Revolution #395, July 13, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Editors' note: Posted below is an important document by Bob Avakian. It is also an important companion to Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, which our readers should continue to study and to use and popularize broadly.

 

THE NEW SYNTHESIS OF COMMUNISM: FUNDAMENTAL ORIENTATION, METHOD AND APPROACH, AND CORE ELEMENTS—AN OUTLINE

by Bob Avakian,

Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,
Summer 2015

Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Introductory Point of Orientation

The new synthesis is, in a real sense, a “work in progress,” as I am still actively applying myself to leading and to learning, from many sources, and hopefully this new synthesis will continue to be further developed and enriched as a result of ongoing work in the theoretical realm in dialectical relation with further developments in the world and in particular the further advance of a revolutionary struggle whose ultimate aim is a communist world. But it is correct to say that, as a result of work I have carried out, over a number of decades, summing up the experience of the communist revolution and socialist states and drawing from many diverse spheres of human activity and thought, there is already a further, qualitative development in the science of communism that is embodied in the fundamental orientation, method and approach, and the core elements, of the new synthesis. Because of the importance of what this represents—and the importance of presenting this in a form that is both concise and concentrated, as well as an accurate rendering, to serve as a basic grounding and guideline and to encourage and facilitate further engagement with the new synthesis—I have written the following outline. As with the new synthesis itself, this outline is not something final but a reflection of what has been brought forward up to this point, and the qualitative leap this represents, even as this is a process that is ongoing; it provides a basic indication of the essential method and approach, and other important components, of the new synthesis. In what follows, the different dimensions where communism has been further developed through this new synthesis are indicated, followed by some of the key sources where these points are spoken to (in some cases works by others, which speak to important aspects of the new synthesis, are cited; but where no authorship is indicated, the reference is to a work of mine).

* Method and Approach: Communism as a Science—Further Development of Dialectical Materialism

** Freedom and necessity—a further synthesis.

The statement of mine—on the relation between necessity and accident, and between underlying material conditions and conscious human activity—which is cited by Ardea Skybreak in Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps, and discussed in the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” by Ishak Baran and K.J.A., in Demarcations #4

** Epistemology: a scientific theory of knowledge. Against relativism.

Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, available at revcom.us

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

** Epistemology and morality. Againstmight makes right,” and how relativism and “truth as narrative” ultimately lead to “might makes right.”

BAsics 4:10

Away With All Gods!—Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, especially Part Four

BAsics 5:11

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

** Epistemology and partisanship.

In the relation between being scientific and being partisan, being consistently scientific is principal, and the basis for being, correctly and fully, partisan to the proletarian revolution and its goal of communism.

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

** Against populism and populist epistemology.

Against reification—the mistaken concept that the oppressed, because of their exploited condition and place in society, have a “special purchase on the truth,” and in particular a special ability to understand the dynamics of society and its transformation. Against religiosity/religious tendencies in communism.

BAsics 4:11

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

“‘Crises in Physics,’ Crises in Philosophy and Politics,” in Demarcations #1

Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

** A consistently scientific political economy, a consistently dialectical materialist approach to the relation between the economic base and the superstructure of politics and ideology.

On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change,” by Raymond Lotta in Demarcations #3

Can This System Do Away With, or Do Without, The Oppression of Women?—A Fundamental Question, a Scientific Approach to the Answer,” in the compendium Break ALL the Chains!—Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 1

** Beyond democracy and equality.

A further development of Marx’s profound insight that the advance to communism involves society, and the people who make up society, moving “beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right,” in their material conditions and in their thinking, and his critical understanding that right can never be higher than the economic structure of society, and the culture conditioned thereby.

Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?

Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, Part 1

** “Solid core, with a lot of elasticity based on the solid core.”

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

Science and Revolution—On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

** “Emancipators of humanity.”

The communist revolution is not about revenge, or “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last,” but is about emancipating humanity, ending all exploitation and oppression throughout the world.

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

* Internationalism

** The material basis and philosophical basis, and the overall approach, of communist internationalism.

BAsics 2:12

Advancing the World Revolutionary Movement: Questions of Strategic Orientation

Communism or Nationalism?,” a polemic by the OCR, Mexico, in Demarcations #4

** Summing up the first wave of the communist movement/socialist states.

Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will

Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, Part 2 and Part 3;

Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA;

You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” An Interview with Raymond Lotta, Revolution #323, November 24, 2013)

* The Strategic Approach to Revolution, Particularly in Imperialist Countries Such as the U.S.—But with Implications More Generally

** Lenin’s What Is To Be Done?—revived and “enriched”

—in terms of heightened emphasis on putting the problems of the revolution before the masses, but also on how communist consciousness must be “brought from outside” the direct experience and struggle of the masses, the importance of the ideological realm, and transforming the thinking of the people; and on the need to “push on” objective developments, a further development of a core element in What Is To Be Done? Hastening while awaiting—acting to transform the objective situation to the maximum degree possible at any given time, while being tense to new, and perhaps unforeseen (or even unforeseeable), events and how other class/social forces are themselves “working on” the objective contradictions from their own point of view and in line with how their representatives perceive their interests.

The first six paragraphs of Part 2 of “Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity

Mao emphasized the dialectical relation between matter and consciousness, and stressed the need to be oriented to be prepared for unexpected developments; but precisely this kind of orientation, understanding, method and approach is synthesized—in a fuller, higher and more concentrated way—in the new synthesis. (This informs “Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution” and the statement “On the Strategy for Revolution,” by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.)

** Separation of the communist movement from the labor movement.

Analysis of the bedrock base and driving force for revolution, and the broader united front under the leadership of the proletariat.

Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 2

** The role of intellectuals as political and literary representatives of a class, and the contradictions bound up with this in the proletarian revolution.

Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life With Meaning

** The pivotal role of the Black national question, the pivotal relation between national liberation and proletarian revolution, in the U.S.

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression

The films

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

Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

** The crucial role—and the even further heightened role in today’s world—of the struggle for the emancipation of women and its relation to the proletarian revolution and its goal of emancipating all humanity through the advance to a communist world.

BAsics 3:22

Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, Part 3

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

** The seizure of power.

On the Possibility of Revolution,” by the Revolutionary Communist Party

Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 2

* Building the New Society, Advancing to a New World

** Carrying forward the socialist transformation of society, as part—fundamentally a subordinate part—of the overall world revolution toward the ultimate goal of communism.

Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically New Kind of State, a Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom

** The “parachute point”—the “opening out” of social relations and the expression of social and class contradictions with the consolidation of the new socialist state.

The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of the Communist Revolution

** “Solid core, with a lot of elasticity based on the solid core,” applied to socialist society.

Recognition of the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the leadership of a communist vanguard, during the socialist transition to communism, and at the same time a heightened emphasis on the importance of dissent and ferment, politically, intellectually, culturally, on the foundation of and as a key part of exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat and carrying forward the transition toward communism, and, with the achievement of communism, the abolition of dictatorship of any kind.

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

Alain Badiou’s ‘Politics of Emancipation’: A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World,” by Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K.J.A., in Demarcations #1

** The role of a socialist constitution, rights of the people and the rule of law with the dictatorship of the proletariat

“Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon,” Part 1

Constitution, Law, and Rights—in capitalist society and in the future socialist society, Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian and excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA)

** The relation between abundance and revolution, within a socialist country and internationally.

Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 1

** All this is embodied, applied and amplified in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Conclusion/Summary

What is most fundamental and essential in the new synthesis is the further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach, and the more consistent application of this scientific method and approach to reality in general and in particular the revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression and advance to a communist world. This method and approach underlies and informs all the core elements and essential components of this new synthesis.

 

TIMELINE—
Political Activism and Revolutionary Leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), During the 1960s-1970s, and Continuing to the Present Time

 

 


 

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Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

ONE YEAR SINCE THE MURDERS OF ERIC GARNER & MICHAEL BROWN
TAKE OUR OUTRAGE TO THE STREETS!

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

JULY 17, 2015—One year since the murder of Eric Garner. One year since we watched the cops choke him to death. One year since we listened to his dying words: “I can’t breathe,” words that the cops ignored. And still no justice!

Cleveland November 25

Cleveland, November 25, 2014. Photo: AP

AUGUST 9, 2015—One year since Michael Brown was gunned down by a cop in Ferguson with his hands up. One year since the police left his body lying in the streets for more than four hours. And still no justice!

These murders, and the way the whole system went into motion to exonerate the killer cops, concentrated the slow genocide this system enforces on Black and Latino people. In response people took to the streets to say NO MORE, sparking waves of resistance that reached levels not seen in decades.

As we near the anniversary of these murders, we need to get back out into the streets. We must let everyone know that we have not forgotten, that we have not moved on, that we still refuse to suffer these horrors in silence.

Make plans to be in the streets on these days. If calls to take to the streets have already been issued by others, join with those efforts to make them as powerful as possible. And as we take to the streets July 17 and August 9, bring out the need for people to join us in drawing a huge dividing line, posing to all of society: Which Side Are You On? Will you be in New York City on October 24, joining with thousands and thousands of people to declare before the eyes of the world that: Police Terror Must STOP!

SEND IN YOUR PLANS FOR ACTIONS TO SMINPLANS@GMAIL.COM

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Of Liberation and Love

Why Obama Embraced Forgiveness—and Why We Should NOT

by Lenny Wolff | July 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There’s a lot of confusion around and about these days about forgiveness, oppression, and how you preserve your humanity in the face of inhumanity—quite a bit of it spread by Obama and amplified in the media echo chamber. So let’s try to take this apart.

To get right to it: Should the oppressed be told to forgive their oppressors and the enforcers of their oppression?

No. First of all, the oppressed should be inspired and organized to fight against their oppression and led to overthrow their oppressors and root out the source of their oppression.

Let’s take an example that’s once again back in the news with the struggle to get rid of that white supremacist Confederate rag: slavery, the Civil War that was fought to end it, and its ongoing effect down to today.

Should enslaved people have been told—as they were by the spreaders of Christianity—to forgive their slave owners? Again, no. They should have organized to rebel against and try to overthrow slavery—as they tried in over 200 instances before the outbreak of the Civil War.

When the Civil War was at last fought and slavery finally WAS overthrown, what needed to happen next? First, you needed a state power that would have actually divided up the land that those former slaves had developed and worked for centuries and made sure that they had the means to farm that land. You needed a state power that would have ensured political rights, education, and other basic needs of those former slaves. And to do that, that new state power would have had to prevent those like the South's top General, Robert E. Lee, and the other leading monsters (and I don’t care how pious or genteel they thought they were, these people were monsters) from ever again raising their hands against the masses.

Remember, we’re talking about people who politically and militarily led a war to defend a whole system that had enslaved millions for generations and who killed hundreds of thousands in the process. They needed to be imprisoned for as long as just and necessary for their crimes and all of them should have been deprived of most political rights once freed—until the masses of former slaves and all other people desiring justice and freedom could be sure that these oppressors would not try to restore their “lost Paradise.”

But is this what happened? No, it is not. Very, very few of the leading criminals ever did a day of time in prison. After a relatively short period of time, the Union troops were first pulled back and then withdrawn, and the former slave owners were basically given a free hand to organize terror against the former slaves and others on the side of freedom. They took back from the former slaves what land had been freed, and they restored a form of feudal bondage very similar to slavery. They enforced this with the police and courts they once again controlled and the terror of the lynch mob—and they did so without a single ounce of the supposed mercy and forgiveness they so love to preach to the oppressed about. For over 150 years Black people paid very dearly in every dimension for this, and Black people are still paying dearly today.

And the idea of “forgiveness” played a big role in justifying and smoothing the way for this betrayal. Today we’re told that Obama’s eulogy in South Carolina was comparable to Lincoln’s second inaugural speech toward the end of the Civil War—as if that’s a good thing!* Lincoln is sanctified by today’s rulers for calling on the victorious North to proceed “with malice toward none and charity for all.” And Grant, the main Union general, is praised for allowing Lee, the commander of the slaveholder armies, to keep his sword.

No! Those were exactly the WRONG things to say. These words and gestures of forgiveness ideologically disarmed the former slaves and the other freedom fighters—to pave the way for and go along with the physical disarming of the slaves that occurred. And now, after that betrayal, we’ve had 150 years of white supremacy in other killing forms.

So forgiveness for oppressors and enforcers of oppression? No.

What about love? We should certainly love the masses. We should certainly love and cherish all those who give their lives to the cause of emancipation. And we should strive to approach every honest person with a generous spirit and open heart. The criticisms we make of people should be grounded in a belief in their capacity to transform their thinking and action.

But why in the world should we love the oppressors? Really—why? Yes, we should struggle with people who get caught up in movements that demonize and oppress people or who defend petty forms of privilege and carry out vicious acts against the people or other individuals. We should sharply get them to see how fucked-up what they’re doing is, and to fight with them to change. And yes, we should welcome it when such people break with the outlook of the oppressor and genuinely and truly transform and come over to the side of the people. But love them while they’re still carrying out their nasty shit? I don’t think so.

More to the point: if your love for the masses and emancipation is genuine, then you will fight like hell to make sure that the power for which those masses sacrifice will not be given back to the oppressors once achievedeven as you fight like hell to make sure that that power continues to serve the cause of emancipation.

After the Civil War, after only a few years, the Union troops were withdrawn from the South, and the former slave owners were basically given a free hand to organize terror against the former slaves and others on the side of freedom. They took back from the slaves what land had been freed, and they restored a form of feudal bondage very similar to slavery. They enforced this with the police and courts they once again controlled and the terror of the lynch mob—and they did so without a single ounce of the supposed mercy and forgiveness they so love to preach to the oppressed about. For over 150 years Black people paid very dearly in every dimension for this, and Black people are still paying dearly today. Here, a homeless tenant farmer, Rubin Stacy, was lynched in Florida, 1935.

These ideas—loving and forgiving your oppressor—are of course basic tenets of the Christian religion. And some people, it is true, draw inspiration from this religion to fight back against oppression, and we definitely unite with them in that fight. But ask yourself: WHY did the Roman emperor finally decide to make Christianity the official religion of the state? Why did the pillagers and enslavers of Europe bring the Christian Bible with them, along with the guns they used and the whiskey they peddled? Why does Obama—who is nothing but the instrument of a rotted-out system that kills thousands and grinds away billions day by day around the world—why does he “find his eloquence” when it comes time to preach the virtue of forgiveness to those whose oppression he presides over? This is a religion and a moral code that for centuries has been used by the powerful to enshrine submission and obedience to oppression and all forms of slavery as holy.

This leads to another point of morality. Some people say that fighting back—especially fighting back with force—robs you of your humanity. Bob Avakian (BA) speaks to this point in the “Revolution” talk in a very telling way: Does someone using force to prevent a rape somehow lose their humanity? Does someone using force to stop a lynching or a massacre lose their humanity?

Or take this example. Denmark Vesey actually organized the slave rebellion in Charleston which was betrayed and crushed in the early 1800s. (Obama obliquely refers to this as “working against slavery,” but seems to be unable to pronounce Vesey’s name or the word “rebellion.”) Did Denmark Vesey—who had already purchased his freedom and was no longer a slave—did he lose his humanity when he gave his life to organize a revolt against slavery? If he had had to kill those defending slavery in the course of doing this—as he knew he almost certainly would—would he have then lost his humanity? The question should answer itself.  

And let’s turn the question around. What about those who witness a rape and do nothing, or just preach at the rapist? What happens to their humanity? What about all the white people who disapproved of the lynchings that followed the betrayal of Black people after the Civil War, but did nothing and even said nothing—what happened to their humanity? And what about those today who do nothing about the horrific mass incarceration and genocide—where is their humanity?

Does this mean that people should just go off, and engage in revenge? Absolutely not. Revenge lowers you to the level of the oppressor and robs you of your humanity. Any revolution that is truly about human emancipation should not be about revenge and in fact the leadership of the revolution will have to struggle against any tendencies in that direction. This is a critical point that has been emphasized by Bob Avakian.

In fact, the revolution we need today—the revolution which is possible today—goes far beyond what people conceived of as emancipation in the Civil War. The communist revolution aims at nothing less than the abolition of ALL forms of exploitation and oppression... all the class distinctions between people and the oppressive relations between people that flow out of and/or reinforce those... and all the modes of thinking that reflect and reinforce exploitation and oppression. This revolution has been defended and reconceived by Bob Avakian—and his body of work and method and approach, and the movement for revolution which he leads, grapples with the moral dimension on a much deeper level than has previously been the case. To get a sense of this, you can start with the fifth chapter of BAsics, which focuses on morality. And you can read the following, which closes the chapter and with which I’ll end this essay.

In the final analysis, as Engels once expressed it, the proletariat must win its emancipation on the battlefield. But there is not only the question of winning in this sense but of how we win in the largest sense. One of the significant if perhaps subtle and often little-noticed ways in which the enemy, even in defeat, seeks to exact revenge on the revolution and sow the seed of its future undoing is in what he would force the revolutionaries to become in order to defeat him. It will come to this: we will have to face him in the trenches and defeat him amidst terrible destruction but we must not in the process annihilate the fundamental difference between the enemy and ourselves. Here the example of Marx is illuminating: he repeatedly fought at close quarters with the ideologists and apologists of the bourgeoisie but he never fought them on their terms or with their outlook; with Marx his method is as exhilarating as his goal is inspiring. We must be able to maintain our firmness of principles but at the same time our flexibility, our materialism and our dialectics, our realism and our romanticism, our solemn sense of purpose and our sense of humor. (BAsics 5:24)

 


* By the way, let’s be clear on Lincoln. His aim in fighting the Civil War was not to end slavery but to “preserve the Union,” as he himself stated very clearly on more than one occasion. That is, he mainly fought the war to preserve the U.S. as a powerful capitalist nation. He only moved to end slavery when it became clear that he could not win the war without doing that. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Greece: Suffering, Crisis, and a REVOLUTIONARY WAY OUT

July 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editor's note: As we go to press, it appears that SYRIZA and the Greek government have proposed an austerity program as cruel and draconian as the one voters rejected. We will continue to report on developments in Greece, but the following article remains a basic analysis of the situation.

 

"Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems—and the lives of people—not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war—war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states—it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.

"Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution—the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors—and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism."

BAsics 1:6

That global monster—imperialism—has created a hellish crisis in Greece. And that crisis, in turn, poses a huge question: Is there another way the world can be?

A series of economic measures imposed by global imperialist institutions have created terrible suffering in Greece. Above, in 2011, protests against austerity measures in front of the Greek parliament in Athens. In Greek society, this hand gesture expresses extreme outrage and anger. Photo: AP

The answer is YES. But the answer lies outside the existing system, and instead in a REAL liberating revolution.

~~~~~~~~~~

Greece is a small Mediterranean country of about 11 million people, located in the fairly poor southeast corner of Europe. It is a gateway into the wealthier parts of Europe for hundreds of thousands of desperate immigrants fleeing deep poverty, instability, or war in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South Asia.

On Sunday, July 5, with the gun of national bankruptcy pointed at their heads, millions of Greeks went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly to reject a new program of cruel austerity that the European Union (EU) wanted to impose on them. The overwhelming and angry “no” vote reflected the amount of suffering that the Greek people have already experienced and their unwillingness to sign on for even more. It reflected their willingness to sail into the storm, to oppose this in the only way that appeared to be open to them, rather than accept being broken and humiliated by the dictates of imperialist capital.

But at the same time, in this “referendum,” both choices came down to debating the terms for the scourging and bleeding of the Greek people in the interests of capital, with the only difference being the pace and severity.

A Hellish Crisis and the Rise of SYRIZA

June 2015, Syrian migrants, stranded for days in the northeastern Greek island of Lesvos, demonstrate, demanding better living conditions and travel documents from Greek authorities. During the first five months of 2015, 40,297 migrants arrived in Greece. Photo: AP

A series of economic measures imposed by global imperialist institutions have created terrible suffering in Greece. Cuts to pensions and wages, layoffs and business closings have come in wave after wave. This in turn led to economic contraction and thus a drop in government revenues (from taxes, etc.), leading to even deeper debt... and more cuts.

People are sleeping in the streets of Athens (the capital). In Thessaloniki a 13-year-old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the wood-burning stove her mother used to heat the home after their power was cut off; last winter the city was covered in a blanket of smoke because thousands were burning wood for heat. Life for the elderly is even more bitter as pensions have been cut by 40 percent. In April 2005, a 77-year-old man shot himself in front of the Parliament. He left a note: “[the] government has annihilated all traces for my survival... And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.” The unemployment rate for youth is over 50 percent. And the suicide rate in Greece almost doubled just in the first three years of the economic crisis.

Since December 2008, Greece has been swept by repeated outbreaks of fierce rebellion. At different times hundreds of thousands marched in Athens and other cities demanding the government resign; general strikes shut down all public transportation into and out of Greece, and within it; street barricades were set up and people battled police with rocks and bottles; banks and government buildings were attacked and sometimes set afire. Youth who demand a future and a life worth living have been in the forefront, indicting and refusing to accept the world they’ve been handed. At the same time, ugly, fascist forces have also grown, with support from elements of the police and military, as well as from some mainstream political forces, with reactionary Greek nationalism, vicious racism, and anti-immigrant attacks at the core.

Protesters attempt to bring down police barrier at the parliament in Athens, October, 2012 during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the city. Hundreds of thousands have marched in Athens and other cities demanding the government resign; general strikes shut down all public transportation into and out of Greece, and within it; street barricades were set up and people battled police with rocks and bottles; banks and government buildings were attacked and sometimes set afire. Photo: AP

It is out of this seething cauldron that “SYRIZA” (a Greek acronym for “Coalition of the Radical Left”) emerged as a major political factor, challenging and contending with the main traditional bourgeois parties who had lost all credibility, to lead the Greek state through this crisis. In January 2015, elections were held that brought SYRIZA to power. But SYRIZA’s basic demand of the EU is for better terms in the bailout: writing off some of Greece’s debt, slowing down the rate of payment, allowing for some money to go into capitalist investment to “stimulate the economy,” as well as funneling money into emergency social services. This is something the major European powers cannot accept because of the precedent it would set. And it is no solution, either to the immediate crisis or the horrors that permeate Greek society, including the utter lack of a future for youth, and the vicious persecution of immigrants. The problem is not that SYRIZA “sold out.” It is that the logic and leaders of SYRIZA cannot even conceive of breaking out of, let alone lead people to break out of the chains of global capitalism-imperialism.

Many progressives and even “radicals” hail the SYRIZA experience as a glorious example of the democracy they say we need. But regardless of the intentions or illusions of anyone, democracy can only function on the economic, social, and political foundation that already exists, and under capitalism, democracy always comes down to picking your poison... and at the same time abandoning the possibility of real change.

A Revolutionary Alternative Is Possible... Revolutionary Leadership Is Crucially Needed

There is no solution to the crisis in Greece, or the whole global setup it is an expression of, within the current world order. That world order condemns millions of children to die of preventable diseases; it enslaves women; it drives millions from their homes and persecutes them where they flee; and its dog-eat-dog “morality” flows from and serves the soulless nature of capitalism.

But there IS a revolutionary way out. There is the basis in the world today for revolution aimed at ending ALL exploitation and oppression. What is missing, in Greece and in most of the world, is a revolutionary force that can lead people to bring that into being.

The perpetrators of the greatest crimes in history have decreed that capitalism in one form or another is the best humanity can do, that attempts at communist revolution were a totalitarian disaster. But why should anyone look to them for answers and a scientific understanding of that overwhelmingly positive experience and how to do even much better next time around?

Bob Avakian (quoted at the beginning of this article) has developed the vision, and is providing leadership for a new stage of communist revolution—a radically liberating world. Find out more about, and get into the work and leadership of Bob Avakian and the movement for communist revolution at revcom.us.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/straight-talk-on-the-pope-and-climate-change-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

Straight Talk on the Pope and Climate Change

by Raymond Lotta | July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has issued a major encyclical (document) on climate change. He decries pollution, loss of biodiversity, endangerment to water systems. He says that the “earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” He acknowledges that climate change is real and he references some scientific findings. He calls for human society to “replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing.”

Many within the environmental movement, including some of its most prominent leading figures, have jumped on the encyclical as a “game-changer.” People are making the argument that one of the world’s most powerful religious-moral voices is now sounding the climate alarm, that he is opening Church discourse to the science of global warming, and that the pope is uniquely capable of inspiring and moving public policy in the right direction. And this document, the argument goes, may be part of our best hope to stop the destruction of the planet before it is too late: to appeal to and pressure the world’s leaders to take decisive action. So we should welcome the pope’s encyclical on climate change. To which our reply is...

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

1. Why has the pope issued this document?

Let’s step back. The climate crisis has accelerated dangerously over the last 25 years. Greenhouse emissions from burning fossil fuels have gone up 60 percent. Ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctic is leading to rising sea levels. Global warming is cutting into the world’s food supplies. And by tomorrow, nearly 1,000 more children, overwhelmingly in poor countries, will have died as a consequence of the many-sided effects of global warming.1

At the People's Climate March, September 21, 2014. Photo special to revcom.us/Revolution

Around the world, there has been a growing groundswell of resistance and struggle to save the planet. Environmental activists have been arrested, threatened, and harassed. Among ever broader and more diverse sections of people, there is a mounting sense of catastrophe if the course of things is not changed dramatically and drastically. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the actions and programs of governments, countries, and those sitting in the world’s seats of power. The powers that be want to channel the deep wellspring of concern about the fate of the planet into dead-ends.

It is in the oppressed and impoverished nations of the “Global South” where the Catholic Church has its greatest number of adherents. And it is in these same regions where droughts, floods, and famine have taken their greatest toll—and will exact an even more horrendous human and ecological cost, as climate change intensifies. At the same time, the imperialist world economy has created a planet of vast zones of misery and grotesque levels of inequality.

This is the larger context in which the pope has issued his 182-page document on climate change (“Laudato Si”). The pope sees storms coming, literally and figuratively: “So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. (Emphasis added.) This is of a piece with the viewpoint of the Obama administration and the Defense Department that global climate change must be raised to the level of a global security concern.

This Revolution special issue focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and earth's ecosystems. In this issue we show:

  • the dimensions of the emergency...
  • the source of its causes in the capitalist system, and the impossibility of that system solving this crisis...
  • a way out and way forward for humanity—a revolutionary society in which we could actually live as custodians of nature, rather than as its plunderers.

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

The ruling powers are worried about the effects of global warming and economic inequality on the functioning of their system and on social stability. And they are responding to this crisis from within the framework of shoring up, defending, and intensifying that very global system that is destroying the environment.

To really address and act on the environmental crisis requires not the safeguarding of this system, not the restoring of people’s declining faith in it, but the most radical restructuring of society and economy. What the pope is doing stands in the way of that.

2. Does the pope confront and oppose the actual cause of global warming and the larger environmental crisis that threatens life on this planet? Or is his starting point defending that?

The pope makes some carefully crafted criticisms of the devastation that capitalism has wreaked on ecosystems. But he pins the root cause for the environmental crisis on a “dominant technocratic paradigm” that is driven by “power.” By “technocratic paradigm” he means reliance on science and technology to solve problems of society and to gain possession and mastery over nature.

In his encyclical, the pope does not indict the economic-social-political system of capitalism and how this system has used and uses technology to exploit and dominate human beings, and ravage the planet. Rather, the encyclical is an indictment of “human activity” in the abstract, of man’s sinful ways, and of the excesses and inequities of the existing capitalist economic order.

The pope’s stand is a calculated expression of concern, a calculated criticism of some of the effects of capitalism. You see, the Church, its core teachings, and its enslaving ideological role in exploitative society, has not changed over two millennia. But the social and natural worlds have! And so the Church has to put on a somewhat different face and put across a somewhat different message to maintain its legitimacy and to preserve its suffocating hold over vast swaths of oppressed humanity.

And ultimately the pope’s encyclical is about convincing people that capitalism—with its governments, huge monopolies, and financial institutions—is not the problem.

But it is the system of capitalism—based on exploitation and driven by profitability and competition—that compels corporations and banks to expand or die. It is this system that turns nature into a limitless input to be poured into production for profit.

It is capitalism, and the strategic need to outflank and beat out competitors and rivals, that drives capitals and capitalist-imperialist states to search out and grab up every bit of fossil fuel. In the last six months alone, Obama, the “environmental president,” has authorized new drilling for oil in the Arctic and off the mid-Atlantic coast.

Defending all that, by disorienting people and seeking to morally and politically defuse the danger of “social unrest” (an essential element of saving the planet!), is the objective and actual role of the pope’s encyclical.

3. Does the pope offer real opposition or a real solution to looming environmental disaster?

No, he does neither. He wants international dialogue. He criticizes recent international negotiations for not going far enough. He issues bland and empty exhortations for some kind of international system “of governance” to protect ecosystems.

To the masses he offers this message: “Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment.... We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknownst to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread.” This amounts to a call for resignation to the existing capitalist structures of power and control.

The pope acknowledges suffering but tells people to find sustenance in the traditions of the Church and in the traditional institutions of society, like the patriarchal family, which have been foundational to the oppressive fabric and functioning of society. And duly take note: in a document on climate change, the pope makes sure to denounce birth control and abortion. He calls for spiritual renewal and “asceticism” (renunciation of worldly goods). Which is what the Church has always told the poor who cannot eat: be happy with your meager lot.

The pope extols civil society organizations for raising awareness of the climate crisis. But nowhere, god forbid, does he respond to the urgent need of the moment and call on people to rise up, to break out of the confines of the system, and act to save the planet.

4. Some progressive forces say, yes, the document may have its limitations. But the very fact that the pope is speaking up, especially as the global climate crisis is getting more dire—this can only be a good thing, something to embrace and utilize.

No, it is not. There is a bigger agenda involved... the better to eat you. True, the pope is saying things about science and the environmental crisis that the Church has not said before. He is saying that governments have not done enough and that much more must be done.

But the pope is not acting to save the planet; he is acting to save the system that is destroying it.

He is seeking to delude people into thinking that the ruling capitalist governments can be appealed to and pressured to do the right thing. He is advocating that more decisive measures to limit global warming within the framework of the current system, combined with Christian spirituality, is the path forward. He is trying to convince people to “keep their faith” in the system—at a time when people’s confidence in the system is being shaken... at a time when what is urgently needed is for people to break free of the ideological shackles of the system.

Now all kinds of people, including religiously motivated people, care deeply about the planet. This is a good thing. But people do have a responsibility to look unflinchingly at reality. And any such look forces one to confront that to really deal with this situation in any kind of real way will require a huge, huge fight.

Let’s speak frankly: it is not going to do to drive a hybrid car... or to “socially invest” in solar (which is now, obscenely, touted as profitable)... or to lighten your own eco-footprint. And it is magical and disastrous thinking to imagine that we can convince the people who rule society, and whose system has caused this environmental emergency, that ecological sustainability is somehow “in their best interests.”

Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, speaks powerfully to the moral and epistemological challenge before people:

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

The pope’s encyclical and similar such pronouncements from those on high or with great influence in the environmental movement that recognize some of the scope of the problem, but then stop short of the need for waging massive and determined struggle, are not just worthless but do great harm.

It will require a FIGHT, and a fight that must INTENSIFY to whole new levels, to get on a trajectory of truly acting to STOP the destruction of the planet.

5. Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet... Only Revolution Can Save the Planet

The only possible means of wrenching a different future for humanity, species, and the whole planet is communist revolution. Only the complete overturning and elimination of capitalism makes it possible to create a society and world in which we could actually live as caretakers rather than as plunderers of nature. Only a socialist sustainable economy and liberatory society, with very different priorities and values, make it possible to mobilize the knowledge and creative potential of people and devote the necessary resources to truly confront and tackle the climate crisis—on the scale and with the urgency required.

This won’t be easy. But it is our only chance of achieving a truly sustainable society—and restoring what can be restored of Earth’s ecosystems and adapting in ways that serve humanity.

What that society would look like, and how a new and radically different state power would function, is spelled out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP, USA.

And we are not just waiting. We are actively working and organizing for this today. We are building a movement for an actual revolution.

 

1. Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet, 2nd Edition (Madrid: DARA Internacional, 2012) [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/get-the-ba-speaks-revolution-nothing-less-t-shirt-way-out-there-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

REPRESENT FOR THE REVOLUTION!

Get the "BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!" T-shirt WAY out there this summer

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution Club, Oakland, California

Revolution Club, Oakland, California
Photo: Special to www.revcom.us/Revolution

Last summer, nearly a year ago, the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, erupted into the national consciousness. Michael Brown, an unarmed Black youth, was gunned down by the police, and his body left on the street for four hours, in dishonor and humiliation. Courageous youths, from those the system has cast out, rose up in rebellion, manifesting on the streets night after night defying curfews in the face of a highly militarized police presence, and attracting support from all kinds of people in the process.

Ferguson broke out and followed in the wake of the police murder of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York City, who died saying, “I can’t breathe,” “I can’t breathe” as the murdering cop continued to strangle him in a chokehold, all captured on cell phone video for the world to see. All of this, and the non-indictments of the murderous cops, has sparked a year of rage, ferment, and roiling. It has been marked by a significant rebellious upsurge in Baltimore and the recent white supremacist murders in Charleston, South Carolina, and mass protests and societal questioning, about the police, the historical role and place of Black people in America, and what is to be done.

In the iconic images of the last year, in defiance and rebellion, in mass takeovers of highways and streets, is the striking presence of those whose T-shirts boldly proclaim BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This was merely a glimpse, not only of a critically needed revolutionary pole of attraction, but a gathering social force cohering around this pole.

The Initiative and the Campaign

BA Everywhere is proud to announce the launch of a mass fundraising initiative, lasting through this summer, to achieve societal impact with these T-shirts, putting forth a radically different answer to what is needed right now, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and the leadership for this revolution in Bob Avakian, BA.

Not only do these T-shirts speak to and resonate with the sentiment of the moment, but in fundamental terms, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! represents the real and scientific answer to these horrors—of why the police keep murdering our youth, why there is no justice and the murdering cops get away—and most important, what it will take to get beyond not only police terror and the oppression of Black people, but all of the myriad horrors, madness, and needless suffering that stem from this capitalist-imperialist system, its wars of empire, its criminalization of immigrants, its wanton destruction of the environment, and the horrendous attacks on and degradation of women around the world.

BA, Bob Avakian, has done the work to scientifically forge a new framework for human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, including an actual strategy to make revolution in the U.S. and bring about a radically different and far better society, with a different economy and political system, a socialist society in transition to a world free of exploitation and all oppressive inequalities and social divisions. The world does NOT need to be this way, with all these horrors and this madness—and because of and based on the work BA has done, there is a visionary and concrete blueprint for this new society (in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)), and the strategy and leadership for the revolution needed to establish this. BA Everywhere, the fundraising campaign to make BA a household name and his work a point of reference with broad societal impact, has to do with making this known throughout society, raising sights and radically changing how people look at what is needed, possible, and desirable. Imagine the difference... This initiative is one of the major ways to make this happen, to contribute to this campaign this summer and fall.

The Basic Vision and Dynamic

Imagine a growing social movement through the summer with the T-shirt BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! becoming increasingly visible in the neighborhoods of the oppressed, at summer youth concerts, in upcoming anniversaries such as those of the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, all of this manifest in and spreading through social media, with dedicated Twitter hashtags, and on Instagram and YouTube. Imagine if a significant section of those wearing the T-shirt—through the summer—were more deeply getting into and struggling over the content declared in the T-shirt—of the revolution, of BA, through his works, especially the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN; the film of the same name, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!; and BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. If you in fact don’t know much about BA, these would be good places to start, and even as you are learning, and thinking about all this, agreeing, disagreeing, provoked and challenged by what BA says, if you feel this—BA and his vision—needs to be out there, sparking discussion and debate about revolution and a radically different world, stay engaged and contribute to this campaign.

In this process and dynamic of the summer, of fundraising for and getting out many hundreds of the T-shirts, sparking interest in the content of this revolution and what BA actually represents, accumulating forces for revolution through this, there are two critical moments to mark—the one-year anniversary of the murder of Eric Garner on July 17, and the one-year anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown on the weekend of August 9. Both weekends must be viewed and built as markers and nodal points in manifesting the growing presence of this social force, with these T-shirts, this message, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and projecting this leader, BA!

We envision this whole process culminating with a mass manifestation of this growing social force—across the country, mainly in groups but also individually—of youths and others in these T-shirts on Saturday, August 22, followed by anchor showings of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in major cities, either that night or Sunday afternoon, August 23.

For example, what we currently envision is scores of people rolling up to and assembling at major intersections and public squares on Saturday afternoon and evening, all wearing the T-shirt, raising their fists, reading quotes from BAsics, with these images simultaneously projected around the world on YouTube and other social media. In New York, this could be in a neighborhood like Harlem or someplace like Times Square. Imagine the same kinds of things happening in LA, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area—and in Ferguson, possibly at the site where Michael Brown was killed; Cleveland, where Tamir Rice was killed; and Baltimore, at the epicenter of the recent uprising after the police murder of Freddie Gray—and many other cities across the country. Others send selfies, as individuals and groups, joining hundreds of others across the country... all connected through and seeing each other on social media, feeling part of something much bigger and truly meaningful. Imagine the difference... projecting an unmistakable manifestation of a social force around the country with these T-shirts, this theme—REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, the leader speaking this: BA—and as an entrée and compelling invitation to critical sections of the people learning more and getting deeply into the content of this revolution and BA.

What Is Needed Is You!

Protestor w BA speaks T- Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
credit: Ernestine Hamilton

Massive funds are needed—not only for the T-shirts subsidized for those who cannot afford it, along with DVDs of the films—of BA in dialogue with Cornel West, and in REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and the book BAsics—but more fundamentally, to further crack open societal discourse with BA and his work, to achieve BA Everywhere, and to project this growing social force onto a bigger stage. While there will be more coming soon on actual fundraising goals and means, we should all start thinking on how to raise big money for this initiative, who to go to and places to visit, especially among the propertied and middle strata, including progressive theaters and films, author readings and jazz performances, progressive churches, artist retreats—and campuses when they open. Donating funds is a very meaningful way, with impact, that all people can contribute to actually changing the world. Along with direct contributions, there are other means, including salons and house parties, art performances, auctions and book readings as fundraisers.

Fundraising among those who are less well-off, including at the bottom of society, is especially critical in building up the social base of support for this initiative—and for the revolution—through penny jars with dollars and coins, yard sales and pie bakes, or through neighbors and communities coming together to collectively buy and sponsor T-shirts for the youths who wear them.

For it matters!—it matters whether people “meet” and get to know BA, the best friend the masses have, fearlessly, consistently, and tirelessly struggling for our fundamental interests in getting free of all the chains; it matters whether people have access to the only real solution there is to all of these horrors and madness, a thoroughly scientific approach to what is the problem and what is the solution; it matters whether there will be a radically different and viable alternative posed in the discourse that otherwise seeks to re-direct the righteous rage and the profound questioning of people into the dead-end channels of faith—in “God,” in the elections, and in America, as the quest for a “more perfect union”;  it matters whether people can breathe freely, knowing a radically different world is possible and contributing to making it happen, or be stuck within the constraints of this system, humming in the background as it crushes lives and destroys spirits.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/on-watching-the-revolution-and-religion-dialogue-dvd-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

On Watching the Revolution and Religion Dialogue:
"It made me question what am I really believing"

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As part of efforts across the country on the July 4 weekend to get Bob Avakian's vision and leadership out to many people, revolutionaries in East Oakland held an anti-July 4 BBQ at a neighborhood park. The following is an interview that was done with a Black woman who came to the BBQ with her kids.

D: I first met people with the revolution when they came by my complex. I live in East Oakland. They came twice and the second time I bought the DVD [of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN]. They told me about the picnic [on July 4] and of course I said, I don't celebrate that. It's hypocrisy. I don't celebrate the fourth because of the history of this country. My ancestors were still slaves, so why would I celebrate something that's oppressing my people.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION

Watch the film now! Share it and spread it through social media!

I watched the DVD last night... I'm a Christian and it made me question my religion and my spirituality. He was going in depth, getting into scripture, talking about the brutality and vengefulness of the god who is supposed to be loving and forgiving and all-knowing and all-seeing and wants justice and loves justice. The scriptures he was going through made me question about stoning children if they were disobedient to their parents, about women and what their place is in the household and even in the church. About killing and stoning gay people. It made me question what am I really believing? Who am I worshipping?

Q: So you are still in the process of sorting this all out?

D: It's scary to know that you were raised a certain way and that you were taught certain things and then to have them questioned. It unsettles you. If you don't look at them in depth you'll still be living in a fog—not going deeper. Like I was saying earlier, I've read my Bible a few times. I haven't been studying like the word says you should study, so when BA was going to scripture, I was like, "That scripture says that?" It was shocking to me. Stone women? Stone children? This is what is righteous, this is justice?

Q: Even slavery.

D: Slavery too. It is a given in the Bible. It's just shaken me to my core. Making me re-evaluate and rethink everything. That's an intentional act for me to discover the truth about religion, society, the world, America.

Q: It's difficult but it can also be liberating.

D: I can't go back now that I know the truth. How can I go back to living the way I was, conforming and going along and just trying to survive? You find the truth through education. That's why the slaves were not taught to read and write. If you know the truth of history this is freedom. It's been freedom for me, opening my eyes up to the system and my own conformity and ignorance and compliance. It was hard to deal with at first. I still struggle with it every day. There's so much going on. I have the question where to even start because there is so much injustice and so much that needs to be fixed. It's hard to figure out where you want to start, where it will make a difference...

It's so overwhelming to think outside of where you are, outside of America. When you start thinking on a global scale, like King was. This isn't just happening in the U.S. This is a global, intentional oppression of people of color. When there is something going on in Vietnam or the Philippines or Israel, it's not just about them, it directly affects you too. But many people here don't see that. 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/black-womens-lives-matter-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

From a Revolution/revcom.us correspondent:

Black Women's Lives Matter! All Women's Lives Matter! Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Dori was just 27 years old. A young Black woman full of life who liked to eat her mustard greens, with raw onions—with corn bread—with her fingers—while munching on a jalapeno pepper at the same time.

She liked drinking malt liquor when playing the card game bid whist with her friends—a fun game similar to spades. As an eight-year-old, I remember she was the only adult I felt comfortable talking to because she took my ideas—even though I was only a child—seriously.

This was a time when there was mass upheaval and resistance against some of the openly legal ways Black people were segregated, discriminated against and oppressed. The resistance first mainly involving Black people—but soon joined by whites, Latino people, and other minority groupings of women and men, especially youth as well.

Dori would teach us not to mistreat others—no matter what their skin color. But she also taught us not to take shit from anyone—no matter who. She said we had to stand up, speak up, and demand to be treated equally. This was a life-long lesson. A principle I learned to live by. Including a little later when the cops began to fuck with us because we were Black kids and we would speak up for ourselves.

At 27, Dori already had five children between ages of nine and four. Along the way she also had at least two miscarriages. She was a small person. She had a small bone structure. Her fifth pregnancy and last delivery of her youngest child had been very hard on her body. It came close to killing her. The doctors warned that she might not make it through another pregnancy.

But she was in a second marriage and the dude wanted her to have his children. This was before Roe v Wade so abortion was illegal. Women like Dori had no freedom over her reproduction. She, like millions of other women, did not have the freedom to even consider an alternative—her decision-making process was shaped by, conditioned by, and enforced by thousands of years of traditional chains—and the way those chains have been adapted by every system based on exploitation—including the patriarchy under the capitalist imperialist system of the USA.

When Dori got pregnant again, and went into labor, the hospital was only a few minutes away. It was in Berkeley where we lived. But they refused to treat her. Instead they sent her to the county hospital miles away. It was where most Black people and all poor people went. Her uterus ruptured and by the time she got there she had bled out and died.

Everyone was shocked. Traumatized. Her death is something that her kids, her mother, and those who were close to her never got over. Her death was so unnecessary. We did not give a fuck about or shed a tear for the fetus she was carrying in her uterus. We did not know it. We shared no direct or indirect social experiences with it. It was a developing clump of cells that were a subordinate part of Dori’s body. It was not a human being. A fetus is not a child. Whether it is in the uterus of an African-American woman or ANY woman! It is a fetus. That is a simple scientific fact!

Think again. This was life of a real person. In the world today—mainly the Third World—300,000 women die from complications during pregnancy or during birth every year. These are the lives of real developed people—who do feel pain—who do have social experience with other real people who love them.

A fetus does not feel pain but women do. A fetus has no life separate from the woman in whose uterus it is in. See revcom.us/REVOLUTION newspaper, April 11, 2015—get the picture that breaks it down scientifically: put it up everywhere: It can be liberating! It can contribute to the fight for women liberation. A fetus is not a baby!

You want to talk about genocide as some Black preachers, and the so-called “pro-life” fascist-women-haters, accuse Black women of when the women seek abortions? What about this? This is their way of saying women's lives do not matter— that her value is one of breeder and incubator even if it kills her—literally.

These people are defenders of patriarchy—of the subordination of women to men—they blame women who die for dying because these fools mask, hide, cover-up—protect and defend the most dangerous place for African-Americans—which has always been this system.

The patriarchy is part of the mental chains on people, including Black people, that are rooted in that fucking Bible. In Genesis 3:16, it says god is angry with Eve for getting herself and Adam kicked out of the Garden of Eden and puts a curse on women where it says to the woman, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Explicitly cited or not, this kind of patriarchal view is part of the mental and physical shackles on the society and the people as to the role of women. Women forced into motherhood—denied the right to decide when and if to give birth—denied the right to abortion on demand and without apology—women made into prizes—reduced to objects of sexual rewards, battered as punching bags reduced to “bitches and hos.” No! We do not have to live this way. Just read the book of Numbers (e.g. Numbers 31: 17-18).

These are some of the larger forces that women like Dori—one half of humanity—are ensnared and enslaved in—and it is this communist revolution that can strike deep at the roots of their oppression—and all oppression—overturning it—continuing to transform the soil of exploitation and oppression—reaching a new plateau of human inter-action with each other and the environment.

As Bob Avakian says in his historic Dialogue with Cornel West in November 2014, captured in Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: “What if a woman could walk down to the street and look any man in the eye and fear nothing?” Imagine that! Women like Dori being treated as full human beings instead living and dying as incubators.

To really appreciate what is being said here—with the most highly and new scientific understanding—new synthesis of communism—I would strongly encourage readers to watch the film by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

We can begin to understand how we are now living in a time when all oppression, all exploitation, all forms of enslavement can be uprooted and eliminated; how the revolution that Bob Avakian leads is today working to hasten and accelerate a revolutionary situation where the masses of exploited and oppressed humanity—along with those who are outraged and alienated by what this system does globally—in their millions and tens of millions can meet, defeat, and dismantle the instruments of violence and coercion, instruments of dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist system—and replace them with new revolutionary instruments that enables the revolutionary people to radically uproot and transform the whole foundation of this system—replacing it with a new class rule—new revolutionary instruments—the dictatorship of the proletariat—a new socialist system that is the transition to a world community of freely associating human beings—communism.

Think about it.

And, by the way, Dori was my mother.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/sunsara-taylor-on-safe-space-vs-fighting-to-end-all-oppression-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

Sunsara Taylor on "Safe Space" vs. Fighting to END ALL OPPRESSION

from a talk given on June 25, 2015

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These days, the idea of “safe space”—how many people have heard that phrase, “safe space”? [Most hands in the room go up.] OK, these days the idea of “safe space,” of forging a little corner on some campus or in some crevice of a so-called “movement”—where people can be protected from oppression, is being promoted as what we should fight for and set our sights on. This is puny and frankly, it’s disgusting. [Applause.] Not only is the idea of a “safe space” an illusion (because until all oppression everywhere is ended, no one will truly be safe from it), but this approach is also completely parasitic and self-centered—because while you are hiding in your little corner trying to be “safe,” you are just sitting back and letting millions be brutalized, raped, tortured, terrorized, and more. We don’t need a “safe space” to hide from oppression while others are devoured by it, we need a world without oppression.

Besides, we have proven over and over that the MOST liberating and uplifting place to be is not in some corner where we’re correcting each other about who has the right to say what about whom, but it’s going right up in the face against this oppression. Standing up and stopping it. We have found this right inside the Hooters restaurant when we took it over and brought everything to a halt. We found this liberated space and uplifting space right inside the porn stores in front of their walls of torture porn and incest porn and rape porn when we took them over and put our bodies on the line and spoke out and brought alive the real cost this puts on women. We found this liberated space right in front of the Supreme Court on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade,* where for the first time in 40-some years their March for “Life,” their March for Female Enslavement, was brought to a halt because we went in the streets and we shut it down. [Applause and cheering.] We found this in the streets of Texas last summer when the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride was down there bringing things to a halt, blocking traffic, getting hauled away in handcuffs because we were standing up against these laws that are closing down abortion clinics this week.

This is liberating for those who are part of it. This is part of wrenching out a different culture. This is part of becoming a new people. And this is part of fighting to change the world for everybody. This is liberating. This is the culture we need. This is the movement we need.

Not hiding in a corner. Daring to change the whole world and coming together to stand up now and setting an example for everyone. [Applause.]

And bringing out this slogan, everywhere—on our stickers, on our signs, and everywhere we go: Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, breeders or sex objects. Women are FULL HUMAN BEINGS. This is liberating.

 

To learn more about the fight to break the chains and unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution:

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

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

For the full talk this excerpt is part of:
STOP THE ASSAULT ON ABORTION RIGHTS! BREAK ALL THE CHAINS THAT ENSLAVE WOMEN! A Talk by Sunsara Taylor

To get involved in the summer effort to Take Patriarchy By Storm:

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women section of this website

stoppatriarchy.org

 

* Roe v. Wade was the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/movement-for-revolution/stop-patriarchy/a/394/reflections-on-the-talk-by-sunsara-taylor-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

Reflections on the talk "Stop the Assault on Abortion Rights! Break ALL the Chains that Enslave Women!" by Sunsara Taylor

 

July 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:


Stop the Assault on Abortion Rights! Break ALL the Chains that Enslave Women! A talk by Sunsara Taylor

I thought that the section on why you can't liberate women within the constraints of capitalism was a leap. You don't have to agree with it on every level, but there is a level on which it makes something unavoidable. The evidence points to the fact that capitalism has not figured out any alternate ways of breeding and raising children other than the family unit... something as simple as childcare that could free women up in one respect, would require paid labor in today's world, and adding costs that will affect the profit margin and competitive ability of any company. Or adding taxes if the government pays. Even just look at what happened with the Affordable Care Act! It is so crazy that the government shut down and declared crisis just from THAT (not even anything that impressive when it comes to meeting people's needs) because who will pay for it? And the howling ensues. This was taking a tip from Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolutionwhich poses questions about how capitalism could ever provide a pathway to an END to the systematic subjugation of women and culture of woman-hating. A person may argue that the whole setup is the best that humanity is capable of, or that women naturally all want to be mothers and raise children, or something like that, and they would be wrong (it was a good illustration to include that story of the Frenchman & Iroquois). As for what is being laid out—that role for women as property of men within the family unit, and how it is woven into how things get done in a society that is crazy for profit—you can see evidence for that everywhere.

I also very much appreciated the question & answer about "bringing up the liberation of women in an organic way" while doing revolutionary work, and while you do not have to feel guilty or something about talking about other particular crimes of this system against the people and the planet, the problem is not how "organically" this question fits in—it does so in reality. "We just say it." But the real question is whether or not you are going to risk disrupting some unity you have around another front, such as the fight to stop police murder. The question of the role of women in society is crazy controversial in all the circles that may be open to this or that radical idea or aspect of communist revolution. Everybody doing revolutionary work, and most people who have been involved in real activism, know that on some level. But when we are throwing down around how half of humanity is routinely degraded, should not ever be, and do not have to be, we are drawing forward a different crowd. That's important. Because you actually can't break all the chains except one.

This part about how we have to roll and organize people on the spot made me realize we had the wrong plan for July 1 locally, and had been going out with the wrong orientation. After some discussion it is all very clear now. It's an outlook that proceeds from where people are at on the surface that leads to this more kind of passive work we had been doing, and adhering to the form of going to a concentration of the attacks on women regardless of any opportunity to involve others on the spot. This initiative has to be carried by more hands, if it is going to affect society in big ways. 

But even more, if it is going to affect society in big ways, it has to tap into the suppressed outrage that is UNDER the surface (that is kind of the point). When we were going out we were kind of letting the materials do the work. The sign of Women Are NOT... gets certain reactions, the War on Women display provokes certain conversations and stories and even outrage, but we were more like, if you want to talk about this stuff, we're here. What we should all be doing is projecting urgency, and the reality is that there are a lot of ways to contribute to the fight against the attacks on abortion, against porn and the trafficking of women and girls, and patriarchy—and it needs to be done now, by many thousands of people. It can't just be on them to "find ways in" though many ideas and skill sets and so on are only an advantage... the need for people to overcome fear and passivity is great. The need for people to see some of that outrage and moral clarity is great. It's not "where people are at" but in another sense it's permeating everywhere that people are and have to live. 

In New York on July 1, Stop Patriarchy led a powerful protest in bloody pants and wielding coat hangers, to illustrate that when abortion is illegal, women die, and to stand up for abortion on demand and without apology. Their plan reflected that better orientation of consistently acting to move people by setting an uncompromising pole for women's liberation, and connecting them to the fight in that moment where they are moved. When I heard they were bringing 100 pairs of bloody pants out into Union Square, which was a lot more than the number of people who they were expecting to show up for their demonstration—it clicked. They had an orientation – and a plan! – to organize people on the spot into what they were doing. Make a scene with people who are moved in the moment by a smaller group of people that are uncompromising, in this case about abortion rights and women's liberation. The work we did after July 1 was very different. We had to break from a static model of "doing work" without expecting to ever see the people we are talking to again. We need to yank out people's inner conflict, pain or disgust that results from how women are treated in this world. It's actually also a question of what it means to lead in the way that is needed right now, though that's a whole thing in itself.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/394/take-patriarchy-by-storm-oppressed-communities-jackson-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

July 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Take "Take Patriarchy by Storm" to the Neighborhoods of the Oppressed

July 10, 11, 12

For three days—Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12—join Stop Patriarchy in taking the movement for the full liberation of women into communities of the oppressed across the country. For three concentrated days, take the stickers and signs that "Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, sex objects, or breeders. Women are FULL HUMAN BEINGS!" into these communities, set up the War on Women Display, and conduct dramatic street theater about the importance of abortion rights which are now under unprecedented attack. Draw forward the suppressed anger—and mobilize the participation, both on the spot and in an ongoing way—of people who are all too often completely ignored and cast aside. Put the truth boldly to people everywhere: the full liberation of women is something that everyone who hates oppression of any kind needs to fight for.

Take pictures and record video testimony of people who step forward. Write up and share what you learn, experiences to popularize, and challenges you might confront with us at: StopPatriarchy@gmail.com.

Join Stop Patriarchy in Jackson, Mississippi

July 31-August 9

Join Stop Patriarchy from July 31–August 9 in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Deep South is where the battle around abortion rights is most acute, and where lack of access disproportionately affects Black and poverty-stricken women. In the entire state of Mississippi, there is only one abortion clinic left! This clinic is a last refuge for women for hundreds of miles throughout the state who find themselves pregnant but do not want to have a child. It is also the target of unrelenting Christian fascist harassment, legal attacks, and threats of closure. It is currently only able to stay open because of a temporary court order which is blocking a law that would close it down. Stop Patriarchy is calling on people from across the country and from various organizations to join them in a 10 day mobilization to Jackson, Mississippi. We will boldly take out the full mission of Stop Patriarchy throughout the city of Jackson, stirring and drawing new people into the fight against all forms of female enslavement. And we will join with organizers in the area to build support for the last clinic in the state, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, and to build support for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

It is immoral to abandon the women of Mississippi as their last abortion clinic is under severe attack. And it is delusional to think that the attacks going down in Mississippi are somehow "separate" from what will soon confront women everywhere if they are not stopped. Do not miss this opportunity to step to the front lines of the national fight to defeat the war on women. And do not miss this opportunity to work together with others from across the country to stand up against all forms of women's oppression and gain valuable understanding and experience to take this fight forward when you return to different parts of the country.

 

 

To learn more about the fight to break the chains and unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution:

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

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

also...
STOP THE ASSAULT ON ABORTION RIGHTS! BREAK ALL THE CHAINS THAT ENSLAVE WOMEN! A Talk by Sunsara Taylor

To get involved in the summer effort to Take Patriarchy By Storm:

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women section of this website

stoppatriarchy.org

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/july-17-one-year-since-the-death-of-eric-garner-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

NYC Action on:

July 17—One Year Since the Death of Eric Garner

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, NYC:

Still NO Justice!

July 17, 2015

1:00 pm Rally at Staten Island Ferry Plaza/Whitehall St., Manhattan, Whitehall on R/South Ferry on 1

2:00 pm Ride ferry to Staten Island

2:30 pm St. George Terminal. Meet up to march to the site of Eric Garner’s murder

3:00 pm Rally on Bay Street along Tompkinsville Park

 

July 17, 2015—One year since the murder of Eric Garner! One year since we watched the cops choke him to death. One year since we watched them ignore his dying words: “I can’t breathe.” And still no justice!

When this murder happened, people took to the streets. More people went into the streets when Michael Brown was murdered less than a month later. We need to be back out in the streets, letting everybody know that we haven’t forgotten, and that we still refuse to suffer these horrors in silence.

If this outrage and all the other murders of Black and Latino people by the police that followed hurt you to your heart, join us in taking to the streets to say NO MORE!

 

STOP POLICE TERRORWHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Join in turning this society upside down—three days of powerful resistance, October 22-23-24, 2015, thousands and thousands of people from around the country descending on New York City, joining thousands and thousands of people here, shutting the city down by the sheer weight of our numbers. Start mobilizing now!

#RiseUpOctober

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network * 929‐249‐7996 * stopmassincarceration@gmail.com

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/statements-of-support-for-riseupoctober-from-family-members-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Families of Victims of Police Speak Out

Oct 24—"It's PIVOTAL!"

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These statements appear at the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website at www.stopmassincarceration.net. (Photos: StopMassIncarceration.net)

 

Nicholas Heyward, Sr., Juanita Young, and Joshua Lopez, all of whom lost family members murdered by NYPD, at June 30 #RiseUpOctober meeting

Chris Silva, brother of David Silva, murdered by Kern County Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol, May 8, 2013

Statement from Chris Silva, brother of David Silva, murdered by Kern County Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol, May 8, 2013

October 22-24 is a great idea - it's PIVOTAL! People think there is justice served because some cops are indicted. No. True accountability isn’t happening, not in California and not in the U.S. Not from the Sheriff's “investigations” and not from the District Attorney’s or the Federal Justice Department. Rise Up October is more than a stance, it’s resistance, and it’s urgent. There can be no more waiting. We have to be in NYC. On April 14, the walls were caving us in - we had to break out. Now, what are we going to do about it? it can be hard to “get it” if it’s not happening to you - everybody has to “get it.” I’ll be in NYC in October and I am bringing people with me.

I’m getting my plane tickets. I’ll go wherever I am needed. It’s necessary for me to be in NYC. Police brutality and murder and stopping it is like a scientific riddle - it’s a problem, and it can be solved. We are living examples of what fighting for justice is. The Federal government - the FBI and the Justice Department - they think it fine to put someone to sleep forever.

For 9 cops and a dog to beat to death my brother, David Silva, for 20 minutes. The Feds say it is fine. In what world is it fine?! Society can get numb to it. They hand out scoops of money and call it a day - that is NOT justice! They’ll hand out money and call it an “in-custody death” and move on. Society should not accept this! Families should not accept this! THESE OFFICERS NEED TO BE PUT BEHIND BARS!

Let’s not have it be our faults because we didn’t rise up. Some people say negative things about Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter, yes! That white man in that church in Charleston - he did that for a reason: he is a racist. Yes, All Lives Matter - but let’s be clear Black Lives Matter and we can get somewhere, because these racists, and the those cops - they are shooting Black people in the back. Charleston should be a wake up call for everybody. It should put us on edge. It shows Black Lives Matter is real, and now you got those racists defending the Confederate Flag. On October 24 - everyone needs to take a side!

Feras Morad with his cousin Kareem Morad

Statement from Kareem Morad, cousin of Feras Morad, 20-year-old college student murdered by Long Beach, California Police Department, May 27, 2015

Rise Up October - definitely! it’s a great movement. It’s in NYC, but all the other states and cities should take it up. Not only the families who have lost loved ones to police murder, but EVERYBODY. We need a change in police culture. Justice for Feras Morad, my cousin, will not be enough especially since he was one who wanted to make a change in the world and stop police brutality. True Justice for Feras will be in the form of change.

True justice will come when there is a change in police culture of which police brutality is just one aspect. Too many unarmed Americans are being murdered! Who are the police to decide who lives or dies?! There needs to be change in America. I don’t think our family will ever get over the fact that Feras was murdered by police. We will carry this with us for the rest of our lives. Feras will be in our hearts forever, and he’ll drive and motivate us to see change happen. I want the families to know you are not alone.

We are all here to support the families who lost loved ones victimized by police brutality. I want the families and this movement to STAY STRONG! To the families: stay strong and keep fighting for your loved ones! In Charleston, we see the true meaning of terrorism. It shows terrorism isn’t an ethnicity or a religion and it can come from within our own in America. Charleston shows discrimination. It’s extremely sad to see these victims of white supremacy.

The victims' families are amazing people and we need to support them and all come together to try and bring peace to the U.S. We fight wars in other countries when our biggest threat is within our own borders. I have seen movements become loud and then fade away. This is not a movement that should fade away. This is not a movement that is impossible - no, this movement to stop police murder and discrimination is very possible and it’s going to happen very soon. History repeats itself. We will fight for what's right and the people will win. If we keep standing up we will see a change in police culture and that change is going to be drastic.

Pamela Fields, mother of Donte Jordan, killed by Long Beach CA police, 2013

Pamela Fields, mother of Donte Jordan, killed by Long Beach, California Police, on November 10, 2013

Rise Up October needs to happen! It has got to be stronger than the Million Man March - that is what I think, because it has to be everybody out there! The life you save may be your own. To all the families, my heart goes out to you, I feel your pain. My heart went out to Trayvon and his family - and then it hit my family, and the police took my son. Stay encouraged - let’s stick together. Let them not forget what they did to our children. The vision for October 24 is wonderful! Let the world know we have not gotten off of this, that we have not forgotten. My son Donte Jordan was racially profiled and they didn’t say “Stop... put your hands up” - no, they just shot him dead. I could say what about them Tasers and rubber bullets - why not use those instead of murder people. But my nephew Dante Parker was Tased 17 times and killed because he was riding his son's bicycle.

A woman called the cops to say Dante stole the bike. He was Tased to death as he was on the side of the road, on the bike, collecting his breadth - that was his son's bike he was riding! And the police have been covering it up all the way from the Tasing to the hospital to now. This police brutality is my reality, It destroys families. The police are not held accountable for any of it. My son is killed in Long Beach and I confront the police chief to let them know we are watching.

And they keep killing... Feras Morad, Hector Morejon, Tyler Woods and on and on. I read the Call for October 24! This is something that needs to be done, because it’s not only police brutality but mass incarceration. They do gang injunctions against 12 and 13 year olds, say they are affiliated with gangs, stop them and take them to jail, build up a record, then give them felonies and warehouse our people. And when they get out there ain’t no jobs - the jobs go to the jail and prison guards. They are targeting poverty communities. Something has to be done to stop police murder and mass incarceration and we got to be the ones to do it, otherwise it’s felonies for life and all that is left is to rob someone, sell drugs, or end up on drugs yourself. They’ve closed all the doors.

Now with Charleston - that hate crime - it’s finally hitting home to these churches. My heart goes out to the families, I am so sorry. Let me say this: I went to all the churches in my area to help me when Donte was shot down by Long Beach cops. Not one church wanted to get involved. The churches should have stood up before but now. But it has hit home and the churches need to stand up and make sure these murders - by police and by these hate crime people - don’t take any more lives!

Ruben Gonzalez Marejon speaking at a vigil

Ruben Gonzalez, brother of 19-year-old Hector Morejon, murdered by Long Beach Police Department, April 23, 2015

On October 24 we need 100,000’s of people in NYC! That will be a powerful statement that murder by police is happening nationwide. We need "accountability" and transparency. October 24 is very important for the community because it will show we are standing together. Enough is enough. October 24 is an amazing idea to take on their harassment and murder. Rise Up October is time to make a statement. I feel betrayed by the Long Beach Police Department. What they did to my brother, Hector.

And now I am becoming more involved I am learning more details about other people being shot and killed. There is no accountability - just cover up - from the cops to the DAs. Nothing is transparent - they let you know what they want you to know but not the facts. What are the facts? Hector Morejon was unarmed! He wasn’t doing anything to deserve being killed.

For all this time, since April 23 since he was killed, they are not releasing the 911 call. it’s a cover up. Hector, my brother, was only 19 years old. He was full of life, he was beginning to be an adult but he was just a kid, with a great sense of humor. It’s heartbreaking.

The people united will never be defeated! Everybody - Speak Up! We have freedom of speech so let’s speak up and let the world know that police murders must stop. In closing, I want to send my condolences to all the families who lost loved ones in Charleston. This is insane! We are all human beings - human beings with a heart, no matter what color!

Jean Thaxton, mother of Michael Nida, killed by Downey CA police, 2011

Jean Thaxton, mother of Michael Nida, killed by Downey, California Police, on October 22, 2011

I want to see October 24 happen! We have to reach Middle America. Middle America doesn’t believe what is happening because they want to believe that cops are out there protecting them, keeping criminals off the streets - so we need to reach them. And the media - they’re not honest. They just report what the cops tell them, instead of unbiased reporting. Middle America needs to OPEN ITS EYES and look at cops with a wary eye. I didn’t know what was happening in this country, until my son was murdered by a cop. But now I know that people in high positions are just as prone to corruption, dishonesty and are self serving like anyone else can be.

Police officers... they are supposed to be the finest and well-trained. I didn’t know they were acting as judge, jury and executioners. Now I know they stop people because of the way they look, the way they dress, the color of their skin. It’s the Daryl Gates mentality - “go get them before they get you.” I am so sorry I hadn’t realized how Blacks were discriminated against and mistreated. I was blind, but now I see.

I was raised in the hills of West Virginia and didn’t socialize with anyone from a different race until I came to Los Angeles in 1968. That was when I was exposed to other races and other cultures. I am so proud of the Black community for standing up against these injustices. They have raised their voices to bring awareness. I am so proud of them. Their courage in Ferguson, in NYC and other cities has been encouraging. White people need to take lessons from our Black brothers and sisters and learn to stand up against our corrupt system! When police officers have murder in their eyes they’ll kill anyone... like Bobby Henning, Kelly Thomas, Erik Scott, Zachary Champommier and Doug Zerby.... all white people.

My son Michael Nida was murdered by cops in Downey, California on October 22, 2011, which happens to be National Anti-Police Brutality Day. Michael was unarmed and profiled as a robbery suspect because of the way he looked, even though his skin color and clothing did not match the description of the robbery suspects. He ran and he was shot down in the back with an MP5 submachine gun. Why did he run? The cop put the gun to his head and said “I am going to blow your head off.” Michael was afraid of the cops because they were always stopping him because of the way he looked, with a bald head, and the way he dressed. And, Michael also knew that the cops murdered his uncle Mark Nida in Charleston, West Virginia in 1999. Mark was hog-tied (which is illegal) and suffocated to death.

I have to say even after they murdered Mark I didn’t realize what the cops were doing. Now I do realize that cops murder people because of the way they look, the way they dress, the music they play and the community they live in. On October 24, all the groups have to come together! It will make a much bigger impact!

Terri Thaxton, brother Michael Nida was murdered by Downey, California Police in 2011

 100,000’s in the streets of NYC - that is awesome and I want to be there! The iron is hot and we have to strike back. People are rising up and we have to make a big plan with social media, which is helping us to organize. Bottom line: we need to change the laws. The police are getting away with murder because the laws protect them, and they have no reason to stop. To all the families: you are not alone in the fight. Families all over the country support you. You are not alone just like we are not alone. We didn’t know where to turn when Michael was murdered, but we have reached out to many families all over the country to offer our support. When my brother Michael Nida was murdered in 2011, I knew that he did not die in vain. There must be change. 100,000’s in the streets of NYC will get the attention of the law makers.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/peoples-tribunal-on-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

People's Tribunal on Police Murder:
Families Speak Bitterness about Stolen Lives

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A coalition of individuals and organizations of family survivors of people killed by law enforcement throughout the U.S. held a family-led tribunal on July 11 in New York City. Families from around the country gave testimony about their loved ones murdered by the police, before a distinguished jury of experts and an audience gathered at The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Washington Heights, [the site where Malcolm X was assassinated]. The tribunal was sponsored by New York City-based Mothers Cry for Justice, a national networking organization for a growing number of parents and family members seeking justice for their loved ones.

Members of the jury: Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter, lynnstewart.org; Pam Africa, disciple of John Africa, Minister of Confrontation, and Chairwoman of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Ingrid Hill, Vice Chair, People's Organization for Progress; Carl Dix, Co-founder of October 22 Coaltion to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, co-founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Revolutionary Communist Party; Efia Nwangaza, Founder and Director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination and WMXP 95.5 FM Community Radio in South Carolina; Roger Wareham, December 12th Movement, Human Rights attorney, former political prisoner, one of the attorneys on the Central Park 5 case.
Members of the jury: Ralph Poynter and Lynne Stewart, lynnstewart.org; Pam Africa, disciple of John Africa, Minister of Confrontation, and Chairwoman of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Ingrid Hill, Vice Chair, People’s Organization for Progress; Carl Dix, Co-founder of October 22 Coaltion to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, co-founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Revolutionary Communist Party; Efia Nwangaza, Founder and Director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination and WMXP 95.5 FM Community Radio in South Carolina; Roger Wareham, December 12th Movement, Human Rights attorney, former political prisoner, one of the attorneys on the Central Park 5 case.

Attorney King Downing was the Head Prosecutor for the Tribunal and members of the jury included: Lynne Stewart & Ralph Poynter, lynnstewart.org; Pam Africa, Disciple of John Africa, Minister of Confrontation, and Chairwoman of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Ingrid Hill, Vice Chair, People’s Organization for Progress; Carl Dix, Co-founder of October 22 Coaltion to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, co-founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Revolutionary Communist Party; Efia Nwangaza, Founder and Director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination and WMXP 95.5 FM Community Radio in South Carolina; Roger Wareham, December 12th Movement, Human Rights attorney, former political prisoner, one of the attorneys on the Central Park 5 case; Larry Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization for Progress; Charles Pinderhughes, ex-Black Panther and professor at Essex County College, New Jersey.

Over five hours of testimony was heard. Some family members traveled to New York to testify; many others Skyped in to enter their stories into the record. Some families in Baltimore had just finished speaking at a Town Hall meeting and called in together.

Testimony included:

Sheila Reid, mother of Jerame Reid, who was killed by police in Bridgeton, New Jersey on December 30, 2014, Bridgeton, New Jersey. Marcus Pettiford, son of Anthony Anderson, killed by Baltimore police on September 21, 2012 [by Skype from Baltimore]. Cynthia Clark, whose brother, a plainclothes police officer, was killed by four Baltimore police officers [by Skype from Baltimore]. Michele Kimal, mother of Abdul Kimal, who was killed by police in Newark, New Jersey on November 11, 2013. Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson who was killed by NYPD on March 1, 2000. Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, killed by Baltimore police, July 18, 2014 [by Skype from Baltimore]. Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward, Jr. who was killed by NYPD on September 27, 1994, while playing with a toy gun. Ward Churchhill, author and political activist, testified about political repression by the police against members of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s [by Skype from Colorado]. Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, killed by NYPD, September 7, 2011. Carriel Frazier, grandaunt of Jacob “JC” Wright, killed in Green Pond, South Carolina, January 13, 2009. Ramona Africa, testifying as a survivor of the May 13, 1985 bombing of a MOVE house by the Philadelphia police in which 11 were burned to death, including five children. Monique Cullars-Doty, grandaunt of Marcus Golden, killed in St. Paul MN, January 15, 2015. Regina Ashford, mother of 23-year-old Kashad Ashford, killed by police in Rutherford, New Jersey, September 16, 2014. J. Andree Penix Smith, mother of Justin Smith, beaten to death while unarmed and handcuffed by five Tulsa, OK police officers Aug. 14, 1998, also one of the organizers of the People’s Tribunal.

Revolution newspaper/revcom.us will have more coverage of this tribunal, including excerpts from of some of the testimony.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/how-police-were-judge-jury-and-executioner-of-eric-garner-and-michael-brown-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

How Police Were Judge, Jury and Executioner of Eric Garner and Michael Brown

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Eric Garner: “It Stops Today!”... and “I Can’t Breathe”

On July 17, 2014, police approached Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, a father of six, on a sidewalk in Staten Island, New York City. The New York Times said of Eric Garner, he was someone who “played chess and checkers on stools near the curb, peeled off dollar bills for children when the ice cream truck came around and served as a kind of peacekeeper” in the neighborhood. As police accused him of selling loose (untaxed) cigarettes, Eric Garner told them to leave him alone. Sick and tired of constant harassment, Eric Garner declared: “It stops today.”

As captured on video, and seen by millions of people around the world, Daniel Pantaleo, a plainclothes cop, put him in a chokehold—supposedly banned by NYPD policy. Pantaleo pushed Garner's face into the ground while four officers piled on Garner, who repeated "I can't breathe" 11 times while lying facedown on the sidewalk. Eric Garner lost consciousness and lay on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the police poked at him, and joked around. Eric Garner was pronounced dead at the hospital approximately one hour later. The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Garner's death a homicide, but the Staten Island District Attorney led a grand jury to exonerate the murderers.

Michael Brown: Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was walking down the street in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis when he was confronted by a Ferguson cop—Darren Wilson. Dorian Johnson was walking home with Mike Brown and he told news reporters: “We wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all.” Wilson shot at Mike Brown, and as he fled, and then turned around with his hands up, shot at him again and again. An independent autopsy established Mike Brown was shot 6 times in the front of his body and his wounds were consist with having his hands raised.

Powerful protest and rebellion erupted in Ferguson and “Ferguson is everywhere” was taken up from the campuses to the inner cities—concentrating the epidemic of police terror and murder, and as a challenge to the world to stand up to this the way the youth of Ferguson did. More protest and rebellion broke out after there were no indictments against Wilson. In the midst of outrage and protest, the U.S. Department of IN-Justice stepped in and issued two reports: One identified and criticized some of the outrageous racist practices of the Ferguson city government and police but the other one—the sucker punch—upheld the whitewash conducted by the District Attorney and Grand Jury in Ferguson. Testimony of the killer cop was accepted as true, while testimony of eyewitnesses was categorically dismissed as unreliable. As many witnesses did in fact make clear, Mike Brown DID HAVE HIS HANDS UP, AND "HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT!" IS INDEED ONE VERY FITTING AND POWERFUL SLOGAN AND SYMBOL FOR THE MASS RESISTANCE THAT NEEDS TO BE BUILT AGAINST THE OUTRAGE OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER, AND EVERYTHING BOUND UP WITH IT.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/392/call-from-cornel-west-and-carl-dix-for-a-major-national-manifestation-against-police-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Cornel West & Carl Dix Call for a Major National Manifestation Against Police Terror

#RiseUpOctober 24 to STOP Police Terror
Which Side are You On?

Come to New York City!

Updated September 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Call for Rise Up October pdf download

 

Michael Brown...Freddie Gray... Rekia Boyd... Andy Lopez...Tamir Rice

One after another—and so many others, precious Black and Brown lives—victims of police murder. We think of their faces, and furiously ache for justice. Over 1,000 people a year killed by police—yet since 2005, less than 60 indictments, less than 25 convictions! 1

Millions languish in prison, generation after generation, Black and Latino brothers and sisters. The spearpoint of a whole matrix of oppression.

People have struggled, resisted, risen up. This must go on and go further—all summer, in many different ways, intensifying.

At the same time, these repeated outrages cry out for a major, national manifestation this fall that states very clearly:

NO! THESE MURDERS BY POLICE MUST STOP—NOW!!

This demonstration will be resistance-based, uncompromising in spirit and, at the same time, pluralistic and diverse, involving hundreds of thousands of people, reaching into every corner of this society and powerfully impacting the whole world.

History has shown that no significant change has been won without mass determined resistance.

We refuse to be derailed by promises of reform that are merely that: promises.

We refuse to be intimidated by government repression or by threats from forces of open and unrepentant racism and fascism. We will respond to the urgency of the political situation by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets to say these horrors must stop.

We aim to amplify the many forms of resistance against police murder and mass incarceration. More important, we aim to change the whole social landscape, to the point where a growing section of people all over take ever-increasing initiative and make it unmistakably clear that they refuse to live in a society that sanctions this outrage, and where those who do NOT feel this way are put on the defensive.

Join us—on October 24 in the streets of New York City.

 

Initiated by Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party & Dr. Cornel West, author and educator

Initiating Endorsers include family members of those whose lives were taken by police:

Click here to see initial endorsers.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/a-vision-and-plan-from-carl-dix-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

A Vision and Plan from Carl Dix:

What Does Oct 22-24 Need to Be?

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On the evening of June 30, at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, 150 people came together with Carl Dix and Cornel West, with family members of people murdered by police, with student and religious activists, and with each other, to launch #RiseUpOctober: Stopping Police Terror: Which Side Are You On? Carl Dix opened things up with a vision and plan for three days of action—October 22, 23, and coming together for a massive march in NYC on October 24. Following are excerpts from his speech:

We have to mobilize a huge march in the streets of New York in October. We have to do this because Black people continue to be targeted by racist killers in and out of uniform and this must STOP. Charleston—nine people massacred in a church during a Bible study session by a killer who spouted white supremacist lies as he murdered them. And because the whole system works to exonerate killer cops when they murder Black and Latino people and that must also stop.

Now when that massacre went down in Charleston, that killer was no crazy lone wolf. The rage that drove him was nurtured by the white supremacy that has coursed through the veins of America since the first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains. The same white supremacy nurtures the climate in which cops feel justified in exchanging racist messages on social media and then going out to brutalize and murder Black and Latino people. Charleston concentrates the slow genocide targeting Black people in this country.

This talk about forgiving and coming together is aimed at helping the system keep things under control. The New York Times explained why they moved on removing the Confederate flag when they said: ‘...if nothing happened, boycotts and other ugliness’ could follow.’ By ugliness they meant people taking their rage to the streets, which is ugly to the rulers of this country, but beautiful to those of us who want to STOP racist attacks! Reconciling with this falls into a ruling class trap that aims to smother our righteous rage. You can’t end oppression by forgiving and reconciling with your oppressors. The system tells us it’s wrong to hate. No, it’s right to hate oppression. It’s right to be enraged by racist attacks. We should hate them so much that our rage moves us to act to STOP them. You can’t start healing until you diagnose the disease and root it out. The disease is white supremacy rooted in capitalism/imperialism, and it is not time to come together and heal with people who continue to preside over white supremacist attacks on Black and Latino people.

We have to draw a huge dividing line in society over these outrages and challenge people with the question: Which side are you on? There is no room for neutrality here. There is no middle ground. You are either standing with the people who are acting to STOP these attacks or you are OK with racists in and out of uniform murdering Black people. We have to turn society upside down over this by mobilizing a huge march in New York City to STOP police terror.

I know people have marched and done vigils around Charleston and before that around the intensified wave of police murders. That’s good and needs to continue. It’s good that people have acted around the Confederate flag. And there’s a national march called for Charleston on July 4th, where we have to make sure that the Call for October 24 resonates there.

But we have to take things much higher! The cops aren’t holding back. In LA and Baltimore and around the country, cops shot unarmed Black men in the days after Charleston. Police in Oklahoma shot a Black man and when he said, “I can’t breathe,” they replied, ‘F... your breath!’ We have to go beyond responding every time racists in or out of uniform target Black people. We have to take our resistance higher. We have to go on a mission to bring thousands and thousands of people into the streets of New York City on October 22-24.

This will be three days of determined resistance. Powerful demonstrations in cities across the country on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The many lives stolen by killer cops and the system that backs them up will be featured in these outpourings, bringing to life the devastation murder by police inflicts on so many people. This will be followed by a non-violent direct action in New York City that involves well-known people and targets an institution that concentrates the slow genocide of police terror and mass incarceration. And on October 24, thousands and thousands of people will descend on New York City to deliver a message that police terror must STOP, shutting it down by the sheer weight of our numbers.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/rcp-publications-fund-drive-wraps-up-challenge-continues-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

To Readers:

RCP Publications Fund Drive Wraps Up... Challenge Continues

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Stolen Lives Day

Thanks to all the readers of Revolution and visitors to www.revcom.us more broadly, for making very needed and appreciated financial donations and commitments to financially sustain RCP Publications during our just-completed fund drive. The statements that accompanied these donations and commitments were really inspiring. (See “Why People Are Stepping Up to Sustain RCP Publications and Why You Should Too!”)

There is still much work to do to put Revolution and www.revcom.us, and the work of RCP Publications on a stable financial platform, and we will have more to share on the experience so far and future plans. In the meantime, let’s continue to spread the word, sign up more sustainers, and keep us posted on your experience and new testimonials and correspondence!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/thoughts-on-trumps-anti-immigrant-rantings-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

From a Reader:

On Trump's Anti-Immigrant Rants

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To the editors:


Click to share

I appreciated the short article on Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rantings in last week’s issue. I just want to bounce off that briefly, and add some thoughts about what I think Trump’s vile tirades represent.

On one level, Trump is a buffoon and a clown. But he is being promoted as a more or less serious presidential candidate. In fact, his “approval ratings” and poll rankings went up since he began and then defended his utterly hateful racist slurs against Mexican people. Trump’s statements have been echoed in a seemingly endless loop in the bourgeois media (and not just Fox News), and Trump has in fact both escalated his outbursts and dug in to defend them. He’s had friendly meetings with top Republican officials. No leading Republican candidates have in any significant way criticized his remarks or distanced themselves from Trump. He spoke to a crowd of thousands at a huge convention center in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 11; the notoriously sadistic and violently anti-immigrant Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke at the same event. Trump has “doubled down,” as they say in poker.

So, what does this tell us? It is accurate, as the revcom.us article states, that Trump’s venomous and relentless abuse are a “call to arms—figuratively and damn near literally—to the vicious, violent immigrant-hating forces who ‘go hunting’ for human beings on the Mexican border.” It’s important that people building the movement for revolution take this very seriously.

Trump’s verbal tirades, and their entering into the “mainstream” as a legitimate object of debate, amount to a sort of justification in advance (should the ruling class, or a dominant section of it, think the situation warrants it) for a massive escalation of already severe repression by the bourgeois state (as well as vigilantes, racist mobs, etc.) against immigrants—violent roundups and deportations, expansion of concentration camps (aka “detention centers”), escalation of extreme and utterly militarized repression along the border, and more.

Revolution/revcom.us has had numerous articles describing the vicious anti-immigrant measures already in place—the expansive growth of detention centers for young mothers and their children, military and National Guard forces along the border, along with more than 20,000 Border Patrol agents, ICE raids throughout the country that routinely break apart families trying to work and survive, the institution of “summary removal procedures”—denial of rights to a court hearing and to apply for legal status—for immigrants arrested at the border.

To a great extent, all of this and more is already in use and in place. The legal justifications for it have been established. Heavily armed vigilantes and mobs of racists have periodically been mobilized to attack immigrants, including children. Just one year ago, mobs waylaid and threatened buses carrying children and their mothers to detention centers in Southern California. Trump and others like him have for years been loudly demanding an escalation of across-the-board attacks on immigrants. The possibility of putting this hideous apparatus of repression, mob attacks and, potentially, murder into a much higher gear is just one sharp turn away from where we all are today.

Secondly, what does all this tell us about the legitimacy of this entire system? I just saw a TV screen with this message scrolling across the CNN feed—”Trump’s Message? Is it Working?” Is Trump’s message “working”!?! Working to do what? It is working, as the revcom.us article said, to “turn upside down the reality of who is fucking over whom in this world” and to establish “this vicious, xenophobic outlook as a legitimate part of political discourse.”

When someone of Trump’s standing makes KKK-like comments, such as the ones he’s been spewing for the past week or so, and gets them echoed and amplified endlessly, it is an indication of a system that is completely illegitimate and has no right to rule. It also indicates that this system, which both utterly depends on the endless exploitation enforced by brutal repression of millions of Mexican immigrants, and fears the role they can play in the potential unraveling of this society, is facing a problem that, ultimately, it can’t solve.

The terms of the “debate and discourse” emphatically should not be which one “works”: Trump’s “solution to the immigrant problem”—or that of the deporter-in-chief Obama, who has presided over the largest number of deportations (by far) of any other president, and who brags of how many Border Patrol “boots on the ground” his administration has placed.

For the past several years, thousands and thousands of immigrants, youths and others, have courageously and repeatedly risen up in struggle demanding to be treated with respect and dignity, to be treated as human beings. Further, fiercer resistance is needed. And millions of people—not just immigrants—need to get into the fight.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/awtwns-why-immigrants-are-forced-to-flee-to-europe-the-case-of-eritrea-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

From A World To Win News Service

Why immigrants are forced to flee to Europe—and how European governments throw aside law and morality to stop them: the case of Eritrea

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

6 July 2015. A World to Win News Service. Eritrea has only six million inhabitants, but 37,000 of them fled the country in the first 10 months of last year. As of June 2015, Eritreans are the second largest group of immigrants (after Syrians) to make the perilous journey to Europe and elsewhere.

For the most part these men and women are fleeing indefinite military service, which often involves forced labour. Those who try to avoid this service or escape their enslavement once enlisted face arrest, torture and disappearance. Women also face sexual harassment and rape by their commanders. Yet instead of welcoming these refugees, as common decency and law requires, European governments are declaring the Eritrean regime tolerable and encouraging it to imprison its people within its borders.

Denmark has played a leading role in these measures. In reaction to the growing volume of asylum requests from Eritreans, in 2014 Denmark published a report that concluded there was no valid reason to grant them that status. The report was largely based on interviews with anonymous diplomatic and other sources in Eritrea and is said to contain contradictory and speculative statements about Eritrea’s human rights situation and claims that the government promises reforms. It stated that Eritreans’ fears that they would be killed if sent back to Eritrea are unsubstantiated. Two commission members resigned in protest, saying that while they were investigating the situation in Eritrea, they had no access to detention centres or interviews with victims or witnesses of human rights violations and that the claims in the report are misleading at best.

Migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, March 2014.

Migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia at UN refuge in South Sudan, March 2014. (UN photo by Isaac Billy)

The report was also denounced by the deputy director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, Leslie Lefkow, who said, “The Danish report seems more like a political effort to stem migration than an honest assessment of Eritrea’s human rights situation. Instead of speculating on potential Eritrean government reforms, host governments should wait to see whether pledges actually translate into changes on the ground.”

However, using the Danish report, the U.K. has issued new guidance that refuses many more asylum applications by Eritreans, who are currently the second largest group of would-be refugees seekers in the U.K. at this time.

UN officials and human rights organisations believe several European Union countries such as Norway, Italy and the U.K. may be offering the Eritrean government money and the lifting of the arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on listed Eritrean officials in exchange for stricter Eritrean border controls. “Key European figures have been heading to Asmara and it’s clear there is a real political will to solve the migrant crisis by getting the borders shut from the Eritrean side—it’s a very dangerous tactic,” said one UN insider who understands the brutal actions of the Eritrean regime. (Guardian, 13 June 2015)

A UN report based on 550 confidential interviews with witnesses abroad and 160 written submissions, released 8 June 2015, finds Eritrea responsible for systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations on a massive scale bordering on crimes against humanity.

Sheila B. Keetharuth, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, said Eritreans deserve international protection. “This is why one of our key recommendations in the report is aimed at the international community, urging it to continue to provide protection to all those fleeing Eritrea; to respect the principle of non-refoulement [not sending asylum seekers back to their home countries]; and to end bilateral and other arrangements that jeopardize the lives of those who seek asylum. To ascribe their decision to flee solely to economic reasons is to ignore the dire human rights situation in Eritrea and the very real suffering of its people,” she said. Eritrea’s minister of information dismissed the UN report as “garbage in, garbage out.”

The plight of these refugees is not sufficiently highlighted by their rising numbers only. What people actually risk or experience conveys how desperate they are to leave. Just leaving Eritrea is fraught with danger because border guards, acting on official policy, often shoot to kill.

According to the Telegraph (3 October 2013), “There are three principal routes by which they try to escape—and all are exceptionally dangerous. Some make contact with people smugglers and pay for passage across the Red Sea to Yemen, from where they try to slip into Saudi Arabia and reach the wealthy kingdoms of the Gulf.

“Others head westwards, over the border into Sudan and then north across the Sahara into Egypt. Here, they have two options, both fraught with peril. Some turn east and try to cross the Sinai Peninsula with the aim of reaching Israel. Along the way, they run the risk of being kidnapped by Bedouin gunmen, who often try to extract ransoms by torturing their captives.

“Others turn west and head over the frontier into Libya, from where they board overloaded boats of the kind that sank on Thursday. If they remain afloat, these vessels carry their huddled passengers across the Mediterranean to Sicily, the Italian mainland—or, more frequently, the island of Lampedusa where migrants are then detained.”

Here is the story of one Eritrean immigrant: “A 26-year-old former Bisha mine worker told Vice News he was forced to work at the mine from January 2011 to October 2013. He did not want his name used for fear of retribution against his family back home. He said he worked at the mine seven days a week, 12 hours from Monday to Saturday and seven hours on Sunday. ‘We were not given enough food to eat, so I was always very weak and exhausted by the end of the day. Health problems like difficulty passing urine and diarrhoea abounded. I lived in a compound housing about 600 people, sharing 10 toilets and 20 showers.’ In October 2013 he was transferred away from the mining company to another conscripted job, where he experienced ‘severe physical punishment.’ ‘It was too much to cope and I decided to leave,’ he said. In December 2013 he fled on foot across the border to Sudan.” (Vice News, 12 June 2015)

Bisha, a rich source of copper, silver, gold, and zinc, is the country’s only mine. One of Eritrea’s biggest enterprises, it is a major factor in the country’s high level of economic growth. (In a bitter irony, another is emigration—almost a third of the country’s GDP comes from remittances from the five percent of the population forced to emigrate by the same situation that makes Eritrea so attractive to foreign capital.) The mine is majority-owned by the Canadian transnational company Nevsun, with the Eritrean state a junior partner. Three formers mine workers have filed a civil suit in Canada accusing Nevsun of complicity in torture, forced labour and slavery. The class action suit says that Bisha provides “massive financial support and incentives to continue Eritrea’s system of forced labour and human rights abuses.”

The regime initially instituted obligatory military service in response to a longstanding border dispute with neighbouring Ethiopia, including outright war in 1998-2000. The two countries maintain armies of roughly the same number of troops, even though Ethiopia is more than 15 times bigger than Eritrea in terms of population. The leadership of the two regimes were once closely allied in fighting the broadly hated Ethiopian regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which collapsed after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was allied with.

The region’s European colonial powers had enabled Ethiopia to annex Eritrea, and Mengistu continued this. After Mengistu fell in 1991, Eritrea did not gain independence for another two years and the former allies entered into confrontation. The new Ethiopian regime was brought under the wing of Washington. The U.S. found Ethiopia useful in its efforts to dominate the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s army has acted as a gendarme for the U.S. in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

In short, the imperialist countries are deeply implicated in creating and continuing the situation that forces so many Eritreans to flee their country. Human lives weigh nothing when it comes to imperialist economic and political interests. This is also clearly demonstrated by the European governments’ latest policies toward Eritrean and other refugees, whom these governments would rather see drowned in the Mediterranean than alive on Europe’s shores.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/protests-across-canada-and-u-s-on-2nd-anniversary-lac-megantic-explosion-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Two Years After Oil Train Wreck Kills 47 and Leaves Downtown Toxic:

Protest Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Explosion

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 6, 2013, a train carrying oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota derailed and exploded in the small town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, Canada. The highly explosive shale oil caused a firestorm in the center of the town that killed 47 people and incinerated 30 buildings. Two years later, the downtown area remains toxic. Reportedly all but three of the remaining downtown buildings will have to be torn down because of contamination.

The substance being carried on the train cars that exploded in Lac-Mégantic was a special type of crude oil, called “Bakken,” after the shale deposit where it is extracted by the process called “fracking.”1 Bakken oil is much more volatile than regular crude oil, and once ignited it also burns hotter than regular crude oil because it is loaded with highly flammable hydrogen sulfide and other chemicals used in fracking.

Seattle, July 11 protest anniversary of Lac-Megantic oil train explosionSeattle, July 11--Protest on the second anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil train explosion. Photos: Special to revcom.us

Seattle, July 11 protest anniversary of Lac-Megantic oil train explosion

On the second anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, various environmental groups jointly called a Stop the Oil Trains Week of Action for July 6-12, including protests in 75 locations across Canada and the U.S.

In Portland, Oregon, people blocked the tracks of an oil transfer and storage facility, holding signs with the names and ages of the people killed in Lac-Mégantic.

Various other actions took place in California, the Northwest, and throughout the Northeast. A July 7 press release from Vermont Rising Tide said, “In Addison County, Vermont, over forty organizers with TWAC (Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp) blocked trucks carrying fracked gas from making deliveries at the International Paper mill, resulting in five arrests. In Ticonderoga, New York, over 150 people participated in a symbolic oil train blockade and flotilla highlighting threats to the lake [Lake Champlain] posed by the trains. In Williston, Vermont, 30 people stopped construction on the Vermont fracked gas pipeline—which is on life-support in the face of public opposition and regulatory uncertainty—with four people arrested.”

An organizer said, “We’re saying no to using the Champlain Valley [in Vermont/New York] as an energy corridor. The transportation of fossil fuels is volatile and dangerous whether it’s by pipeline, train, or truck. Extreme energy extraction is destructive in all stages, and we are taking action to denounce the ongoing colonization of First Nations territory in so-called Alberta, and the continued and ever-expanding reliance on fossil fuels.”

In Lac-Mégantic itself, 150 people dressed in white marched on July 6 and went onto the train tracks. A key point of the actions here was to protest attempts by Canadian officials who outrageously are trying to re-start oil train shipments through the town. Despite the horror of the 2013 disaster and how it ripped apart the lives of many people in Lac-Mégantic, the response of authorities has been to increase rail traffic across Canada by three times since the explosion, while putting in place new “regulations” that have done little or nothing to deal with the real danger.

Oil train derailments and explosions have increased dramatically with the huge expansion of fracking for oil in the Bakken shale, which is a key part of the “fracking boom” that has led to the U.S. now leading the world in oil production. These new oil reserves and fracking technology is a boon to U.S. imperialism, which is using the expansion of oil production as an important weapon in the fight with other big powers for economic and strategic domination. (See the revcom.us article “Fracking: An Environmental Nightmare.”) The amount of oil shipped by rail in the U.S. increased 40-fold from 2008 to 2015, and these trains are also crisscrossing Canada. The number of U.S. states where there have been oil train accidents increased from eight in 2010 to 21 in 2014. In 2015, there have already been four high-profile oil train derailments, including one in West Virginia that resulted in an explosion that sent oil and burning oil cars into the Kanawha River.

These derailments and explosions have become so common that activists call trains carrying Bakken crude “bomb trains.” Environmentalists have pointed out that at least 25 million people live in the “blast zones” near tracks where oil trains travel in North America. In addition to the threat of catastrophic explosions of rail cars, the huge expansion in exploitation and burning of Bakken shale oil is further contributing to a global climate change crisis that threatens to spin out of control. Fracking for Bakken oil—as well as the continued hunt for new fossil fuel sources in the Arctic and all the other means the capitalist powers and companies are using to continue to exploit, transport, and burn fossil fuels—must be opposed, and the struggle spread to involve millions.


1. In fracking, wells are drilled vertically down to layers of shale, then horizontally into the layer. Millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped through the well into the rock layer at high pressure to crack apart the layers of shale rock. Aided by the chemicals in the fracking solution, gas and oil flow up the well through these fissures in the rock to be collected. The well bores are cased with cement but they have been shown to fail, leading to methane poisoning of water systems all over the U.S. Many fracking wells have been drilled in areas where people live, even near schoolyards and in people’s backyards and farms. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/a-joint-benefit-for-tio-hardimans-violence-interrupters-inc-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

We received this announcement:

A Joint Benefit in Chicago for Tio Hardiman's Violence Interrupters Inc. and Legal Expenses of Anti Police Brutality Protesters Iggy, Alfredo & Grant

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

joint benefit in Chicago
Download Benefit Flyer Side 1 and Side 2

House (Music) Party for Justice & Peace
with DJ Najae!!
Friday, July 17 at the Grand Ballroom
64th Street & Cottage Grove
7 pm until...


$20 Donation
$10 for Students & Low Income

 

Come dance to an evening of House Music, Steppin’, Soul and R&B

Your contribution will:

Endorsed by: Tio Hardiman & Violence Interrupters; We All Stand Together Defense Committee; Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Chicago Chapter; Total Blackout for Reform, Chicago; United Legion One Nation (U.L.O.N.); Brothers Standing Together; Revolution Club, Chicago

Tickets available online at tinyurl.com/Party4Justice-Peace
For more information call: 773-391-9072
Facebook: tinyurl.com/fb-Party4Justice-Peace

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/statement-by-rcp-usa-bay-area-branch-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Bay Area Branch:

THE TRAGIC KILLING OF KATHRYN STEINLE – AND THE SYSTEM'S MURDEROUS, ILLEGITIMATE WAR ON IMMIGRANTS

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 1, 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed as she walked along San Francisco’s Embarcadero with her parents. Police quickly arrested Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a 45 year old Mexican immigrant laborer.

Then the monsters who represent this monstrous system seized on Steinle’s tragic killing to justify far greater brutality and violence -- against immigrants, especially undocumented Latina/o immigrants.

Lopez-Sanchez was immediately vilified by politicians and the media and presumed guilty.  A chorus erupted from openly racist fools like Donald Trump, as well as “mainstream” politicians like Democrats Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein and Republican Jeb Bush, calling for tougher action against “criminal” undocumented immigrants and attacking sanctuary measures providing basic due process or humane treatment that 300 cities, including San Francisco, have adopted.

First off, this is a country of colonizing immigrants who genocided the native inhabitants! So don’t say a damn word about “illegal immigration” or “criminal” immigrants!

Since that blood-soaked founding, this country’s rulers have a long history of seizing on real (or concocted) tragedies to whip up xenophobic, racist, and pogromist demonization of the oppressed. These campaigns have nothing to do with the accused’s actual guilt or innocence; they’re about ramming through attacks on the people the system has “queued up” and ready to go.

The 1989 case of the “Central Park 5” is a grotesque example: a white female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in Central Park. Five Black and Latino teenagers were quickly arrested. The media and the political establishment – including Donald Trump – went wild, branding them a "wolfpack" and “crazed misfits.” It turned out, after the five languished in prison for years, that all of them were totally innocent! No matter – their “example” was used by the rulers to justify the stepped up draconian repression against Black and Latino youth that has led to millions being stopped and frisked, imprisoned, and thousands being murdered by police.

And think about it: where were the calls to demonize, criminalize, and round up all disaffected white youth after one carried out a deliberate, cold-blooded, racist massacre of a Bible Study class at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina?

The U.S. rulers are doing the same thing today with immigrants -- criminalizing and demonizing oppressed people who’ve been forced to cross the border to survive and feed their families. Why have they been forced to migrate? Because U.S. imperialism has raped and plundered their countries, installed death squad governments to enforce that imperialist robbery, and robbed people of any hope or future. Then, when they come to El Norte, the capitalists prey on their undocumented status to super exploit them, robbing them once again.

This is maintained with heartless violence and cruelty on a massive scale. Hundreds die every year trying to cross the increasingly militarized border, and 39 have been killed outright by border patrol officials since 2010. 400,000 undocumented immigrants are imprisoned or detained each year. Under Obama, a record two million plus have been deported.  What about these human beings being deprived basic rights and subjected to conditions amounting to torture? What about these families torn asunder? What about these children ripped from their parents? Where is the outrage and media furor over all this horror?

It’s this system that’s illegitimate and criminal – not crossing the border! The demonization, criminalization and massive imprisonment of immigrants have no more legitimacy than the fugitive slave laws did in the 1850's! The only way to end this system’s horrors is through revolution, nothing less, and replacing it with something far, far better.

A key part of working toward that revolution is understanding that immigrants – those with papers and those without – are our brothers and sisters, and that opposing all assaults on immigrants is a key battlefront against all oppression. The more that people fighting on one front become fighters on every front, the stronger each of these battles becomes... and the chance for basic, fundamental change throughout society becomes more real.

 STOP—THE DEMONIZATION, CRIMINALIZATION AND DEPORTATIONS OF IMMIGRANTS AND THE MILITARIZATION OF THE BORDER!

 FIGHT THE POWER, AND TRANSFORM THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION

Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying, “Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?”...Why? I’ll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power.

- Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:14

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/some-confederate-flags-down-a-system-of-white-supremacy-to-go-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

Banner carried at protest, Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015.
Banner carried at protest, Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015. Photo: special to revcom.us.

Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015

Columbia, SC, 6/24/15: Activists wearing the "BA Speaks REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!" T-shirts and carrying a banner with Carl Dix' statement "Outrage in Charleston—This IS America!" stepped up to agitate and ridicule two racists who were defending the Confederate flag. Photo: special to revcom.us.

Some Confederate Flags Down... A System of White Supremacy to Go

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the wake of worldwide outrage over the massacre of nine Black people during Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church by a white supremacist who posed online with a Confederate flag, the powers-that-be (including hard-core racist sections) suddenly discovered it to be in their best interests to take down that flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.

About fucking time! This is the flag of slavery and oppression and the Ku Klux Klan. It is a flag that was revived in the 1960s to spit in the face of and threaten people demanding equality for Black people. The fact that it flew, and continues to fly, all over this country is one more damning indictment of how deeply the oppression of Black people is embedded in the whole system. Some of these hated symbols of white-supremacist terror are being taken down, and they all need to come down now. And there’s a whole fight to be waged to uproot the oppression of Black people everywhere, and to uproot the system of white supremacy with revolution.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/cleveland-drop-all-charges-against-the-may-23-protesters-en.html

Revolution #395 July 13, 2015

 

Cleveland: Drop All Charges Against the May 23rd Protesters!
Indict and Convict the Murderers of Malissa, Timothy and Tamir!

 

July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editor’s note: We received the following from a reader in Cleveland.

 

Dear Fighters Against Police Murder,

Cleveland, November 25: Blocking the Memorial Shoreway in protest of the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Cleveland, November 25: Blocking the Memorial Shoreway in protest of the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. (AP photo)

After a very heartfelt and engaging defendants meeting yesterday all those participating united around the need to raise the level of resistance against all the indictments that came down on May 23rd. As one of the participants emphasized, it is essential we not allow them to get away with making these arrests a warning to people that they should not resist police murder and instead turn it around on them, letting everyone know that their intimidation will not stop the people from rightfully fighting the murderous crimes of the cops.

We have made a number of plans to raise the struggle to a higher level beginning with:

A CALL TO ALL THOSE FIGHTING POLICE MURDER

STAND BY THE DEFENDANTS FROM THE MAY 23rd ARRESTS

BE AT THE JUSTICE CENTER 9AM TUESDAY THE 14th

PRETRIAL FOR 3 FELONY DEFENDANTS BEGIN 9am and 9:30am

Come to the 16th floor courtroom 16A

PRETRIAL FOR 3 MISDEMEANOR DEFENDANTS BEGIN 10:30am

Come to the 13th floor courtroom C

After the pretrials we will assemble outside (as well as in between the pretrials if time allows.)

A press conference will be called on the Justice Center steps where we will insist on the demands of the petition to:

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST THE MAY 23rd PROTESTERS!

INDICT AND CONVICT THE MURDERERS OF MALISSA, TIMOTHY AND TAMIR!

STOP MURDER BY POLICE!

Link to petition, please pass it around:

www.change.org/p/mayor-frank-jackson-cleveland-police-department-we-demand-drop-all-charges-against-the-may-23rd-protestors-indict-and-convict-the-murderers-of-melissa-timothy-and-tamir-stop-murder-by-police