Revolution #401, August 24, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

How Long Will These Crimes Go On? There IS a Way Out! Revolution—Nothing Less!

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This online and print issue of revcom.us/Revolution newspaper marks two anniversaries in the history of this country and looks to momentous struggles ahead, working toward the time when we can make revolution and emancipate humanity.

Sixty years ago, in late August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till whistled at a white woman leaving a store in Mississippi and “paid” for this with his life. He was beaten by white racists until he was almost unrecognizable and then shot, his body left under a bridge. The outrage over his murder spread throughout the country and around the world. Check out what Bob Avakian (BA) says about this murder.

Ten years ago, close to 100,000 people were left to try to survive in New Orleans facing extreme conditions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina... no clean water, no food, people stranded on rooftops or locked in prisons, people dying and bodies floating in the floodwaters. Abandoned people fought together to survive in life-threatening conditions. People around the country saw this happening and were outraged, and many tried to help. Yet, at every turn, they were met by the armed repression of this system's brutal military, police, and racist vigilantes. All this gives a sense of both the need--and the potential--for a real revolution and a whole different kind of society than the profit-above-all system we live under.

How long must we tolerate these and other crimes that still continue—when at this point in human history, the world does not have to be like this,and there is a way out through revolution and building a whole new society? Read the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America to concretely see how a new society can be built and all of society can be transformed to end oppression and exploitation.

Look, people: this is a capitalist-imperialist system founded on slavery and the genocide of Native Americans. A system that has always oppressed and exploited Black people, from the days of slavery down through the days of Jim Crow, and that continues today in the New Jim Crow that incarcerates 2.3 million people and under which millions of Black and Latino people struggle to survive in the face of a thousand abuses. Think about Sandra Bland being stopped for allegedly failing to signal a lane change, being jailed, and ending up dead in her cell. Revcom.us/Revolution speaks to this every day and “brings alive a scientific analysis of major events in society and the world—why they are happening, how different events and developments relate to each other, how all this relates to the system we live under, where people’s interests lie in relation to all this, how revolution is in fact the solution to all this and what the goals of that revolution are, how different viewpoints and programs relate, positively or negatively, to the revolution that is needed, and how people can move, and are moving, to build toward that revolution.”

The murders of Black and Latino people by police continue daily, and people protest in city after city. Society has begun to cleave apart. But much more is needed. All those who agonize with each murder, who hate what is happening and want to see it end, must stand up and say No More! This shit, the daily murders of people, must stop. And that takes action on the part of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions. It’s time for people throughout society as a whole to stand up together, at one time, in one place. It’s time for people to take decisive action to stop police terror. With this issue, we point to Rise Up October and the call for thousands to flood the streets of New York City October 22-24: Stop Police Terror—Which Side Are You On?

"What if?...."

Clip from REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

Watch the whole film

Featured in this issue are quotes from Bob Avakian—BA—the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who is leading a movement for a real revolution. He has forged a way out of this horror and oppression, a revolution and then going on to bring into being a world where there is no more oppression and exploitation of any group of people, where all humanity is emancipated. In speaking to the statement from BA that appears on the back page of this paper this week, Andy Zee of Revolution Books New York City said: “Something beautiful—a world with a radically different economy, with different values, a different form of government, social relations, and whole new way of thinking grounded in knowing the world as it actually is and transforming it with the aim of not only meeting the needs of the people of the world and protecting the environment for future generations... and all this is grounded in the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian which is not only a goal and the mission of a party and movement with a strategy to achieve that goal... it is most of all a scientific method and approach to probe, engage, understand and transform reality.”

Online and in the pages of this paper, people will learn about the campaign to get BA Everywhere and the day when people across the country stepped into the revolution wearing the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts.

5 Stops

Again and again, come back to the question: How long must these crimes go on? On page 16, we are publishing the “5 Stops.” Think about them. They concentrate key fault lines in society and key fronts of struggle that get to the heart of what’s wrong with this system. The oppression and brutality Black and Latino people face in the U.S. is just one of the horrors perpetrated by a country whose crimes surpass those of any empire in history. It doesn’t have to be this way. Another world IS possible.

There is a way out, a revolutionary path developed by Bob Avakian and the Party he leads. Learn about this here, today, connect with the revolution, and then join with it in the ways you can.

This issue of Revolution is aimed at introducing all those who are reading it to the need for and possibility of revolution and a whole new way. Spread the website revcom.us to everyone you know. Grab up bundles of the print issue and distribute them on campuses and in communities across this country. Be part of making Rise Up October what it can and needs to be.

 

 


 

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Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Bob Avakian on "Emmett Till and Jim Crow: Black people lived under a death sentence"

An excerpt from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, by Bob Avakian

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Emmett Till

Emmett Till
1941-1955

 

 


 

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Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Hurricane Katrina & the Crimes of a Genocidal System

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People in New Orleans who were abandoned by the system carry their possessions through the flooded streets, August 31, 2005.

It is ten years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf coast­—the true story of Katrina reveals the utterly worthless nature of this system and why and how things do not have to be like this. Above: People in New Orleans who were abandoned by the system carry their possessions through the flooded streets, August 31, 2005. (AP photo)

SWAT team drives past flood victims waiting at the Convention Center in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005.

People herded into a virtual concentration camp at the Superdome.Up to 20,000 people were subjected to slave ship conditions at the Superdome and Convention Center. People were herded in and locked up to wait to be evacuated, treated -- not like victims who had just experienced a horrible natural disaster, with many not even knowing the fate of other family members—but like prisoners and animals, subjected to the most inhumane, unsanitary conditions, having to face National Guard troops with assault rifles, ready to shoot.

Above: a SWAT team drives past flood victims waiting at the Convention Center in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005. Right: people herded into a virtual concentration camp at the Superdome. (AP photos)

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans. This was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. But what followed was far worse.

Hurricane Katrina was a ferocious storm. It brought terrible destruction to the Gulf Coast from central Florida to Texas. The greatest destruction, suffering, and death occurred in New Orleans. The suffering was not, overwhelmingly, a result of the storm itself. The problem was that levees that were supposed to hold back the sea in New Orleans had essentially been abandoned by the government and were no match for the storm surge that followed the hurricane. 1,833 people on the Gulf Coast died as a result of the storm and its aftermath. In New Orleans, 134,000 housing units—70 percent of the total—were damaged.

In the richest country on the planet, survivors—overwhelmingly Black and poor—were left to die. Bodies floated in the water for days and weeks. Thousands of Black people were locked down in the New Orleans Superdome in conditions reminiscent of slave ships. In the richest country in the world, abandoned New Orleans looked like an impoverished Third World country.

The sight of people standing on their floodwater-surrounded roofs with signs demanding “Help Us!” and not getting help... the way the system branded those who were distributing desperately needed food and water as “looters”... the military occupation and violent repression unleashed against the survivors... all this shocked and outraged millions. It exposed the ugly, utter worthlessness of this system.

Abandoned by the government, people took heroic risks, against all odds, to rescue and look out for each other. Those who the government vilified and attacked as “looters” kept people alive, distributing food and water the government would not provide. Millions around the country saw the government was leaving people to die, expressed their outrage, and tried to help. That outrage, and that desire to help, gives a sense of the potential for a whole different kind of society than one based on a mad scramble for profit.

In the 10 years since Katrina, images of the horrors brought on in part by a natural disaster, but much more profoundly by a disastrous system, have faded. But we cannot allow the truth of what happened, what was done to people, to be swept under the rug. We can’t allow that because it was a historic crime. We can’t allow it because the true story of Katrina reveals the utterly worthless nature of this system. And because the true story of Katrina sheds light on why, and how, things do not have to be like this.

****

Abandoned to Die

Days before Katrina hit New Orleans, meteorologists predicted a very serious hurricane, saying the city, which is six feet below sea level, should be evacuated. But the government did nothing to evacuate the city, stranding close to 100,000 of poor and Black people they knew might well die in a place that was going to get clobbered by the storm.

As the levees collapsed, floodwaters rose 20 feet in parts of New Orleans, and 80 percent of the city was unnecessarily under water. In a country with the technology to build nuclear bombs, maintaining levees that protected the city rated a zero on the rulers’ lists of priorities.

And when the flood submerged the city, there was no help for tens of thousands of desperate people stuck for days on the roofs of houses in 100-degree heat with nothing to eat or drink. Bodies of poor and Black people were left floating in water, on sidewalks, underneath debris, decomposing, mangled. Left for days, left for months.

Volunteers who headed for New Orleans, especially in the immediate aftermath, were turned away by the military—in one case school buses sent to evacuate survivors were commandeered by the police.

On September 1 a group of people tried to get to safety by crossing a bridge into Jefferson Parish and police lined up with shotguns and wouldn’t let them cross. On September 4, James Brissette and Ronald Madison were among others walking across the bridge to get food at a grocery store when they were shot and murdered by the police. Ten years later, the murderers are free. (Convictions of five of the police who carried out these murders were overturned in 2013.)

In a society profoundly defined by the mass incarceration of millions, 7,000 prisoners—yes, again, mostly poor and Black—were left to the mercies of the flood. Water flooded the prisons. Power went out, plunging people into total darkness and shutting down the electrical system used to open cell doors. For days, prisoners were trapped with no food, water or needed medication and had to resort to drinking contaminated floodwater containing raw sewage. Prisoners said deputy snipers shot at anyone who tried to get out of the flooded, suffocating buildings. When deputies came back into the prison building, they didn’t come with food, water, or any other kind of help. Instead they came with riot gear, shotguns, mace, batons, Tasers, and brutality, and prisoners were evacuated under inhuman and brutal conditions.

The president and other federal officials—who sit atop a system that taps the phones and tracks nearly everyone on the planet—managed to remain blind, deaf, and dumb to all the suffering and horror. In the midst of the hell people were being subjected to, President George W. Bush slapped the back of the head of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and said “[Y]ou’re doing a heckuva job.”

Locked Down in the Superdome

More than 20,000 people were herded to and locked up at the Superdome to wait to be evacuated, treated, not like victims who had just experienced a horrible natural disaster, with many not even knowing the fate of other family members, but like prisoners and animals, subjected to inhumane, unsanitary conditions, having to face National Guard troops with assault rifles. People suffered from dehydration and were surrounded by disease-ridden water.

This was not because there was no water. When Green Party activists tried to distribute clean water to people locked down in the Superdome, armed soldiers pointed rifles at them and prevented them from delivering supplies. Even Walmart trucks loaded with drinking water were turned away.

Dead bodies were left out in the open. Many said they felt like they were in a concentration camp. One man who had spent time in the Orleans Parish Prison told the New York Times, “It’s worse than a prison. In prison, you have a place to urinate, a place for other bathroom needs. Here you get no water, no toilets, no lights.”

The floors of the stadium were soaked with rainwater, part of the roof had collapsed, people were subjected to the stench of overflowing toilets and had to relieve themselves in hallways and stairwells. Feces and garbage were everywhere. People had no access to any kind of real medical care or needed medications. There were no showers and people were given no clean clothes. There was very little food, water, blankets, or sheets.

Ethnic Cleansing of New Orleans

When the government finally evacuated people from New Orleans, they did it like modern day slave owners, with tens of thousands scattered all over the country, with one-way tickets to 44 different states. A resident recalled: “With the evacuation scattering my family all over the United States, I felt like it was an ancient memory, as if we had been up on an auction block.” More than a few people talked about how this echoed families being separated during slavery.

People put on buses didn’t know where they were going. Families were separated, children ripped away from their parents. People were treated like criminals or potential criminals. Background checks were done when people checked into shelters. Some were jailed on old warrants; some immigrants were deported. People were housed in heavily guarded centers with metal detectors, surrounded by police cars, armed soldiers, FEMA agents, and federal, state, and local officials.

Later, as the waters receded, efforts to rebuild the devastated, mostly Black sections of the city were stymied and stopped by policies of ethnic cleansing. Public housing, home to poor and Black people, was bulldozed even when it was perfectly sound and could have been cleaned up and repaired. Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker said, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did it.” And Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson declared, “New Orleans is not going to be as Black as it was for a long time, if ever again.”

A System of Global Plunder and Terror Attacks Black People as “Looters”

Bottles of water are handed over a fence to Hurricane Katrina victims at a temporary hospital set up at the New Orleans airport, September 3, 2005.

Bottles of water are handed over a fence to Hurricane Katrina victims at a temporary hospital set up at the New Orleans airport, September 3, 2005. (AP photo)

People unable to evacuate New Orleans were forced into the Louisiana Superdome and the Convention Center

People unable to evacuate New Orleans were forced into the Louisiana Superdome and the Convention Center (above) where they were treated like criminals and slaves. Meanwhile, others (below) risked their lives to take food and supplies from abandoned stores to help save the lives of others. They were criminalized by the authorities and media as "looters." (AP photos)

People  risked their lives to take food and supplies from abandoned stores to help save the lives of others and were criminalized by the authorities and media as

Young people stuck in New Orleans—who before the crisis might have been engaged in a dog-eat-dog struggle to survive—set aside blood feuds. They worked together to the best of their ability—liberating food, water, and medicine, and distributing those essential supplies to people in desperate need.

Here, and in other ways, you got a glimpse of why things don’t need to be this way. You saw people rise above a lot of the bullshit they are caught up in, go up against the powers-that-be, and put serving the people ahead of the dog-eat-dog mentality of capitalism.

To the rulers of this capitalist system, this was utterly intolerable. Their mass (better put, ruling class) media vilified these heroes as “looters.” And their military—their whole “national security” apparatus—demonstrated that the essence of “national security” is the security of the class of parasitic oppressors who rule this country.

The commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force said: “This place is going to look like Little Somalia.” He was referring to the 1993 U.S. invasion of that impoverished and plundered African country. U.S. troops terrorized the population with heavily armed raids until a range of forces drove them out of the country in the battle made famous by the book and movie Black Hawk Down.

A Worthless System and a Way Out

In the aftermath of Katrina, the world saw a ruthless system of capitalist exploitation, a system founded on the most brutal torture and enslavement of Black people for hundreds of years, in its ugly essence. But there was something else. There was the unity forged among the oppressed to liberate essential supplies and distribute them based on need, not greed or profit. There were thousands of people, including many middle-class white people, who headed for New Orleans to try to help. Across the country—including among celebrities—there were people who didn’t buy the hype that the abandoned Black people were “looters,” but instead saw the system—in one way or another—as a threat to Black people.

And there is a way that society could be set up to, rather than slander and violently attack these positive impulses, unleash them in ways that channel the creativity, energy, and skills of millions into building a whole different kind of society. One where people’s material needs—for food, shelter, and clothing—are met, along with enabling a vibrant and liberating culture that includes promotion of dissent. That society is outlined in great depth and detail—in living color—in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

It is hard to convey, 10 years later, and important to appreciate, just how deeply and widely those who run this country, and the system behind them, were exposed as the cold-blooded ghouls they are. The crisis caused millions to go up against the system in their thinking and actions. It revealed, to different degrees among different people, the nature of this system, including that it is utterly illegitimate.

Societal crises like the one that erupted in the wake of Katrina can play a critical role in building up forces for revolution and repolarizing society for revolution. But revolution requires more than societal crisis. It requires leadership, and organized forces that can lead a revolution and lead it to bring into being a whole other kind of world—one in the interests of humanity. There is that leadership in Bob Avakian, and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA which he leads.

****

The lessons of Katrina are life-and-death—not just for history, as important as it is to call out the real criminals whose system produced so much suffering—the lessons of Katrina have relevance today.

Ten years after Katrina, after the flood waters have receded, New Orleans has, to a significant degree, been ethnically cleansed. And this system continues to carry out crimes, big and bigger, here, and around the world.

The system that used a natural disaster to escalate a genocidal agenda continues to unleash violent terror against Black and Brown people—through mass incarceration and the epidemic of police murder. This system continues to demonize immigrants. This system is destroying the environment—from the oil-spill despoiled Gulf of Mexico to poisonous fracking to Arctic drilling. The same Christian fascists who celebrated the destruction of public housing as “God’s will” invoke Bible Belt immorality to force women to bear children against their will by making abortion and other forms of birth control inaccessible. And this system continues to treat the vast majority of humanity as “the enemy.”

How long? How many more years does humanity have to suffer under this madness? The workings of the system produce conflict and crisis, and over and over reveal the ugly and vicious nature of those who run it. It is up to us to never forget and never forgive what they did in New Orleans 10 years ago. And to give our all when there are moments to seize on their crises to build resistance to their crimes, and prepare the people, prepare the ground, and prepare the vanguard for revolution.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Welcome to the Revolution!

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To everyone who’s reading this special issue of Revolution newspaper and the revcom.us website, especially new readers on campuses, in the neighborhoods, and elsewhere:

Selling Revolution newspaper Photos: Revolution/revcom.us

Reading RevolutionSpreading Revolution

Revolution newspaperRead, share, spread Revolution newspaper

If this is your first time reading this paper or going on this website, we’re sure you’ve never seen anything like Revolution/revcom.us. You’re intrigued by what’s here, agreeing with and moved by some of it, disagreeing with other things, maybe not sure about some other things. Now what?

If you’re at all concerned about the state of the world and dream of a radically different society or wonder if that’s possible, if you're in school and trying to figure out what your life is going to be about--then STAY CONNECTED. Go to revcom.us regularly―there’s something new on it every day—and get your hands on the print issue of Revolution (which comes out every two weeks) when you can.

It's in Revolution and at revcom.us that you can learn about and get connected with the movement for revolution that is aiming to sweep away this horrible system we live under, as soon as possible, and bring into being a whole other way for people to live. And it's through this paper and website that you can find many different ways to start to get involved—to make a real difference in the world—as you explore what this is about and compare and contrast what's here with other worldviews and programs.

Each and every week and from day to day, Revolution/revcom.us (as we say in the statement about our mission) “brings alive a scientific analysis of major events in society and the world—why they are happening, how different events and developments relate to each other, how all this relates to the system we live under, where people’s interests lie in relation to all this, how revolution is in fact the solution to all this and what the goals of that revolution are, how different viewpoints and programs relate, positively or negatively, to the revolution that is needed, and how people can move, and are moving, to build toward that revolution.”

At revcom.us and in the pages of Revolution, you can get into the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who has developed a new synthesis of communism and brought forward a viable vision and strategy for a radically new world.

It’s at revcom.us and in the pages of Revolution that you can get a scientific understanding of key developments in the world—like the clash between the U.S. empire and Islamic jihad, the global climate emergency, the genocidal program Black people face in this country, and much more. This website and paper is grounded in the scientific method and approach, to get under the surface appearance down into the underlying dynamics and driving forces of society that reveal what is the real problem and the actual basis to transform people’s thinking and society in a revolutionary direction. (For a lively discussion of the scientific method and approach, check out the interview with Ardea Skybreak available at revcom.us and as a newly published book: SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian.)

It’s at revcom.us and in the pages of Revolution that you can hear the voices of those locked up in the hellholes of America. It’s at revcom.us and in Revolution that you can get the real story of the uprising in Baltimore and other resistance against police terror. You'll get the truth about the intolerable conditions that force people in the Third World to flee to other countries and their perilous journeys to Europe and the United States. Or what’s happening in the cultural arena or the sciences.

And as you begin to find out more about what's the real source of the horrors that people here and around the world are caught up in, you'll be confronted with the question of what to do to contribute to real radical change. Revolution/revcom.us is how you can get connected to others who are part of the movement for revolution, in different places and in different ways, and with revolutionary leadership. This website and paper magnifies and amplifies the efforts of people in different corners of society to act together to fight the power and to join together in a powerful movement for revolution. Revcom.us and Revolution is where you can go to find out how to get linked up with the efforts to spread the word everywhere about Bob Avakian and his pathbreaking work, the fight against police terror, the struggle to defend the right to abortion and against other attacks on women, and other important aspects of the movement for revolution. All this is why we say (in the statement cited earlier) that Revolution/revcom.us “is the guide, the pivot, the crucial tool in drawing forward, orienting, training, and organizing thousands, and influencing millions—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution—hastening and preparing for the time when we can go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.”

If you’re not staying connected with Revolution/revcom.us, you’re missing out on something vital and urgent every day.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

August 22:

Putting on the Shirt, Stepping into the Revolution

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Houston

On Saturday, August 22, people around the country answered the call of the BA Everywhere campaign to wear the bold T-shirt, BA Speaks; REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and represent for revolution and the emancipation of humanity. The next day, on the 23rd, there were showings of excerpts from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live in a number of cities. And on Friday, August 21, there was a very successful showing of excerpts from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN at Martha’s Vineyard attended by more than 130 people, mostly middle class Black people deeply concerned with what’s going on in the world (more on this coming soon at revcom.us).

DONATE and raise money for the BA Everywhere campaign, to make BA a point of reference in society, to subsidize getting out these T-shirts and the works of BA, including the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN; the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live; and the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. If you don’t know much about BA, these would be good places to start, and even as you are learning more, and thinking about all this, agreeing, disagreeing, provoked and challenged by what BA says—if you feel BA and his vision needs to be out there, sparking discussion and debate about revolution and a radically different world, stay engaged and contribute to this campaign.

Bob Avakian, BA, the leader of the revolution, has done the work to scientifically forge a new framework for human emancipation—the new synthesis of communism—with an actual strategy to make revolution in the U.S. BA Everywhere, the fundraising campaign to make BA a household name and his work a point of reference with broad societal impact, has to do with making this known throughout society. For more on this, go to revcom.us.

On the 22nd, clusters of people and individuals, including from the bedrock oppressed sections of society, represented in these T-shirts, from major cities to small towns—boldly marching, chanting, sharing the words of BA with people, playing his New Year’s Message and reading quotes from BAsics (from his talks and writings)—all the while encouraging people to get into BA; read, experience and grapple with his works and revolutionary theory; and join in fighting the power, including with #RiseUpOctober, the mass outpouring against police terror in New York City this October.

Here are photos from around the country, and quotes from some of the people who participated in the day. (Note: Quotes on this page are not from people pictured on this page.)

Above, Chicago. Below, Houston.

A Black woman: “I always see you out there. Always on the side of the people, always fighting to stop police brutality. So I want to be part of this movement for revolution.”

Young woman student at a community college and a volunteer at Revolution Books: “I’m in Chicago on vacation, staying with my father in a hotel here, when the two of us came out of a bookstore downtown and there I was surprised by the group out here manifesting at T-shirt Day. I told my dad, ‘These are my people and I have to join them right now!’ T-shirt Day is important because it represents the emancipation of humanity and helping others. It represents the new synthesis of communism that Bob Avakian has set forth for this earth and for the United States alike! And, today, we are not just going out and telling people about this. On T-shirt Day, we are showing them—we are out here actually making this a force in the world for everyone to see!”

Latino man who is a graduate student in the social sciences: “I’m a graduate student and I’m in Chicago presenting at a conference and I presented work about the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and what Rise up October is trying to do in society and we engaged young graduate students and professors about that. I also work with the Revolution Club and so, I think T-shirt Day is a great way to show the organization of our movement, the unity and specifically the content of the leadership of Bob Avakian, who is someone who’s been developing and fighting for an all the way revolution. Anything less is bullshit! REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, the DVD itself, is wonderful and challenging and historic and the message is that anything less than a total revolution is not gonna get humanity free. And we have in BA himself the ethical foundation, the scientific foundation, the economic foundation of what would be a world worthy of all human beings on the planet and we are working—including through T-shirt Day—on getting that out and making that a material force.”

Above, Ferguson. Below left, Atlanta. Below right, Oakland

Pasco, Washington

Skid Row, Los Angeles.

Berkeley (left) and New York City (right).

From a new member of the Revolution Club: “I put on the shirt because the world needs to know about the Revolutionary Communist Party, a real group of internationalists, and what they stand for. People need to know the truth, the real history of communism, and that there is a way out of this shit we’re living through today. I agree a lot with what they stand for and I am willing to do the work to learn more and to represent with them today.”

A young man who had been wearing his T-shirt through the neighborhood: “I’m ready to get more involved in the revolution” and “I’ve always known that BA is serious.”

A young Black man who teaches adult literacy, after seeing the Revolution Club outfitted in the shirts at Times Square in NYC: “That was great. I was sitting here thinking, how well organized that was... and how determined they sounded. It was really powerful.”

Young Black woman participated in the day and got other people in the park to put on the T-shirt: “I think that T-shirt Day is important because it is for a revolution! This is what can help the circumstances of today. And basically to stop the violence of the police!”

A member of the Revolution Club: “I put on the T-shirt because when you read the ‘no more generations of our youth’ quote and look at the faces on the stolen by police photo I am filled with rage and deep sadness. Something can and must be done about this and the horrors of this world—wearing this shirt is an example to myself and others that a whole new world is possible.”

A musician: “I wore the shirt today because I wanted to show solidarity with the idea of Revolution Nothing Less.”

A revolutionary born outside the U.S.: “I am wearing my shirt to popularize BA because he speaks about the real revolution and nobody else does.”

A man from the neighborhood who challenged others to come out for the day: “Love and justice wins revolution.”

A Black youth who was asked why he is wearing the shirt: “I don’t look at it as a shirt, see it as a way of life.”

Berkeley

New York

New York (left); Chicago (right).

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/basics-internationalism-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

What's Wrong With Thinking Like an American?

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

"Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First."

BAsics 5:8

"The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way."

BAsics 3:8

Child labor in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi child laborers work at a balloon workshop in Kamrangir Char, 2009. Industries from designer clothing to recycling, and everything in between, contracted by the U.S. and other imperialists to countries like Bangladesh, India, and Africa, involve vicious exploitation and child labor.

 

Fallujah, Iraq, 2004

Fallujah, Iraq, 2004.

"The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism."

BAsics 1:3

 

 

 

What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/397/responses-to-BA-quote-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Responses to a new statement by Bob Avakian:

"When Black people act, other people will act as well... I really like the idea of fighting to emancipate all humanity."

 

July 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is the potential...

 

Revolution newspaper and the revcom.us website have been featuring this new statement from Bob Avakian, BA. We are beginning to hear about people's thoughts on the statement, and this week we are running some of those initial responses. But we would like to hear much more! Send in your thoughts on the BA statement. Get the statement out to people you know and get their responses. Get discussions going in your crew, neighborhood, Revolution Club, bookstore discussion groups, etc.—and send in reports of what people say (send to revolution.reports@yahoo.com).

****

 

"When Black people act, other people will act as well. Black people have played a crucial role in the '60s. I really like the idea of fighting to emancipate all humanity."

Black woman in her 40s

~~~~~~~~~~

“Black people have been treated like slaves under this system—living through the terrible things that were done to them. It will be a beautiful thing if revolution can happen and humanity can be liberated.”

Woman from Guatemala

~~~~~~~~~~

“That is so true. I mean the whole thing, but especially the part about all of humanity [pointing to the phrase 'fighting to emancipate humanity']. I mean, we all bleed red, right? But people don't understand that. They don't think about what it would mean if Black people—and actually everybody—stood up together.”

Middle-aged Black man

~~~~~~~~~~

"I think this is a very powerful quote by Mr. BA because it's an everyday way of life, for me it is. It's not just a reaction, it should be proactivity, daily, not just waiting for someone to get shot or for a mass murder or some other injustice. To understand that there can be a solution, because I don't have an answer, it's worth supporting the cause. I'm tired of the band-aid fixes, it's a society of band-aid fixes. Look at medicine, the doctors don't cure, they treat. This has been going on, the injustices, since and before. The quote says there is something that can be done to end it, not just go out and protest. It has to be a concerted effort, total effort among the masses."

Revolutionary humorist

~~~~~~~~~~

"...the quote for me personally was a strong quote that tells the truth. The quote for me personally was talking about Black community, but also about many other races that have suffered for thousands of years since the Europeans colonized here. It tells the truth too because the part where he says, 'to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves,' we see that today the masters are the people who have more power and more money and the slaves are the people who don't have a voice to stand up and that are struggling with money and where he says how the system has exploited and dehumanized Black people and terrorized them in thousands of way is also true from the beginning when they kidnapped Africans and brought them to the U.S to be slaves and how now with police brutality towards the Black community, but also towards the races that are looked down upon. I also like how he is basically saying that the Black community and all the other communities that have suffered from oppression, racism, sexism, etc. will arise. That's my view on the quote."

16-year-old high school student, volunteer at a Revolution Books store

~~~~~~~~~~

“I agree with this—it is really heavy. It has all the ugliness right there, and it says that can bring out the beauty. I think something beautiful I’ve seen is more white people backing up Black people. That is beautiful.... We do need a revolution, but how?”

Young Black man

~~~~~~~~~~

"This quote speaks to a lot of the beautiful uprisings in the recent past, but then you see that they’ve always been crushed and then we’re still facing the same system. Now we can see the real potential to end it. You have this new synthesis that speaks to the uprisings in past revolutions, but it talks about how to finally put an end to the system. Things could be taken a lot further, there’s a strategy to not just get rid of one thing, but to end all forms of oppression."

Revolution Club member

~~~~~~~~~~

"I like it. I like everything about it. Growing up in the South, it is my reality. Especially the part where he talks about '...the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves...' I grew up in Alabama when George Wallace was governor and I worked in the cotton fields, I know."

Black woman

~~~~~~~~~~

“It’s time for us to take a stand. We’ve been too long in this ‘long night.’ People of color have been oppressed for thousands of years. That’s enough.”

Black woman in her 30s

~~~~~~~~~~

“You should circle that word 'dehumanized' in red, cause that's what has happened to us, that's what happened to me. I have been dehumanized—at least they tried, but they didn't succeed. Then people would be drawn to read the whole quote because they understand 'dehumanize.'”

Older homeless Black man

~~~~~~~~~~

“This 'unprecedented beauty'... just saying it like that is so rare—for so long, African-Americans have been put down and cast in the most negative of ways."

Black woman

~~~~~~~~~~

"In any society, both beauty and ugliness exist. Both battle each other, remaining in an everlasting war that must be fought, without one the other would not exist. In our current society, and most previous societies, ugliness exists in innumerable but visible forms. Although this ugliness may completely blind us, may drain the hope out of us, may seemingly 'overcome' us. We must not forget that beauty lurks under the thin gossamer of ugliness, and even this beauty can be found within what is ugly. The way our society, government, majority has treated Black people is truly ugly and vile. But this treatment allows an unfound knowledge of the perversion of the system and a passion/will to end it. The Black population within our country is one of the last outlets (in my opinion) of legitimate, passionate revolution. This pure ugliness, the mistreatment of the Black population, can truly be turned into something beautiful."

High school student

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/400/chicago-crying-out-for-justice-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Chicago: #RiseUpOctober, Janelle Monae, Wondaland, and Families of Victims of Police Terror

Crying Out for Justice

August 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

Monday, August 17—The Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park reflects the downtown Chicago skyline like a giant bead of mercury in the shape of a bean three stories tall and more than twice as long. It is a popular destination for people visiting the city from all over the world. Word was out that Janelle Monáe, joined by other artists from the Wondaland label, would join an action against police terror promoting #RiseUpOctober at “the Bean”—and as the clock ticked into the afternoon the crowd around the Cloud Gate began to change. Younger, Blacker, hip styles. A group of young Latinos with “fight for 15” on their T-shirts sat at a long table in front of the Bean. Three young Black women had come down from Milwaukee because the issue of police brutality was just that important to them. Some young people could be recognized from the protest on April 14.

Poster boards were being passed around – face down. Peeked at like the hole card in a game of poker, they bore the names and pictures of people murdered by the police. The sun was blistering in the open plaza, and people began to gather under the Bean in its shade—the crowd growing in size as more people filtered into the plaza.

Chicago August 17

On signal, people in the crowd raised signs and the event was on. Photo: BeanSoupTimes.com, used with permission.

Then the word went out and the signs came up—signs that named, remembered and honored those whose lives have been stolen by the police. Signs flashing the hashtags #RiseUpOctober and #HLYTB (for Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland crew's powerful song "Hell You Talmbout") and signs demanding to know “Which Side Are You On?!” The mother of Justus Howell—a 17-year-old Black youth killed by police this April in Zion, Illinois—was in the crowd with other relatives holding a poster of her son. The Stolen Lives banner and a giant poster for the October 24 protest in NYC went up. The press was there and the event was on.

The speak-out was co-MCed by Grant Newburger and Iggy Flow—members of the Revolution Club in Chicago who each face seven years on trumped-up felonies from last fall’s protests against Murder by Police. Speakers addressed the gathering preparing for the artists' arrival, and  included Tio Hardiman and Ameena Mathews of Violence Interrupters, Raymond Richards of Brothers Standing Together, LaCreshia Birts from the Black Youth Project 100, and Gregg Greer from SCLC. Ameena Mathews challenged everyone to bring five people to NYC October 24.

Chicago August 17

At one point Geneva Read-Veal spoke—her daughter Sandra Bland died in police custody in Texas after she was stopped for a minor traffic violation, brutalized, and arrested. Photo: BeanSoupTimes.com, used with permission.

They called on people to be part of O24 and called on people to take part in activities against police terror and calling for justice leading in to October. When people called out “Rise up October,” the crowd responded “Which Side Are you On!?” as they waited for the Wondaland artists—chanting, singing and shouting people’s names that were murdered by police.

When the Wondaland artists arrived, the crowd parted and the artists stood behind the families of people whose lives were stolen by police. Each Wondaland artist spoke to why they were there. They said they wanted to take a stand against police terror and brutality. They were bringing their creativity and emotions to bear on their brand new song: "HELL YOU TALMBOUT! Walter Scott—say his name!...Michael Brown—say his name!...Sandra Bland—say her name!...” The crowd was right with them shouting people’s names.

At one point Geneva Read-Veal spoke—her daughter Sandra Bland died in police custody in Texas after she was stopped for a minor traffic violation, brutalized, and arrested. Geneva said, “My baby is gone and we still don’t know what happened to her. We still don’t have all the information. I ask all of you that are with me to stay with me...Sandy’s life matters. Black life matters.” She wasn’t sure she was going to speak but then with all the emotion and intensity of this moment, she went into the middle of the crowd and spoke. The crowd of people just loved it, with her spirit and refusal to let the system sweep her daughter’s death under the rug. There was so much beauty, love and strength.

Chicago August 17

Latoya Howell, mother of Justus Howell cried out for justice for her murdered son, and for all victims of police brutality. Photo: BeanSoupTimes.com, used with permission.

People chanted “Say her name!” People sang, people cheered and they signed up to be a part of O24. Pluggers for O24 and quotes from Bob Avakian were out in the crowd.

As Janelle Monáe said about "Hell You Talmabout": "This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves... Won't you say their names?"

When Latoya Howell was crying out for justice for her murdered son and all the victims of police murder, Janelle and Wondaland were singing "Hell You Talmbout" in the background. At first, Latoya Howell, whose 17-year-old son Justus Howell was shot twice in the back by police, was not going speak at the rally. But she was visibly moved by the presence of Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland artists, and when Ameena Matthews led the crowd to include Howell’s son’s name in the chant "Hell You Talmbout," she grabbed the mic and expressed her pain and frustration over the senseless loss of her child.

Find out more about Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On!?

Rise up October

Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland then led a march out of the plaza singing “Hell You Talmbout” and naming names. As the artists went to get ready for their concert in the evening, the rest of the crowd, still singing, turned the other direction down a main artery of Chicago’s downtown “loop.”

The cops had been buzzing around in their bikes, and now they were trying to keep the protesters corralled. When the police blocked the intersection of State Street—the famous shopping street—there was a question of whether they would attack. They did try and busted a young woman, but the crowd pulled her away from them. Protesters held State and Randolph Street for about five minutes, shutting down this major intersection. The march proceeded to City Hall, where a short rally and die-in was held. Then before you knew it, the crowd disappeared back into the city. It was amazing and inspiring and brought out many people that need to be in NYC O24.

Later that evening hundreds of people lined the street waiting to see if they were getting into the concert Janelle Monáe and Wondaland were performing. For at least six blocks people were  packed on the sidewalk.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/wondaland-artists-taking-hell-you-talmbout-to-streets-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Wondaland Artists: Taking "Hell You Talmbout" to the Streets

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

San Francisco

On August 23, 800 to 1000 people turned out to sing, chant, and march with the artists and family members of victims of police murder at the 24th Street & Mission BART (transit) Plaza in San Francisco.

Over the past week and a half in Philadelphia, NYC, Washington, DC, Chicago, LA, and the SF Bay Area, Wondaland recording artists Janelle Monáe, Jidenna, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and Roman GianArthur broke out the powerful new song “Hell You Talmbout.”

Janelle Monáe: “This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves... Won’t you say their names?”

These recording artists put a lot on the line to join rallies with Stop Mass Incarceration Network, their fans, and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thursday, August 13, they hit Times Square in NYC, singing and chanting. The action was preceded by a press conference and speak-out featuring Janelle Monáe, Jidenna, and other Wondaland artists; Carl Dix, co-initiator of Rise Up October and representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party; and parents and other family members of youths whose lives have been stolen by police and have become activists in the movement to stop murder by police.


Chicago


Los Angeles

On August 17, people headed for Millennium Park in Chicago as word went out. Signs came up—signs that named, remembered and honored those whose lives have been stolen by the police. Signs flashing the hashtags #RiseUpOctober and #HLYTB ("Hell You Talmbout") and signs demanding to know “Which Side Are You On?!” The mother of Justus Howell—a 17-year-old Black youth killed by police this April in Zion, Illinois—was in the crowd with other relatives holding a poster of her son. The Stolen Lives banner and a giant poster for the October 24 protest in NYC went up. The press was there and the event was on.

When the Wondaland artists arrived, the crowd parted and the artists stood behind the families of people whose lives were stolen by police. Each Wondaland artist spoke to why they were there. They said they wanted to take a stand against police terror and brutality. They were bringing their creativity and emotions to bear on their brand new song: "HELL YOU TALMBOUT! Walter Scott—say his name!...Michael Brown—say his name!...Sandra Bland—say her name!...” The crowd was right with them shouting people’s names.

Geneva Read-Veal spoke—her daughter Sandra Bland died in police custody in Texas after she was stopped for a minor traffic violation, brutalized, and arrested. Geneva said, “My baby is gone and we still don’t know what happened to her.”

As the artists went to get ready for their concert in the evening, the rest of the crowd, still singing, turned the other direction down a main artery of Chicago’s downtown “loop.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/st-louis-police-murder-black-teenager-mansur-ball-bey-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

St. Louis Police Murder Black Teenager
Mansur Ball-Bey—People Take to the Streets and Defy Police Assault

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers:

St. Louis, August 19

Protesting the police murder of Mansur Ball-Bey. (Photo: Chuck Modi)

St. Louis, police murder of Mansur Ball-Bey

Photo: Special to Revolution/revcom.us

On Wednesday, August 19, midday, St. Louis police raided a house in the north St. Louis neighborhood of Fountain Park. Within minutes 18-year-old Mansur Ball-Bey was gunned down dead in the front yard of the house next door. Autopsy showed Mansur was shot in the back. Within hours, hundreds of people from the neighborhood defiantly took the streets, soon joined by protesters rushing over from where they had been marking the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Kajieme Powell, a blatant execution of a disoriented man caught on video. St. Louis police turned the Fountain Park neighborhood into a war zone. But people did not back down and protests continued for hours.

As we arrived in the neighborhood the following evening, people were gathering and protesting on the corner of busy Page Avenue. Some were standing in the street with signs visible to passing motorists: “Cops Are Gang Members with Badges” and “Welcome to the Police State! Your Tax Dollars Paid for Death.”

Family members spoke movingly about Mansur Ball-Bey and bitterly about his killing and the cover-up. Immediately after the police killed Mansur, media began pumping out the official police story that claimed Mansur was armed, fleeing from a drug and guns raid, and the police shot him in self-defense after Mansur threatened them with a gun. Family and neighbors spoke angrily and knowingly about how the police assassinate the victim twice—first his body and then his reputation and memory—in order to justify the killing. As people remembered Mansur, there was unmistakably a lot of love and affection for Mansur along with the pain of loss: “He was a good person... He had a job... He was very funny and was respectful... He had on his work uniform [UPS uniform] when they shot him... He’d cut the grass over here and for his grandmother around the corner.” Near the memorial with stuffed animals, Mansur’s graduation picture and his senior prom picture were displayed. Mansur had just graduated from a high school in Ferguson, and he lived in a nearby North County suburb. Another family member told us, “He came over here because his cousin was having a video shoot. That was it! He’s never been in trouble.”

St. Louis August 2015

St. LouisSt. Louis

Photos: Special to Revolution/revcom.us

Roughly 200 people gathered on the sidewalk and in the street in front of where Mansur was murdered and where his family lived. Family and friends spoke with great anguish and sadness, bitterness and a palpable searching for answers. A grandmother scolded the youths for having guns and fighting each other, which as she sees it enables the police to kill youths Another person spoke to the reality that police don’t need justification, pointing out how police plant guns on youths. The man said he tries not to hate anyone, but he hates the police. An elder denounced what she called “destruction by design.” A woman repeated over and over, “What’s the next step?” One person asked, “When will they be accountable for what they do? Do we have to keep all our kids in the house? Police come here every day, harassing us every day.”

A woman achingly spoke to the gathered crowd about losing her sons to the street life despite doing all she could to raise them right, leaving a question hanging in the air: “Who is to blame?” This question of how to understand the connection between violence among the youth and what the cops and system inflict upon Black people was an acute and present question. A few miles away in Ferguson at the same time, a vigil was being held for nine-year-old Jamyla Bolden, who was tragically killed by gunshots in her home two days earlier while doing her homework. People held a vigil at Jamyla's house and then marched a few blocks to the Mike Brown memorial, and many then came to Fountain Park for Mansur’s vigil and a protest following it.

Rise Up October 24th logo

In the hours following the police murder of Mansur the previous night, hundreds from the neighborhood angrily and defiantly took to the streets, many of them teenagers. As one protester described it, “At first the people from the neighborhood were so infuriated they confronted police and forced them to leave the ‘crime scene’... People were already in the street when protesters from the Kajieme Powell protest arrived.” People chanted, “Fuck the police” and “No justice, no peace.”

The police attacked viciously, but people refused to be intimidated and swept off the street. A CopWatch activist said: “Last night was like Nazi Germany. There was this rat-a-tat-tat of police hitting the ground with their clubs telling us to move. But people know what’s up. Mike Brown, Samuel DuBose, Tamir Rice... people across the country are tired.” The police rolled into the neighborhood like an occupation army, with rows of riot police and two armored vehicles rapid firing gas canisters and projectiles. Soon there were clouds of tear gas choking kids on their front porches. People talked about how toxic the tear gas was. People were vomiting, one person passed out, others reportedly went to the hospital emergency room. Police shot people with rubber bullets. People were chased down side streets by armored vehicles firing tear gas. Nine people were reported arrested as people just watching on the sidelines were grabbed and arrested. The police treated people as if they were in enemy territory. The next day residents could be seen hosing down yellow tear gas residue from the streets.

The following night, after the vigil for Mansur, about 100 people took to the streets again, marching from the vigil site to the Central West End (a district of upscale restaurants across the “Delmar divide,” which separates north and south St. Louis). Protesters shut down an intersection chanting, “We don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace” and “Fuck the police!”

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?", a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Film of the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

Ten days after the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Mike Brown, pigs have once again murdered a Black teenager in cold blood. The Mike Brown anniversary was marked by defiance and protest, as well as vicious repression and an attempt by the powers-that-be to reverse the verdict on the Ferguson rebellion and in particular to win people especially in the middle strata to support the clampdown against the defiant youth. Both in the streets on the anniversary and in the streets over the last nights following Mansur Ball-Bey's murder, IT WAS, AND IS, RIGHT TO REBEL AGAINST POLICE MURDER. The authorities have double-downed, as represented both in the murder of Mansur Ball-Bey on the anniversary of the murder of Kajieme Powell as well as in the military-style response to people righteously standing up. And again there is controversy, including within the movement, over how to look at the youth, who grow up with no future and a big fat target on their backs, when they raise their heads and refuse to accept a life of brutality, prison, and often murder that awaits them.

People need to recognize the stakes of what is concentrated here. The call for Rise Up October, as well as the call to connect with the movement for revolution, has begun to get out and address the question raised at the Thursday night vigil—What is the next step?” It needs to get out more broadly and more deeply, and right now.

UPDATE: In the wake of the police murder of Mansur Ball-Bey, St. Louis authorities are clearly worried and acting on two tracks. The autopsy, partially released on August 21, blew a big hole in the police version of events, particularly the revelation that Mansur was shot in the back and collapsed immediately. The Circuit Attorney called a major press conference, with a NAACP leader at her side, talking about how everything will be done to get to the full truth and pointing to the role of the new Police Force Investigation Unit and the new Civilian Review Board, supposed reforms established following the Ferguson rebellion a year ago. At the same time, it was announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol has been put on stand-by to deal with protests now and when the decision on the murder of Mansur Ball-Bey is released. No criticism of the now-exposed lies of the police, including by Police Chief Sam Dotson, about the killing of Mansur. No admission that all this would have been fully covered up and buried without people rising up. No criticism of the violent and vicious assault on people unleashed Wednesday night.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/stop-police-terror-which-side-are-you-on-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

STOP Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?
National March in NYC October 24 #RiseUpOctober

Get organized. Come to New York. Families of those murdered by police...people from the neighborhoods...people from the faith communities...college and high school students. Come one, come all. Be part of standing up and saying no more! Change history.

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What Is the Political Aim of October 22-24?

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network puts it like this:

“The situation is this: thousands of people have risen in the last year to demand that the police stop their wanton and repeated killings of Black and Latino people. But the police, backed up from on high, have continued this onslaught and lashed back harder. This is a plague, this is the spearpoint of a genocide.

“Yet way too many people still sit on the sidelines.

“In the face of this relentless terror, Rise Up October has called for militant and mass mobilization on October 22 to 24, focused in New York City, to STOP this. These actions aim to mobilize many more thousands of people, from all walks of life, much more actively into this fight, to powerfully insist through their actions on those days that these murders must simply stop, NOW.”

* * *

Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West put out the Call for #RiseUpOctober, saying, in part:

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

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

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

This Call has been signed by hundreds. Among them:

Members of families of 56 people killed by police in the U.S.

Gbenga Akinnagbe, actor
Edward Asner, actor
Noam Chomsky, Professor (ret.), MIT*
James Cone, Union Theological Seminary
Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor, UCLA & Columbia University School of Law*
Bernardine Dohrn, Clinical Prof (ret) Northwestern Univ School of Law
Eve Ensler, V-Day; author, playwright: The Vagina Monologues
Carl Hart, Professor, Columbia University*
Immortal Technique
Jamal Joseph, Artistic Director New Heritage Theatre Group, Professor, Columbia University*
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun
jessica Care moore
Boots Riley, The Coup
Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, killed in unjust U.S. war on Iraq, 2004
Lynne Stewart & Ralph Poynter, lynnstewart.org
Alice Walker

Dozens of members and leaders of Christian, Muslim & Jewish faith communities

*Institutions for identification only

Sign the Call here

* * *

Leaders of this movement on why you should be in NYC for #RiseUpOctober:

Cornel West and Carl Dix

Cornel West and Carl Dix

Carl Dix: “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.”

Dr. Cornel West in an August 18 letter to colleagues: “I’m going to do everything I can to make this historic march as powerful as it can be, and needs to be. I ask you to join me in doing that, and I pose to you a simple question: Which Side Are You On?”

* * *

Message to the RUO meeting from Airicka Gordon-Taylor, the cousin of Emmett Till:

 I am with you all, I am in alignment and in alliance with you all. It is striking that Sandra Bland’s funeral was on Emmett’s birthday.

Family members of those killed by police around the U.S. urge you to come to #RiseUpOctober:

Nicholas Heyward Jr.

Nicholas Heyward Jr.

Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr., murdered by NYPD, September 27, 1994 speaking at the June launch meeting of #RiseUpOctober:
“October 24 is a very important day for me and should be for you also. I felt that it’s time long, long ago that we should have risen up to let the authorities know, and those who are supposed to be in charge, to let them know that we are not going to tolerate this type of nonsense any longer, killing of innocent unarmed people. Reach out to other people and tell them they all need to get involved. This is some serious, serious stuff. We are all in this together and stand together.”

 

* * *

Justus Howell

Justus Howell

 

 

Latoya Howell, mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois police, April 4, 2015 at the Chicago press conference launching #RiseUpOctober
“Don’t wait behind a television or a computer and wait for someone to give you their victimized story. Stand up now and choose a side. Come out and support because without numbers we have nothing. We need more than just sympathy. Sympathy just gives more bloodshed. We need to stand and stop police brutality.”

 

* * *

Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Aiyana Stanley-Jones

 

 

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered by Detroit police, May 16, 2010 at the Chicago press conference launching #RiseUpOctober
“Y’all need to get up and take a stand because there is power in numbers. Don’t just be on the wayside, ‘oh that’s a good thing they are doing.’ No, hell no! Get up and do something about it.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/after-katrina-lower-ninth-ward.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

After Katrina:
Driving Black People out of NOLA’s Lower 9th Ward

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the years after Hurricane Katrina, many parts of New Orleans stayed like uninhabitable ghost towns, and the people who had been evacuated remained scattered all over the country, unable to go home. Tourist hotspots, the mainstay of the city’s economy, were quick to get up and running. But neighborhoods hard hit, especially poor Black areas like the Lower Ninth Ward, remained devastated. Whole areas were bulldozed, even though many, if not most, of the homes there were found to be sound, making it not even an option for people to come back to rebuild their homes.

Lower ninth ward, New Orleans, 2005

Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, 2005

Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, 2005. Photos: Revolution/revcom.us

Tens of thousands of families were put in 240-square-foot trailers that were later found to be toxic. People living in the trailers had complained that chemicals caused frequent nosebleeds, breathing difficulties, and mysterious mouth and nasal tumors. But when FEMA first got complaints about the trailers, they did nothing about it. After many months, FEMA tested a trailer, in March 2006, and found that the level of the toxic chemical formaldehyde was 75 times the government-recommended level for workplaces.

There was little effort by the government or private companies to rebuild homes in poor neighborhoods—there was no profit to be made there. Meanwhile, capitalists saw opportunity in the destruction and misery, to grab land and cash in on the most valuable resource in New Orleans—not the people, the rich culture, or the historical significance of the city—but in oil and natural gas.

People who wanted to go back to New Orleans had major obstacles to overcome. For example, in the Lower Ninth Ward there was no drinking water for 14 months and there was a lack of all kinds of social services in the city—hospitals, schools, and childcare facilities remained closed. Even though there was obviously lots to do to restore the city, there were few jobs for people who wanted to go back.

Even where there was cleanup and reconstruction, there was the ugly mark of capitalist exploitation. Much of this was done by immigrant Latinos, 80 percent according to one study; many were hired on terms that were little different than indentured servitude. Many of these workers reported that they were forced to work long hours with little rest and extremely low pay, crammed into small living quarters. Many said they were cheated out of pay and some employers, after they’d used and abused undocumented immigrant workers, turned them over to immigration authorities.

In 2010, five years after the storm, the rebuilding rates in different neighborhoods reflected the racial and economic divide in the city. Lakeview and the Lower Ninth Ward were the two neighborhoods hit the hardest. In Lakeview, a predominately white, upper middle class neighborhood, 59 percent of residents had returned. In the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood that was 99 percent Black before the storm, only 24 percent of residents had returned.

After Katrina, the George W. Bush administration cut $71 million in federal social service funding to New Orleans—justifying this by saying the city now had a smaller population. In addition to people losing their homes in the storm, these cutbacks contributed to a big rise in homelessness. In 2008, one in 25 people in New Orleans was homeless—four times the average rate in the country and twice the rate in the city before the storm.

Many who lived in public housing faced the fact that the government had a plan to destroy their homes—part of a bigger plan for post-Katrina New Orleans that amounted to ethnic cleansing.

At the time of the storm, more than 5,000 families, almost all African-American, were living in New Orleans public housing. There were 8,250 names on the waiting list for public housing. But after the storm, for years, much of the public housing remained closed, and in the face of the worst affordable housing shortage in New Orleans since the end of the Civil War, the federal government made plans to bulldoze 5,000 apartments.

The Christian fascist wing of the ruling class openly voiced their program for the Black masses in New Orleans—which they attributed to god, but which was also quite in line with what the government had in mind. After Katrina, Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker said: “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did it.”

Other officials openly stated that they saw the future of New Orleans as a city that would be smaller and less Black. Before Hurricane Katrina, Black people made up about 70 percent of the population of New Orleans. On September 29, 2005, in an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Bush’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson predicted that the rebuilt city would be only 35-40 percent Black and said: “New Orleans is not going to be as Black as it was for a long time, if ever again.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/more-racist-venom-from-trump-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

More Racist Venom from Trump

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump, currently the leading Republican presidential candidate, issued a “position statement” on immigration this past week. Trump’s program oozes with outright hatred for immigrants—in particular for Mexican immigrants and Mexican people generally. It portrays immigrants as violent criminals and threats to U.S. national security.

Trump’s plan is, as a Bloomberg article noted, an attack on “legal and illegal immigration from all angles. It leaves no option except for mass deportation of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.”

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

Its central “principle” is that “a nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.” It says that the U.S. must “make Mexico pay for the wall.” One of the means for achieving this, according to Trump’s plan, will be to “impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages”—money sent by heavily exploited Mexican immigrants to support their families in Mexico.

Trump calls for tripling the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents, and deporting everyone detained by ICE in the future. His plan will end what he calls “catch and release” and require criminal penalties for people who overstay a visa.

As Revolution wrote recently, “undocumented immigrants are not criminals, they are criminalized.” Millions of immigrants, both with and without papers, work endlessly, and their exploitation is not only an important source of profitability to particular capitalists, it is a crucial part of the basis for the ongoing functioning of the entire capitalist-imperialist system. Millions who work in some of the lowest paying and most dangerous and unhealthy jobs this country has to offer—such as in construction and agriculture—live in the shadows of this society and are subject to being deported at any time. Countless families have been torn apart because of these deportations. Latino youth are routinely criminalized by this system, and brutalized and murdered by the police.

A Call for Extreme Escalation of Repression

Trump’s program calls for “End Birthright Citizenship.” This is perhaps the ugliest expression of the extreme escalation of repression Trump is fighting to see enacted and implemented. “Birthright citizenship” refers to a constitutional mandate that anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen.

Trump has repeatedly used the deeply racist and offensive term “anchor babies” to describe the children of Mexican immigrants who are born in the U.S. (And it’s worth noting that Jeb Bush, the “mainstream moderate Republican” who likes to portray himself as sympathetic to immigrants, also insists on using this foul language.) Trump claims that “this [desire to give birth to a U.S. citizen] is the biggest magnet for illegal immigration into the U.S.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Trump’s immigration program is a serious plan for massive pogroms, U.S. style, upon immigrants and people of Mexican descent. This is the program being embraced by a section of the U.S. ruling class. And as part of this they are working to enlist the support of broad sections of the people in this country in the name of “making America great again” and putting “American workers first.”

In his position on immigration, Trump claims to all of a sudden be concerned about the job prospects of Black youths—saying they deserve the jobs now held by immigrants. He says he will start a “job resume bank” for inner city youth to take the jobs of the immigrants being deported. This ruling class decided some time ago that it has no place in the economy for millions of Black youths—in part because of their rebellious and defiant attitudes. But they never tire of looking for ways to pit the oppressed against each other.

And remember, Trump is the racist who whipped up a lynch mob atmosphere towards the Central Park 5—Black and Latino youths falsely accused of a violent crime in New York. (See “Propaganda Instruments of the Ruling Class... And the Railroad of the Central Park 5,” by Bob Avakian.)

This fascist agenda has to be called out and opposed by everyone.

STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/check-it-out-straight-outta-compton-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Check It Out: Straight Outta Compton

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I’m writing to really encourage people who read Revolution to catch the movie Straight Outta Compton—in a theater where you can interact with the audience. There’s a lot to say about this movie, and I won’t try to do that here, but the experience, the societal buzz (and no, I’m not just talking about social media, I’m talking about people talking to people), and the impact is something revolutionaries need to be in the mix of, especially at a time like this.

This movie is the story of NWA—the gangsta rap group from LA most famous for their 1988 anthem “Fuck Tha Police.” From the opening scenes, the movie jolts the audience with a visceral, intense feeling for what it means to live in Compton, California (a mostly African-American city about 20 minutes south of South Central LA by freeway). Or to live in Newark, or Bed Stuy, or Ferguson, or the South Side of Chicago, Houston’s 3rd Ward... and on and on. Early in the movie, a tank-like battering ram accompanied by a phalanx of LAPD fascist storm troopers tears the front off a house to effect a drug bust, terrorizing the community.

And over, and over, and over again, throughout the movie, we see police—white and Black—humiliating, beating, threatening, insulting, and generally treating Black youths worse than dogs. I have to say that in a quick survey of mainstream movie reviews, including by generally liberal reviewers, I haven’t seen hardly any mention of this. But it sure struck a chord in the theater where people—the audience where we saw this was mostly Black people—were crying out in stress and pain during these scenes in the movie and out in the lobby afterwards.

A highlight and in many ways the focal point of the movie is the whole story behind “Fuck Tha Police.” The song was banned, condemned, and censored. The group got a threatening letter from the assistant director of the FBI saying, “We in the law enforcement community take exception ... [to] this song and its message. I believe my views reflect the opinion of the entire law enforcement community.” Before a concert in Detroit, the group was confronted by a big gang of thuggish armed police who told them if they performed the song they would go to jail.

What happened next? You’ll see.

All Played Out by Bob AvakianListen to "All Played Out," spoken word by Bob Avakian,
music by William Parker

I don’t know how consciously this movie was timed in relation to the current upsurge of outrage, protest, and resistance to police murder. I suspect the timing is not just coincidence. And it comes out in the midst of a lot of important artistic statements against mass incarceration and police terror. But at any rate, the movie (and the revival of the song) is intersecting with the times in ways we should be tuned in to.

And then, there are a lot of things in the movie—which as far as I know reflect the actual outlook and activities of NWA—that need to be sorted out and in many cases seriously criticized. We’re going to need to get into where this bullshit comes from, and what it serves: There is the promotion—almost celebration—of bling and capitalism (illegit or otherwise); disrespect and abuse of women (in crude or “civilized” forms).

The debate is already raging over all this, and how to sort it out. So we better be in the mix. But start out by seeing the movie.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: FUCK THA POLICE!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/revolution-books-a-bookstore-for-the-world-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Revolution Books: A Bookstore for the World. Coming to Harlem. What It Is, Why It Matters, How You Can Help Make It Happen.

A Talk by Andy Zee, Spokesperson for Revolution Books

Updated September 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 17, Andy Zee, the spokesperson for Revolution Books in New York City, gave an important talk on the mission of Revolution Books and the campaign to reopen the store in Harlem.

Over the summer, Revolution Books successfully conducted a $30,000 Indiegogo fundraising effort. Between now and the end of October, an additional $30,000 must be raised to complete the renovation of the new storefront. All this is part of a multilevel campaign to raise $150,000. Revolution Books is needed more than ever, and your donation counts tremendously. To donate, go here.

Following is a slightly edited version of Andy Zee’s talk.

~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you Will, and thanks again to the Revolution Newspaper Reading Group for their moving presentation of their donation raised on the streets of over $700. Thank all of you, for coming out tonight to join in the great effort to re-open the national flagship Revolution Books in Harlem, NYC. We look forward to hearing your ideas, what you are expecting from the store and your questions, This is a bookstore that only exists to transform the world and that takes people.

Last week, the Revolution Newspaper Reading Group set up a six-foot table right in front of the storefront of the new, under-construction, Revolution Books at 437 Malcolm X Blvd. They set up enlargements of posters from Revolution newspaper, one of which features 48 innocent people whose lives have been stolen by police forces across the country. While they were reading and talking, a young boy walked up and stared hard at the poster. Will asked him what he was looking at, and he pointed to the portrait of this sweet girl, her braids threaded with blue and white plastic beads: this is Aiyana Stanley-Jones, just seven years old; and the boy asked: "they killed that little girl too?" Aiyana was shot in the head by a police officer in her living room while sitting on the couch with her grandmother, who told of seeing the light go out of Aiyana's eyes.... But then, the police handcuffed and held her grandma for several hours. And then they admitted that they had raided the wrong house. Do I have to tell you that the only cop tried for this crime was let go in a mistrial?

Will asked the boy how old he was. "SEVEN." Will then asked: "What does this make you think?" The boy said: "I think the police just want to kill us."

What kind of society does this—routinely? Why does this happen? What can be done about it? Is another society possible? And how? These are not easy questions. But they have answers. Revolution Books is where this bitter and brutal reality, where these stories are told and probed. Where not only the immediate circumstances—the proximate causes—are exposed, but the underlying systemic reasons that such outrages keep happening over and over again are revealed. And more, not just why this happens but that there is a way out and a way to get there.

Recently, Bob Avakian, who you just saw in an excerpt from the film of the event at Riverside Church last November, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, and whose work and leadership are at the foundation of Revolution Books, wrote:

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.

I'll repeat: "...The potential for something of unprecedented beauty ..." through the fight "to emancipate all humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves ..."

This is real. And, there is no place else—no other site, no other bookstore, where there is consistent engagement with the biggest questions facing humanity, and which holds the possibility of connection to the movement for revolution.

Something beautiful—a world with a radically different economy, with different values, a different form of government, social relations and a whole new way of thinking grounded in knowing the world as it actually is and transforming it with the aim of not only meeting the needs of the people of the world and protecting the environment for future generations—but a world where all the social relations that Bob Avakian spoke of in the "What if" film clip that we just saw are being worked on collectively and consciously. The vision of this society, the means to struggle together for it, is what drives the staff of Revolution Books, it is what we model, and all this is grounded in the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian which is not only a goal and the mission of a party and movement with a strategy to achieve that goal... it is most of all a scientific method and approach to probe, engage, understand and transform reality.

Press conference to reopen Revolution Books

Revolution Books' new space at 437 Malcolm X Blvd. (Lenox Ave.), Harlem, NY. Photo: Revolution Books.

Let's look further into what we have been discussing already this evening: one of the most glaring moral and political challenges of this moment in this country—the epidemic of police murder of Blacks and Latinos—a scourge that has been going on for decades, intensifying year after year, but then, when the people of Ferguson stood up last summer, the equation began to change. At Revolution Books people can connect with the movement aimed at putting a stop to this. We are going all out to promote Rise Up October: the Massive Mobilization to Stop Police Terror & Murder on October 24 here in NYC and the program to build this with Cornel West and Carl Dix in 10 days on August 27th at First Corinthian Baptist Church here in Harlem.

But as important as resistance is, the political landscape is not only shaped by the upsurge and directly fighting the power. There is also a tremendous wealth of intense and deep work—scholarship and art, poetry, plays, essays, novels, sociology, history and philosophical works flourishing about the historical and lived experience of Black America. And revolutionary theory is being further enriched and developed drawing from all of this work.

Work that includes The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward Baptist, Alice Goffman's On the Run, a powerful, important work for which she has come under fire for standing with the people whose lives she profiles. Ebony and Ivy by Craig Steven Wilder and Master of the Mountain (about Thomas Jefferson—revealing the unvarnished brutality of his slaveholding and spreading of slavery) by Henry Weincek (and both of these authors have spoken at Revolution Books); and Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me. All of these works are available at RB along with the opportunity to engage informally over a cup of coffee or at a program.

At RB we do not shy away from controversy. When Michael Eric Dyson attacked Cornel West in a vicious piece in The New Republic, RB held a panel discussion right away. Indeed, whenever something major breaks in the news—when you get done screaming at the TV—you need to get yourself over to 437 Malcolm X Blvd., to the new RB. When Hurricane Sandy hit hard, shutting down the city, RB was open the next day, flashlights, candles, whatever it took. People made their way there and people were being dispatched to the hardest hit areas. And, RB did the same in the weeks and months after September 11, 2001.

Reading Circle Outside Revolution Books

A "Bookstore Without Walls" while the store space is being renovated: here the Revolution Newspaper Reading Group meets to discuss the July 20 Revolution editorial, "An Audacious Plan... And the Ways to Make It Happen." The group raised $700 towards the renovation costs, collected from Harlem residents on the street in front of the new under-construction store, at the Harlem Week street fair the previous weekend, from residents of a West Harlem housing project and including $225 from a used book sale a few weeks earlier. Photo: Revolution Books.

The oppression and the liberation of Black people in America and the role of that struggle in the emancipation of all humanity is not the only subject at Revolution Books. This is a bookstore for the whole world:

Women: their lives here and around the world revealed through art and scholarship, rooted in a bedrock understanding that the liberation of women is both decisive to and a measure of the total revolution in human society and relations between people that is needed to emancipate all of humanity.

The Environment... Immigrants... We could talk all night about each of these subjects. This, the whole world, is what you find at Revolution Books.

The role of religion around the world today: where humanity is caught in the mutually reinforcing vise grip between Islamic fundamentalism and imperialist predation—that is, the bloody jaws of what this capitalist-imperialist system, especially the U.S., does to people here and around the world. All this and more is available and explored at RB. The history, the philosophy, the revolutionary theory, the stories, the poems.

And, we have fun: Arturo O' Farrill, the leader of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, an incredible Grammy-winning artist—did a program where people learned about the roots of jazz in Africa, and how that fused with Latin and African-American music—bringing this alive with performance on the electric piano. RB held discussions with playwrights and authors from the New York Theater Workshop. When they did a play about Palestine, Food and Fadwa, which took place around a dining room table, we turned the bookstore into a dining room and had a tremendous Palestinian meal and a great discussion exploring the topic of Israel and Palestine over breaking ... well ... hummus and pita (laughter). Films and poetry nights, we've had new and old school tap dancers. What goes on at Revolution Books will stretch your imagination trying to encompass it all.

Volunteers are renovating the store

Volunteers are working to renovate the store. Photo: Revolution Books.

All of this is engaged at Revolution Books with the scientific method and approach that is at the heart of the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian. This is not something mysterious. It is a method that anyone can learn—looking at and digging into the world as it actually is, working to discover and understand the underlying dynamics such as how society develops and functions. This gives life to the liberating spirit of Revolution Books. More, it foreshadows the far greater freedom that is possible through revolution—where people are no longer slaves to a world where might makes right, but instead, on the basis of understanding the actual reality we face, people can collectively discover and act to carve out the freedom to change that reality in the interests of all humanity. Able to do so without being constrained by competition over what is "my idea" and how can I market it—against all others.

We have said that Revolution Books is a bookstore about the world and for a whole new world. I have just been catching up with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 2006 prize winning book, Half of A Yellow Sun, an incredible novel set during the Biafran War in Nigeria. We have had fascinating and moving readings from Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat, and the great Kenyan writer, Ngῦgῖ wa Thiong'o. The new Revolution Books will expand its Libros Revolucion section. Underlying this is the understanding that either the whole world gets free, that is, we all get to a communist world, or no one does. (applause)

I know that for many people this is new, and you might be thinking, "Whoa, there's a lot of communism here!" (laughter) This runs right up against everything we've been taught, everything we've learned here in the belly of the capitalist empire, and it runs right up against what people have learned about communism living here in the belly of the capitalist empire. But, as Bob Avakian put it in the Dialogue with Cornel West, listening to the rulers and defenders of this system talk about communism is like hearing a summation of the Civil War told by former Confederate generals, so you need to look deeper.

The new synthesis of communism is based on decades of work Bob Avakian—"BA"—has done summing up the positive as well as the negative experience of the revolutions of the 20th century, most especially in the Soviet Union and China up to the death of Mao Zedong, and learning from a breadth of human experience so that we can do even better in the revolutions of this time. As you are learning about this, agreeing or disagreeing with different aspects of it, or even a lot of it, I think you can see the really tremendous difference it will make for Harlem, for New York, for the whole world, for there to be this vibrant intellectual, cultural bookstore at the center of a movement for revolution, soon, with your participation, to be re-opened on Malcolm X Blvd.

What People Are Saying About Revolution Books







RB opens the big questions that tug you awake late in the night and looking at the morning news. Hanging out at Revolution Books, coming to a program, joining a discussion or just sitting and reading or watching one of our films, opens eyes to see beyond the limits of the terrible present. For, without the scientific spirit of discovery, critical thinking, poetic spirit and engagement with revolutionary theory and a broad spectrum of intellectual, cultural and scientific work— all of which Revolution Books brings together in a very special way, allowing people to connect to the movement for revolution and its leadership—no matter how heroically people fight, no matter how passionately people expose and denounce the current state of the world, it will stay the horror it is for the great majority of humanity.

Tonight, we are at a pivotal point in the fight to save and re-open Revolution Books. There is one week to go in the Indiegogo campaign—which is one leg in the multilevel fundraising that RB is undertaking. There is just over one month until the store is aiming to open during the week of September 22.

There is a lot to do—funds to raise, a store to be renovated, books to be sold on the street, people met and invited to be a part of the store, programs set up and a grand opening planned. All of this needs one big ingredient: all of YOU.

The key issue right now is raising funds and raising people to donate and spread the Revolution Books Indiegogo campaign.

And, we have run up against some things. We have been struggling with trying to reach people during the New York summer diaspora—where those with some financial means and time off—especially teachers and professors, writers and artists, leave the city for far-flung areas to create new work and to rest. We have also been struggling with a defeatist viewpoint that is all over the creative community in New York City, that all the cutting-edge cultural places must necessarily fall victim to gentrification and new technology. And, at the same time, because RB borrowed and raised just enough money to rent the new store on Malcolm X Blvd., a lot of people think, "No problem, that's great, you'll do wonderfully there." Well, you can go by the new space and see that we have not yet done the renovations. We need your assistance and donations to do that. Or, some people think that because RB has been around for 37 years it will always be here. These are things we need to talk to people about.

For RB to have the funds to re-open; for RB to pay rent, order new books, afford the promotion to let the whole world know where it is, requires lots and lots of supporters: donating generously to Indiegogo this week, becoming sustaining "Friends of RB" going forward, and coming to the store to buy books and attend programs when it opens.

People have asked about the $30,000 Indiegogo campaign and the bigger $150,000 financial goal. The situation is this: half of the $150,000 is what it took to close the previous store in Chelsea, and to sign the lease for the new store on Malcolm X Blvd. Not the typical business model—but we raised and borrowed this money and signed a lease in the spring because we felt that without a definite new location it would be real difficult to go forward. And we did so before having all the funds necessary to renovate and restock. Part of the story is that I was walking down Malcolm X Blvd. (Lenox Ave.) and saw the sign for rent at 437 Malcolm X Blvd. I called Clark Kissinger, the manager of RB, and we looked at the space and said: "We can't pass this up." I think you can see the difference it makes to have the space.

Since some of the funds to rent the new store will have to be paid back after it opens, we will need to build a huge network of people who know about and support Revolution Books—with a lot of people coming to the store to buy books. Hundreds and thousands of people are needed to support and become sustainers of RB, meaning they donate monthly or regularly. Revolution requires people, and Revolution Books is a great place to start winning the support and the involvement of people like you right now.

Then, the other half of the $150K fundraising campaign is for the renovation and re-stocking of the store with new books. The Indiegogo campaign is one part of raising those funds. It will provide enough money to sign contracts and get the materials and the renovation started. Together with all of you we are seeking out different forms of support for the new store—in volunteers and donations of material, books, AV equipment and more. And very important—Revolution Books needs PATRONS—those who can donate $10,000 or $20,000. There are a lot of people out there with those kinds of resources who can be won to see the difference this store makes. We need help meeting and reaching out to these people.

The key thing right now is talking to many, many people. Reaching out to them, yes, through media and social media—an article just went up today on the website, DNAInfo about the store—but then talking to people face to face or on the phone, to seal the deal.

Let me close here with what I said when we announced in May that we had to close the store in Chelsea, when we had, at that point, only an eye to move to Harlem:

Think of the difference it will make to have Revolution Books re-born in Harlem, able to dramatically expand its programming and stock of books: changing people and changing the world. Take up the Indiegogo campaign and reach out to all kinds of people this week and ask them to:

Dig deep into their pockets, their hearts, and their consciences. To DONATE and SPREAD THE WORD— to be a part of opening up a broad understanding of why the world is the horror it is for the majority of humanity, how the world could be radically transformed; raising sights to a radically new society, and giving people an opportunity—an invitation—to act on that understanding, to be a part of the great and historic endeavor of revolution:

There is a place for everyone:

Humanity Needs Revolution

The Revolution Needs Revolution Books

and tonight what we are gathered here to talk about is that

Revolution Books Needs all of You!

Thank you very much for coming and now we want to get into your questions and ideas.

(applause)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/401/what-drives-mllions-of-migrants-into-living-hell-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

What Drives Millions of Migrants into Living Hell?

August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 21, photographer Georgi Licovski documented a brutal attack on migrants attempting to get out of Greece, where they are subjected to hate and concentration camps. The migrants were heading towards hoped-for sanctuary in northern Europe. But as they attempted to cross the border from Greece into neighboring Macedonia, police there fired tear gas and stun grenades to drive them back into Greece. Licovski said babies, children, and mothers were among those gassed and beaten, and that families were split up in the chaos.

Migrants attempting to cross the border from Greece into neighboring Macedonia, August 21. Police at the border fired tear gas and stun grenades to drive them back into Greece. AP photo

On August 21, photographer Georgi Licovski documented a brutal attack on migrants attempting to get out of Greece, where they are subjected to hate and concentration camps. The migrants were heading towards hoped-for sanctuary in northern Europe. But as they attempted to cross the border from Greece into neighboring Macedonia, police there fired tear gas and stun grenades to drive them back into Greece. Licovski said babies, children, and mothers were among those gassed and beaten, and that families were split up in the chaos. “For the first time in my life,” he said, “I saw my colleagues—photographers and journalists—crying because of the situation.”

These refugees are among tens of millions worldwide. In 2014, almost 60 million people fled war and other horrors that made their lives untenable, more than half of them children.

Why have so many people undertaken the terrible and dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in hope of a life in Europe? The powers-that-be portray them as freeloaders—trying to cash in on northern Europe’s social safety net. Or—at times—as refugees from countries with corrupt regimes, crushing poverty, and war that Europe simply can’t afford to help.

Syrian refugees waiting to cross the border into Turkey, June 15, 2014.
Syrian refugees waiting to cross the border into Turkey, June 15, 2015. (AP photo)

But why is so much of humanity living in crushing poverty? Who installed brutally oppressive regimes? What global system instigated wars that tear countries apart?

Half the world’s refugees come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The people of these three countries have been victims of bloody U.S. invasions and the nightmarish conflict between U.S. capitalism-imperialism and reactionary jihad—a spiraling clash driven overwhelmingly by moves of the U.S.

Syria: In Syria, the U.S. and its West European allies are trying to knock down rivals, like Russia and Iran, who back the reactionary Assad regime. To do that, they have sponsored or set loose a whole slew of reactionary armed forces—most of them ISIS-style Islamic fundamentalists who the U.S. currently finds it in their interests to promote. And ISIS itself has been able to take advantage of the chaos unleashed by U.S. moves against Assad to seize power in large sections of Syria—forcing millions to flee. Syria has been turned into a living hell in a multi-sided and ongoing civil war—11.6 million people there were driven from their homes by the end of 2014.

Afghanistan: The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan made conditions in a desperately poor, brutally oppressed country worse. Life for women in regions controlled by the pro-U.S. Islamist regime is—outside a few places in the largest cities—no better than life under the Taliban. And the death toll in the war between the U.S.-backed regime and the Taliban is growing. After 13-plus years of U.S. invasion and occupation, there were a record number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2014—more than 10,500.

Somalia: U.S. troops were driven out of Somalia in 1993, but today the armies of neighboring countries—trained, armed, and sponsored by the U.S. and the same European powers that persecute refugees—have invaded Somalia. They are fighting to install some version of order that will serve the interests of Western imperialism and against reactionary Islamic jihadists. War crimes and massacres of civilians characterize all the armed forces fighting in Somalia. On July 21, U.S.-aligned Ugandan forces killed seven Somali men in cold blood at a wedding. And the U.S.-instigated invasion of Somalia by neighboring countries has led to the spread of conflict and terror throughout the region.

* * *

Refugees from places where the insane workings of imperialism have made life impossible do not, overwhelmingly, make it to Europe. Instead they end up trying to survive in camps in other poor countries—like Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan. For all the demagogic xenophobic ranting by European fascists complaining about why should they sacrifice for immigrants, consider this: Ethiopia and Kenya—poor countries in Africa—take in more refugees than France and the UK.

* * *

There are 60 million human stories behind the wave of humanity driven from their homes and homelands to seek refuge elsewhere in the world last year. But they share one thing: they are a product of the workings of global capitalism-imperialism, its wars of plunder and the hellish forces that system unleashes as it exploits and oppresses the vast majority of humanity.

 

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/401/initial-report-take-patriarchy-by-storm-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

An Initial Report on

Take Patriarchy By Storm, Mississippi 2015 – Abortion On Demand and Without Apology

by Stop Patriarchy | August 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For ten days, from July 31 until August 9, Stop Patriarchy brought more than 20 volunteers from across the country to stand up for Abortion on Demand and Without Apology and to Take Patriarchy By Storm in Jackson, Mississippi. 

THE BACKDROP

This project took place at a time when LIES about abortion – the mischaracterization of abortion as the “murder of babies” – were at an all time high.  Cable news was constantly replaying dishonest videos which accused Planned Parenthood of “trafficking baby parts.”  Moves were afoot at both the state and national level to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood.  Mike Huckabee, a serious contender for the Republican presidential ticket, suggested that federal troops be called out to shut down abortion clinics in open defiance of the Supreme Court.  Other presidential candidates joined him in insisting that abortion be banned even in the case of rape or when the life of the woman is at risk.  In “opposition,” major Democrats joined in chastising the representatives of Planned Parenthood before meekly expressing support for abortion rights.  All this was coming on top of and intensifying decades of attack.  More than 330 laws restricting abortion rights had been introduced already this year, with more than 50 passed into law.

OUR MISSION

Our mission was to step to the front lines of the fight to defend and expand women's right to abortion, to model a radically new approach that takes back the high moral ground, and to link this up with the fight against all forms of the enslavement and degradation of women.

By bringing volunteers from around the country, Stop Patriarchy aimed to shine a national spotlight on Mississippi, making clear that what happens in any one place is part of the national fight over abortion and women's role in society.  We aimed to unite with and popularize the defiance and courage of those who own, work at, and defend this last clinic in the state.  And we aimed to model a new and radically different approach to taking on and defeating the war on women and on abortion rights in particular.

WHY WE CHOSE MISSISSIPPI

We chose Mississippi this summer because it is not only one of six states with only one abortion clinic left, it is a place where laws currently on the books nearly guarantee that there will never be a second abortion clinic in the state. It is also in the heart of both the Bible Belt, where the weight of fundamentalist, anti-abortion religion is the heaviest, and the Lynching Belt, where Black people have faced some of the most concentrated oppression, segregation, terror, state violence, criminalization, and intense poverty for hundreds of years.  For this reason, Black women and poor women are hardest hit by the lack of access to reproductive healthcare.

WHAT WE DID

Outreach in Oppressed Communities

Jackson

Jackson

Pink House

JacksonJackson

We fanned out into many of the impoverished Black communities that make up much of Jackson, Mississippi.  Every day, we knocked on doors and sat in people's living rooms, breaking down the science in our incredible new brochure of why "A Fetus is NOT a Baby."  People who supported abortion rights already were emboldened in their stance.  Many, many people who told us initially that they were "against abortion" had their minds deeply changed through this, and began telling us their own stories of illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade, of relatives who worked in the fields and still had 22 babies, of women being viciously harassed on their way into the last abortion clinic in the state.  Others, who still disagreed, thanked us for talking with them and acknowledged that they had new things that they'd never heard before to think about.  Quite a few people took stacks of the pamphlets to get to their friends and female relatives.

Pop-up Protests Against ALL Forms of Female Enslavement

Throughout the city, we held "pop-up protests."  Twice we demonstrated at a busy intersection, handing out flyers to cars at the stoplight and holding up the huge "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" banner.  Twice we "popped up" in Walmart parking lots, drawing a crowd, stirring controversy, and getting out stickers and brochures.  Once we disrupted the dinner rush at Hooters restaurant, making a statement that women are NOT sex objects.  We did the same at Twin Peaks, a similarly objectifying restaurant.  By the end of the week, we were running into people all over the city who asked, “Was that you I saw at Hooters... Was that you on the street for abortion rights?... Was that you who knocked on my friend's door?”

Escorting Women and Defending the Clinic

During the days that the last abortion clinic was seeing patients while we were down there, we joined with the Pink House Defenders to escort patients into the clinic.  As we lent our support to the women and the defenders, we learned first hand the harassment and shame that is heaped upon women in Mississippi.  Each day, with the cooperation and support of the clinic, Sunsara Taylor interviewed patients who wanted to share their stories, from which we all learned a great deal and which she wrote about here.  On Wednesday, August 5, we were honored to join the owner, staff, and defenders of the Pink House at a spirited celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Jackson Women's Health Organization (aka: The Pink House, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi).

Fondren's First Thursday (Major Street Party)

On Thursday night, August 6, we made a huge scene in the midst of the big downtown outdoor monthly party (Fondren's First Thursday), getting out hundreds of stickers, signs, brochures, and signing people up to get involved.  One team joined the Pink House Defenders in setting up a table on the Jackson Women's Health Organization's property and doing outreach to the droves of people passing by.  This included countering anti-abortion fanatics who held threatening signs which named the doctors at the clinic and pushed dishonest and woman-hating literature on the crowds.  Other teams draped themselves in stickers and went out into the throngs of the street party, drawing knots of people eager to get stickers and literature.  By the end of the night, the fluorescent messages of the StopPatriarchy stickers could be seen on hundreds of people throughout the crowd and many had signed up to get involved. 

Abortion Rights People's Hearing: Spotlight Mississippi

The efforts of the week culminated in a powerful Abortion Rights People's Hearing: Spotlight Mississippi on Friday, August 7.  This featured a dramatic reading of the patient interviews, reports from the volunteers, a powerful video featuring testimony from people in the neighborhoods speaking out about abortion, a beautiful video-message from Merle Hoffman (CEO of Choices Medical Center in New York), a gripping speech from Diane Derzis (owner of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi), a rousing talk by Sunsara Taylor, and comments from the Pink House Defenders.  This event put women back in the center of the fight over abortion, telling their stories and bringing alive the tremendous importance of the fight for abortion rights as integral to the full liberation of women.  It also challenged and mobilized people to get involved in this fight. This event took place at the Soul Wired Cafe in Jackson, Mississippi and was livestreamed to gatherings in Honolulu, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Bay Area, Cleveland and beyond.

A New Culture and Morality

Throughout it all, we lived together and took up the morality and culture of real liberation. People put the collective mission first while valuing and caring for every individual in that context. Political differences and ideas and questions were raised openly, and everyone worked to set aside ego to grapple together over what was really true and what was in the best interests of the people.  Differences of gender, sexual orientation, race and nationality were respected and learned from.  And particular attention was paid to learning deeply from the Black people who generously took us into their homes and shared their insights, questions, lives and struggles with us.

And to Cap it All Off

On our final day, we woke early so that we could pack and ship all our remaining materials and still have time to sum up our experience together, strategize about future plans, visit the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center to learn more about the history of Black Mississippians, eat barbeque, and cap it all off with live music and dancing.

WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED

We are proud to say that we accomplished a great deal.  While there is a tremendous amount more that must be done, we are in a stronger position to rise to the next challenges because of advances we made in three key areas.

First, we brought to light more fully the scope of the emergency facing women's right to abortion and the lives and conditions of those hardest hit. This is essential because most people today are not aware of the either how far the attack on abortion has advanced, or what it really means when abortion access dries up. Through the work we did in the community and through telling these stories in the People's Hearing and in the work we will continue to publish and speak about, we are putting women back in the center of the fight over abortion and waking people up to the stakes of this emergency. People cannot be won to fight something if they don't even recognize the problem.

Second, building upon the work we have undertaken in the last several years of Abortion Rights Freedom Rides and beyond, we modeled a radically new winning approach to this fight: daring to change minds, to take on anti-scientific beliefs and tradition, to put women back in the center of this fight, and to challenge new people to join this struggle. We did not attempt to “reframe” the question of abortion as “healthcare” or simply a matter of “privacy” in order to “appeal to where people are at.”  In reality, that just means appealing to how people's opinions have been shaped by decades of assault on abortion rights by Christian fascists and thousands of years of patriarchal traditions about “women's place.”  Instead, we boldly told the truth: that fetuses are NOT babies, abortion is NOT murder, and women are NOT incubators. Our confidence that everyone can understand the science behind these statements and that everyone can be won to grasp the importance of standing up for women was confirmed and deepened. Right in the heart of the Bible Belt, where the weight of fundamentalist religious tradition is heaviest, we changed people's minds and won people who had opposed abortion to support Abortion On Demand and Without Apology.  If this can be done in the Bible Belt, it can – and needs to – be done nationwide and beyond!

Third, we trained an experienced core of new leaders who can take this fight back across the country with new confidence and this new and radical winning approach.  This happened on the theoretical level; through grappling with this daily amongst each other and out amongst the masses, we learned more deeply the science of reproduction and the centrality of abortion rights to women's full liberation. This happened through the deep exchanges with the masses of people.  We will never forget the harassment we witnessed, or the women we got to know, while escorting at the clinic.  We will never forget sitting in people's living rooms and hearing stories of dangerous illegal abortions, of back-breaking labor in the fields with child after child, of terrible violence at the hands of the police as well as from men who have been trained by this patriarchal system, and more that was shared with us.  We feel a solemn responsibility to act on what was learned and to fight with renewed determination for a world where these horrors never happen again.  And this training/forging happened in the ways that we learned to work together, to solve problems together, and to involve and organize new people to take this fight forward.

GOING FORWARD

There is a tremendous amount more that needs to be shared from this experience, stories that still need to be told and deeper lessons drawn out.  At the same time, the assault on abortion rights and the all around war on women has only further intensified.  We are actively working to strategize with each other and with many other broader forces to develop a strategic plan and vision for stepping up the fight and defeating this war on women.  Expect to hear more from us soon!  If you would like to be part of this process or if you have insights or ideas, please write to us at: StopPatriarchy@gmail.com

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/402/night-in-harlem-get-ready-riseupoctober-nyc-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Diverse, Intense & Uncompromising:

A Night in Harlem to GET READY for
#RiseUpOctober in NYC

Updated August 31, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last night hundreds packed the First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC) in Harlem, New York City. There was a kick-in-the-gut, kick-in-the-heart intensity in the air, as a crowd—a majority Black people but many others as well—gathered for a program sponsored by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network to hear Carl Dix, Dr. Cornel West, and others speak to What We Must Do to STOP Police Murder and Terror—Get Ready for #RiseUpOctober: Massive Mobilization to Stop Police Terror & Murder, October 22-24 in NYC.

Carl Dix
Carl Dix

Cornel WestCornel West

All night long the question, the challenge, was posed in powerful ways that must reverberate far and wide: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Co-MC Nkosi Anderson opened by declaring the existence of a “state of emergency” and promising an evening of a wide range of perspectives united to stop police terror in the context of a worldwide movement to stop police terror.

Reverend Willie Francois III, assistant pastor at FCBC, challenged all to be the “architects of a world where all people are free” and insisted “We cannot say Jesus without saying Justice.”

Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club—speaking from his experiences with Black and Latino youth around the country, and Reverend Stephen Phelps—speaking from what he learns from his parishioners, and his activist perspective—testified to the pervasive terror instituted by police around the country.

Former Black Panther, Columbia University professor, artist and activist Jamal Joseph charted the insanity of police murder of Black people from the 1940s, through Eleanor Bumpurs –a grandmother murdered by the NYPD in 1985 through today. Gina Belafonte, co-director of the SANKOFA Foundation founded by Harry Belafonte, led people chanting: “Unapologetically Black, we ready, we coming!” “Are we rising up in October?” (Audience: yeah!).

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former senior policy analyst for, and whistle-blower on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and activist with the DC Hands Up Coalition reported on outrage and resistance to the mayor of Washington, DC’s plans to put 500 more police on the streets.  She said her son had been stopped over 30 times, and each time he could have been dead and this why she’s part of calling for Rise Up October.

Family Members Speak

Co-MC Kimberli Diaz brought family members of victims of police murder to the stage. From deep in their hearts, they shared pain and outrage. Every story could fill a book, a movie, be told in a hundred songs, and they can be seen at the video of the event.

Co-MC Nkosi Anderson
Co-MC Nkosi Anderson

Reverend Willie Francois III, assistant pastor at FCBC
Reverend Willie Francois III, assistant pastor at FCBC

Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club
Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club

Reverend Stephen Phelps
Reverend Stephen Phelps

Jamal Joseph, Former Black Panther, Columbia University professor, artist and activist
Jamal Joseph, former Black Panther, Columbia University professor, artist and activist

Gina Belafonte, co-director of the SANKOFA Foundation
Gina Belafonte, co-director of the SANKOFA Foundation

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former senior policy analyst for, and whistle-blower on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and activist with the DC Hands Up Coalition
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former senior policy analyst for, and whistle-blower on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and activist with the DC Hands Up Coalition

Co-MC Kimberli Diaz
Co-MC Kimberli Diaz

Families of the stolen lives
Family members of those whose lives were stolen by police.

Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson murdered by NYC police in 2000; Mertilla Jones, grandmother of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered in front of her eyes by Detroit police in 2010
Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson murdered by NYC police in 2000; Mertilla Jones, grandmother of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered in front of her eyes by Detroit police in 2010

Sharon Irwin Lorien Carter, grandmother and aunt of Tony Robinson, murdered by Madison, Wisconsin police this year
Sharon Irwin and Lorien Carter, grandmother and aunt of Tony Robinson, murdered by Madison, Wisconsin police this year

LaToya Howell, mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois police this year
LaToya Howell, mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois police this year

Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr, murdered by NYC police in 1994 at age 13
Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr, murdered by NYC police in 1994 at age 13

They included: Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson murdered by NYC police in 2000; Mertilla Jones, grandmother of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered in front of her eyes by Detroit police in 2010; Sharon Irwin, grandmother, and Lorien Carter, aunt, of Tony Robinson, who was killed by Madison, Wisconsin police this year; LaToya Howell, mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois police this year; Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr, murdered by NYC police in 1994 at age 13, while playing with a toy gun; Reginald Owens, father of Naim Owens, killed by the NYPD in 2014, and stepfather of Kheil Coppin, killed by the NYPD in 2007; and Joanne Mickens, whose son Corey Mickens was murdered by the NYPD in 2007.

Serious About Fundraising

This riveting testimony gave a sense of the fury and power that will be injected into societal debate and struggle over police terror in NYC on October 22-24.

Before Carl Dix and Cornel West spoke, Reverend Jerome McCorry, faith coordinator for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and Will Reese, from the NYC Revolution Club, called on people to step up and donate the kind of serious funds necessary to bring representatives of a hundred families of people murdered by police to NYC for Rise Up October, and travel the country to tell their stories, and to make Rise Up October possible, starting with several people who literally rose to the challenge—standing up and donating $500.

Carl Dix and Cornel West

Carl Dix and Cornel West are co-initiators of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and of Rise Up October. Their presentations were a dynamic expression of the diversity of outlooks, agendas and philosophical frameworks of those coming together for Rise Up October, and of the powerful love, unity, and determination to STOP police terror and make October 22-24 a serious step towards changing everything.

Carl Dix framed his message in a recent quote from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA:

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.

Carl Dix broke down the “unspeakable ugliness”—here, and around the world, every kind of oppression and exploitation. The lessons of the lynching of Emmett Till and the crimes of the government against the Black and poor people in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He called out the deaths—from Vietnam to Iraq to Korea—in U.S. wars for empire. He called out how this system is trying to deny women the right to decide if and when to have a child, the devastation of the environment, the persecution of immigrants and the insults of “that fascist idiot Donald Trump.”

But he also broke down the “potential for something of unprecedented beauty” to be brought to life through a total revolution. The need to seize power “from the hands of the capitalist exploiters.” And the basis to do that, and the critical role of Bob Avakian’s “breakthroughs in revolution” in making that possible, and called on people to get into BA and the revolution.

And then, coming from that, he spoke to the concrete urgency and necessity of Rise Up October in depth and detail, including responding in depth to those who insist the movement must limit itself to what the system considers “reasonable demands.” (Read text of Carl Dix’s speech here)

Cornel West challenged people with a history of the oppression and resistance of Black people in the U.S.A.: “Hated people, taught the world so much about love. Denied justice but taught the world so much about justice. Traumatized, but taught the world so much about how to be cool. Black people at our best have been truth tellers, that means we’ve been cross bearers before we were flag wavers.”

He called out a “challenge in the age of Obama:” “Once we got a Black president we got too many people more concerned by the breakthrough at the top and then lose sight of those stuck in the basement... what Franz Fanon called the ‘wretched of the earth’ in the midst of the American Empire.” He called on people to stand up and straighten their backs.

Near the end of his presentation, he leaned in to the audience, faced the families of victims of police murder, pointed to the faces of the victims and declared “their afterlife [will] work through us. Because we gonna have Sankofa, which means we not gonna move forward til we first look back, and remember the best of those who came before us. That constitutes wind at our back. That’s what Stop Mass Incarceration’s about. That’s why I call it the love train. Get on the love train! Curtis Mayfield said you don’t need no ticket, just get on board! Get on board! Stop mass incarceration and decide what side you’re really on. And come with us.”

* * *

The evening ended with Travis Morales announcing plans, and ways into this, for everyone. Afterwards, as people headed out, dozens hung out on into the night, drinking in the energy and passion, and discussing next steps. At the end everyone was singing Hell You Talmbout.

Here’s how you become part of this:

And stay tuned to revcom.us and Revolution newspaper

 

 

Joanne Mickens, whose son Corey Mickens was murdered by the NYPD in 2007
Joanne Mickens, whose son Corey Mickens was murdered by the NYPD in 2007

Reverend Jerome McCorry, faith coordinator for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Reverend Jerome McCorry, faith coordinator for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Travis Morales
Travis Morales

Families of Stolen Lives

Dr. Cornel West and fammilies of Stolen Lives

Artists for Justice & NYC Revolution Club leading singing of
Artists for Justice & NYC Revolution Club leading singing of "Hell You Talmbout"

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/402/carl-dix-speaks-get-ready-for-riseupoctober-en.html

Revolution #401 August 24, 2015

Carl Dix Speaks on #RiseUpOctober:
It HAS to Happen

August 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix is the co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Carl Dix
Carl Dix is the co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (Photo: Revolution/revcom.us)

Sixty years ago tomorrow, Emmett Till was brutally murdered. Why? Because they say he whistled at a white woman. Four days later, two white men came to his family's house and dragged Emmett off. They took him to a river, made him take his clothes off and beat him nearly to death. They gouged his eye out and shot him in the head. Then they tied his body to a 75 pound fan and threw him in the river. They were never punished for this murder, even tho' they admitted to doing it in an interview run in Look magazine.

Saturday will be another solemn anniversary. 10 years ago Hurricane Katrina roared ashore from the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina broke thru the levees in New Orleans and flooded 80 percent of the city. Hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes. Thousands and thousands of mostly poor Black people were left to die as the authorities failed to provide rescue from the flood waters or emergency supplies of food and water. Nearly 2,000 people DID die. Black people were herded into pens in the New Orleans Superdome that reminded many of the way enslaved Africans were jammed into the holds of slave ships. Blacks who acted to save their own and others' lives were condemned as "looters." The governor of Louisiana gave orders to shoot looters on sight. And police did gun down people who were doing nothing more than trying to escape the flood waters. In the weeks that followed, the authorities used Katrina to ethnically cleanse New Orleans, driving 100,000's of mostly Black people out of New Orleans. I saw some of this up close because I was in New Orleans several times in the aftermath of Katrina, and I fought together with people against the way Black people were driven out of the city.

These two anniversaries are gone into, deeply, in our newspaper, Revolution.  I urge everyone to get multiple copies of Revolution here tonight. Let's think about these two horrific anniversaries. And think about this—from Emmett Till to Sandra Bland... from the catastrophe of Katrina to the ongoing catastrophe of mass incarceration... from all the horrors of the slave ships, the Middle Passage, the centuries of enslavement and lynch mob terror, South AND North, to what we're here tonight to talk about—WHAT WE MUST DO TO STOP POLICE TERROR AND MURDER... think about what America has meant.

So what MUST we do to stop all this? I'm gonna talk tonight about the only REAL way to put an end to this, and then I'm going to talk about Rise Up October, the huge National March to Stop Police Terror on October 24 here in New York City, which is something that everyone can and must jump into right now to push these killers back. And to start all this, I'm going to share with you a quote from Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Here's what BA says:

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.

That ugliness is so real, it is painful to even think about. There is the way they nearly wiped out the native peoples who lived here and stole their lands, and then put the few who survived into concentration camps called reservations. There is the way they dragged millions of Africans to these shores in slave chains. Oh yes, this capitalist system came into being dripping with blood from its every pore as Karl Marx said. There's the subjugation of women, which is ages old and current day with the culture of servitude and rape and viewing women as sex objects, and the attempts to control women's most private decisions of when or whether they want to have a child. There's the way they do immigrants who are driven here by hunger and horror the U.S. causes in their homelands, desperately seeking work and then persecuted—deported in record numbers by Obama and insulted by fascist idiots like Donald Trump.

Carl Dix

There's the imperialist wars—the powers that be sometimes tell us about the Americans who die in these wars, but do they tell us about the people they kill? They killed over a million people in Iraq these past two decades. They killed three million people in Vietnam and three million more in Korea. And do they tell you why? Well, Cornel can tell you—it's for EMPIRE. And I was in their army, I saw how they try to break people's spirits and turn them into mindless killing machines for their imperialist wars. When they told me in 1970 that I had to ship out to Vietnam, I said "HELL, No!" I did two years in Leavenworth military prison because I refused to kill my Vietnamese brothers and sisters for this system. And now they're even putting all of human life in danger by destroying the environment of the planet we all live on.

We can't turn away from this ugliness. We have to confront it.

But there's something else. There's the great beauty that Avakian talks about. The potential to emancipate all of humanity.

This is not a dream. This is not "don't worry, we'll get justice some day." This can be done. Humanity CAN be emancipated. And the way to do this is through revolution—thru getting RID of this system and bringing in a system that is based on freeing people from all that ugliness and developing whole new ways for people to relate to each other and to the whole world.

A lotta people tell me, "Carl, you're crazy. You can't make revolution. They're too powerful." But what's crazy is going along with this system and expecting things to get better. And let me tell you about their power—I've seen it up close, and I've seen the very real potential to defeat that power.

We saw the potential to make revolution in the 1960's, when Black people stood up against the oppression enforced on them, sparking much broader resistance here in the U.S. and striking a chord with people around the world. The potential to defeat them and their power was shown in Vietnam where peasants who were inspired and organized defeated their big powerful army—and part of how they did that by inspiring soldiers like me to rebel. Back then we wanted to question and change everything. We saw glimmers of a different morality, a whole different way people could relate to each other. We saw a glimpse back then of the beauty Bob Avakian is talking about.

In a few parts of the world people did get free, and here in the belly of the beast, the system got knocked back on its heels. But things didn't go far enough. We never made revolution here in the U.S., leaving power in the hands of the capitalist exploiters. Where revolution had been made, power was seized back. The attempt to change everything got defeated, and people around the world and in this country have paid a heavy price in blood and misery for this ever since. A lot of people got too beaten down and gave up. What we got was a few faces in high places—some Black, some Latino, some women. What else we got was over two million people in prison.

Today one in two Black children grow up in poverty. We got crack and AIDS and all the horrors that go with what Lorraine Hansberry called a "dream deferred." But that's where Bob Avakian comes in—because he never gave up on the people and he never gave up on revolution, and not only that, he made new breakthroughs in revolution, including in basically solving the problems that the revolution ran up against back then.

Don't let people tell you we can't do better than this...don't let anybody tell you that America is eternal, and that the best we can hope for is getting some itty-bitty changes in HOW they dog us. Don't let them suck you into framing what you're trying to do in the language and the terms of the system. Don't let them tell you that we have to limit ourselves to working within the channels this system puts out there. We've seen this movie before, and the result is the whole genocidal situation we face right now—and yes, I said genocide. So I'm challenging everyone here, especially you young people—get into this revolution, get into Bob Avakian and what he's brought forward about how to make revolution—keep your sights aimed where they need to be: on emancipating all of humanity. You can do this by going to our website—revcom.us—or come to our new bookstore opening up this fall in Harlem at 437 Malcolm X Blvd at 132nd St. ... but do get into him.

Now, coming from where I'm coming from—the need for and possibility of revolution—I understand that we have to fight right now—we can't let them beat people so far down that we could never rise up against the things they do to us. We have to mobilize everyone we can, wherever they're coming from and however they see the problem and the solution, to fight this madness we face. Again, that's why you came here tonight—to find out what we must do to stop police terror and murder.

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

Let me start out by getting personal. When I tell you the police have killed over 700 people so far this year, these are not just statistics to me. In the decades I've been working to stop murder by police I've seen the devastation killer cops inflict on families and on communities. I met Mertilla Jones five years ago. It was just days after a SWAT team broke into the wrong house and murdered her 7-year-old granddaughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones. I met Juanita Young 15 years ago, just days after a cop who had arrested her son Malcolm Ferguson the previous week for protesting the murder of Amadou Diallo murdered Malcolm. I met Nicholas Heyward almost 20 years ago, two years after his 13-year-old son, Nicholas Jr, was gunned down by a cop while he was playing with a toy gun. These are just a few of the thousands of people who have been murdered by police. Ask these parents what it's like to mourn your child, without even justice. Or ask my wife, whose brother was shot down by cops right in front of his mother, just a day after they had told her they were gonna kill him. All this is a big part of why I'm doing all I can to mobilize people to act to STOP police getting away with murder. And it's why you need to join with this effort

People who front for this system are asking, "what are your demands?" They say, "You can't just tell us to stop letting our cops kill you, you have to have some 'reasonable' demands.'

It tells you something about this system that to them stopping the police from murdering innocent people and terrorizing Black and other oppressed peoples is "unreasonable." Let's leave that aside for now. OK, here are some demands. How about indicting, convicting and putting the killer cops in jail? And I don't just mean the ones who get caught on video killing someone next week. I mean all the killer cops, including those who have killed 1000s of people over the past years and decades. This is a "reasonable" demand because there is no statute of limitations on murder!

How about dismantling the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and the whole genocidal program this concentrates? Don't be bragging about how Obama pardoned 46 people when there are 2.3 million people locked down. How about doing something about this for real? How about dropping the charges on everybody who got arrested protesting murder by police over the past year? How about shutting down that dungeon and butcher shop they got over there on Riker's Island, and the other dungeons just like it in other cities? And we do have an overarching demand: how about you STOP unleashing your cops to kill our people?

These are pretty reasonable demands, unless you are presiding over a system that NEEDS official murder, terror and massive unjust imprisonment. These are the demands that people need to throw down over and fight for as part of ending these horrors. And RiseUpOctober, the big national march in NYC on October 24, is aimed at making a big leap in the fight to do this.

When you're up against a genocide, and that IS what we're dealing with, you don't ask the people presiding over it to make some changes to smooth out the rough edges of that genocide or to slow down its intensity. You act to stop it.

And when you're up against a genocide, you don't listen when they say: "you've made your point—now you can stop disrupting the business as usual of our system." We haven't "made our point" until all of society is in an uproar saying that THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until everyone has felt compelled to choose sides on this because they understand that there is no middle ground, and people feel challenged to be in the street saying THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until, like Rev McCorry says, these so-called champions of human rights stand revealed before the whole wide world for the frauds that they are, and the whole world sees that THIS MUST STOP.

Video of the full event held on August 27:
What We Must Do to STOP Police Terror and Murder

Diverse, Intense & Uncompromising: A Night in Harlem to GET READY for #RiseUpOctober in NYC, October 22-24, 2015

THIS is why we have to be out there on October 22, 23 and 24. When we stand out there on October 22 reading the names of those the police have murdered—with prominent people joining with loved ones of those murdered and with clergy and others to, as Kimberlé Crenshaw and Janelle Monáe have called on us to do: SAY THEIR NAMES. This will send a powerful message. When people take to the streets in cities all across the country on October 22, people won't be able to turn their heads and say they didn't see it. On October 23, when students and clergy alongside and in solidarity with those who feel the lash of this every day, engage in non violent direct action and shut down one of their institutions of misery and terror—that will send a powerful message to all—this movement is serious.

Then on October 24, we, all of us, will march in from Grant Homes and Strivers' Row in Harlem, from Washington Heights and Jackson Heights, from Bed-Stuy and Hunts Point and from Jamaica and Staten Island. There will be students from CUNY, Columbia and dozens of other campuses from this area, people from Newark and Paterson and Hartford, numbering in the thousands and thousands. We will be joined by thousands and thousands more from Atlanta and Chicago, from Detroit and Cleveland, from New Orleans and Mississippi and many other places. Millions of people all across the country and around the world will hear our powerful cry: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Millions more are gonna say, okay, I gotta choose sides and many of them will decide they have to be with the ones trying to STOP this.

We will change history. We will inspire thousands and yes millions, who are tired of being treated like criminals and tired of seeing cops patrolling their communities like occupying armies, to see that they don't have to take this, to see that it's not their fault. And they will stand up and act to stop this. We will rally to their side thousands of people from other sections of society who refuse to stand aside while horrors are inflicted on people because of the color of their skin. We will open the eyes of those who don't suffer these horrors, challenging them to quit swallowing the lying justifications the authorities give for continuing to give a green light to killer cops, challenging them to get off the sidelines—Which Side Are You On? Are you on the side of acting to STOP these horrors? Or are you on the side of continuing to let them go down? There's no middle ground, no neutrality, on this. You gotta choose a side. And I don't mean just giving us your sympathy. I mean actively joining in the resistance and mobilizing others to resist too. You gotta join with this effort to make October 24 as powerful as possible. You gotta listen when somebody here tonight tells you what you can do and who you can hook up with to be part of RiseUpOctober, or, and let me be real—if you and people like you don't throw in on this—it ain't gonna happen.

And it HAS to happen.

I don't want to have to keep on making hashtags with the names of people killed by the police. I don't want to keep adding names to the lists of the lives stolen by law enforcement. I don't want to have to keep adding pictures of people the police have murdered to banners like this. I don't want to let this genocide keep going so that future generations will be here discussing what to do about it 20 years from now. We've got to act to stop it now.

So let's get out there, let's do all we can to STOP this, and then let's do more—let's make October a big step toward a world where when the next generation learns about Emmett Till and Katrina, it really WILL be history, a history that has been overcome and that no longer echoes and booms in the reality of the present. A world where humanity has straightened its back and emancipates itself.