Revolution #396, July 20, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/october-24-outpouring-against-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

October 24 Outpouring Against Police Murder: Which Side Are You On?

An Audacious Plan...
And the Ways to Make It Happen

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix and Cornel West, joined by many others, have called for massive demonstrations in New York on October 22-24, and especially on October 24. Why come out then? And why stop what you are doing now and throw into it?

Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

Because police STILL kill Black and Brown children for playing with toy guns and choke Black men to death in Staten Island and Mississippi and then curse them at their last dying breath, because cops disappear a young Black woman into a Texas county jail and “somehow” she doesn’t come out alive, because 26 of these mad dogs stomp a young man for riding his bike the wrong way in Philly, because they shoot down and murder Latinos who have their hands in the air in LA or maybe throw a rock in Washington state while backing up... and it’s all on video and NOTHING IS DONE, still NOTHING IS DONE...

Why October 24? Because politicians now promise the moon while the system STILL keeps millions in prisons that bulge like the slave ships, and lock down and pen up whole communities... and there’s STILL one chance in three that the Black baby boy born today will end up in those cages... and talk is cheap but NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE...

Why October 24? Because you know it now, you’ve seen it, and you can’t be neutral, you can’t sit this out. Because last year people rose up and said NO MORE and that was great, that was fresh air at last. But it was all just a start and now they are trying to snuff this out with more murders and more lies, with jail terms and sweet talk and crumbs and snark—or else they try to change the subject to anything but police terror and the righteous struggle against it. And meanwhile the plague still rages... meanwhile the machinery of genocide grinds on, tearing and chewing up thousands each day, draining or wearing away, or blowing away the lives of tens of millions more over decades.

We have to either go forward—taking the resistance to another level—or we will surely go backwards...

Why October 24? Because we need badly, urgently, to reach and challenge and transform the thinking of millions, as we make clear to the whole world that there is a growing force that is determined to STOP this—a force which is not going to be turned back or deterred by confusion, lies, beatings, prosecution, and everything else they throw at it. Because we need urgently to reverse the whole direction of society.

And because right now the next crucial step to doing that is this: in New York, over three days in October, a massive effort to STOP this shit, to SHUT THIS DOWN... gatherings in the communities on October 22, in New York and all over the country... major shutdowns of the machinery of caging whole communities on October 23 in NYC... and a massive demonstration flooding the streets in NYC on the 24th. This will be anything but a passive demonstration where people are herded and marshaled—this will be people boldly in the streets, with banners from the communities hardest hit or from colleges or churches or unions... cultural crews... a serious festival of defiance that makes the city stop in its tracks. This will be those hardest hit by this plague alongside those willing to stand up for justice, putting a powerful political and moral challenge to the world.

As a reader wrote in “Reflections on June 30 Meeting to Stop Police Terror: October 24: We MUST Change Everything, Beginning Now," which discussed a major meeting attended by 150 people to launch this:

October 22-24 has got to take this ferment to another level—another level of breadth and another level of determination. These three days taken together must include people putting themselves on the line for this, as well as many thousands more out there in support of them, in such a way that it politically stops this country in its tracks and changes the terms and direction of society. It must call out to the world that there is a force in the U.S. that simply will NOT tolerate this... that this force is growing... and that “change is gonna come.” These days must put the rulers of this country back on their heels and give heart and a whole other level of initiative to the people.

This will be an outpouring aimed to force all of society to confront the question—WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Are you FOR this horror? Or will you stand against it? All of society, everyone, will be forced to confront that question and will be increasingly compelled to answer it, with their actions and deeds, as well as their words. Because there are no neutrals... not when the murders and the locked-down, closed-down lives go on every single day... not when the hollow promises echo while killer cops walk free.

We have to make clear to the world the reality of this—and force this empire that brags of its human rights “at home” to stand before the world exposed for what it really is.

So that is the reason. That is the vision. And because our Party unites with this vision with all our minds and hearts, we want to offer our views on how everyone involved can effectively organize to meet the goal. We offer this because we think these ideas can help in pushing this forward into society... and at the same time, we eagerly want to hear from others, from everyone reading this, with your ideas.

Who Must Be There

First of all: those hit the hardest by this genocidal plague. Those from the Black and Latino communities who face the insults and guns and bullying and ugly physical abuse every day... those whose very conditions make it the hardest for them to take part... but those who—ONCE THEY RISE—can shake the whole thing up. The potential power of those who society casts off and demonizes has flared to life in Ferguson and in Baltimore, and when it did, it sparked and galvanized all of society. So on those days, there must clearly be a strong force from the hardest ghettos and barrios, from New York itself, and from people coming to represent from all over the country. And at the forefront: the loved ones of those murdered by the cops or locked down in the prisons, testifying and witnessing the truth. These loved ones already have played a powerful role in this new movement, and that role must be magnified in many ways through this whole process.

The Revolution Clubs that are led by our Party, while wide open to all ages, will make a special effort to reach—and challenge—the youth of the ghettos and barrios, including the desperate ones up against the hard edge every day, at the same time as we reach out to others working and organizing among these youth from their perspectives. But we don't see this as "our thing"—no, the more that everyone of all political views among those working for October 24 does this, the better.

The students. From the colleges and high schools, the youth whose critical eyes have not been dulled, whose voice and heart can challenge society. Walking out in the days before, shutting down and disrupting, making clear that a new generation is willing to put itself on the line to STOP this... to stand with those hardest hit... no matter what the powers throw at them.

The immigrants. Pushed into the shadows, living in terror of their families being torn apart, demonized and scapegoated and attacked for political gain, themselves victimized both by police and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)—standing up that day with those who have their backs.

Religious communities, including clergy, and people of conscience. Clergy and religious people have already begun to play an important role in this effort, and this too must grow. Clergy organizing their congregations to bear moral witness on those days will make a powerful statement.

And all kinds of people way beyond that. Prominent people in the arts and sciences and other arenas, wielding their influence and using their platforms to make clear their stand, to call on others... unions... legal and civil liberties organizations... all kinds of groups and organizations of people who have been active around this... fraternities, sororities, and other social organizations of Black and Latino people... people coming from the cities and suburbs, and also the small towns, from the East and all over... those who fight for the Earth, who fight for women and the LGBT community, who resist the war crimes... all there, saying NO MORE.

We Must Take This to the People and ORGANIZE

To make this real, we need to organize. The first big steps have been taken. Since Cornel West and Carl Dix issued the Call for this in June, it has been signed by many prominent people—voices of conscience and witness and struggle—and begun to be circulated. Scores of people have come to organizing meetings and set about the hard work. Word is getting out, including through people standing up and fighting on the anniversary of the unpunished chokehold murder of Eric Garner by police and going to other sites of struggle. But more must be done. We have to take this to the people and we have to get people involved. To do what is being envisioned will require thousands of people pitching in, in one way or another.

We ALL of us have to organize, and on a whole other level. Our Party... and everyone else who wants to see this stop. However you see stopping it... whatever your goals... coming together NOW for October 22-24.

How?

Rise Up October 24th logo

Visit frequently the Stop Mass Incarceration section of www.revcom.us

Stop Mass Incarceration Network website

We have to bring the reality of this before people, in ways that let them see the true scope and horror of this. Most people—even people who hate this injustice—still don’t get the full scope and scale of what is being done to the masses! Let’s go to people with the Stolen Lives poster, either in organized groups or just passing it out wherever we go, on the subway or wherever, pinning it up in stores and schools and laundromats. The point is that this has to blanket everywhere, and especially the NY area and East Coast. Even if you work all day and all night and don’t have a minute to spare, then pass these posters out on your way to and from work... but get them out and get them up. (And the same goes for other materials: palm cards... copies of the Call... and so on.) By the time fall rolls around, everyone should have seen these materials much more than once and they should recognize the Stolen Lives poster and what it’s about.

And let’s find platforms for the loved ones of the victims, letting them testify wherever they can. A start: reach every church, mosque, synagogue, or other religious site and ask them to have a Stolen Lives relative speak to their congregation. Reach every progressive or decent teacher/professor and ask them to do the same in their classrooms. And so on.

We have to draw the lines sharply—precisely to draw in the greatest numbers. This may seem counter-intuitive, particularly as many will resist a sharp challenge at first. But if we DO take people to the reality of this genocidal plague and to the actual stakes of this moment... to what it means to let this keep dragging on, to effectively consign future generations to the same—or a worse—fate... to the rare opening that now exists to radically change the terms... then there is every basis to win people to really sacrifice and make this happen. In fact, there ARE no neutrals—to do nothing, to take a time-out or a “pass” on this, is to be complicit in something very ugly and utterly intolerable. So, yes: which side are you on? must be the question and the moral/political challenge we pose to one and all. Silence... standing aside... is complicity.

We have to give people ways, big and small, to be part of this. Everyone who is interested should be given materials to get out, asked for donations, and given a way to get in touch. If you are out in a group, encourage people to join with you—even if they are there to stand around and observe at first, that’s part of getting this going and part of them “learning the ropes.” Take time to sit down with people on the spot—or let people know a McDonald’s or Starbucks where you will be later. Learn from people what is up in the neighborhood and who to go to and how to approach them. We are giving people a chance to do something great, to be part of standing up against this horror in a way that has never been seen in this country, a chance to bring in a new day. Give people whistles and explain how they are used, to alert everybody when the pigs begin messing with people. If you are housebound or for other reasons should not be passing out political literature on the street, then get lists from the committees and phone-bank or use social media—to get out the word and especially to raise money.

But that’s not all. Returning to “Reflections,” the point was made that:

Getting people’s ideas onto the floor and recording their names and ways to contact them is just a beginning. People’s efforts and ideas need to be drawn on and sifted, cross-fertilized and knit together into something very powerful—and not in two or four weeks, but now. In fact, we have to be not only ready but aiming, right on the spot, to draw people into things—whether people from this broad movement are flyering or mounting some kind of resistance to police terror, either planned or spontaneous. They then in turn become part of things then and there, and work to draw in others. That has to be much more the “style,” or the “signature,” of this movement.

This must especially be done in the communities of the oppressed, where the people are hit the hardest. And we must go back over and over again, and stand with people and help organize it when they “blow the whistle” or otherwise stand up. But it should not only be done there. Even now, before school is in session, let’s seek out young people in the parks, on the beaches, at festivals and shows and clubs... again, saturate people with materials and give them ways to be part of this.

Every organization sincerely trying to end this plague should be invited into this. Here again we’ll quote “Reflections”:

There can be and needs to be all kinds of views [among the people building for this] about what kinds of changes are needed in society and how to go about them and how to view the police themselves. We can and certainly should talk frankly, and struggle about, larger questions as we work together (and we can and certainly will wrangle out differences over HOW to best mount these days of action). We can talk with some of the leaders at the same time as we reach out to the people in these groups. And we can’t take “no” for an answer—there is too much at stake here, for millions, and we have to keep going back to that. The point is this: everyone must get together to end police terror and this means uniting the broadest number of people around that, even as we bring forward our full understanding.

Make the “Which Side Are You On?/Rise Up October Tour” a Really Big Deal

This week, some people are going to Cleveland on a tour to promote October 24. They are going to talk with different organized groups and prominent individuals... they are going to the Movement for Black Lives national conference ... but most of all they are going to those who are hit hardest by this every single day of their lives, and they are also going to raise hell about the outrageous crimes carried out by the Cleveland police—like the murders of Tamir Rice, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, and too many others. This crew will bring a powerful message, getting out materials and organizing people on the spot... getting the word out. In two weeks or so, they will be going to Chicago and on to Ferguson, marking the important anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown and the resistance that followed. Then, sometime in late summer or early fall, the tour should go to Baltimore, before the trials begin of the killers of Freddie Gray, and on into the five boroughs of New York and other major cities. These tours should be made up of both longtime and brand-new fighters, and should draw people in on the spot. And here too there should be a special and amplified role for the loved ones of the victims of this system.

Breaking This Out in the Media

October 24 should be operating on a lot of different levels—including in the media and social media. One big tool in this is the Call for October 22-24. This Call is compelling, and many people—including many people with influence among different kinds of people—have stepped out on this. Plans should be made now to 1) get this out to even more people of prominence, 2) raise money to print this, and 3) figure out other ways to get this into the media and social media, including urging those who have signed to write and speak about it.

Artists and people who work in culture—including those who have signed the Call, as well as many who have not yet done so but could be won to this—should be consulted and worked with.

A big part of breaking this out is making the website for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network much more dynamic AND getting this into social media.

But this is connected to a larger point: the larger coalition sponsoring this is going to have to get much better organized, and everyone who sincerely wants to see this happen needs to take a hand in that. To quote again from “Reflections”:

There have to be simple ways for everyone to take a hand, and to communicate their ideas. Again, there simply cannot be a situation where people are made to wait “until someone gets back to them”—things are too urgent, people’s ideas and enthusiasm at this meeting were too alive, and no effort or positive impulse can be squandered or left on the vine.

This does require things like major fundraising and a central office that acts as a nerve center, ready to knit together every initiative, every desire to help. It would be very important, for instance, to be able to call volunteers en masse to New York beginning in September—but this will require funds, housing from supporters, and all kinds of coordination to make it happen. But happen it must. And soon—like now.

One final thought for now: We should start getting ready, beginning in a few weeks, to hit the freshman orientation weeks on campuses, and to be there when the high schools open—with stickers, posters, palm cards, and organizing kits. A student network should begin soon, taking the lessons of the April 14 #A14Shutdown outpourings this past spring and learning from those, and doing exponentially better this time.

None of this is meant as any kind of last word, but a beginning. Write to our website or newspaper (at revolution.reports@yahoo.com) and let us know your thoughts and what you are learning, what you are running into and what is moving people. Together, let’s fill a great need and turn this whole society around.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/october-24-and-preparing-for-revolution-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

October 24 and Preparing for Revolution

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolutionary Communist Party is taking part in, and helped initiate, October 24 for two big reasons.

First, because every time one of these cops murders someone in cold blood... every time we hear of yet another young life flushed down the drain of prison... we HATE it down to the soles of our feet. We hate it because of its cruelty and because it is absolutely needless at this stage of history—absolutely unnecessary, happening only because it serves a worthless and outdated economic and political system and, all the while, there is actually a different way things could be, through a revolution that cries out to be done. And we HATE it when masses of people are told to shut up, to blame themselves, to eat their anger and swallow it, to play by the rules of the biggest exploiters, robbers, kidnappers, and rapists who ever walked the planet: those who rule the USA. We hate it and we want to unite as broadly as we can to take this on and not let this shit go down—as it does, time after time. We hate it, ironically enough, out of a deep love.

Second, and this ties very much into the first reason, because such fights are essential to actually and finally getting rid of this system, as soon as it can possibly be done: an actual revolution. Not in a direct one-to-one, right-then-and-there kind of way, but as part of changing the way that millions of people think about the society we live in and building up the political and organizational “muscles” to have a real chance at winning when the potential opening for revolution arises. All along the way, we work to accumulate and wield forces FOR that revolution, learning how to influence millions today and then, when the time is right, lead millions in the all-out struggle for power.

BAsics 3:30

Click to enlarge

There’s a lot more that could be said—and will be said, as the summer and fall go on—about how the intense and politically explosive polarization in society around mass incarceration and police murder—and around the oppression of Black people more generally—could relate, in connection with other developments, to the development of an opening for revolution. But for now, to get a sense of the process we’re talking about—what we’re doing—read BAsics 3:30, which we are including here (at right). If you can, talk about it with someone who supports the Party, or write us about it.

But in everything we are doing, we are proceeding from—and bringing out—the roots of the problem and the character of the solution. To do that, in everything we do we’ll be promoting BA—Bob Avakian—his leadership and his work, most of all the scientific method he’s further developed—because BA has actually done the work to deeply analyze the roots of the problem and to show the way out of this—the revolution we need and how to make that revolution. This sets the context and framework for everything we do. Why? Because without this, then the struggles of today – no matter how hard they shake the system – will never break out of the framework of this system and we will be fighting the same battles years from now – and humanity just cannot have that. So we’ll be getting out and showing his videos, getting out BAsics, the handbook for revolutionaries, wherever and whenever we can. Our supporters (and many, many others) will be wearing T-shirts saying “BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!” all the time, and will also come together some days specifically to promote THIS.

Even as our Party will be throwing in deeply on October 24, we’ll also be working on BA Everywhere in its own right—the specific campaign to raise big money to get that word out and to win people to defend this precious revolutionary leader. And we’ll be selling our newspaper REVOLUTION and letting everyone know about our website, REVCOM.US. We’ll be working to open the new Revolution Books in Harlem. Some of our comrades will be focusing on building the fight against the enslavement and degradation of women. In every case, taken together, the point of everything we do is to advance as fast as possible to revolution and emancipation... prepare the ground, prepare the people and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

And as we do this, in this summer and fall that builds to a massive show of defiance against police terror against Black and other oppressed peoples on October 22-24, we’ll be grounded in and spreading the orientation and outlook of this recent quote from BA:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Bob Avakian, Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/obama-releases-46-prisoners-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Obama Releases 46 Prisoners

Obama the Emancipator? Please.

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Rise Up October 24th logo

U.S. prisons and jails right now hold 2.3 million people. This is the highest number of imprisoned people anywhere in the world.

On July 13 Barack Obama announced he was commuting the sentences of 46 drug offenders.

The next day, Obama went to the NAACP and proclaimed “the mass incarceration of the past two decades had gone too far and left many communities devastated.” But don’t worry—“the good news ... is that good people of all political persuasions are starting to think we need to do something about this.”

And on July 16, Obama visited a cleaned up (and nearly vacant) prison cell block in Oklahoma and met with a few selected prisoners.

The New York Times described Obama as “intensifying a campaign to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.”

A photo op at a prison?

Forty-six people released?

Please!

Meanwhile, more than two million people are still locked down in cages. Tens of thousands of people endure the torture of prolonged solitary confinement. Millions more live life on the run, hounded by pigs, in constant danger, and unable to get work or exercise the barest minimum of rights.

Meanwhile, we hear about a chokehold death by pigs in Mississippi, not even a year after the cold assassination of Eric Garner in New York. We watch the videos of 26 pigs viciously beating and stomping a Black man in Philly and three pigs shooting and killing a Latino man near LA—for nothing! For goddamn nothing!!

Oh, but wait! Obama just commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent prisoners! Just think—if he were to do that every single day for the rest of his term (which he obviously won’t), why that would mean that 25,000 people would be released. Which would be 1% of those now imprisoned. Which is another way of saying that 99% of the people in prison today would not be released.

Don’t be fooling yourselves. Don’t be telling yourself the plague is over. Don’t let yourself think that now the powers are going to suddenly grow a heart and change an agenda and a structure which is necessary to their functioning. This battle against mass incarceration will take a HUGE fight—and that fight has only just begun.

A Nation of Prisons

U.S. prisons and jails right now hold 2.3 million people. This is the highest number of imprisoned people anywhere in the world. It is also the highest rate of incarceration in history. The organization Solitary Watch reports that over 80,000 of these human beings are in the torture of solitary confinement every day. That figure of 80,000 does “not include prisoners in solitary confinement in juvenile facilities, immigrant detention centers, or local jails; if they did, the numbers would certainly be higher.”

Also, the “American Jail Association” (AJA) recently reported that over 80,000 young people are in juvenile detention “on any given day.” Plus, some 400,000 people a year go through the U.S.’s immigration detention system, before they are deported. The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that in one year between 12 and 13 million people are “processed through the approximately 3,100 jail facilities” in the U.S. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs locks up Native Americans on reservations. And the AJA concluded in its report, “Hundreds of thousands more individuals are also housed in halfway houses and police lockups; no one knows the exact number”.

This is a nation of prisons.

Obama also didn’t say a word about the brutality inflicted by cops on the streets and in prison. He didn’t speak about some of the more violent and murderous acts that came to light the very week he spoke. He didn’t mention the name of Jonathan Sanders, a 39-year-old Black man who was kept in a chokehold by a pig in Stonewall, Mississippi, until he died. He didn’t mention the video of the Black man in Philadelphia who was beaten and stomped by 26 cops. He said nothing of the video finally released after two years of suppression by the police of pigs in Gardena, California, savagely shooting down unarmed Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino; or the death in a Texas county jail of Sandra Bland after she was pulled over in a traffic stop.

But... he did reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners. (Note—these prisoners were not “pardoned”; their sentences were commuted. They remain convicted felons with federal drug convictions on their records.)

More than 30,000 federal prisoners have applied for clemency during the Obama years. The New York Times reported that in the next few weeks the total released by Obama’s actions will be about 80. Of the remaining applications, “a cumbersome review process has advanced only a small fraction of them. And just a small fraction of those have reached the president’s desk for a signature.”

This is the “progress” Obama says he’s making.

Maneuvering and Covering Their Asses While Incarcerating Millions

Obama and other ruling class figures are very concerned about the exposures of the brutal, racist, mass incarceration system they preside over. For one thing, the scandalous rate of mass incarceration gets in the way of the U.S. ruling class branding itself as the global champion of human rights. In his speech to the NAACP, Obama made a big deal about how the U.S. locks up people at four times the rate of China. As in—“this is making us look bad.” But not as in: this is WRONG and has to STOP NOW.

And within the U.S., mass incarceration, and the vicious white supremacy it enforces, has become the focus of important struggle with potential to call into question the legitimacy of the whole setup.

So now we have rhetoric and talk of prison reform—what Obama celebrates is a “bi-partisan” (meaning, among both Democrats and Republicans) consensus. Well, for one thing, when Obama brags that fascists like the Koch brothers and a bunch of other racist Republicans are with him on prison reform, that tells you something about what the “consensus” is about, and what it is NOT about. It is NOT about making any fundamental changes in a legal system built on and reinforcing a foundation of exploitation, enormous inequalities, and systematic oppression of Black and Latino people—enforced by violence, including vastly disproportionally locking up Black and Brown people and other minorities.

The Heartless Logic of Mass Incarceration and a Way Out

Here’s something the whole ruling class can see: Millions and millions of poor Black people in the inner cities who cannot be effectively exploited in the way Black people were when their literal slave labor provided a decisive basis for the great wealth and power commanded by the rulers of the United States. And that today, the lowest paying, most dangerous jobs in factories and mills where Black people were exploited in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit have been moved around the world to places where workers can be even more viciously exploited. The rulers see the simmering anger and emerging defiance among Black people and others. And they see a threat to be stamped out.

A big part of the system’s answer is mass incarceration.

This is the heartless “logic” of calculating the value of people’s lives not by how they could contribute to building a better world, but by how they fit into, or get in the way of, the machinery of exploitation and dog-eat-dog competition for profit, and the structures and ideas that serve that.

But this is NOT the only way the world can be. The millions wasting away, degraded, and brutalized in prisons, can and should be overwhelmingly drawn into contributing to building a better world, as they transform themselves. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) spells out exactly how that would happen in a revolutionary society.

Right now, both to address a horrific outrage and as part of getting to that better world, the battle against mass incarceration requires a HUGE fight—and that fight has only just begun.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/dogs-are-still-in-the-streets-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

The Dogs Are Still in the Streets!

Over 600 people already killed by police in the U.S. this year

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

Hector Morejon
Hector Morejon

Brendon Glenn
Brendon Glenn

Feras Morad
Feras Morad

Kevin Allen
Kevin Allen

Ryan Keith Bolinger
Ryan Keith Bolinger

Alfontish "Nunu" Cockerham
Alfontish "Nunu" Cockerham

Spencer Lee McCain
Spencer LeeMcCain

Jonathan Sanders
Jonathan Sanders

Anthony Ware
Anthony Ware

Sandra Bland
Sandra Bland

In 1978, Gil Scott-Heron released a song that cut to the bone about the nature of this country. It was titled “Jose Campos Torres”—after a Chicano man who was murdered by six Houston cops on May 5, 1977. Police beat him brutally. They handcuffed him and threw him into Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston. One of the murdering cops said, "Let's see if the wetback can swim." Joe Torres drowned in the bayou. The murder and the slap-on-the-wrist penalties for the murdering police sparked the Moody Park Rebellion, a powerful uprising of Chicano people in Houston in 1978.

The song lyrics include:

I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more words down about people kicking us when we’re down
About racist dogs that attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down
But the dogs are in the street
The dogs are alive and the terror in our hearts has scarcely diminished

Thirty-eight years after Jose Campos Torres... Sixty years after white racists lynched Emmett Till... The dogs are still in the streets.

The editorial in this week’s online issue of Revolution sharply lays out one of the big, urgent reasons behind the call for massive protests this October 22-24 against police murder:

Because police STILL kill Black and Brown children for playing with toy guns and choke Black men to death in Staten Island and Mississippi and then curse them at their last dying breath, because cops disappear a young Black woman into a Texas county jail and “somehow” she doesn’t come out alive, because 26 of these mad dogs stomp a young man for riding his bike the wrong way in Philly, because they shoot down and murder Latinos who have their hands in the air in LA or maybe throw a rock in Washington state while backing up... and it’s all on video and NOTHING IS DONE, still NOTHING IS DONE...(From "October 24 Outpouring Against Police Murder: Which Side Are You On? An Audacious Plan...And the Ways to Make It Happen")

This is reality in America today: For millions and millions of people, being Black, Latino, or poor means you can get stopped, brutalized, and even killed at the hands of the police, for anything or for nothing at all.

Just a few of the police murders in the last three months:

Baltimore, April 12—Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man, was walking near the Gilmore Homes projects when cops started chasing him because he made “eye contact.” The cops caught Gray—one witness said they had him “folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami.” Another said he was “screaming for his life” while being dragged to the police wagon. The cops took him for what is notoriously known as a “rough ride” where the police drive around making sharp turns and quick stops, brutalizing people they’ve shackled. By the time the cops arrived at the police station, Gray was unconscious, with extreme spinal injury and a crushed voice box. He went into and remained in a coma until his death a week later.

Long Beach, California, April 23—Hector Morejon, 19, was killed when cops shot through the window of an apartment they supposedly thought was being “vandalized.” His mother came out and saw Morejon in an ambulance crying out, “Mommy, mommy, please come, please come.” The cops claim Morejon had a gun—but he was unarmed.

Los Angeles, May 5—Brendon Glenn, a homeless 29-year-old Black man, got into some sort of altercation with cops in the Venice Beach area when he was shot and killed. He carried no weapons. This came just two months after the LAPD murder of another unarmed homeless Black man, who was known as Africa.

Long Beach, May 27—Feras Morad, a 20-year-old college student, had a bad reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms and jumped out of a window of an apartment. He was wounded, shirtless, unarmed—clearly under medical duress and needing help. What did the cops who arrived do? Instead of giving Morad the help he obviously needed, they first Tased him—and then shot him point blank in the chest. A witness said Morad had his hands up when the cops shot him.

Lyndhurst, New Jersey, May 29—Kevin Allen, a 36-year-old Black man, was entering a library when several cops followed him and then proceeded to open fire, shooting him to death on the third floor where the children’s room is located and there were kids present. The police claimed Allen was holding a “utility style knife,” but Allen posed no danger to anyone involved.

Des Moines, Iowa, June 9—Ryan Keith Bolinger, a 28-year-old white man and maintenance worker, was reportedly seen “dancing in the street or making unusual movements in the street.” He then led police on a low-speed car chase. When the police blocked him, Bolinger got out and was approaching one of the police cars when the cop shot through the window, killing Bolinger. The cop claimed she fired the gun because Bolinger “walked with purpose.” Bolinger was unarmed.

Chicago, June 20—Witnesses say Alfontish “Nunu” Cockerham, a 23-year-old Black man, had his hands up when the cop said, “Die, motherfucker” and opened fire in an alley on the South Side. This was only a few blocks away from where the cops had murdered another youth, Jeffrey Kemp, known as JJ, in April. Cockerham died in the hospital two days later.

Owning Mills, Maryland, June 25—The Baltimore County police, answering a call about a beating of a woman by the father of her child, busted down the doors to the apartment and fired 19 shots, killing Spencer Lee McCain, a 41-year-old Black man. The police claim they thought McCain was armed because he was in a “defensive position.” No weapon was found at the scene.

Stonewall, Mississippi, July 8—Jonathan Sanders, a 39-year-old Black man and father of two children, was in a horse-drawn buggy. According to Sanders’ attorney, witnesses said that when Sanders passed by a cop who had stopped a motorist, Sanders said, “Why don’t you leave that man alone?” The cop said, “I’m going to get that nigger”—and then yanked Sanders to the ground, choking him. The cop had Sanders in a chokehold for 20 minutes as Sanders repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” The cop choked him to death.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, July 10—The police say they responded to a 911 call and found Anthony Ware, a 35-year-old Black man, sitting on a porch of a residence with a gun. The police chased Ware to a nearby woods, caught him, and hit him with OC (pepper) spray. Shortly after, while handcuffed, Ware collapsed—and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. No weapons were found at the scene.

Waller County, Texas, July 13—Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, was just starting a new position at the Prairie View A&M College. She was outspoken against the murder and brutality committed by police against Black people. Then a traffic stop for not signaling a lane change led first to her being brutalized—and then to death under police custody. A video taken by a bystander at the traffic stop shows Sandra Bland pinned to the ground by a cop who has his knee in her back, her hands cuffed behind her. The authorities say she was arrested for being “argumentative and uncooperative”—as if that, even if it were true, somehow justifies two cops brutalizing her and putting her in jail on totally bullshit charges. Three days later, they said they found her body in her cell at the county jail and that she died from “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” In other words, they claim Bland hanged herself using a plastic garbage bag. Her family and friends are not buying the cops’ story and are demanding answers. The sheriff in charge of the county jail has for many years been notorious for his racism and brutality. Whatever the exact circumstances of Sandra Bland’s death, the blood is on the hands of the cops.

***

The powers-that-be are working continually to “change the subject”—from the murders and brutality committed by police across the U.S. to “Black-on-Black violence” and the depiction of cops as “heroes.” But they can’t erase away the reality: wanton murder by police continues, on a constant and daily basis. As of mid-July, more than 600 people have already been killed by police this year. (See the Guardian newspaper’s online project, “The Counted: People killed by police in the U.S.” The list is updated daily.) And countless more are beaten, Tased, and brutalized by the police every day.

According to the Guardian, of the 464 people killed by police through the first five months of this year, 102 were unarmed. The statistics show that 32 percent of Black people killed by the police in that period were unarmed, as were 25 percent of Latino people killed—compared with 15 percent of white people. And out of the total number of people killed by police, 29 percent were African-American. As the Guardian notes, “The figures illustrate how disproportionately black Americans, who make up just 13% of the country’s total population according to census data, are killed by police.”

And the murdering cops continue to walk free with impunity. Witness, for example, the outrageous decision in May that found the Cleveland cop Michael Brelo “not guilty” in the 2012 killing of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Brelo was one of 13 cops who fired 137 shots at Russell and Williams, who were unarmed—and the only one that got any serious charges.

How much longer will these horrors continue to go on and on and on? Every person who finds the killing and brutality by the armed enforcers intolerable must take a stand against these crimes—and side with the fight to put a STOP to police murder and terror.

And there is no damn reason for these mad-dog killers to be in the streets except that they are the armed enforcers of a system of slavery and oppression in many forms. Revolution that fully uproots that system will change this shit on day one. Then, and only then, will we no longer have to write more poems about these dogs.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/395/when-you-put-on-this-t-shirt-you-step-into-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

When you put on this T-shirt, you step into the revolution.

 

July 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club

Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, has said this:

No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that. (BAsics, 1:13)

Los AngelesLos Angeles, California

For that to happen, you need REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian—BA—has developed a way that we can make that revolution, for real. A way out of this horror and oppression. A way forward to emancipation. A way to actually go up against the monsters who run things now in an all-out struggle for power and to have a real chance of winningwhen the opening emerges and the time is right. A way to fight today—for real—against the powers-that-be so that we build up our strength and change conditions to bring about that opening—as soon as possible.  

This revolution is not for or about just one group. This is a revolution to overcome ALL exploitation and oppression. A communist revolution. A revolution to bring in a world where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world. And BA is leading right now, every day, to make that real—again, as soon as possible.

“BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!” When you wear that shirt, you let people know about that revolution and that leader. But it’s more than that. You’re wearing this shirt along with other people, all over the country. You’re part of a whole movement letting people know that there’s a way to fight back, right now, as part of getting ready for revolution. You’re part of a movement for revolution letting people know that there’s a way to change ourselves as we do fight back, learning more about the revolution and setting a different kind of example with our lives. When you put on this shirt, you take the first step. You let people know that you, with other people all over the country, want to represent for the EMANCIPATION OF HUMANITY from this madness they’ve got us chained in.

Be part of the revolution. Take up the T-shirt.

* * * *

Check out BA. Start watching the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Or watch his dialogue on Revolution and Religion with Cornel West... or to listen to his Call to Revolution, where he puts the message out there in a sharp and powerful way.  

And run with the Revolution Club.

Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/u-s-iran-nuclear-deal-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

July 18, 2015

U.S.‒Iran Nuclear Deal:
Major Move by Reactionary Powers... Nothing Good for Humanity

 

by Larry Everest | July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Map

Obama claims the nuclear deal with Iran is about peace. It’s not. On both sides the deal is being driven by the needs and perceived opportunities for a global oppressive superpower (the US) and a regional oppressive power (Iran). The U.S. sees enlisting Iran as a stabilizing force in a region where the U.S. empire is facing pressing threats (such as ISIS) at a time when they confront increasing challenges from rivals around the world like Russia and China. For the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, this is about gaining recognition by the U.S., stabilizing their regime in the face of domestic discontent, expanding their role as a regional oppressor. There is nothing in this deal on either side, or in the arguments of belligerent opponents of the deal in the U.S. or Iran, that is in the interests of the vast majority of humanity.

On Tuesday, July 14, the U.S. and other world powers finalized a comprehensive nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).

This is a major event. The agreement was hammered out over many months of often sharply contentious negotiations. The deal’s focus is Iran’s nuclear program, but it also represents a big strategic move—and gamble—by the U.S. and Iran to address the mounting challenges they each face on many fronts in a rapidly changing region and world. (The other world powers that have been part of the negotiations—China, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain—each has its own varying reasons for supporting the agreement.) It is far from certain how this deal will play out, including how other powers and political forces will react to it, but it’s likely to have far-reaching, and possibly unpredictable, ramifications in the Middle East region and globally.

The gist of the agreement is this:

Cutting Through Obama’s Deceitful Bullshit

When he announced the deal, President Obama claimed that it would prevent Iran from “obtaining a nuclear weapon,” has “stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” and greatly lessened the “chance of more war in the Middle East.” He said this was possible “because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle,” and that this showed that “American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change—change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure.”

First, let’s cut to the chase and through Obama’s deceitful bullshit with some basic truth, then dig deeper:

 

What Are Both Sides Trying to Do Here?

This nuclear deal is significant for the U.S. in its own right. No one argues Iran has any nuclear weapons. The U.S. and its allies claim that Iran has been pursuing nuclear weapons, but this has never been shown conclusively. What is certain is that Iran’s defiance of U.S. demands that it halt its enrichment program, and the possibility Iran could develop the ability to actually build a nuclear weapon, are deeply threatening to the U.S.-dominated regional order, including militarily. So this agreement greatly constrains Iran’s ability to further develop its nuclear program, let alone build a bomb (if it ever sought to do so) through drastic cutbacks to Iran’s programs for at least 10 years and a 25-plus-year inspection regime among the most intrusive ever devised.


But more importantly, the Obama team sees this nuclear deal as the beginning of an effort to bring Iran into “the community of nations,” as Obama put it, in other words, more integrated into the U.S.-dominated global and regional orders. If this works out, and that’s a big if, Iran could go from one of U.S. imperialism’s biggest long-term problems to a globally important country more helping than harming the U.S. agenda.

After decades of demonization and diplomatic and political isolation, Iran is effectively being recognized as a legitimate state to deal with, its basic right to enrich uranium recognized, and with the lifting of sanctions it stands to gain access to some $100 billion-plus of its own frozen assets and greater access to global economic and financial markets. Because of this, the Iranians are declaring the deal a victory and validation of their position.

But the agreement also gives the U.S. and its allies important leverage in its attempt to pull Iran into its orbit. One, it sets up an apparatus for gaining intelligence on Iran’s infrastructure and military capabilities which itself is a potential club over Iran’s head (because it could give the U.S. important military advantages in the event of war). The intrusive, and humiliating, inspections may undermine the regime’s legitimizing credentials as a bastion of resistance to U.S. imperialism.

Foreign Policy reports, “Obama’s vision was that an agreement would curtail Tehran’s power by not only taking away its nuclear option, but also by undermining its credentials as the leader of the anti-Western camp. By diffusing the enmity with Tehran, the United States could also alter its military posture in the Persian Gulf, which has been partially driven by the threat from Tehran since 1979.” (July 15, 2015)

Obama’s overarching objectives are: to pull Iran into the U.S. orbit, and prevent rivals China or Russia from making further inroads (China has been one of the leading investors in Iran’s energy sector); to enlist Iran as a stabilizing regional force, at a moment when fragmentation is one of the U.S.’s greatest regional concerns; to rely on regional powers, rather than deployments of U.S. ground troops, to defeat its most pressing threats (such as ISIS); and most importantly, to be able to give the U.S. greater flexibility to meet even greater challenges globally. (For instance, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Obama’s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified in Congress recently that Russia’s “aggressive behavior and its nuclear arsenal make it the greatest national security threat faced by the United States.” New York Times, July 9, 2015)

“This achievement is not final. It is fragile, as forces against it are formidable.”

All this is much easier said than done and how this agreement works out is far from certain. The imperialist policy group, International Crisis Group, writes that the “achievement” of the nuclear deal “is not final. It is fragile, as forces against it are formidable.” (July 14, 2015)

For one, opponents of the agreement—in the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia—argue that the legitimacy and resources the Islamic Republic stands to gain from the accord could make it an even greater challenge to the traditional regional order. In doing so, these opponents acknowledge the unspoken reality that just restricting Iran’s nuclear program has never been the central issue—U.S. regional hegemony and the stability of key allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia, for which Iran does pose a serious challenge, have been. They warn that any attempts to reform the regional order, or embolden Iran, at a moment of immense upheaval could prove catastrophic.

Obama counters that simply trying to maintain the regional status quo of unlimited U.S. backing for the traditional pillars of U.S. dominance—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—and unending hostility toward Iran (with the possibility of war looming), is no longer tenable, given the failure of massive U.S. interventions to stabilize Iraq or Afghanistan, ongoing regional upheavals, the growing strength of ISIS and other Sunni jihadists, and most importantly the U.S. need to deal with global rivals, in particular Russia and China. Meanwhile, Iran has proven a relatively stable, coherent regime (and Obama has spoken openly of his concerns about the long-term stability of countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt) with which the U.S. shares common interests in the region including crushing ISIS and Sunni jihadism, stabilizing Iraq, and resolving the civil war in Syria.

At the same time, the whole situation that led up to this deal is very unstable and there are and will be intense pulls and stresses that could undo the agreement. The IRI has its own necessities and ambitions, and the lifting of sanctions may well give it more room to stabilize its rule, maneuver internationally, and exert influence in the region. (Russia is already talking of being able to resume deals with Iran for nuclear technology and military equipment.)

There are dangers in the deal for the IRI as well. The Islamic Republic is a reactionary theocracy that came to power claiming that it was anti-U.S. and anti-imperialist, and that Islam offered a “third way” that was neither capitalist nor communist. These claims were demagogic rhetoric. Iran’s Islamist revolution has proved incapable of breaking with the world capitalist system—including Iran’s dependence on oil production and sales. Their Islamic revolution’s program and vision never went beyond taking over an imperialist-dominated, semi-feudal Iran and renegotiating terms with the U.S. and other powers, and imposing a religious form of rule and social norms. This dictated, among other things, a restructuring of political/cultural relations with the West, as well as regional policies which clashed with U.S. objectives. Now that the IRI’s willingness to deal and collaborate with the U.S. imperialists they had once labeled the “Great Satan” is in the open and on a whole new level, there are real divisions within Iran’s ruling establishment over the nuclear deal’s implications for Iran’s standing and for Islamic rule. Some fear it will undermine the cohering norms and legitimacy of the regime. Others, including Iran’s President Rouhani, feel the only way the Islamic Republic can survive is to break its diplomatic and economic isolation, including in relation to the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is attempting to both keep its allies in line and keep pressure on Iran by stepping up military support for Israel and Saudi Arabia and threatening to punish Iran for sponsoring “terrorism” in the region (i.e., supporting forces like Hezbollah in Lebanon that the U.S. and Israel are in conflict with). Meanwhile, there are reports that the Israelis and their U.S. supporters will wage an all-out campaign against the deal in the U.S., and reports that the Saudis are reacting by stepping up their regional campaign, often waged through proxies (which include some Sunni jihadist forces which could ultimately turn on the Saudis), against Iran. This is another example of how all the “answers” the oppressive powers are adopting to the difficulties they face in turn create new misery and horrors for the people, and unleash new contradictions for themselves as well.

In the U.S., Republicans have condemned the deal with all kinds of extreme belligerent rhetoric, and promise congressional hearings and possibly attempts to vote down the accord. The virulence of these objections by ruling class forces reflects disagreements over foreign policy, but also interpenetrates with longstanding and fundamental conflicts among the rulers over a whole range of issues. (For an incisive analysis of the conflicts within the U.S. ruling class in this period and how to act on that stage to work for a real liberating revolution, see Bob Avakian, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era.)

The ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, between the U.S. and the other global powers involved in the negotiations, the continuing turmoil in the region, and the actions by opponents of the nuclear deal, make it highly risky for both sides—and this is reflected in the real strains within each ruling class. These strains in turn increase the potential for destabilization and overall point to the reality that this deal is not going to signal long-term stabilization of the Middle East or the world.

All this underscores the fact that those who preside over this world of horrors—in the U.S., Iran, and other capitals, are not all powerful. They face intractable contradictions and have no fundamental solutions to the horrors they’ve created. Communist revolution is the only way out of this madness, and it is urgent to make revolution at the soonest possible moment and to fight for revolution everywhere by spreading Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, encapsulated in Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage—A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (available in seven languages), and at revcom.us worldwide to bring forward another liberating pole for humanity. There are vanguard communist parties in both the U.S. and Iran working for real revolution: the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist).

Making revolution is a serious and difficult challenge, but it is possible and the only REAL way to break out of the “alternatives” presented by the rulers of the U.S. or the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/flagship-revolution-books-new-york-will-reopen-in-september-in-harlem-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

The Flagship Revolution Books New York Will Reopen in September in Harlem

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At a press conference on Wednesday, July 15, Revolution Books NYC announced its new location—437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave., just below 132nd Street, Harlem.

The bookstore's spokesperson, Andy Zee, was joined by Herb Boyd, Harlem journalist and author (Baldwin's Harlem and The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964, ed.); artist/musician Sophia Loren Coffee; members of the NYC Revolution Club; and supporters and friends new and old of Revolution Books, including people who stopped in from the neighborhood.

The new store is in the heart of Harlem, near the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Maysles Documentary Center, Harlem's famous restaurants Sylvia's and Red Rooster, and accessible to Columbia University and City College of New York, as well as thousands of residents of New York City housing projects.

The following are excerpts from statements given at the press conference:

Andy Zee:

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books

Herb Boyd, Harlem journalist and author (Baldwin's Harlem, The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964, ed.)

Sophia Loren Coffee, Artist/musician

Noche Diaz, left, NYC Revolution Club member

This is a bookstore for the whole world. It is a place that is essential to the liberation of people of the whole world, indeed it is essential to saving the planet itself from the devastation of the environment by the rapacious ravages of imperialism that is destroying the air, the water, and the land. For this to be real, RB needs the support of thousands of people—again, donating now the tens of thousands of dollars as well as volunteering to spread the word and help with the renovation—and more, to sustain this store so that once open, it stays open.

It's raw space right now, but take yourself to September when it is filled with people, where the shelves stretch all the way to the back of the store... where people are talking about the biggest questions facing humanity. They're digging into the poetry, the novels, the history, the science and yes, children's books, children's books that promote values of cooperation, and a sense of value and morality that they should live lives [that are] about more than just themselves... And the engagement with all of these authors, and all of the films we show, will be marked by a critical thinking and a spirit that exists in no other place. Why? Because at the heart of this bookstore is a new synthesis of communism that's been developed by Bob Avakian. It's a pathbreaking method and approach for understanding the world. It's a vision and an actual concrete plan for a new society and a new world.

This is a method and approach that probes the experience of humanity based on how it actually developed—digging deep beneath the surface to the underlying dynamics and stepping back to see the larger patterns. Bob Avakian has looked deeply at the first attempts of those on the bottom of society to form new societies to overcome all forms of oppression—the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions of the 20th century—digging into their great accomplishments as well as their errors and shortcomings to understand why they were defeated by imperialism decades ago and how we can do better in the future. Avakian draws from a broad range of human experience. The new synthesis of communism is a framework for a new society that is moving to end all the inequalities, all the divisions—the oppression of different nationalities; the oppression of women and people of different genders; the division between those who have the privilege of working with their minds and those who work in manual labor.

Indeed, the sense of revolutionary possibility fuels the rigor, the fun and the engagement. Authors, filmmakers, actors, and poets remark that the critical engagement and dialogue at Revolution Books is like no other. There is a passion for getting at what's true, a morality of serving the people, dialogue carried forth with a mutual respect that comes from the profound place of putting the interests of the oppressed of the world first in heart and mind.

Herb Boyd:

[Revolution Books] is an amazing addition to the community here. My arms are open to you, I will be celebrating you, I will be directing people here... There will come a time when this will be added to the Schomburg, Abyssinian [Church], the Studio Museum, as just an incredible part of the whole Harlem infrastructure. To join that kind of company, you can't beat that. But then we have an added value right here―revolution!

Sophia Loren Coffee:

I'm excited because of the spirit in which you do business and communicate. I know that the community really needs you and I know that they have a gem now... I'm just excited about the love you're going to bring to the community. One of the things I want is to have a children's corner where the children can come in and read and have a beautiful time...

Noche Diaz, Revolution Club:

I grew up in the Bronx sandwiched between where the police gunned down Amadou Diallo and where the police gunned down Malcolm Ferguson. I grew up at a time when this kind of brutality was swept under the rug... and the kind of outrage you see today was not bursting out all over society. But the reason I'm standing here before you now is not just because I was some angry kid, but because by accident I ran into people who connected me up to Revolution Books. I was born in this nightmare and I could have died just living out this nightmare. I am now living for revolution and I'm not by myself. Imagine: the youth walking these streets with nothing to do are given a way to learn about the world that they live in—WHY this world is the way it is and how it could be made different. That's what it means to have Revolution Books here. As someone who grew up not really exposed to art or culture, I wanted to know how to fight, and I kind of had no patience for some intellectuals and artists who wanted to talk about wide-ranging things. But here I met a leader [Bob Avakian] and a bookstore and a movement that challenged me to go beyond just wanting to get back at my oppressors and my oppression... to actually become an emancipator of humanity...

Rev. Dr. Robert Brashear

A statement was sent from Rev. Dr. Robert L. Brashear, Pastor, West-Park Presbyterian Church:

We are now in the midst of a national storm that will not soon subside. There is a rising cry of outrage across the country ignited by the ongoing reality of police violence. Even more, there is a growing awareness of how mass incarceration, unconscionable income inequality and rapacious gentrification are destroying our communities and how all these are symptoms of an oppressive system that must be dismantled and replaced. At such a time as this, the people need a place where they can educate themselves about what is going on and why and how change can be made real.... Harlem is a place where all these struggles are being lived out on a daily basis and this location will help keep our energy and actions focused on what is before us. And for me, it also is fertile ground for the essential dialogue on revolution and religion, begun last November by Cornel West and Bob Avakian, to be taken to the next level. Now is the time for each of us to do what we can to welcome Revolution Books to Harlem and [make] its revolutionary vision a reality.

Announcing the Revolution Books Indiegogo Campaign
Go Online and Donate Today!

The Revolution Books' emergency campaign to raise $150,000 has begun, and over 100 people have donated so far, from $5 to $5,000. There's still a long way to go to make the goal which is essential to renovate the new store, install book cases, new lighting, air conditioning, and stock the shelves with the BOOKS.

Revolution Books has just launched a $30,000 Indiegogo campaign as one key part of its fundraising. Check it out and donate!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/the-amazing-pluto-mission-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

The Amazing Pluto Mission

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Pluto
Latest photographs of Pluto taken from the New Horizons spacecraft July 13, 2015. Photos: NASA

Pluto from the New Horizons mission

From a reader:

This past week, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent the first close-up images of Pluto, a dwarf-planet at the edge of our solar system. Pluto was only discovered 85 years ago and has remained largely unseen and unknown because of its vast distance from Earth.

As the New Horizons flew within 8,000 miles of Pluto and then sent back photos and data, mission scientists broke out excitedly in cheers. This phase was a culmination of long years of work and expectations and now had been successfully pulled off! This mission does capture something really important about the need for humanity to be amazed and the excitement of scientific discovery into new things, in this case areas of the universe previously poorly understood. And it raises the importance of opening all this up for humanity, including especially sections of humanity who are systematically denied access to science, discovery, and the scientific method.

The information from the mission will help write new chapters about Pluto, its five moons, and the region it is part of. Exploring Pluto and this far-flung region of icy worlds known as the Kuiper belt has been a dream of scientists for some years. They hope to learn more about the nature of these worlds and also gain insight into the history of the evolution of our solar system. The press kit on the mission says, “Reaching this ‘third’ zone of our solar system—beyond the inner, rocky planets and outer gas giants—has been a space science priority for years, because it holds building blocks of our solar system that have been stored in a deep freeze for billions of years.”

New Horizons is the fastest space probe ever launched from our planet, traveling at 31,000 miles per hour. Yet Pluto is three billion miles from Earth, so it took the craft nine years to reach the small world. The spacecraft is only the size of a grand piano, and yet is equipped with scientific equipment that is extremely cutting edge and incredibly efficient. A scientist connected to the mission said the craft has seven different scientific instrument stations that are so efficient they use as much energy as a night light. The craft’s cameras and other instruments have gathered information on the chemical make-up, geology, temperature, atmosphere, and other features of Pluto and its orbiting moons.


The images and other data gathered by the craft reveal exciting features of Pluto. Incredible photos show a geography previously unknown—mountains made of ice that are apparently as high as the Rockies, and a basically smooth plain unmarred by crater impacts and divided into irregular segments by troughs. Scientists said that based on this initial look, the lack of craters indicates this particular region in the “center of Pluto’s vast heart-shaped feature” is relatively young (in geological terms) and could be the site of ongoing erosion or tectonic activity over the past 100 million years.

New Horizons was sent to do a speedy flyby of Pluto instead of entering into its orbit. It now continues on beyond Pluto. Over the coming year and more, the craft will be sending back more photos and information that scientists, and through them all of us, can learn from and be amazed by.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/shepard-fairey-arrested-for-bringing-some-beauty-to-detroit-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

From a reader:

Shepard Fairey Arrested for Bringing Some Beauty to Detroit

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Shepard Fairey pasting up Andre the Giant on a water tower in Detroit.
Andre the Giant on a water tower in Detroit. (Photo:obeygiant)

Shepard Fairey, world-renowned artist, was arrested in Detroit on July 14 on felony charges. Bail was set at $75,000. He could spend up to five years in jail, with fines that could exceed $10,000.00. There may be more charges added, according to the Detroit News.

The charges were announced to the press on June 24 while Fairey was working in Europe. Fairey was arrested first at Los Angeles International Airport on July 6. He was booked on felony fugitive charges and held overnight. This is his 18th and most serious arrest.

Shepard Fairey was in Detroit in May of this year, commissioned to install an 18-story mural. The police claim he also put up nine to 11 other pieces illegally throughout the city.

Shepard Fairey has always been open about being a street artist, in the finest tradition of the art form that has spread throughout the world since its first major explosion onto the scene in New York in the early 1980s. No apologies here for one of the most important scenes in modern-day art history.

In Detroit, street art has taken on a special meaning in recent years—a virtual blossoming in a city where people have been left in desperate conditions of urban decay and blight.

When the auto industry left the city chasing cheaper labor as part of capitalism’s insatiable competitive drive for profits—combined with the overall economic crises that took an extreme toll in many already distressed cities—Detroit became an urban desert.

Detroit is the poorest large city in America—more than half of the children are impoverished. The city is filled with abandoned buildings—78,000 abandoned and blighted structures. For every 100 residents, there are only 27 jobs. When the city declared bankruptcy in 2013, they cut the pensions of 23,000 retired workers.

Detroit is a living example of American apartheid. 85 percent of the people are African-American. White people live in the suburbs.

This is the city where seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed by police, captured by a reality TV camera crew who followed a police chase into a wrong apartment. The people of Detroit live every day under the threat of police terror.

This is the city that last year cut off water when people got behind on their bills. In one four- block stretch, 70 percent of the occupied houses went without water. 150,000 families were threatened before human rights organizations called out this practice as against international law.

Detroit has in recent years become a mecca for street art. Many of the world’s most famous streets artists have come to do their own version of urban renewal. Some have even moved to Detroit. An article in Huffington Post by artist Annabel Osberg describes a city covered with paintings. It was a tradition prior to the collapse—whose painted signs on bodega walls were part of its signature. In recent years, the abandoned buildings became blank canvases—including efforts like “The Detroit Beautification Project,” where teams of street artists and local galleries and spray paint companies succeeded in securing approval from building owners to paint murals in Hamtramck, a small city enclosed by Detroit. Osberg describes “Detroit’s unplanned cacophony of work by different artists from different time periods for different purposes ... bold, colorful painting has taken over Detroit, almost in defiance of the city’s breakdown ... empty walls become forums for communication, public diaries. It feels as though the city is literally writings its own history on itself.”

When Mayor Mike Duggan came to office in 2013, he brought with him the now infamous “broken windows” program. This is the policy that fueled the epidemic of mass incarceration and police brutality nationwide—stop-and-frisk where hundreds of thousands of mainly Black and Brown youth in New York City were put up against the wall by police openly based on their appearance; the targeting and dogging of people for small lifestyle crimes (like Eric Garner’s selling of loosies on a street corner) with the philosophy that letting even the smallest infraction, i.e., “broken windows” go, creates an environment of crime. This policy has come under heavy criticism by those standing up against police terror across the country. Duggan continues to openly advocate for its use in Detroit in response to the desperate conditions that people face in this dying city.

He began to go after the street artists. Last December, a piece went up on the side of a community center, which depicted an angel pointing a gun at the police. Two 19-year-olds were arrested and other arrests of street artists followed. He is going after all of the artists now with an aggressive campaign of arrests.

That art has become one of Mayor Duggan’s targets speaks to the ugly gray world he represents.

Art plays a very big role in the overall struggle for human emancipation.

Shepard Fairey has spoken and written extensively about the nature of street art and its impact on how people look at the world around them. He has been proudly part of the tradition that first came up from the urban ghettos as part of a larger culture of rebellion. He has also used his art to make statements about things that he believes matter. If people are not familiar with his art, I highly recommend the collection found in Mayday: The Art of Shepard Fairey—what has been described as a portrait series of underground cultural heroes and apocalyptic landscapes warning about the social effects of social injustice, unjust war, and environmental destruction. He has been instrumental in the further development of a crucially important art form. He talks about how his use of repeated images invading the city landscape—like Andre the Giant and the now iconic Obey piece—can change how people look and walk in the world and how they find their “posse”—and can help people to find each other and collectively represent.

Shepard Fairey, who is probably most known for the image he created for the Obama campaign, recently made a statement that draws attention and controversy. Quoted in the New York Times, he wrote in an email, “I was interested in Obama in 2008 because his stated position at the time made him seem like a subversive delivery vehicle for progressive principles I believe in... Since then, I’ve realized that the corrupt nature of the system itself, with current campaign finance structure and the stranglehold corporations have on government, limits the kind of candidates that will make it into the system and narrows the spectrum of what’s available in our near non-Democracy.”

There is a great deal to appreciate and support in Shepard Fairey’s work. Not only has he been a courageous and fine artist, he has been an artist who has been principled in his engagement with all kinds of progressive causes and has stood up to support the rights of people with different views than his own to be heard, to have their views freely expressed.

The attack on Shepard Fairey must be stopped. People everywhere should speak out and demand the charges be dropped.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Revolution Books at the Harlem Book Fair:

BLACK LIVES STOLEN: A Conversation

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Harlem Book Fair in New York City took place on Saturday, July 18. As part of this, Revolution Books organized one of the panel discussions for the day-long event.

The panel, which took place at the Schomburg Center, was titled “BLACK LIVES STOLEN: A Conversation” and featured: Carl Dix (moderator and presenter), co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder of African American Policy Forum, professor at Columbia University, author of  numerous books and articles on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality; Herb Boyd, journalist, author of numerous books including Baldwin's Harlem, Brotherman and Black Panthers for Beginners, and professor at City College of New York; and Robyn Spencer, author of forthcoming book on the Black Panther Party titled Repression Breeds Resistance and professor at Lehman College.

The event was standing room only, with about 80 people in the audience. Carl Dix gave opening comments and then introduced each speaker who gave a presentation. The speakers were followed by a lively Q&A, and some comments from Andy Zee from Revolution Books, New York City, closed the program.

The following are excerpts from the presentations:

Carl Dix

Carl Dix (moderator and presenter), co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Revolutionary Communist Party.
Photos: revcom.us/Revolution

We're going to have a very important conversation today about the biggest question facing this society—Black lives stolen, stolen through the operation of the criminal injustice system in this country. This panel is sponsored by Revolution Books, New York City. And it is the kind of conversation that Revolution Books exists to promote and to engage. And just let me tell you something about Revolution Books because people should get to know Revolution Books and they will have the opportunity to do that because Revolution Books is opening up right here in Harlem on September 1, just three blocks down Malcolm X Blvd on the corner of 132nd Street, and it’s the place to go if you want to dig into the outrages being perpetrated on people here and all over the world. But it’s also the place to get into why those outrages are happening and what can and must be done to deal with them. This is all brought forward in the books that will be available at Revolution Books but also in the discussions and talks that are held there and in cultural events that the bookstore promotes. 

It's a place where you can connect with the work of Bob Avakian, BA, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a leader who's spent decades digging into everything that stands between humanity and its ultimate emancipation. Through this work he's developed a new approach to revolution and communism, to sweeping away this system and the horrors it enforces on humanity and to bringing into being a society and a world that people would love to live in. You need to get to know this bookstore—and to make this September 1 opening happen, you need to volunteer to work on it, to help raise the money, to help get the store together.

Now, to set the stage for today's conversation.

Are the killings of Black and Latino people by the police a concentration of an overall program of suppression that has a genocidal thrust? Does the combination of police terror, the criminalization and demonization of the youth, warehousing people in prison and then treating formerly incarcerated people as less than full human beings—does this amount to genocide? Is this the truth? And if it’s true, why does it happen and what can be done to end these horrors?

Yesterday marked one year since the police murder of Eric Garner. I mean we all saw him all choked to death by the NYPD. Soon we will mark August 9, one year since Michael Brown was murdered by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. In both cases the murderers have walked free. The police have killed more than 550 people in the first 6 months of 2015. In more than one out of five of those they kill, they have admitted they [the people killed by cops] were unarmed. And I have to say they have admitted, because as you know in the case of Trayvon Martin the story that got spun was that he was "armed" because there was a cement sidewalk. That’s how the police approach whether Black people are unarmed or not. We have to take that into account and figure out what that means.

But almost no killer cops have been put on trial or punished in any way for these horrors. And let me just tell you this, because yesterday I heard about Sandra Bland—a Black woman, who was pulled over in a small town in Texas for improper lane change, beat down by the police, arrested and then a couple of days later she turned up hanged in the cell and they are calling it suicide. I wanted to get the story on this so I Googled “Black woman killed in police custody.” I got the story on Sandra Bland. I also got the story on Shenecque Proctor in Alabama, Natasha McKenna in Fairfax County in Virginia, Kyam Livingston in Brooklyn, Alecia Thomas in LA, and Taneshia Anderson in Cleveland. And this was just the first page of the search. There were 10 more pages. And this is just for Black women killed in police custody. That’s just a taste of how widespread this problem is, but also about whom it happens to. And we have to talk about that, think about that. But then once you think about it you have to act in relationship to it.

We gotta add to this the massacre in Charleston and the reluctance of the mouthpieces of this system to call it what it was—an expression of the white supremacy that has coursed through the veins of America from its very beginning.

All of this is what we’re dealing with, and the backdrop for this is this capitalist system and the way that it works that has stripped the ghettos and barrios in this country of legitimate ways to survive and raise families; leaving millions and millions of people, whole generations of youth growing up facing futures of hopelessness. And the only solutions that the authorities have put forward to these problems is their cops swaggering through our neighborhoods like occupying armies, courts and prison to warehouse people in.

This is the reality we're facing. Police have been unleashed to spread terror across the country, and they are almost always backed up when their murderous deeds are brought out into the light of day. In the last year, these outrages have been met by outpourings of resistance on a level that we haven't seen in decades. And that’s good, that’s very good. But at the same time, the killings have continued, the exonerations of the killer cops have continued and the authorities continually work to change the discussion away from police killing and brutalizing people to cops being heroes who have a dangerous job and do it well and to the need for oppressed people to forgive those who attack them and to come together with them.

Well, none of that is what's needed. We don’t need to come together with our oppressors. We don’t need to forgive them. We need to end this oppression. We also don't need policies that are aimed at lessening the horrors being perpetrated—because this just amounts to nothing more than smoothing out the rough edges on a genocide. We have to look at history to get a sense of what's needed. People in Germany stood aside while millions of people were hauled off to the concentration camps and put to death—Jews, communists, Gypsies, lesbians and gays. This was inhumanity on display here and I’m not just talking about the inhumanity of the Nazi regime. It was inhumane for the so-called “Good Germans” to stand aside while this genocide was perpetrated.

I bring that up because that was wrong then and it’s just as wrong today to stand aside. Because we are facing a genocide. It hasn’t gotten to the point of death camps yet, but genocide is still in the process—they go through processes and we are going through a genocidal process. And when you're facing a genocide, it is unacceptable to stand aside. It's unacceptable to counsel people to continue to suffer the horrors being perpetrated. And it's unacceptable to stand aside and act like as if it's not your problem. Don't tell me—this is to white people out there—that it ain't your problem because you're pretty sure this won’t happen to you. Because I’ll tell you, it’s already happened to you. Your humanity is being stripped away from you by these injustices being brought down on people because of the color of their skin. And you should not want to be the kind of person who could stand aside hoping that you don’t get hit by these. There is no middle ground here, there is no neutrality. You are either on the side of people who are standing up to stop these horrors or it’s ok with you that they go down and that means you are on the side of it being perpetrated on people as the genocide moves forward, breaking the bodies and crushing the spirits of millions and millions of people.

I’m the co-founder, along with Dr. Cornel West, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. I’m also a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party. And I’m somebody who has been involved in this fight against these injustices for 40 years now and counting. And I want to tell you how I’m coming at this and I want to do that by reading to you a quote from Bob Avakian from something he wrote in the wake of the Charleston massacre:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Because I come from this perspective, I am doing all I can to end all of the horrors that come down and on this front, in particular to mobilizing people to come to New York City on October 24 to deliver a message: “Stop Police Terror—Which Side Are You On?”

We can come back to that later, but I do want to say right now, everybody who sees these horrors needs to enlist in this effort and be working to bring people to New York City. This has to happen because we cannot let this genocide proceed apace, and we cannot limit our resistance to responding to each attack as it comes down one by one. We gotta take our resistance to a higher level. We gotta bring the religious community, students and youth, labor organizations, people of different races and nationalities and from many different backgrounds into New York City, and people here in the city.

****

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder of African American Policy Forum, professor at Columbia Univ, Author of numerous books and articles on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.

What we have done at the Policy Forum is we have tried to pull together not an entirely inclusive list, because there isn’t an entirely inclusive list of all those who have lost their lives to the police. But looking at information that we do have of women who have lost their lives to the police, we wanted to frame the loss of lives in a way that they could both fit within some of the existing frames and create new frames that are particular to the way women are vulnerable to police violence.

So I’m going to share with you just some stories of Say Her Name report and encourage you to go to the website to get more information about some of these cases.

I want to suggest why I think that it’s important that some of these frames get lifted up. Number one, it’s important because the reality is that until you understand the entire way that Black communities are subject to police violence, the tendency to see these as a case-by-case situation in which we look and sift through the facts: did he have his hands up, were the police properly trained, was there some other evidence to suggest that it didn’t go down the way the police said. These are all individualized framings of the problem. When we broaden the frame and include all of the ways that people of color, Black people, Brown people particularly are vulnerable to this, we have a broader sense that this is a structural problem. Not simply a problem of some bad cops, not simply a problem of political officials who aren’t responsive. But in fact a problem that affects us as people, sometimes in ways that are gendered and distinct, but nonetheless that affects us all.

And the second reason that it’s important for us to have frames that are capacious enough to include all the ways that our bodies are made vulnerable to police violence is that we consider this to be a space where all lives matter—that’s the whole point of Black Lives Matter. If all lives matter and Black lives matter, then we have to pay attention to the ways that women are losing their lives as well. If all families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones matter, then their losses ought to be on our list well, they need to be invited to the protests as well, they need to have a seat at the table as well, they need to tell us what they need in order to survive and be healthy. So these are frames that help us deal and be responsive to what it is that we’re saying that we’re about.

So what are some of the frames that are most familiar to us? Driving While Black—we know how many people have been pulled over who have been pulled over and abused and some killed while driving while Black. Turns out Black women experience the same thing while driving while Black. That’s what happened to Sandra Bland, driving while Black. But she’s not the only person who has lost her life while driving while Black—many women end up losing their freedom and their lives being in a car, accused of either doing something wrong or is part of a big police chase. We all know what happened to Malissa Williams in Cleveland. She was in a car that was being driven by her male partner—the police chase ended with both of them being killed by a police officer who jumped on the hood of the car claiming that he was in fear of his life. People don’t tend to jump on the hoods of cars, when the people in the cars are assumed to have some kind of a gun. There are others who have been killed in Driving-While-Black circumstances. 

Kendra James was killed when she was in a car, also a passenger, and the police officer tried to pull her out of the car. She resisted being pulled out of the car, and he ended her life with one shot to the head. Maya Hall, a Black transgender woman, killed by the National Security Agency just weeks before the Freddie Gray case. Apparently they had gotten lost and it appears they drove onto national security grounds—no effort was made to use non-lethal force before she was killed.

So Driving While Black is of course something that happens to Black women. But then there are things that happen to Black women that are not as familiar. Mental health crisis. Tanisha Anderson, 37 years old. Her parents reached out to police to accompany her to a mental health evaluation. When they came they tried to cordon her off—that’s the last thing you do with someone who’s had a mental health crisis. She resisted, didn’t want to go. They performed a take-down move on her, compressed her, crashed her head to the sidewalk where apparently she died. Most tragically she died in front of her family, in front of her children. She died scantily clothed—in fact, the reason her parents tried to intervene was because she was outside in the Cleveland winter. The police refused to allow any of her family to provide any comfort to her as she lay dying. And no charges yet have been filed.

Kayla Moore was a Black transgender woman who was also having a mental health crisis. The police came and assaulted her not only in her home, not only in her bedroom, but in her own bed, where she was suffocated to death.

Shereese Francis, another case, was a woman who was assaulted by several officers trying to constrain her.

So many women end up being killed when the police are called to help them. They are killed in their homes, they are killed in front of their families and they are killed in their own bedrooms. Michelle Cusseaux was a Black woman who was also killed when her family called to have her escorted to a family appointment. And then she didn’t want to go. The door was locked. The police decided that they were going to break down the door. The police who entered found her standing there holding a hammer. He said she didn’t say anything but said she had that angry look on her face, like she was going to hurt someone with the hammer, so he shot her through the heart. Because of a look on her face.

So what are some of the things that we are learning from this? Some of the things that we are learning is that much of what we know happens to Black man, what came to be revealed with the Michael Brown case, how the officer referred to him as an animal, viewed him with superhuman characteristics, the same thing happens with Black women.

Natasha McKenna was killed within the last six months. She was tased to death, four times. Natasha is 5 foot 2, less than 135 pounds. Yet the officials claimed that they needed to have that degree of excessive force to subdue her. What does that tell you about how police officers interpret and see Black women? So there are any number of cases like this that we can talk about. The basic point is that Black women get killed in many of the same ways that Black men do, and they get killed in ways that are sometimes different. And they also experience forms of police abuse that aren’t necessarily lethal but also lead to long-term trauma. Black women are disproportionately experiencing sexual violence from police. Sexual violence is the second most common complaint against police, and Black women are among the most likely to be subject to that

So overall what we know is that if we really want to understand the entirety of police violence against Black people, we have to have a gender analysis as well, we have to care about the fact that Black women’s live are vulnerable and their families are vulnerable. And we have to have interventions that are responsive to the full way that Black people are subject to police violence.

****

Herb Boyd

Herb Boyd, Journalist; author of numerous books including Baldwin's Harlem, Brotherman and Black Panthers for Beginners; Professor at City College of New York;

In 1963, Cynthia Scott was killed in Detroit. I grew up in Black Bottom and on the North End of Detroit. Cynthia Scott lived in the same apartment building with me. Her nickname was Bay-Bay. She stood 6’ 3”, weighed 240 pounds. I was in Germany when I heard she had been shot and killed by the Detroit police. That, in effect, since I knew her, it started my whole interest and involvement in what was happening to our community and then later on, all of the intimacy and the personality of these kind of things got me to the generalities. And so then I got involved with a number of organizations and institutions. I mean it was nothing to talk about police brutality and the fatalities. I remember when Carl and I hooked up meaningfully the first time here in New York with the Stolen Lives Project and we had all of those photos. I mean it was nothing for us to be out there with Amadou Diallo back in the 1990s all the way down to Sean Bell to Ramarley Graham.

So from Stolen Lives right down to Black Lives Matter you have a continuum, a continuum of this. I covered a rally last week and people were saying, how do you spell domestic terrorism, and people were saying, NYPD. That individual survived but it was so similar to what happened to Eric Garner in terms of the kind of general harassment, the whole quality of life, the broken windows policy of Commissioner Bratton. Spitting on the sidewalk, jaywalking, urinating, and what have you—all of these things become like issues for the police to move against you. Oh, they don’t really need any provocation. We understood what stop, question and frisk was all about. And the astronomical numbers they build up without even any miniscule convictions. So it didn’t mean anything but the quota they were satisfying.

So now after hearing Commissioner Bratton last week, we were asking him a number of questions, the whole impact zone, what does that mean, and rookie cops coming out of the academy, the whole issue of diversification—now they’re up to 11 percent in terms of the NYPD, and they talk about getting it up to 16 percent, one of these days they’ll get it up to parity, where we’ll have some kind of equality, representation in the size of the communities. And also how these cops choose to serve. Because sometimes they come right out of the academy and they throw them right into the impact zone, no preparation whatsoever.  So okay, Bratton said, we’re going to do away with that. So okay, while you’re talking about doing away with things, can we give you a list, and we begin to kind of tick off things. And of course the police always have a rationale and a justification for everything they do. They’re completely exonerated, you can’t blame us for this that or another for what occurs. But notice there are at least 20 law enforcement agencies with consent decree against police departments in this country. The previous Attorney General set it into motion—we’re hoping that Loretta Lynch will follow up on that in terms of bringing these consent decrees against these law enforcement agencies across the country, the whole misconduct, the police excessive aggressive behavior, and say look, you have to bring about some kind of change, I mean in a very concrete and substantial way, at least law suits will come down on you coming down from the federal government, coming from the Department of Justice, saying something about your misbehavior there. From Fort Lauderdale where you heard all those vicious innuendos about African Americans, all the way out to Riverside, California. I mean it’s a coastal thing and it’s a global thing too...

Just the other day, down the street here, on 132nd and Malcolm X Blvd., Revolution Books has launched its store here in Harlem. That’s going to go a long way in several ways in terms of the information that can be dispensed in this community. We haven’t had a decent bookstore here for several years.... You can go upstairs and Schomberg’s got a nice collection of theirs. But it can’t compare to what you’re going to see at Revolution Books very soon, the kind of collection, particularly radical literature out there, literature that begins to tell us about police brutality and police reform, that begins to tell us about mass incarceration...

Look at the correction officers at Rikers Island, something had to be said about that brutality and the violation of the 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. Look at what’s happening with the sheriffs departments, look at what happens with the so-called parole officers and probation officers. And all of this is part of what Michelle Alexander talked about in her book, The New Jim Crow, that the number of African American people who are under correctional control are more than who were in bondage back in 1850. That’s a very staggering statistic right there. But even more staggering is the number of us who are being shot down, unarmed in that society. We stand on the ramparts of that, unwaveringly, uncompromisingly. So the beat goes on. Boats against the current. So we stand there on guard, engaged.

****

Robyn Spencer

Robyn Spencer, author of forthcoming book on Black Panther Party titled Repression Breeds Resistance, professor at Lehman College.

I want to talk a little about the Black Panther Party in the 1960s because they were of course the organized political response to state violence, based on potential Black self-determination and they wanted to move towards freedom, towards justice, not just for people of African descent, but for all oppressed peoples and not just in the context of the United States but in the global sense. They had an international impact, which is oftentimes not discussed. So they came out of this very real police brutality. One of the things that is often less known about the Panthers is that when they began in the Oakland context police brutality against Black women was one of the motivating factors for the creation of the organization. If you were a Black woman in Oakland, California in the 1960s and you were in a car with a white male you were oftentimes pulled over and accused of prostitution simply for your presence, being present there in the car. There were many such incidents before the formation of the Black Panther Party.

So the story of the violence that Black women have faced at the hands of the state is continually erased. We chose not to remember that, we choose not to see it. Those stories are there, they have always been there. So we think about the Panthers, police brutality was one of their founding streams. They were also very much impacted by the Vietnam War, or the invasion of the Dominican Republic, at that time the Cuban Revolution. They saw themselves connected to other political formations that were occurring at the time...

With the Panthers it’s important to recover their history, their history of organized resistance; not just a history of a particular stance, because of what they were known for as an uncompromising stance, and their language and their rhetoric. They were not just a symbol; they were an organization. It’s important to recover that organizational history. When you were a member of the Black Panther Party that was your job. The Party tried to create a self sustaining organization where people could get their health care needs met, get their childcare needs met as they went out fighting against police brutality and working within the community, to educate children, to feed them breakfast before school started. And in all of their community programs, the organization tried to sustain them. And I think that’s important as well, to think about organization as a radical political vehicle, because that’s what we need to be thinking about today. Organization is so important. Many people don’t belong to organizations. You may feel more atomized, you may feel like you’re disconnected, you may be doing things online; you may not have that time. But the times call for organization and support of organizations that are already there.

Also important to learn about the Panthers is they were anti-capitalist. People don’t like to say that, but it was what it was, they were anti-capitalist. So in other words they understood that the economic system of the United States was in fact designed to reproduce poverty. It wasn’t an accident; it wasn’t the result of individual people’s bad choices or anything like that. It was the systematic reality. So that anti-capitalism is how we should understand their breakfast programs. Because the other thing that people know about the Panthers is that they promoted armed self-defense, and then they had these breakfast program. But those breakfast programs were the embodiment of socialism in their eyes. It was about a collective ethos, it was about community sustaining itself. It was about each according to their ability and giving to people according to their needs. That was the reality.

The Panthers were also about the internal revolution. In other words you were supposed to be challenging also sexism, ageism, homophobia, those things within yourself as you participated in the movement. That is not to say everyone was successful in that. But it was an articulated goal. But this was very important because many movements today flounder on the shoals of sexism. Many people want to build a movement on the backs of other people—homophobia, sexism, trans-phobia. These are all dividing lines. And oftentimes our movements can’t absorb the tensions and fractions that happen when people struggle around those issues. But that has to be part of the movement. It’s not a separate thing, like I’m down for Black people, but not the gays. No, it’s all one movement and people have to see it like that....

Also important to recognize is...the various ways in which the state moves to kill organizations. We’re still in that moment, we still have our political prisoners who are still incarcerated today. And yet that incarceration is the direct connection to the mass incarceration that is going on now. So how do we make that political connection, how do we understand that? I think that is very important in how we think about what Carl talked about as the vortex of terror. Because at the moment it’s not just violence—it many seem like violence is happening to a select groups of people but violence is everywhere. We have our iPhone, iPads, our flat screens and we go on our vacations and we read about credit card debt. But at any given moment we know that we could be the victims of violence, and we also can be the participants of violence because of the colonial history of the United States—the dispossession and murder of Native Americans, the continuing occupation of Puerto Rico, Hawaii. Colonialism is an ongoing project. So we have to actively work to disassociate ourselves from that and to struggle against that. Because if we don’t do that we get swept along, like we get swept along possibly in support of that.

So when we think about the Panthers legacy the other thing I want to highlight is how they made that connection with what was happening in Black communities and what was happening around the world. So they said pigs out of our community and then U.S. military operating out of all the places in the world where it was operating as an occupying power. We see this today, like when the media and attention was trained on Ferguson, Missouri. We also saw the Israel attack on Gaza, and activists at that time made those very real connections that the bombs being dropped there were being made here. So we have to think about making those connections between the foreign policies that seems perhaps very far away and removed and the policies that are happening in our community, the policing that is not just represented by police forces but also represented by the military in very real way. In a lot of ways I think the Panthers' history represents the past and the present. The response to that is organization, it’s resistance, it’s organizations that attempt to create awareness about policy to shed light on what’s happening to African American women in particular. That’s very important.

Also important to move on all fronts because we’re kinda of on a wave of mass rebellion from the highways that get shut down to the banners that get unfurled to the protests that happen where we don’t expect them to be, to the marches that happened all across the country by organizations like the Dream Defenders and Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project and things like that. This is a moment of real rebellion and I think that the question is how to support that, how to organize that, how to bring all those forces together and how to be very deliberate in creating a movement that is not only trying to create an egalitarian society but is itself egalitarian. So that’s very, very important.

So I just want to highlight, one of the things to work toward is the march on October 24 to stop police terror, and understand that police terror is not an isolated incident but is something that is systematic, something that is global and we have to understand it like that.

****

Andy Zee

I just want to thank all of you for your presentations and thank all of you for coming. And I want to say to all of you that we do all have to understand how the world actually works, what is actually going on in the world, what is the relationships between these different struggles, between these different forms of oppression—so that we can find and discover the pathways out of this. And I just want to say, following up on something Kimberlé said in which she was quoting that racist Dylann Roof when he said "you rape our women." That chump, Donald Chump said the same thing about our brothers and sisters from Mexico—they’re coming over the border to take and rape our women. Where’s the link between this? The link between this is in the nature of this system.

Left to right: Andy Zee, Carl Dix, Robyn Spencer, Herb Boyd, Kimberlé Crenshaw

Now the oppression of women precedes capitalism, that’s something that you’ll learn about at Revolution Books and maybe in a few, a very few college courses. But you can learn about that. But it’s completely intertwined with the system we live under. Completely intertwined. In fact it was said in the 1960s, and some of us who were revolutionary communists at the time didn’t pay enough attention at the time, that the final revolution will be the emancipation of women because when you liberate women, you can only do this through the emancipation of all of humanity. And the same thing is actually true of Black people, but there is difference here in America because—no, Obama, it is not the original sin—it’s the foundation of the country.

And because of the history of Black people resisting slavery, resisting in the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Liberation Movement, because that struggle of Black people has played a certain role—that’s actually one reason why we do have this genocide against Black people. But the other side of that contradiction is that when Black people rise up, even in a beginning way which we haven’t seen in decades, and I gotta tell you I’ve been waiting for decades, as we did in Ferguson—that gives permission for the whole society to actually rise up too. And that kind of what you’re kind of beginning to see. But I have to say we’re only at the beginning of that.

Herb said, and I’m going to finish up with this, some of us go back and have been to funeral after funeral after funeral for 30, 40 years. And really we have to say, Basta Ya! Enough. This has to end. But I want to come back to this complicity. iPhone or not, we saw the murder of Eric Garner. But there were not enough goddamn people out yesterday in this city. Shame on everybody who hasn’t been out in the streets on this. Shame on you. That’s on everybody here. It’s on Black people, it’s on Latino people, it’s on white people. We can’t let this go on anymore. And the good news is that we don’t actually have to. Because of the work these scholars are doing, because of your commitment, because we can actually understand this, we can actually pull together the kind of movements and unite and struggle over what is the cause of this, what’s the solution and how we can fight it. But if we don’t stand up, we won’t be any better than those Good Germans. That’s really what’s before us right now.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/taking-to-the-streets-to-mark-one-year-since-the-murder-of-eric-garner-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Taking to the Streets to Mark One Year Since Police Murder of Eric Garner

Updated July 20, 2015 8:30 pm | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

 

July 17—A year ago NYPD cops choked Eric Garner to death in Staten Island, NYC. Protests were called for in NYC and elsewhere across the country to mark one year since that murder by police—to "take our outrage to the streets."

Below are initial reports from New York City; Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; and Houston, Texas. We will update photos and short reports as we receive them.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/the-death-of-sandra-bland-in-police-custody-and-the-cradle-to-grave-racism-of-waller-county-texas-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

The Death of Sandra Bland in Police Custody—and the Cradle-to-Grave Racism of Waller County, TX

July 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sandra Bland

On the morning of Monday, July 13, the body of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, was found hanging in a cell of the Waller County jail, in Texas.

The Waller County Sheriff's office said Sandra Bland was found “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.” In other words, the authorities claim she hung herself, despite not having any shoelaces, belt, or sheet in her cell.

Family and friends of Sandra Bland are not buying this story. LaVaughan Mosely, a friend of Sandra at Prairie View A&M University in Waller County, told a reporter, “Anyone who knows Sandy Bland knows she has a thirst for life. She was planning for the future, and she came here to start that future.” Sharon Cooper, a sister of Bland's, said of the Sheriff's story, “Based on the Sandy that I knew, that's unfathomable to me.”

On July 10 Sandra Bland had been stopped by a cop from the Texas "Department of Public Safety” for allegedly not using a turn signal when she changed lanes. Two cops confronted her, and one ordered her out of her car. A video taken by a bystander shows her pinned to the ground by a cop with his knee in her back, her hands cuffed behind her. She is heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground! Do you not even care about that? I can't hear!”

The authorities in Waller County claim that Sandra was “argumentative and uncooperative”—as if that, even if it were true, somehow justifies two cops brutalizing her and putting her in jail on totally bullshit charges. They claim their jail videos, which they haven't released, show no one going into her cell Monday morning.

Why would anyone believe these pigs? In case after case across the country, the cops have been proven to be lying when they offer their lame excuses about the Black and Latino people they murder and brutalize, routinely. What is known is that Sandra Bland was alive when she got into the police car, she was alive at 7 a.m. Monday when she was given breakfast, and she was dead in a jail cell two hours later.

Waller County has a long and ugly history of what one resident called “cradle-to-grave racism.” Prairie View A&M was founded as an all-Black agricultural college shortly after the Civil War, on the site of what had been one of the largest slave plantations in Texas. According to the Equal Justice Institute, 15 Black people were lynched in Waller County from 1877 to 1950. Prairie View students protested for decades just to secure the right to vote in Waller County, an issue that was only partially settled in 2008.

Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

Glenn Smith, the sheriff of Waller County, has for years been notorious as a brutal and racist pig. Smith was previously the police chief of Hempstead, the county's largest town. He was suspended from that job when allegations of brutal behavior against Black people were filed against him and four other Hempstead cops. A year later, in 2008, Smith was fired when he was accused of making repeated strip searches of young Black people he arrested. That same year, he was elected sheriff of the county. Smith was re-elected in 2012, the same month as news broke that 29-year-old James Howell, who had been arrested on a minor drug charge, had died in the Waller County jail—supposedly from hanging himself.

Sandra Bland had driven from Chicago to Texas to start a new job at Prairie View. She had graduated from Prairie View in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. She was deeply influenced by the struggles that have erupted throughout the country against the murder and brutality the police commit against Black people. On her Facebook page she posted such things as "Being a black person in America is very, very hard...Black lives matter. They matter." One of her last postings reads “If we can get enough white people to show that all lives matter, maybe they'll stop killing our black brothers... Show me in American history where all lives mattered.” 

On July 17 over 100 people in Hempstead protested the death of Sandra Bland while in police custody. People questioned how a supposedly routine traffic stop ended with the death of a young Black woman. They demanded to get to the bottom of this story, and pledged to continue protesting against this and other racist injustices in Waller County. It is utterly outrageous and unacceptable that the life of Sandra Bland is over. Whatever the exact circumstances of her death were—the racist cops of Waller County are responsible.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/johnny-anderson-42-murdered-in-cold-blood-by-la-county-sheriffs-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Johnny Anderson, 42, murdered in cold blood by LA County Sheriffs

Johnny Was Known For His "Big Colgate Smile" and Ready To Help...

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Justice for Johnny, Hawaiian Gardens, CA
Hawaiian Gardens, July 12. Photos: Special to revcom.us
Justice for Johnny AndersonProtest of murder of Johnny Anderson

Chanting “Justice for Johnny” and carrying signs reading “Why did you kill my uncle?”—“Why did you kill my dad?”, more than 200 people marched through the small city of Hawaiian Gardens on Sunday, July 12. Johnny Ray Anderson was well known and loved in Hawaiian Gardens, where he had grown up and his eight sisters live. Johnny was a father, a grandfather, a brother—a person who loved to tell jokes and make you laugh. Known for his “big Colgate smile,” Johnny was always asking “What do you need?” and ready to help. “Your whole world would light up when you would see him,” one of his sisters said.

On Sunday, July 5th, Johnny and his wife were relaxing in the yard of an unoccupied house where they had just begun staying. A friend had brought sandwiches, they were talking, and Johnny was fixing his bicycle. They were happy. Then Johnny saw the sheriffs roll by. Knowing that they would come back, he got up, walked away, ran into an adjacent back yard behind the house where he was staying. Sheriffs caught up with him there, shot him in the chest, and killed him.

News media reported that a prowler had been shot. Sheriffs told the usual story——he tried to grab an officer’s gun. An eyewitness to the shooting quoted in the LA Times said that Johnny was 20 feet away from the sheriff when he was shot.

Although he was 42, and had just returned to Hawaiian Gardens from working in Iowa, Johnny was named in a gang injunction. The injunction criminalizes riding bicycles or skateboards, being together with anyone else named even if they are family members, trespassing, being outside after 10pm curfew. These gang injunctions are part of a whole system of police terror and control in Black, Latino and poor communities, criminalizing normal life and forcing people to live in fear, always potentially on the run. Living under this Nazi-style injunction, Johnny knew the sheriffs would come back. He didn’t want to go to jail. He was doing no harm to anyone but his life was stolen in an instant.

At the vacant house, Johnny’s wife, terrified and screaming, was put in the back seat of a cop car so she couldn’t see what was happening, with the air conditioning turned on so she couldn’t hear. They took her to jail and put her in the drunk tank. The next morning they told her there had been an "altercation" and "he didn’t make it."

When a rapid response team from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network went to Hawaiian Gardens to investigate, family members said they wanted to protest and were hoping some activists would come to help them. The family decided to march and spread the word on social media, and Stop Mass Incarceration Network took it up.

Rise Up October 24th logo

On Sunday about 250 people, the overwhelming majority from Hawaiian Gardens, marched from the site of the murder to the Hawaiian Gardens office of public safety, where the mayor, who knew Johnny, spoke, telling people to continue to ‘protest peacefully’ and rely on the investigations. He was interrupted by a woman from the Revolution Club-LA who said that investigations accomplish nothing, the only way for people to get justice is to be in the street and stay in the street—like the people in Baltimore—and what is needed to end murder by police and other outrages is revolution to end the system that causes this. People hollered out.

Afterwards some people went to the Sheriff’s station in nearby Lakewood where the killers came from and continued protesting.

Anger at the gang injunction and the completely unjustified, immoral killing is breaking through fear and the sense that that’s just the way it is and nothing can be done about it. Cards for the national mobilization Rise Up October, Revolution newspapers, and palm cards promoting the dialogue Revolution and Religion were distributed at the march.

Johnny Anderson was one of five people shot and killed in LA County over 4th of July weekend. (Seven people have been killed by cops in the last 12 days of July.) This is part of the program of mass incarceration and murder by police aimed at Black and Latino people that cries out for Rise Up October and increases our determination to bring forward a major national manifestation in New York City on October 24th that sharply draws a line in the sand for millions in this society and states very clearly: Which Side Are You On? STOP Police Terror! THESE MURDERS BY POLICE MUST STOP—NOW!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/staten-island-to-stonewall-we-cant-breathe-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

Staten Island to Stonewall—WE CAN'T BREATHE!

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Jonathan Sanders
Jonathan Sanders

On July 8, 2015, a Black 39-year-old horse trainer named Jonathan Sanders drove a horse and buggy down a rural Stonewall, Mississippi1 street. That night Jonathan decided to take his horse, Diva, out to exercise. Since it was dark outside, Jonathan wore a light attached to his head, similar to the type of light a miner might wear. In this part of the country, it is common for people to take their horses out at night after the intense heat of the day dissipates. Around 10:30 that night, Jonathan rode past the Cefco gas station, where he saw a white cop talking to a man that he knew outside. The cop was Officer Kevin Herrington. As Sanders passed, he called out to Herrington, "Why don't you just leave him alone?" Herrington, enraged that someone might suggest for him to refrain from harassing someone, turned toward his patrol car and said, "I'm going to get that nigger." He got in his patrol car with his wife, who was riding along with him, and started to follow Sanders.

Herrington followed Jonathan down the twisting, wooded roads. After taking several turns, it is possible that Jonathan did not even realize the cop was following him. Suddenly, Herrington turned on his blue lights, frightening Sander's horse, causing it to buck wildly. In the chaos, Jonathan was thrown from the buggy.

Although shaken from the fall, Jonathan did not want to lose his horse in the dark woods. Instinctively, he ran to catch the fleeing horse. He didn't even notice the cop sprinting toward him from behind. As Jonathan ran, the light that he was wearing on his forehead slipped down around his neck. Officer Herrington reached for the light's strap hanging around Jonathan's neck, grabbed it and jerked him to the ground.

Jonathan Sander's last words ring familiar..."I can't breathe." While Jonathan lay face down with his hands under his body, the ruthless cop kneeled over him, choking him for nearly half an hour, as he struggled to eke out the words, "I can't...breathe..." Many people witnessed this happening. Some described a woman that was not an officer (Herrington's wife) present during the incident. They said that Herrington was telling the woman with him to remove his gun from its holster so that Sanders could not reach it; however, she could not un-holster his gun. Eventually one of the witnesses was able to tell her how to remove it. However, the witnesses still say that Sanders never posed a threat to Herrington. Herrington could not remove the gun himself without relenting his chokehold around Sanders' neck.

One witness was so terrified by what they saw, they retrieved a can of Mace from their home, but decided out of fear not to intervene. Another witness went to get an oxygen mask to help Sanders, but Herrington would not allow anyone to perform CPR. He continued to choke Jonathan Sanders instead. In the 30 minutes it took for more police and an ambulance to arrive, Keith Herrington succeeded what he had set out to do when he said, "I'm going to get that nigger." Without mercy, he murdered Jonathan Sanders.

The Sanders' family's lawyer described the autopsy report: "The preliminary autopsy in the death of Jonathan Sanders determined that the cause of death was manual asphyxiation... the manner of death was homicide."

Wait! Stop for a second! This story is eerily familiar....

Today is July 17. One year ago today, Eric Garner was choked to death by the NYPD after telling the cops to stop harassing him. He said, "This stops today!" then the vicious pigs tackled him to the ground. One pig wrapped his arm around Garner's neck. Gasping for air, Eric cried out 11 times, "I can't breathe..." and then he died. It was ruled a homicide. None of the cops have been charged with any crime!

THIS MUST STOP! From the city streets of Staten Island to rural Mississippi, men and women (let us not ignore the death of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody this week in Texas) disproportionately Black and Latino are being murdered at the hands of the police. Almost one year ago, just a few weeks after Eric Garner's murder in New York, shots rang out in Ferguson, Missouri. We all know what happened. After Mike Brown's death at the hands of Pig Darren Wilson, a movement came to life. The people of Ferguson rose up and they did not back down, and for a few short months in this country, Black Lives Mattered. There has been beautiful resistance over the past year, but things have grown far too quiet and the police have not backed down, they are still murdering and brutalizing our people with impunity and that MUST STOP!

People should be standing up and resisting the horrible crimes against the people wherever and whenever they take place. And right NOW people around the country should know about and begin preparing for #RiseUpOctober. We need to shift the climate in this country in a big way. The level of resistance needs to go above and beyond anything we have seen so far. As Carl Dix recently said:

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.

Police Murder Must Stop Today! We don't have to live this way!
Let's get to work on #RiseUpOctober right now!

See you in the streets,
A member of the Atlanta Revolution Club

 


1. Stonewall, Mississippi is small town in Eastern Mississippi with a population of just over 1,000. It is named after the Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson. [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/the-cold-blooded-murder-of-ricardo-diaz-zeferino-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

The Cold-Blooded Murder of Ricardo Diaz Zeferino by the Gardena Police

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Ricardo Diaz Zeferino stands on the sidewalk between his two friends with his hands up on a street in Gardena, a city outside of L.A. Two cops stand about 20 feet to the side with their guns pointed at the three men. He takes off his cap and lowers his arms. His empty right palm is out, facing upward. He starts to raise his arms back over his head. A volley of shots rings out. Ricardo falls to the ground. He is dead—murdered by the Gardena police.

The video of Ricardo being gunned down in cold blood by these Gardena pigs was just recently released by a judge, a little over two years after Ricardo, who was 34 years old, was murdered on June 2, 2013.

The video also shows Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, who has his hands over his heads and is standing next to Ricardo, also being shot by these pigs. Eutiquio was wounded, and still has bullet fragments near his spine.

For two years, we’ve been told by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (Gardena is a city in Los Angeles County) that this was a justifiable killing. The cops stopped the two men who had a bicycle that they believed had been stolen. Ricardo ran up and said that the bicycle belonged to his brother and that he had done nothing wrong.

The cops fabricated a story that Ricardo had taken something out of his left rear pocket and that they could not see his right hand, “fearing he had a weapon in it.” But this video has exposed these cops for the murderers and liars they are.

The city and the cops have been fighting for two years to keep this video from being released. However, the city recently agreed to settle a lawsuit for $4.7 million in the killing of Ricardo and wounding Eutiquio Acevedo, and since those funds were taken from public money, the judge ruled that the public had the right to see the video.

The $4.7 million lawsuit settlement is not justice for Ricardo. The murdering pigs are still out on the street. These killer cops must be indicted, convicted, and put behind bars. That is the justice we are demanding.

The release of this video has created a storm of anger. The LA Times on July 18 ran a front page article about this killing with the tag line “Release of Videos Showing Gardena Officers Shooting an unarmed man fuels a national debate...over the use of lethal force by law enforcement.” The video of this murder continues to shine the light on the hundreds of police killings happening every year, and when we see the few videos that have been released of police murders around the country—Eric Garner in New York, Walter Scott in South Carolina, Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, Washington, and now this one of Ricardo Diaz Zeferino—you should come to grips with the reality that the cops in this country are murdering people at a most alarming rate. This has got to stop!

A local television station’s newscast showed the video to Ricardo’s brother, Augustin de Jesús Reynoso, who later said he does not trust the police anymore. As he watched the video of his brother being gunned down, tears ran down Augustin’s face.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/revolution-club-chicago-stop-killing-each-other-and-start-fighting-the-system-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

Stop Killing Each Other and Start Fighting the System

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Seven-year-old Amari Brown is dead, one of 10 killed by gunfire over the July 4 weekend. The memorial tent over the spot where he was shot is filled with flowers, stuffed Ninja Turtles and placards with signatures and messages from family, friends and many more who mourn for a life only beginning when it was cut short.

We revolutionaries extend our deepest condolences to Amari’s family—his mother, father, sisters and many more. We are deeply saddened by the loss of one so young. And we are outraged by city officials who coldly attack the family in their grief.

F___ the Mayor and the Police Superintendent! Reporters and pigs swarmed Amari’s grieving parents. Police Superintendent McCarthy tried to blame Amari’s father on the front pages of Chicago newspapers!

Let us understand THIS: the system (not only the criminal justice system but the white supremacist system of capitalism imperialism it enforces) is at the root of the horrific violence among our youth. It has written them off even before they were born. They know and feel that in their bones.

We are revolutionaries. We call on everyone, especially the youth caught up in the hell this system has made for them in “the life of the streets,” to wake up and shake off the ways this system has put on us, including playing us to fight and kill each other.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

Black youth are told in a million unspoken ways (and some spoken) that their lives count for nothing. On the daily they are harassed and brutalized by thugs in blue with badges who consider Black youth nothing more than waste, garbage and even tell them, “This summer you will die!”

Let’s be clear, this system has no future for these youth. Black youth are denied a decent education and jobs (92% of Black teens and 52% of all Black men in Chicago don’t have work.) Industrial jobs which used to employ many Black men, at (relatively) decent pay, are largely gone—relocated by the profit drive of this system to places where they can exploit people even worse than here.

IT’S A SYSTEM

Among other outrages at its foundation, this capitalist-imperialist system was built on the backs of slaves and the oppression of Black people. An oppression that continued through Jim Crow segregation, lynching and brutal exploitation until people rose in the 60’s to force a change. But today the police have replaced the KKK of the old Jim Crow—enforcing a “New Jim Crow” with brutality, mass incarceration and even murder. This is a program of slow genocide that could become fast genocide!

And, along with that, those in power in this country remember only too well how their rule was shaken in the 1960's as the struggle of Black people for basic rights became a call from all sectors for a different, liberated society. But there was no actual revolution in the 1960’s and the system struck back with a vengeance.

Off the 1960's, those in power launched a conscious policy—now generations long—of criminalizing Black youth through the war on drugs. They have kept them locked down and penned in. Filled the prisons with them. Why? Because they are AFRAID! They are afraid that the power that shook them so hard back then might rise again.

Join with us as we “fight the power and transform the people for revolution." We have a leader—Bob Avakian who has a plan for a whole new society, a communist future-- based on a new synthesis of communism. And a strategy for how to make revolution and bring down this system to get there. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The revolution needs you!


Chicago Revolution Club.
Contact us at 312-804-9121
Email: revclub.chi@gmail.com
Check out Revolution at revcom.us

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/south-side-chicago-marching-for-justice-for-martice-milliner-murdered-by-police-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

South Side Chicago: Marching for Justice for Martice Milliner, Murdered by Police

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Protesting the murder of Martice Milliner by Chicago police

Martice's widow, Antenetta Powells, and one of his sons, Amonte. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Chicago, July 12: “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell” and “Justice for Martice” rang out as friends, family and others marched through the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the south side. There were OGs present representing different major sets, some of whom had been involved in forging a gang truce in Chicago the 1990s. The OGs who spoke all called out the murdering police and called for an end to the warring between the youth. Members of the Revolution Club were there, as well as Fred Hampton, Jr. and some people from the group Uhuru.

Martice was murdered by police on July 9. It was a warm night and dozens of people were outside on the block celebrating a birthday when a detective car rolled up. According to witnesses, within minutes of the police exiting their vehicle, 27-year-old Martice “Miles” Milliner, the father of two young sons, was dead. Miles was shot once in the back by a pig who then stood over Miles's body and fired 4 more shots into his back. The crowd watched in horror. One of Martice’s friends said, “It happened so fast no one even had time to make a video.” It was like the police were sending a message to everyone there: "We can and will execute you and get away with it." One person commented, "It's like a lynching of old."

In the past 20 years, despite hundreds of murders by police, on or off duty, only one cop has faced any kind of criminal charge for killing someone in Chicago. That was Dante Servin, the pig who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in 2012. His case was dismissed by the judge without his lawyers even having to present a defense. (See "Outrageous Injustice! Cop Who Murdered Rekia Boyd Goes Free Without Even Having to Make a Defense")

 

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/a-colorful-and-liberating-weekend-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

A Colorful and Liberating Weekend!
Between the Sunset and the Stars, Enabling Ourselves to Break ALL the Chains!

Night Screening of Sunsara Taylor’s Speech “STOP the Assault on Abortion Rights! Break ALL Chains that Enslave Women

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a young revolutionary:

The past weekend as part of the initiative Take Patriarchy by Storm, a bunch of us had super fun day at Warped tour. In the morning we set up a Stop Patriarchy table right next to a Revolution Club table, and we literally just spent the next 8 hours engaging with people, painting our bodies and dancing while engaging. The crowd was made out of pretty much teenagers but there were some adults too. Music was loud, the environment was filled with colors (colorful clothing and accessories, colorful body paint, colorful tents, and because it was a sunny beautiful summer day, the sunlight enhanced all the colors, so imagine how colorful everything was!). And we had our colorful stickers! Our colorful signs! And our colorful freedom fighters souls! People were drawn to our tables as mad, and for a second when they were not, it just took one of us to walk around with an enlargement of “Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, incubators or sex objects. Women are Full Human Beings!” and people would start asking: “Where is your table?!” and would go straight to it.

We talked about the predominant culture, about bringing forward another culture that doesn’t oppress women, about the need for them to be part of building that, about abortion rights, about family. We talked about our summer initiatives and people were hell excited, a young guy told us he liked the music of the tour a lot, but he always felt there was misogyny being portrayed in this kind of events, and that finding us there was like a bunch of fresh air in the middle of a suffocating culture. We talked about revolution, about the ways to get rid of that suffocating culture, we distributed hundreds of stickers, raised a few hundred dollars, we sold BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less T-shirts. It was Awesome!

The same day, some of us went to see The Red Detachment of Women ballet being performed at the Lincoln Center. An incredible, inspiring, also colorful and lively piece of art! We laugh, we sobbed, we cried, and we hugged each other. We didn’t see tutus and skinny vulnerable women dancing ballet. We saw strong determined women being drawn to the process of freeing themselves as part of freeing the world. It is a ballet based on a true story of a women’s detachment of the communist army. A story that took place in 1930’s but that was written right before the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and was performed and promoted during the Cultural Revolution, which itself was an initiative to rely on the masses of people to prevent the return of capitalism in socialist China. The ballet is mind blowing as a piece of art, is a transformative piece of art. Women were doing all kinds of pirouettes and dance moves that couldn’t give any other impression than the great power they have. My friend told me between sobs, that this was the first time women were portrayed like this. Think about it, the first time women in art are portrayed as full human beings, and more than that, they were portrayed leading a transformation that had the potential of getting rid of all forms of oppression.

So, why did we laugh and sob, and cry, and hug each other? Because with pain we remembered what was going to be like to go out of that theater and face reality. Because we knew that it was going to be painful after seeing women raising their fists for their liberation, to see naked women selling cars or make up in Time Square advertisements, but also in the corner store. Because we remembered all the fucked up ways women are treated in today’s world. But also because it was the representation of a time in history in which women were the most free they have been since the emergence of women’s oppression. Because our hearts warmed with the message this ballet brings forward that there is a way out of this and that we are part of it. Because we felt that our convictions on keep struggling to be part of it were strengthened and they matter. Because it matters that this ballet was produced, the time in which it was produced matters, and all the advances made from there especially by Bob Avakian, matters!

So that was our weekend! And after an awesome weekend filled with women liberating events, things were ready in the rooftop for the projection of the whole speech by Sunsara Taylor, “STOP the assaults on Abortion Rights! Break ALL Chains that Enslave Women.”

STOP THE ASSAULT ON ABORTION RIGHTS! BREAK ALL THE CHAINS THAT ENSLAVE WOMEN! A Talk by Sunsara Taylor from Revolution Books on Vimeo.

In the rooftop of a building in Brooklyn, from where we could see the Empire State Building shining, and the sky busy with all the airplanes suspended in the air waiting for their turn to land in NYC, we gather and waited, just on time for the sunset. Amazed by the sunset light, we started chatting. The first conversation was quite interesting. A young man, who met Stop Patriarchy (SP) for first time while passing by Union Square on July 1st where SP was having a rally against the attacks on abortion rights, having seen several dozens of people wearing bloody pants that day to represent for the women who died when abortion was illegal, and acknowledging that there were “just” three of us on the roof, had questions of the impact of this movement, he wondered about the possibilities of actually growing and making changes. That question led to the question of truth, and how truth is what it is whether a lot of people believe it or not. That truth itself is not relative, and whether people act accordingly to what is found to be truth or not, doesn’t make the efforts of those who do act according to it any less important or less needed. We agreed in the big necessity that people stand up, of the importance of joining those who have been in the frontline of the fight and to be part of calling on others to be part of it, even if those are not large numbers—yet. And actually one person expressed that even if he thinks that it may be hard to achieve a “perfectly morally consistent” plan of action—or perspective—to understand and remove oppression, he feels more inclined to think that this is the way to go anyway, that even if it seems that the process of understanding and fighting to end oppression is a hard process, it is better than other paths, it is better than having oppression and going along with it. Hell yeah!

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

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


Right-click here to download
Pamphlet (PDF)

He also asked if we (I bet he was talking about the members of SP) believe that we are better human beings than others who are not acting to make a change. And I almost answered hell no! Haha. But it actually leads to a very important matter which is: Can and actually do people transform? I pointed out that in any given society, the predominant ideas don’t come from the inside out, that is not human nature to be selfish, or greedy, or... an oppressor, that we all are living in a world that shapes what we think, what we desire, what our goals in life are. So in that sense no! We don’t think we (people fighting to transform the way things are) are better than others because, in first place, we weren’t born fighting for freedom! And in fact we have gone through the struggle—and we still are—of transforming ourselves in the process of transforming the world. In second place, we understand that those others can also be brought forward—and actually are an important force—to transform themselves and transform the world as they learn to understand it, as they face reality and all the possibilities that such a reality can bring forward.

Another two people showed up, and after the sun set behind the horizon, there was enough darkness to project the speech. We even saw a couple stars (which is a big deal being in NYC). There was a lot going on around us, loud people in the street, parties and loud music, the sounds of cars and ambulances....but it didn’t take long for us to be immersed in the speech, to the point that when all the noise stopped, we didn’t even realized it.

During the video, people laughed, made surprise noises—ha!—and jumped in between breaks to speak about what was being said (because Sunsara not just gave a good talk, but really challenges your ideas! and is a good source of polemic too). It was so lively to the point that we had to stop the video for at least 15 minutes to talk and dig deeper in some of the statements Sunsara was making. It is worth saying that all those statements are pretty new ideas for a lot of people, and such innovative analysis in the speech were drew heavily from the very innovative new Synthesis of communist revolution developed by Bob Avakian. Avakian has courageously and tirelessly worked on developing new ground on how to liberate all people from all forms of oppression, and in that sense has brought forward a whole new approach on women oppression. He emphasizes that women’s liberation has to be a mighty force for revolution, an important part of women’s role is that we have to make sure that if we are going to transform the world, the transformation has to go all the way to the full emancipation of humanity, fighting to break ALL the chains (See Break ALL the Chains! pamphlet by Bob Avakian). In his words, “You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can’t say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.” (BAsics 3:22) BAM!

So, one of the topics that made us pause the talk for a while (besides some internet problems) was the question of personal choices. If we are fighting against oppression but there are people that make personal choices that are oppressive, do we have the right of being opinionative about it? A woman who met SP last week, while struggling with her own ideas, and trying to find out what she really thinks about all this stuff, put it this way: “It’s a hard topic because if for some people, wearing a certain form of dress will bring them closer to their religion, and if we take away that because is oppressive, then we take away their right and freedom of practicing their religion.” But she also said that it doesn’t matter whether you make a choice that is oppressive or somebody force you into it (without saying that is the same of course) because at the very base, the fact that you choose it, doesn’t take away the oppression. I would say that we are not going to force people to make a different choice, but we can definitely challenge people to look deeper into what those choices really mean. Again look into what is real, and in the particular example of the burka, if wearing it really empowers you, or oppresses you.

Click to enlarge

It was a very good evening, we were all going back and forth trying to understand better what we think, but more than that, trying to find an answer of what is right, what is true. Is it oppressive to wear a burka? What if nobody is forcing you? What if you voluntarily wear it and believe it is “empowering” you? What if it is some kind of respect-to-yourself practice? (I heard this last statement from a college student who voluntarily wears a burka, but she also doesn’t touch or have long conversations with men who are not part of her family! So there you go, that is where those ideas take people to.)

We concluded this: It is a fact that this kind of practices of covering women’s bodies (to give a particular example) were introduced into some cultures by pretty backward religious ideas, we walked through some of them:

Women are evil #1: Women’s bodies, just by the fact of being the bodies of women, are a temptation to men (one could ask what does temptation even mean? tempted to what?). In this sense, there is an evil nature of women, which makes them impure just by existing.

Rape is a normal reaction to evil women: Oppressive patriarchal behavior as rape is being protected and defended. Instead of revealing that rape is one of the million ways in which domination and ownership of man over women take expression, and in which women’s lives are reduced to sexual objects, the idea of covering women bodies make rape an expected reaction from men, who are tempted by evil women that don’t cover their bodies as they should (and this is not just with the burka, this perfectly can be applied in general when women are raped and they are shamed for the way they were dressed up).

Sex is bad: Sex among people who are not “meant to have sex” is a sin, and these women are tempting this man to have sex, therefore these women are tempting man into sin. Temptation approach reinforces the shame on sex.

Women are evil #2: Other than reinforcing the shame on sex, it reinforces the shame on women (and I think this is an even more important part of it). If women are raped, basically, it is their fault, because they provoked it anyways, that is why they should be stoned to death! And there is people who still believe in this on the 21st century.

Finally, you could totally choose to be oppressed, it doesn’t make it liberating or empowering, even if that is what you want to think, the root of oppression is the root of oppression even if you try to give another meaning to it. And we are not going to violently take the burka from you, neither we are going to shame you for wearing it, but we are going to encourage you to face all this facts! So, thinking about how would we treat this matter in a new society, somebody asked if we would criticize the burka as oppressive in a socialist or communist society when someone chooses to wear it on its own? And I think there is a lot more to dig into with this question, like what kind of things are being promoted in those societies you are talking about? Is shaming women a big part of it? Or it is a bigger part to get rid of that shame? Do you mean wearing a piece of cloth in your head as part of your outfit? Or you mean you think that it protects you from tempting anyone else of whatever evil temptations? As Avakian points out, we don’t grow up in a vacuum, all our ideas are part of a context, and that context gives meaning and expression to all the things we get into. In a new society we are not going to promote this kind of practices, you can pray and wear a burka if you want, but if in a socialist society you are wearing that piece of cloth because you think your body can lead to sin, we are definitely going to challenge your thinking.

A young man had told me before he didn’t even know that women were oppressed until a few months ago when his girlfriend started talking to him about rape culture and all the horrors women face just for the very fact of being female. He came to the screening and generally speaking about the talk, said that it is good to be aware of this, but most importantly, is to keep it in mind all the time, especially men, who tend to forget that women generally have it harder than them. He said that it is important to think about all the ideology we’ve been raised with, and be willing to be wrong!—and I would add to this, be willing to understand why we were wrong, and be willing to transform ourselves and to transform others.

Other important questions were, why is there such a thing as an objective reality? And why is there such a thing as the (one) interest of humanity? What is it and why there is one in the first place? What if there was one, but humanity didn’t agree with it? And we talked about how it is very important to be able to again, go back to what is true, look into the world and find out what is real for sure, instead of what we may think or may sound real. That is what objective reality is about, something that exists independently of what people think about it. In that sense, if you look at the world you will see that most of humanity live in horrendous conditions of poverty, misery, enslavement and all kinds of degradation and oppression (objective reality), and so it is in the interest of humanity to get rid of all of that. Whether people who live in those conditions see it or not, or want a change or not (which I am pretty sure most of them want to live in different conditions even if they don’t know how to get rid of it).

At the end of the night I can say that I saw in their faces that look—the same look that a lot of us had at a dinner with some comrades a few weeks ago when we were analyzing the origin of women’s oppression (see My Dinner with Engels and Skybreak Learning to Understand the World, For Real!)—that look of somebody who just realized something that makes a lot of sense but haven’t thought much about, or haven’t understood it this way before.

Digging together into these questions is again, a wonderful process, makes me want to live in a culture where this wasn’t so rare, and where people were questioning all traditional norms, all the conduct codes and in a bigger scale, all what is going on in the world, what a different society could that kind of culture bring forward! But since we don’t live in such a culture, we better work to create it!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/stop-patriarchy-launches-crowdfunding-campaign-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

Stop Patriarchy Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Take Patriarchy by Storm, Mississippi 2015, July 31-August 9

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Stop Patriarchy's crowdfunding campaign

On Friday, July 17, Stop Patriarchy launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $20,000 needed to bring activists from across the country to Take Patriarchy by Storm into the Deep South and to fight for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology in Jackson, Mississippi for 10 days (July 31-August 9).

Visit the campaign here.

Stop Patriarchy is calling on everyone who cares about the future of women, everyone who does not want to see women forced to have children against their will, everyone who supports abortion rights, to donate generously to this effort—and to spread the word to everyone they know to do the same.

Everyone who donates not only contributes to making this critical mission possible, they also join a growing community of people across the country who are throwing their weight behind the full liberation of women. Part of how crowdfunding works is that every time a person donates, they can immediately see their contribution reflected on the campaign page, they can leave a comment or a photo about why they are donating, and they can claim a “perk” (a special thank you) for their donation. You can also scroll through and see who else has donated and why. The campaign is also set up to make it very easy to share through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

Many of the thank you perks are things like stickers, T-shirts, and buttons that allow those who contribute to be part of spreading the same political message wherever they are. One particularly special perk, available to the first three people (or groups) who donate $1,500 or more, is that a free abortion will be provided to a low-income woman in Mississippi in their name. This perk was donated by Diane Derzis, the owner of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the last abortion clinic in Mississippi), as a way of supporting and appreciating Stop Patriarchy’s campaign. More perks will be announced in coming days.

Stop Patriarchy is aiming to raise the first $14,000 of the needed funds by July 30, the day before they travel to Mississippi, and then to continue to raise the remaining $6,000 while they are taking to the streets across Jackson. Their hope is that hundreds of people will join in giving smaller donations of $5-$100 each and that this will encourage those who are able to give more to throw in the thousands of dollars that will be needed to make this campaign a success.

****

Here is a bit more background on this campaign, taken from Stop Patriarchy’s crowdfunding page:

Why is Stop Patriarchy going to Mississippi?

“Mississippi, which has only one abortion clinic left, is a concentration of the whole vicious war on women. Women travel to this clinic from hundreds of miles in every direction. Without this clinic, women face being forced to have a child against their will. Or these women would risk their lives and prison for self-inducing their own abortions.

“Stop Patriarchy recognizes that not only is it immoral to abandon these women, but it is delusional to think that what happens in Mississippi won’t affect women everywhere if we do not turn the tide. Already this year, more than 330 anti-abortion laws have been introduced across this country. In Indiana, a woman is serving 20 years in prison for allegedly inducing her own abortion. Everywhere, women are harassed, demeaned, and shamed for getting abortions.”

For 10 days, Stop Patriarchy will converge in Jackson to bring a spirit of defiance and shine a national spotlight on the conditions women face. They will reach deep into the community to change people’s thinking and bring forward new fighters. They will disrupt business as usual and wake people up to the emergency. On Friday, August 7, they will nationally live stream a People’s Hearing with testimony of what women went through before abortion was legal, of what women are forced to go through today, and of the courageous clinic staff and escorts who battle every day to keep abortion available to women.

All this will culminate in a rally at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Saturday, August 8—together with coordinated actions across the country for: Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

Throughout the entire time, Stop Patriarchy will be taking on all forms of degradation and enslavement of women—popping up in protest at sites of women’s oppression throughout Jackson and projecting this nationwide.

What will the funds be used for?

“$20,000 will help make possible for young activists and others from around the country to be in Jackson for 10 days. Most of this amount is for airfare as well as lodging, living expenses, and car rental. Also, thousands of flyers, palm-cards, stickers and more. In particular funds are needed to produce a beautiful full-color brochure to be broadly distributed in Jackson which will provide a clear, accessible explanation on the fact that fetuses are not babies, women are not incubators and abortion is not murder. This will also fund the live stream of the People’s Hearing on the abortion emergency.”

Who is Stop Patriarchy?

“Stop Patriarchy is a force like no other! We recognize that the war on women is national and must be met with a national counter-offensive. We recognize the need to completely reset the terms of the fight over abortion—it has never been about babies and has always been about women’s enslavement or women’s liberation. And we recognize that we cannot rely on the courts or politicians—we must rely on ourselves and build massive, uncompromising political resistance to defeat this assault.

“We have an amazing track record over the past several years of bringing people forward to fight for abortion rights without compromise all across this country. This July 1st, we held dramatic protests and civil disobedience against new abortion restrictions that passed in Texas, Tennessee, and Kansas. With your support, this must go much further.”

THANK YOU

“Whatever you do, THANK YOU for being part of a movement that can really make a huge difference for the future of women everywhere!”

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #396 July 20, 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/394/take-patriarchy-by-storm-oppressed-communities-jackson-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 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/396/US-Iran-nuclear-deal-6-points-of-orientation-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal: 6 Points of Orientation

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

A major agreement, years in the making, was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the U.S. and other world powers (France, Britain, Germany, China, and Russia), on Tuesday, July 14. This deal focuses on scaling back and limiting Iran’s nuclear enrichment and technology programs in return for lifting UN, U.S., and European Union economic sanctions on Iran.  This deal represents a significant strategic move by the U.S., Iran, and other world powers, and it has the potential to have big regional and global ramifications, although it is far from certain how this will play out.

See "U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal: Major Move by Reactionary Powers...Nothing Good for the People," but here are some basic points of orientation for understanding and acting in relation to this major event:

1. President Obama says this deal will prevent war and stop the spread of nuclear weapons. But this deal is not about ending the danger of nuclear weapons or nuclear conflict, nor will it do so. Iran has no nuclear weapons. If Iran did develop nuclear weapons, that would be highly destabilizing in the Middle East in ways the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, do not want to see happen. And it is not in the interests of the people of the world for any country to have nuclear weapons. But if you’re looking for who poses the big danger of nuclear terror, the U.S. imperialists have thousands of nuclear weapons, and their close ally Israel has hundreds that it has refused to submit to any international inspection and control. Both have repeatedly declared their right to use military force anywhere they see fit to do so. So who, once again, is the biggest nuclear threat on Earth?

2. Under the terms of this deal, Iran will reportedly make major cuts and changes to its nuclear program (reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, cutting by two-thirds the number of centrifuges for enriching uranium it is operating, and restructuring key reactors). Iran is also submitting to 24/7 inspections of its nuclear sites, and possibly other military and research sites—inspections no U.S. political figure would ever agree to if applied to the U.S. nuclear program! In return, some of the key sanctions on Iran will be lifted when it complies with these terms, and Obama claims sanctions can be "snapped back" into place if the U.S. and its allies decide Iran has violated the agreement. The Islamic Republic of Iran also receives a level of recognition of its legitimacy, with the door open to more cooperation and co-ordination between a reactionary superpower and a reactionary regional power where they have common interests, in the region and perhaps beyond. This deal is driven by the deep necessities each side faces. For the U.S., the mounting difficulties it faces in the Middle East are framed and shaped by serious global challenges from big-power rivals. For the prevailing section of the Islamic fundamentalist rulers of Iran, the deal is seen as a way to ease economic crisis and social discontent, and advance aspirations to be a bigger regional oppressive power.

3. The economic sanctions by the U.S., United Nations and European Union against Iran were never simply aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program; they were intended to create suffering and discontent among the Iranian people in order to weaken and possibly destabilize the Iranian regime. Sanctions crippled Iran’s economy, triggering massive unemployment, and cutting off vitally needed imports, including food and medicines, have had devastating impacts. Iran is a country of 80 million, and many millions have been severely harmed by sanctions. Untold hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died. Targeting a civilian population constitutes collective punishment and a crime against humanity. This is what imperialist “diplomacy” looks like.

4. Virulent objections are being raised to this deal by ruling class forces in both the U.S. and Iran, as well as in Israel. An analysis of the different arguments by different factions of these ruling classes is beyond the scope of these orientation notes, but it does seem that these differences over the nuclear agreement interpenetrate with sharp conflicts within the U.S. and Iranian political establishments over a whole range of issues. (Regarding the U.S., see Bob Avakian, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era)

5. There is nothing good for humanity anywhere in this deal. It is not about ending suffering, deprivation, conflict and wars in the region or globally. Instead, it’s an attempt by the U.S., Iran and other world powers to maintain the political-economic order responsible for the horrendous tidal wave of death and suffering that is cascading over North Africa and the Middle East: global capitalism, as well as reactionary Islamic fundamentalism as embodied in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

6. Developments in the Middle East and elsewhere show that the U.S. and Iranian rulers are not all powerful. Their grand designs have backfired, and they’re in deep trouble and have no fundamental solutions to the horrors they’ve created. Communist revolution is the only way out of this madness, and it is urgent to make revolution at the soonest possible moment and to fight for revolution everywhere by spreading Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, encapsulated in COMMUNISM: THE BEGINNING OF A NEW STAGE A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party (available in seven languages), and revcom.us worldwide to bring forward another liberating pole for humanity. There are vanguard communist parties in both countries working for real revolution: the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist). Making revolution is a serious and difficult challenge, but it is possible and the only REAL way to break out of the “alternatives” presented by the rulers of the U.S. or the Islamic Republic of Iran.

~~~~~~~~~~

See also:

"Background and Perspective: U.S.-Iran Negotiations Reportedly Coming to a Head"

"Basic Points of Revolutionary Orientation for the Rapidly Changing Situation in the Middle East"

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/the-two-outmodeds-and-tens-of-millions-of-refugees-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

The "Two Outmodeds" and Tens of Millions of Refugees

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Syrian refugee camp in Jordan
Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. More than 750,000 Syrians, displaced by the conflict in their country, are refugees in Jordan. (Photo: UNHCR)

 

The intensifying clash of two outmoded reactionary forces—U.S. imperialism and Islamic jihad—has driven tens of millions from their homes into hellish refugee camps.

* Syria—As of the end of 2014, 11.6 million Syrians had been displaced from their homes, 7.6 million within the country and another 3.9 driven outside Syria.

* Afghanistan—3.7 million people have been driven from their homes.

* Iraq—An estimated 5 million people have been displaced from their homes.

 

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/from-a-reader-for-the-rcp-publications-fund-drive-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

From a reader, for the RCP Publications Fund Drive

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: This letter was transcribed from a verbal statement by the author.

 

Hi Revolution/Revcom.us,

I have been putting in $5.00 for the newspaper each month. Well I’m not gonna lie—I was doing it , but not being real regular, but now I’m going to make it regular and jack it up to $10.00/month. I’ve been passing out the Revolution newspaper at different places I go to in Oakland—people like the pictures and I see that they read some of the articles too. One thing that really tripped me out was I saw on a map that 179 countries all over the world go to this revcom.us website. I was with my friend sittin’ around in a coffee shop and I was looking at the names of all the different countries and putting the dots to show people where it is. Damn—the world is really big place—never realize that it was SO big! Anyway—to make a long story short—I’ve been collecting soda cans to raise the money. This last time, we took the whole bag to a place in East Oakland where they pay a higher price—but they won’t let people with their buggies go inside. What kind of shit is that? Things are set up to make it hard for the poor people to be able to go there. They have to carry big bags of stuff and walk it over there.

For whole bag—we got $12.14. It’s enough to do the $10.00 for July and a few dollars left over to buy the stamps to send in the money. Doing this is a really good thing because we can let people know in other parts of the world what’s really going on. I say “really” going on, because there’s a lot of bullshit that people get from the news or the streets that’s not all the way true. Like—they try to say that when people rose up off the police killing in Baltimore—they tried to get people to think that people were stealing drugs just to get high. We need to get the story straight on that one—they was actually trying to make sure people get the medication they need. And the other thing is that racist guy that killed Black people in North Carolina, this newspaper/website lets people in countries like Brazil, Iraq and other places know that that kind of shit ain’t gone away in this country yet. That kind of shit reminds me of the days of the Ku Klux Klan in the South back in those days of slavery. And then there are good things that people need to know about—that people are standing up to this shit. Then, they also get to know about revolution. You know, if you’re talking about a getting to the bottom of what’s happening...you also need to have some other thing that you point how to get rid of the whole setup.

And another thing is that I’ve been passing out a gang of those cards all over Oakland with different quotes of that book—BAsics by Bob Avakian. Myself. I don’t read real good—so just passing out the cards with the words on it is a good thing—most people take them. I’m also learning how to read from that book—like that one about slavery at the beginning of the book. If someone says a few words and then I repeat them, that’s how I read them. Then, we get to talking about it.

That’s it for now. I’m thinking about getting a partna of mine to do this with me. He already donated $10.00—he makes a living by turning in cans and gets $400/month. Then we can send in the money together. My friend showed me how to buy a money order at the check  cashing place—just like how I used to do to pay the rent every month and put it in an envelope with a stamp to turn in. We also made a few of these envelopes with the stamps already on them. For 'sho—we gotta keep that money rolling in, we 'sho as hell don’t want those people in those countries around the world to wake up one day...and don’t see the website/newspaper anymore.

Have a nice day,

A reader

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/thoughts-off-talking-to-a-revolutionary-minded-student-about-bernie-sanders-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

From a reader, July 12, 2015:

Thoughts off talking to a revolutionary-minded student about Bernie Sanders

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I had a chance to talk recently to a young African-American student who has been seriously getting into BA and the revolution. He burns with desire to end all the oppression this system rains down on people and he clearly sees the need for a revolution. And he is anxious to learn more about how to do that. So the other day, when the topic of Bernie Sanders came up, he said that he gets confused when he thinks about Bernie Sanders. On one hand, he knows that Bernie Sanders is not a revolutionary and it will take a revolution to end all the horrors that flow from capitalism. But on the other hand, the student said, he finds himself liking some of the things that Bernie Sanders says—like free health care and education for all and breaking down inequality. So he asked me if there might not be something good that could come from supporting Bernie Sanders.

Order Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

Read online

Listen to MP3:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Good question, I said. And I responded that first, while the things that Bernie Sanders said and the student liked are important concerns, they are not the most essential concerns that need to be addressed. I pointed to uprooting white and male supremacy, ending the U.S. plunder of the world, and stopping the destruction of the environment. The whole thing has to be transformed or we are not going to get anywhere. Even if you could make a little progress for a while on some of the things that Bernie Sanders is championing, the overall system of capitalism would still be in place, with its dog-eat-dog competition for profit and domination still grinding up lives and destroying spirits. And any “progress” made in the U.S. would come at the cost of great suffering by the oppressed of the world.

The student said he appreciated this because he kind of already knew this, but it was important to hear the point made. But I said there is still the question of why he was pulled by what Bernie Sanders is saying. I said that I thought it came, at least in part, from a view of “politics” that reduces it to material needs―like wages, social services, legal protections, etc. I said that this view has a long and problematic history on the left and even among communists. It is not that these things aren’t part of what a revolution needs to address. They are necessary, but they are not sufficient. If material needs are all that the revolution addresses, it will leave many of the social, cultural and ideological needs of the revolution unmet. Instead, this approach basically reduces people to “walking stomachs,” as opposed to full human beings who need to be emancipated in all ways. This is the point that BA makes in the Dialogue with Cornel West where he says that while he is not religious, he does agree with Cornel that “man cannot live by bread alone.” And BA goes on to stress the importance of the revolution meeting the needs of all humans to engage in art and culture and to experience awe and wonder.

Going back to Bernie Sanders, I also pointed out that NO good can come from supporting him—only great harm. This raised the student’s eyebrows. Great harm—what do you mean?

I explained that you have to be scientific and go back and look at the role that numerous Bernie Sanders-like candidates have played over countless decades in holding this capitalist-imperialist system together—Eugene McCarthy, Ralph Nader, Bill Bradley, Dennis Kucinich—just to name a few. While their programs have differed somewhat due to the different conditions of their times, they have all had one thing in common. They have all appealed to progressive people who are alienated from “politics as usual” and held out to them the promise that at least some of their concerns could be met through working within the electoral process (and by implication, within the rules of the capitalist-imperialist system). And in this way, many, many people who were losing all faith in the system and potentially going over to the side of much more radical change have been drawn back into the killing confines of the system—working for and supporting some “people’s candidate” and rekindling the illusion that some good will come out of that.

In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Todd Gitlin (a founder of SDS back in the 1960s) laid out some of this history of Bernie Sanders and his predecessors and lauded them as “the left wing of the possible” (using a quote from the activist Michael Harrington). This quote concentrates exactly why candidates like Bernie Sanders play such a harmful role. The quote implies (without even having to say it) that what is possible is what already exists—capitalism-imperialism. And the best you can do is try and reform this system—to sand down some of its rough edges. But that is a lie—a huge lie that hangs over and suffocates humanity like a cloud of poisonous gas. Capitalism-imperialism is NOT all that is possible. There is a whole other way that the world could be and there is a revolutionary path for humanity to get there charted by BA. The problem is that most people still don’t know about it. Instead of challenging people to raise their sights—to learn about and engage BA and his liberating new synthesis of communism, campaigns like Bernie Sanders’ drag people’s sights down—in the name of being “practical” and “realistic”—sucking them back into playing by the rules of this oppressive system.

And let’s be honest about this. While there is certainly a lot of deception going on by the ruling class of this country in creating space for candidates like Bernie Sanders to sow their illusions, there is also a lot of SELF-DECEPTION on the part of many “progressive” people who support these candidates. How many times do people have to be let down by these candidates (remember Obama and “hope you can believe in” in 2008) or have these candidates shunted aside as “not viable” as elections go down to the wire before they sum up that they are being played? How many times before they realize that this is not a strategy to end any form of oppression in any fundamental way? How many times before they confront that after all these attempts over all these years to elect all these progressive candidates, the system of capitalism-imperialism is not only still firmly in control but has become even more oppressive, exploitative and destructive on a world scale?

These “progressive” people remind me of a reference BA made to one of the Charlie Brown cartoons where Lucy says she will hold the football for Charlie while he tries to kick a field goal. But just as Charlie approaches the ball, Lucy pulls it away and Charlie falls on his ass. Then the cartoon goes on to repeat this over and over. Each new time, Lucy promises not to pull the ball away and each new time Charlie believes her. But Lucy still pulls the ball away and Charlie ends up on his ass again.

It is time for a lot of progressive people to stop being Charlie Browns and wake up! This system has no solutions for the profound and intensifying problems facing humanity, but the revolution does. Don’t start with how you would “like” things to change. Take an honest look at how this system actually works and what that implies for what is required to change it. Throw off your blinders and get into BA! A whole better world really is possible and you need to be part of the solution and not—like Bernie Sanders—part of the problem.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/chicago-bringing-BA-to-the-grateful-dead-fare-thee-well-tour-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

Chicago: Bringing BA to the Grateful Dead "Fare Thee Well" Tour

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Grateful Dead Fare-Thee-Well tour in Chicago
Photos: Special to revcom.us

It was the July 4 weekend and a crew of revolutionaries donned BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts, grabbed bags of new BA quote and Dialogue palm cards and literature and jumped on the train to Soldier Field in Chicago to the Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” tour. The band dates from the counter-culture of the 1960s, 50 years ago. They hadn’t played together since the band’s famous leader, Jerry Garcia, died in 1995, and these were their final performances ever. Over 210,000 Deadheads descended for three days and many thousands of them came together for hours in the stadium parking lot each day before the 7 pm performances.

Beforehand, we had struggled over whether this should be a key focus of the big July 4 weekend effort to spread the word about Bob Avakian and raise funds to spread BA Everywhere. One hesitation was that part of the well-known Deadhead culture is getting high―would the people be too stoned to notice or engage? But the band and Deadhead community also had a strong element of a communal ethos of sharing and caring, and many of them still hold onto a hope that a better world is possible. This would be favorable, many people would be coming together one last time to try to re-experience that alternative to the dog-eat-dog culture so prevelant in society today. One man in his 40s told us if not for the Grateful Dead and their community he would be dead or in prison. 20+ years ago he was in reform school, he got invited to Grateful Dead concert and it was so loving and caring, he ran away from the reform school and followed the band everywhere. It changed his life. We realized this would be a unique opportunity to make BA and the need for an actual revolution known to tens of thousands of people from all over the country. We decided we needed to be there.

Never having been to a “tailgate party,” we tried to figure out in advance how could we have a big impact on such a huge party crowd. We wanted to draw the attention of tens of thousands, get palmcards into the hands of thousands, stress the importance of people watching the Dialogue video, get into deeper conversations with those who were attracted and to learn about how they are thinking, while aiming to draw into the movement for revolution on-the-spot those who want to be part of it.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION

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

Our eye-catching seven-foot-high foam board display (see photo), had an enlargement of the palmcard quote: “What we need is an actual revolution—and if you agree you need to get to know BA” in the center panel. Next to it was a large posters promoting REVOLUTION AND RELIGION—The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN, and the “Women Are Not Bitches, Hos, Incubators, Punching Bags, Sex Objects or Breeders! Women Are Full Human Beings” poster, the Stolen Lives photos of dozens murdered by police, the Five Stops poster, and the 4th of July quote from Frederick Douglass with the famous photo of the enslaved Gordon. Our crew of 6-7 was eye-catching too in our bright BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts with neon stickers on the front and back. A small table with Revolution newspaper, BAsics, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, the Revolution and Religion Dialogue DVD, and BA Speaks DVD.

A human wave of thousands strolled continuously up and down the aisles of the tailgate lot, socializing, trading stories, buying and selling tie-dye T-shirts, dope, beer, artwork, trinkets. We knew in advance that most of the crowd would be white, but we found that the crowd was literally 99.9 percent white. They came from everywhere—North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Montana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Seattle, California as well as all over the Midwest—many from smaller communities. A key goal was signing up people for e-subscriptions to Revolution newspaper.

We were the only political group there (no Bernie Sanders, no environmentalists or NGOs or community groups of any kind) and yet we became an integral part of the whole scene, welcomed and appreciated by many, eyed curiously by others. However, soon after we arrived on Saturday, four security people (one armed) descended on our table, threatening to kick us out for having donation cans. This was outrageous and clearly an attempt at political suppression since everybody around us was selling things and security hadn’t kicked them out. A number of concerned tailgate “neighbors,” including a lawyer and a law student, came over to show support, videotape the interaction, and tell the security to back off. People told us they thought we were being harassed because we were revolutionaries. Other people came afterwards to tell us they would support us if security came back.

Basically, security did back off, but on the second day a crew came back and said they didn’t want to see any money changing hands. All the security people were African-American and mostly young. A couple of the revolutionaries decided to struggle with them about what this revolution was about and why we needed to raise funds to get BA and this revolution out in society, and why they should support this and not enforce the bullshit “rules.” They listened and got into it and ended up thanking us for telling them.

Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well tour, Chicago

Our “Revolution site” was a center of constant activity. We got out over 4,500 palm cards, many to people who were sharing them with their partner or group. Mainly the people who took cards did so as they walked by; the display caught the eye of a wide range of people and a constant stream stopped to inquire and share their thoughts. 100 people signed up for e-subscriptions to revcom.us and we got $260 in cash donations. There were several people who approached us with cash in hand who thanked us profusely for being there. There was some serious interest in BAsics and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

There were several approaches in taking out the two palm cards. We gave out both simultaneously. Some of us led with the Dialogue card first, others with the BA quotes. We found people responded favorably to the words, “What we need is an actual revolution”... with an emphasis on “actual”... and “if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.” There were many people passing by who reached back to get the cards from that introduction. If they stopped, we turned to the Dialogue palm card as well to show them who BA and Cornel are and the significance of their Dialogue. We urged them to be part of the 1,000 showings of the DVD and they could start with the short trailer. We were struck that among those who stopped to actually talk, most did not know who Cornel West is (more than 75 percent), and the ones who knew of him tended to be older. Very few people knew who Bob Avakian is, and it was interesting that those who did know of him tended to know about him through hearing about the Dialogue, from personal connections to Cornel or people who went to the Dialogue or they knew of him from the ’60s. Several of them had watched parts of the Dialogue online.

When the crowds were thickest, it was hard for people to stop and talk as the crowd kept pushing them forward. Still, there were many who heard this was about an “actual revolution” in which there was a leader and a strategy, who reached out for the palm cards. Many people in this crowd were earnest in their interest in the revolution. Questions ranged from “who/what is BA?” “What kind of revolution? Are you talking about a violent revolution? Communist revolution??!!” “Wasn’t being a good person the best way to change the world?” “Can’t capitalism be regulated? Reformed?” “Could you really defeat them?” We encountered a small trend of people whose response to the palm card “Revolution and Religion” was to refuse it because they thought we were promoting a religious revolution: “I’m opposed to religion,” “if this is about Jesus, forget it.” We explained that BA is a revolutionary communist leader about emancipating all of humanity, including from religion, and that Cornel West is a revolutionary Christian. And while BA and CW have a lot of principled struggle over their differences on religion, they have a lot of unity about the need to put an end to the suffering of people and destruction of the planet. We pointed out that this is a huge question in the world today, and in this country any real revolution would need to have a lot of religious people in it. We urged them to watch the video online. People said they hadn’t thought about that because they hadn’t ever really thought about a real revolution happening.

There was an intense response from a smaller number of people to the murder of Black people by police and reactionaries. The Stolen Lives poster was a magnet for them and some (these were all white people) poured out their hearts and their hatred of this genocidal program and the role of the police in it and others expressed shock at the number of people murdered. Some people had been part of the protests nationwide. These were the people who responded most strongly to the quote from BA on what beauty could be brought forth by Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end to this system. One 30ish man from Baltimore said he felt that the uprising of the Black youth there was a beautiful thing. A young man from Milwaukee who has supported the fight for justice for Dontre Hamilton (a mentally ill Black man shot 14 times by a cop), said he was so happy that people rose up in Baltimore and thought it is going to take a revolution and what kind of revolution were we talking about? A ’60s defense lawyer said he’s spent his whole career defending people from the police and it’s intolerable. A law student said the whole reason he’s going to law school and willing to rack up a debt of $150K is so he can go after abusive and murderous cops. Several people told us their own experiences with police brutality, one young guy said his brother’s whole leg is filled with surgical metal reinforcement from a police beating. We opened the pages of the current newspaper to the #RiseUpOctober events.

The poster “Women Are Not Bitches, Hos, Incubators, Punching Bags, Sex Objects or Breeders! Women are Full Human Beings!” brought the most polarized response both days. It stirred up excitement among some women. One woman read it really loud to the crowd and said, “Shit yah!” “I love what you’re doing about women!” exclaimed a woman from a small city in Wisconsin who insisted on buying the poster and waving it around for friends to see. She was thrilled to learn of the whole End Pornography and Patriarchy movement. The poster caused visible struggle among the people themselves walking by, including a number of couples broke into immediate arguments about whether women were oppressed, with some men making derogatory comments or worse and women vehemently disagreeing, some women returned alone later to tell us about the arguments they had been having and their life experiences and how they wanted to learn more. One man pensively stared at the poster for a long time. When asked what was he thinking, he said, “I did all of that to my girlfriend.” “What did she do?” he was asked. “She left me...” He then took two back issues of Revolution newspaper featuring that poster on the back.

The sticker “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology” was controversial. It drew all ages to the table, mostly women but also some men, A 20-year-old woman made a point of hugging people at the table for fighting for the right to abortion, and a 40-year-old woman, whose relative had died from an unsafe abortion, insisted on getting a photo with us and the Abortion On Demand Without Apology stickers to send to her 81-year-old mother in Seattle. One woman read it and asked “are you for or against abortion?” We read it aloud and said “we’re for it, what’s confusing?” She said “I saw that you had ‘religion’ on the poster and so I thought maybe it was a trick—those anti-abortion people try to trick you.” There was also a notable response from people passing by who were startled by it or recoiled from it.

We assessed that beyond those who did take the palm cards or engage us directly, many thousands took note of the basic message. This is part of making BA a household word and getting this revolutionary pole out in the broad debate in society. The fact that our group stood out so much by addressing these big questions for humanity got broad attention, some seriously into it, some who wanted to check it out, some in the form of perplexed or confused looks, some silent or polite rejection, some vocalized disagreement, and a tiny amount of open hostility (a couple people called out “terrorist” in response to “revolution”).

The groups of people who tailgated in our immediate vicinity gave some indication of the broader sentiments. During the afternoon they were watching and trying to figure out what this was about, and by the time the crowd thinned out to get into the stadium most of them had come over to talk, and it was clear they had been paying attention. On Sunday we did get some sense of the impact the day before. A number of people said they had gotten the palm cards on Saturday, and a few said they had already gone online to check it out (noting the video was four hours long) and were going to watch the Dialogue when they could give it the attention it deserves.

One person on the team wrote afterwards, “Spending two days in the midst of a nearly all-white crowd—I had to re-examine my own narrow thinking that middle class white people are too much into their own world to care about larger questions of revolution. The responsibility lies on us to make the connection, fight for a scientific approach and lead them to become fighters for humanity.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/check-it-out-film-jimmys-hall-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

From a reader:

Check it Out: Film "Jimmy's Hall"

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ken Loach, a renowned British film maker (The Wind that Shakes the Barley about the Irish struggle for independence, among others) has a new film, "Jimmy's Hall." It is also set in the years of that struggle, in the 1930s, after a "peace" deal has been struck with Britain. Its hero is an activist who was exiled because of his role in the struggle, and is returning to Ireland, to his home in a small village, after 10 years in New York. The hero, Jimmy Gralton, based on an actual person, is called a communist by others and seems to at least be pretty sympathetic to communism. After the village's youth struggle with him, he re-opens a hall that had been a political and cultural center before he left. The hall, where people hold classes, discuss politics and art, play music and dance, including to the African-American jazz Jimmy has brought back from New York, becomes a lightning rod for the ongoing struggle between the poor in Ireland against not only the British, but the landed gentry and the Catholic Church—against the “masters and the pastors” as one of the villagers puts it. In one scene the people of the Hall have to decide whether to stand with a poor family being evicted and a national movement challenging landowners, a decision with serious implications. The film certainly celebrates the resistance of the people, and there are other interesting and important themes, like the crucial role of art and the "life of the mind" to the struggle of the oppressed, the role of religion and the Church in keeping them down, and others. And the music and cinematography are impressive. Worth seeing, and thinking about.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/396/october-24-tour-people-get-ready-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

 

Which Side Are You On?/Rise Up October Tour:
People Get Ready!

 

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Which Side Are You On?/Rise Up October Tour is on! This is down-on-the-ground work to build up the determination and organization necessary to make October 24 a day when all of society has to confront Which Side Are You On? Are you taking a stand against the epidemic of police terror, or not?

The crew on this tour includes Carl Dix, a co-initiator of the call for October 24 and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Rev Jerome McCorry, the faith advocate of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Nicholas Heyward Sr. and other loved ones of people murdered by police. It will also include young people and others new to the struggle from New York City, Atlanta and Detroit. It will draw in and work closely with people in the cities it stops in.

First stop: Cleveland. Where pigs murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun on a playground. Where 13 police fired 137 times into a stopped car, murdering Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The tour will participate in and challenge activists at the Movement for Black Lives National Convening and network with activists, but most of all they are going to those who live under the most direct police terror every minute of every day of their lives.

As soon as the tour arrives, they will head out to the neighborhoods of those who the police terrorize every day. Those who never know from minute to minute if any encounter with the pigs will end in being killed. Joined by others who live in Cleveland, this crew will get the word out of October 24, calling on and organizing people who seethe with anger and outrage to join them right then and there to stop police terror and leaving new fighters and organization in their wake. 

Along with getting out to the communities, the tour will meet with different activists and organizations and reach out to church congregations. On July 24-26 they will bring October 24 to the Movement for Black Lives National Convening being held in Cleveland, reaching out to all those who are gathering there and calling on and inviting them to organize for and join with thousands of others in this major protest.

On the evening of Wednesday, July 22, the tour will be welcomed at the Manna Church in Cleveland and those on the tour will speak. 

Next Stop: Chicago and then Ferguson, marking the important anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown and the resistance that followed.

Later, the tour aims to go to Baltimore, before the trials begin of the killers of Freddie Gray, all over New York City, and to other major cities.

Get with the tour – (Email: tour@RiseUpOctober.org / Phone: Call 646-709-1961) to join up with the tour or to donate money, housing, and help in any way. Follow the tour: Twitter:@StopMassIncNet

And get ready!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/demanding-justice-for-sandra-bland-and-introducing-revolution-nothing-less-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Demanding Justice for Sandra Bland and Introducing Revolution Nothing Less

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader in Texas:

Over two days last weekend, revolutionaries went to Waller County to take revolution and Rise Up October into the struggle for Justice for Sandra Bland, who was arrested on a traffic stop and died in police custody.

All Photos: Special to revcom.us

Waller County vigil for Sandra Bland

Waller County

Waller County

Waller County

Waller County

On Sunday evening, a vigil for Justice for Sandra Bland was held on the campus of Prairie View A&M, an historically Black university. A crew of revolutionaries from Houston, wearing “BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less” t-shirts, and some SMIN members, marched in with the Stolen Lives banner. People had been sitting around, waiting for something to happen, and this bold action immediately changed the atmosphere. Many came up snapping pictures and wanting to know more. The press, too, focused in on the banner, and it became a fixture of the protest. One of the main organizers asked us to stand with it behind the speakers as a backdrop to the rally. Minister Robert Muhammad, the Southwest Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam, pointed to it in his speech. Everyone was intensely interested in the plans for #RiseUpOctober, eagerly taking flyers, and several contact sheets were filled up with names. Several copies of Revolution got out, and one older man who had been met the day before came looking for more copies of the Stolen Lives centerfold.

The tone of the vigil was a mixture of anger and a deep sense of loss. Every speaker expressed a determination that they will not rest until the truth comes out, and that this is a new generation ready to fight against injustice. They spoke to the inspiration they got from Sandra herself, who was an activist in the struggle. The crowd, overwhelmingly Black students, reflected this as well. There were also people from the community, and a group of mostly white people and their pastor from a Unitarian Church.

Sandra Bland was not some unknown young woman who fell victim to police brutality. She had deep ties on this historically Black campus. Several people spoke with bitterness about the fact that Sandra had done everything this system tells you to do, and still could not escape what it means to be Black in this country. Her friends spoke with courage through the tears. One woman spoke to how she has always been a strong young Black woman, how this had made her afraid for the first time, but that as long as she knows she is with others she will not be afraid.

It was brought out that Prairie View A&M is built on the land of the Alta Vista Plantation, where enslaved Africans toiled from “caint see in the morning, til caint see at night” to build up the wealth of this country. The legacy of that is still at work today, and a new generation is taking up the battle and asking questions that demand answers as to why this is going on and what it will take to put a stop to it.

A crew had come up the day before, and ran into mainly older folks who spoke bitterness of lifetimes living with the deep racism in these small Texas towns. Several of them kept in touch with us about plans in the area the next day, and joined the rally. People were eager to talk about the death of Sandra Bland, and to find out about the revolution. Several got copies of Revolution and gave contact information. One Latino brother gave a donation for everyone to get newspapers, but expressed skepticism that the revolutionaries, mostly white, would stick with the people: “What are you going to do when the police drive up? you are going to leave... you need to go to white folks. we already know...” He was also taken aback that we were atheists. At this, we took out the DVD of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, and showed the clip, “Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?”. People moved closer to hear, and at the end of the piece the one who posed the question was nodding his head, pointing to BA, and said "I like this guy; I like this guy" . Another person said, ”this is very good, very good... they are killing us! they are killing us! Someone has to do something. I am with this,” and said he wanted to come out and protest.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/richard-linyard-didnt-have-to-die-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Richard Linyard didn't have to die.
The whole damn system is guilty!

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club, Bay Area

DOWNLOAD PDF
OF THIS STATEMENT

Our hearts go out to Richard's mother, brother, fiancé, and all his family and friends. No one should have to go through what you all are going through. Rich was 23 years old, full of life with a big smile, an aspiring and talented artist along with his brother, pouring their heart and soul into the music.

Richard Linyard

Now Rich's young life has been cut short after being chased down by Oakland police. The media is saying that he ran after being stopped and then the police found him already dead “wedged between two structures.” Police told his family that he died from choking on vomit. The whole story sounds like bullshit! We know the police lie all the time in order to cover up their brutality and murder. Remember how they tried to say Freddie Gray broke his own neck! Or the story about Victor White, who police said shot himself in the back of a police car while his hands were cuffed behind his back! So what really killed Rich?! Did these pigs choke him to death when they found him hiding? Did they tase him to death?

Even if the police and media story is true, THIS WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM IS STILL TO BLAME! Why did Rich feel like he had to run in the first place?! These police are not here in neighborhoods like East Oakland “serving and protecting” the people. They're out here, like a Runaway Slave Patrol, serving and protecting the system that rules over the people and keeps them in these conditions of poverty. Why do so many have to hustle just to survive in the first place?! This system has no good jobs and no future, besides police terror and mass incarceration, for millions of Black youth. This system has a target on the back of Black and Brown people. WE DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE THIS WAY! Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, has said this:

No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that. (BAsics, 1:13)

There is no necessity for Rich along with countless other young Black males to lose their lives or be forced to live this way! What does it take to truly change all of this? A challenge for all of us, but the possibility exists through a movement of millions for REVOLUTION. We are working today to prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the leadership for the time when thousands can lead millions to go all out to bring this system down. A revolution means getting rid of this dog-eat-dog capitalist-imperialist system, and replacing it with a system in which people’s needs are met and the means to thrive in their full potential are made possible, and a whole new way of organizing society where people contribute by giving back according to their abilities, a system of communism. This movement, the organization and the leadership exist, but it needs YOU to be part of it. Hook up with the Revolution Club. Wear the Revolution—Nothing Less t-shirt and represent for the revolution! Get organized for revolution!

 

revclub.bayarea@gmail.com * 510-830-9650
IG & Twitter: revclub_bay * Facebook: Revolution Club, Bay Area

REVCOM.US

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/cleveland-press-conference-puts-spotlight-on-riseupoctober-to-stop-police-terror-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Cleveland Press Conference Puts Spotlight on
#RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror / Which Side Are You On?

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Participants in Cleveland Press Conference

Participants in the press conference

July 22: The National Tour #RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror / Which Side Are You On? Tour kicked off in Cleveland July 22 with a well-attended press conference that broke into mainstream media. The Press Conference was held at the spot at the Cudell Recreation Center-outdoor shelter where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered by police on November 22, 2014. Watch the entire press conference here.

The press conference attended by Cleveland TV stations: Fox Channel 8; ABC Channel 5; NBC Channel 3; Cleveland.com – website of the Plain Dealer and other outlets; Ideastream.org (the site of the Cleveland NPR station and other media); Revolution newspaper; and blogger Dante Boykin (who posted a video of the entire press conference here) filmed it.

The press conference was MC'd by Turner Fair and speakers included Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Lavitta Murray, an activist against police brutality; Mertilla Jones (grandmother of Aiyana Stanley-Jones) who appeared with her grandson Carlos Jones; Joshua Lopez (whose uncle, John Collado, was unarmed when he was killed by NYPD in 2012); Brenda Bickerstaff whose brother Craig Lamont Bickerstaff was killed Cleveland police; Al Porter representing Black on Black Crime; and Carol Steiner from Puncture the Silence (affiliated with Stop Mass Incarceration Network).

Memorial for Tamir Rice

The memorial for 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the spot where he was murdered by Cleveland Police, and the site of the press conference

Carl Dix at Cleveland Press Conference

Carl Dix at Press Conference

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/who-killed-sandra-bland-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Who Killed Sandra Bland???
This GODDAM System!
We Need Revolution—Nothing Less!

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sandra Bland’s funeral is being held on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Lisle, IL. Wake at 9 a.m. Services at 11 a.m.

This should be the biggest funeral since Emmett Till’s funeral in Chicago almost 60 years ago after his murder by white racists in Mississippi.

By being there you are extending condolences to Sandra’s family and friends for their loss.

By being there you are standing against this egregious killing at the hands of the police.

By being there you are saying we refuse to live in a society that does this to African Americans.

Gather your friends and attend together. Cars are leaving from Revolution Books, 1103 N. Ashland Ave., 8 a.m. on 7/25. (for info call 773- 489-0930)

Sandra Bland

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Sandra Bland was a young Black woman full of life who had her whole life ahead of her. She was driving in the middle of the day on her way to start a new job at the university where she had recently graduated from, Prairie A&M in Texas. Then out of nowhere, she was pulled over on July 10, for failing to signal a lane change. Bullied and then dragged out of her car, a Texas trooper threatened her with a taser, “I will light you up.” Sandra was slammed to the ground, brutalized, and arrested. And the whole world can see this on video.

Here is the truth. Sandra Bland was alive, well, happy and vibrant when the police stopped her and started brutalizing and abusing her and then found dead in a Waller County jail cell three days later, just hours before she was to be bailed out. The authorities have no good explanation. She never should have been stopped or arrested in the first place!!

This Texas pig was enforcing the rules of a system that has no value for the lives of Black people and Black women in particular and that reacts with particular vengeance and violence against those like Sandra who refuse to "know their place" as this system defines it.

This is also a profound truth: The blood of Sandra Bland is on the hands of the police and prison authorities—ENFORCERS OF THIS SYSTEM—and those they actually "serve and protect"—the rulers of this system.

Since the killing of Sandra Bland, police have killed people at a rate of approximately 1 every 5 hours in this country. This is a nationwide epidemic of police terror and murder.

We need to urgently act to stop this police terror. We are actively building for the national October 24, 2015 protest in NYC—“Rise Up October” to stop police terror called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. And also those of us who are revolutionaries are urgently getting people organized for an actual revolution, which is what it will take to finally and fully uproot the centuries of oppression Black people have faced, along with all the other crimes committed by this system here and around the world. You need to get with this revolution and learn about it—why it’s necessary, why it’s possible and what it is all about. You need to know there is a leader, Bob Avakian who has done the work on how we can bring into being a radically different and better world. Go to www.revcom.us to learn more.

Revolutionary Communist Party, Chicago Branch

For more information, go to www.revcom.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/again-police-murder-black-man-in-cincinnati-for-alleged-missing-license-tag-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

AGAIN! This Time Police Murder a Black Man in Cincinnati for an Alleged Missing License Tag

July 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Students and relatives of Samuel Dubose protest his murder by police at the University of Cincinnati

Students and relatives of Samuel Dubose protest his murder by police at the University of Cincinnati. Photo: @USATODAY

Yet again! Another Black man murdered by police for an alleged minor traffic violation! On Sunday, July 19, a University of Cincinnati cop stopped 43-year-old Samuel Dubose supposedly for a missing license tag. Before the encounter was over, the cop shot Samuel Dubose in the head, killing him. Police claim Dubose was driving away. First, who believes anything the police say? But what if he was? Is it a crime to drive away from a “driving while Black” traffic stop that could lead to your death at the hands of police!? And is there a death penalty for that!?

The murderer is on administrative leave with pay – a paid vacation reward for murdering an unarmed Black man!

Samuel Dubose's mother, Audrey, said he was "full of love." His nine-year-old son, also named Samuel, told a Cincinnati TV station that his father "was coming home that night and we had a projector so we were going to watch a movie on it but we didn't get to do that ... because he died."

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/be-eyes-and-ears-for-revolution-revcom-on-saturday-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

Be Eyes and Ears for Revolution/revcom.us on Saturday

July 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Chicago! New York! Baltimore! Cleveland! Texas...! And wherever you are: Revolution needs to hear from you during and after Saturday's protests against the system's crimes that led to the death of Sandra Bland (see Who Killed Sandra Bland??? This GODDAM System! We Need Revolution—Nothing Less!)

Keep it simple:

  1. Share your cell photos and links to videos you upload to YouTube and other sites by sending the photos or links to revolution.reports@yahoo.com along with a few words telling us what this is a picture of (city, place, time, what people are doing).

  2. Help paint a picture of who is protesting and why with these four questions:
    1. What made you come out here today?
    2. What do you think needs to be done right now?
    3. Have you heard about the call for #October 24 – for an Outpouring Against Police Murder? What are you planning to do? (If people haven't heard send them to revcom.us or stopmassincarceration.net.)
    4. What do you think it will take to really end the epidemic of police terror once and for all?

      And send your notes to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

  3. Give us a way to stay in touch with you.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/august-9-mark-the-anniversary-of-the-police-murder-of-mike-brown-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

August 8-10: Mark the Anniversary of the Police Murder of Mike Brown and the Heroic Uprising that Followed:
It Was – AND IS – Right to Rebel!!

July 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 9, it will be one year since a Ferguson, Missouri, cop, Darren Wilson executed Michael Brown for walking in the middle of the day on a sleepy street. Mike Brown was unarmed, running away, and had his hands up when he was shot multiple times and then his body was left lying dead in the street for four-and-a-half hours.

Day — And Still the Killer Cop Walks Free

This brutal murder was met with outrage. For days and then weeks people took to the streets with defiance, rage, and righteous rebellion. People insisted on their rights and defended those rights in the street. Without the rebellion, this terrible state-done murder would just be another rerun of the same old, all-too-familiar story, the same murderous stuff that happens to Black and Latino youths over and over again. Very few people would have shared the grief of his parents for the terrible loss of this young man, at the very beginning of his life. The defiance and righteous rebellion challenged people all over the country to get off the sidelines and stand with those refusing to take this any longer. 

Take even four-and-a-half minutes to think about what those days looked like. Go back and look at the photographs of the hundreds and then thousands who took a stand. Hundreds of students dramatizing “hands up, don't shoot!” on college campuses; demonstrations and die-ins all across the country; major roads, freeways, bridges, and public transportation shut down; people from all over the world traveling to Ferguson; a requiem, “Which Side Are You On,” stopping the performance of the St. Louis symphony. The St. Louis Rams football team under stadium lights with their hands up.  Beautiful works of art – paintings, songs and poetry expressed the pain and rage. Even the Christmas holiday season was heralded by waves of protests often overshadowing shopping at shrines to capitalism like the Mall of America and Fifth Ave. as the police who killed Eric Garner on July 17 of the same year also went unindicted by a New York City grand jury.

These slides are from the immediate aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown.

Without the defiance in Ferguson, very few would know the name Mike Brown. It is also very likely that very few people would know the names of many others – all those who when taken together repeatedly paint a picture that shows that this wasn't an isolated incident in Missouri. In reality, every town had a Mike Brown and often more than one: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tony Robinson, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and many, many more. The names and faces of those killed, the sorrow of friends and families, was staggering when the enormity of the crimes being committed by the armed enforcers of the state was exposed to the light of day.

From the very beginning, the powers-that-be – from the local authorities on up to Obama – were terrified of the defiance in Ferguson. The rulers of this white supremacist-capitalist system attacked this struggle physically and through the media. These same rulers – these people who rain violence down all over the world and in the ghettos and barrios to defend their system – these very same people told the people to be non-violent and to walk around in circles in the face of armed assault, and then attacked anyone who upheld the right of people to NOT lay down in the face of this. But the people stood up – strong and fierce and in doing so brought many people into the struggle on their side. The heart and courage to stand up in the face of tear gas, tanks, rubber bullets, and live machine guns, curfews... in the face of the National Guard... in the face of 100s of arrests... in the face of political firemen urging the people to be calm while the police murder people over and over – this was new and inspiring.  

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. Watch the entire film here.

The authorities stalled for months, taking the case of Darren Wilson's murder of Mike Brown to a grand jury, hoping people's determination and attention would wane. Instead, the protesters persevered, often in creative ways to take the struggle to sporting events, insisting all of society confront this injustice. People from all over the country joined with them. After all this, when it was so clear that Mike Brown had been murdered by a cop in broad daylight in front of many witnesses – when the grand jury refused to issue an indictment of Darren Wilson for ANY crime – it was too much and Ferguson erupted for a second time, and this time a much, much bigger section of society went into upheaval.

This was followed by another major assault on the whole struggle in May of this year, this time by the Department of Justice (DOJ) report on Ferguson. Rather than have a trial to determine what happened, the Department of IN-Justice backed the local district attorney and declared that those who said Mike Brown did NOT have his hands up were telling the truth, and that the other witnesses who said that Mike DID have his hands up were lying (this included  not only people from Ferguson, but also two white construction workers who were captured on video witnessing the murder AS IT TOOK PLACE). 

As many eyewitnesses 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.

A really chilling (and worse) verdict issued by the DOJ report is concentrated in this one sentence: "There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety."

Not only was this a callous upholding of Mike Brown's murder, this was the Black U.S. attorney general telling police EVERYWHERE how they could get away with cold-blooded murder, especially of Black people, even if you're found to be in a racist police department. Just say you subjectively believe that you feared for your safety. Your belief could be completely irrational, and you can still kill with impunity. You can be a racist mf'er who thinks that all Black people by definition are a threat to your safety, and you can kill with impunity, and the Justice Department will clear you.

Everything we have said above – the real role of the struggle and why it brought out so many people and set off a whole new stage of things, how the IN-Justice Department report was a lie, and so on – all this is true. And those who are trying to erase this or turn it into something different are full of it.

It is important that on the weekend of August 8-10, the anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown, people stand firmly and publicly manifest that the verdict rendered by the people, that those who took to the streets of Ferguson in righteous and defiant rebellion and protest night after night, was true – Mike Brown did not have to die. It was right for the people of Ferguson to rebel and people everywhere are proud of them for rising up. On August 8-10, if you can come to Ferguson and join the events of the anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder, we urge you to do so. But wherever you are, join with others to say we stand with the defiant ones in Ferguson – they were right. The DOJ was wrong – Mike Brown should not have been murdered by the police. HANDS UP! DON'T SHOOT! Fuck the DOJ!

The struggle in Ferguson opened a crack in the coffin where America has buried alive whole sections of Black and Latino youths and the struggle over the last year has widened the crack further. WE WILL NOT GO BACK. All the forms of attack deployed against this struggle as it mushroomed from Ferguson to Baltimore – all the forms of attack from tanks and bullets, slanders and lies to trying to discredit it, massive arrests and dragnets, crumbs and sugar-coated bullets to try and derail and channel/force/co-opt the struggle back into safe outlets that don't continue the fight to stop the police murders and terror – all this must be opposed, and we have to come back even stronger. This is what we intend to do October 22-24 in Rise Up October. We cannot and will not allow this to be “sealed” back up or the oxygen will go out of our collective lungs. No, we will reach out even wider and bring many, many more into the streets and change the face of this whole country.

How many more lives will be ground up? The murdering police are still in the streets and this must be stopped now. There is no middle ground in this struggle. At Ferguson 2015, this stand must be very clear and infuse everything:

MICHAEL BROWN WAS MURDERED – NEVER FORGIVE! NEVER FORGET!
HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!

And this in turn must be part of compelling ALL of society to rise to this challenge:

STOP POLICE TERROR: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/letter-from-a-reader-on-the-new-synthesis-of-communism-by-bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #396 July 20, 2015

“THE NEW SYNTHESIS OF COMMUNISM: FUNDAMENTAL ORIENTATION, METHOD AND APPROACH, AND CORE ELEMENTS,” by Bob Avakian—A Unique and Historic Document

Letter from a Reader

July 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

My immediate response upon reading this document was to be tremendously impressed by the sweep and scope of the new synthesis of communism in all its many dimensions, and to think that we really need to get this document out far and wide (and also use it extensively in our boxing–our ideological struggle—with individuals and with other trends). Although others have written articles or given speeches aimed at summarizing the new synthesis of communism, this document is unique because this is Bob Avakian (BA) himself outlining in a very concentrated way what he considers the core elements of this new synthesis of communism, those areas where he has made the most significant and most path-breaking advances in our science. 

When you understand the emphasis that BA has put on developing a more thoroughly scientific method and approach and then can see the application of this method and approach reflected in significant theoretical breakthroughs in relation to so many elements (and these are only the core elements and not a comprehensive list of all the elements where he has charted new theoretical territory!), you can’t help but recognize and appreciate the extent to which BA has revolutionized communism by putting it on a more scientific foundation. As a result of this theoretical work that he has done over decades, BA is indeed “ushering in a whole new phase of the communist revolution and a whole new conception of the kind of society and world we need to be building for the benefit of humanity” (to quote from our website).  

This document drives home the tremendous potential that the new synthesis of communism holds to emancipate humanity, and I couldn’t help but think what a crime it is that this new synthesis of communism isn’t more widely known and embraced here and throughout the world. I think that this document could have a powerful positive impact in turning that situation around and opening people’s eyes to why we say that BA is a great communist leader on the level of Marx, Lenin, and Mao. In regards to boxing and addressing those in other trends or those who are simply skeptics about BA, I say, “You want evidence of why we consider BA a rare, precious, and irreplaceable communist leader? Start by reading this document, and then tell me of anyone else in the world today who even begins to come close to grappling with the questions outlined here with the same sweep and with the same depth and substance and with the same seriousness that BA has. He has dedicated his life to this, and spent decades developing this new synthesis of communism—and is continuing to do so.”

Although I have read this document a few times, I feel that I have only scratched the surface. When I first read the document, what especially stood out to me was the significance of the advances/ruptures in relation to all the areas that are outlined. Specifically, I considered how radical and new the conceptual understanding forged by BA on each of these elements is; the ways in which this understanding builds on, and at the same time in some significant ways diverges from, what has historically been the thinking around these elements within the communist movement; and also the profound implications that this new, more dialectical and more materialist, understanding of all this has for our entire project. I also reflected on why these advances/ruptures are so often undervalued, and what this has to do with the denigration of theory, as well as the phenomenon of sights of so many being so lowered from the truly radical and historic leap that is represented by an actual revolution aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free of all exploitation and oppression.

Even though the various core elements of the new synthesis, as indicated in this Outline by BA, are extremely wide ranging, what has stood out to me more than ever is the overall coherency of the new synthesis of communism. I think that this is an important point that is not well understood, and I wanted to briefly comment on this. This coherency clearly stems from BA’s consistent grounding in a scientific method and approach, which I have gained a deeper appreciation for over the course of the Cultural Revolution within the RCP, and most recently from this document and also the Interview with Ardea Skybreak. I feel that this Outline (in combination with that Skybreak Interview) has contributed to giving me (and presumably others) a more synthesized understanding of the interrelationship of the many layers and dimensions of the new synthesis of communism and how these different parts mesh together to form an integrated and coherent  whole. This understanding stands in marked contrast to a more mechanical and linear approach, which tends to view each particular theoretical breakthrough in isolation, divorced from other core elements or from the underlying scientific method and approach.    

The more that I have read (and re-read) this document, the more that it has caused me not only to think about the profound and qualitative leap represented by the new synthesis of communism, but also to reflect once again on what we have in BA and his leadership, and how precious he is to the masses of the world. Put bluntly, without the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, we would not have the theoretical understanding required to emancipate humanity and forge a communist world. Those with responsibility to lead a communist revolution might still be well-intentioned, but we would be flailing, mired in idealism and continually pulled down in the undertow of various bourgeois-democratic, economist and reformist, and nationalist tendencies, unable to recognize how corrosive such tendencies are to making a communist revolution and advancing to a communist world. 

In reading this document, I was reminded of a statement made by BA that he doesn’t set out to write a great work; instead he proceeds from the orientation of meeting a great need. As this document demonstrates, this orientation has led to his wrestling with the thorniest contradictions that we face—and in the process, challenging the method and approach, and thinking on key political and ideological questions, that currently prevails within the communist movement. Furthermore, I think it is important to recognize that he has had to show tremendous perseverance and determination, because at every turn he has been met with resistance and outright opposition, as well as venom directed at him personally.      

It definitely does need to be said out loud: Thank you, BA for all that you have done and that you continue to do! The possibility of making an actual revolution and forging a new communist world has been greatly heightened as a direct result of the new synthesis of communism that you have developed, and are continuing to work to further develop, while providing leadership to the revolutionary struggle on so many crucial fronts.