds of thousands of people from broad social sectors in Mexico have taken part in this struggle, and millions have been affected. It has given heart to people on the bottom of society, like the peasant and indigenous communities where these students are from, but also marginalized urban communities, where the combined violence of the armed thugs of the drug cartels and the security forces has been a secret scourge for many years. It’s urgent that people in the U.S. take this struggle up as their own. The demands of this caravana should be supported, and the exposure of the bloody hand of the U.S. should be deepened and spread. “That’s our blood down there!”

Stay tuned to revcom.us for ongoing coverage of the caravan and the struggle for justice for the 43 students.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/a-month-of-abuse-and-death-inflicted-on-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

A Month of Abuse and Death Inflicted on Immigrants

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Relentless exploitation and brutal repression of immigrants is built deeply right into this capitalist-imperialist system. The following are just some of the most outrageous examples of the deadly, life-strangling abuse inflicted on immigrants in the past month.

Rally for Antonio Zambrano-Montes, February 11.Erika Zambrano at a rally February 11, with photo of her husband, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was killed by police. AP photo

February 10: Antonio Zambrano-Montes, shot at 17 times, struck by five or six bullets, and killed by police in Pasco, Washington.

February 20: Ruben Garcia Villalpando, gunned down by police in Grapevine, Texas, after he had been pulled over for a supposed traffic violation. Both Zambrano-Montes and Villalpando were unarmed.

February 20: Some 2,000 men at the brutally run Willacy County Correctional Center in South Texas, near the Mexico border, rebelled against abusive, degrading, filthy, and inhumane conditions. To bring attention to their treatment, they set fire to two of the large tents that function as their barracks. Most of the prisoners were from areas far from South Texas, and most were there for nonviolent “crimes,” especially “illegal entry” to the U.S. The authorities responded in full force, shut down the prison, and scattered the inmates to other prisons across the country—they refuse to tell the prisoners’ families, friends, or attorneys where.

March 4: The U.S. Border Patrol reported that the bodies of 55 immigrants have been found in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas since October 2014. That does not include the 15 bodies of drowning victims pulled out of the Rio Grande River. The border these immigrants died trying to cross is one of the most heavily militarized patches of terrain in the world, all of it aimed at them.


Bob Avakian responds to reactionary fools who ask, "If this country is so terrible, why do people come here..." A clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk given in 2003.

Learn more about Bob Avakian here.

March 9: Over a few days in early March, 2,059 immigrants were arrested nationwide by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in “Operation Cross Check.” The people arrested are either being deported quickly or sent before a U.S. Attorney for further criminal charges, to be deported when they’ve finished their sentences. The Obama administration says the people arrested are the “worst of the worst.” In fact, most of those arrested had never been convicted or even charged with violent crimes; the most common charges were illegal entry into the U.S. and DUI.

Criminalizing immigrant, and immigration is a hallmark of the Obama administration. Being in this country without “papers” is not, in fact, a crime, and until the Obama years people arrested trying to cross the border were not charged with any criminal offense. But the real question is: Who are the real criminals? Desperate people impoverished by a system that has devastated and ransacked their homelands, or the overlords who profit from that system and their heavily armed and brutal military, police, and Border Patrol who enforce it? (See the video of Bob Avakian, “Why do people come here from all over the world?”)

All attacks on immigrants must stop—all sections of the people, immigrant and non-immigrant alike—need to build resistance to the attacks on immigrants as a key component of the massive outpourings on April 14.

STOP the Attacks

A protracted, bitter fight over how to respond to what the leaders of this system see as an “immigration crisis” has been underway in Washington. Neither Obama nor his Republican opponents are remotely concerned with the well-being of the masses of immigrants. Both sides want deepened repression and intensified government control of immigrants. But they differ over how best to go about it. (For more on this, read the Revolution article, “Obama’s Immigration Moves, and the Need for Increased Resistance.”)

Meanwhile, the machinery of repression is relentless; lives of immigrants continue to be destroyed by this system and its enforcers at the border, its immigration prisons, and murdering police. The lives of millions of people hang in the balance; people’s hopes are raised one week, only to be dashed the next.

But the rulers of this society have a big problem. There is no solution within their system to what they see as their “immigration problem.” In fact, this “problem” is deeply embedded in the system of capitalism-imperialism. This system needs an enormous number of heavily exploited immigrants to function properly and to yield profits to the capitalists.

In the past 20 years or so, that need of the capitalists has grown enormously. This is one of the main reasons that the immigrant population of the U.S. has soared, and has expanded beyond towns and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and in the Southwest. Places like De Queen, Arkansas, Dodge City, Kansas, Pasco, Washington, and dozens of others across the country have majority Latino populations now, most of these immigrants from Mexico and Central America and their children.

The more the system requires immigrants to maximize its overall profitability and functioning, the more capitalists and their enforcers are driven to repress all immigrants. The rulers of this system, represented by both Democrats and Republicans, fear immigrants because, as Revolution wrote last December, they can contribute to “potential dissolution of a U.S. social cohesion grounded in white supremacy, male supremacy, repression of immigrants, and ‘English Only.’ To put it another way, when it comes to immigrants, the capitalists ‘can’t live with ’em, can't live without ’em.’”

Determined resistance to the brutal police state assaults on immigrants needs to be an important component of the outpourings on April 14. Make plans now to mobilize immigrants and others to make April 1 a day of targeting the attacks on immigrants as part of building up to #ShutDownA14, as called for at the national meeting of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Let the Stop Mass Incarceration Network know what the plans are.

And on A14—everywhere, people need to act to STOP the Demonization, Criminalization, and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/interview-with-high-school-student-organizing-in-the-south-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Interview with High School Student Organizing in the South for #ShutDownA14

"It's so liberating because of the possibility of freedom and hope... I will be walking out A14!"

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is an interview conducted by revcom.us/Revolution with a high school student from the South who is taking responsibility for organizing students in her city to walk out as part of the nationwide Shut Down called for April 14. For a while, she was  the only person in her area to take up #ShutDownA14, but by working with the national Student and Youth Network of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and members of the Revolution Club in other cities and taking the call for #ShutDownA14 very broadly, she has been able to build growing momentum and plans for #ShutDownA14.

Revolution: Why are you acting on #ShutDownA14?

Student: First off, let me give you a little background on myself. I decided to act when the Ferguson police officer wasn’t indicted for Mike Brown’s killing. After that I was like, wow, I’m gonna travel to New York and I traveled to New York on a Greyhound. I got involved with a demonstration that I found online somewhere, and we began to march to Times Square, but I didn’t want it to end there. I didn’t understand why this young man’s life was stolen or taken away. I can just imagine this young man with his hands up saying, “Don’t shoot.”

Building for A14 in other parts of the country
#ShutDownA14

After, I got linked up with [the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the movement for revolution]. I got linked up with these people and they were very eager and happy to help me out. As I started doing more work with these people, they began to open up my eyes about other things I’ve always had questions about, but I just didn’t have the answers to. They told me books to read and gave me advice. It helped me see other things that I didn’t know were there because I always had the question: Why is there so much hate amongst my community? Why has my race been oppressed generations upon generations? Why these people—the police—killing? I was like NO this is very systematic on how this is all set up. And I looked back at the leaders like the Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, MLK and I compared and contrasted the way they work and honestly the system just continues to do this and it’s like they do this systematically and it’s much deeper. I decided that I wanted to do something about it, because I was needed to take a stand.

How could I continue to live like this?

Revolution: You’ve recently taken responsibility for mobilizing your campus, as well as students/youth across the country, for #ShutDownA14. Can you describe what that’s been like?

Student: It’s been fun. But, it’s like you run into things once you show that you’re really serious. You run into support and you run into people who previously supported you but no longer do—they become apprehensive because they can’t make sense of it or say maybe you shouldn’t walk out. I’ve run into support of people saying, “I want to read your newspaper [Revolution],” or, “I want to you in my debate team.” And they want to learn more...

It’s so liberating because of the possibility of freedom and hope. I love the possibility. It feels good to know that you’re so solid in these beliefs with these morals and ideas—you believe them so much and have so much concrete evidence that your character changes.

Banner #ShutDownA14
"We went to a thrift store and got a sheet, went to Daily Dollar and bought some spray paint and hung it on a cemetery fence by the freeway near my school. "

I’ve come up with PowerPoints (pictures/graphics), handed out stickers (with the #ShutDownA14 logo), created a sign-up sheet. I’m planning a fundraiser with some cupcakes. I did a banner drop “#ShutDownA14 End Police Brutality. End Police Murder” with three of my friends. We went to a thrift store and got a sheet, went to Daily Dollar and bought some spray paint and hung it on a cemetery fence by the freeway near my school. I’ve done five classroom presentations on an introduction to mass incarceration and passed out #ShutDownA14 stickers. It’s going to be vibrations like no other.

Students elsewhere in the country raise their voices calling for #ShutDownA14

Revolution: The full title for #ShutDownA14 is “Stop Business As Usual! We Will Not Go Back! No School! No Work! Say No More to the System Giving a Green Light to Killer Cops!” What do you think that day needs to look like specifically at high schools and college campuses?

Student:Specifically at high schools and college campuses we need to go to school and be there, including the students who usually ditch. Yes! I have a responsibility! I will be walking out! Wearing all black and shouting out the names of the people killed by the police. Have bands marching out! Letting them know what’s going on. That shit speaks volumes!

Revolution: You’re getting a shipment of one thousand stickers for #ShutDownA14. What do you plan to do with them? And, what are you calling on students to do on your campus?

Building for A14 in other parts of the country
#ShutDownA14

#ShutDownA14

Student: For my campus I’m going to gather everyone who said they’d like to join. I’m going to continue doing classroom presentations. I’m going to speak more to how this is a slow genocide as part of building for the shutdown. I will have a group meeting at my school on Wednesday. I’m going to post them randomly in different places, pass them out and have people say why they’re serious to act on what’s going on.

Revolution: You’ve participated in weekly student Stop Mass Incarceration conference calls. What has that been like? And, why should others join the conference call?

Student:The conference calls have been great, very conducive. They allow you to understand what’s going on in other areas of the country. I continue to join these conference calls because they are informative and give me more security—especially when you feel like backing out. They’re a sense of leadership and people who care about the same things I do. It will clarify things you weren’t so sure about. It gives ideas, you’re able to elaborate and reflect off the things you’ve come up with.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/speaking-to-a-college-class-about-shutdown-a-14-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

From Sunsara Taylor:

Speaking to a College Class about #ShutDownA14

March 21, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trailer for REVOLUTION & RELIGION

The other day I got to speak in a college African American Literature class of about 25 students.  They had previously watched the trailer to the upcoming film of Cornel West and Bob Avakian's historic Dialogue on Revolution and Religion to be premiered on March 28.  My plan was to build upon that, urging students to get tickets to be at Schomburg Center when the film premieres, and to win them to not only take part in – but to become organizers for – #ShutDownA14.

My presentation was straightforward:  Two important things are coming up, both of which are about how we get free.

Stolen Lives
Download PDF for printing; JPG for web

As I got into the importance of the upcoming film premiere, I unfolded the Revolution newspaper centerfold of the Stolen Lives – people killed by police.  Real people are being gunned down every single day by police, this is what BA and CW are talking about and grappling with how to end when they talk about revolution – this and so much more: the abuse and degradation of women, the destruction of the environment, the imperialist wars and torture, the round ups of immigrants, the putrid me-first culture and so much more.  It's a really big deal that Bob Avakian (BA) has developed a strategy to bring this system down, a vision and plan for a new system and society, and is actively leading a Party to prepare for this revolution.  And it is a profoundly special and historic thing to see him in deep engagement with Cornel West, a revolutionary Christian and courageous freedom fighter, over the most pressing questions of our time, including the role of religion in the fight for emancipation.  And for all this to be filled with love, mutual respect, humor, and an honest airing of real differences.  Students need to be in the house with others for this premiere.

Before speaking directly to April 14, I asked students to raise their hands if they'd been part of the protests last year against police murder.  About five did.  Next, I asked students who thought the protests had been righteous to raise their hands.  Nearly everyone did.  “It's very important that they stood up, isn't it?” I said, indicating the smaller number who had actually taken to the streets, “They were speaking for all of you, weren't they?”  The other students nodded their heads.  “And they were speaking for millions more.  We should really commend them, they did something that really made a huge difference – for those on the bottom who suffer this brutality every day, letting them know they are not alone... for those who didn't know or didn't want to know how bad this is, waking them up... and for people all over the world to see the reality of this country and the fact that people here would dare to stand up against the brutality of this state... this really mattered.”  I led the room in giving a round of applause to those who had protested.

The mood in the room shifted palpably.  People began to feel more together, and those who had protested sat up a little taller.  I asked them how it felt to be in the streets.  A young Black woman started, “It was so emotional.  I didn't know it would be that emotional and I didn't even notice how far I walked; I was just carried along by the energy.  There were so many different kinds of people there, too.  White people, old people, Black people... just a lot of diversity like I've never seen all together.”

A second Black woman chimed, “Remember the big protest of the Christmas tree lighting?  I was at that.  Actually, I had gone to the lighting... but when the protest came up I thought 'that is so much better' so I went with them.  I had never done that before and then I was in the street yelling.”  Not long after that, she took part in a speak-out on her campus, “I didn't even know I had anything to say but I went up and all this passion came out of me,” she put both hands on her heart and expressed surprise, “I didn't even know it was in there.”

In a real way, some of the same dynamic she was describing from the speak-out was taking hold in the room.  People had looked around and seen how many others felt the same way they did, and each person who spoke seemed to draw from and add to the strength and determination of others.  People talked about the deep impact the protests had had on them and, throughout, people kept staring at and referencing the Stolen Lives centerfold (which I held up throughout the entire discussion).

A young Latina said, “My heart breaks when I look at that poster. My brothers, my father look like those people.  My friends do. That could be me.”  Another young Black woman said, referencing some of my remarks, “I never heard anyone call it genocide before, but it's true. Wow. How long before they just line us all up and shoot us?”

After one student talked about having protested the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin, I interjected, “People are always being told that what they do doesn't make a difference, but she protested for Trayvon and I firmly believe that had thousands of people not stood up for Trayvon the way she did, it is very unlikely that the defiance and outpourings in Ferguson and nationwide would have been so powerful and they wouldn't have spread so far.  Now, we have to build on all of that and take things even further!”

The professor was clearly moved by the discussion unfolding and indicated that he would give us substantially more time than we had planned for, so we drew out more questions and got students wrestling with each other over both the tremendous importance of fighting back right now and the importance of getting tickets to and learning from BA and CW so that our fight can actually succeed in putting an end to all this madness and oppression.

Folks raised questions about communism, the strategy for revolution, the culture, and more.  With each question I would give a brief indication of an answer, but mainly appreciate and deepen the question and bring alive the importance of hearing BA and CW get into those questions and more.  As part of responding to apprehension several folks raised about communism, I paraphrased BA from the Dialogue saying that learning about communism in this society – including even in so-called progressive academia – is a lot like learning the history of slavery and the Civil War from Confederate leaders or from something like Gone With the Wind.  Students laughed in recognition of the analogy and we dug into this a bit.

Another big question that emerged powerfully was whether it is really possible to bring about real and lasting liberation.  “This system has been destroying Black people for so long, hundreds of years, it’s hard to believe that if we fight we can do any better than people before us.  It seems like it's going to take hundreds more years to stop it.”

We spent some time getting into the fact that this system is actually facing enormous challenges right now and vulnerability – internationally it is facing major challenges to its global domination and within the country there are major fault lines that could open up even wider around the role of women, the war on immigrants, the destruction of the environment, and most profoundly their very program of genocide, mass incarceration and police murder against Black and Brown people.  The question is a) whether people will stand up and push on these contradictions – in particular the question right now of police murder – and through doing so prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the leadership and organization for an actual revolution, and b) whether we will take advantage of the tremendous advances that have been made by BA and the Revolutionary Communist Party he leads which actually has a strategy so we can win.  This is something that even the best of previous generations of freedom fighters did not yet have and it can make all the difference.  Again, the tremendous importance of both of the big events coming up – and the way they can strengthen each other.

Throughout all of this, and the broader discussion that unfolded, I was very mindful of the clock.  It was essential to save enough time to concretely organize people to act – even as this had been a theme throughout every aspect of the discussion.

I returned us to the current crossroads and raised the Stolen Lives poster up higher: “Even after all the protests... all the arrests... all the investigations that went nowhere... the police are still killing Black and Brown youth in every city and town of America – and getting away with it!  We have to take the resistance to a whole higher level, shutting down all of business as usual and bringing America to a halt.  The day to do that is A14.”  I asked them, “Who here knows that what I am saying is true?”

Most people raised their hands.  I told them to look around, to really take in how many others felt as they did.  Then I made the point that history is not made by general sentiment, there have to be those who are willing to lead.  There have to be some students in this room right now who step forward and say we will make this happen.  “Who is willing to do that?”

Six students kept their hands in the air.  A couple did so boldly, most of them were more timid.  “You are going to have to do better than that,” the students all laughed as I said this.  “Put your hands up like you mean it, like you are proud.  You should be proud for taking this stand.  Lives depend on it!”  They raised their hands more firmly and again I led the room to give them a round of applause.  I also told them to look around, they were going to have to get to know each other and work together.  Then, I asked a young woman who had been most vocal to get everyone else's phone number and to agree to call them all up and organize them.  In this way, they each not only made a personal pledge to take up this organizing, but they did so in front of each other – making a collective commitment and feeling the collective backing.

We got the names and numbers and emails for everyone who was interested in coming to the premiere as well as everyone who was interested in A14 and the revolution more broadly, and concluded with a final challenge.  As Cornel West said in the film trailer, “We are living in a unique historical moment.”  A lot of people in this room know some things about what is right and wrong right now, in this age of genocide and police murder.  But what people in this room decide to do – what they decide to learn about and fight for and what they decide to act on and mobilize others around – will make all the difference.  We have a tremendous resource in the leadership and experience of BA and the RCP and the broader movement for revolution, and we will be there for you.  Our website www.revcom.us is an incredible resource you should go to every day and we will be out here fighting alongside you with everything we've got.  But history is hinging right now on whether new people, including especially students and young people, step forward and take responsibility for all of this together with us.  Don't be someone who sits back and just lets all this horror happen, be part of standing up and doing something truly heroic, something that will truly matter.  Be part of these two big things coming up and then, in just a month, let's look out and see the even greater possibilities – the even greater strength and unity and understanding of the people, the even greater illegitimacy of the system in the eyes of millions, the even greater prospects for an actual revolution – that we have carved out together.  And then, let’s go from there. 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/people-must-be-inspired-mobilized-organized-urgently-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

People Must Be Inspired, Mobilized and Organized, Urgently, for #ShutDownA14!

March 21, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us/Revolution has put out three reasons why EVERYONE who cannot tolerate the epidemic of murder by police should take part in massive actions all over the country set for April 14—actions that have been called to shut things down all over the country, bringing the “normal operation” of things to a halt through mass political mobilization and action:

These actions will make it absolutely clear that these unpunished murders by police must STOP—and that the whole genocidal agenda that they are part of must be reversed!

These actions will let the world know that this is not just a problem in Ferguson, Missouri, or Madison or Oakland or any of the other places in the headlines day after day. These actions will make clear that this is the reality of America. That this is not a few bad apples or bad departments, this is systemic! And it will be fought that way.

Most of all: these actions will sound a loud call to millions, here and around the world, that there are people determined to STOP this... It will make it clear that there are people—and there is a movement—determined to fight for a future where our youth are not cast off, locked down, warehoused, routinely abused and even murdered—a future where they can instead live with their humanity fully recognized. A movement determined to call on, inspire, and organize many, many others to join in this battle. These actions will say to the millions now agonizing to come out and be part of changing the future!

On college campuses this means that on April 14, the whole campus must be confronted with this reality, it means that this is the topic that students and faculty are debating and being compelled to say where they stand. No business as usual. This might be through sit-ins, die-ins, classes canceled, walking out en masse—there are many forms this can take. Then students would join with others in their area to impact society as a whole.

For this to happen, revolutionaries and freedom fighters everywhere must wage a systematic and concerted fight to organize people and to bring forward waves of new leaders who will also take responsibility for organizing others.

Here is a plan for how we can do this:

1. Real Saturation with #ShutDownA14

A14 Shut It Down

Read more

#ShutDownA14 must become known everywhere! We need to truly saturate the campuses with word of this—literally tens of thousands of palm cards on a single major university, hundreds of posters, thousands of stickers announcing the day. The goal of this is not merely to let people know about #ShutDownA14, but to make a powerful statement through the sheer volume and tenacity of the efforts to promote this day. The aim should be to create a situation where both the call for #ShutDownA14 and the tremendous amount of determined and creative promotion of #ShutDownA14 become a widespread topic of conversation. This is not only a great way to meet tons of new people, but it is also a great way to involve new people. One of the easiest and most valuable first steps that students and others can take is to slide a flier under every door in their dorm, make “table tents” for the cafeteria tables, hang posters, and spread the word through social media. And, the more this is seen everywhere—and especially the more that hundreds of students are taking up and wearing the stickers themselves and seeing their peers spread this on social media—the more emboldened and less alone those who truly want to Shut It Down will be.

2. People Must Be Compelled to Confront the True Stakes of the Epidemic of Police Murder

Stolen Lives
Download PDF for printing; JPG for web

In broad outreach and in talking with folks we have met in recent months, we must put before people the full scope and horror of the epidemic of police murder and brutality in ways that compel them to feel the need to act.

Even if you are talking to someone you met at a protest, or someone who considers themselves “in the know” about this—take a minute to get them to really live inside the magnitude and scale of the problem. The Stolen Lives poster (PDF for printing; JPG for web) does this. Get these out and get these up, everywhere. They speak very powerfully for themselves.

3 reasons to take part in A14Download 8 1/2 x 11 flyer (PDF)

3. People Need to Know that Their Actions Will Count

Everyone should see the three reasons we started this out with. Print out the PDF of this and get it around. Students, and middle-class people generally, need to hear from people on the bottom how much their actions mean to them—get out the letter from the former prisoner to let them know. People on the bottom have to understand the powerful role that they can play—make sure that they see this letter.

4. Everyone Who Has Expressed Interest Must Be Systematically Reached, Challenged, and Organized!

On this foundation of confronting the real stakes, set the bar where it needs to be—an actual Shutdown on April 14—and challenge and organize students to take responsibility for organizing this on their campus.

Statement of Conscience from Carl Dix & Cornel West: The Horror of Cops Getting Away With Killing Again and Again Must STOP!
(PDF)

It’s great that a lot of people respond positively to hearing about #ShutDownA14, but right now what is urgently needed is for individuals and clusters of people to step forward and take responsibility for shutting down their campuses on A14. They have to not only decide to act themselves, but dare to lead and organize hundreds—and even thousands—of others. They need to pull together a crew that can work together, plan their actions for their campus, and then reach out to all those they can reach to get involved. We must work to give people the understanding, confidence, the concrete steps, and yes—the push—they need to rise to this historic challenge. And very quickly we need to win students to step forward to do this on dozens of campuses—and soon hundreds of campuses—around the country.

Without this, the broad sentiment that exists will not be galvanized. Instead, the moment will pass, these positive sentiments will be submerged once again in despair and apathy, and the police will go on killing and killing and killing, and the rivers of tears of Black and brown parents will continue to flow.

In doing this, it is important to systematically call everyone who has been met in the last six months. On the basis of bringing alive the true stakes, people must be given concrete ways to organize for #ShutDownA14. People should be directly asked, “What are you going to do to make Shut It Down on A14 happen?” People should be given stacks of stickers, posters, and palm cards on the spot so they can begin reaching out. And they should be able to stay in touch with others who are organizing for A14.

5. Students Who Step Forward Must Be Connected with Others Fighting for #ShutDownA14 and Given Ongoing Support and Leadership

Students raise their voices calling for #ShutDownA14

When students and other young people step forward and express the desire to fight for #ShutDownA14, they need to be given the leadership and collectivity they need to follow through. This includes everything from having thousands of palm cards, stickers, and posters, to having someone to call when they run into questions they can’t answer, to having real collectivity with other students who are also stepping forward in new ways to change history on #ShutDownA14.

In a moment like this, one or two determined students can lead something truly monumental, but they cannot do it all alone. They need to see on social media photos and YouTubes of others their age across the country who are fighting for the same thing. They need to see experiences summed up on www.revcom.us as well as polemics that take on all the different things they will be hit with. They need to be able to go to the Stop Mass Incarceration website to find materials, to see what’s going on and what is planned, and to join into all this. They need to be getting into the bigger questions of where all this oppression comes from and what it will take to end it for good. And they need to have the ways to connect with—and learn from and enrich—others like them who are stepping up on other campuses.

In addition to revcom.us and and stopmassincarcertion.net, one important form for people to connect with each other around the country and take collective responsibility for #ShutDownA14 is the national student and youth organizers’ Stop Mass Incarceration #ShutDownA14 conference calls. (Read an interview with a student who has been organizing at her school and taking part in the national conference calls.) Students everywhere who are stepping forward to be part of making #ShutDownA14 a success need to be mobilized to take part in these conference calls, every Friday afternoon, 2:30 p.m. PDT/4:30 p.m. CST/5:30 p.m. EDT. (Email studentsyouthsmin@gmail.com for call-in details).

6. Last but not least, learn—and talk with others—about the roots of police murder of Black and Latino people, what must be done to end it, the different questions and controversies in the movement, and what this has to do with all the different forms of oppression and the struggles against them throughout the world.

This website—revcom.us—is a rich resource for analysis and discussion of WHY these outrages go on and what can be done about it. It’s also a place where big debates in the movement against murder by police and mass incarceration are gotten into, and where people analyze their experience in building this movement. For starters, check out the film clip from the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian over why these outrages keep happening, how they should be confronted, and what must be done.

 


 

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

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Revolution & Religion March 28 Premiere

Trailer for

REVOLUTION & RELIGION

Clip From the Film:
"Why are we still fighting
for justice in 2015?"


Clip From the Film:
"What if?...."

Excerpts from an interview with Ardea Skybreak: On Attending the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West

"It was like there was magic in the air. It was one of the most hopeful things that I've seen in a very long time. I think it was historic in many different dimensions: in terms of the topic that was approached; the people who were involved in it, the two speakers; the moment in time. I felt like I was able to see a great demonstration of morality and conscience applied to dealing with the problems of humanity—that both speakers stood out this way."

Read more

Andy Zee & Annie Day on The Michael Slate Show

LISTEN HERE

On March 27, 2015, The Michael Slate Show will air this interview with Andy Zee, of Revolution Books and the co-director of the upcoming film, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Film of the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian and Annie Day, of The Bob Avakian Institute who also co-produced the film.  They discuss the historic significance of this film and give a flavor of why people should come out across the country to theatrical premieres this Saturday, March 28 or watch it online at revcom.us.

“How Soon Could This Revolution Happen?”
Watching Clips from the New Film of the Dialogue and Reading the Interview with Ardea Skybreak

Read more

A QUESTION:
"Why, if I was at the Dialogue, or saw the Simulcast, should I go to the Premiere?"

Read more

DONATE

Read more

Campus Reports

» Students, Basic People, and the Revolution Club Mix It Up About "Why Are We Still Fighting for Justice in 2015"—Watching and Wrangling Over Excerpts of Revolution and Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian Read more

» University Screening in the Midwest Read more

» Opening Up Big Questions: Watching the Film at UC Berkeley of the Cornel West-Bob Avakian Dialogue Read more


Conclusion of the Opening Presentation
by Bob Avakian

Read more

Serious About Making an Actual Revolution
by Bob Avakian

Read more

 


 

Questions from People at the Dialogue

The Dialogue audience was invited to write questions for the speakers. More than 200 questions were submitted. Here are two questions that Bob Avakian and Cornel West addressed—see more at "Questions from People."

"For many Black and Brown people who believe in Jesus Christ and rely on him for salvation, how do they square their religious faith, or can they square their religious faith, with a revolutionary mindset that does not look to heaven to fix problems on Earth, because many will not give up their God?"

"How in this world are we, the oppressed, to accomplish true revolution peacefully, when in reality, the powers-that-be have all the artillery to kill, while all we have are our voices and our fists? How do we compete? There's no 'win' in this picture for the oppressed, as I can see. Please shed some light on this."

Read more

More Key Pieces on the Dialogue:

Getting Ready for the Online Launch and Premiere Screenings of the new film of "Revolution and Religion..."

Read more

Making the Absolute Most Out of an Incredible Dialogue

Read more

Transgression and Convergence, Infectious Chemistry and Serious Urgency:

Reflections on the Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian

Read more

 


What People Are Saying:

Below and to the right are comments about the Dialogue sent to revcom.us. See more comments at "What People Said at the Dialogue." Send comments and thoughts to revolution.reports@yahoo.com. While we cannot post all comments, all of them are appreciated and forwarded to the Dialogue organizers.

 

Cornel West and Bob Avakian came together and can work together and fight against injustice, mass genocide and racial profiling against young Black men.  They have their differences, but they can work together.  I joined the Black Panther Party in 1968.  We used to patrol the police who were harassing people.  I was with Bobby Hutton when he was murdered by the police. You still have exploitation and being discriminated against today.  It's still going on.  I saw the trailer for the film and I want to see the rest of the film. 

Terry Cotton, Black Panther Alumni

“We Need a Way Out!”

A small group of women who were formerly homeless and had lived on “Skid Row” in LA came together to watch the Trailer and the new clip,  “Why Are We Still Fighting For Justice in 2015?.” This area is where the LAPD recently murdered Africa, an unarmed Black man, captured on video and seen on YouTube by 7 million people in the day after the brutal, cowardly murder. Two of them had never seen the Dialogue, nor heard either of the speakers before. They huddled around a smart phone to watch the Trailer and the clip—and were captivated by what they heard. Afterward they said:

They are both telling the truth. People from Skid Row need to hear this. I want to see the whole thing... In Skid Row you feel so trapped. People think of people there as drug addicts, but most people there are just down on their luck. There’s professionals there, intellectuals, women escaping abuse, people come from all over the country because they think California is better, but end up on Skid Row. They are coming for a better life, but get treated like animals. How can people get out of this madness? You are in a hole and you keep trying to get out, but the system keeps dragging you down. We need a way out!” The women made plans to saturate Skid Row and the more gentrified nearby downtown area with postcards and posters for the Dialogue Film Premiere.

“People Were Feeling It.”

...People the system says are the worst of the worst can change and be part of this. If you don’t get that part you are missing a big part of what BA’s speech is about.

When BA talked about how the world could be different in the “What If...” part of the speech, almost everybody in that section was in tears, including me. People were feeling it.

(Former Prisoner Who Attended
the Dialogue)
Read entire comments

This was two people bringing their ‘A game’...

Challenge yourself, think about revolution, hear what two revolutionary thinkers are thinking in late 2014, what their thoughts are about revolution and building a post-capitalist society, and then challenge yourself to think you can get there any other way...

...Bob Avakian [is] probably familiar in talking about revolution and for taking the side of it, and you throw in religion, and obviously someone who’s a very declared atheist throughout his career, and then when religion is tossed on the table, along with revolution, it really becomes revolution and the condition of man. So there’s a deep philosophical component to this. And then the inverse of that is true. Cornel West having to respond in the same manner—deeply philosophically, but also the social critique and the vision of the future from Cornel West.

(Alan Minsky, Interim Program Director, KPFK Radio in Los Angeles)
(see full interview)

What I learned from the Dialogue is that we can change this whole damn system that’s guilty as hell. We certainly and most seriously need a revolution so our Black and Latino kids can rise up and be a part of our country instead of ending up dead or locked up because they are separating our families.

(Woman from Ferguson, Missouri who attended the Dialogue)

Right out of the gate, boom, BA went after religion! I thought, Oh no, he’s going to go there... I really respect him because he is not going to compromise, and I can see why Cornel really respects him, too. I can’t say I agree with all of what he says, but this guy is really honest.

(Latino professor)

“Prophetic elders with breadth, stature and conviction.”

It was great and very powerful. I want to highlight both of them, Cornel West and Bob Avakian. They were able to agree and disagree. They are both prophetic elders and I got a sense of their breadth and stature and conviction and how that all meshes with what’s happening, particularly to what’s happening in light of the nationwide protest that jumped off in the wake of Ferguson.

(Activist/Writer/Poet, after viewing the Trailer for the film)

One guy we met said that just talking about all the murders by police gets him angry, but that he would check out the revolution and donated $14. Then we showed him the trailer. Half-way through watching the trailer, he pulled out $40 and bought 2 tickets. He said that with all the divisions among the people, he was struck by the unity and level of discussion between CW and BA.

( BA Everywhere organizer on showing the Trailer on the street)

They [BA and Cornel West, at the Dialogue] said it’s always the Black people that get killed for no reason. What surprised me? Knowing that it’s always us—like my brother who was killed by police. You shoulda came because it gives you all the information about WHY most of our black people are getting killed for no reason.

(Twelve-year-old Black youth from Chicago who attended the Dialogue)

It was so beautiful how BA and Cornel West talked about the music in the 1960s. How BA got into the influence of the movements among the people that helped create different music, and how what is happening now in society can influence the culture too, like the people beginning to stand up in Ferguson inspired the J. Cole song. People think communism would be boring or stale—but why would it be? What people get enjoyment out of now mostly just sucks! In a new society you wouldn’t have your escapism, your ‘real housewives,’ this dumb shit and gossip that we get sucked into. But BA is funny! That Ussain Bolt stuff that BA said during the Dialogue, we were cracking up! You need to laugh, you need to have heart and soul.

(Artist who attended the Dialogue)

The Bus Ride Home—Filled with the Spirit of the Dialogue: “I wish life could be like this experience on this bus all the time...”

(Read full article)

“Science and a Game Plan for Revolution.” In the interview on revcom.us with Ardea Skybreak, who is a scientist, she is talking about BA, the revolutionary communist leader, as a scientist at the top of his field. This really means retraining how we think. We’re taught that science is just ‘chemistry’ and so on. I never would have considered becoming a ‘scientist.’ I missed that boat! But pushing myself to be a scientist now, has to do with how you look at the world and analyze it. This is a great thing about working with the Party [the Revolutionary Communist Party, which BA leads]. There’s a game plan for revolution, you work together and sum up what you accomplished and what people said. You’re learning from the standpoint of that game plan.

(Artist who attended the Dialogue)

“The role of today’s Democratic Party seems to be a stumbling point for some...”

I am overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, I am just coming to understand that my vote is not going to bring the change we need and that the current cast of characters is actually part of the problem, not the solution. My impressions reflect my point in a personal journey; I know that others in Riverside Church had their own experiences. I know that as time passes I will think of other points and consider other ideas. But the importance of this moment will always stay with me. Rather than being a single, isolated voter alone in a little booth I was one of hundreds, gathered from across the country, together to share questions, concerns, and ideas. Being together and sharing the possibilities is so much better than being alone and in the dark. That is probably the most important thing I took away from this experience.

(Woman who flew in to New York for the Dialogue, from a longer piece)

 

First Impressions of the PREMIERE of
the New Film of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion;
A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

A correspondence from Andy Zee, co-director of the film

April 6, 2015

“This film brought an awareness that we do need an actual change....” A young Latino brother echoed what was felt by audiences across the country who came to the March 28 premieres of the new film of the historic Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian that took place last November at Riverside Church in New York City. Wherever you were coming from, whatever experience you have had with what this system does to people every day, whether this was your first encounter with the revolution or you’ve been fighting to get rid of this system your whole life, you came away from seeing REVOLUTION AND RELIGION feeling this brother’s sentiment.

In this correspondence, I am going to share some of my own and others’ first impressions. I urge everyone to watch, dig into, promote, and raise funds so that many more can experience and be moved by what Bob Avakian and Cornel West did on November 15, 2014.

Seeing the film on the big screen was special. Look, there was nothing like the excitement of being at Riverside with 1,900 people “live,” experiencing Bob Avakian and Cornel West together on this topic—I won’t ever forget it—being a part of something really historic.

Yet, watching this on film is just a different experience: profound and provocative. I found myself drawn deeply into their insights, their arguments, how they related to each other and engaged and struggled with the audience, the different methods by which they analyzed and approached big questions. I found myself learning more and anew. The film brings you up close inside Cornel West’s and Bob Avakian’s presentations and exchange: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice—pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity.

I attended the New York City premiere at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It was fitting that this film was welcomed and debuted at this beautiful institution that resonates with the history of Black people. Watching the film on the big screen at the Schomburg—a screen that must be 40 feet across and 20 feet high with big, rich sound—was new for me after months of being a part of editing the film on small monitors!

BA and Cornel West really are two courageous moral voices of this moment. They hold and fill the big screen. The topic, Revolution and Religion, is huge: The fight for the emancipation of humanity and, in that context, looking at religion, which holds sway over much of humanity, especially the oppressed of the world, is an urgent question that demands and holds attention. But the dynamism and passion of both BA and CW, their humor and substance, their concern and struggle for the future of humanity, amplify and resonate in a special way through the film. Whether watching in a dark theater or up close on computer, TV, or smartphone, the film brings you into a personal experience with “Cornel and Bob,” so much so that afterward people who had never met either of them came up to me speaking of them by their first names as if they were life-long friends!

Read more

SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

1. SPREAD the TRAILER and new preview excerpt of the film everywhere online.

2. TWEET and RETWEET. Spread the hashtag: #M28CornelAndBAfilm. Retweet from @RevBooksNYC (Revolution Books NYC, co producer of the Dialogue film).

3. JOIN the Facebook event page and INVITE all your friends. There is one Facebook event page for the nationwide film launch at Dialogue Facebook event.

4. In everything you do online, send people to www.revcom.us.

Bob Avakian, "BA," has developed a new synthesis of communism that opens up the possibility of a radically new world through revolution. BA Everywhere is a national fundraising campaign to make BA's work and leadership known in every corner of society.

Go to: BA Everywhere

Watching clips from the film


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/become-a-sustainer-of-revcom-us-today-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

BECOME A SUSTAINER OF REVCOM.US TODAY
YOUR SUPPORT IS URGENTLY NEEDED!

March 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

WWW.REVCOM.US is visited every month by tens of thousands of people from the U.S. and countries all over the world.

REVCOM.US is the place that these tens of thousands can be exposed to and find out about the REAL revolution, where they can hear the voice and find the writings of Bob Avakian (BA), the foremost revolutionary communist leader alive today.

It’s the way that people here and all over the world who are hungering for a way out of this madness can learn about and dig into Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communist revolution, which opens up a whole new pathway for humanity to break free of the nightmare of capitalism-imperialism and advance to a world without exploitation and oppression.

Having a website like this is absolutely indispensable to any effort to actually seize on the events of the day to influence the thinking of millions of people with a radical analysis and revolutionary perspective, to expose the brutal and bankrupt nature of the system we live under and what it does to the people of the world, and to bring alive in a powerful and compelling way why humanity absolutely does not need to live this way.

Through all this and much more, REVCOM.US acts as the hub and the pivot of a whole movement for revolution that is being built right here in the U.S., preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard to get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for an actual all-out revolution with a real chance to win.

There is simply no other place on the Internet like REVCOM.US. And that’s why it needs generous ongoing financial support from you, its readers and supporters.

You can turn on your computer anytime, click on REVCOM.US, and connect to the revolution. BUT PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING REVCOM.US IS NOT FREE. It costs thousands of dollars every month to produce, publish, and maintain REVCOM.US, and we rely on support from readers.

For years REVCOM.US has been building up a network of sustainers for its print edition, Revolution. This network urgently needs to be strengthened and expanded, but the funds coming in this way are simply not adequate to support all that Revolution and REVCOM.US together are doing in the world. Presenting a complex, attractive website with good and timely reporting, lots of photos, videos and graphics, and many layers and portals into the different aspects of building the movement for revolution requires way more than just covering the cost of producing the print edition.

This is why we are making a particular appeal to the readers and followers of the website to sign up TODAY to become sustainers to enable REVCOM.US to pay its bills, to be maintained and to expand.

There are many different ways that you can support REVCOM.US:

Think about what a difference it makes at this juncture to have such a website—think about all that is opened up and all that becomes possible when a site like this exists for the people of the world!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/i-can-t-breathe-at-nyc-armory-art-show-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

"I Can't Breathe" at NYC Armory Art Show

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Saturday, March 7—The 2015 Armory Show in New York City, one of the world's most prestigious art fairs/markets, was targeted by Artists for Justice NYC, who brought to the fair the reality of the police brutality and murder of Black people and the racism in America by way of a bold, unauthorized performance to what they identified as an audience that would be far more supportive if they were aware. A very appreciative crowd of fair-goers gathered, popping off photos and videos to social media while performers recited the last words of Eric Garner as he was choked to death by an NYPD officer last July, sang, and staged a dramatic die-in. Even as the audience showed their love, security ejected the artists. But the word was out.

Protest at 2015 Armory Art Show
Photo: Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/blow-the-whistle-day-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Blow the Whistle Day

Updated March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

East Oakland: Blow the Whistle!

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network put out a call: "Blow The Whistle On Brutal, Murdering Cops! Mobilize For A Day Of Blowing The Whistle On Brutal, Murdering Cops On March 14." In response, actions were held in New York, Los Angeles and other cities around the country. Many hundreds of whistles were passed out for people to use: When you see the police harass and brutalize one of our brothers or sisters, Blow the Whistle! Alert the community and the police that we are not going to tolerate this brutality and murder.

The following are reports, correspondences, and photos we've received from some of what happened on March 14 at Blow the Whistle Day.

Chicago: Still cold but some signs of spring on Blow the Whistle Day

From a reader:

The cold weather is keeping people indoors too long into March! But what happened in one community on the south side of Chicago is a sign of the times. This is a park where the Revolution Club in Chicago has done work before. Earlier in the week the revolutionaries got out whistles and a little flyer—on one side it explained about blowing the whistle on police brutality and April 14—Shut It Down. On the other side is a call for all different street organizations (sets, gangs), Latino and Black, to put their guns down for A14. A young man who hangs in the park and is now running with the Revolution Club went back the day before Blow the Whistle Day and reported that the stickers were up and people were wearing their whistles still.

On Blow the Whistle Day, there were not many people out in the park. So they decided to do the skit—one person donned an ugly pig mask and grabbed a young Black female member of the Revolution Club. Others started blowing the whistle. Now here is the COOL part. People came out and stopped their cars and got out. Some of these people did NOT know there was a skit being acted out—they heard the whistles and came out AND they were blowing their whistles. Exactly what they need to do when a PIG messes with someone.

In this neighborhood people say, "I get it. We should organize ourselves to do this. We are calling the community on the police." An 11-year-old reported she blew the whistle on the police and the police threatened her and took her whistle. (The Revolution Club is going to ask First Defense—a legal organization that goes to the jail whenever it is called for anyone arrested for any reason—to put up a billboard near this park, something they do as part of their project. This way everyone will know who to call if the police mess with them for blowing the whistle.)

There was a group of women from Indiana who gave their contact information and filmed the skit.

Driving around later in the day in a decorated van, the Revolution Club spotted a basketball court full of Black and Latino kids, which is unusual given the segregation in Chicago. The game stopped as everyone listened to two young members from the Revolution Club. The crowd put on the whistles. The youth were taking pictures of the decorated van and were really interested in what this was all about. The van drove off to the sound of whistles.

Another really good suggestion from a Revolution Club member: always have clipboards to sign people up. We need them to do this better but also he stressed that even HAVING A VISIBLE CLIPBOARD tells people that we are there to "sign people up"—we are serious.

Atlanta: Outpouring of Sadness, Rage, and Defiance

From the Revolution Club, Atlanta:

Between 100 to 150 demonstrators gathered at the Chamblee Heights Apartments in front of the memorial for Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Black man shot and killed by a white cop in DeKalb County (in Metro-Atlanta).

Members of the Atlanta Revolution Club and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network visited the neighborhood the day after Tony's murder and led an impromptu march through the neighborhood with dozens of residents. Afterwards, residents and organizers made plans for March 14.

Atlanta, March 14

Atlanta, March 14

Atlanta, March 14 Photos: Special to revcom.us

March 14 was an incredible outpouring of sadness, rage, and defiance against the endless murder of OUR youth. The crowd was multinational and multigenerational. This was very significant. Tony was one of the few Black residents in the mostly Latino neighborhood, but he was loved by everyone and that was evident on March 14.

News cameras gathered as we marched through the complex and into the main road outside of the complex. We chanted in both English and Spanish. The people were on fire and unafraid. The Stolen Lives banner led the march right behind a group of middle-school-age skateboarders. Kids and parents carried signs with pictures of Anthony Hill as people blew their whistles at the growing numbers of police arriving on the scene.

For nearly two hours, we blocked all six lanes of traffic as police tailed along both in cars and eventually a helicopter. As the march headed back toward the apartment complex where it was planned to come to a close, police swarmed in, yelling at people to get on the sidewalk. Within seconds, the cops grabbed a young Black woman with the Revolution Club. The crowd started blowing their whistles loudly and yelling "Let her go!" More and more people came into the streets as the cops continued to shove, tackle, and handcuff demonstrators. They arrested seven people, which included several members of the Revolution Club, a 14-year-old girl who was friends with Tony, and her mother, who is currently caring for a newborn baby. All were charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction and were released on bond within 24 hours.

According to residents, since the protest, police and investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (who were assigned to investigate after the officer shot Anthony) have been going door to door asking questions, confiscating cell phones, and creating a general climate of fear amongst the mostly immigrant community. Despite the police effort to intimidate the people, many who we have spoken to (especially the youth) say they are ready to SHUT IT DOWN on April 14.

See local news report on the March 14 action.

Harlem, New York City

From readers:

New York City, Blow the Whistle Day
Blow the Whistle Day in Harlem, New York City, March 14. Photo: Special to revcom.us

"They kill us!—so fuck these cops!—blow the whistle!—right here it stops!" That chant rang off the walls of West Harlem on Saturday afternoon. It was raining, but the NYC Revolution Club and others went through the streets of Harlem, blowing the whistle on police and getting out stickers, fliers, posters, and whistles, and signing people up to get organized for April 14 Shutdown Day and to retake the offensive against police murder. 

There was no mistaking what this was about. We carried a huge poster saying “STOP MURDER BY POLICE!” with the images of 44 victims of police violence, and a bright yellow banner saying “Harlem Is Ferguson; Ferguson Is Everywhere; The Whole Damn System Is GUILTY!” We carried and got out to people on the street posters based on the video of the police holding down Eric Garner, but depicting the murdering beasts with the heads of pigs.

So you can bet people stopped and looked! People in cars driving by stopped and called for materials. “BLOW THE WHISTLE WHEN YOU SEE THE POLICE!” “I’ll do that,” people on foot and in cars responded.

Rain still coming down, we began a rally. The father of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18-year-old Black man murdered in his own bathroom by the police in the Bronx in 2012, was there. Graham’s murder, and the system’s exoneration of the cop who killed him, still burns like a scorching iron in the hearts of people, and the fearless and steadfast resistance of his family is an inspiration to everyone in the struggle against police murder.

It wasn’t but a few minutes before the blue-jacketed “community police” came out to threaten us for using a bullhorn because we didn’t have a sound permit. As they gathered their forces, we organized our crew and other folks in the area to blow the whistle on them. It created quite a scene that attracted even more people. Eventually, the police backed off and we finished up the brief rally and orientation to go out, spread the word, and organize more people.

A patrol of seven of us struck out along 125th Street, the main street in Harlem, and then headed up to the housing projects on the west side of Harlem. Along the way we got out fliers and whistles, some in bundles, and signed up people on the spot to take part in these outings, and to get with the revolution and the movement to shut shit down on April 14.

A young woman said she’d been attacked by police and showed us the scar on her head. A young man working in a pizza shop came running out demanding materials and signing up for the movement. We asked him for a donation. He went back inside and presented the team with a whole order of pizza bread sticks. A young woman—the friend and neighbor of a woman whose son was murdered by police and who is active with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network—with a bunch of kids came to the rally and took an entire bag of whistles for her kids and to take to her family and friends in the Bronx.

Hundreds of stickers went out that people loved, showing hands up in the air and “Tuesday April 14 STOP MURDER BY POLICE! #ShutDown A14”  

We stopped in front of a shelter for young LGBT people, where gay and lesbian youth who are routinely harassed and brutalized by the police gather. A young transgender woman told us of being followed right to the door of the shelter by pigs, harassed and verbally assaulted.

A young Egyptian man, a photographer and journalist, met us along the route and stayed with the group the whole way. It turned out he had attended the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West last November. When we talked about blowing the whistle as a part of organizing and preparing for an actual revolution, he said, “In my country the idea that a revolution could happen in this country is fantastic, and the idea that anybody is actually organizing and fighting for it is incredible.” He walked with us throughout the afternoon.

A young African man said, “It’s important what you’re doing here. When you do it here you should go do it somewhere else.” When we asked where else, he responded, “You need to go to other countries and do this.”

Over the course of the day, 400 whistles went out based on people uniting with BLOWING THE WHISTLE on police brutality, and nearly 50 people signed up to be part of this battle in an organized way. ON TO April 14!

Brooklyn, NY

Correspondence received by Revolution Club, NYC and forwarded to revcom.us.

Brooklyn, NY Blow the Whistle dayPhoto: Elaine Hargrove

I just did a bit less than an hour of picketing in the Midwood neighborhood in Brooklyn, on Flatbush, with a sign that said "We do not need policing. We need a healthy world." It was a thrilling experience. I felt so much love for my fellow citizens. I felt I was doing something right, spreading hope and a bit of light, feeding positive dissidence and resistance, stimulating solidarity. Spreading the idea that the problem is not criminality and criminals, it's policing and the sick world it defends that creates them. I did not get arrested. Nobody said bad things to me. I had many smiles, some worried gazes from people who seemed to think I was a bit too reckless (goes to show you we are not in a democracy). Most people seemed to really appreciate. I was told "somebody has to stand up," and "make your banner bigger," and "you don't want to come with me for a ride, baby; show me your face, you look cute." Hahaha! I felt that every citizen was my friend; I felt fellowship with all these unknown faces because we are together, here, at the street level, human beings, together.

Ah! Activism feeds the love I have in my heart, redirects my anger and my pain in a positive way, it helps me feel less powerless and have more hope.

Los Angeles—Southern California

From readers:

Blow the Whistle Day, Los AngelesPhoto: Special to revcom.us

March 14 "Blow the Whistle on Police Brutality and Murder" got taken up on Skid Row LA, in the neighborhood where Ezell Ford, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by LAPD last August; in Bakersfield, by those protesting the Bakersfield police murder of David Silva and many others; as well as in other spots in Southern California.

On Skid Row, Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) activists, Skid Row advocates, people living on Skid Row, and others met at the sites of the LAPD murders of homeless "Brother Africa" and Carlos Ocana (killed March 1, 2015 and May 24, 2014, respectively, by the LAPD). The contingent also "Blew the Whistle" at the Metro Division of the LAPD downtown. The murders of homeless "Brother Africa" and Carlos Ocana are two of the nationwide spree of police murders of homeless people in the U.S., which includes the heinous beating and murder of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, California on July 5, 2011, and the military-style police execution of James Boyd in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 16, 2014.

Hundreds and hundreds of whistles were passed out to people. Many conversations were held with groups of people living on Skid Row, explaining how to use the whistles and what difference it will make to have each other's back. We told everyone this was a national day, building up toward April 14 Shutdown Day. Christian people, who feed hundreds of homeless in downtown LA, put a whistle and the flier for March 14 in the dozens of sack lunches they passed out to the homeless.

A woman sitting behind a sewing machine set up on the street got a whistle. She has lived there, in a tent, for a year and a half. A couple of years ago, she was brutally beaten by cops in Indiana, who deliberately broke her leg after her son was arrested. Now she is homeless; she can’t use her leg; she can’t walk far; and she’s in a tent. She works across the street as a volunteer, and she does free sewing for the homeless. “This is what I’m doing; giving back to the community.” About the whistles, she said, “I think it’s a great idea. It’s a great way to call for help. You just blow the whistle. [She blows her whistle to demonstrate.] We need to put a stop to [police killings]. Something needs to be done. They’re killing too many people.” She plans to get the extra whistles to others. And April 14? “Yes, I heard about April 14th. I’m looking forward to April 14th. We’re gonna shut down everything. Shut it down. We want justice.”

Houston

From readers:

The local SMIN chapter decided to go into two neighborhoods to spread the word about A14 Shutdown Day and the Blow the Whistle on Brutal, Murdering Cops campaign. We got out about 130 whistles, collected some money for them, and got out a few hundred A14 fliers.

The first neighborhood was in the middle of a Black community. The second was at Moody Park, on the Northside, which is a mixed Black and brown community. Moody Park was the site of the rebellion in 1977 after the cops who murdered Jose Campos Torres were convicted after a massive struggle, but fined only $1 for Jose’s murder.

The rallies included local SMIN chapter members, local activists from the community, others who have been involved in the struggle around police brutality, and revolutionary communists who linked this to the need for revolution and the importance of the premiere of the REVOLUTION AND RELIGION film on March 28. An 85-year-old Black woman who is well-known for her in-your-face attitude towards the system spoke several times on the bullhorn. She summed up the action as good, because it shows that people are still fighting and it gives people hope. Several people from the community responded, taking note of the February 22 Tamir Rice Day that took place here. [12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland police on November 22, 2014, and there were actions nationwide on February 23, 2015 calling for justice for Tamir and other youth killed by police].  So there is a growing sense among some in the community about this movement, and interest in participating.

People really liked the idea of the whistles as a form of bringing people together to stop police from brutalizing and murdering people. In one housing project, the response was electric, with dozens of youths immediately taking up the whistles and discussing how they were gonna use them. One woman who took a whistle was close to the family of Jordan Baker, a young Black man murdered by Houston PD, and whose murderer was let go about the same time Darren Wilson in Ferguson and the cops who murdered Eric Garner were no-billed in NYC. 

Cleveland

From readers:

Cleveland, Blow the Whistle DayPhoto: Special to revcom.us

A small team of us took whistles into an area where people have been brutalized and killed by the police and many people got whistles along the street, in barber shops, and in cars. At one point, 90 percent of the people we approached got whistles. A Black man who knew Kendrick Brown, who was killed without warning by police in the area, got a whistle and said, “I see it [police brutality] all the time. I know what it means.” A carload of Black women pulled up, heard about A14 Shutdown Day and the need to build a movement to STOP the rampant police murders, and got out money for whistles. There is a feeling in the air that the killing of Black and brown people must stop, and people liked the idea of blowing whistles as a way to build resistance. As we summed up the day, we all got a sense that the movement of blowing the whistle can grow, especially among the youth.

San Francisco Bay Area

From readers:

Like a whirlwind, Whistle Day whipped through three different basic people's neighborhoods: the Mission District in San Francisco, the Fruitvale area (near Fruitvale Station where Oscar Grant was killed), and 73rd Ave. area of East Oakland.

Throughout, the "no pig zone" skit was performed in all these neighborhoods. With a veteran supporter of the movement for revolution and a member of the Revolution Club as performers, the people in the streets were often drawn into becoming performers themselves. Youth on skateboards, Latino and Black street vendors, mothers doing shopping, and youth just hanging on the corner participated. The skits started with a pig threatening the crowd, "Let me see some ID," putting hands on someone; and then ended with the people blowing whistles and pointing fingers at the pig and chasing him off the block. At one point, a woman got so carried away, she kicked at the pig (!); and in this way many people were learning HOW to use the hundreds of whistles we distributed that day.

In the Mission, a march with whistles and 20 people took off to the neighborhood where a Guatemalan immigrant, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, was recently murdered by police; and whistles were blown throughout the neighborhood and people joined in the action right at the site of the murder.

In East Oakland, a march of 20 or more people was led by the Revolution Club, joined with some of those from the Fruitvale area. The march began up the street toward the Eastmont police station. All along the way, motorists honked their support and some people in the neighborhood joined in the march as well. Whistles were distributed and instructions were given to the youth on how to use them in case of pig harassment. 

East Oakland, March 14East Oakland, March 14. Photo: Special to revcom.us

On the following day, Sunday, at a block party in the Fruitvale area, whistles were also gotten out broadly. A woman with her kid came up to our table and said that they had seen us the day before and had gotten whistles then. And when police suddenly appeared and hassled members of a car club (arresting one), some of the people began blowing whistles while a member of the Revolution Club addressed the importance of not tolerating police abuse (let alone murder). As part of this, she promoted the need to prepare for April 14 Shut Down Day, while palm cards were passed out advertising for the upcoming premiere screening of the film of the Bob Avakian/Cornel West Dialogue in Berkeley (and online).

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/the-pig-assault-on-martese-johnson-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

The Pig Assault on Martese Johnson

What Does a Black Man in ameriKKKa Have to Do to Not Be Brutalized by Police?

Updated March 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Martese Johnson is a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, majoring in Italian and Media Studies. According to news reports, he holds “numerous leadership positions” at the school and has no criminal record.

But to the police he is just another young Black man with a target on his back.

The Pig Assault on Martese JohnsonAP photo


Video: Bryan Beaubrun

On March 17, Martese Johnson was grabbed by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control police outside a bar on University Avenue. According to news reports, he was immediately tackled, dragged to the ground, beaten bloody in front of dozens of students as he screamed out in anger and pain: “I go to UVA. You fuckin’ racists!” His head was slammed into the hard pavement viciously. His blood splattered on the pavement of University Avenue. He was jailed overnight.

The next day, up to a thousand students rallied on campus. Some chanted: “If we don’t get it, shut it down.” There were statements of solidarity and outrage from the UV Queer Student Union, the Asian Student Union, and others. The Latino Student Alliance denounced the assault as a “vile act of police brutality.” And statements on Twitter exposed that “Black students on grounds are highly familiar with this kind of abuse (denied access to places, checking IDs of black students and not checking IDs of white students).”

As this outrage hit national news, the university president claimed “deep concern” while insisting that what was needed was to “clarify all of the details surrounding this event.” The governor, using the same press release template, expressed “concern” and promised to stay in contact with “local law enforcement” and “monitor the situation closely as the investigation proceeds.”

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

Please! Look it up. Look up any highly publicized incident of police brutality or murder. The powers-that-be always promise to “investigate.” How much of an investigation do you need when over and over and over and over Black men are beaten to a pulp, terrorized, and murdered for no reason!? The problem is right there on video.

Seriously: WHO is going to stop this situation where a Black man in this country can be brutalized, terrorized, or killed by police, where the police can give any excuse or none, and get away with it?

WE ARE.

April 14: Shut It Down!

At Kenwood Academy in Chicago, where Martese Johnson went to high school.On March 19, members of the Revolution Club, Chicago, went out to Kenwood Academy, where Martese Johnson went to high school. This photo shows students and Revolution Club members with a revcom.us banner showing the faces of some of the thousands of people murdered by police across the U.S. Students took up stickers and flyers for #ShutDownA14 and got into it with the Revolution Club about the need for revolution and the importance of the upcoming premiere theater screening and online launch of the new film of the dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. A "Justice for Martese" march was planned for the next day.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/interview-with-young-friend-of-tony-robinson-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Interview with Young Friend of Tony Robinson

Madison High Schools Unite to Stand Against Murder by Police

March 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This interview with a high school-age friend of Tony Robinson was conducted at a candlelight vigil on Sunday night, following the Friday, March 6 murder of 19-year-old Tony by a Madison, Wisconsin cop. Massive high school walkouts that followed the next day were literally taking shape in the midst of this vigil.

Revolution: It’s Sunday evening and we’re down here across the street from where Tony Robinson was killed. I’m talking to a basketball player from Sun Prairie High School, the school that Tony graduated from. He is a friend of Tony’s and he’s talking about a walkout at the school tomorrow. Also, there was a show of solidarity among different basketball teams last night. Can you tell us how you knew Tony?

D: I met Tony my sophomore year.... We got off on the wrong foot but things turned around through the year and we became close and I got to know him personally. He’s a good guy. There’s a lot of talk about “armed robbery” [from more than a year ago]. Was he there when somebody was robbed or was he really actually there doin’ it? But from my personal experience with Tony I would say, that’s not Tony at all. He probably was just there—at the wrong time. But Tony was a great kid, he meant no harm. As far as the rumors going around saying that he fought the police, I don’t think that was something Tony would have done. He was home by himself and the cop just kicked in the door, you should expect someone to react... but he was a great person and he meant no harm. And as you can see out here, he touched a lot of people.

Revolution: Can you tell the readers of Revolution newspaper what your first reaction was when you heard this?

D: I was shocked. It was Friday when he got murdered, we were actually in a game when the murder took place. I remember going to the locker room after the game and grabbing my phone. My phone always has a lot of text messages but this time it was ridiculous, I’ve never seen anything like this, a lot of messages saying “Tony was just shot, where are you, can we meet with you...” I actually didn’t believe it at first, I thought it must be a different Tony, it couldn’t be Tony [Robinson]. But I went home and my mom asked me if I knew Tony. “What’s his last name?” She goes, “Robinson.” And I go, “Yeah, that’s my guy.” It’s hard to believe, but I have no choice but to believe it.

Revolution: Can you tell us a little about the basketball game that followed this murder?

D: It was a beautiful day! It’s one of those things, you have to be there: I can’t myself put it into words, it’s one of those things you have to see. Everyone wore black. To be honest, I didn’t expect a lot of people to wear black. From my point of view, a lot of people these days are just here for themselves, it’s just “eat or be eaten.”

Revolution: So this was in the audience and the players?

D: Both. Everyone came together. It was a lot of hugs, a lot of tears. I have a friend, she was getting a LOT of hugs because her and Tony was closer than she and I was. And it was beautiful to see the whole gym [wearing] black. It touched me; I know it would have touched Tony. Before I got to the game I wanted to do something for Tony to let people know something’s changed, so the sweatshirt I’ve got now says “Tony” on the front and “Justice for Tony” on the back. I was gonna warm up in that.

Revolution: How many of those are there?

D: There’s actually one now, but if anyone asks me to make them one I’d be more than willing, I’d do it for free—just to get the point across, just to get the justice for Tony and get the justice he deserves.

Revolution: I ran into a white, middle class guy here who said he’s got kids, and was very upset about this whole thing. He asked, “Why? Why does this happen all the time to Black people?” What do you think?

D: I think it’s the image that Black kids got painted on us. A terrible image hangs on us, you know? Every time you think of a Black child you think of a thug nowadays. Is it totally racism? I’d say racism plays a part of it, but it’s an image put on us. There’s nothing we can do about it as of now. I mean, something can change, but as of right now nothing’s gonna change unless we put in the work to make it change. If that makes sense to you.

Revolution: Well, I’m part of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, as well as Revolution newspaper, and we think you need massive resistance to put a stop to the murder of Black and brown youth. There are two high schools that might walk out tomorrow. Can you tell us about what might go down at Sun Prairie tomorrow?

D: It’s not certain that we do walk out tomorrow, but that’s the goal. I got interviewed by [a TV show] yesterday and after that I had a lot of text messages saying, we seen you on TV, we know that you and Tony got along, let’s make this happen. And my response was, “Hey, I’m down for it.” It’s all up to our head principal. We emailed a couple of letters today to her. If we can make it happen tomorrow, let’s do it. But if not, I would aim for a Friday so it wouldn’t be in conflict with anything. But I’m really looking forward to the walkout being tomorrow.

Revolution: Are you sure you need the authorization of the principal?

D: The authorization is just coming from our strategy. We don’t want to cause a huge problem. Everybody’s saying, let’s do this protest peacefully. If we leave the school as “hooligans” it would cause a problem. Tony’s mom wants all protest to be peaceful, so we’re trying to keep everything peaceful and talk with the principal. But if they deny it, then we’re just gonna have to do what we feel we need to do.

Revolution: We support what went down in Ferguson 100 percent; in fact it’s long overdue, people drawing the line: this really has to stop, REALLY. So, can you comment on that?

D: It does have to stop, it has to stop. We can’t make it stop tomorrow, it’s not something that’s gonna go away overnight. It’s gonna take time, gonna take hard work, gonna take effort. It’s gonna take not only my class of 2016, it’s gonna take the class of 2015, 2014, we gotta develop the young. We gotta pass on what happened Friday down to the young, so when they’re comin’ up they already know we don’t want this in our world, we don’t want this in our state, we don’t want this at all. So it’s gonna take time, it’s not gonna happen tomorrow, but at the end of the day I praying that it go away.

Revolution: Stop Mass Incarceration Network has a plan to shut it down on April 14—no business, no work, no school across the country in order to make sure that we are not going back. What do you think of that idea, and do you think you’d be willing to build for that at your high school?

D: I’m more than willing to do it. If it’s going to help us get our point across, if it has to go there, to the point where we have to shut down all business, all schools, and everything else, I’m willing to do it, especially if we’re doing it as a peaceful cause. Like I said before, I love protesting, and I love protesting for things I believe in, but I don’t want anything to get violent. So if we’re shuttin’ everything down in a peaceful manner and it doesn’t create any violence, I’m all for it.

Revolution: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers of Revolution newspaper?

D: Let’s work, let’s get together and let’s end it.

Revolution: That’s exactly what we’re talking about, putting a stop to this. You know, the cover of this issue of Revolution says “50 Years Since Selma.” What’s really changed, you know what I mean?

D: Not much!

Revolution: Thank you very much for the interview.

D: You’re welcome.

Right after the interview concluded, some youths from a different high school came over and announced that they planned to walk out at 10:30 am, so then D. embraced it and said, "Then we need to do walkout at 10:30 too." The next day the high schools walked out in a big way.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/nypd-censors-wikipedia-to-coverup-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

NYPD Censors Wikipedia to Coverup Police Murder

March 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I had read your article, “Wikipedia or WikiPIGia? Political Censorship of the Wikipedia Entries on Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,” so I was particularly interested in a piece of investigative reporting that appeared on March 13, 2015 at capitalnewyork.com that revealed that “about a dozen” Internet IP addresses registered to the NYPD were used to make significant edits and/or deletions to Wikipedia pages for victims who had been murdered at the hands of NYPD pigs. These Wikipedia pages included the ones for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. The edits were made anonymously, but the IP addresses from which they originated were recorded in accordance with Wikipedia policy on anonymous edits and their sources traced by reporters for capitalnewyork.com.

The report exposes the following changes to the Wikipedia page titled “Death of Eric Garner”:

According to the same article, just five months after NYPD pigs murdered Sean Bell, “a user on 1 Police Plaza’s network attempted to delete the Wikipedia entry ‘Sean Bell shooting incident’” writing on Wikipedia’s internal “Articles for deletion” page the following:

He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable.

There you have it right from 1 Police Plaza! These murderers think nothing of killing our youth time and time again! Nothing notable about that. Think about what they are saying here—the outrage and bragging police killing an unarmed Black man with impunity on the eve of his wedding.

The capitalnewyork.com article also reports that on several occasions, edits coming from NYPD IP addresses were made to the Wikipedia “Stop-and-frisk” entry in attempts to cover for their massive rampant terror program against Black and Latino youth. One edit cited by the article was [NYPD edits are bolded]:

“The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department to stop, question and, if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conduct a frisk of the person stopped.” This was changed to “The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department by which a police officer who reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or a Penal Law misdemeanor, stops and questions that person, and, if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conducts a frisk of the person stopped.”

These edits are likely just the tip of the iceberg of police and government intelligence agencies’ dirty work on Wikipedia. Little attempt was made by the NYPD in these edits to completely mask their hand. Here we get a glimpse of what they are doing in order to cover up and further this system’s program of suppression. And this makes it all the more clear that their systematic murder and brutality must STOP and along with it their overt and covert attempts to suppress resistance and the movement for revolution.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/otis-byrd-a-black-man-found-hanging-from-a-tree-in-the-mississippi-march-19-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Otis Byrd: A Black Man Found Hanging From a Tree in Mississippi March 19

March 19, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Otis Byrd


Otis Byrd

Otis Byrd, a 51 year old Black man, was found hanging from a tree in the woods of Claiborne County, Mississippi on March 19.

No one had seen Byrd since March 2. His family had filed a missing persons report on March 8. Somehow the authorities in Mississippi could not find Otis Byrd, his neck broken, dangling from a tree half a mile from his home. Both the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) have said they are investigating the “cause and manner” of Byrd's death. The coroner says he can't speak until the reports are in. But the mainstream (ruling class) media have already launched a character assassination, post mortem, of Otis Byrd, saying he spent 25 years in the Mississippi prison system for a murder conviction, as if somehow his alleged criminal past offered an explanation as to why he was hanging from a tree.

The exact circumstances of this brutal death are unknown right now. Otis Byrd's family and friends have not been heard from yet. But some things are certain.

» For years now, this country has been afflicted by a plague of violence against Black people – official, state sanctioned violence, and racist vigilante violence. This is part and parcel of what Carl Dix has called “a slow genocide that could become a fast genocide”.

» Police have murdered dozens of people, mostly Black and Latino, in the less than three months of 2015. The cops who murdered Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others have gone unpunished. A Justice Department “investigation” exonerated the cop who murdered Michael Brown.

» Racists feel emboldened by the relentless criminalization of Black people to act on their vile, hateful, outlook towards Black people, as did the frat boys at the University of Oklahoma; as did George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn, the murderers of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, in Florida.

» The oppression of Black people is deeply embedded into every aspect of this capitalist-imperialist system, and it permeates the dominant culture. But there are few places where it so overtly and viscerally defines a place as it does Mississippi. An archive of recorded lynchings in the U.S. from 1882 to 1968 done by the Tuskegee Institute indicates that 539 Black people were killed by lynch mob in Mississippi in that period – the most of any state in the country. Countless other people – people murdered at night when their cabin was burned; people shot and thrown in backwoods rivers; people buried in swamps; people shot by the police; women who resisted rapists – are not included in these figures. Mississippi ratified the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution – which means state lawmakers finally voted to “outlaw” slavery in Mississippi – in 2013! Here's a grim reality: a Black man hanging from a tree is not an aberration in the history of Mississippi.

Less than two weeks ago, Barack Obama spoke from the infamous Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. Obama asked, “what could be more American than what happened in that place?”

Obama was speaking of the civil rights marchers who with great heart stood up to the state troopers, county sheriffs, and racist vigilantes who savagely beat, whipped, and gassed protesters seeking the right to vote – but the reality is that nothing could be “more American” than the brutality those pigs poured on the courageous civil rights marchers; nothing could be “more American” than murder by police of Black and Latino youth; nothing could be more in keeping with the tradition and history of this country than the lynching of Black people.

 

Listen to what Bob Avakian has to say about lynching in the United States

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/michael-slate-show-interview-craig-stanford-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

The Michael Slate Show Interview with Craig Stanford

A Planet Without Apes

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From The Michael Slate Show:

Interview with Craig Stanford, Primatologist, Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology and Co-Director of the USC Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of Southern California, on his new book Planet Without Apes. The two discussed the implications of the danger that the great apes may disappear from the wild this century.

 

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE

 

 

Watch Bob Avakian: "Not Fit Caretakers of the Earth," a clip from the film Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/michael-slate-show-interview-dreamcatcher-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

The Michael Slate Show

Interview with Kim Longinotto and Brenda Myers-Powell, from the Documentary Dreamcatcher

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE

March 20, 2015 on The Michael Slate Show he played an interview with Kim Longinotto, the director of Dreamcatcher, and Brenda Myers-Powell. Dreamcatcher is a vivid portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute, and co-founder of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, who helps women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The Dreamcatcher Foundation works to prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth.

"It is an act against human nature to enslave a woman and make her prostitute her body for the services or for another person to gain money. And all kinds of rights are taken away from her—the right to choose, the right to be anything that she is....for another person to walk up and open up his wallet and say 'I can buy you' and look at you as if you are a piece of merchandise...We take human rights away when we enslave women in human trafficking...."

—Brenda Myers-Powell

 

 

 

 

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob AvakianNow that you've checked out these quotes from Bob Avakian, read BAsics

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/organizing-and-mobilizing-whoa-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Organizing and Mobilizing. WHOA!!!

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This appears on the Students & Youth Organizing page at stopmassincarceration.net.

From a H.S. student in North Carolina

To the average student those may sound like intimidating words, but if you are even looking at this page I can already make the assumption you are not the average high school student. You are not oblivious to the injustices amongst the Black and Brown people on our communities. Well let me get into detail about how I a 18 year-old Senior in one of the worst High Schools in the west corridor took action.

Coming into this I was a little apprehensive, but just like you I had a goal in mind. This entailed talking to people. Talk to people you know or those you could change; and, they would care within a substantial amount of information. Talk to your ministers, student council, any on campus clubs, any organizations within your community. But, also be prepared for let-down. I was let down many, many times before I found the right people to help organize. I made a lot of different calls annoying a lot of different people. YOU HAVE A NATIONWIDE SUPPORT SYSTEM. I actually started with a woman in another who linked me to a community organizer, there was my foundation.

The next question was how was I going to approach my peers. YOU know YOUR peers best. You eat and get educated the same with your peers each and everyday of school. YOU KNOW HOW TO REACH YOUR PEERS BEST. As I mentioned earlier I was pretty apprehensive, but I had a choice: be scared of failure or try to help carry out a curve in history. So when I got to school the next day I asked my teacher if I could talk to the class. He willingly said yes.

The speech consisted of what I knew and the things that made me cringe while living in America. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW!!! Basically all the things that caused your interest to simple question of “who was with me” at the end. All while doing so I got informed of some of the police brutality occurring in our neighborhood. I compiled a group of 6 people out of the 18 students that were there.

After all the rejection prior I was very satisfied with the very modest achievement. That gave me enough courage to talk to more people and express my concerns and by the end of the week I gained 4 more people and one student that I definitely believe will be a prominent leader during the movement in my area. You’ll have people trying to put you down, but just stay true to what you stand for. BE CONSISTENT, FUCK RESISTANCE

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/ardea-skybreak-excerpts2-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity

and

Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud

Excerpts from the Interview with Ardea Skybreak

March 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of this year (2015), over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak.  A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works,The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps, An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. An excerpt from this interview, “On Attending the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West,” was first published in February 2015.  The following are two additional excerpts from this interview. The text of the complete interview (including a Table of Contents, with links to the different sections of the interview) is also available at revcom.us.

 

An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity

Q:     I thought a good note to end on would be: What does BA’s leadership and new synthesis of communism have to do with how you understand and approach the world?

AS:     [Laughs] People sometimes inquire about what kind of people will work with BA or follow his leadership? And I guess that’s part of what your question is trying to get at. Well, I would say, just look around. I think you’ll find an impressive and diverse mix of creative people of conscience with many different backgrounds, skills, and personalities. Speaking for myself, I guess I’d say that I’ll always be a critical thinker. I just don’t know any other way to be! [laughs] I’m sure I’ll always be curious about just about everything, both in the natural world and in human society.  I am both challenged, and sustained, by the diversity and complexity of the natural world and the social world. I think I am, at heart, an explorer. Exploring the unknown, discovering what has not previously been understood, breaking new ground: in my own view, this is a lot of what makes life worth living.

But I also don’t want to just understand the world. I want to help change it, for the better and in the interests of all of humanity. And that’s where BA’s new synthesis of communism comes in for me. Because thanks to BA’s new synthesis of communism, and especially as it is concentrated in his application of scientific methods and approaches, I feel that I have gained, over the years, a much deeper appreciation, not only of the great complexities of the overall process of revolutionary transformation, but also of the very real possibilities for such transformation. How you could actually do it.  How you could actually win. How you could actually bring into being a new society that would be worth living in.

Get into BA!

If it weren’t for the new synthesis of communism, I might have gotten discouraged. In my own work on the woman question, in my work on popularizing the science of evolution, and in many other areas where I have tried to make some contributions, I have repeatedly drawn great insights from the new synthesis epistemologically and methodologically, and I have tried to apply this in my work, to good effect, I think. In all of my life’s work, I think it’s clear that I am very committed to spreading basic scientific understanding and methods among the people as broadly as possible, helping many, including from the most oppressed and the least formally educated, to actually enter into and participate in the scientific process in their own right. And I am also committed to bringing to bear all my training and life experiences to bringing a more consistently rigorous scientific approach into every nook and cranny of the movement for revolution and to forging the pathways that go towards a new society, a new socialist transition towards communism. And BA’s new synthesis of communism, and the whole method and approach that most clearly characterizes and concentrates it, has inspired and provoked and challenged my work in many positive ways over the years, and in many dimensions.

Again, more than anything else, it is the method and approach concentrated in the new synthesis, and in particular its epistemological dimensions: its rigorous pursuit of the patterns that reveal material reality as it really is, regardless of how unexpected and how uncomfortable those discoveries might be; and its scientific grasp that it is always the contradictions that exist within a thing or process that provide the material basis for change; and that therefore you will find that the material basis for the radical, revolutionary transformation of society and the world resides primarily right within the handful of the key underlying contradictions, the ones that constitute the core underpinnings and defining characteristics of the prevailing system, which today is the system of capitalism-imperialism that currently dominates the world.  All this has not only provided the framework within which I feel one can “ask the right questions,” increasingly, but also pursue those questions to their resolution. It has, in a very real sense, provided me personal sustenance and air to breathe. And I feel that it has enabled me to make at least some significant contributions to the overall process of scientific discovery and transformation in various spheres. Not just for my own enlightenment, or because of my own curiosity, although it does assist in this as well [laughs], but also to help advance the process of radical transformation of society that is needed so urgently and by so many. BA’s new synthesis of communism has challenged me in positive ways, and enabled me to make contributions that I would not otherwise have been able to make. And, speaking not only for myself, but for many others who have been inspired in their own work and in their own contributions by BA’s new synthesis, that once again is a sign, an indication, of what I think of as really good scientific leadership.

 

                                   
Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud

AS: Especially in the face of not just the hardship and difficulties, but also the slander, the snark and gutter attacks that some people never tire of spewing forth, I’d like to say some thank yous, because I think there are some thank yous that good people have in mind sometimes, but that are not enough, not often enough, said aloud. So let me say some of those thank yous aloud right now.

Thank you, first of all, to Bob Avakian, for his tireless dedication and many personal sacrifices over many decades. Again, all he’s done his whole life is work tirelessly to serve the people, not for personal advantage or to feather his own nest. Thank you for never giving up, for never selling out, for always trying to more deeply understand the deep root causes of the great unnecessary suffering experienced by so many here and around the world. Thank you for buckling down and doing the hard work to apply consistently scientific methods to uncover the truth of things, wherever it might lead, however uncomfortable it might be, and then following through to bring to the fore “the logic of the logic”– that a revolution is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary and also possible. Thank you for your generosity of spirit and your broad-minded inclusive and optimistic vision. Thank you for all your work in developing the vision, the strategy, and the concrete plans to advance towards the emancipation of humanity from capitalist-imperialist oppression, and then working tirelessly to spread this understanding and this strategy and this plan broadly among the people–to thousands, to millions, to any who would listen, especially among the most oppressed at the bottom of society that so many in society would just feel comfortable throwing away, while you invite in all others who are willing to join in the movement of resistance and revolution. Thank you for telling it like it is, for doing systematic, scientific work on the problems, for giving of this knowledge and of yourself to all who would listen.

Thank you, also, to all the other comrades, the followers of BA’s new synthesis of communism who contribute daily to this process, to the best of their abilities, and also often at great personal cost. Thank you for not giving up, for fighting through the exhaustion and discouragement, for dedicating your lives to serving the people, for striving to always learn more and contribute more, and on an ever higher level.

Thank you also to all those in the broader society who in many different ways donate their time, their money, their ideas, their legal expertise, their research, their organizing skills, their music, designs, paintings and other art works. To all those who open their doors and their hearts to welcome and assist the resisters and revolutionaries, thank you. To all those who have refused to bow down to social pressure, to turn their backs on the revolutionary communists, to shun or slander them, thank you. Thank you to those brave elements who have stood up in places like Ferguson, in defiant resistance, who are serving notice on the system that they will not take it any more, and who are working to put aside their own conflicts and the differences among themselves in order to stand up together to the greater enemy–this system and its enforcers. You inspire and motivate many, many more in this country and around the world. And you are being heard. Thank you.

Thank you to all the heart-broken ones who have suffered unimaginable loss and grief as their children and other loved ones have been brutally slaughtered by the police and other enforcers. Your cries of agony echo forevermore in the minds of the revolutionaries, and are constant reminders of the need to persevere to put an end to this horrible system. Thank you for standing up in the midst of your pain, and joining with others to fight and resist these outrages, to demand justice, to demand that these outrages stop once and for all, so that no other family should experience ever again such needless pain. What you are doing is a fitting tribute to your lost loved ones, and will give strength to the movements of resistance and revolution which are working to get beyond all of this. Thank you.

And once again, coming back around full circle, thank you to Bob Avakian for the dream, the vision, and the ability to turn all this into concrete plans and a concrete strategy for the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited, and all of humanity, and for envisioning and mapping out how things really could be so different, and so much better, for the vast majority of people on this planet. Thank you for your willingness to shoulder the responsibility to lead. Thank you.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/opening-up-big-questions-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Opening Up Big Questions:
Watching the Film at UC Berkeley of the Cornel West-Bob Avakian Dialogue

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Dear Revolution Newspaper,

We wanted to share with your readers the experience of showing excerpts from the film of the Dialogue on March 17.

The film was shown at the Multicultural Community Center and was sponsored by the Department of African American Studies and Revolution Books. The event opened with a welcome from a professor, who also helped lead the discussion. The audience was about 25 people, about 10 were students and a couple were from the larger East Bay community. The students included some who were involved in the protests against police murder, including some who participated in the freeway takeovers. Several students were from other countries, from Africa and Southeast Asia. A few were Latinas and Asian. The people from the community were older. One man was visiting from Spain. Overall it was a very multinational crowd of different ages.

Most of the people who came had not known about the Dialogue prior to hearing about the event on campus. One person from the community had seen a poster in Oakland, looked up BA on the Internet and came. He said BA looked at things, especially religion, differently from other Marxist groups that he has known about before. People came because they were curious about the topic.

Trailer for REVOLUTION & RELIGION

We showed the trailer and excerpts from the new film. The part that got the biggest applause was when BA said it wasn’t weak to love. The parts that got laughter included when BA said Ice-T went from writing a controversial song, “Cop Killer,” to playing a cop on TV. One person said “that’s true” several times during the film, such as when BA said they throw people out when they can’t make a profit, that the youth who were caught up in the Harlem raid don’t have the right to express themselves, and when Cornel West said the 11th Commandment is “Don’t get caught.”

The discussion after the excerpts got into several questions. The professor who welcomed people on behalf of African American Studies noted Avakian’s statement that “to love is not weak,” and asked the students what touched them. Several people agreed with this and commented on it and on the need to change the culture and to develop culture that doesn’t divide people or keep them down, but uplifts them. One student liked Cornel’s comment that sometimes the only way out is through a song, and someone brought out the Selma movie song as an example. Some people criticized capitalist culture as being too financially driven and agreed with a comment from the film that there’s a cultural and spiritual COINTELPRO. One student said she had been involved in the protests against police murder, but noticed how much the police were trying to intimidate people and make people fearful of getting involved, giving the example of them using helicopters that flew over the protests shining spotlights on the demonstrators and constantly flying over the areas all night.

People got into how BA and Cornel West contrasted rap music with misogynist lyrics to music like J. Cole’s rap about the murder of Michael Brown, and how a new and different culture is needed. There was debate over the need for fundamental change versus devoting efforts to things like permaculture (a practice and philosophy of ecological sustainability); there were questions about whether protest does any good—for example against police murder and during the “Arab Spring” in Egypt. Some people brought out how the people in Ferguson changed the entire discussion in the country by refusing to accept Michael Brown’s murder and the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson and how this illustrated Cornel West’s point that when Black people rise up, everybody can “get in on it” and be part of resisting. Someone brought out the need to have organization. The point was made that the uprising in Egypt was very positive, but didn’t lead to a real change because they didn’t have revolutionary leadership.

The discussion was very rich, with people dealing seriously with a number of questions about how to change the world. An Asian student said he was really frustrated with the discourse on campus that frames things in a neoliberal Thomas Jefferson perspective and he really welcomed watching the film and being part of the discussion.

Some people got tickets for the upcoming March 28 film premiere and some literature. Some went to Revolution Books afterwards to check out the store and talk more.

Readers in the Bay Area

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/chicago-blow-the-whistle-day-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Chicago: Still cold but some signs of spring on Blow the Whistle Day

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The cold weather is keeping people indoors too long into March! But what happened in one community on the south side of Chicago is a sign of the times. This is a park where the Revolution Club in Chicago has done work before. Earlier in the week the revolutionaries got out whistles and a little flyer—on one side it explained about blowing the whistle on police brutality and April 14—Shut It Down. On the other side is a call for all different street organizations (sets, gangs), Latino and Black, to put their guns down for A14. A young man who hangs in the park and is now running with the Revolution Club went back the day before Blow the Whistle Day and reported that the stickers were up and people were wearing their whistles still.

On Blow the Whistle Day, there were not many people out in the park. So they decided to do the skit—one person donned an ugly pig mask and grabbed a young Black female member of the Revolution Club. Others started blowing the whistle. Now here is the COOL part. People came out and stopped their cars and got out. Some of these people did NOT know there was a skit being acted out—they heard the whistles and came out AND they were blowing their whistles. Exactly what they need to do when a PIG messes with someone.

In this neighborhood people say, "I get it. We should organize ourselves to do this. We are calling the community on the police." An 11-year-old reported she blew the whistle on the police and the police threatened her and took her whistle. (The Revolution Club is going to ask First Defense—a legal organization that goes to the jail whenever it is called for anyone arrested for any reason—to put up a billboard near this park, something they do as part of their project. This way everyone will know who to call if the police mess with them for blowing the whistle.)

There was a group of women from Indiana who gave their contact information and filmed the skit.

Driving around later in the day in a decorated van, the Revolution Club spotted a basketball court full of Black and Latino kids, which is unusual given the segregation in Chicago. The game stopped as everyone listened to two young members from the Revolution Club. The crowd put on the whistles. The youth were taking pictures of the decorated van and were really interested in what this was all about. The van drove off to the sound of whistles.

Another really good suggestion from a Revolution Club member: always have clipboards to sign people up. We need them to do this better but also he stressed that even HAVING A VISIBLE CLIPBOARD tells people that we are there to "sign people up"—we are serious.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/atlanta-blow-the-whistle-day-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Blow the Whistle Day

Atlanta: Outpouring of Sadness, Rage, and Defiance

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club, Atlanta:

Between 100 to 150 demonstrators gathered at the Chamblee Heights Apartments in front of the memorial for Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Black man shot and killed by a white cop in DeKalb County (in Metro-Atlanta).

Atlanta, March 14

Atlanta, March 14

Atlanta, March 14 Photos: Special to revcom.us

Members of the Atlanta Revolution Club and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network visited the neighborhood the day after Tony's murder and led an impromptu march through the neighborhood with dozens of residents. Afterwards, residents and organizers made plans for March 14.

March 14 was an incredible outpouring of sadness, rage, and defiance against the endless murder of OUR youth. The crowd was multinational and multigenerational. This was very significant. Tony was one of the few Black residents in the mostly Latino neighborhood, but he was loved by everyone and that was evident on March 14.

News cameras gathered as we marched through the complex and into the main road outside of the complex. We chanted in both English and Spanish. The people were on fire and unafraid. The Stolen Lives banner led the march right behind a group of middle-school-age skateboarders. Kids and parents carried signs with pictures of Anthony Hill as people blew their whistles at the growing numbers of police arriving on the scene.

For nearly two hours, we blocked all six lanes of traffic as police tailed along both in cars and eventually a helicopter. As the march headed back toward the apartment complex where it was planned to come to a close, police swarmed in, yelling at people to get on the sidewalk. Within seconds, the cops grabbed a young Black woman with the Revolution Club. The crowd started blowing their whistles loudly and yelling "Let her go!" More and more people came into the streets as the cops continued to shove, tackle, and handcuff demonstrators. They arrested seven people, which included several members of the Revolution Club, a 14-year-old girl who was friends with Tony, and her mother, who is currently caring for a newborn baby. All were charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction and were released on bond within 24 hours.

According to residents, since the protest, police and investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (who were assigned to investigate after the officer shot Anthony) have been going door to door asking questions, confiscating cell phones, and creating a general climate of fear amongst the mostly immigrant community. Despite the police effort to intimidate the people, many who we have spoken to (especially the youth) say they are ready to SHUT IT DOWN on April 14.

See local news report on the March 14 action.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/377/dekalb-county-georgia-anger-at-police-murder-of-unarmed-anthony-hill-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

DeKalb County, Georgia: Anger at Police Murder of Unarmed Anthony Hill: It's Time to Stand Up!

March 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Atlanta Revolution Club:

On Monday March 9, Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by white DeKalb County (in the Atlanta metro area) police officer Robert Olson. Hill, known by his friends as Tony, was met by police after a neighbor reported that he was walking around the apartment complex naked and confused. Rather than trying to help him, the pig fired two shots into Tony’s chest, leaving him on the ground naked for over an hour as friends and neighbors begged them to cover his body as children got off their school buses. The cop claimed that Tony “lunged” at him, leading him to shoot him dead—however even the DeKalb County Chief of Police had to admit that Tony was unarmed. The cop was carrying a Taser and pepper spray, but instead chose to reach for his gun and take Tony’s life.

According to local news reports, Hill was in the Army and served a tour in Afghanistan before being medically discharged. Some reports also claim that he struggled with bi-polar disorder and his Twitter posts seem to support that claim. His posts on social media and accounts from his friends and neighbors who spoke with the Revolution Club Tuesday, also show a kind, loving person who was deeply concerned about the police killing Black and brown youth. Several of his recent posts ended with #blacklivesmatter.

Tuesday, the day after Tony’s murder, the Atlanta Revolution Club went to his neighborhood. When we got there we unfurled a massive Stop Mass Incarceration Network banner with the names and images of dozens of people slain by the police. Most of Tony’s neighbors are Latino, but despite some language and cultural barriers, they really seemed to love and respect him.

Within minutes we were surrounded by middle and high school youth on skateboards asking questions and reading the banner. They took handfuls of #ShutdownA14 stickers. A lot of people expressed that the police “treated them like garbage.” An older woman in the crowd said they had been stepped on too many times and that it was time to stand up. The youth helped translate what the revolutionaries were saying to older folks and vice-versa.

Finally, about 40-50 mostly youth gathered as we marched through the complex chanting: Policías Asesinos, ¡No Mas! and Police Murder, No More! Several youth, including a young woman that was a friend of Tony’s took the megaphone, leading chants and calling people from their apartments out into the street – and they listened. Nearly every TV news station in the city rushed to catch the impromptu demonstration.

We stayed and talked with people in the neighborhood about the importance of stepping up resistance at this moment and not allowing the system to get away with this murder. Many of the residents said that they wanted to see the cop tried for murder and expressed some worry about resisting when many people are already under the gun due to their immigration status. We talked about how important it would be to bring together people from in and outside the neighborhood of multiple nationalities to demand justice, blow the whistle, and prepare for April 14. Together we decided to call for people to come to Tony’s neighborhood Saturday to BLOW THE WHISTLE ON POLICE MURDER and march into the broader community. The youth said that they would announce the event at school and several people mentioned taking it to their churches. A young woman told us how people at school had been encouraging her to protest for justice for Tony, but she had thought “me and what army?” As we left she said, “Now that I’ve met you all, I have my army.”

Tonight (Wednesday) there was a march and die-in with about 200 people in downtown Decatur (the Dekalb County seat) for Anthony Hill.

One more reason to SHUT IT DOWN on APRIL 14!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/378/family-forces-dallas-pd-to-release-video-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Family Forces Dallas PD to Release Video

Another Mentally Ill Black Man Murdered By Police

March 19, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On June 28, two Dallas police shot and killed Jason Harrison, 38, at his home. Now his family has forced the Dallas PD to release a video of the murder.

The video shows Jason Harrison, a mentally ill African-American man standing in his own doorway holding a small screwdriver. Jason Harrison’s mother called the police for assistance in bringing him to the local hospital. She made police clearly aware of her son’s condition. The video shows her calmly walking out of the front door, before her son, seconds before the shooting.

Just before the Dallas police released this video, on March 9, police in Georgia killed Anthony Hill, an unarmed African-American 27-year-old who was not only unarmed, but naked when he was shot to death.

Dallas police say that the department has already completed an investigation into the matter, but more than eight months later, they have not made any ruling.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/chicago-police-racially-profile-stop-and-frisk-four-times-as-many-as-NYC-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Chicago Police Racially Profile, Stop & Frisk at Four Times the Rate of New York City

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On top of the rapidly rising number of murders by police of Black and Latino youth, on top of the expanding population of people locked down and abused in prisons and jails and in the clutches of the injustice system, comes a revelation of yet another outrage.

Learn more HERE.

The news, outrageous if not surprising, is that in 2014, Chicago police stopped and frisked at FOUR TIMES the rate people were subjected to this police abuse in New York City at the height of the New York police stop and frisk rampage. And that the victims of stop and frisk were overwhelmingly Black.

This comes in a report released today by the ACLU of Illinois (available online at http://www.aclu-il.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ACLU_StopandFrisk_6.pdf).

The ACLU report also documents the blatant targeting of Black people, revealed by the fact that 72% of all the people stopped by police were Black while Black people are only 32% of the population of the city of Chicago.

This ACLU report comes on the heels of the recent exposure of the Homan Square “black site” where for years people were held incommunicado and subject to torture after being arrested in Chicago. And just this last week there were news investigations revealing that Chicago police were doing systematic surveillance of activists, including using so-called “Stingray” technology that allows them to listen in on cell phone conversations.

Activists in the struggle against police murder and brutality and against mass incarceration are planning a press conference mid-week to denounce this latest revelation of oppression by those who literally hold the power of life and death over the lives of millions of people.

 

Bob Avakian, "The police, Black youth and what kind of a system is this?"

Get into BA! Learn more about Bob Avakian and the strategy for a fully liberating society he has developed here.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/sunsara-taylor-interview-with-friends-of-tony-robinson-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Interview with Friends of Tony Robinson:

From Shock and Tears to Anger and Leading Thousands in Protest

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Anthony “Tony” Robinson, 19, was murdered by a cop in Madison, Wisconsin on March 6—yet another young Black man dead at the hands of the police. The cop forced his way into Tony’s apartment and shot him dead. Then they dragged Tony’s body out of the house, leaving his blood all over the steps of the building. Protests broke out immediately and continued for days. Thousands of high school students walked out and marched in the streets, joined by college students and others, and occupied all three floors of the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda.

The following is from an interview Sunsara Taylor recently did with some of Tony Robinson’s close friends and one of his cousins.

"We created a Facebook event, invited over 3,000 people..."

Sunsara Taylor: Can you talk a little about how you felt when you heard the news, how you found out, and what this has meant to you and other people?

T: I was with an organization, a nationwide dance team which follows the practices of African-American Greek life, but it’s not a sorority or fraternity, but it follows some of the practices. And the night that he got killed, the people that are already in the organization had my phone so I did not know that he got shot, and we did not go to sleep the whole night, so we were up the whole night, didn’t sleep. I was physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted, mentally exhausted and by the time we were done which is like 6 am in the morning, that’s when I finally got my phone back.

I see all these posts on Facebook, all these text messages, a couple phone calls, like Tony got shot and killed, like, I’m like what, like I couldn’t even cry, at that point because I was just physically drained from the night, ya know, and like the whole day, like after 6 am, like the whole day I was, I was just basically in shock like I couldn’t cry just because I hadn’t slept the whole night and I hadn’t slept throughout the day either because I had an event to volunteer at for International Women’s Day. So I was volunteering at the event, and like at the back of my mind, like I’m just thinking about Tony, and like, just thinking about like, what, just still in shock basically. And a girl that was at the International Women’s Day did a poem about Tony, and like I really wanted to cry, but it was like my body wasn’t letting me because I was just, I had zero percent of energy like within me and I knew like it was just not coming out ya know.

And that night was the vigil...and right when I got there once I held the candle and everybody started talking, I just started bawling my eyes out. I went there with my other friends who's also helping me in Madison with everything, and next thing ya know I look to the left and she’s crying too and I was continuously crying and crying and crying. And it was just so hard for me but at the same time those were the tears that were held back that whole time. And then when Tony’s best friend approached me...he was like, T, you have to get the University of Wisconsin Madison involved, and I was just like I got you. And when I said I got you he hugged me and we just started crying again.

Then me and my friend...went into one of the dens in my dorm hall and we created a Facebook event, invited over 3,000 people to UW Madison at Bascom Hill, which is like one of the historical buildings on campus. So we went there and then we led the march and we had the students come out, all these advisors—my scholarship advisor was there, my professors were there for like three of my classes, and I didn’t even know that word had spread out that far, ya know. I was only expecting to get the people that said that they were going to come on the Facebook event and then I had contacted the high school, and like the YGB organization in Madison and then they said, “oh well we’re meeting at the capitol at this time and doing various...” and yeah it was like back to back action, in my opinion.

Madison, WI, March 9Thousands of students pack the State Capitol rotunda to demand justice for Tony Robinson, Madison, Wisconsin, March 9. AP photo

“I was with him that night...”

J: Wow this is hard, but um, the night he died, on March 6, I was with him that night, I was with him five minutes prior to the incident. We were all talking about going to our cousin's house for his birthday, and he told us he would meet us there, so we decided to go to the game before, and we stopped at the gas station, you know, to get some snacks, and we see Tony walking across the street to the gas station. So me and his cousin got to the car and approached him and they were talking about the game and everything, and we were joking around. And then we all go upstairs, go hang out for a couple of minutes...

We go back out and we see a whole bunch of cops. And as we approached the house the police stopped us and actually told us we can’t go any farther, that we had to turn around and I asked what was going on...  And then we were like, well we left our cousin here five minutes ago and we want to know if he’s alright, or if he’s still here. They couldn’t tell us anything and then we seen the ambulance pull off. And then after that we was like, alright let’s just go. We got in the car and I kept telling myself he’s in the back of that ambulance, he’s in the back of that, he’s in the back of that, he’s going to the hospital. So we go to the house, where our aunties and stuff are and everyone’s crying, and I’m like, what’s going on and they shot Tony. And I was like, I just broke down at the door and then like I kept blaming myself, because like I was there with him, and like we coulda brung him with, but he wanted to be alone, and I feel guilt...

Then on Sunday I heard about the march they were having on Monday, the UW students were holding... And on Monday we led a protest, we helped lead it up to the Capitol, and then we went down the city council meeting and we talked to the mayor. After we talked to the mayor it was like, as we’re writing chalk around in the streets and me and one of Tony’s closest friends, we just hugged each other in the middle and started bawling, and we just let out all our anger and pain. And we protested for about another three days...

“Doing the right thing... On the right path”

Learn more and get involved HERE.

ST: What happened is unforgiveable, it’s absolutely unforgiveable. And the stealing of his life and the pain that caused to so many people is not something that should ever be forgotten or ever be forgiven. I do want to ask though, cuz there’s a pain involved but then also something very powerful  happened. You know I saw the video of Tony’s grandmother who was very strong at that vigil... She said people have to stand up against what happened to Tony, and we have to stand up against the killing of Black youth by police all over this country. And you guys did something that actually really inspired people all over this country.

J: The effect on that was, it was amazing. It was like just picturing our voice to be heard and that we’re making a statement for something we believe in and that we’re fighting for what we believe—that we want justice and we want it now. And to get those many people to come out and support it and to put that together, it felt like a huge accomplishment. And we felt like we were doing the right thing, on the right path. We didn’t want a violent protest cuz that’s what they want, they want a reason, and we didn’t wanna give them a reason. So we did a silent protest and we marched and to see those many people was amazing.

T: For me, it felt like all those people there, regardless that they knew him or not, was Tony Robinson... He got us telepathically or something, through our minds—like, you need to stand up, this is not okay, you know. And for me, just, seeing all of those kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, alumni, thousands, adults, little children, babies in carriages... I was astonished, you know, I never seen this many people come out and, diverse, diverse, a diverse group of people, white, Black, Hispanic, Asian...

“April 14—I wanna do this every day!”

ST: I understand that when you were in the streets doing these protests that you met some of the people talking about April 14 and the national shut down. I wonder what attracted you to that.

T: Well, they approached me, during the march—we did a silent vigil, just a candle lighting at the Capitol and then they approached me again. And when they explained it, they just said that they were from Atlanta and they were on a tour around the country just to get more people involved with the movement, and they explained the brief statement about what it meant to shut down April 14—and I’m thinking like I wanna do this every day! I was thinking like, can we shut down every day. And they were like, one step at a time, so I was more than willing to, you know, get on board. Just getting this brief information about it, I was already interested. And for me it was just like, networking, and just kind of connect more people to what we had already started in terms of like UW, and YGB, and all the high schools.

ST: Okay. And how does the idea strike you? Of shutting down the whole country, not just one city, not just against one killing, but the whole epidemic of murder by police needs to be stopped, and people across the country shutting it down.

J: Well shutting down the whole country, when I first heard it, I was like wow that’s nuts. But then at the same time, as I sat down and I thought about it, I thought that this is actually a good idea, cuz like it shows that not only we’re fighting...but we’re not going to stop until we see justice. Until we see what we want to see, until we see the changes, and to make it even bigger, to make the statement more wide, not just one state, one city doing it, it’s the whole country like, enough is enough, people are finally speaking up and speaking their minds and I believe,  I believe, it’s gonna work. Yeah the kids can do it, yeah, five schools can do it—well, it won’t mean anything if it’s five kids, but if we have the whole country to worry about and then the whole country does it, it’s like the President gets involved, and something could be done.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/bay-area-police-shoot-3-people-in-8-hours-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Bay Area Police Shoot 3 People in 8 Hours! 

March 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In a span of just eight hours from Saturday-Sunday, March 21-22, police in the San Francisco Bay Area shot three people! In Vallejo, at Saturday, 6 p.m., a man was shot dead by cops. Just an hour later, in Richmond, Daniel Tolosa, a 19-year-old youth of color, was wounded by police gunfire. At 2 a.m., in Santa Clara, another man was shot dead by police.

Learn more and get involved HERE.

The names of the two men killed have not been released and the details of these shootings are still emerging. But what is clear is that there is an epidemic of police murder and shootings all across the country—this system is just totally incapable of doing anything but gunning more people down! 

This police killing spree comes less than a week after Alice Brown, a 24-year-old white woman, was killed by plainclothes cops in San Francisco on March 17—the second murder by SF undercover cops in a month. Brown apparently panicked as plainclothes cops chased her car, and as she tried to get away in rush hour traffic, she hit a couple of cars before she was shot dead.  

This situation is outrageous and must stop! All out for April 14!


 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/cleveland-we-are-letting-the-world-know-that-we-are-demanding-justice-for-tamir-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Cleveland: "We are letting the world know that we are going to continue to demand justice for Tamir"

March 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:


Photo: Special to revcom.us

 

Photo: Special to revcom.us

March 22—About 70 people, including many Black youth, gathered for a vigil and march at the park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered by cops four months ago to the day. Tamir’s cousin, LaTonya Goldsby, began by saying, "We are letting the world know that we are going to continue to demand justice for Tamir until the police officers are indicted, until charges are filed and justice has been rendered.” Tamir's uncle brought out how we are fighting for all the victims of police murder, including unarmed 18-year-old Brandon Jones who was killed on March 19 and others.

Then we began to march four miles to the 1st District police station where the killer cop came from. We first walked in the street, with a coffin leading the way. After walking several blocks, the police rolled up in eight cars and forced people to get on the sidewalk. The march continued with lots of spirit, loud chants, and signs and many people had stickers saying “STOP MURDERS BY POLICE #ShutDownA14.” Loud chants rang out: “We don’t need no racist police,” “Justice for Tamir” and more.

Learn more and get involved HERE.

At the 1st District police station, the father of Brandon Jones spoke about how he is proud to be part of this common fight against these police killings. Everyone was given a red carnation, and at one point LaTonya told everyone to think deeply about what happened to Tamir and other victims of police murder as they place their carnations on the black coffin. The youth placed carnations on the coffin first and then others followed. Throughout the afternoon there was a determined spirit to fight to stop the police murder of Black people, that only the people can stop it—and that April 14 was certainly a part of that spirit.  

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/RIP-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

March 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

RIP
February 23, 1985 – July 29, 2004
KILLED BY 107TH PRECINCT, QUEENS NY
COPS: BLASIC, THOMAS, ROACH

 

STOLEN LIFE

Dante

Dante Pomar

What were they thinking?
Or were they thinking at all?
Or they thought it was a game?

Anonymously, they speed through the dark streets.
Mounted in a black beast, wearing their blue cloaks.
Death is in their glare.
Down they go chasing him into a dark alley and,
Suddenly, smashing his head!

Handcuffed – my sweet boy lays motionless.
With his brain splatted like a watermelon.

However I endlessly ask why.
What was mine won’t be anymore;
not his sweet cool smile that now hangs in my living room against
a white cold wall.

While the uniformed men finish their shift, take off their blue cloaks,
and they kiss their son good night.

I want parents and everyone to wake up to the horrific reality of our justice system that allows its police to brutalize and murder our sons and daughters with impunity.

One must never accept injustice as a commonplace, but must fight with all one’s strength because tomorrow it could be your loved one that may encounter the brutal hand of the “injustice” system.

I urge everyone not to be silent and be out in the streets On April 14, 2015. TO STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL, NO SCHOOL, NO WORK, SAY NO MORE TO THE SYSTEM GIVING A GREEN LIGHT TO KILLER COPS: Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Gloria Leiva, Hector Pomar
Parents

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/seattle-fighting-for-justice-for-oscar-perez-giron-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Seattle: Fighting for Justice for Oscar Perez-Giron, for April 14, and for a Better World!

March 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Saturday, March 21, people gathered at the SODO train station in Seattle to say: From Oscar Grant to Oscar Perez-Giron: NO MORE POLICE MURDER OF OUR YOUTH, at the train stations or anywhere else! No more letting killer cops walk! We demand the indictment of killer cop Malcolm Elliott for the murder of Oscar Perez-Giron at the Seattle SODO train station! And, we will NOT live in a society that does this! And we will NOT stand by! On April 14th: There needs to be a nationwide shutdown to stop brutal murdering cops!

Protest in Seattle against police murder of Oscar Perez-Giron, March 21, 2015

Protest in Seattle against police murder of Oscar Perez-Giron, March 21, 2015. Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution

Oscar Perez-Giron was a young Latino immigrant murdered by police at this train station last summer over a $2.50 train fare. The inquest into this murder was to happen next week, but the court unexpectedly delayed it. They are trying to sweep this murder under the rug. But people wanted to make it clear that we will MAKE THE COURT KNOW THAT WHAT HAPPENS AT THIS INQUEST WILL BE MADE KNOWN IN THE STREETS, AND THAT THE SYSTEM WILL PAY A POLITICAL PRICE IF IT APPROVES YET ANOTHER POLICE MURDER!

Learn more and get involved HERE.

We also took out in a bold way the call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network for the April 14 nationwide shutdown of business as usual, to stop police murder. Family of Oscar and other Latinos murdered by police were part of the crew.

From the SODO station we boarded the train and rode it to the main plaza in downtown Seattle. On the train we moved thru the cars giving speeches on Oscar’s murder and reading out the call for April 14.

At the big plaza there was further speaking out, including in Spanish. This sparked lots of debate and back and forth with the crowds there. One young Black man argued that those who get killed by police did something wrong. This was taken on by the April 14 crew, and a Black woman who was hanging out there called out: “The police can kill you for whatever reason and get away with it!” The adopted mother of Oscar spoke to people, telling her story and urging people to get involved in the April 14th shutdown. A young white man who had been part of the fall protests against police brutality and murder in the San Francisco Bay Area stopped and asked how could he get involved in April 14th, and said he would organize his community college to walk out. A white woman stopped to tell us how disturbed she is by the police getting away with murder, and talked about the recent killing in Los Angeles of the homeless Black man known as Africa. She took a bunch of flyers, intending to organize her community to come out on the 14th.

Many people were very receptive to the call, and signed our contact lists. Many also tossed coins and bills into a bucket we kept passing around. We raised more money for the national April 14 campaign, and also, very importantly, we have a growing list of contacts to follow up on for further building actions for April 14.

A very important thing in the mix with all this action, was revolutionaries handing out flyers and palm cards about the upcoming online launch and premiere screenings of the film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion, and talking to people about how the Dialogue fit into the big picture of getting to a whole new world where police terror and many other horrors could be ended.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/press-conference-demands-massive-illegal-stops-by-Chicago-police-department-stop-immediately-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

Press Conference Demands Massive Illegal Stops by Chicago Police Department Stop Immediately, Calls for Shut It Down on April 14

March 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, March 25—The Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago chapter, the Chicago Revolution Club, and Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters Inc. held a press conference at the Cook County Courthouse to demand that the CPD immediately stop the policy of illegally stopping people on the street for no reason except that they are Black. 

Chicago Press Conference March 25, 2015

March 25 press conference in Chicago demands Massive Illegal Stops by Chicago Police Department Stop Immediately, Calls for Shut It Down on April 14. Photo: Frank Johnson

The press conference was called in response to an ACLU report released on March 23 that exposed that in a four-month period, the rate of police stops of Black people was 1,500 per day!; a total of 250,000 people were stopped, and 72 percent of them (187,048) were African-Americans even though they make up 32 percent of the population. This is four times the rate of stops in New York City at the height of its “Stop-and-frisk” program!  

The press conference denounced this outrageous repressive targeting of Black people and the fact that it is illegal and immoral to treat a whole generation of youth like criminals and demanded the police immediately cease and desist the stop and frisk. 

The press conference put forward these demands:

Speakers at the press conference included: Grant Newburger of the Chicago Revolution Club and Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters, Inc.; Otis Buckley, founder of the National Justice Team; Jay Hannibal Hereford of the Young Leaders Alliance; and Gotti, a student and member of the Chicago Revolution Club. Also present were other members of the Revolution Club, including Iggy, who along with Grant, is facing felony charges for protesting police murder.

Grant Newburger said, “The police are a hostile occupying army. They stop the youth for no reason, criminalize them by putting every person they stop into their files. These stops contribute to the police murder of the youth. We demand this stop immediately. For over 400 years on this continent Black people have not been treated as human beings. First slavery, then Jim Crow and now the New Jim Crow. April 14 has to be the day people are in the streets Shutting It Down, NO Business as Usual, and the Revolution Club calls on to you be part of building a movement for revolution to get rid of this capitalist-imperialism system that is the cause of all this.”

Tio Hardiman emphasized the genocidal character of this program of illegally stopping any Black or Latino youth on the street as “Nazi, Gestapo tactics.” He called for McCarthy to be fired.

Otis Buckley, founder of the National Justice Team, said this is a national epidemic, and that people all over the country are protesting that every 28 hours, the police murder a Black person.

Jay Hannibal Hereford said, “I see the jump-out boys stop people all the time and make them put their hands on the police car. This is illegal. They conduct a smear campaign through the media to desensitize people to the treatment of Black and Latino people. They call Chicago the 'murder capital' but they don't talk about the police murder and brutality.  Nobody deserves to have their Fourth Amendment rights violated.  We will not allow our rights to be violated.”

The press conference called for everyone who is the target of this police repression and murder and all those who opposed it to unite and act on a nationwide scale to STOP this NOW and SHUT IT DOWN across the country on April 14. 

The visual message of the press conference made the connection between the outrage of these illegal stops and the need for thousands to get into the streets on April 14. Behind the speakers, Revolution Club members held a large banner for #ShutDownA14, “Stop Murder by Police.” Two large posters were displayed of a replica of  the “contact card” that the police fill out on each of the illegal stops they make bore a red stamp across the middle: “April 14 Shut It Down.” Pluggers with the same message on the front were handed out to the many people who were flowing out of the courthouse. On the back were some of the most damning facts of the ACLU report. (See box)

A large banner and posters with the pictures and names of some of the thousands killed by police nationwide drew rapt attention, stunned silence, questions, as well as recognition of some of the names and pictures, from many of the people who stopped. Many took copies of the poster version to post and share, along with stickers and flyers. 

One young Latino man who came to the courthouse to see his probation officer joined the rally and afterwards told his story. The police beat him severely this winter in the parking lot of the police station. “I slipped on the ice getting out of the patrol wagon, I thought the policeman was going to help me, instead he threw me face down on the ice, and beat me. I felt blow after blow until I blacked out. I had staples in my head and my eye had many stitches in it, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to see again. They beat me, but then they charged me with assault and kept me in jail for 2 months – I think they didn't want to release me looking like that. Even though I did nothing wrong I took a deal for probation because I have a new baby at home. But I want to fight this, this is wrong. I will be there on April 14.”

Over and over throughout the press conference  the call was made to Shut Down Business as Usual on April 14, because these illegal stops ARE business as usual, police murder and brutality ARE business as usual and all this must STOP NOW.

 


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/shutdownA14-disrupts-chicago-mayor-appearance-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

#ShutDownA14 Disrupts Chicago Mayor Appearance

March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Wednesday evening, March 25—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel walked on stage at a mayoral election candidates' forum at Chicago State University. Before Emanuel could get a word out, protesters sitting near the front row jumped up with a large banner facing the audience that read "Stop Police Murder—Shut It All Down April 14—#ShutDownA14." They chanted "Stop Police Murder! Stop Stop and Frisk! April 14—Shut It Down!" Some people in the audience joined in the chants, and after the protesters were forced out of the auditorium, many people praised them for the action.

This is the third protest in the three days since the revelations that Chicago police have conducted racist stop-and-frisk at FOUR TIMES the rate of New York City's infamous stop-and-frisk campaign. In Chicago, 72 percent of those stopped and searched by police in 2014 were Black, while Black people are 32 percent of the city's population. On Monday, March 23, protesters did a sit-in at City Hall. And earlier on Wednesday, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, the Revolution Club, Chicago, and Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters Inc. held a press conference at the Cook County Courthouse to demand an immediate end to the police practice of stopping people on the street for no reason except that they are Black.

Photo: Twitter/Ashahed M. Muhammad

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/north-carolina-stop-mass-incarceration-network-and-artists4justice-at-high-school-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

North Carolina: Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Artists4Justice at High School Assembly

March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Artists4Justice were recently invited to a city high school in North Carolina to present a special program that 400 students attended (about one quarter of the school). The school is majority Black with over 40 nationalities represented in the student population. Colorful SMIN banners hung from the stage: "No More Generations Sent to Prison"; "Black Lives Matter"; "Stop Police Terror" and "No More Stolen Lives" listing many names of local people who have died at the hands of law enforcement.

Learn more and get involved HERE.

Four presentations were given.

A student's mother (SMIN organizer) led off the program talking about her youth and involvement in drugs and then being incarcerated. She talked about the difficulty in maintaining a life and learning a skill to support her family and then told students about how she was severely beaten by local sheriffs in the jailhouse two years ago. She had been picked up on a "failure to appear" for an old traffic violation that had already been dismissed. She sustained injuries, including PTSD and is now on disability. She has sued the jailers. It has taken her two years to finally get a copy of a video of the incident. She warned that the "justice" system "doesn't have any sympathy for you, especially if you are a person of color." She now is an organizer to stop police from doing this to others.

An artist shared a song call "Still here" and a poem named "Phoenix Song." She said, "Both these pieces came to me at a difficult point in my life. I shared these pieces because it's about encouraging the youth that they can and will overcome the obstacles in their lives. We will overcome the ills of this corrupt system!"

Then a revolutionary spoke briefly about how and why the police killings and mass incarceration are built into this capitalist-imperialist system and necessary for the powers that be to rule and keep control. There was no "fixing" this system. We needed revolution. Highlighting some of the statistics on the SMIN leaflet, the revolutionary said the Call for April 14th was the time to act with others across the country.  

Some of the banners had already been signed by hundreds and people were encouraged to come up and sign too.

Then there were two very big moments as the assembly drew to a close:

A revolutionary poet delivered a jarring performance of "I am not that Corpse" (premier performance of this was at a SMIN meeting). When the poem graphically described the strangulation of Eric Garner, students and teachers jumped out of their seats. Tears came to many eyes, including the vice principal. The poem says, "I'm still alive—how can I not rise!!"

As the program ended, the SMIN "mom" asked, "Please raise your hand if you have a loved one: father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, uncle or aunt locked up in prison." Some hands went right up and others started looking around at each other and very quickly about 80 percent of the students had their hands up!!  These are high school kids!!

If you had any doubts about why April 14th is important or any doubts that there are millions out there whose lives are affected by this monster of a system, this was one of those "moments" that drives home the importance of what we are doing.

At this NC high school, plans are underway to make "school as usual" very unusual and a day to remember on April 14th. 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/emergency-gathering-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

EMERGENCY:
The Police Are STILL Killing Unarmed People, and This Must STOP!
A CALL TO ACT
Cornel West and Carl Dix

Updated April 4, 2015 | Originally posted March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Cornel West and Carl Dix
BE THERE Monday, April 6

Monday, April 6, 7 PM
New York City

St. Paul & St. Andrews Church

West 86th Street & West End Avenue
1 train; M86 bus

 

Special Messages to the April 6 Program

from Alice Walker:

 

from Cindy Sheehan:

 

Come hear Cornel West and Carl Dix
speak on April 6 about what needs to be done and massive outpourings on April 14.

Join with family members of those whose lives have been stolen by the murdering police.

Special messages from Alice Walker, Cindy Sheehan, Arturo O'Farrill, Eve Ensler and others.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
www.stopmassincarceration.net
stopmassincarceration@gmail.com
646-709-1961

After the protests of last year, after promises were made and investigations were launched, after hundreds of protesters were arrested... the police are still getting away with killing people, especially Black and Latino people. This must STOP!

Learn more and get involved HERE.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/last-abortion-clinic-in-mississippi-vandalized-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

ALERT: Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi Vandalized – and Targeted by Christian Fascists

by Sunsara Taylor | March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Sunday evening, March 22, the only remaining abortion clinic in the entire state of Mississippi, the Jackson Women's Health Organization (JWHO), was vandalized. According to a website maintained by clinic staff and defenders, “Someone had come by in the early hours of the morning and knocked [our security cameras] off our building. In the back of the clinic we found our State Mandated generator dismantled and seriously damaged... A review of our DVR showed that in the early hours of the morning, a masked intruder came onto our property and proceeded to methodically destroy our cameras. Other damage found indicates they were trying to destroy the power lines coming into the building, no doubt hoping to stop all patient care for the near future.”

This is an act of terror not only against the clinic's brave staff who put their lives on the line every single day to serve women, but also against all the women of Mississippi and women everywhere. When women are denied the right to abortion and forced to have children against their will, they are enslaved.

This is no exaggeration and it is already the fate of far too many women throughout this country, particularly in the Deep South.


Sunsara Taylor speaks with Dr. Willie Parker, one of the doctors at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi

During my last trip to Mississippi with Stop Patriarchy, to defend with this clinic and abortion rights, a Black student at Jackson State University told me that his teenage cousin was currently living in a car with her two year old precisely because she had been unable to come up with the resources to travel up from the Gulf Coast to get an abortion at the only clinic left in the state. In an earlier visit, Shannon Brewer, the clinic administrator, described a patient from days before. A 14-year-old was brought in by her 27-year-old mother. The mother had only been 13 when she had her child and was determined not to see her daughter put through the same hell. Out in an impoverished part of Jackson, an older Black man who had spent many years in Parchman Farm penitentiary in horrific conditions, spoke passionately about how much women needed access to safe abortions. Otherwise, he explained, they drink Purell or bleach or injure themselves trying to induce their own abortions. These are but a few examples of what women are driven to – and how all women's lives are devalued and demeaned when abortion is not extremely accessible, safe, and without stigma.

When “vandals” (more accurately called terrorists) destroy abortion clinic property, when anti-abortion protesters harass patients and staff, when Christian fascists kill doctors and bomb clinics, and when politicians pass laws restricting access to abortion, it is these kinds of conditions they are fighting to violently impose on women.

This must be well understood and this must be opposed.

Further, when “vandals” destroy security cameras along with other property, they are not only doing tremendous financial damage and sending a message of terror against the staff and all women, they are also concretely laying the groundwork for even greater acts of terror. When a brand new abortion clinic in Montana was destroyed by “vandals” last year, it was the very night before the new security systems were activated.

It is no coincidence that this terror took place in the midst of a siege of Christian fascists who have converged on and targeted this clinic from across the country. In addition to their regular anti-abortion protesters who harass women and staff at their clinic every single day, fascist fundamentalist Christian organizations Operation Save America, the Abortion Holocaust Survivors, and Abolish Human Abortion have been in Jackson waging even more confrontational and hateful anti-abortion protests.

Many of those who have carried out murders of abortion doctors and bombings of abortion clinics have been directly connected with these and other Christian fascist organizations in the past. And all these organizations know that when they whip up a fundamentalist and unthinking frenzy of hatred towards abortion doctors and clinics, they are inciting “true believers” to carry out acts of terror and violence. This has been the case, for example, at another clinics owned by Diane Derzis, the hero who owns the last clinic in Mississippi. In 1998 her clinic in Birmingham, Alabama – which had long been a target of anti-abortion fanatics, including the parent organization of Operation Save America – was struck by a bomb which destroyed the facility, killed one person, and critically injured one more.

In the wake of this “vandalism” (more accurately called terrorism), the courageous clinic staff and defenders declared, “This clinic stays open!” and took it upon themselves to set up a 24 hour watch to protect the clinic while their cameras were down.

All this takes place against a backdrop of record numbers of state-backed restrictions on abortion which are being passed into law across the country. In Mississippi, patients are forced to wait twenty four hours after seeing the doctor before they can get an abortion, meaning they either have to make the long trip twice or find the resources to stay overnight. Minors are required not only to notify their parents of their choice to get an abortion, but they are forced to get consent from a parent. Doctors who provide abortions are legally required to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, even though this is totally medically unnecessary. None of the local hospitals will grant these privileges and the clinic is currently open only based on a judges decision while this last restriction is being litigated.

By all measures, the Jackson Women's Health Organization is one of several “ground zeros” in the nation-wide, all-out assault on women's right to abortion. Let this cowardly and woman-hating assault on JWHO be a wake-up call and rallying cry to everyone across this country: We MUST Not Go Back! Abortion Providers Are Heroes. Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

 

For more on women's liberation:

Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the
Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Download PDF:    Full work         Sampler Edition

A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity

Read here          or          download PDF

To connect with the movement fighting for this now:

Click here

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/a-proposal-from-someone-who-has-been-working-to-organize-shutdown-april-14-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

A Call for Stolen Lives Days on Campuses and Communities

March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I’ve been thinking about the Call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network for NO SCHOOL! NO WORK! STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL! on April 14 and how to make this #ShutdownA14 a powerful message saying NO MORE to the system giving a green light to killer cops! I have some ideas I want to propose for how to build NOW toward making this vision of April 14 a powerful reality on campuses and in communities all across the country.

This must be a day when students on campuses all over the country step up to say NO MORE to the routine, epidemic murder of Black and Latino people by the police. April 14 must be a day when students step up to Shut It Down. To be real, it is in our hands to put an end to this. Not in the hands of the powers-that-be or their spokesmen. And more, when students join with people from the neighborhoods and a wide range of people throughout society to shut it down...this will count for a great deal. Breakouts on the campuses and in the neighborhoods that face horrific brutality every day can awake all of society and mobilize people in both cities and towns to make April 14 a day which will be the beginning of the end for the rampant murder by the police in this society. Again, it is in our hands. In this light, I urge all revcom.us readers to read and think about the Message to Students and Youth of ALL Nationalities.

Many students across the country express the desire and determination to stop murder by police and police brutality but the question is posed: How to go about organizing other students to really step up and act on April 14?

To this end, I would propose the following:

Stolen Lives
Download PDF for printing; JPG for web

April 1 and 2 should be Stolen Lives Days on campuses across the country. The Stolen Lives poster which appeared on revcom.us (as centerfold in Revolution newspaper #377-378, available online here) brings people face to face with the horrible reality of police murder that is happening in this country every day. Big installations of this poster should appear in key crossroads on different campuses and be spread everywhere through social media. This poster can play a big role in compelling people to act—together—on April 14. With the aim of making the murder by police of Black and Latino people come alive for the society as a whole, students on campuses should confront this poster everywhere—with big installations in the middle of the campus, hung on bulletin boards in departments, dorms, bathrooms...and showing up in unexpected places. Students should be taking selfies of themselves with the installation and spreading them everywhere on Instagram and other social media and going to revcom.us and tweeting the image of the poster and getting it up on their Facebook pages. What happens on one campus should be spread to other campuses in a way that momentum is building.  

As part of these days, parents and relatives of people murdered by police should be invited to the campuses to tell the stories of the loved ones they have lost—and a big deal should be made of their appearance...gathering crowds to speak with them and learn about the reality of what is happening every day, in every city and town in this country.

This image of the Stolen Lives and #ShutdownA14 should become so visible that everyone is talking about, taking a position, deciding where they stand and where they’ll be on April 14.

Those organizing this will find some are attracted to this and want to get involved and others will be challenged by it. That’s a good thing. This is how we can transform people’s thinking and get organized for walkouts and actions on the 14th. Let people know the importance of April 14, what we are aiming to do, and why all those who see the injustice and brutality in this society should be a part of this struggle. Tell people: If you think how Black and Latino people are oppressed in this society is wrong, act on it on April 14. Say to people: it may not be happening to you, but it is happening—and students together with others have a moral responsibility to stand up to stop police murder and brutality. We do not want to live in a society where the lives of Black and Latino people count for nothing, where Black and Latino people suffer every day in countless ways from oppression—and jumping into April 14 can change all this.

I am writing this with the intent of giving students everywhere who feel passionately about the need to stop murder by police the means to organize others to shut down their campuses on April 14. Organizing your fellow students means just that...bringing together a core of people (no matter how large) to build and display the installations, to go out broadly and canvass the dorms with palm cards and fliers for the actions planned for their campus on the 14th, to get on social media and spread the word and discuss: what kinds of actions can be taken on your campus. When campuses everywhere are shutting it down, in wave upon wave, this can be a part of changing everything. And when this goes together with whole neighborhoods and communities taking this up, putting the poster in windows everywhere, and putting before people the reality of what is happening to Black and Latino people across the country and the need to act, this can be a catalyst to drawing in and organizing many, many people to act on April 14.

Then the weekend of April 10, 11, 12 should be Stolen Lives Days in communities and neighborhoods everywhere. Right in the neighborhoods where the occupying armies of police harass and murder our youth, the Stolen Lives poster should flower everywhere—exposing their crimes right in the face of these murderous cops! Display the poster in every window in the projects and homes, posted up on the front window of bodegas and corner stores, posted up in every laundromat, beauty parlor, and barbershop, so everyone is talking about it all throughout the neighborhoods and making their plans for no school, no work, come together and shut it down on the 14th. There should be installations on street corners, posters passed out at the services at mosques and churches in the community, with pastors and imams delivering sermons about the Stolen Lives and the need to act.  

And everywhere getting out palm cards and fliers calling on people to walk out and where to converge on the 14th. Cores of youth from the high schools, parents and people from the neighborhoods—everyone getting involved to get the posters up, get the word out and ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE to come out and stand up in the face of these murdering pigs and be part of ShutdownA14! 

And every time a new outrage happens get out in the middle of the protests with banners and posters for #ShutdownA14. Seventy-eight unarmed people have been murdered by police since January 1, 2015 and many more brutalized at the hands of law enforcement. When Martese Johnson was beaten at the University of Virginia, students poured out on the campus. Wherever outrage like this pours out, be there spreading the word and organizing people to join in organizing for #ShutdownA14. A day when we will draw together all the streams of outrage and fight for society as a whole to say NO MORE!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/wednesday-april-1-nationwide-stop-the-detention-deportation-and-murder-of-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

Wednesday, April 1—Nationwide:
Stop the Detention, Deportation and Murder of Immigrants in the U.S.—A Day Of Struggle To Stop All Attacks On All Immigrants

Make April 1 a Day of Building a Powerful April 14th!

March 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Vicious attacks on immigrants in the U.S. are widespread and intensifying. Millions are targeted, rounded up and deported.  Immigrants face horrendous, inhumane conditions while incarcerated. Immigrants are being shot down by U.S. police one after the other. Three police killings of unarmed Mexican nationals occurred in February 2015:

Tuesday, Feb. 10—police in Pasco, Washington fatally shot unarmed 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes.

Friday, Feb. 20—Grapevine, Texas police fatally shot unarmed 31-year-old Ruben Garcia Villalpando on the roadside, after he'd been pulled over for a suspected traffic violation.

Friday, Feb. 27—police in Santa Ana, California fatally shot unarmed Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz.

And, on March 1—a Cameroon born immigrant, "Brother Africa," was gunned down in cold blood by the LAPD.

There have been other police murders of Central American immigrants in recent months, including 4 in Salinas and another in San Francisco CA.

February 20—some 2,000 men at the brutally run Willacy County Correctional Center in South Texas, near the Mexico border, rebelled against abusive, degrading, filthy, and inhumane conditions. 

March 4—the U.S. Border Patrol reported that the bodies of 55 immigrants have been found in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas since October 2014. That does not include the 15 bodies of drowning victims pulled out of the Rio Grande River. The border these immigrants died trying to cross is one of the most heavily militarized patches of terrain in the world, all of it aimed against them.

Over a few days in early March—2,059 immigrants were arrested nationwide by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in “Operation Cross Check.” The people arrested are either being deported quickly or sent before a U.S. Attorney for further criminal charges, to be deported when they’ve finished their sentences. 

The Call for #ShutDownA14"Stop Business As Usual! No Work! No School! Say No More To The System Giving A Green Light To Killer Cops!" points out that murder by police is a concentration of an overall program of mass incarceration and all its consequences directly affecting tens of millions of people. It also says: “A hidden part of this program is the demonization, criminalization, deportation, and murder of immigrants. This must stop."

The movement to stop mass incarceration, police terror and crminalization must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with immigrants who are in the crosshairs of U.S. state repression and violence. They are our sisters and brothers. We need to work on forging this unity in building for April 14th.

On April 1st, wherever possible, we encourage “No Business as Usual” actions be carried out in cities large and small in the U.S. These actions could include politically targeting those institutions responsible for the deportations, criminalization and murder of immigrants - police, ICE and Border Patrol, or other symbols of white supremacy and fascist xenophobia.

As we take up April 1, let's also challenge all to be in the streets on A14.

******

Special note—The Stop Mass Incarceration Network salutes the family members of the 43 Mexican students kidnapped and brutally murdered by government forces in Ayotzinapa, Mexico (who are now on a caravan through “El Norte”). Thousands are rising up in Mexico against this mass murder and the cover-up at the top levels of the Mexican government. We unite with those rising up, we join them in common cause in a cross-border fight against state sanctioned murder.

 

Los Angeles event information (we encourage people in other cities to make plans!):

LOS ANGELES

2 pm—Press Conference, 6th and Union, Pico Union

March to LAPD Rampart Division

6th and Union is the Westlake District/Pico Union site where the LAPD murdered Guatemalan immigrant Manuel Jaminez Xum on September 5, 2010. Mass protests erupted for several days in the Pico-Union area in outrage to his murder by the LAPD. The Los Angeles Police Commission whitewashed his murder, essentially giving a green light to Manuel's and future murders by the LAPD. In light of the many murders of immigrants by the LAPD and other police departments in 2015, we will begin our April 1 press conference and action at the site of Manuel Jaminez Xum's murder by the LAPD. We will hold the event in his honor and in honor of all immigrants lives that have been stolen by brutal, murdering police.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/379/sf-chief-pig-shouted-down-trying-to-defend-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

SF Chief Pig Shouted Down Trying to Defend Police Murder

March 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Correspondence from San Francisco/Bay Area:

People in San Francisco are fighting back against the epidemic of police murder and brutality and building for April 14.

Monday, March 23, people shouted down Chief San Francisco Pig Greg Suhr at a community meeting the police called to try and justify the March 17 police killing of Alice Brown, a 24-year-old white woman. The police say they were conducting a stolen vehicle investigation and were pursuing Alice Brown in her car. When she drove the wrong way down a one-way street and then up on the sidewalk, the cops shot and killed her.

Suhr wanted people to believe that they could get justice by relying on an official investigation. Less than a half hour after the meeting started, the Chief had to shut it down because people refused to put up with his lies.

After Suhr finished his “explanation” of why the cops shot Alice, a woman who was there and saw what happened challenged Suhr to his face, saying, “What you said was not true.” She went on to say the cops escalated the situation unnecessarily. Others questioned whether Alice even knew that the men chasing her were the police since they arrived in plainclothes in an unmarked police car.

Angela Naggie, whose son O’Shaine Evans was killed by undercover police officers near AT&T Park last year, spoke to similarities between the two cases. Another person asked Suhr, “Are you reading from a script?” speaking to how the police always run out the same lies every time they take someone’s life.

Others challenged Suhr on other murders by police and called on him to resign. People from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network held up a “Stolen Lives” banner with pictures and names of people killed by the cops.

People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco.People block gate to Mission District police station parking lot to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco. Photo: Capp Street Crap

Earlier that day in the morning, about 200 people shut down Valencia Street in front of the San Francisco Mission District police station for several hours to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Alejandro "Alex" Nieto, a 28-year-old San Francisco City College student, at the hands of the SFPD. The protest was called by “Stop Police Impunity.” Police fired more than 57 shots at Alex, who was unarmed and walking in his neighborhood. Outrageously, the San Francisco District Attorney (and former police chief) refused to file charges against the four cops who murdered Alex.

People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco.
Photo: Sagnic the Salazar

People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco.People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco.
Photo: Capp Street Crap

In front of the police station, protesters conducted a mock trial of the four cops. Demonstrators were dressed in blue and wore large masks with depictions of the cops’ faces. They were handcuffed with their legs shackled, symbolizing that they should have been arrested for murder. At the same time, 16 activists blocked the gate to the parking lot, locking themselves to a large artwork in front of the station for over four hours.

“We are here to give notice to the SFPD and other police departments across the country that our communities will not sit passively while we are targeted. We deserve to live with dignity and we deserve justice,” a protester told the media.

On Saturday, March 20, the group “Justice for Alex Nieto” called for a memorial procession to mark the anniversary of Alex’s killing. It went from Bernal Heights, where Alex was shot, to the Mission Cultural Center, where a film of Alex’s life, Amor for Alex, was shown. Lowrider car clubs participated in the procession.

April 14 was widely promoted—and warmly received—at all these protests.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/380/grief-and-remembrance-to-defiance-en.html

Revolution #379 March 23, 2015

San Francisco

"Grief and remembrance to defiance"

March 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution received the following correspondence from the San Francisco Bay Area:

 

Saturday, March 21 was a very moving day for people in San Francisco who are taking out April 14 Shut It Down! It was a day with activities remembering and honoring the lives of people whose lives were stolen by police violence and other violence that destines our youth to oblivion, as BA says, “even before they are born”!

The day started on the main intersection of the Mission District where a Stolen Lives banner and A14 Shut It Down! banners decorated the bus stops, and tables were set up. Different teams spread out to other busy intersections and got out thousands of fliers for A14 and palm cards for the film about the Dialogue on Revolution and Religion between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. As the sun started falling on Bernal Heights, there was a ceremony at the site where one year ago to the day, San Francisco police shot and killed a 21-year-old Latino, Alex Nieto. Fifty-nine shots were fired at him that day. Alex was a security guard and was wearing a Taser gun on a holster at his beltline the evening he was killed. That’s all the police needed to justify the murder.

People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco. Photo: Sagnic the SalazarPeople shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, March 23, San Francisco. Photo above and below right: Capp Street Crap

People shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco. Photo: Sagnic the SalazarPeople shut down street in front of police station in the Mission District to protest police killing of Alex Nieto, a City College student. March 23, San Francisco. Photo: Sagnic the Salazar
Left photo: Sagnic the Salazar

Alex Nieto’s father spoke out and a letter was read from both his parents in which they remembered their son and talked about how before he was killed they had trusted the police, but not anymore. They spoke about how they had never been to any protests before and how strange it was at first to go out in the streets to protest, but how they have gotten a deep appreciation for how precious it is that people are standing up for justice for their son and many others.

There were Aztec dancers and a Buddhist chant that echoed through the hills of Bernal Heights, and people walked down the hill into the Mission District in what was called a Trail of Tears to place flowers at other sites where people have been killed by police and the violence that youth get caught up in. One of the shrines was the place where Amilcar Perez-Lopez, a 21-year-old Guatemalan immigrant and student at the City College of San Francisco, was unjustly shot and killed by plainclothes SFPD just a few weeks ago.

As the march proceeded, the tone at one point changed from grief and remembrance to defiance as people entered 24th Street—there began cries in Spanish of “What do we want?  Justice! When do we want it? NOW!” and “Alex Nieto... PRESENTE, Amilcar Perez... PRESENTE!”

When we got to the Mission Cultural Center, the street was lined with lowrider cars that Alex had loved to parade in on special days like the Carnivale. The day ended with a beautiful cultural gathering where movie clips showed Alex Nieto alive. We hung the banner with pictures of a lot of the Stolen Lives on the outside wall of the Cultural Center and called on everyone to organize for April 14. So it was a beautiful day of tribute to the lives of people who have been so cruelly murdered by this system. It was also a day where we got out the call to stand up and say NO MORE! All in all we got out over 6,000 April 14 fliers. Everybody up and down Mission Street got it and quite a few took small bundles to get to others.

The week before, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the Revolution Club organized a rally and speakout at City College of San Francisco where many students came and testified. Neighbors and friends of Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez-Lopez testified that day, as well as others who have lost loved ones to police murder.

On Monday, March 23, youths with Black Lives Matter and others, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Alex Nieto, shut down the entire block of Valencia Street in front of the SF Mission Police Station for four hours, with creative blockades and banners, and there was a very creative mock trial of the police who killed Alex, blocking the street in front of the precinct.