Revolution #412, November 9, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

"If you are serious..."

An Invitation to Learn About—and Change—the World

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People are grappling with very deep questions. We live in a world where millions of people are forced to risk their lives to flee their homes due to the imperialist wars, as well as the plunder and disruption caused by this system, and where the threat of even deeper war looms... where Black people and other oppressed nationalities within the U.S. are penned in everywhere they turn and face early graves, foreshortened and blighted lives, insult at every turn, and even murder, just for who they are... where women face a gauntlet of harassment, discrimination, oppression, and outright brutal and even murderous physical assault every single day, and where outrageous political and legal attacks, as well as vicious bullying, go on against LGBT people... and where the environmental emergency is putting the very future of life on this planet in doubt.

Is there a way to change—to really change—the way that people are forced to live? What would it take—what will it take—to not just change the many ways that people are oppressed, but to actually end oppression altogether? And what will your life be about in relation to that?

Yes, the world today IS a horror—but it doesn’t have to be this way; it is not a matter of human nature, but owing to the workings of the system. There IS a way out, a way forward. As we say elsewhere on this site, “Because of Bob Avakian and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, there is a new synthesis of communism that has been brought forward—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal.”

If you are someone who is grappling with the big questions, right now is the time for you to dig deeply into that work, even as we fight forward to change the world. You can start by getting into BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the “handbook of revolution,” and by taking the six-hour journey that is the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Read these, watch them, talk them over with people inside, and outside, the movement for revolution. Let them work on you. (Revolution Books stores in local areas will be showing BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in its entirety in December.) In addition, you can and should get into the film of the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. Taken together, these form a great introduction to the work BA has done... to enable you to understand what is, in fact, special about Bob Avakian.

At the same time, there is an outline, by BA himself, which lays out the key elements of the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward and developed. This outline—The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elementsprovides “a basic grounding and guideline... to encourage and facilitate further engagement with the new synthesis.” Getting into this gives a sense of how BA has identified and gone at the thorniest problems facing revolutionaries and how, in the process, he has further revolutionized communism itself—identifying and breaking with those aspects of communism which were not, in fact, scientific, and putting the whole thing on a more scientific, a consistently scientific, foundation.

At the end of November, the Party will begin leading small group discussions of this outline—not to replace the ongoing engagement with BAsics or REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, but to enable people to get more deeply into the new synthesis and to really work with, and better grasp (and apply), the core elements of it. We will “walk through” the outline, taking up and going deeply into it, and exploring people’s questions as we go. (For more information on the discussion, contact your local Revolution Books store or Revolution newspaper distributor.)

If you are serious about revolution, and therefore serious about getting into BA, these sessions are for you. If you want to be part of this grappling, you should begin right now to either review, or to read for the first time, Ardea Skybreak’s 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 (buy the book here or download PDF here). In addition, you should begin to dig into (or review, if you already have read them) the other works listed in the outline, especially “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” by Ishak Baran and K.J.A., in Demarcations #4.

Don’t expect to get everything all at once—these are new ideas, and take effort. But don’t give up either—these ideas, this science, hold the key to changing the world, and the world MUST be changed. Everyone can learn to wield science and to consciously change the world on that basis. And that’s what these sessions are for—to get into these ideas and work with them, in a collective setting, and then apply them to changing the world... to making revolution and bringing in a new world.

Readers might also want to check out a Letter from a Reader: "'The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements,' by Bob Avakian—A Unique and Historic Document."

 

Links to works referenced in this editorial

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements

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

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past” by Ishak Baran and KJA

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

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

 

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

by Bob Avakian,

Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,
Summer 2015

Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Introductory Point of Orientation

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

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

** Freedom and necessity—a further synthesis.

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

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

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

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

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

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

BAsics 4:10

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

BAsics 5:11

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

** Epistemology and partisanship.

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

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

** Against populism and populist epistemology.

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

BAsics 4:11

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Beyond democracy and equality.

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

Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?

Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, Part 1

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

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

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

** “Emancipators of humanity.”

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

Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past

* Internationalism

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

BAsics 2:12

Advancing the World Revolutionary Movement: Questions of Strategic Orientation

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

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

Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

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

The films

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

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

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

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

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

BAsics 3:22

Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, Part 3

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

** The seizure of power.

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

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

* Building the New Society, Advancing to a New World

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

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

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

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

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

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

Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion/Summary

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

 

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

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

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

Letter from a Reader

July 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

There Must Be a Defiant, Mass Outpouring for Abortion Rights This Roe v. Wade Anniversary, January 22, 2016

by Sunsara Taylor | November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: In this article, Sunsara Taylor gets into the context of the abortion rights protests being called for January 22-23, 2016 and the crucial importance of those actions. January 22 marks the anniversary of the 1974 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide—for the first time, women could decide for themselves whether and when they wanted to give birth to children. Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of women in the U.S. were seriously injured or died each year from unsafe illegal abortions. Countless others were forced to bear children they did not want. This decision did not come from the Supreme Court suddenly becoming “enlightened.” Only in the face of the self-sacrificing fight of women and others and overall social upheaval of the 1960s and early 1970s—as well as the larger changes in the family and social role of women driven by the shifting economic position and dynamics of the U.S. in the world—did the Supreme Court grant the right to abortion. Even then, they did not guarantee women’s right to abortion but only to a certain scope of “privacy” in this sphere. And since Roe v. Wade, there has been an enormous and mounting assault on the right to abortion, spearheaded by Christian fascists and including court decisions and state laws placing increasing restrictions on abortion.

 

Brave protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the so-called
On the last Roe v Wade anniversary, January 22, 2015, courageous protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the anti-abortion “March for Life," in Washington, DC. The protests on the next Roe v. Wade anniversary, January 22-23, 2016, must be even more powerful. Photo: Stop Patriarchy

Spirited counter-protest against the 2015 "Walk for Life" in San Francisco, an annual woman-hating parade organized by a network of Catholic churches aimed at criminalizing abortion and imposing forced motherhood on women.
Spirited counter-protest against the 2015 "Walk for Life" in San Francisco, an annual woman-hating parade organized by a network of Catholic churches aimed at criminalizing abortion and imposing forced motherhood on women. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

Abortion clinics across this country are being boarded up. Twenty-two clinics have been shut down in Texas since 2013. In the same time, five clinics in Ohio have been shut down. In Montana, a clinic that was severely vandalized in 2014 has never re-opened. Just weeks ago in Claremont, New Hampshire, a Planned Parenthood facility that didn’t even do abortions was broken into and its computers, plumbing system, and medical equipment were destroyed with a hatchet. It is estimated that abortion clinics are being forced to close in this country at the rate of one every week and a half.

At the clinics that remain, an army of religious fundamentalists make it their mission to harass, shame, and threaten women every single day. “Murderer!” “Slut!” These words are hurled at girls as young as 11 and 12 years old. Then these women and girls are forced to endure a barrage of humiliating further restrictions—forced to make multiple trips because fascist lawmakers think the women and girls can’t be trusted with their initial decision, forced to get permission from parents or a judge as if their bodies don’t belong to themselves, forced to undergo a sonogram—sometimes vaginally—intended to provoke feelings of guilt and attachment to the fetus they do not want. Already, abortion is out of reach for huge swaths of poor, young, and rural women. Growing numbers of women are being forced to risk their lives—and sometimes end up in prison—by attempting to self-induce abortions. Others are being forced to have children against their will, with all the negative lifelong consequences of that.

Even Greater Dangers Looming

As bad as all this is, the situation threatens to get drastically worse very soon. Major cases loom before the Supreme Court that will determine how many of the drastic restrictions on abortion passed in recent years will stand—and how much further they might be allowed to go. These rulings by the Supreme Court—or just as starkly, the failure to consider and reject some of the laws currently on the books—could bring about the most sweeping and permanent changes in abortion laws in decades. They could take the most extreme closures and restrictions in the country in recent years—like those which threaten to close all but 10 out of more than 40 abortion clinics recently operating in Texas—and make them the standard across the entire country.

At the same time, there has been an orchestrated attack, directed by Christian fascists in positions of power, against Planned Parenthood--the largest abortion provider in the country. There have been moves to defund Planned Parenthood in the Congress and in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Texas and Utah. In Texas, police showed up at Planned Parenthood sites throughout the state and seized the medical records of women who’d had abortions, a gross violation of women’s privacy and a threat against any woman who’d consider abortion in the future. And through all this, threats and physical violence against abortion providers and clinics have escalated. Five Planned Parenthoods have been physically attacked—including with firebombs, arson, and hatchets—since the summer.

Break All the Chains!

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

Sampler Edition | Full Work

This Affects ALL Women

Due to the shame and silence that hangs heavy over abortion, the illusion is widespread that these restrictions and shrinking access to abortion will only affect a few women. This is not true. One in three women will get an abortion by the time she is 45 years old. One in three. This number cuts across religious and political beliefs. No matter how silently and shamefully this secret is kept, all of us are surrounded every day by women who have had abortions. This assault on abortion access and this terror against women’s clinics is aimed at and affects all women.

The consequences of not being able to access abortion and birth control are enormous. The ability for women to engage in sexual activity without shame and without fear that their entire lives will be jeopardized disappears without access to abortion and birth control. And, when women are forced to have children against their will, their lives are foreclosed. Often, they are forced to drop out of school, driven into poverty, kicked out of their homes, or trapped in abusive homes. Whether or not any individual woman suffers this outcome, the threat of this outcome and hatred for women bound up with this stalks and affects every woman and girl.

Abortion Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

There should be absolutely no shame involved in getting an abortion. Fetuses are not babies. Abortion is not murder. Women are not incubators. If a woman decides for whatever reason that she does not want to carry a pregnancy to term, she must be allowed to terminate that pregnancy safely and without stigma. When a woman is pregnant and does not want to have a child, abortion is a perfectly moral and highly responsible choice. Without the right to decide for themselves when and whether to have children, without unencumbered access to birth control and abortion, women can never be free to participate fully and equally in every realm of society. This is precisely why abortion rights are so important and this is precisely why they are so viciously under attack by Christian fascists and patriarchs. What is truly shameful and immoral is depriving women of the right to abortion and forcing women to bear children against their will. No matter how it is dressed up, this is nothing but woman-hating.

The Need for Mass, Independent, Political Resistance

The truth is this: This fascist assault on abortion has not been and will not be stopped by “pro-choice” politicians who go out of their way to express their “respect” for the woman-haters pushing these laws, who contribute to the shame and defensiveness around abortion by claiming it should be “rare,” and who have conciliated time and again with this whole fascist juggernaut, allowing us to get to where we are today with even greater dangers ahead.

This direction has not and will not be stopped by relying on the courts. It is important and true that, for now, abortion is legal and the recent spate of restrictions DOES violate women’s constitutional rights. But, relying on the courts is not how abortion or birth control rights were won in the first place, and relying on the courts since then has been a big part of how pro-choice people have been de-mobilized and made passive as these very courts have increasingly codified and “legitimated” greater and greater restrictions. In reality, what the courts do has always been highly political and influenced by the broader culture and demands in society.

Stopping this assault, reversing this whole direction and lifting the mountains of shame and stigma off women, requires massive, uncompromising, independent political resistance.

People must go into the streets and confront and expose the woman-hating nature of this assault. People must not only say the word abortion openly, but shout it out with pride and with anger at those who would take it away. Students and others must be woken up to the emergency afoot, shaken out of their complacency and mobilized to fight. Older people who remember the gruesome and terrifying days before abortion was legal must break the silence and tell the stories of friends, mothers, sisters who died or went through harrowing experiences for lack of legal access to abortion. People who oppose abortion must be directly challenged and argued with, not just one by one but in open-air debates and in a way that draws many more into thinking anew about this question. Celebrities and public figures must speak up and join those fighting back. People throughout every corner of society must be confronted with the reality and mobilized to fight. No one should be allowed to sit on the sidelines as women’s lives and futures and rights are foreclosed.

And all this must build for and come together in powerful expressions of mass resistance to this war on women this January 22 in Washington, DC, and January 23 in San Francisco. Right up in the face of the annual marches for “life” that oppose women’s right to abortion and birth control, right on the anniversary of when abortion was made legal, masses of people must pour into the streets, declare their support for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology and join the fight for the future of women.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/listen-to-this-bob-avakians-christianity-and-society-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Listen to This! Bob Avakian's
"Christianity and Society—The Old Testament and the New Testament, Resistance and Revolution"

by Sunsara Taylor | November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I recently re-listened to a talk that Bob Avakian gave during the George W. Bush years called “Christianity and Society—The Old Testament and the New Testament, Resistance and Revolution.” I listened with others during a long car ride up to a Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire that has been closed down (at least for now) after someone broke into it and destroyed its computers, medical equipment, and plumbing with a hatchet. The immediacy and viciousness of the hate-filled violence of this attack had compelled a group of us to make the trip and reach out to people in the area, but it also compelled us to want to understand and dig more deeply into where these attacks are coming from, what is driving them to be so relentless and so vicious, and what it will take to stop them.

Two things in particular really jumped out at me.

The first was how much historical materialism Bob Avakian (BA) brings to bear and trains listeners in. By historical materialism, I mean a scientific approach to understanding human societies and how they change over time, including the ultimately determining role of the mode of production (the economic system and its relations at any time) in how societies organize and function with their politics, culture, social relations, and dominant ideas. BA reveals the very material and real-world factors that have led to the rise of different religions at different times, including the religious beliefs and traditions of Christianity that dominate our society today. He exposes how and why different core elements of the Bible—including the heavy weight and chain of patriarchy (the all-around domination of women by men)—came to be, and why they have remained and been reinforced by different oppressive ruling classes since they were first written. Or, why in this country the Bible Belt has also always been the Lynching Belt. He leads you to step back and look anew at things that have been so deeply embedded in our culture and society that most people have never even noticed them or thought to ask why they are that way.

Through all this—and much more—he not only demystifies the material reasons for the dominance of various religious institutions and thinking, he provides a living laboratory in a thoroughly scientific method that can and must be applied to understanding every realm of the natural and social world in which we live if we want to get free. He explicitly breaks this method down in direct and extremely illuminating opposition to other methods like faith, religious absolutism, and relativism. And he brings alive vividly and compellingly why these questions of method—the questions of not just what people think, but how they think—matter tremendously.

The other big thing that struck me is that it is impossible to understand the roots of, the full scope of, the dangers of, and the profound material basis to go up against and defeat the rapidly rising woman-hating Christian fascist assault on women in this country—and the rising assault on women worldwide—without digging into Bob Avakian’s work on religion and patriarchy.

In this talk alone, Bob Avakian goes into things like: What are all the “begats” about in the Bible, and why do they matter? (You know, so-and-so begat so-and-so, then so-and-so begat so-and-so...) Why the big deal about Jesus being an “only begotten son?” Why are Christian fascists so hell-bent on wiping out not only abortion but also birth control and any kind of scientific understanding of sex and reproduction? What does this have to do with the roots of Christianity, but also the nature of—and changes being driven by—the system of capitalism-imperialism in the U.S. today? What is there to unite with—but also what must be sharply struggled over—in the approach of various progressive and pro-choice religious forces? Why—and how—must we take on directly and unapologetically both the reactionary content of the Bible, as well as the very harmful method of thinking involved in religious absolutism (and liberal relativism)? Why is it true that forced motherhood is female enslavement? What is the way out from under the mountains of shame and stigma that have been heaped on women and their sexuality? Why will it take a communist revolution to finally and fully abolish all forms of domination over women by men, as well as all forms of oppression and exploitation? What is the relationship between very boldly promoting and fighting for this revolution and the fight which must be vigorously waged right now to bring forward very broad masses of people from different perspectives to stand up against and defeat the current war on women?

While the significance of this work goes far beyond any one immediate struggle, all of this work—and other work from BA on these topics, especially Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World—is essential reading/listening for everyone who is part of the struggle right now to beat back the assault on women’s reproductive rights and all-around war on women, as well as everyone who yearns for a world free of oppression of any kind.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/syria-and-beyond-no-to-us-war-moves-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Syria and Beyond: NO to U.S. War Moves!

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

NO to the US, to ISIS, to Assad and the Russians

This week the U.S. massively ramped up bombing attacks on Syria. The U.S. and its allies carried out a dozen strikes in Syria on Saturday alone. This escalation in bombing followed Obama's announcement last week that 50 U.S. Special Forces are being sent into Syria where they will operate out of a headquarters for forces that the U.S. is trying to shape into a reliable military factor on the ground. The U.S. rulers are already talking about sending in more troops.

None of the strategists or news analysts who serve the U.S. ruling class think the insertion of U.S. troops and the ramped up bombing is going to accomplish their objectives in Syria, or solve the whole mess of conflicts they are embroiled in there and beyond. The U.S. rulers do not even agree on who their enemy is, or what their immediate objectives are in Syria. One week it's ISIS, next week it's the Russians or Assad... But what is clear is that U.S. moves, along with bombing campaigns by Russia, the military actions of Syria's reactionary regime, and the actions of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadists, are all intensifying the hellish situation in Syria.

Already, over 250,000 people have been killed in four years of war, and over 12 million people out of a population of only about 17 million have been driven from their homes—refugees inside or outside the country. This is on top of U.S. invasions of Iraq and other military moves that have killed a million people, torn up the whole region and created millions more refugees.

"Why Is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today's World—And What Is the Real Alternative?" by Bob Avakian at revcom.us—an excerpt from the book, AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World available from Insight Press).

Each U.S. Move Makes Things Worse, and Ratchets Up Conflict and Danger

It's not easy being a global Tony Soprano. This is a world where the U.S. empire is being challenged by rival forces and powers at every turn. This is a very unstable world. In the Middle East—and beyond—the U.S. rulers are trying to balance and juggle all kinds of rapidly shifting conflicts and alliances with friend and foe alike. The U.S. has no easy solutions to all these challenges.

Look at the recent U.S. agreement with Turkey: Turkey is a regional power and ally of the U.S. and shares a substantial and strategic border with Syria. It has been a real problem—as the U.S. rulers see things—that Turkey's rulers have not been collaborating with them militarily in Syria as closely as the U.S. feels is necessary. The Turkish rulers have their own, conflicting, agenda—of oppressing the rebellious Kurdish people on the Syrian border. So when the U.S. moved to bring Turkey into closer alignment with their interests in Syria and beyond, they agreed to not object to Turkish attacks on the Kurds in Turkey and in Syria—even as the U.S. has been betting on many of the same Kurdish forces the Turks are massacring to be their most reliable force fighting ISIS.

And this is just one of a whole host of shifting contradictions the U.S. is trying to stay on top of to keep their empire intact.

No to U.S. War Moves—Anywhere—No Matter What Excuse They Give

Bringing Forward Another Way

Bringing Foward Another Way is an edited version of a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to a group of Party supporters, in 2006. It is must reading for a serious understanding of what the U.S. "war on terror" is really about and how to bring forward a positive force in the world in opposition to both Western imperialism and Islamic Jihad.

Download PDF

Escalating U.S. moves in Syria, as with the actions the U.S. takes throughout the region—however they justify them—are driven by a whole complex array of challenges that really have nothing to do with "fighting terrorism" and everything to do with maintaining their position atop a world of sweatshops and slums, and every kind of oppression.

The situation is tending towards getting more and more out of control. Each U.S. move ratchets up the stakes in the conflicts they face, and makes things worse and poses great dangers for humanity.

None of this is in the interest of the people of the world, including people in this country.

NO to the U.S.; NO to ISIS; NO to Assad and the Russians: people need real revolution and emancipation, not the "choice" between different oppressors.

STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/411/the-october-22-24-demonstrations-rise-up-october-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

The October 22-24 Demonstrations—Rise Up October

An Important Step Forward in the Fight Against Police Terror—That Must Now Be Taken Further

November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

October 24
Rise Up October, October 24, 2015, New York City. The front of the march. Photo: Erik McGregor

The demonstrations on October 22 to 24 against police murder and terror said in unmistakable terms that THIS MUST STOP. The thousands who testified, resisted, and marched through the streets made clear that there was a force, a movement, that is determined to draw a clear line, challenging everyone, throughout the country, to RISE UP against this.

Last fall, the exoneration of the blue-coated murderers of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and then Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, provoked thousands to pour into the streets for weeks and weeks, and then in Baltimore in the spring people rose up in righteous rebellion. In response, the powers that be acted to both repress and derail the movement. The people needed to come back into the streets, determined to STRUGGLE to end the genocidal madness of rampant police murder and mass incarceration, and determined to reach out broadly to do so. The dual tactics of outright attack and the sugar-coated poison of misdirection actually intensified in the days leading up to and through these demonstrations. (See "Cops Can't Do Their Job on Video—Then What IS Their 'Job'?!" "No, Mr. President! Aiding and Abetting the Slow Genocide of Black People Is a Crime Against Humanity," and “Reality Check on October 20 Events in East Harlem, NYC: The REAL Problem,” which goes into how an incident with an NYPD cop just days before Rise Up October was used as a pretext to attack the protest.)

In the face of all this, all kinds of people came out. This included the force of over 100 family members who had lost loved ones to police murder, fighting through their pain to let the world know what happened and expressing a determination to put an end to this terror and murder. It included voices of conscience who joined with those parents and, in some cases, came under attack for doing so. It included students coming from scores of different colleges and high schools, often having made this a question on the whole campus. It included those, again sometimes in groups and sometimes alone, coming from the neighborhoods where the police terror goes on daily and where mass incarceration scars the lives and destinies of whole peoples. It included people from the suburbs, clergy and religious people of different faiths, artists and scientists and teachers, who refused to turn their heads or be silent. It included people from all the different regions of this country. And it also included the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Revolution Club: bringing out the full picture of WHY this was happening, pointing to the solution to this through revolution and the leadership of that revolution in Bob Avakian, and showing how this struggle contributed to that, and—at the same time—giving leadership and coherence to a movement that is capable of uniting with everyone who could be united right now to demand that this genocidal murder STOP.

As people testified in Times Square and sat in at Rikers Island prison and then poured through the streets on October 24, the full dimensions of the horror began to emerge. Its roots in the system of white supremacy and the centuries-long and ongoing oppression of Black, Latino, and Native American peoples in this country were exposed. And the legitimacy of this system’s violence began to be put on trial. What happened at these demonstrations, and the voices of some of those who came, are highlighted in this issue. (See "No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names," "A Shout-out to the Courageous Fighters Who Put Their Bodies on the Line to Shut Down Rikers Island Prison," and "Thousands in the Streets of NYC for #RiseUpOctober: STOP POLICE TERROR! Which Side Are You On?") The key to the agitation and organizing that led to this was to sharply lay out the reality to people and squarely put the challenge to them: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Shut Down Rikers, October 23

Protesters blocking the entrance to Rikers. Photo: revcom.us

The outpouring hit with real impact. There were page-one pictures and stories in some of the major New York City papers, as well as broader coverage nationally and internationally. (See the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website, stopmassincarceration.net, for the national and international media coverage of Rise Up October). Then, directly after the demonstrations, forces in the police (including NYPD Commissioner Bratton) and the media (especially but not only FOX News) not only attacked the demonstrations but also specifically targeted film director Quentin Tarantino for coming to the demonstrations and calling out murder by the police. The movement hit back, and through all this began to pose the challenge to even broader sections of society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Now, in a certain sense, the struggle has been joined on certain terms—you’re either for keeping this shit, in some form or other, or you’re against it.

Now we all have to carry forward this whole “Rise Up! Which Side Are You On?” standard of uniting ALL who want to struggle to stop police murder. This means defending Quentin Tarantino in that context, mobilizing people against further outrages as they happen, and really getting people out there for the November 22 day of action to forcefully demand the indictment of the cops who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun. (See "Voices of Conscience Step Up in Defense of Quentin Tarantino and Condemn the Police Union Threats and Boycott" and "November 22: Justice for Tamir Rice!"; and go to "Breaking News and Outrages" for news of ongoing outrages, like the videotaped police brutalization of a high school student, a young Black woman, in South Carolina.)

These three days in October were just a foreshadowing of the movement that we actually need and which in fact is possible. The thousands who came out, their spirit of militant STRUGGLE, and their determination to CHALLENGE ALL OF SOCIETY TO TAKE SIDES marked the emergence of what could be and what must be something new. The fact that at least in a beginning way new people worked and sacrificed to make this happen—donating money, throwing themselves into organizing and helping to lead—provides a foundation for this to really go forward in a more powerful way. The program of struggle called for by Carl Dix and Cornel West (“A Message from Cornel West and Carl Dix on October 24”) gives a focus. In the days to come, the movement needs to both dig into what we did right and what we did wrong—our strengths as well as our shortcomings and mistakes... but even more, it needs to do this in the spirit of going forward, united in even more powerful expressions, until this is actually STOPPED.

What we said in our editorial in September, applies to the task before us now:

There is a place for you in this. Your ideas, your support, your efforts are urgently needed... In fact, this can only happen on the scale that is absolutely necessary if many, many people throw in on this, now—people who have been fighting this, as well as people who are just now coming to the fight. You are needed. We face a decisive moment, a crossroads, where terms are being set as to what is legitimate, what will be tolerated and what will be opposed. Lives are at stake. Be part of determining the outcome.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/carl-dix-at-october-24-rally-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Carl Dix at the October 24 Rally: "Let's do all that we can to stop the horror of police murdering our people. And then let's do even more because we gotta stop this.

October 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix

Carl Dix speaking at the rally. Photo: Eino Sierpe

audioListen here

The following is a rush transcript.

Okay, Okay. You have seen the faces of the lives that have been stolen by the police. Beautiful lives that were cut down too short. This is unacceptable and our demand is very simple: police terror, police murder must stop. Not be reduced a little bit. Must stop!

Now sometimes people say well, your demand needs to be more concrete than that, Carl. So let me give you a concrete demand:

Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

[chanting with crowd:]

Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

One more time.

Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

Now look, that’s a simple and just demand. But we need to be very clear that when we raise that demand we gotta fight for it. Because there is a whole system that’s behind those killer cops. It ain’t just a few killer cops on the beat with some rogue DAs, or corrupt DAs, district attorneys. It’s a whole system all the way up to the top, that arrested people en masse when we protested these killings over this last year, that demonizes our people, especially the young people to try to justify these murders.

Now when I say that, some people might be thinking, well wait a minute Carl, didn’t Obama say he was going to do something about this a couple of days ago? Didn’t he say that he supports Black Lives Matter? Well, let’s be clear. The Obama who said something about Black Lives Matter six months ago said that the youth of Baltimore were thugs and criminals when they rose up in response to the police murder of Freddie Gray. So let’s not get twisted by that. He’s trying to rope us back in. He also said along with saying I’m gonna do something, it has to be incremental. Now what does that mean? It’s gotta be small, slow steps to change things. That ain’t going to cut it. This has got to stop. We don’t want no small reduction of the people they warehouse in prison or the people that they kill. We want it stopped.

And look, we are going to fight to make that happen. Ain’t nobody going to do it for us. And we are doing that today. We’ve been doing that this week. Thursday, No More Stolen Lives/Say Their Name. Thursday afternoon, march and rally for the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. Yesterday, some of us put our bodies on the line to pose the demand, Shut Down Rikers Island—that debtors’ prison and torture chamber. And that’s what we’re doing to do today and we’re going to keep doing that.

And we are delivering a very serious message: Stop police terror, which side are you on? Because don’t tell me no BS about “I’m in the middle” or “I’m neutral.” This is murder, this is genocide we’re dealing with. And in the face of a genocide there ain’t no neutrality. You’re either on the side of acting to stop that genocide or you’re on the side that says it’s ok for it to happen. That’s the two sides. Which side are you on? That’s the challenge we’re bringing to people.

And look, I can give you the numbers of how many people the police kill, more than 930 since January first. But this ain’t about numbers for me. This is personal. Look I sat with Mertilla Jones a few days after her granddaughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, had been murdered by the Detroit police. I met Sharon Irwin a couple of days after her grandson, Tony Robinson, had been murdered by the police. I’ve worked with many more families, many more than I can talk about now. I have to say, my wife’s brother more than 40 years ago was gunned down by the police on his mother’s doorstep, one day after they had told her she would never see her son alive again. So this is personal for me. And it is up to us to stop this. We have to take that on.

And when I say stop this, it’s not just the horror of what the police is doing to Black and Latino people although we gotta stop that. It’s also the attacks on women in this society; it’s the attacks on our immigrant sisters and brothers; it’s what happens to lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people; it’s the wars for empire; it’s the way they are destroying the environment of the planet. And I will tell you it’s going to take revolution, nothing less to end all those horrors once and for al. That’s what it’s going to take.

Now, some people tell me I shouldn’t talk about this. But I gotta talk about it because it’s what you need to hear. Fred Hampton, a brother that I really respected 40 years ago, said something that I’m going to repeat right now. He said: “I am a revolutionary.”

And I feel like some of y’all feel like that way too. So say it with me: I am a revolutionary. [with the crowd:] I am a revolutionary.

And look, I’m not just a revolutionary. I’m a revolutionary communist. I follow a man, Bob Avakian, who’s got a strategy for making revolution and a blueprint for bringing a new society into being. You need to check him out if you want to be free.

But look, all of us gotta be in this together. Cornel West, who you will hear shortly, is a Christian, a revolutionary Christian. I’m here with the clergy. I’m here with the students, I’m here with the people from the community. I’m here with the victims of police murder. We all have to be in this together. Our diversity, our different voices make us stronger.

Now let me say this. Fred Douglass said this a while ago, more than 100 years ago. I’m not quite old enough to go back to then, but I know what he said. He said power concedes nothing without a demand. That was true then and it’s true now. It’s gonna take struggle to bring about a change for the better. And that is what we’re doing sisters and brothers. But we gotta keep doing it. And we should not pat ourselves on the back for having been out here today and say we did a good job and feel good about ourselves. That ain’t it. We gotta be in this for the long haul. It says stop police terror, and that’s how long we gotta be in it.

There’s some next steps. Travis talked about it. November 22—Tamir Rice, one year ago murdered and no justice. We have to act on that. December 3, Eric Garner—one year ago they let those murdering cops go free. We gotta act on that. We gotta keep acting and not stop acting until this is stopped.

Now I’m gonna close with this. But I’ve been doing this for a long time. I am tired of putting together lists of victims killed by the police. I am tired of putting pictures on posters of people murdered by the police. I am tired of making hashtags for the victims. This has got to stop. I got an 8-year-old granddaughter. I do not want her generation to come up to be talking about what are we gonna do about the police killing our people. I want her generation to talk about this as history that really is history ’cause it don’t happen no more. Not the way that we have to talk about Emmett Till as history that echoes and reverberates today.

So let’s do all that we can to stop the horror of police murdering our people. And then let’s do even more because we gotta stop this. We gotta do it for ourselves. We gotta do it for our children. We gotta do it for future generations. Stop Police Terror! Which side are you on?

We know what side we’re on. We’re challenging the world and the whole country: Which side are you on?

Thank you sisters and brothers.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/lessons-and-challenges-in-fight-against-police-murder-and-in-defense-of-quentin-tarantino-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

"If you want others to be strong, you must be strong yourself..."

Lessons and Challenges in the Fight Against Police Murder and in Defense of Quentin Tarantino

by Annie Day | November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is an important lesson being played out in the firestorm around Quentin Tarantino which has reminded me of a quote from the revolutionary leader Mao Zedong: “If you want others to be strong, you must be strong yourself.”

Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino at the rally. Photo: Phillip Buehler

Tarantino has acted with certitude and courage on a central question of our time: murder by police must stop! He marched in the streets and spoke with clarity before thousands, which has reverberated around the world. For this, he has come under vicious and dangerous attack. In the midst of this, he has continued to bring it back to the central question: the police need to stop killing unarmed people. He has also spoken forthrightly to why he’s under attack: to intimidate him into silence and to send a message to other prominent voices like him to shut up. And he has spoken to the deeper reality of white supremacy (see interview on MSNBC) and mass incarceration as “American slavery part two” (see interview by Michael Slate).

In the face of distortion and slander, in the face of the threat of losing his ability to make his art, in the face of being pleaded with to apologize, to tone down or “walk back” his comments, and even in the face of what are outright Mafia threats: your actions are predictable and we will hit you with a “surprise,” which coming from any other entity would be immediately deemed a terrorist threat... in the face of all this: Tarantino has not backed down.

Under Attack for Taking the Right Side Against Police Terror

During Rise Up October, the question was posed: In the struggle against police terror, which side are you on?

Through fighting against this attack on Tarantino, those sides have been further clarified: Is the problem an epidemic of murder by police disproportionately aimed at Black, Latino, and Native American people backed up and approved by a legal system that rarely indicts and even more rarely convicts killer cops? Or is the problem that those who are killed are “thugs who deserve it,” with the danger to the police exacerbated by those who call out, question, or resist murder by police? Through this struggle, the sides have been sharpened and further delineated while the methods and aims of both sides are being further revealed, and many are being compelled to speak out who had before remained silent.

In the days after Rise Up October, the attacks on Quentin Tarantino grew. Initiated by the aptly named Patrick Lynch, the head of New York City’s Patrolmen’s Brutality Association, a number of other police unions joined in. Then the fascist Fox News went on the attack.

Carl Dix and Cornel West, the co-initiators of Rise Up October immediately issued statements of support and Dix issued a challenge to debate Patrick Lynch (which has still gone unanswered!). Dix took the offensive. On Fox News, he debated both the fascist mouthpiece Megyn Kelly and the notoriously racist ex-cop Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman took the attack on Tarantino further, saying that he shouldn’t be allowed to film anywhere in the U.S. (This strain was picked up by police unions later in the week). Dix spoke clearly and unapologetically: the problem is murder by police and the fact is that this system is set up to exonerate murdering police. “As a human being with a conscience, Tarantino was right to join the protests and I was proud to stand with him.” (And in a moment that will give heart to all those with a fighting spirit for justice, Dix shut Fuhrman down beautifully.)

Over the next hours, more statements of support came in: from Charles Burnett, one of the most prominent independent Black filmmakers; from First Amendment lawyer Martin Garbus; from Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill (who was also on the Advisory Board for Rise Up October); from actor Peter Coyote; from the National Coalition Against Censorship, and more. Novelist Joyce Carol Oates tweeted in support. Prominent actor Ed Asner, who has over the years himself been a major target for speaking out for justice, made a statement. Jamie Foxx took the opportunity at an awards dinner where the cast for the The Hateful Eight (Tarantino’s new film) was being commended to say: “Quentin Tarantino, I want to say this: You are boss, you are absolutely amazing. Keep telling the truth, keep speaking the truth and don’t worry about none of the haters.” For this, Foxx himself came under attack.

At the same time, a call was put out to some of the families of victims of police murder who were part of Rise Up October and over a couple of days, more than 20 statements came in. In the statements, those who lost their loved ones at the hands of the murdering police talk about what it meant to stand beside and fight arm-in-arm with someone of Tarantino’s prominence and stature. What it meant that he listened to their stories and joined the call that this must STOP, not just fighting for justice for their own family members, but to end this once and for all for everybody. In these statements, they talk about the illegitimacy of the attack on Tarantino and how this is part of a bigger attack on those fighting for justice. They commend his courage and challenge others in Hollywood to take the same risks he has.

These statements gave all those in this fight further grounding on who has right on their side and clarified the stakes. This isn’t about narrow career or financial concerns, or any of the other bullshit that is heralded in this society as what should be our primary concern. This is about the fact that tens of thousands of lives have been stolen over the last decades under the color of authority in this country and those who kill get away with it time and time and time again. This is disproportionately aimed at Black and Brown people and is the leading edge of a larger genocidal assault.* Further, it is the responsibility of anyone with heart and a conscience to speak out against this.

Tarantino spoke to this powerfully on October 24 itself in an interview done with Michael Slate in the midst of the protest: “One of the things about the movement that actually just means so much is that they have a powerful slogan: ‘Which side are you on?’ If you’re not on our side, you’re on their side. There’s no straddling the fence. There’s no silent majority. There is none of that. You have to take a stand. If you believe it’s murder, then you gotta call it murder. And you gotta call the murderers, murderers.”

What the Courage of Your Convictions Can Inspire

In the days before Tarantino spoke about the attacks on him, lies and rumors were being actively spread that he was going to apologize. This is how it is supposed to work in this society: the great theatrics of the public apology if you go beyond the status quo dictates of what this system finds “acceptable.”

But Tarantino refused to go along. He stood by his comments without apology. He spoke to the way his comments were distorted, but took the offensive, going more deeply into why he said what he said and why he was right to say it. This caused two things to happen: the attack dogs got more vicious and more people joined in support. The actor, writer, and activist Viggo Mortensen spoke up; Michael Moore added his voice; Tom Morello, Mark Ruffalo, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and others tweeted in support. The fact that Tarantino did not back down gave many, many people heart and it challenged many others.

What Is Right: Defending Murder by Police or Speaking Out Against It?

On Thursday, November 5, clearly furious that Tarantino continued to “call the murdered, the murdered and the murderers, the murderers,” Jim Pasco, Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police  issued an incredibly sinister threat. This will send chills down your spine: The head of the largest police union in the country spoke in clear Mafioso terms: “Our officers make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question.” He went on to say: “Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element... Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere of Tarantino’s new movie]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.”

This caused a groundswell of outrage in print and on social media, with many shocked at the lengths the police spokespeople were going to intimidate Tarantino into silence. Most recently, the executive director of the ACLU of Southern California issued an important statement in support of Tarantino. It also forced many to ask the question: The response of the police force to murder of unarmed people is to threaten those who criticize it?

This is very good and shows that, while we have to take their threats seriously, they can also backfire by revealing their true character: all they have to rely on in the end is illegitimate force and violence.

Carl Dix responded: “The Mafia style attack coming from Jim Pasco of the FOP would be cartoonish thuggery if it weren’t so dangerous. Artists need to be able to speak for justice without attacks and retribution... everyone should join us in speaking out against these bullying tactics. We should also understand that like any bully, they become most vicious when they’re exposed. In the face of video after video of unarmed Black, Latino, and Native Americans being tazed, stomped, brutalized, and shot in the back by police—their only answer to those who speak out and criticize is repression and force. Whether it be the tanks and tear gas in the streets of Ferguson or boycotts and bully threats aimed at silencing prominent voices who speak out. We say no to this! We will #SideWithQuentin and we will build a powerful movement of resistance to STOP murder by police.”

Right now: many more need to come forward. Many more—of all nationalities and from many different perspectives—need to speak in defense of Quentin Tarantino’s right to stand for justice without fear of retribution, including many more prominent voices. This is obviously not the safe or easy road, and it is not without sacrifice. It means going against the tide and being made—by the armed enforcers of this system—to pay a price. But this is what is required if we are to open up the air in society for many more to come forward in the fight for justice.

At the same time, we have to accomplish the mission that Rise Up October set out: “...we aim to change the whole social landscape, to the point where a growing section of people all over take ever-increasing initiative and make it unmistakably clear that they refuse to live in a society that sanctions this outrage [of police murder and mass incarceration], and where those who do NOT feel this way are put on the defensive.”

By having each other’s backs, the courage of our convictions and by challenging others—this is not just necessary, it is possible. And it is part of fighting for a world where mothers and fathers don’t have to fear for their children’s future because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the body they are in.

 


* See “Then Would You Call It Genocide?” [back]

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Behind the Threats on Quentin Tarantino by Police Brutality Associations

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, and Quentin Tarantino march with families representing people murdered by police

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West and Quentin Tarantino in march on October 24 with families of people murdered by police. Photo: Special to Revolution

On October 24, film director Quentin Tarantino participated in a rally and march through the streets of New York City—the national Rise Up October demonstration against police terror. He marched with 100 family members and loved ones of victims of police murder, and with thousands of people from all walks of life. Speaking before the march, he said words that went viral:

What am I doing here? I’m doing here because I am a human being with a conscience. And when I see murder, I cannot stand by, and I have to call the murdered the murdered, and I have to call the murderers the murderers. Now I’m going to give my time to the families.

The system lashed back. The media—especially the fascists at Fox News—went ballistic. Politicians lashed out, and not just Republicans. New York City’s Mayor de Blasio complained bitterly that calling a murderer a murderer was “very insensitive.”

And the powers that be lashed back through threats from so-called Patrolmen’s Benevolent Associations (PBAs)—better known as Police Brutality Associations—across the country. Patrick Lynch, the head of NYC’s PBA, called for a boycott of Tarantino’s films. Other police “unions” piled on, including those in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, San Jose, and Orange County, California; the National Border Patrol Council; and the National Association of Police Organizations (representing over 241,000 cops of various kinds).

Attack Dogs

No incident of police brutality is too racist that a PBA won’t back it up. After former professional tennis player James Blake was assaulted and arrested in September of this year by a NYPD cop for being a nicely dressed Black man standing on the sidewalk outside a Manhattan hotel, Patrick Lynch called criticism of the cop “irresponsible, unjust and un-American.” And no police murder is too overt, obvious, or egregious that PBAs don’t rush to defend it and insult and blame the victim. When Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD cops in July 2014 and the whole world could see exactly what happened, Lynch had the obscene disrespect to blame Garner for his own death, saying he “died from a number of bad life choices.”

PBAs attack and threaten artists, activists, and people of conscience at the bidding of—but supposedly not formally representing—government authorities. Lynch, for example, attacked Bruce Springsteen for his song “American Skin (41 Shots)” about the NYPD cops’ killing in 1999 of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, West Africa. Police fired 41 shots at Amadou. And in 2008, Lynch attacked artist Dread Scott for his NYC museum exhibit The Blue Wall of Violence, about police brutality, saying it “promotes hate.”

Now representatives of Police Brutality Associations are threatening to shut down Quentin Tarantino’s ability to make films through the protection rackets they run whereby off-duty pigs have to be hired to provide “security” for filmmakers to film on location in different cities. And they are making overtly mob-style threats that they will hit Tarantino with a “surprise.” As Annie Day notes in the article “‘If you want others to be strong, you must be strong yourself...’: Lessons and Challenges in the Fight Against Police Murder and in Defense of Quentin Tarantino,” coming from any other entity this would be immediately deemed a terrorist threat.

Demanding Respect for Thuggery as “Legitimate Actions”

LAPD Police Protective League president Craig Lally raged that Tarantino’s statement at Rise Up October “threatens public safety by discouraging officers from putting themselves in positions where their legitimate actions could be falsely portrayed as thuggery.” In other words, if everyone could see what police are really doing, they would see vicious thugs. His comments basically channel FBI Director James Comey’s recent complaints that police are “under siege” and afraid to get out of their squad cars because they are “taunted” by youth with cell phones—and because of that, they can’t do their jobs.

All of which poses the question: What does this society consider “legitimate actions” of the police?

Today, the powers that be see the millions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities and Native Americans on the reservations as people for whom they have no use, who they cannot profitably exploit, and whose anger—particularly if it connects with a conscious revolutionary force—poses a potentially grave threat to their whole setup. In short: a genocidal agenda is in effect, and police are the violent “front line” of that agenda.

All of which makes it all the more essential that the system, and its rabid enforcers, are not allowed to silence exposure, protest, and opposition to police terror!

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

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

A Powerful Element of Rise Up October

Courage and Determination of Those Who Lost Loved Ones to Murder By Police

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a person working on the Task Force to Bring 100 Families to Rise Up October:

In late May, Carl Dix and Cornel West called a mass meeting in New York City to begin planning for Rise Up October. A public Call initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West followed, and immediately the Call to be in NYC on October 22-24 began to strike a chord with a cross section of people, notably families whose loved ones were killed by police. Over several months numerous family members from many regions of the U.S. endorsed the Call, and began saying they wanted to be in NYC to say “STOP police terror!”

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

The mission of Rise Up October was to mobilize thousands to be in the streets to put the demand Stop Police Terror before all of society here and around the world, raising the challenge: Which Side Are You On? when it comes to police getting away with murder. We set out to compel people to no longer tolerate this genocidal epidemic, and one important part of this was to force people to confront the actual reality and human cost by putting the stories of the lived horror of police murder in front of millions of people, with the objective of stopping these crimes.

Acting on the desire of these family members who answered the Call to be among the thousands in New York City for Rise Up October, a call went out to bring family members of 100 people murdered by police to NYC, and a Task Force was organized to work with many people to make this happen. Given the difficulties of cost of travel and housing for people to come from all parts of this country, this was a challenge. The fact that this is a grassroots movement funded only by contributions of individuals who support the cause meant that the only approach was to take out very widely the mission of Rise Up October and the need to make it possible for these families to be in NYC. And a key element of this was to combine the efforts of the families themselves with many others to do this. This not only helped raise the money, but it also was a means for breaking open the debate of Which Side Are You On? with many more people, involving them in being on the right side when they stepped forward.

The opening salvo of Rise Up October was a dramatic, moving event in Times Square on October 22. No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names on October 22, the National Day of Protest to STOP Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, where more than 30 families were joined by artists and prominent voices of conscience. They “came to share the stories and outrages, pain and anger of losing a loved one. They came to support each other, and have the backs of those fighting for justice. They exposed the crimes of the police, and shined a bright light on the epidemic of STATE TERROR especially against Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans.” Afterward, several hundred people marched in Brooklyn—the most populous borough of NYC—where the NYPD has killed dozens.

On October 23, family members were part of the action to #ShutDownRikers when they went with 100 others to the entrance of Rikers Island, the second largest jail in the U.S., supporting and cheering those who took nonviolent action to close the gates to Rikers for over an hour. On October 24, family members were at the front of the march, calling on bystanders to “get off the sidelines.” Most carried portraits of their loved ones, and dozens spoke at rallies at each end of the march.

It is inspiring to see how many different people responded to this call, and contributed in many ways. Contributions came in from all over to the crowd-funded campaign to raise $100,000 for Rise Up October, one major component of this to bring the families. The Task Force and many volunteers worked with family members and others to work through what was a complex task. The way this was done was a new thing, and while there were difficulties, the spirit of working together to solve problems did result in a very powerful manifestation which gave a platform to these families to bring their stories to the world as a very dynamic part of Rise Up October.

The courage and determination of loved ones of those whose lives have been stolen, who have suffered terrible loss, been demonized, threatened and often isolated—and yet who still took to the streets so that no one else will suffer this—was an essential element of Rise Up October. Many of them have been alone in fighting for justice for their loved ones. By joining with thousands of others in forcing society to see the faces—and say the names—of the stolen lives, and calling on others to join this fight, they strengthened the whole movement. In turn, the families drew strength from being a part of an action with so many diverse groups of people who took their side.

A family member said: “Rise Up October brought worldwide attention to what is happening in the United States. It isn’t right police are getting away with murder. Now people are finding out about it not just in New York City or Detroit, but Malaysia and other countries. People around the world will see this is not the ‘land of the free’ and the ‘home of the brave.’ They will see we have much more in common, that there is injustice here, as well as internationally. Everybody can see there is a large number of people going through this. You can’t go through one African-American family that hasn’t been affected by mass incarceration and police brutality. Rise Up October is bringing a new era. It’s getting out into Main St. Rise Up October hit with power and I’m happy about it.”

The spirit of Rise Up! Which Side Are You On? Stop Murder by Police! must continue, nationwide. Since Rise Up October numerous families have asked “what’s next?” and expressed a desire to step up the fight to stop murder by police. We need to combine the efforts of the families with ALL who are determined to put an end to this genocidal program—an approach central to Rise Up October—and do this with the united objective of making new leaps in changing the whole political landscape in such a way that more and more people, ultimately millions of people, take increasing initiative to make it unmistakably clear we refuse to live in a society that sanctions murder by police.

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Into the Streets November 22—ONE YEAR Since Tamir Rice's Murder By Police and STILL NO JUSTICE!

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

1 year anniversary of police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Protest November 22 demadning justice!Tweet this

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has called on people to protest and demand justice on November 22. Their call begins: “ONE YEAR ago, Tamir Rice was killed in less than two seconds of police arriving to the park where he was playing. The whole world has seen the video. First you see Tamir, a child playing by himself with a toy gun, with no one else in sight. At one point he puts the ‘weapon’ down on the sidewalk, makes a snowball, throws it, picks up the toy gun again. If you didn’t know what was coming, it would just be this cute scene of a child being... a child! Then a police car suddenly appears. Tamir walks towards it, the toy in his waistband. The car stops, and within two seconds a cop shoots Tamir. Though he is still alive, the cops do nothing to assist him or even to try and make him comfortable.

“Will the police get away with the murder of Tamir Rice? NO! This cannot be allowed!

“One year since the murder of Tamir Rice with NO justice for his family. A Grand Jury investigation has begun in Cleveland, OH but actions of county prosecutor Timothy McGinty have greased the skids to a repeat of the decision not to indict the officers responsible for murdering Tamir, as we saw with the police that murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown and too many others.”

The cold-hearted police murder of Tamir Rice, the obscene refusal of authorities to even charge the police who murdered him for a whole year, and now the outrageous moves by the prosecutor to manipulate a grand jury exoneration of the killers—this is an intolerable outrage... and it is bigger than that. What is at stake here is what kind of society are we going to be living in? Let’s be real: If police can murder an unarmed 12-year-old boy playing in a park, a child posing no threat to anyone, and get away with it, what Black person, or Latino person, or Native American, anywhere, doing anything, can feel that they do not have a target on their back for police to aim at?

Nobody should turn their head and go about business as usual while Tamir’s murderers go unpunished. We cannot sit back and wait and see what the authorities are going to do here because they have ALREADY covered up this murder for nearly a year and they are sending out signals they are about to let the murdering police go free.

Which side are you on?

On November 22, be in the streets. Find a protest in your area and spread the word, and join it. Or if there’s nothing planned in your area, organize a protest in your community, your school, your workplace, or wherever you are. Do the right thing yourself, and struggle with people to get off the sidelines and into the streets.

Police terror and murder must stop NOW!

Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net, call (646) 709-1961, or contact StopMassIncarceration@gmail.com. Send in plans for your area. And keep us posted at revcom.us by sending plans and reports to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

EXPOSED! The Prosecutor's "Expert Reports"

A Blatant Attempt to Whitewash the Police Murder of Tamir Rice

Reposted December 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update 12/29/15: On December 28, 2015, the IN-justice system announced NO charges against the police who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland on November 22, 2014. The prosecutor led a Grand Jury to come to that decision in part through procuring reports from utterly un-credible “expert witnesses” who were neither experts, nor objective in their approach. The following article was originally posted at revcom.us on November 9, 2015, exposes how these biased reports were being used to prepare the Grand Jury, and public opinion, to not bring charges against the police who killed Tamir.

 

Here are the uncontested facts:

Tamir RiceTamir Rice was a 12-year-old playing in a park who was gunned down by police in Cleveland, Ohio on November 22, 2014.

Immediately the police put out the typical story when cops kills someone—of Tamir supposedly threatening them with what they believed was a gun, refusing their repeated requests to put it down until finally they had “no choice” but to shoot him. But then it turned out there was video footage of the killing that exposed the police story as total lies.

This came at the height of protests across the U.S. against police getting away with murder of Black and Brown people. The footage from the video was so damning that it seemed that no one could deny that at least this was a clear case of police murdering an unarmed, unthreatening, and defenseless child—that this time, the system would just have to indict, try, and convict the cops for cold-blooded murder. Even the judge who reviewed the video (and ruled in June that there was “probable cause” to charge the police with homicide) said: “The video in question is notorious and hard to watch. After viewing it several times, this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly.”

Tamir Rice and BAsics 1:13Tweet this

But flash forward to today, almost one year since the shooting—there have been NO CHARGES OR INDICTMENTS brought against either of these murderers. And in a clear indication of intent to completely whitewash this crime, in early October the Cuyahoga County prosecutor released two “expert reports” to the media, both of which claimed that the police killing of Tamir Rice was “reasonable,” and denounced criticism of the killing as “Monday-morning quarterbacking,” strongly implying that there should be no criticism of police killings, ever.

The mainstream media treated these reports as the considered opinions of neutral experts who had carefully and honestly examined the facts—the message was that “perhaps this shooting too was ‘more complicated’ than people thought.” As such, these reports, and the media coverage of them, are clearly setting the stage for the grand jury hearing this case to return no indictments.

Rice Family’s Attorneys Expose the Experts and Their Reports

Now three attorneys working for the Rice family have written a scathing letter to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor that carefully and cuttingly reveals that these prosecution “experts” are not neutral and not expert, and that their reports blatantly ignore the facts in an extremely convoluted effort to get around what millions of people saw happen with their own eyes. (A PDF of the lawyers’ letter is available online.)

Here are some of the key things that the attorneys’ letter brings out (all quotes that follow are from the attorneys’ letter):

These “experts” are in reality neither “neutral” nor “expert:”

One of them, Lamar Sims, was hired by the prosecutor to do a supposedly objective investigation “two months after he gave a television interview on Denver public access television... in which he [Sims] expressed pro-police opinions about the shooting of a young child playing with a toy gun, a clear reference to the shooting of Tamir Rice. Sims also participated in an event centered on the police’s use of force in March 2015 hosted by your office, where he expressed pro-police sentiments.” [Emphasis added]

The other “expert,” Kimberly Crawford, was hired “even though she has been discredited as an expert in this field after the U.S. Department of Justice rejected her opinion in the high profile 1992 fatal Ruby Ridge shootings on the grounds that her legal analysis was flawed, distorted the applicable case law, and improperly quoted cases selectively in an effort to exonerate the police in their use of deadly force.” [Emphasis added]

In other words, the prosecutor’s office went looking for, and hired, investigators that it already knew would issue reports exonerating the cops.

It is virtually unprecedented for a prosecutor to introduce pro-defense “expert reports:”

At this stage of the judicial process, the prosecutor has the job of presenting the argument for bringing criminal indictments, based on the known facts of the case. (As noted before, a judge has already ruled that there is probable cause for charges to be brought.) Once charges are brought, defense attorneys can bring in experts at the trial who will back up the defense theory. But in this case, the prosecutor is playing the role of the defense attorney for the cops who murdered Tamir, hiring experts to justify not bringing the case to trial at all.

The reports rely on “evidence” that has already been proven false by the video:

Sims goes so far as to say that the statement Loehmann allegedly made to the FBI agent that he gave commands to Tamir before shooting is of ‘particular import’—even though that statement is plainly hearsay and demonstrably false, as the video makes it clear that there was no time for Loehmann to issue any commands.” The Rice family attorneys go on to note that Crawford “repeatedly claims that the video shows Tamir ‘reaches toward his right side waist and lifts his jacket,’ even though Sims acknowledges that ‘the video is grainy and it is unclear—from the video—whether Rice reaches for his gun.’” (We would add that no honest person watching the video can “see” Tamir reaching for the toy gun.)

The reports disregard the fact that the cops were caught plainly lying and cannot be considered as credible witnesses:

“The reports fail to explore the credibility issues surrounding police claims that the officers warned Tamir three times immediately before shooting, when the 1.7-second time frame makes it apparent that did not happen. The ‘experts’ made no attempt to trace back those demonstrably false claims to the officers themselves—the natural source—which would undercut the officers’ credibility.”

The reports make a big deal of saying the officers didn’t know that Tamir was a child and the gun was a toy—while ignoring the fact that they killed Tamir before they could possibly have determined the circumstances:

“...given the undisputed fact ... that Loehmann shot Tamir within 1.7 seconds of arriving at the scene, no reasonable officer would have had time to make any assessment at all about Tamir’s age or toy (which he was not even holding when Loehmann shot him). ... according to these so-called ‘experts,’ it is reasonable for police officers to drive into a park ... and immediately open fire on any African American boy they encounter there.”

****

There is much more in the attorneys’ letter, including examples of blatantly ignoring established case law about when police shootings are legally justified, and we encourage our readers to read the entire document. But there is more than enough even in the excerpts cited here to show these so-called “expert reports” for what they really are: part of a cold-blooded move by the authorities to exonerate the blatant, vicious, and completely UN-reasonable murder of Tamir Rice—and in doing so, to justify and unleash further levels of police terror and murder.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Voices of Conscience Step Up in Defense of Quentin Tarantino and Condemn the Police Union Threats and Boycott

Updated November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror, three days of beautiful and powerful resistance, involved people from many different perspectives who recognize that stopping the epidemic of police terror and murder will take struggle and protest. Families of those killed by police murder, voices of conscience, clergy, students, revolutionaries and others joined together to say Police Terror Must Stop and challenged many others: Which Side Are You On?

Quentin Tarantino and Gina Bellafonte read names of those murdered by police

October 22, 2015, Quentin Tarantino and Gina Belafonte at No More Stolen Lives: #SayTheirNames in Times Square. Patrick Lynch, head of the New York Police Brutality Association (PBA), has called for a boycott and made other threats in response to Tarantino's firm stand against police who are murderers. Photo: Special to Revolution

For his participation in this mobilization, Quentin Tarantino has come under attack. Patrick Lynch, the head of the Policeman's Brutality Association (PBA) called for a boycott of Tarantino’s films. Police unions in LA, Philadelphia, and New Jersey have joined this call. The proven-racist, ex-cop Mark Fuhrman has gone even further, calling for police to deny Tarantino permits or protection to do filming.

The following are statements responding to this attack:

Carl Dix, co-initiator of Rise Up October, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party
The police threats against Quentin Tarantino amount to a mafia-style protection racket, only the payoff being demanded is toeing a political line, not cash. "Don't dare criticize police who kill people, or we'll make it impossible for you to work in our towns." It is aimed at sending a message, not just to Tarantino, but to anyone whose voice carries great weight in society: "if you speak out, we will come after you, threaten your livelihood and attempt to scare you back into silence." They want the people who suffer the brunt of this brutality alone and ignored. This is unacceptable.

Video after video has shown unarmed Black, Latino, and Native Americans being tazed, stomped, brutalized, and shot in the back by police and almost never are the police even indicted. What kind of society allows this? What does it say when those who raise their voices against this are the ones who come under attack?

We must not allow the intimidation or silencing of those who use their influence to shine a light on the epidemic of police terror. Artists need to be able to express themselves on progressive causes without fear of retribution and attack. We will have Tarantino's back and call on others to join with us.

Cornel West, co-initiator of Rise Up October, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary
Can we keep the focus on what I, Brother Carl Dix, Brother Quentin Tarantino, Sister Eve Ensler, and THOUSANDS of others tried to do—a moral focus on the unnecessary deaths of those killed by police. Of course the killing of police is wrong but the killers do go to prison. Ought not policemen go to prison when they kill us?

Cornel West and Carl Dix on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC on Rise Up October, the attacks on Quentin Tarantino, the FBI director's claim video keeps police from doing their jobs, and the struggle to stop police terror. Listen here (first 18 minutes of the segment).

Statement by Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, in Support of Quentin Tarantino’s Condemnation of Police Killings

So far this year, police in the United States have killed 970 people. The number of people killed by police in Germany and the United Kingdom combined is two. To be sure, the U.S. population is larger than that of Germany and the U.K.—about 2.5 times larger—but not hundreds of times larger.

We are in the midst of a crisis. But it’s not just about deadly policing. It’s about deadly and biased policing. People of color make up less than 38 percent of the population but a startling two thirds of the unarmed people killed by police. This year police have shot and killed an unarmed black man every five days, according to a running tally in the Guardian newspaper. Each death shows just how painfully far our nation remains from equality and brings us back to the same crossroads.

Are we going to accept a deeply divided nation where only some can trust the police? Are we willing to accept that growing up black in this country too often means being vulnerable to the brutality of racism, even by police? The answer should be clear. We cannot remain coldly silent and ignore what is happening.

Quentin Tarantino has decided that he will not be silent or ignore what is happening. He has spoken out, as is his right, in the strongest terms against the biased policing that has led to this sickening tide of fatalities. Organizations representing police officers immediately distorted Mr. Tarantino’s comments, suggesting he was referring to all officers and calling him a “cop hater.” Police unions, as is their right, have called for a boycott of Mr. Tarantino’s films.

The ACLU of Southern California stands with Mr. Tarantino and supports his condemnation of those police officers who have killed unarmed citizens who pose no threat. He has given voice to the frustrations of millions of Americans who stand for justice, and we raise our voice with his, speaking up as we have for decades to make it very clear that we condemn not the police, but police brutality and challenge the conspiracy of silence around police abuse.

Ilan Pappé, historian and social activist
A country in which artists are not allowed freedom of expression, while the police are free to profile, discriminate and even kill innocent civilians just because of their race and color is a Guantanamo country. It is a place where millions of people are faceless and can be arrested, wounded and killed without hesitation or fear of restitution. The right of Quentin Tarantino to express himself freely in his films equals his right to protest publicly against police brutality. Denying either right or both will retain the USA in the eyes of the world as a Guantanamo state.

Ed Asner, actor
There is no freedom of speech and evidently Quentin Tarantino thought there was. He was wrong. You don’t wave that red flag in front of cops and the world of policedom, including that savant Commissioner Bratton. This has come down on Tarantino’s head. Regrettably. Enough gas has been emitted. I think the demonstrations in New York protesting the many killings demonstrate this most important factor—that the training and education of police throughout the country has to be greatly improved and intensified so that the instances of trigger happy shootings will diminish.

Viggo Mortensen, actor:
[from interview on Democracy Now] I saw both the clip of what he said on the 24th of October, and I saw him on All In last night with Chris Hayes, and I thought that Quentin Tarantino knocked it out of the park in his interview last night. He clearly saw what anybody with eyes on their head could see in certain videos. Fortunately, those certain events were videotaped, of police brutality. He was commenting, like the people, the families of those who had been slain by police officers—unarmed people, you know. In some cases, those acts have been condemned, you know, have been called murder. And in other cases, they have controversially not been—what happened on Staten Island, you know, recently, and in other places, even though they were videotaped, and all could see what was going on.

David Zeiger, filmmaker, tweeted:
Yes...it is murder. I call on my fellow documentarians to #SideWithQuentin

Gina Belafonte, Sankofa.org co-director, tweeted:
Defeat attempts at censorship and silencing. celebrities speak out and #SideWithQuentin

Simon Moya-Smith, Native American writer and activist, tweeted:
I #SideWithQuentin. #BlackLivesMatter & #NativeLivesMatter are not anti-police. We are in opposition to systemic oppression of ppl of color.

Michael Moore, filmmaker, Instagrammed:
Quentin Tarantino, a brave and good American, standing with families who've lost loved ones to police violence. Now certain police, the same ones who defend the cops who've killed unarmed innocent black citizens, are out to get Tarantino. They've called for a boycott of his movies. Really? I think just the opposite. I think millions of us not only stand with Tarantino, we're going to make sure we go see his next movie! Who's with me? Stay strong Quentin. They're just frightened and in shock that a well-known and respected white guy would dare to speak out.

Robert Meeropol, founder, Rosenberg Fund for Children
Police departments in the United States have been militarized. The police in many communities, particularly when dealing with people of color, act as an occupying army and treat residents as the enemy. The shooting and killing of unarmed people of color, terrorizing those communities, is the inevitable result. The police violence must stop, and the police in question must be brought to account. Public protest against such police violence is the right thing to do. The protesters, whether they are Hollywood personalities or the average person on the street, should be commended, not attacked, for their actions. Efforts by police fraternal organizations to intimidate them must be resisted. Police violence and intimidation are incompatible with the free, just and democratic society we aspire to.

Sudie Gordon, Founder/Gloria Norwood, Co-Founder, Support for Families and Friends of Murdered Victims (November 9, 2015)

As Founder and Co-Founder of Support for Families and Friends of Murdered Victims, located in Waukegan, IL, it is with pride and determination that we stand behind Mr. Quentin Tarantino in his bold and courageous stand against police brutality and killings.  

Through our mission, we have witnessed much of the violence by police that Mr. Tarantino is speaking about. In the Lake County area that we live in we have families that come to our support group attempting to find others who have been affected and to unite as kindred spirits who are grieving because of the loss of a loved one. We attempt to sympathize, love and share whatever resources may be helpful in giving these families strength. 

We personally feel that Mr. Tarantino is an asset to this country, both as a member of society and as a iconic movie producer.  

Thank you Mr. Tarantino...from the bottom of our hearts...

Jamie Foxx, actor
When Foxx had the stage to present an award at the Hollywood Film Awards on November 1, referring to Quentin Tarantino's words at the Rise Up October demonstration, Foxx told him to: "Keep telling the truth, keep speaking the truth and don't worry about none of the haters."

Joyce Carol Oates, author, tweeted:
It should not require unusual courage to protest police brutality as Quentin Tarantino has done but, evidently, it does.
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Ironic that police defending police brutality plan to boycott violent Tarantino films.

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Despite threat of police boycott of literary novels, poetry, & belles lettres we are bravely supporting Quentin Tarantino.

Tom Morello, musician, tweeted:
Proud of Quentin Tarantino 4standing w/police brutality opponents. Bullying by FOP to silence the truth is typical. Would Django apologize?!

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RATM OFTEN boycotted by police 4 speaking truth. Fuck ticket sales/Oscar backlash. Tell the truth Quentin & let the chips fall where they may

Peter Biskind, cultural critic, film historian, journalist 
Good for Quentin Tarantino for joining the RiseUpOctober demo and incurring the wrath of the rabid police unions.

Roland Martin, radio host, tweeted:
Cops are upset that someone with #QuentinTarantino’s stature would stand w/those of us against police abuse. @Carl_Dix on #RolandMartinShow

Billy Corben, director of Cocaine Cowboys, tweeted:
Tarantino didn’t call all cops murderers. He said: if you murder, you’re a murderer. Regardless of your occupation.

Martin Garbus, civil rights lawyer
Quentin Tarantino is to be complimented and acknowledged for his truthful remarks at the rally [on October 24, 2015]. He accurately helped describe a terrible problem in America today. We should support him, not chastise him, for using his voice in the defense of freedom.

Charles Burnett, filmmaker
I can't say enough about Tarantino. He said what needed to be said. I hope his rage encourages all of us to speak out against genocide. When his new film opens, I will be there to show my support.

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, and Quentin Tarantino march with families representing people murdered by police

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West and Quentin Tarantino in march on October 24 with families of people murdered by police. Photo: Special to Revolution

Arturo O'Farrill, Grammy award winning jazz musician, Advisory Board, Rise Up October
Last time I checked this was a free nation in which an artist, or any citizen, was allowed to speak their mind without fear of retribution. Calling for the boycott of Mr. Tarantino's work is within the rights of free speech just as Quentin's statements were. Calling for obstruction to his business is probably illegal. One does not have to agree with Mr. Tarantino's terminology to see that the discharge of a weapon is serious business, and when we see the remarkable numbers of unarmed citizens fired upon by police officers, one must speak out. You don't have to agree with anything anyone says publicly but the premise of this nation is the idea that we have an inalienable right to question how we are governed. It is the foundation of the American revolution and constitution, and all of our subsequent liberties.

National Coalition Against Censorship (http://ncac.org/blog/quentin-tarantino-the-nypd-and-the-first-amendment/)
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino exercised his First Amendment rights by speaking at a New York City protest against police brutality. At the October 24 event, he denounced "police terror," and reportedly said this: "I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers."

In response, Patrick Lynch, the head of New York's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association union, called Tarantino a "cop-hater" and said that it was "time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films." A union affiliated with the Los Angeles Police Department has reportedly endorsed the boycott as well.

The union has as much as right to disagree with Tarantino's speech as the filmmaker has to denounce police brutality. But one would hope that police officials would take care not to ignore the constitutional rights of people with whom they disagree. Lynch's statement says that Tarantino "has no business coming to our city" to express himself. He most certainly does have such rights. That a law enforcement official would suggest otherwise sends a very disturbing message that is antithetical to basic free speech principles. Indeed, in light of the police department’s unfortunate history of violating the rights of peaceful protesters, Lynch would do well to remind officers of their obligation to respect the legal rights of even those with whom they disagree.

Peter Coyote, actor and writer
One has to wonder why the statements of a private citizen who is articulating that he has a conscience and is against killing; who speaks critically of police killings which are nearly extra-judicial—consider the shooting of a man in a wheel chair; threatening to “light-up” a woman pulled over for failing to signal, throwing an undisciplined student over backwards in her chair—or any of the hundreds of questionable murders by police now being questioned by citizens because they have cell-phones and can show the world what an undisciplined law officer can do. I don’t understand why this generates formal protests from a police union, for instance, as if the members have all voted and are in accord with seeking financial retribution against a citizen exercising his constitutional rights. Wake up people. It could be any one of us under the gun next time. Police are employees, and until their employers tell them STOP! Enough! We need to understand that that silence is actually a dog-whistle signal to a quiet constituency that is afraid to speak up about their deep fears of African-American men. What is that dog whistle signal? It’s simple. It is, “We’re not gonna let them get you.” And they prove it daily. Until their fellow officers stand up the crazies and until their employers—the mayors, boards of supervisors, governors etc. say, “STOP” it will continue. It will only be a matter of time before some people begin to fight back. That’s a bad future to look forward to. Good for Quentin Tarantino. Shame on those who do NOT speak.

Jen Marlowe, author, filmmaker, playwright 
It's absolutely unconscionable that Quentin Tarantino should face intimidation and threats for speaking out about state murder. As an artist—as a citizen—Mr. Tarantino's right to free speech and to dissent must be protected, not attacked.

Shaul Schwarz, filmmaker—Narco Cultura, Southern Rites 
Police brutality in this country is an urgent problem and the last thing that journalists, artists and filmmakers, should be, is bullied to not say what they think, this is exactly what is done now to Tarantino and I think it's a disgrace.

Bill Ayers, Movement Reimagining Change
Praise to Quentin Tarantino for adding his voice against the serial assassination of Black people by the militarized armed forces of the state. When the Top Cop in the country, FBI Director James B. Comey, gets into a blue rage and goes on a public relations rampage, claiming that the police are being sidelined by scrutiny, blaming the victims of police murder, their allies, and the activists who rally in the name of justice and humanity, it’s high time everyone—residents, citizens, artists, activists—stand and be counted.

Comey’s out front with a clear statement about a particularly perverse police perspective on public safety and the place of the cops in a free society: let the cops loose everywhere; let them do what they do without oversight or constraint or citizen/community scrutiny; don’t watch; trust us. If they would just stop watching, things would be fine.

Good for Quentin Tarantino.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen Buddhist teacher, priest, scholar, and author:
The Black Lives Matter movement and Rise Up October is a nonviolent reasonable response to the urgent need for change in the face of weekly or more incidents of murder or brutalization by police of unarmed African-Americans. This horrible pattern of police violence against African-Americans is a threat to all citizens. I deeply respect and congratulate Quentin Tarantino for his participation and support of this demonstration. He represents me and many other "white" Americans who are morally alarmed at this pattern of police violence, but could not be present ourselves at this event. At a time when our society urgently needs a respectful, unprejudiced, responsible police force to protect all citizens, regardless of race, I am further alarmed at the police officials threatening boycott and even suppression of Mr. Tarantino's creative work and livelihood. We must protect the rights of all citizens to speak our truth, and we must work together to heal the violence in our society. This attack against Quentin Tarantino only increases the problem, and reflects poorly on our police forces.

Roshi Pat O’Hara—Zen Buddhist priest and New Yorker:
I am saddened by the reactivity and ignorance of the police, who are supposed to serve as agents of our government, that is, our employees. We need more citizens like Tarantino who will have the courage to speak up against the violence and injustice routinely visited upon people of color. The police should be thanking Tarantino for his citizenship and concern!

See also at revcom.us: "Quentin Tarantino Interviewed by Michael Slate" and "Moya-Smith: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino Sends Message to Mother of Slain Native American."


Statements from families of victims of police murder who were some of the 100 families who were in NY for Rise Up October.

Paris Bey, cousin of Janisha Fonville, murdered by Charlotte, NC police, February 2015
Quentin Tarantino means a lot to us - at Rise Up October, he wasn't just a film director or a public face - he was a person who cares what cops are doing to us and to all the families. He's not afraid to lose endorsements and he is not scared of boycotts. He walked with us the whole time, speaking with us, hearing us. He gets big ups for that and a lot of respect. And it pushes our movement forward! Yes, the media focuses on his involvement in Rise Up October... but... WHY was he there? He was there for the victims who have lost loved ones to murder by police. We should boycott the police and promote Quentin Tarantino movies, because he cares about the community. The media can put out the positive, but they don't, it's all negativity. The police unions call for a boycott! It's all negativity. Tarantino called the murders murder and the murderers the murderers. The fact is he stood up for us. He put himself out on a limb for us. We are behind him 100%, no ifs, ands or buts. Hollywood A-listers worry about becoming D-listers and don't want to lose their livelihood or money. Hollywood: what is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. We are being shot down. Stand up for justice. The platform you have is powerful. You have the power to change everything. Which side are you on?

Marilyn Covarrubias, mother of Daniel Covarrubias, who was murdered by police in Lakewood, Washington in April 2015
It took a lot of guts, a lot of heart, for Quentin Tarantino to come out and speak [about] the killings that have been happening. And I have much love for him, because he didn't need to do that but he did it. And when his movies come out I'll come see them 5 or 6 times that night. And I'll invite everyone else I know to come see them too. Because I love that man for doing that.

L'Sana DJahspora, father of Cinque "Q" DJahspora, murdered by Jackson, Tennessee police, November 2014
Quentin Tarantino at Rise Up October—Stop Murder by Police! I am impressed that Quentin Tarantino saw our plight and struggle as meaningful enough to place himself among us and take in our experience, our pain. Celebrities often do cameo appearances for such causes, and that can be valuable, but Quentin was with us throughout most of the Rise Up October gathering of victim's families. That impressed me and the other families. We knew it was genuine and authentic. Many would not have the courage to say “murder is murder” and a “murderer” is a “murderer.” The attack on Tarantino and call to boycott his films by the NYPD, LAPD and Philadelphia police unions is pure gangsterism consistent with the ongoing terror of what amounts to a national gang, putting a hit out on him. When you're being bullied, like all of us victim's families feel, you don't disown the ones who stand up for you. No to the boycott; we should be holding Tarantino movie festivals and marathons in appreciation. He put his name, face and livelihood on the line to stand and identify with us, with justice and what is simply right. Place that up against those voices of injustice and Quentin Tarantino clearly holds the moral high ground here. His action shows courage, while police unions throw a protective circle around cowards who commit murder with the expectation of impunity. They position themselves to have NO MORAL STANDING AT ALL! First you kill our loved ones and deny us justice, you criminalize us and our families, and then you incriminate any like Tarantino who dare to stand with us and call it what it is. The police call for boycott is a throwback to the blacklist of the 50s and 60s, and dares anyone to stand on behalf of people of color. Tarantino stood with us, stood with those suffering profoundly from the terror; he connected with the families as we sought to connect with each other.  Stack up Quentin Tarantino's moral stand and authenticity against the government-sanctioned criminal terror raging across this nation, and it is clear who is on the right side of history.

Yohana Flores, daughter of 52-year-old Ernesto Flores, murdered by San Bernardino, CA Sheriffs, April 15, 2015
I appreciate Quentin Tarantino coming out to support the cause of stopping murder by police! A lot of celebrities don't, or just say something once and that's it. Quentin Tarantino took the time to walk with the families—and did so for two of the three days of Rise Up October in NYC to Stop Police Terror. The NYPD and LAPD call to boycott his movies is ridiculous. What he said is he can't support murder or murderers. If you oppose him saying that, then if the shoe fits wear it... because it shows you support murders and murderers yourselves, it shows you support the murder of innocent people by police. So, I am very thankful for Quentin Tarantino's words and his actions and for standing up. He knew he would be criticized but that didn't stop him. All the families who have lost loved ones to murder by police, here and all over the world, appreciate him!

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino, with Kimberly Griffin, holding photo of her son Kimoni Davis, murdered by Hanging Rock OH police, 6/29/15. Photo: AP

Marie Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton, killed by police in Milwaukee, April 2014
Given the very different class of people Quentin Tarantino is surrounded by, I appreciate the time he spent with me, my family, and other families who have been traumatized by police brutality. It’s a tragedy that so few other privileged people have come out, and taken the blinders off, as clearly as Quentin has.

I’m glad that he recognizes the truth. For me, meeting him was not about the limelight. It was heart-wrenching and heart-felt. I appreciate him because he took a HUMAN stand. I applaud him for coming out BOTH days. He could have come out just one day, and shown us, the moms, and the families, that he cared. He KNEW there would be backlash, and he was compelled by hearing our stories to come out the whole weekend and support us. I wish a lot more of the upper class, the 1%, would take the blinders off and open up their hearts to the solution. It's not going away, regardless of your economic status. You're NOT exempt. My family has had discussions about him since then. He could have taken all the time he wanted when he had the microphone. INSTEAD, he wanted families to speak out. THAT was compassion. We need a lot of people with money and pride to let it go, and speak out. They’re not exempt, regardless of economic status. This affects all people, police brutality is killing all people. RISE UP!

From Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward, Jr., murdered by the NYPD, September 27, 1994. He was playing with a brightly colored toy gun.
I need to give a big shout out to the brave and noble man, Mr. Quentin Tarantino who traveled to NYC to stand with the parents and families who have been fighting for justice for their murdered loved ones at the hands of police. He didn't have to make this noble stand, but unlike far too many who see this injustice going down on a nationwide level, Mr. Quentin Tarantino could no longer stand back and not say anything. So on October 24, 2015 he stood up with the families. And because he did what many are afraid to do and say, the police unions in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others are going to boycott his movies, in a cowardly stand which is saying to all others like brother Quentin Tarantino with celebrity status that if you speak out against the injustice of this system, the system will target you to bring you down. Now I tell you brothers and sisters like all the other injustice of this system, this right here is wrong. And I am asking that everyone who believes in truth and justice to please stand up and support Mr. Quentin Tarantino for standing up and being unafraid to say: enough is enough. No more killing innocent unarmed humans nationwide and never being held accountable. We refuse to be intimidated by police and government repression or by threats of boycott on those who seen the injustice for far too long, and have risen up to support the families who suffer from this injustice system. Please stand up and support our brother, Mr. Quentin Tarantino.

Chemika Hollis, partner of Nate Wilks, killed by Oakland police August 12, 2015
Rise of October was a very powerful strong and positive reinforcement that I am thankful to say that I was able to stand in solidarity with so many different families. I am very much appreciated that this brave strong willing human being, I said human being because only a person would know that this is wrong killing our people and only a person would have feelings towards this genocide of our communities. Quentin Tarantino took stance with us. I am grateful for that, there is still lots of people who are sitting down from a computer saying stop police terror and that's it, but Quentin Tarantino put his action into place and came out and marched, spoke and held our hand the whole time as we took over New York City streets to stop police terror on our brothers and sisters. I stand with Quentin Tarantino and his actions and I support him 2,000,000,000%. How could a person want to boycott someone for speaking their rights. Everyone has a freedom of speech and he spoke what he felt, right is right and wrong is wrong. If more celebrities came out and support us then this will be impossible for them to boycott his movies because he'll have a line of celebrities and families. You have me and my family's support Quentin Tarantino!!!

Alice Howell, grandmother of 17-year-old Justus Howell murdered by Zion, IL police, April 4, 2015
Shame on you, for attacking such an individual who has a conscience and knows that these murders are wrong and calling murderers just what they are... murderers. I commend you Quentin Tarantino for standing with the families, exercising your rights as a human being and Rising Up against these murderers. We will not be silent. We stand with you Quentin!

Latoya Howell, mother of Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, IL police, April 4, 2015
I am glad that Mr. Tarantino was in NYC marching with us, the cause of this march was for those who had their lives stolen due to police injustice to come together in great numbers to show the world THIS WAR ON CIVILIANS IS UNACCEPTABLE and to show those who were afraid or just didn't care to speak of these murders by police that by standing in solidarity with others in the name of justice will be a great move to solving the problem. Quentin Tarantino is a huge icon in the public eye so his presence along with others raising awareness is a necessity for change. Police are murdering more than 3 humans a day, if we as a people don't stop this tragedy there is no hope for the future! STOP POLICE TERROR NOW!

Andrea Irwin, mother of Tony Robinson, killed Madison, WI police, March 2015
Me being the mother of a child murdered by police, I appreciate a man of stature such as Quentin Tarantino standing with us. He’s a man. His position and career have nothing to do with what we were doing on October 24th. He stood as a man standing with people who were standing up against what’s wrong. He should not be dealing with retribution. I fully support him. He’s a man above anything else. Retribution is terrible. Why is it just because he’s a movie director, and he’s well known, he has to deal with this? He’s standing up for what is right. It is unfair to attack a man in his position for his personal beliefs. His career should have no bearing on his supporting us. It is disgusting that the New York Police union is highlighting and attacking Quentin Tarantino. If you publicly attack Tarantino, you should attack every one of these mothers. He stood with us, we stand with him. You cannot attack one person out of thousands. You should not be going after his position and his career. Quentin Tarantino spoke my son’s name. He stands with me. I stand with him. The New York City police union is showing their fear. They’re taking it out on the wrong person. Because you (the New York police union) is too afraid, you’re attacking a person of stature, instead of addressing the issue and attacking the problem. You’re going to call him out? Call us all out! This is not a little march or movement any more. This is a revolution! Their fear is showing.

Cephus 'Uncle Bobby' Johnson, Uncle of 22 year old Oscar Grant, murdered by Bay Area Transit Police in Oakland, CA, January 1, 2009
Uncle Bobby, the Uncle of Oscar Grant and ‘The Love Not Blood Campaign', believe Black Lives Matter everywhere and police accountability is a human right. Our vision is a world where no one has the right to take the life of another and be protected from the consequences of doing so by a system of structural racism, obfuscation and propaganda. Quentin Tarantino and many others like himself, have a right, as we families and community do, to call a "murder a murder" and call "the murdered the murdered.” For a system, such as the police agencies, police unions, and its culture to attack someone's belief and freedom of speech, is a direct assault on ones First Amendment right. The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. Quentin Tarantino, as well as those affected by police terrorism, has this right to assemble and right of expression. For a culture such as the police union to attack an individual or group for their expression and assembly is as heinous as a state that sanctions state violence. We, families, that have suffered this harm say: hands off Quentin Tarantino. For the United States to allow such an attack, people will ask the question, “What kind of country will allow people to be attacked for their expression by police officers that have a history of murder?”

Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, murdered by Baltimore Police, July 18, 2013
I am so happy Quentin Tarantino stood with the families at Rise Up October. Words can't express how I felt and the deep gratitude I have. It touched my heart in many ways. He even gave his time up at the microphone at the national march because of his support for the families. This pain never goes away. We and he did this to save others from this pain. They want us to turn off our grief and postpone Rise Up October!? Please let me know how you postpone grief? There are too many lives stolen by law enforcement and this has to stop! Quentin Tarantino did something special and significant. Now they come with a call for a boycott!? That's an outrage. We need to boycott killer cops. The entire weekend Quentin Tarantino holds up the families, wipes away our tears, tells us he is very sorry for our loss, and walks with us. He is a humble spirit and is setting a leading example for others in Hollywood. Hollywood! Use Quentin Tarantino as a leading example and join the cause.

Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, who was shot dead by ICE agents in his own home in front of his father, on April 27, 2015
The movie director Quentin Tarantino standing with us on the front lines - that made me feel special! The police are killing our kids! But our children are the future. Quentin Tarantino stepping out and standing with us - that's beautiful, and many more movie directors should do the same. I have not felt good since my son was shot down on April 27, 2015. Today I feel good for the first time since my son was shot down in my own home. I have Quentin Tarantino to thank for it. I will stand with anyone, Black, Brown, Red, White, Yellow or Green - to stop murder by police, just like Quentin Tarantino did. This boycott is a damn shame - the police are full of shit. Now we know, again, which side the police are on. Quentin Tarantino is standing up for something right. He is standing up for my son and so many others. Stop being scared and stand up with him. Murder by police happens every day - children getting killed by police. Quentin Tarantino is standing up for us, and I love him for it.

Alicia Kirkman, mother of 17-year-old Angelo Miller, murdered by Cleveland Police, March 23, 2007
I loved that Quentin Tarantino stood with the families! It showed he cares. Even though he is a famous person—he is on the front lines with us—saying he won't put up with murder by police either. He put himself in our shoes. He walked with us. It's not like he's too famous and can't be touched—no, he walked together with us and we feel good about it. More celebrities need to support us like he did. It's not like others who watch police murder our children on TV, but then don't come out because they are scared about their image. It's what they are trying to do to Mr. Tarantino—boycotting his movies, attacking him for doing right—that other celebrities are afraid of. Don't be afraid. Treat us like human beings like he did. That boycott call is ridiculous and I don't think it's going to work!

Freddie McGee, father of Freddie Latrice Wilson, killed by police in Chicago November 13, 2007:
Make me to understand this: Police and authorities in our system act like this is some kind of game. Killing people’s family members – and it’s OK. Our or their lives don’t really matter? What happened to our Black male police officers? Our Black women officers. Did they join the Ku Klux Klan? Against their own people? You hate your own people so much it is time to wake up. Police stop killing us or find yourself another job. Please help stop our leaders from turning over and over in their graves. Think about it before it is too late. If it’s not already. Power to the people of all races! Help stop this darkness so it can come to the light. ’Cause if it does then you can sleep better at night.

Angela Naggie, mother of O'Shaine Evans, killed by San Francisco Police, October 2014
Quentin Tarantino stepped out real good, and supported us. This touched me. He didn't have to do what he did. It shows there are people that care about us, who care about families who have children the police have killed. It is something I truly appreciate. Quentin Tarantino stood with us in solidarity. All the rest of you in Hollywood: support him, join him! C'mon all of you in the movie industry, stand by each other!

Patricia Perez, grandmother of Richard "Pedie" Perez, unarmed, murdered by Richmond CA Police, September 2014
We SUPPORT Quentin Tarantino ALL THE MORE. If there are any other high-profile people, out there...who will STAND UP, on the side of what is RIGHT...that would be very ADMIRABLE. We NEED the SUPPORT of ALL who can “put themselves in our shoes” and “FEEL” our PAIN of having a member of your own family, who is UNARMED and NOT committing any type of a CRIME whatsoever...SHOT DEAD by a Gun-Happy Cop! What is happening to our LOVED-ONES, at the hands of MURDERING COPS, is a HORRIBLE THING. Until the rest of the people are as OUTRAGED as the families of the VICTIMS, our struggle is made all the more difficult. IF it happened to one of your most Loved-Ones...you would be doing exactly what we are doing. THANK YOU Quentin Tarantino.

Edward Powell, father of 27-year-old Martice Milliner, murdered by Chicago police, July 9, 2015
I feel like Mr. Tarantino was standing by a group of many who have lost loved ones due to the excessiveness of Law Enforcement across the U.S. As someone who has lost a son to excessive force by police I felt that comfort and I felt at ease knowing Mr. Tarantino felt my pain.

I’m appalled that the Police Department of New York City would do such a thing to Mr. Tarantino because he felt the pain of many. If standing with people is that wrong to try to stop a person’s way of living we have a problem with the American Justice System.

Ishtyme Robinson, mother of Ahjah Dixon, killed in police custody in Texas, March 2010
I celebrate Quentin Tarantino's presence at Rise Up October in New York City -- all three days! It was moving for me as a mother, who has lost a daughter (in jail custody) and a son, and who up to now has received no support from the surrounding community, to now have support, including from Quentin Tarantino. This movement is helping to create a new story of resistance, of resilience, announcing to the world that our children matter. Many people who are killed by police are poor people, with no value placed on their lives by the judicial system. In most cases these are marginalized groups with no voice. If all lives mattered, we wouldn't have to say Black Lives Matter. For Quentin Tarantino to come to Rise Up October, in a most sincere way, to come and stand up with us, to challenge societies standards, made a world of difference and I say that with all my heart. Boycott Tarantino movies? This is supposed to be a democratic society. Freedom of speech is suppose to be woven into the fabric of society. Families of murdered and lost victims and Quentin Tarantino have a right to voice our opinion regarding any type of infraction, injustice or pathology and no one has the right to rob us of freedom of speech, here or anywhere else in the world.

Chris Silva, brother of David Silva, murdered by Kern Co. Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol, May 8, 2013
Quentin Tarantino showing up to Rise Up October is a great thing. Rise Up October is "trending," there's big attention and popularity, including because of Quentin Tarantino's participation (and I didn't expect it). It shows he cares. He knows he had to stand up to murder by police, and I thank him for being with us. He probably expected the "negativity" because we get it everyday, the families, and myself with David's murder over two years ago—all these internet trolls with their negative comments aimed at us... Quentin called out the NYPD and LAPD and all the cops who kill unjustly. He is not saying anything more than what these cops have done. I'm so glad he stood up, because many celebrities may wear a t-shirt but don't always show up and stand up for what they believe. This boycott call is ridiculous and it makes it sound like Tarantino means all police are killers... he didn't say that. He said there are murders and murderers, cops killing blatantly and for no reason at all. Recognize and hear the truth. I am sure many are telling him to stay quiet but Quentin Tarantino should know he has the backing from us families and many others!

Dionne Smith-Downs, mother of 16-year-old James Rivera, Jr., murdered by Stockton, CA Police, July 22, 2010
It's a good thing that Quentin Tarantino came to Rise Up October and stood with us! It's been 5 years for me, 5 years since my son was murdered. And we had the #1 call—Which Side Are You On? That's serious. That's the call. And Quentin Tarantino answered the call for change. He took that opportunity to walk with us and it was a pleasure to walk with him. He was interested to really talk to us. We support him! We'll get on TV and support him. If they want to fight fire with fire, then let's go. Whatever is needed, I am there. Rise Up October isn't just a march. There is a message. Which Side Are You On? He heard our call. We are not alone and he is not alone. This system is targeting him because he wants to be part of change. He chose to stand with the families. Carl Dix, Cornel West, they all hugged us. They heard what we said. This is bigger than me or him or any one person. Rise Up October is from the heart. There is no script. This shit has to stop. It takes us to take care of us, I am a team player, and we support Quentin.

Cadine Williams, sister of 26-year-old O'Shaine Evans, murdered by Oakland Police, October 7, 2014
Quentin Tarantino's stand at Rise Up October is great, and I mean that with all my heart. More people should be saying NO MORE to this system and its police brutality. More people like Quentin Tarantino should stand with us. And Rise Up October with Quentin Tarantino participating should wake a lot of people up! How can people just sit back and let this happen to innocent people? Quentin's stand is awesome; it means a lot to us. Boycott?! That's crazy. It shows what this country is about and what kind of system this really is. A call for boycott because someone steps out and says what he believes in? That's bull. We need Quentin Tarantino and more people like him in this world. I am willing to be on the front lines marching for him. He has our back and we have his back!

Meko Williams, mother of LaReko Williams, tasered to death by Charlotte, NC police, July 20, 2011
It was an honor to meet Quentin Tarantino at Rise Up October in New York City, to meet someone who understands what we are going through as families who have lost loved ones to murder by police. This is what Rise Up October is about, saying the truth. Quentin Tarantino said "I am a human being with a conscience and when I see murder, I cannot stand by and I have to call the murdered, the murdered and the murderers, the murderers." That is the truth. The police unions are trying to deface our movement, because it's now national and international. They say ""it's the worst thing" - NO, it's the greatest thing. What Tarantino said is no different than Cornel West, Carl Dix or Meko Williams saying the same truth. They want to separate him, put him in a box, but his voicing of the truth is no different than others who voice the truth. Writers and movie directors express themselves through their art; they go off of what's happening in history, in society - just like Django Unchained. This is freedom of speech. And it's ignorance on behalf of the police unions. We know well what the police have done and what they do. Quentin Tarantino was by my side, he was with me, and it was an honor. This boycott is just plain ignorance, because what Rise Up October is, and Quentin's comments do, is bring light to the Stolen Lives and to mass incarceration. Let's focus on that! The use of guns, Tasers, and chokeholds to murder people, like my son. Let's focus on the truth. Tarantino's words... calling the murdered the murdered and the murderers the murders is just simple truth - it is what it is. And I feel the same way he does.

From an older Black woman who attended Rise Up October
I am totally appalled at the denouncing of Mr. Quentin Tarantino because he supported Rise Up October. Yet at the same time they entertain supporting a rich idiot as the lead position of this country. This even goes as far as to tell me again that I don't matter. How do you dare tell someone that has looked in a coffin at someone that was supposed to be on their honeymoon that it was a tragic mistake. How do you tell a mother or father that identifies their child's body that no drugs or weapons just paid protectors' bullets. How do we teach our children to trust and believe in paid protectors when paid protectors killed their mother or father sister or brother or people around them. How do you see this happening over and over and not see a change is needed. Mr. Tarantino: I have a great respect for you announcing that above any and everything else you are human and you have the ability to feel. What is pathetic is that more people of status need to rise up from fear of being ostracized for what they believe in. I will get a group on opening night of his new movie and go just to show love and support. Even more reason to Rise Up.

Send your statements in support of Quentin Tarantino and against the NYCPBA attack to Rise up October at outreach@riseupoctober.org or call 646.709.1961.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/press-release-new-fop-threats-against-tarantino-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Press Release from Rise Up October, Nov. 6:

New FOP Threats Against Quentin Tarantino; Rise Up October Responds
Carl Dix condemns FOP's "dangerous thuggery"

November 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix, co-initiator and lead organizer of Rise Up October, Family members supporting Tarantino available for interviews

New FOP Threats Against Quentin Tarantino; Rise Up October Responds
Carl Dix condemns FOP's "dangerous thuggery"

On Thursday, Jim Pasco, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Fraternal Order of Police, the country's largest police union, issued an ominous new threat against director Quentin Tarantino, saying the police have a "surprise" they'll spring on him in addition to boycotting his upcoming film. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Pasco warned, "Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere]. The right time and place will come up and we'll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that's economically."

Carl Dix, co-initiator with Cornel West of Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror, and spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party stated today in response to Pasco's threat:

"The mafia style attack coming from Jim Pasco of the FOP would be cartoonish thuggery if it weren't so dangerous. Artists need to be able to speak for justice without attacks and retribution. This is why we launched #SideWithQuentin and everyone should join us in speaking out against these bullying tactics. We should also understand that like any bully, they become most vicious when they're exposed. In the face of video after video of unarmed Black, Latino, and Native Americans being tazed, stomped, brutalized, and shot in the back by police -- their only answer to those who speak out and criticize is repression and force. Whether it be the tanks and tear gas in the streets of Ferguson or boycotts and bully threats aimed at silencing prominent voices who speak out. We say no to this! We will #SideWithQuentin and we will build a powerful movement of resistance to STOP murder by police."

Support For Tarantino Spreads—Prominent Voices Speak Out

Support for Tarantino is spreading, as more and more prominent actors, writers, filmmakers and other voices of conscience speak out in his defense. To date they include:

Rise Up October co-initiator and representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party Carl Dix; Rise Up October co-initiator, professor and author Cornel West; actorJamie Foxx; actor Viggo Mortensen; actor Mark Ruffalo; filmmaker Michael Moore; author Joyce Carol Oates; musician Tom Morello; Grammy award winning jazz musician Arturo O'Farrill; actor and filmmaker Gbenga Akkinagbe; actor Ed Asner; actor and author Peter Coyote; filmmaker Charles Burnett; producer and Sankofa.org Co-Director Gina Belafonte; Native American activist and journalist Simon Moya-Smith; National Coalition Against Censorship; First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus; screenwriter, NYU adjunct professor Dan Therriault; radio host Roland Martin; director of Cocaine Cowboys Billy Corben; cultural critic, film historian, journalist Peter Biskind; founder, Rosenberg Fund for Children Robert Meeropol; author, filmmaker, playwright Jen Marlowe; filmmaker Shaul Schwarz; Bill Ayers; Zen Buddhist teacher, priest, scholar, and author Taigen Dan Leighton; Zen Buddhist priest and New Yorker Roshi Pat O’Hara

Click HERE for statements of support for Tarantino from over 20 family members of victims of police murder who were in NY for Rise Up October

Social Media Campaign #SideWithQuentin Launches

On November 4, Rise Up to Stop Police Terror organizers launched a #SideWithQuentin social media campaign. Within hours there have been hundreds of tweets with the #SideWithQuentin hashtag, including by actor Mark Ruffalo; musician Tom Morello, actor and filmmaker Gbenga Akkinagbe, producer and Sankofa.org Co-Director Gina Belafonte, and Native American activist and journalist Simon Moya-Smith. Author Joyce Carol Oates and filmmaker Michael Moore have also tweeted or posted on Instragram in support of Tarantino.

 

RiseUpOctober.org 
646.709.1961 
press@riseupoctober.org 
Twitter: #SideWithQuentin #RiseUpOctober

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/quentin-tarantino-interviewed-by-michael-slate-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Quentin Tarantino Interviewed by Michael Slate

October 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Quentin Tarantino was interviewed by Michael Slate while marching in October 24 Rise Up October: STOP POLICE TERROR.

When Black and Latino lives are being stolen by the police in epidemic numbers—we need more and more people saying this:

 

Listen to audio of this interview HERE.

Listen to Michael Slate interview Jamal Joseph, Eve Ensler, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Arturo O'Farrill HERE.

Michael Slate: I’m from KPFK in LA.

Quentin Tarantino: Hey!

Michael Slate: Can I talk to you? Ask you just a few questions as we are walking? All right. You came out on Thursday. And it was very moving... I was there just listening to those stories. Then you come out today and it’s pretty important that you are out here, that your voice is out here. What made you feel compelled to be here?

Quentin Tarantino meets Kimberly Griffin, whose son Kimoni Davis was killed by police, Times Square, October 22, at No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names, A Public Reading and Remembrance--A Demand for Justice.Quentin Tarantino meets Kimberly Griffin, whose son Kimoni Davis was killed by police. No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names, A Public Reading and Remembrance--A Demand for Justice, Times Square, October 22. AP photo

Quentin Tarantino: Well, what made me feel compelled basically is I’m a human being and I have a conscience. I’ve been sitting here and I’ve been watching. It’s been going on for a long time, but for the last year and a half it seems like you just see one Black and Brown man or woman killed... murdered by the police. Unarmed. And I believe that there is a problem in the police culture itself that is corrupt and the culture needs to be changed. And the thing about it is if I actually do feel that it is murder and it’s not extenuating circumstances, then I have an obligation to stand with the murdered against the murderers and that’s what I’m doin’ here.

Michael Slate: A lot of people have made the reference to genocide, a slow genocide yes... but a genocide that’s in formation and actually taking place as we go along. What do you think of that?

Quentin Tarantino: I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, you know, to me the whole mass incarceration situation that’s been going on for the last 20 years, I think 30, 40 years from now people will call it “slavery, part 2.” American slavery, part 2. And that issue and this issue are married to each other, they are linked in arms. My job isn’t to be the most eloquent person speaking on this subject that there is. There’s a whole lot more people here more eloquent than me. But I can put my body here.

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

Michael Slate: And also it does make a difference that your voice is heard. There’s people in society that have disproportionate influence based on the work that they do, a lot of times, in your case in particular. So it makes it... no matter what it is it’s actually important when someone like you comes out and stands up and says, “Look, I see what’s going on. I can’t sit there and pretend I don’t.”

Quentin Tarantino: That’s the thing. One of the things about the movement that actually just means so much is that they have a powerful slogan: “Which side are you on?” If you’re not on our side, you’re on their side. There’s no straddling the fence. There’s no silent majority. There is none of that. You have to take a stand. If you believe it’s murder, then you gotta call it murder. And you gotta call the murderers, murderers.

Michael Slate: Absolutely. One more and then we’ll be through. Well, two more. One is this Niemoller quotes have been coming up in my mind a lot in relation to this. First they came for these people, but I didn’t say anything1. And it goes down the line. Then there’s a second one2 he talked about that a lot of people don’t talk about where he speaks to this last point that you made—What if... When he got out of the concentration camp, he said I have to think, what if we had stood up, what if we had spoken out, what if we had done something, think of how many lives might not have been taken

Quentin Tarantino: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s funny, a lot of people here involved in this movement, some of them are of very different minds about what should be done, and some of them are for all out revolution. I like the idea of that, but I don’t think that’s the only answer. I actually do think that massive resistance, which is what this is, can stop this, can put a pause in it, can put a second thought in it with these cops. And I do believe that there is a corrupt culture inside of the police force, that needs to be straightened out. They are just too authoritative. Nobody should be stopped and actually have no rights during that encounter until later. That’s just untenable.

Michael Slate: What would you say to people who hear your voice now, what would you say to them about what they need to be doing?

Quentin Tarantino: If you don’t believe the way we believe, well then you don’t and that’s where you stand. But if you believe where we’re comin’ from, and you believe that it is murder, and you believe people are being killed, then you have to say something. You have to join. You have to stand up. You have to join with us, and there’s a lot of different ways you can do that, but you need to. Because that’s the only way it’s going to stop.

Michael Slate: How actually do you see it being made to stop?

Quentin Tarantino: I actually do think that if this happens enough, and it actually becomes like a ’60s movement thing in a real way, which actually would be very interesting because the Civil Rights Movement was led by young people in the ’60s. This is being led by moms, this is being led by fathers, this is being led by family members and young people are catching up and that’s a really terrific thing. And so I think that it literally can be a situation, if it comes out there, then we can change the police force, we change the way the police academy teaches the police, and we can get rid of some of these cops. You should have a higher calling to be a cop. We expect our doctors to aspire to a higher calling, not just have a job. We expect the people who work... the paramedics and the ambulances, we expect them to aspire to a higher calling, not just have a job. And we need to expect that from the police. They’re not just having a job and things happen.

Michael Slate: Quentin Tarantino, thank you very much.


1. Poem by Martin Niemoller, a German pastor who opposed the Nazis:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. [back]

2. “We preferred to keep silent. We are certainly not without guilt or fault and I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if in the year 1933 or 1934, 14,000 Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths? If we had said back then, ‘It is not right when Hermann Göring simply puts 100,000 communists in concentration camps in order to let them die.’ I can imagine that perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 Protestant Christians would have had their heads cut off, but I can also imagine we would have rescued 30 to 40 million people, because that is what it [cost us].” [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/obama-rejects-keystone-xl-pipeline-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline: Why? And What Does It Mean for the Endangered Planet?

by Orpheus Reed | November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 6, President Obama announced the U.S. would not approve building of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Keystone XL would have brought oil from Canada’s Alberta tar sands region into the U.S. to be refined.

This decision means the shipping via the pipeline of 830,000 more barrels per day of especially dirty, carbon polluting tar sands oil will not happen. It means a possible delay in the further devastation of the environment in the tar sands region that the pipeline’s building would have worsened. Environmental groups, Native peoples, and others have fought very hard to stop this pipeline. This struggle was one important factor in stopping the pipeline. But there are larger and more overriding reasons Obama came to this decision that have to do with how he, as a top representative of the capitalist-imperialist rulers, sees best preserving U.S. power in the face of a growing environmental maelstrom. And the fight over the tar sands and over saving the planet is far from over.

Obama’s Arguments

Obama said he was rejecting the pipeline because it “would not serve the national interest of the U.S.” He cited three factors in his decision—that the pipeline “would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy” and “would not lower gas prices for American consumers” and that “shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security.” He also attempted to frame the decision with a claim that the U.S. is “leading on climate change,” saying “we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

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

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

In Obama’s view, not approving the pipeline was a move to strengthen the international position the U.S has staked out leading up to the UN climate talks in Paris. He and those sections of the ruling class who support him think that given the huge changes the climate crisis will bring globally, for the U.S. to remain as the top power, it must be able to dictate the terms of international climate negotiations. And to do this, the U.S. must portray itself as the “world leader” in combatting climate change. Obama said approving the pipeline “would have undercut this leadership.”

Obama’s arguments all are based on what he and the U.S. rulers view as best for America’s national interests and global position as a world power. He claims that defending these interests and combatting climate change are compatible. But the truth is that proceeding from the national and global interests of the U.S. is completely antagonistic to protecting the world’s environment and the world’s people—especially the poorest people on the planet.

It’s essential that everyone who wants to see climate change seriously combatted and the planet saved, who wants humanity to be saved and liberated, get clear on the interests involved here.

Struggle over Keystone XL

For years the Keystone XL pipeline was considered a done deal. In 2012 Obama himself green-lighted the building of the southern portion of Keystone XL from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico coast and bragged at the time about how many pipelines had been approved by his administration. The State Department reviewed the Keystone XL project and cynically claimed it wouldn’t cause more carbon pollution leading to further climate change. This review argued that in a market economy, people had to accept that the oil would be transported—if not by pipeline then by rail or other means. At different points, Obama seemed poised to approve the pipeline. But a number of different factors have transformed the situation.

Over the last seven years a significant and widespread struggle was built against this pipeline, to the point it became a rallying cry and key battlefront in the larger battle against climate change and to save the planet. Without this, it is likely this pipeline would have gone through. Environmental groups like 350.org called protests of tens of thousands in Washington, D.C. and around the country, including civil disobedience by a thousand people at the White House. As the southern portion of Keystone XL was built, Tar Sands Action blockaded pipeline construction, for which activists faced brutal repression and arrests. Tens of thousands of people pledged they would engage in civil disobedience if the pipeline was approved. Landowners and Native people from Nebraska and elsewhere united and descended on Washington to protest and challenged the pipeline route in the courts. Climatologist James Hansen warned that fully developing the tar sands oil reserves would mean “game over” for the planet, and other scientists sounded the alarm.

Over the past several years especially, the climate crisis, driven by the very workings of capitalism and its whole fossil fuel energy foundation, violently thrust itself before the world in a way that was impossible to ignore. One “warmest year in recorded history” following another... killing heat waves and wildfires sweeping swaths of the planet... collapsing ice sheets in the Antarctic and ramped-up melting of Greenland and the Arctic... storms of the century happening every few years... vast disturbances and threats to whole ecosystems, and more. Scientific study after study, report after report warning the world of catastrophe, the danger of massive migrations of people and increased warfare, the prospects of society breaking down.

See also: Tar Sands Oil and the Relentless Capitalist Drive for Fossil Fuels

 

All this and more has shaken the whole world, alarming people worldwide and battering the legitimacy of the system of capitalism-imperialism around the world. Imperialists and other powers are scrambling to figure out how they will deal with the immense disruptions to come. In this situation, the Keystone pipeline became a key test of the legitimacy of the economic and political system in the U.S. in relation to dealing with the climate emergency.

At the same time, the U.S. has rapidly increased its domestic oil and natural gas production in recent years. And with the price of oil dropping significantly, the production of tar sands oil has become much less profitable, for now at least. These developments have been major factors in the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline as well as putting on hold other tar sands projects and some off-shore oil drilling projects.

Climate Change and Strategic Moves of U.S. Imperialists

A growing consensus has been developing among powerful sections of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class forces grouped loosely around Obama, including in the U.S. military, that the U.S. had no choice but to alter its course on approaching climate change. For more than 20 years the U.S. was the key force in preventing international action on climate change, even though the science was clear. This inaction—and even active sabotage of international climate agreements that would limit emissions, including Obama’s own role in enforcing a do-nothing agreement in Copenhagen in 2010—is a fundamental reason the world is now on the brink of a climate abyss. But now, with the swift and violent transitions occurring that clearly are accelerating, these forces have decided it is vital to U.S. power in the world that the U.S. transition itself to be seen as the world’s leader on combatting climate change.

But this is not about actually combatting climate change as an urgent emergency with the aim of saving the planet and humanity. This is about how to maintain and extend the U.S. empire given the reality of immense worldwide disruptions from the climate emergency. And they are trying to do this by cramming this out-of-control crisis into the bounds of U.S. economic and political interests.

This is concentrated in Obama’s “clean power plan,” which promises the U.S. will cut emissions 27 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 32 percent by 2030. These cuts are completely consistent with transitions the U.S. is making anyway from coal to natural gas and making things somewhat more energy efficient. But they are puny and completely insufficient compared to the level of cuts that are demanded based on the actual science of the climate emergency. Scientists have said cuts by the big powers on the level of perhaps 60 percent per decade are required to keep the crisis from leaping further out of control.

Obama’s proposals are also founded on phony calculations that cover over the real amount of emissions the U.S. is responsible for. Official U.S. emissions don’t include U.S. offloading of carbon emissions to other countries by having them produce goods for the U.S market. They don’t include emissions caused by the U.S. military—the largest single institutional consumer of oil on the planet—which are completely “off the books.”

The climate crisis cannot be “managed”—it has to be tackled head on, with radical and more or less immediate transitions to clean energy, with emergency measures to transform the basis of the economy and the way agriculture is carried out, with the stopping of the destruction of forests worldwide, with worldwide cooperation to stop the destruction of ecosystems. Instead, Obama and the U.S. rulers are creating a mirage of the U.S. “leading” on tackling climate change, while  the U.S. has long been leading on causing climate change, as the leading producer of greenhouse gases in world history and leading destroyer of world ecosystems.

The U.S. imperialists are actually using the climate crisis as another means of competition and rivalry over which power will “win out” in the new era of environmental devastation planet-wide. They are acting to save the very system that is responsible for the devastation we face. This reactionary rivalry is heating up heading into the UN climate talks in Paris this December, which the U.S. intends to use to strengthen its global position. This is a big reason Obama vetoed Keystone XL and also cancelled the upcoming lease sales for Arctic oil drilling.

The lesson from the Obama decision on Keystone XL is not that this system’s politicians can be pressured to “do the right thing” to save the planet. When looking at the whole picture, what is revealed is that the rulers of this system can only respond to any emergency, any crisis, from their own capitalist-imperialist interests—from “the national interests of the United States” as Obama says. And these interests are completely opposed to both saving the planet and liberating the planet’s people, whom this system has locked in a death grip of war, poverty, police terror, mass incarceration, vicious women’s oppression, and more.

Resistance is critical to fighting this, to forcing this system to jump back. And we need more of this now. But only linking this to revolution, and making actual revolution—to bring into being a whole different socialist system moving to communism—holds the real chance to combat the climate and environmental emergency, and save our planet, and to emancipate humanity.

See “State of EMERGENCY! The Plunder of Our Planet, The Environmental Catastrophe & The Real Revolutionary Solution”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/tar-sands-oil-and-the-relentless-capitalist-drive-for-fossil-fuels-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Tar Sands Oil and the Relentless Capitalist Drive for Fossil Fuels

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Keystone XL would have vastly increased the flow of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, into the U.S. for refinement. Production and burning of this oil, which results in much more carbon pollution than normal oil, would be the equivalent of putting 37 million more cars on the road or adding 51 coal-fired power plants. And building this pipeline would have meant increased risk of oil spills all along its route, as well as further ramped-up production in the tar sands oil fields.

See also: Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline: Why? And What Does It Mean for the Endangered Planet?

 

Production in the tar sands is immensely destructive to the environment. Oil in the tar sands is thick, filthy bitumen mixed with sand, clay and water. It’s dug out of the ground by strip mining or through injecting huge amounts of steam into the ground to heat the oil so it can be drawn out. Vast swaths of boreal forest, home to many species, as well as the land of indigenous people have been mown down to dig out this oil.

Patrik Marcel, an elder and scientist with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta, described this: “They strip all the trees and earth to get at the oil. It’s a terrible thing—100 percent devastation.” The process uses up huge amounts of water and generates toxic waste products that leak into groundwater and formerly wilderness rivers and lakes. The indigenous people in the area have suffered killing cancers at increasing rates, a continuing genocide.

The fact this pipeline will not be built—for now—is a good thing. But the tar sands remain a huge pool of oil and profitability to Canadian and U.S. capital. Tar sands development is the largest energy and capital investment project in the world. The tar sands—and the U.S.’s own new reserves of oil and gas produced through fracking—are considered by the U.S. and Canadian rulers as a key form of “energy security,” which is a code term for what the imperialists see as a weapon of strategic economic and military power against global competitors and rivals.

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

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

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

Oil and other fossil fuels remain foundational to the world capitalist economies, despite the fact that this reliance has brought us an unfolding climate catastrophe. And this isn’t, as Obama claims, simply because “we still need oil as we transition to a cleaner energy future.” It’s because control of oil reserves is tremendously profitable to imperialist capital. Oil is foundational to the functioning of the whole capitalist-imperialist system—6 of 10 largest U.S. corporations, and 8 of the largest 10 in the world, are auto and oil companies. Oil and gas remain key factors in the strategic rivalry among the imperialist powers. U.S. domination of oil supplies, fracking technology, etc. also fuel its military power and are used as a weapon to put pressure on Russia, Venezuela, Iran and other countries the U.S imperialists see as obstacles to their domination of the planet. And U.S. oil and natural gas production, its access to tar sands and shale oil, offshore reserves, etc., give the U.S. leverage in dealing with these countries and also other competitors, like China and the European Union.

So even though Keystone XL pipeline has been stopped for now, these big capitalist interests and the system as a whole are not walking away from the tar sands. At the same time, production of tar sands oil right now has become far less profitable, with the price of oil dropping to $50 a barrel. So certain tar sands projects as well as some offshore drilling projects have been put on hold. But this is likely temporary, awaiting changes in oil prices.

Christine Tezak, an energy market analysts with ClearView Energy Partners, said, “From a market perspective, the industry can find a different way to move that oil. How long it takes is just a result of oil prices. If prices go up, companies will get the oil out.” And Trans Canada, the developer of the Keystone XL Pipeline, has already announced they may decide to make another application to build a pipeline into the U.S.

Tar sands oil is already flowing into the U.S., including through a pipeline owned by Enbridge that erupted in a massive spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 that has never been fully cleaned up. The Keystone XL pipeline is only one of at least a dozen pipeline proposals being planned to increase the production of tar sands oil two- to threefold by 2030. Tar sands oil is also being increasingly transported by rail.

Under Obama, the U.S. has become world leader in oil and gas production, and the burning of these fossil fuels is the prime cause of the climate crisis. Also under Obama, the horribly destructive practice of fracking has been generalized. More pipelines have crisscrossed the land, coal and oil train traffic has massively expanded, and along with this, spills and train disasters have skyrocketed. The amount of oil shipped by rail in the U.S. increased 40-fold from 2008 to 2015. The number of U.S. states where there have been oil train accidents increased from eight in 2010 to 21 in 2014. In 2015, there have already been four high-profile oil train derailments, including one in West Virginia that resulted in an explosion that sent oil and burning oil cars into the Kanawha River. In Canada, since the oil train explosion in 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that incinerated 47 people, oil train traffic has increased by three times.

As long as capitalism rules this earth, there will be massive environmental destruction, poisoning of people’s land and waters, and heightening a climate emergency that is already leaping out of control.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/berkeley-high-school-students-walk-out-against-racist-message-on-school-computers-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Berkeley High School Students Walk Out Against Racist Message on School Computers

November 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a reader:

On Wednesday, November 4, at Berkeley High, a disgusting racist threat appeared on the homepage of the school library’s computers: “I HUNG A NIGGER BY HIS NECK IN MY BACK YARD. FUCK ALL THE NIGGERS IN THE WORLD. KKK FOREVER PUBLIC LYNCHING DECEMBER 9th 2015.” This happened at 12:30 p.m. in the afternoon. But it wasn’t until almost 10:30 p.m. at night that the school principal, in response to widespread shock and outrage, sent out a mass email to the Berkeley High School (BHS) community calling for an investigation. 

Berkeley High School Walkout November 5, 2015

Over 1,000 Berkeley High School (California) students walked out November 5 to protest racist threats posted on school library computers. Photo: special to Revolution

Next morning, November 5, over 1,000 Berkeley High students of all nationalities/races, led by the Black Student Union, walked out and marched, chanting “Black Lives Matter!” to the UC Berkeley campus where they were joined by the UC Berkeley BSU and others. This march was filled with righteous anger about a situation where Black students are being made to feel unsafe in their own school.

This is a country where white-supremacist mass murder and arson fires happen at Black churches—and where killer cops can get away with murder just by telling the racist lie that “I feared for my life,” even if their victim was a 12-year-old-boy like Tamir Rice. Just like in the Jim Crow South, where every Black person lived under a death sentence that might or might not be carried out, and every Black person was traumatized with the fear of lynching. How much has changed???

Berkeley High school walkout November 5, 2015

Berkeley High School students march to UC Berkeley campus, November 5, 2015. Photo: special to Revolution

One BHS student who helped to lead the walkout told Revolution newspaper: “I wasn’t shocked, cuz I know the climate and the era that we live in. Even though people say racism happened 400 years ago, it’s still prevalent and it’s still alive today. Back in the day people be walking around with cloths on their head and really trying to kill you. Today they wear police badges and police uniforms and judge gowns, and they try to kill you that way. The system’s fucked up and we all know it.”

What will it take to get to a society where Black lives really DO matter? It will take an actual revolution, to uproot this whole capitalist-imperialist system which has been built on white supremacy since day one. And right now, people need to fight! Nothing has, and nothing ever will change without struggle. Police murder and racist terror must STOP, and everyone’s gotta pick a side!

As one BHS student said at the rally, “This cannot stop here. This is not enough. This is not the end game. At Berkeley High, in Berkeley, California, we set the trends. We gonna keep this going. I don’t care how long it takes. We will see change.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/411/november-22-justice-for-tamir-rice-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

November 22: Justice for Tamir Rice!

November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Tamir RiceTamir Rice was a 12-year-old playing in a park who was gunned down by police in Cleveland, Ohio on November 22, 2014.

November 22 marks one year since Cleveland, Ohio, police murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice. His killers have never been charged. There are high stakes—in the battle for justice for Tamir and in the whole battle against police murder and terror—involved in whether police get away with this murder.

It’s on video: First you see Tamir, a child playing by himself with a toy gun, with no one else in sight. At one point he puts the “weapon” down on the sidewalk, makes a snowball, throws it, picks up the toy gun again. If you didn’t know what was coming, it would just be this cute scene of a child being... a child! Then a police car rolls up. Tamir walks towards it, the toy in his waistband. The car stops, and within two seconds a cop shoots Tamir. Though he is still alive, the cops do nothing to assist him or even to try and make him comfortable. They show less concern than most people would if they came upon an injured dog.

Two minutes later, Tamir’s 14-year-old sister runs across the park towards her wounded brother, and you see the police tackle her, put her in handcuffs, and force her into their squad car where she can see her younger brother dying on the sidewalk a few feet away. Later (not on video), police threaten Tamir’s mom with arrest because she was upset about her son’s death.

On October 10, the Cuyahoga County district attorney produced reports by two “experts” to justify the murder. In the words of one of them, the murder was justified because of “Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death. ...”

If a cop can murder a 12-year-old Black child playing with a toy gun that a 911 caller said was “probably fake”—within two seconds of arriving on the scene—and the system can justify this by claiming this pig considered the child to be “a threat,” then what is that but a green light for police to murder anyone as long as a cop claims the victim “posed a threat”?

This cannot go down! The pig who murdered Tamir Rice, along with his partner—who was complicit in the murder—must be indicted, convicted, and jailed!

Rise Up October has called for people to protest on the anniversary of Tamir Rice’s murder. Be in the streets November 22 demanding justice!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/release-the-hutto-27-now-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Release the #Hutto 27 Now!
Immigrant Women Asylum-Seekers Face Retaliation for Hunger Strike

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

5 Stops

On October 28, 27 immigrant women asylum-seekers began a hunger strike to protest terrible conditions, abusive treatment, and poor medical care at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, near Austin. The hunger strike is reported to be growing and spreading through the 500-bed facility.

One of the women said she decided to protest after repeatedly being served rotten milk and undercooked, and even uncooked, food. Others have described hostile and belittling treatment by the staff and little or no medical and mental health care. The women have vowed to not eat until they are released from the detention center. Hutto is the only women-only immigrant detention facility in the U.S. It is one of more than 22 for-profit detention centers in Texas alone run by Corrections Corporation of America, which operates others around the country.

There are reports of retaliation against the protesters by prison authorities, even as they are denying that a hunger strike is taking place. The daughter of one striker said the staff retaliated against her mom by transferring her to solitary confinement in an all-male facility. “All she did was try to save her life and try to come back to her family” in Texas. The women being held in Hutto “aren’t animals, they’re human beings.”

At least two of the initial strikers have been transferred to a remote detention center in Pearsall, Texas, where the majority of detainees are men; and one of them has been placed in solitary confinement there. Six others are in the process of being transferred.

Rights groups are calling for the retaliation to stop and for the women in detention to be immediately released. “They came to our country for protection, but we have put them in this prison,” said Cristina Parker, a director at Grassroots Leadership, an Austin group.

This follows a hunger strike by immigrant women with children in Karnes City, Texas, earlier this year. (See “80 Women at Texas Immigration Center Start Hunger Strike”) In addition, at least 54 detained South Asians from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, held in the El Paso, Texas,  detention center, carried out a week-long hunger strike in mid-October. And since October 30, over 300 immigrant men are believed to have started a hunger strike in another for-profit detention center in Adelanto, California.

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

Along with the strike, 17 letters from women being held at Hutto were published. One woman wrote: “We decided to do this fast because we are women of second entry; women who have entered the United States for a second time. And they are not giving us the opportunity to stay to fight our case here in order to be able to stay here in the United States. This is the reason.”

Hutto and other formerly “family” detention centers were transformed after a federal court in Los Angeles earlier this year condemned the treatment of children in these facilities and ordered it to end by late October. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, described what they are doing to the women being held and then deported as “transitioning these detention centers into processing centers where individuals can be processed and screened rather than detained for a prolonged period of time.”

This is total bullshit. Asylum-seekers should not be detained but released, given caring treatment and housing, and reunited with their families in this country wherever possible. Instead, many are being held for months, and in some cases over a year—and then deported back to the hell they fled. The detention of these womenwho have suffered violence, terror, and horrific abuse under the U.S.-backed regimes of Central America’s Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador) and in southern Mexico, and in their desperate journey in search of asylumis itself a crime.

Someone from the community who has been visiting the women for the past two years was quoted by Al Jazeera: “The women are scared and they see others being sent back to certain death.” Another woman engaged in the strike wrote: “I’m dying of desperation from this injustice, from this cruelty.” A Guatemalan woman who has been detained since last December is scheduled to be deported even though this is taking a heavy toll on her two daughters, who were both born in the U.S.

Horror of Refugee Crisis in Central America

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released a report in October that said: “The dramatic refugee crises we are witnessing in the world today are not confined to the Middle East or Africa. We are seeing another refugee situation unfolding in the Americas.” The UNHCR report, “Women on the Run,” found that over 66,000 children traveled with their families or alone from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America to the U.S. in 2014. And since 2008 there has been a nearly fivefold increase in asylum-seekers to the U.S.

The report describes the horror confronting women asylum-seekers from those countries. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras rank first, second, and seventh in the world, respectively, in female homicide rates, according to the report. The interviews the UNHCR conducted with 160 women recently forced to flee these countries describe harrowing experiences of rape, assault, extortion, and threats.

In the forward to its report, the UNHCR writes: “Women in particular are targeted by specific and extreme forms of gender-based violence.” One of the women interviewed said: “Everything affects you because there a woman is worthless. It is as though your life is not worth anything. They rape. There is no limit. There is no authority. There is no one to stop them.”

All of this is the result of decades of U.S. imperialist domination in the region. In the 1980s, the U.S. supported and guided murderous pro-U.S. regimes in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of peasants to suppress liberation struggles supported by the Soviet Union, the main imperialist rival of the U.S. at that time. This was followed by a U.S.-imposed economic trade agreement—CAFTA—that opened the economies up to deeper imperialist penetration. This created sectors in the economies that were highly profitable to international capital, while leaving huge numbers of peasants with no way to make a living. Gangs and gang violence have filled the gap—fueled by the U.S. deportation of Central American gang members back to these countries.

And now, a key part of U.S. strategy is to give Mexico more than $80 million to launch what is called the Southern Border Plan (Plan Frontera Sur), which has unleashed a ferocious crackdown against Central American immigrants coming into Mexico. (For more on this, see “‘Outsourcing’ Deportation Back to Hell.”) Meanwhile, those who make it to the U.S. are treated as criminals and held in detention, facing the terror of being forced to return to the hell they have so courageously fled, and often to their death.

Everyone needs to stand with and support these women who are risking their health and their lives in this brave hunger strike. Their just demands must be met, and they must all be released immediately. And we have to fight for the release of all of the undocumented seeking an end to their criminalization.

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/university-of-missouri-student-protests-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Struggle Against Racism at University of Missouri

Students Force President and Chancellor to Step Down

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is an update on the struggle at the University of Missouri. Also see the original article, included below.

~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, November 9. Students have been demonstrating; grad student Jonathan Butler went on a hunger strike; 32 Black members of the football team went on strike—protesting racist attacks on Black students and the administration repeatedly doing little to address these outrages. (See previous article below.) One of the students’ demands was that Timothy Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, resign or be fired.

Rally following the announcement University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, November 9.
Rally following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, November 9. (AP photo)

The strong stand of the students inspired others to take a stand against racism. Students of other nationalities joined the protests, there were calls for a student walkout. Sunday night, members of the faculty announced they were would stage a 2-day walkout in solidarity with “the Mizzou student activists who are advocating for racial justice on our campus.” The Missouri Students Association sent a letter to the university system’s Board of Curators demanding Wolfe’s resignation, saying, “Every student’s ability to learn is now affected and threatened by the campus climate.”

Then came news of an important victory for the students: Wolfe announced his resignation. Hours later,  the chancellor of the university announced he also was stepping down.

Students, faculty and staff converged on the school quad to link arms, and celebrate the fact that the university had been forced to meet one of their demands.

The football team ended their boycott and Butler tweeted that he had stopped his hunger strike. But the mood on campus is clearly that this fight is far from over! Marshall Allen, a member of Concerned Student 1950, one of the groups that has been organizing protests on campus, said, “This is just a beginning in dismantling systems of oppression in higher education, specifically the UM system.” Butler tweeted, “More change is to come!! #TheStruggleContinues.”

Butler addressed the crowd gathered on Monday, saying, “It should not have taken this much, and it is disgusting and vile that we find ourselves in the place that we do.”

Butler has talked about how he sees this as a fight not just racism but also against sexism and homophobia; and he has pointed to other struggles on campus as well including protests against the school’s decision in August to no longer provide subsidies to help graduate students pay for health insurance; and its announcement in September, following the trend of escalating attacks on women’s right to abortion, to discontinue its relationship with Planned Parenthood.

University of Missouri students celebrate as Jonathan Butler, center, waving, ended his hunger strike Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, after University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe officially resigned.
University of Missouri students celebrate as Jonathan Butler, center, waving, ended his hunger strike Monday, November 9, after Tim Wolfe officially resigned. (Photo: Justin L. Stewart/Columbia Missourian via AP)

In the midst of this struggle, story after story has been coming out of the racist atmosphere on campus that Black students are subjected to—openly having the N-word yelled at them and made to feel less than human. A journalism professor, Cynthia Frisby, wrote in the Missourian newspaper that in her 18 years at the university, “I have been called the N-word too many times to count.”

And other stories have come out like one about a Muslim woman who was called a terrorist and women who have been sexually harassed on campus because they are supposedly wearing outfits that are “asking for it.”

Students are continuing their encampment on the University of Missouri campus.

A letter from student government leaders issued on Monday pointed to the “silence” of university officials after the protests in Ferguson last year against the police murder of Michael Brown. And Jonathan Butler, who had traveled to Ferguson to join the protests, said, “In a post-Ferguson world, there was so much struggle on campus but administration refused to step in on our behalf and do the things they needed to do to make sure black students, brown students and all marginalized students are feeling safe and included on this campus.”

One student, Ayanna Poole, a founding members of Concerned Student 1950 said, “A lot of Mizzou students traveled to Ferguson... [those who didn’t] wanted to stand up and make a change. I do believe it’s been a domino effect.”

Stay tuned to revcom.us as this struggle continues.

 

 

University of Missouri: Student Protests, Black Football Player Boycott Against Racism

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

FLASH: Monday, November 9, Timothy Wolfe, President of the University of Missouri resigned. See background below.

 

Anger among Black students at the University of Missouri in Columbia, about racism on campus—which has been simmering has now come to a boil. Students are saying, enough is enough! Students point to a rise in recent incidents where racial slurs have been directed at Black students and administrators have refused to do anything about racism on campus.  The University of Missouri-Columbia has student population of 35,000 students, 77% white and 7% Black.

Things started to come to a head back in September. Payton Head, a Black student who is the Missouri Students Association president was walking through campus one night when some guys riding on the back of a pickup started screaming the N word at him. Head wrote on Facebook the next day. “I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society.” The university’s chancellor didn’t even respond to the incident for a week. Several other Black students had similar experiences on campus and that’s when 25-year-old Jonathan L. Butler, along with other Black students began to organize protests and rallies.

On October 10, Butler and others disrupted the  homecoming parade by surrounding the school’s president, Timothy Wolfe, in his red convertible—demanding that administrators do something about the racism on campus. Students say the police threatened to arrest them and used excessive force to disperse protesters.

tweet from Coach Pinkel

On October 20, Concerned Student 1950, a group named for the year the university began admitting Black students, released a list of demands protesting the way the university has handled incidents of racism on campus. One of the demands is that Timothy Wolfe either step down or be fired. Wolfe is the president for the Missouri System, which consists of four universities: University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou), University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri S&T and University of Missouri Kansas City.

After someone drew a swastika on a school wall with feces—and the school didn’t do anything about it, Butler started a hunger strike on Monday, November 2. He released a photo and statement on Facebook uniting with other groups on campus and calling for Wolfe’s removal. Butler is determined to take a stand against what he says have been “a slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., incidents that have dynamically disrupted the learning experience.” Butler said, “I already feel like campus is an unlivable space... So it’s worth sacrificing something of this grave amount, because I’m already not wanted here. I’m already not treated like I’m a human.”

Butler, a candidate for a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis, points to instances where racial slurs have been used against Black students; the removal of graduate student health insurance subsidies; Missouri’s decision to cancel contracts with a local Planned Parenthood clinic, and the swastika drawing. [New York Times, 11-8-15] Butler told CNN, "I'm in this because it's that serious. We're dealing with humanity here. And at this point, we can't afford to continue to work with individuals who just don't care for their constituents.” Butler said he has received messages of support from people across the country and even a group of students in South Korea.

Butler’s strong stand has inspired other students and sparked other protests on campus.  White students and students of other nationalities have joined the protests. A group of 36 organizations opposing anti-Semitism sent a letter to the university’s chancellor, protesting the administration’s lack of response to the swastika. These protests have also become a forum for speaking out against homophobia, sexism, and discrimination against LBGT people. 

On Saturday, November 7, 32 Black football players announced they were joining the protests, that they would boycott team activities until the president of the university resigns.

On Saturday night, November 7, the Legion of Black Collegians, the Black student government, posted a photo on Twitter of more than 30 football players, linking arms, with a Black graduate student on a hunger strike. One team player tweeted, “The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere. We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students' experience." Another player tweeted that white teammates were supporting the strike.

It’s not clear what repercussion the football team players will face if they refuse to play in Missouri's next football game against Brigham Young University on November 14. But these students are no doubt courageously taking huge risks stand up against racism. There have been reports of some calling for the students to lose their scholarships. The football team’s coach and the athletic department are supporting the protesting football players. The head football coach Gary Pinkel tweeted a photo of dozens of Black and white members of the football team standing with their arms linked with the message, "The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players."

The actions of the athletes reflect a new mood on campuses—60 of the 124 players on the Missouri football roster are Black—many of them starters. And a number of the Black students enrolled at the school come from Ferguson, about 110 miles away, where people rose up after the August 2014 police murder of Michael Brown.

Activism has grown among Black students and others, especially since the upsurge of protests in Ferguson and then nationwide after grand juries let the murderers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner go free. And in response there has been a reactionary, racist backlash at many campuses. There have been news reports of nooses left hanging on trees at Duke University and the University of Mississippi; “Blackface parties” at white fraternities at multiple schools; swastikas have appeared at Yale.

Last year, Jonathan Butler made the two hour drive to Ferguson to join the protests against the murder of Michael Brown. He says, “There was national coverage, so for the school to not cover that or really address that, and we are only two hours away, I think was a huge mistake on their part and contributed to the current cultural environment that we have. It just shows that there are racially motivated things—murders, assaults, other things—that happen and we are just going to sweep them under the rug.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/411/a-celebration-grand-opening-of-revolution-books-in-harlelm-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

A Celebration:
Grand Opening of Revolution Books in Harlem

November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution Books-New York has announced a celebration of its grand opening featuring the internationally renowned Kenyan writer, post-colonial literary theorist and former political prisoner of conscience, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

Ngugi Wa Thiong'oNgũgĩ has said of Revolution Books:
"I think what's so beautiful and wonderful about Revolution Books is that even when you close your eyes and go to any of the shelves here and pick any one of the books, it is likely that it will contain the kind of dreams that Martin Carter was talking about when he said, 'And so if you see me looking in your hand, listening when you speak, marching in your ranks, you must know, I do not sleep to dream, but dream to change the world.'"

Two celebratory events are planned on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at the new store at 437 Malcolm X Blvd in Harlem, NYC. At 2 pm, the first program at the new venue will open with a talk by Andy Zee, Revolution Books’ spokesperson. Ngũgĩ will then read and give a talk, followed by discussion. Then, a second, very special event: a benefit dinner will be held the same evening at 6:30 pm to continue raising the urgently needed funds to complete the renovation of the new space and to forge a community of people to support Revolution Books.

The opening of the Revolution Books-NY matters. This is the flagship of the Revolution Books stores around the country. Revolution Books is the place where people from all over the world come to find the books and the engagement about why the world is the way it is and the possibility of a radically different world through revolution. It is the place where people can find, experience, and connect with the movement for revolution guided by the advance in the science and theory of revolution based on the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian.

The grand opening celebrations are two extraordinary events to open an extraordinary place. This is a do-not-miss event: Students standing up against injustice; people from Harlem—the literary and cultural folks and the people from the streets and projects who raised money and worked on the renovation; critical thinkers and dreamers; downtown and out of town writers and artists—everyone spread the word and plan to be a part of opening the bookstore about the world and for a radically new world.

With these grand opening celebrations Revolution Books is extending a tremendous invitation to everyone to learn about and experience the store. It is a big deal that Ngũgĩ is coming to New York to open the new Revolution Books. And it is a big deal that Revolution Books is opening again, and in Harlem. There has been a huge hole in the radical and revolutionary political and cultural life in New York for the five months that Revolution Books has been closed. Now, there’s the opportunity to put the new store back on the map, starting November 15.

The Grand Opening of Revolution Books will also be an opportunity for people to experience why the store is so needed today and for a future where people the world over could be free. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is an amazing writer of imagination and depth who is consistently on the short list for the Nobel Prize in literature. Imprisoned for his beliefs, he has stood for a liberated Africa. His works were once “arrested” and removed from stores. Ngũgĩ has been a voice for the masses of people of Kenya and the world, and in the face of being beaten for his convictions, he continues to stand firm.

Ngũgĩ coming to New York for the purpose of opening Revolution Books says a lot about what the store means to the people of the world. His grand opening appearance is signal of what is, and what is to come, at Revolution Books.

Revolution Books spokesperson Andy Zee has dialogued with many writers, artists, and activists and co-directed two films featuring Bob Avakian and his work. He will speak on the role of Revolution Books and the fight for the emancipation of humanity.

What will people find at Revolution Books? Books. Films. Talks. Dialogue. An ethos of cooperative relations and community. A movement for revolution and theory that guides it. And, coffee. But more, what makes Revolution Books unique? Nothing less than revolution—and an approach to revolution that lives and breathes with a scientific way to know and change the whole world, an approach that goes hand in hand with a poetic spirit—an appreciation of poetry, literature, and art that inspires the imagination; a critical spirit of inquiry and debate—of going for the truth; the liberating joy of struggle and the seriousness of a movement for an actual revolution that could at long last put an end to all forms of oppression and exploitation throughout the world. How rare, how needed is this today?

Most of all, what people find, and what is the heartbeat and foundation of it all, is the leadership of Bob Avakian, concentrated in the new synthesis of communism. BA has made a qualitative breakthrough in the science of revolution and communism. In a world crying out for fundamental change, and many decades after the previous great socialist revolutions were defeated, this is a game changer for a new stage of revolution and communism. At Revolution Books people have the opportunity to discover, to experience, to engage, and to be a part of a movement for an actual revolution that is guided by this scientific method and approach, and the concrete strategy and vision for a new society.

Humanity is up against horrific and complex problems—from the devastation of the environment; to the raging endless wars in the Middle East, with no liberatory armies in the field today; to the war on women throughout the world; to the unending terrorizing, incarceration, and murder of Black and Latino people in the U.S. To act on and change this world requires revolutionary theory to comprehend this, to find and see the patterns and pathways to change, and most of all to guide an actual revolution. It requires knowing quite a bit about the world. Thus, the mission of Revolution Books. Based on the deepened scientific method and approach of the new synthesis, people can learn from the diversity of experience and imagination in the books, films, and discussions found at Revolution Books to discover and understand the underlying dynamics driving the horrors of today’s world and come to see why it is that revolution for a radically new world is necessary and possible. Revolution Books is a place of revolution with the wide arms and critical spirit and method to embrace the great breadth of human experience, where people from the projects, students from the universities, people from the neighborhoods, artists and intellectuals, people of all nationalities, genders and ages, wrestle with ideas and what it is going to take for humanity to get free. And it is a place where people can connect with the work of Bob Avakian, and have the opportunity to become a part of the movement for revolution.

The next two weeks will be an all-out fight to re-open Revolution Books in Harlem. There is still $35,000 to raise to complete the extensive renovation that was necessary to open the new store. Selling tickets, but more, raising the funds for Revolution Books to complete its renovation, is essential, and a great way to involve people in contributing to something really important. There is still much work to be done for the store to open—volunteers are needed to help stock the shelves and complete the work to renovate. The five-month battle to re-open has been an inspiring struggle, with scores of volunteers helping in different ways, and with many hundreds of people contributing funds to open the store, from world-renowned artists to homeless people on Malcolm X Blvd. This, and the tremendous positive feelings that people have for the history of Revolution Books in New York City, must now be marshaled to re-open the store.

Revolution Books will be open every day after November 15. Capping the first week will be a weekend-long open house November 20-22, with different special conversations and happenings, including a children’s book reading on Saturday morning, and a special performance by Burnt Sugar and friends on Saturday night.

The opening of Revolution Books is cause for celebration—and it will be one hell of a celebration! Everyone who cares about the future of the people of the world and the planet itself, all who value and want to fight for literature and critical thinking that propel history forward, everyone who has dreamed of revolution and those working for revolution today—be a part of making the grand opening of Revolution Books commensurate with the great things that lie ahead for the center of the movement for an actual revolution for a world free from all forms of oppression and exploitation.

The World Needs Revolution.
The Revolution Needs Revolution Books.
Revolution Books Needs You.

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: Kenyan Writer Dedicated to Opposing All Oppression

November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ngugi Wa Thiong'oNgũgĩ has said of Revolution Books:
"I think what's so beautiful and wonderful about Revolution Books is that even when you close your eyes and go to any of the shelves here and pick any one of the books, it is likely that it will contain the kind of dreams that Martin Carter was talking about when he said, 'And so if you see me looking in your hand, listening when you speak, marching in your ranks, you must know, I do not sleep to dream, but dream to change the world.'"

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is a Kenyan writer and intellectual. He is one of the most prolific and beloved writers in the world today. His work includes novels, play, memoirs, and numerous theoretical works focused on the cultural and political necessity for oppressed people to develop their own literary movement in opposition to the dominance of imperialist culture and thinking in the nations dominated by imperialism. Ngũgĩ has dedicated his life and his work to opposing imperialism and all of the oppression it brings down on the people of the world.

Ngũgĩ was born in 1938 in a rural part of Kenya populated by the Gikuyu people. Two forces were in motion in Kenya at the time and both deeply impacted the Ngũgĩ’s thinking. First, Kenya was a British colony and British colonial rule in Kenya was savage—concentration camps, wanton slaughter, and the total suppression of any form of indigenous culture in the country. In the early 1950s, the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army, a peasant-based group that included Ngũgĩ’s older brother, launched and fought the Mau Mau War of Independence until it was defeated 1962. In 1963, Britain pulled back from direct colonial rule of Kenya to rule through the establishment of a neo-colonial regime that was formally independent but in reality was entirely dependent on British imperialism for its survival. This regime was first led by Jomo Kenyatta and then by Daniel Arap Moi, who ruled until 2002. Daniel Arap Moi considered Ngũgĩ and his work a major threat against his regime.

Ngũgĩ attended college at the University of Makerere in Uganda, where he first met other African intellectuals and artists struggling against British colonial rule. It was here that Ngũgĩ’s first major play, The Black Hermit, was produced as part of the celebration of the end of Britain’s direct colonial rule in Uganda. It was during this time that Ngũgĩ really exploded on the literary scene in Africa and Britain, writing eight short stories, two one-act plays, two novels, and a regular newspaper column, all rooted in his developing critique of imperialism and neo-colonialism and its impact on oppressed peoples. His third novel, A Grain of Wheat, written in 1967, marked a turning point in the form and ideological direction of his work, with a big emphasis on the collective replacing the individual as the center of history. And it was during this period that Ngũgĩ began to develop his theoretical work as well, focusing on the need for writers and artists from oppressed nations to work in their own culture and language as opposed to, and struggling against, the domination of British and other imperialist countries. Over the next 30 years, Ngũgĩ continued to develop his theoretical work and his arguments concerning the importance of artists in the struggle for liberation and it was during this period that Ngũgĩ wrote both his seminal works on this question: Decolonizing the Mind and Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams.

1977 was a hallmark year for Ngũgĩ and his work with the publication of his novel Petals of Blood, which painted the harshest depiction of life for the people in neo-colonial Kenya yet. During this same period, Ngũgĩ (together with Ngũgĩ wa Mirii) wrote and staged the play I Will Marry When I Want, again painting a scathing picture of the inequality and oppression that was life for the Kenyan people. The play attacked capitalism, religious corruption and corruption in neo-colonial Kenya. This play was a hallmark in Ngũgĩ’s life and work. Influenced by a reading of Mao Zedong’s Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art, Ngũgĩ not only stood with the Kenyan people, but he worked with the peasants and laborers to tell the truth about their lives. The play was written in Gikuyu and the people contributed to the entire process, from overseeing the content to building the theater and developing the staging of the play. The Kenyan government quickly moved to shut the play down and destroy the theater. Ngũgĩ was also arrested at this time and spent one year in a Kenyan prison camp. During his time in prison, Ngũgĩ wrote his novel Devil on the Cross on toilet paper provided by a friendly prison guard. His case became an international campaign, with Amnesty International declaring Ngũgĩ a prisoner of conscience. He was released in 1978.

At this point, Ngũgĩ was forced into exile as a result of the Kenyan government’s efforts to isolate, attack and even kill him. Ngũgĩ continued his writing and in 1986 published his novel Matigari, another powerful critique of neo-colonialism in Kenya that unfolded around the main character, Matigari, traveling around the country talking with people about their lives in neo-colonial Kenya and coming to the conclusion that Kenya needs a revolution to be liberated. Moi, the Kenyan dictator, thought that Matigari was a real person and issued an order for his arrest! When Moi learned that Matigari was a fictional character in Ngũgĩ’s novel, he arrested the book, sending undercover police to bookshops all over the country.

In 2004, Ngũgĩ was finally able to visit Kenya after 22 years in exile. While in Kenya, Ngũgĩ and his wife, Njeeri, were brutally assaulted in a very suspicious attack in their room inside a high security hotel. Ngũgĩ and Njeeri narrowly escaped with their lives.

During his time in exile, Ngũgĩ has worked with the London-based Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya and he has taught at numerous universities around the world. From 1992 -2002, Ngũgĩ taught at New York University. It was during this period that Ngũgĩ discovered Revolution Books. Since 2002, Ngũgĩ has been teaching at the University of California, Irvine and has continued his work, including speaking at various universities and conferences around the world. In 2006, Ngũgĩ published Wizard of the Crow, a no-holds-barred and howlingly funny critique of modern day neo-colonialism and capitalism. He has also published two memoirs and other theoretical work, and he continues to write, teach and speak around the world today.

 

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

On the Disappearance of Bees and the Future of the Planet

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

November 2, 2015. A World to Win News Service. Two years ago, between 25,000 and 50,000 bumblebees, along with honeybees and ladybugs, were found dead in a parking lot in Oregon in the U.S. Shortly after, 37 million bees were found dead in Elmwood, Ontario, in Canada.

For much of the past 10 years, beekeepers, primarily in North America and Europe, have been reporting annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher. In 2013, the British Beekeepers Association recorded the worst annual losses of honeybees in history. Almost 34 percent died. In the winter of 2013, many U.S. beekeepers experienced losses of 40 to 50 percent, or even much more—in some cases, almost total devastation.

Dead honeybees in the Netherlands It is estimated that from 2007 to 2013, more than 10 million beehives were lost worldwide to Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. Apart from the loss of a huge number of bees, the health quality of the surviving bees is under serious threat.

It is normal for many bees to die each winter, and mass die-offs have been regularly reported since the mid-19th century. But these recent annual statistics indicate a trend that is neither normal nor sustainable. U.S. national agricultural statistics show a honeybee decline from about 6 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million hives in 2008, a 60 percent reduction.

Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder, the syndrome responsible for the declining bee population, is now recognised as an urgent crisis. It is estimated that from 2007 to 2013, more than 10 million beehives were lost to CCD worldwide. Apart from the loss of a huge number of bees, the health quality of the surviving bees is under serious threat.

The most worrisome dimension of this crisis is not the possible disappearance of a tasty and nourishing item from the breakfast tables of those who can afford it. Bees are much more important for human lives and the ecosystem of the planet than honey.

Most of the world’s flowering plant species are animal pollinated. (This does not include wind-pollinated grasses such as wheat, corn and some other staple crops.) Pollinators participate in their reproduction by ensuring cross-fertilization, essential for some species, and are a major factor in ensuring genetic diversity for others.

The most common pollinators are bees, especially domesticated honeybees, as well as wild bumblebees, along with other insects and birds, and other animals. Because individual honeybees, bumblebees and some other pollinators depend on their group for survival, instead of dying off gradually, a whole community can collapse at once. For instance, in a bee colony collapse, the honey and the queen bee remain but most of the rest of the bees seem to have simply disappeared.

It is not only bees but other kinds of pollinators whose populations are declining. In the summer of 2013, the U.S. Eastern seaboard population of monarch butterflies—those orange and black icons whose complex lifestyle and long migration to Mexico each fall are one of the wonders of life—crashed to the level of 59 percent of the previous year. This is emblematic of what is happening to other pollinator species.

About two-thirds of the different kinds of plants people eat and more than a third of the total production of global food crops depend on animal pollination. One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators for a successful harvest. Further, since plants are the primary food source of animals, the disappearance of a primary pollination agent, or even its reduction, could have immense consequences for our planet.

The decline of wild bees and other pollinators poses a serious threat to crop yields, too. Scientists studied the pollination of more than 40 crops in 600 fields across every populated continent and found that wild pollinators were twice as effective as honeybees in producing seed and fruit.

Half of the 109 bee species recorded in the early 20th century by the U.S. specialist Charles Robertson have been lost, and there has been serious degradation of the pollination provided by the remaining wild insects, with their ability to pollinate specific plants falling by more than half because of an increasing mismatch between when the plants flower and the period when the bees are active.

The consequence of a dying bee population impacts human beings at the highest level of our food chain, posing an enormously grave threat to our survival, since no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing food that we humans commonly take for granted.

An example of a desperate act to compensate the loss of pollinators is the apple and pear orchards of southwest China, where wild bees have been nearly eradicated. In recent years, farmers have been forced to hand pollinate their trees, carrying pots of pollen and paintbrushes to individually pollinate flowers and using their children to climb up to the highest blossoms. But there are not enough humans in the world to pollinate all of the crops by hand.

What Is Killing the Bees?

There is a scientific consensus that acute pesticide poisoning is a major factor in the large-scale erosion of bee populations, and perhaps the most important single factor in the complex dynamic involved in CCD. Scientists have pointed especially to the family of pesticides called neonicotinoids, chemically similar to the nicotine found in tobacco. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides, particularly in the U.S.

They are known to cause acute and chronic poisoning, not just of one bee, but the entire colony. Bees take the contaminated nectar and pollen from insecticide-treated plants back to the hive, creating a highly toxic living environment for all the bees. Toxicity builds up, destroying the bees’ central nervous system, causing disorientation. Ultimately the bees can neither fly nor find their way back to their nest.

European honeybee wtih Varroa mite on back.
European honeybee wtih Varroa mite on back.
Photo: USDA/Scott Bauer

Pollinating a blossom in an almond orchard.Pollinating a blossom in an almond orchard.
Photo: USDA/David Kosling

Another CCD factor are tiny parasites that infest beehives, such as Varroa mites, long a big danger to bee colonies. Since 1987 when the Varroa mite was discovered, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and other giant chemical manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe have aggressively targeted the bee industry, selling genetically modified insecticides and herbicides as the quick and easy fix to remedy a parasitic invasion. But this may weaken the bees’ natural genetic defenses to fight off the parasite. Monsanto produced an insecticide called Bacillus Thuringeinsis from genetically altered corn that, once ingested by bees, binds to receptors within the bees’ stomach lining, causing a breakdown of the inner stomach wall which in turn makes the bee susceptible to spores and bacteria. Fungicides the bees contact in pollen also weaken their immune systems. The “cure” seems to have greatly aggravated the problem.

In the face of such a disaster and the protests of increasing numbers of concerned people, especially beekeepers and environmentalists, early in 2013 the European Food Safety Authority issued a declaration against three specific neonicotinoid pesticides that pose an acute risk to honeybees. As a result, the European Commission introduced a two-year ban on these pesticides.

In contrast, the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Agency has been approving GMO insecticides that are believed to be responsible for killing millions of bees. With the justification of a “lack of full scientific certainty” about the relative weight of insecticides and the Varroa mite as factors in beehive collapse, the U.S. government ruled out banning their use.

However, the European ban on neonicotinoids doesn’t necessarily put the EU on the side of those concerned about bees, human lives and the environment. The ban could be very much related to competition between the European and U.S. food industries, and meant to restrict American companies’ market access. Similarly, the U.S. justification of a “lack of full scientific certainty” doesn’t necessarily mean that the U.S. government is much concerned with the accuracy of current scientific explanations. It is mainly protecting U.S. big companies in the service of its empire and world economic dominance, even though these chemicals ruin people’s lives and destroy the environment.

Despite the complexity of Colony Collapse Disorder factors, the drive for profit is a thread that runs through them. For instance, seeking maximum profit, industrialized U.S. bee farms are so eager to maximize honey yields that they often do not leave any honey for the bees to eat themselves. Eating this honey provides hormonal advantages to bees, increasing their ability to fend off parasites and viruses that have long threatened them. The high fructose corn syrup they are given to replace their own honey is believed to weaken their immune system and thus their ability to ward off disease.

Pollinating species are being lost at a much faster rate in North America and Europe, with their intensive (and therefore chemical-dependent) farming, whereas this rate is much slower in Latin America, Africa and Asia. This suggests a correlation between the use of pesticides and insecticides and the decline of pollinators. But countries with more traditional farming and much less use of pesticides and insecticides are not totally immune to this threat, which is growing everywhere.

Apart from chemicals heavily used on crop plants, and the spread of diseases and parasites as a side effect of the use of these chemicals, scientists believe climate change, deforestation and air pollution are also important factors.

Climate change has caused the loss of natural habitats, changed land use and created problems for plant and animal species facing adaptation to new habitats. Due to this climate change, in many places bees emerge earlier and earlier in the year, before plants have begun to blossom. Also, there is a relation between climate change and extreme weather, colder winters, hotter summers and droughts, all of which are factors in nutrition deficiency. In short, the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere may be an indirect factor in bee colony collapse, but the harm it causes is as devastating to bees as it is to the bigger ecosystems and planet they are part of.

Intensive farming, including the heavy use of chemicals, and new farmlands created by deforestation, have incontestably increased both average crop yields and overall food production. But the way these gains have been achieved, because they are driven by the compulsion to maximize profits, has made the result not so much a boon to humanity as a threat to people and the planet.

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

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

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

Solutions?

In the face of disastrous beehive collapse, the U.S. government provided only a $3 million subsidy in order to help save an animal whose absence would bring much of global food production to a halt. Meanwhile, over the past several years the chemical industry has spent $11.2 million on a public relations initiative to prove their innocence.

The point is not that if extra cash had been provided that would have brought a real solution to the disaster. The point is to show the extreme short-sightedness not only of capitalist government policies but of the capitalist mode of production itself, where capital seeks immediate profit for the accumulation of more capital, a necessity driven by lethal competition which makes it impossible to take the fatal consequences into account.

The brutal and ugly capitalist system is continuously destroying our planet. The ecosystem is in serious danger. Thousands upon thousands of wild plants, flowers and other species have been lost forever and much greater losses are not far off. Globalization has accelerated this process.

The fate of pollinating species is not different from other wildlife—but it is key. The existing social and economic relations dominating the world have proved unable to protect our planet. In fact, they are destroying it.

 

A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.

 


 

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Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Indonesia: U.S. Role in 1965 Massacres

Confessions from the U.S. State Department

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us | Originally published in Revolutionary Worker #1116, August 26, 2001

 

October 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian government slaughter of as many as one million people. This 1965 massacre was carried out when the U.S., through the CIA and the Indonesian army, overthrew the nationalist coalition government led by Sukarno. The CIA and U.S. embassy personnel provided the Indonesian military with names of communists, union leaders, intellectuals, and others to be killed.

A September 29 op-ed piece in the New York Times by Joshua Oppenheimer, an American filmmaker who made the Academy Award-nominated movie The Act of Killing about the massacre said: “Today, former political prisoners from this era still face discrimination and threats. Gatherings of elderly survivors are regularly attacked by military-backed thugs. Schoolchildren are still taught that the ‘extermination of the communists’ was heroic, and that victims’ families should be monitored for disloyalty. This official history, in effect, legitimizes violence against a whole segment of society.’” Oppenheimer says his second documentary about the massacre, The Look of Silence, has not been censored in Indonesia, but paramilitary groups have threatened to attack any site showing it.

Leading up to and around the 50th anniversary, there has been an increase in the government’s crackdown on any attempt to remember, discuss, analyze, or condemn this massacre.

This year’s Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in the Indonesian city of Bali was scheduled to have panel discussions, book launches, film screenings, and photography exhibits marking the 50th anniversary of the massacre. But days before the gathering, which was attended by nearly 30,000 people, local authorities ordered organizers to cancel these events. Other programs scheduled to discuss the massacre have faced censorship and there has been a widespread government campaign to suppress activity having to do with the 1965 Massacre.

A 77-year old Indonesian who holds a Swedish passport was detained and deported—and reportedly blacklisted, which means he cannot return to Indonesia—for visiting a mass grave where his father was buried after the massacre. In the Central Java Province, police confiscated and destroyed 500 copies of a university magazine which featured a report on the 1965 slaughter. Human right activists reported that authorities threatened to expel the students responsible for the report.

According to the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, a rights advocacy group in the capital city of Jakarta, the past year has seen at least 27 instances of repression and censorship in relationship to the 1965 Massacre—including intimidation, threats and official prohibitions by the police, the armed forces and government agencies. In the city of Java the military even confiscated toys from vendors that had “communist” symbols on them (“At a Bali Festival, Indonesia Enforces a Silence About Its Bloody Past,” New York Times, November 6, 2015)

A group of 136 people, including prominent Indonesian and foreign writers and academics have issued a statement condemning the current clampdown, demanding the government “guarantee the safety of those who wish and plan to discuss, review and investigate the 1965 tragedy from all kinds of censorship, intimidation and terror.”

The following article about the U.S. role in the 1965 Indonesian massacre was originally published in 2001. It includes discussion about a United States State Department volume that had just come out, with new revelations about U.S. involvement, which had previously been denied.

~~~~~~~~~~

"Communists, red sympathizers and their families are being massacred by the thousands. Backlands army units are reported to have executed thousands of communists after interrogation in remote jails...The killings have been on such a scale that the disposal of the corpses has created a serious sanitation problem in East Java and Northern Sumatra where the humid air bears the reek of decaying flesh. Travelers from those areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with bodies."

Time, December 17, 1965

The exact number of people killed in dictator Suharto's rise to power in Indonesia in 1965-1966 may never be known. A U.S. State Department estimate in 1966 placed the figure at 300,000. Official Indonesian data released in the mid-1970s placed the number of deaths between 450,000 and 500,000. In 1976, Admiral Sudomo, the head of the Indonesian state security system, said more than 500,000 had been murdered. And Amnesty International has quoted one source placing the number killed at 700,000 and another at "many more than one million."

In 1990, 25 years after the massacre, a villager in a city in Northern Sumatra recalled that, "For six months, no-one wanted to eat fish from the river because they often found human fingers inside the fish."

*****

Members of the Youth Wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being taken to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965.

Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being hauled to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965. AP photo

The people of the world will never forget and never forgive this horrendous crime against the people. But government officials in the U.S. are still trying wash the blood from their hands and cover up how the U.S. supported and aided this mass murder.

In late July 2001, the U.S. government ordered all copies of a research volume recalled from libraries and bookstores. The 800-plus-page volume, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968: Vol. 26—Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines, talks about how the U.S. government provided financial and military support and lists of political activists to the Indonesian military as it carried out the huge 1965-1966 slaughter aimed at communists and other political activists.

The volume, part of a large documentary history of U.S. foreign policy, is an official publication by the U.S. State Department. Released 30 years after the period covered, these volumes are produced as "the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity."

The CIA also held up the release of the volume in the series that covers Greece, Turkey and Cypress from 1964-1968. This volume most likely contains information about how the U.S./CIA backed the reactionary junta which seized control in Greece in 1967. In 1990, the CIA censored the volume on Iran in the 1950s—deleting any reference to the CIA-backed coup that brought the Shah of Iran to power in 1953.

But the U.S. attempts to censor the volume on Indonesia have so far been unsuccessful. The volume was obtained by the National Security Archives at George Washington University, which posted them on the internet (www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/). And publicity around the attempts at censorship has only drawn more attention to the volume. At the University of California Berkeley several faculty members have written letters urging the library to refuse to comply with the government's request to return the book.

In early August, the State Department backed down and released the volume covering Indonesia in the 1960s—denying there had been an attempt to censor the volume.

From the Horse's Mouth

The new State Department volume on Indonesia, while hardly a complete documentation of U.S. covert actions related to the 1965 coup, does contain some revelations on matters previously denied by U.S. officials.

BA Speaks

In the fall of 2012, Bob Avakian gave a series of talks in different cities. This is a film of one of those talks. Learn more about the film

Before the coup the government in Indonesia was a coalition government headed by Sukarno. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was a major force in this coalition government. The Sukarno government didn't stand for genuine independence from imperialism, but it took some actions which reflected bourgeois national interests.

The new State Department book on Indonesia documents communications back and forth between the embassy in Jakarta and the U.S. State Department in 1965 and 1966 reporting on the arrests and killings of the PKI leadership. On August 10, 1966, Ambassador Green sent a memo to the State Department reporting that a "sanitized" [meaning without reference to their source in the U.S. embassy] version of the lists of PKI members was made available to the Indonesian government in December 1965 and "is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time."

The volume also documents direct U.S. financial support for the Indonesian death squads called Kap-Gestapu. On December 2, 1965 Ambassador Green wrote a memo to Assistant Secretary of State Bundy about providing 50 million rupiahs to a leader of the death squads:

"This is to confirm my earlier concurrence that we provide Malik with fifty million rupiahs requested by him for the activities of the Kap-Gestapu movement...The Kap-Gestapu activities to date have been important factor in the army's program, and judging from results, I would say highly successful. This army-inspired but civilian-staffed action group is still carrying burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI, particularly in Central Java.... The chances of detection or subsequent revelation of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black bag operation can be."

Horrific Massacre: Made in the USA

The U.S. had major strategic concerns about Southeast Asia. At this time, the U.S. was getting in deep trouble in Vietnam. Maoist China had become a powerful revolutionary influence throughout Asia and the world. Anti-U.S. sentiment was growing in Indonesia. And given all this, the U.S. wanted a more reliable pro-U.S. regime in Indonesia.

Right before the coup in Indonesia, U.S. President Johnson said, "There are great stakes in the balance. Most of the non-Communist nations of Asia cannot, by themselves and alone, resist the growing might and the grasping ambition of Asia communism. Our power, therefore, is a very vital shield."

Guy Pauker, an analyst for the RAND Corporation (a U.S. government think tank) who also was on the CIA's payroll, produced reports advocating military and economic aid to the Indonesian military in order for them to "succeed in the competition with communism." He expressed doubts that Indonesia's leaders were capable of doing "what was necessary" to combat what the U.S. saw as a "communist threat." In a 1964 RAND memo Pauker wrote, "These forces would probably lack the ruthlessness that made it possible for the Nazis to suppress the Communist Party of Germany." According to Pauker, the military had to be relied on and strengthened and he explicitly mentioned Suharto as a figure the U.S. should groom for power.

By 1965, the United States had trained 4,000 officers in the Indonesian military. The CIA built networks of agents and informants in the trade unions, where the PKI had a lot of influence. And U.S. dollars also went towards strengthening Pertamina, the oil company run by the Indonesian army. Foreign oil money, particularly from U.S. and Japanese oil companies, was channeled through Pertamina and became another way that the U.S. built and strengthened the military forces it wanted to come to power.

The Indonesian army, led by the U.S.-trained generals, played a key role in the massacres—doing a large part of the killing directly, supplying trucks, weapons and encouragement to paramilitary and vigilante death squads, and actively promoting an anti-communist hysteria that spurred on the bloody murders.

The New York Times described the Johnson administration's "delight with the news from Indonesia" and the private responses of U.S. officials who were "elated to find their expectations being realized." President Johnson's secretary of state, Dean Rusk, cabled his encouragement to the Jakarta embassy. The "campaign against the communists," he wrote, must continue as the military "are [the] only force capable of creating order in Indonesia''. The U.S. ambassador replied that he had assured Suharto and his generals "that the U.S. government [is] generally sympathetic with, and admiring of, what the army is doing."

U.S. Lists, U.S. Denials

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

by Bob Avakian, Chairman,
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Summer 2015

Read more

In 1990, Kathy Kadane, a reporter with States News Service, published an article that appeared in the South Carolina Herald Journal, the San Francisco Examiner and the Boston Globe. Quoting senior officials in the U.S. embassy in 1965-1966, Kadane's article documented the role of U.S. officials in providing lists of names of PKI members and leaders to the Indonesian military.

In lengthy interviews, former senior U.S. diplomats and CIA officers revealed how the U.S. compiled comprehensive lists of Communist activists—as many as 5,000 names—and gave them to the Indonesian army.

Robert J. Martens, a former member of the embassy's political section who was responsible for compiling the lists and turning them over to the Indonesian military, told Kadane, "It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment."

Top U.S. Embassy officials approved release of the list, which was a detailed who's-who of the leadership of the PKI. It included names of provincial, city and other local PKI committee members, and leaders of mass organizations such as the PKI national labor federation, women's and youth groups. Embassy officials carefully recorded the subsequent destruction of the PKI organization. Using Martens' lists as a guide, they checked off names of captured and assassinated PKI leaders, tracking the steady dismantling of the party apparatus. Detention centers were set up to hold those who were not killed immediately. By the end of January 1966, the deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta said the checked-off names were so numerous CIA analysts in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been destroyed.

Former CIA Director William Colby, director of the CIA's Far East division in 1965, revealed that compiling lists of members and leaders of liberation movements is a key part of the CIA strategy of repression. Colby compared the embassy's campaign to identify the PKI leadership to the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Phoenix was a joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program set up by the CIA in December 1967 that murdered suspected members and supporters of the National Liberation Front in Vietnam. During Nixon's first 2 1/2 years, State Department officially admitted that the CIA-run Phoenix program murdered or abducted close to 36,000 civilians. Speaking of the Phoenix program, Colby said, "The idea of identifying the local apparatus was designed to—well, you go out and get them to surrender, or you capture or you shoot them."

In 1962, when Colby took over as chief of the CIA's Far East Division and discovered the U.S. didn't have comprehensive lists of PKI activists, he said not having the lists "could have been criticized as a gap in the intelligence system," and that such lists were useful for "operation planning." Without such lists, he said, "you're fighting blind."

Despite overwhelming evidence, the CIA denied the allegations in Kadane's article. CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said, "There is no substance to the allegation that the CIA was involved in the preparation and/or distribution of a list that was used to track down and kill PKI members. It is simply not true." Marshall Green, who was U.S. ambassador to Indonesia at the time, told the New York Times that the Kadane report was "garbage."

But now, the U.S. State Department's own official history of the 1965-1966 mass killings in Indonesia openly admits that the U.S. not only provided Suharto's butchers with military leadership, political backing, and U.S. dollars—but the hit lists as well.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/louisiana-police-execution-of-jeremy-mardis-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Louisiana: Police Execution of Jeremy Mardis—SIX Years Old!

November 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Jeremy Mardis, 6 years old, murdered by police in Louisiana
Jeremy Mardis, 6 years old, murdered by police.

Tuesday night, November 3, in a small Louisiana town, Marksville, four police officers chased 25-year-old Chris Few’s SUV onto a dark dead-end street. Next to Few in the passenger seat was his six-year-old autistic son, Jeremy Mardis. The police claim that as Few reached the end of the street, he attempted to reverse his car in their direction. As they have done in similar cases around the country (for example, Sean Bell in NYC), the cops opened fire into the vehicle.

As the smoke cleared, Chris Few was removed from the vehicle, critically wounded and taken to the hospital. His son Jeremy was dead—the six-year-old’s lifeless body seat-belted in the passenger seat of the car with five bullets in the head and chest. Jeremy Mardis is the youngest victim among the 970+ people killed by the police in the U.S. so far this year.

The cops claimed that they were trying to serve an outstanding warrant—Chris Few did NOT have any warrants out for his arrest.  Few was unarmed and there was no weapon in his vehicle.

On November 6, two of the four cops involved were arrested and are being charged with second-degree murder. The cops’ crime was captured on their body cameras. The police have not released the video footage, but a colonel in the Louisiana state police described it as “the most disturbing thing I’ve seen.”

Jeremy Mardis did not deserve and did not have to die! This is an outrage—a horror and criminal beyond words. But it is nothing new in America. Hundreds are killed and countless thousands brutalized every year at the hands of the police, from large metropolitan cities to small rural towns. These pigs maim and kill grandmothers and babies. They assault children in their schools. ALL OF THIS—and then they point to people standing up to protest and raising their voices against the police terror and claim that there is a “war on police”!

Two cops have been charged in the murder of Jeremy Mardis—something that happens very, very rarely. But beware of what they always do when their cops murder people—attack the reputation of the victims, claim that the cops had reason to “fear for their lives,” do everything they can to let the cops walk or get off with a slap on the wrist.

We cannot allow them to get away with murder—again! Any human with an ounce of morality needs to denounce these killer cops and stand with the victim’s family. We need to continue to demand: INDICT! CONVICT! SEND THOSE KILLER COPS TO JAIL! THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM IS GUILTY AS HELL!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/the-hateful-ignorant-campaign-against-houston-equal-right-ordinance-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

The Hateful, Ignorant Campaign Against Houston Equal Right Ordinance (HERO)

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday, November 3, voters in Houston turned down the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). HERO would have banned discrimination against 15 categories of people (veterans, elderly, because of gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) in public services and facilities. The hateful, ignorant opposition to HERO, orchestrated by well-financed Christian fascist Republicans, focused exclusively on depriving transgender people of the ability to use public restrooms. The following notes on this development were sent in by a Revolution correspondent.

  1. The defeat of HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) is very bad, and a clarion call to Christian fascists across the country. It is significant that this resounding electoral defeat happened in Houston, a city which has one of the most diverse populations in the country, and which is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats, rather than Harris County, or Texas as a whole, which is dominated by Christian fascist/Tea Party Republicans. In that sense the way the reactionaries took this on could provide a sort of “template” for similar battles they initiate elsewhere in the “culture wars.” Houston has an “out” lesbian mayor, but the pro-HERO forces did very little to counter the demagoguery, hate, and pure lies emanating from the anti-HERO forces (and did nothing close to matching the intensity, volume, and venomous passion of their opponents).
  2. HERO would have prevented discrimination against 15 categories of people (veterans, elderly, because of gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) in public services and facilities. It mentioned nothing about allowing sexual predators into women’s restrooms. But Christian fascists successfully defined HERO as a referendum on “No men in women's bathrooms”—a preposterous distortion of reality, among other things— and plastered that message on stickers, signs, billboards, and TV ads, and successfully defined it that way in many, perhaps most people's understanding. It was, as the Houston Chronicle accurately editorialized, a “scorched-city campaign of lies and deceit.” It needed to be met head on.
  3. Leading anti-HERO figures claimed they were all for “equal rights.” They claimed they just wanted to protect their “daughters, moms, and grand moms.” But their extremely ugly, ominous, and potentially deadly agenda against HERO was revealed at the August launch to their campaign in a speech by Dr. Steven Hotze, a long-time fanatical (and influential) leader of Texas Republicans. Speaking to a small and half-empty room, he said “The homosexuals are hate-mongers. They hate God, they hate God's word, they hate Christ, they hate anything that's good and wholesome and right. They want to pervert everything." He unsheathed a sword and continued, “Remember: Homosexuals can't reproduce. They have to recruit.... Drive them out of our city. I don't want them in our city. Send them back to San Francisco.” U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz and Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick—Christian fascists both—have long had the backing of Hotze, and Patrick in particular became a leading figure in the anti-HERO onslaught. This shit is no joke, it is not just the cracked viewpoint of a marginalized band of lunatics in isolated parts of the country. It has the backing of powerful forces who seriously aim to move towards theocratic fascism, and it has to be taken seriously, and vigorously opposed as part of the overall building of a movement for revolution.
  4. Voting in largely and historically Black areas of Houston, such as Acres Homes, Sunnyside, and Third Ward, was overwhelmingly anti-HERO. A coalition of Black ministers and a fundamentalist group called the “Black Robe Regiment” were instrumental in getting out large numbers of Black voters. Bob Avakian wrote, “In Away With All Gods!, along with examining the implications of the reality that the Bible Belt is the lynching belt, I also emphasize that there is a great irony in this: that among the masses of Black people there is a particular form of Christian fundamentalism in which they are getting caught up and which is being promoted by a section of reactionary—yes, let's call them what they are: reactionary—Black preachers who are, objectively at least, serving this system which has for centuries oppressed Black people”. In this case, many Black ministers actively mobilized people to act not just against their own interests, but in service of an extremely repressive program against LGBT people by the same system which has developed a genocidal program of police brutality, murder, and mass incarceration against them. Yes, the Bible Belt is the lynching belt, and Christian fundamentalism is the glue that coheres a patriarchal, oppressive world outlook. People getting played into acting as agents of oppression by racist, woman-hating Christian fascists need to break with this shit and take up the fight for the emancipation of all humanity.
  5. Any system that would put up to a vote the basic rights of any section of the people to not be persecuted or discriminated against is illegitimate and doesn't deserve any respect.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/gamergate-and-what-it-says-about-misogyny-in-this-society-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

From a Reader:

Gamergate—and What It Says About Misogyny in This Society

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Austin, Texas annually hosts a major film festival known as South-by-Southwest (SXSW). Besides being a film festival, it is also a forum for numerous panels and discussions regarding media-related issues. The festival organizers recently announced a pair of panels on either side of the Gamergate controversy. One panel featured three women who had been the subject of online harassment from Gamergate, and the other featured a group known as “The Open Gaming Society” to promote a pro-Gamergate viewpoint. Within a week of the announcement, they cancelled both panels due to “numerous threats.” In order to understand the context of these cancellations an examination needs to be made of the history of Gamergate and the role of patriarchal societal structures on video gaming culture.

In 2013 Anita Sarkeesian released the first installment of a three-part video analysis of the "Damsel in Distress" trope in video games. Her coherent and thought-provoking discussion of how this trope represents a patriarchal view toward female characters as objects lacking agency who exist only to further the character and plot development of the male protagonist, a view which reflects those of society as a whole in which women exist to serve the whims of men and any display of prowess or capability is either dismissed or, as in the case of Sarkeesian, attacked. In response to Sarkeesian’s critique of sexism in video games, male gamers responded with rape threats and death threats to the point where she felt compelled to disable commenting on her videos.

Also in 2013 a female video game developer named Zoë Quinn released a video game known as Depression Quest. The video game was initially met with positive reviews, but received backlash from people who felt that the game didn’t live up to the hype. Quinn soon began receiving hate mail of a similar tone to that received by Sarkeesian. When, in August 2014, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend published private conversations he had with her, intended to humiliate and degrade her as a person, many male gamers responded harshly, not toward the violation of her privacy, but rather toward Quinn herself. The harassment against her intensified and the hashtag “quinnspiracy” was initially coined, but was quickly replaced by the hashtag “gamergate”.

The misogynists used the gamergate hashtag as a medium to bring an unprecedented level of persecution toward Quinn and Sarkeesian. Accounts were hacked and personal information released forcing Quinn to change her phone number. Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement at Utah State University under threat of a mass shooting. When people began to speak out against Gamergate they suffered similar harassment. Brianna Wu, another female video game developer, was forced to move out of her home due to the harassment and threats she received after mocking Gamergate supporters. The process of “swatting,” or sending SWAT teams to someone’s house under false pretenses of hostage or terrorist threats, began to be employed by the Gamergaters against not only the women who spoke out against them, but against their families as well.

The fact that this process was occurring at the same time as the stories of police murder victims like Mike Brown and Eric Garner were coming to national attention is unlikely to be a coincidence. The police had become a weapon to be used to instill terror in those who dare speak out against patriarchy. The FBI opened a file purportedly to “investigate” Gamergate, but make no mistake, the system has no interest in quelling terror against women. The FBI has not made any arrests in connection to Gamergate, and this summer the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that online harassment should not be considered true threats and are not subject to prosecution.

Prior to the announcement of the two Gamergate panels at SXSW, numerous female presenters had raised concerns about harassment and requested security measures be put in place at the festival. These concerns went largely unheeded until SXSW received similar threats toward the pro-Gamergate session. Instead of offering the requested security measures, they cancelled both sessions without even consulting the presenters.

Supporters of Gamergate have argued that it is really about ethics in gaming journalism and not allowing political agendas to influence game reviews and gaming culture. The “Open Gaming Society,” the group that was to present the cancelled pro-Gamergate panel at SXSW, indicates in their manifesto, “We look forward and see a future that is being shaped by hands other than our own and express our unease to the powers that be, but to no avail. We’ve been painted as the great evil of our time; given names like misogynist, scum, patriarchs, rapist, and the list goes on. We’ve seen our hobby invaded by those who seek only to destroy it and to dismantle our culture.”

The truth is that this is a matter of ethics in gaming journalism, but not in the way that the Gamergaters would suggest. Gaming culture needs to be dismantled and women placed on an equal footing. Women have become much more prominent in gaming in recent years, but as the Gamergate controversy reveals, increasing involvement is not enough. And it will never be enough as long as we continue to live in a society that allows misogynists to have a platform to terrorize women.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/dont-let-them-get-away-with-murder-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Don't Let Them Get Away With Murder:
Georgia Grand Jury Issues Recommendations for the Cops that Killed Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis

November 3, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Thursday, October 29, 2015 a grand jury in DeKalb County, Georgia released “recommendations” to District Attorney Robert James regarding five cases of “police-involved shootings.” Two of the cases have gained national attention: the police killings of Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis.

The grand jury’s recommendations were: NO charges for the cop that murdered Kevin Davis, and a “more thorough interview” with Anthony Hill’s killer before deciding whether or not to press charges.

Justice for Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis

Both of these recommendations are outrageous and must be opposed!

Carl Dix, a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, recently appeared as a guest on the FOX News show Justice with Judge Jeanine. The FOX News host, in line with the right-wing campaign to flip reality on its head, attempted to recast the ongoing murder of Black and Latino people at the hands of the police into the bullshit narrative of a “war on police.”

Toward the end of the interviewJudge Jeanine asks Carl, “If you are in trouble, who are you going to call?” Carl answers back, “Well look, if you’re in trouble and you call the police—often if you’re Black or Latino—then you’ve got another problem.” Carl goes on to point out the examples of some of the families of victims who attended and spoke at the Rise Up October demonstration in NYC—they called the police to help a family member and ended up having them killed by the police that they called to help their loved ones.

The police murders of Kevin Davis and Anthony Hill are two examples of exactly what Carl Dix is talking about. The police were called for help, resulting in two innocent Black men dead.

Kevin Davis, 44, called 911 to report that a roommate had stabbed his girlfriend. While on the phone with 911, Davis heard gunshots outside of his apartment. Fearing that the roommate had returned, Davis got his firearm so he could go investigate.

The shots that Davis heard were not from the roommate who had attacked his girlfriend. Instead, these were rounds fired into Kevin’s three-legged pit bull by Officer Joseph Pitts, who had entered the apartment unannounced. Davis was still on the line with the 911 operator, who failed to notify Davis that police had arrived. Within 16 seconds of killing the dog, the cop turned his gun on Kevin Davis. After two days in the hospital, with his family barred from visiting him, Kevin Davis died.

According to the grand jury, THIS MURDER doesn’t even deserve to go to trial! THIS is an OUTRAGE and it MUST be OPPOSED!

Anthony Hill was a 27-year-old Air Force veteran who suffered from bipolar disorder. His neighbors called police to help when they found him walking disoriented and without any clothes on around the apartment complex. The neighbors have reported that Anthony was not threatening. They called police out of concern that he needed help. But the cop who arrived on the scene, Robert Olsen, did not help Anthony Hill. The cop shot him down.

Olsen, like other cops have done all around the country, decided that execution was the best method of handling an incident of a person in need of help with mental illness. Olsen shot Anthony Hill despite the fact that Anthony was naked and obviously unarmed. Despite having a Taser and pepper spray, Olsen fired his gun. He stole a life and inflicted unimaginable pain on the many people who loved Anthony.

Olsen has provided a number of contradictory stories to justify the killing, and the grand jury said that because of this, “more inquiry” is needed. Whatever new lies the cop and the system come up with to justify killing Anthony Hill, the fact is: Anthony Hill needed help. He was not a threat to anyone. He was naked and unarmed. Anthony Hill did not deserve to die. Anthony Hill was murdered!

The Civil Grand Jury Is a Façade for IN-Justice and a Mechanism to Exonerate Killer Cops

In DeKalb, police have shot and killed at least 22 people since 2010, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation. In response to widespread criticism, scrutiny and large-scale protests and resistance to these killings, DA Robert James announced in June that he would convene civil grand juries to consider evidence in cases where a police officer kills a civilian. Civil grand juries cannot issue criminal indictments; they are limited to providing “recommendations from the public.”

The civil grand jury provides a smoke screen with the illusion of “public involvement” aimed (just like a criminal grand jury) at exonerating killer cops. Why not charge the cops, put them on trial and let the public weigh in on the evidence without the secrecy afforded to grand juries? The question should answer itself. The system is rigged to let the cops off.

The grand juries assist the prosecutor in NOT prosecuting. In the hearings for Hill and Davis, the officers who did the killings were allowed to testify in front of the grand jury on their own behalf without cross-examination. Georgia is the only state that affords such a privilege to police, one not granted to private citizens. A recent investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that not one of the 171 police shootings in Georgia since 2010 has gone to trial.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Anyone with an ounce of morality and a longing for justice should refuse to accept the recommendations of the DeKalb civil grand jury and should join with the movement determined to STOP police terror.

Since the civil grand jury announced its recommendations, there have been at least three actions opposing the decision not to charge Kevin Davis’s killer and demanding charges be brought against the cops. One of these actions took place at Clark Atlanta University during a campaign speech by Hillary Clinton. Activists disrupted the event with their fists in the air, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and saying the names of Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network-Atlanta quickly called for a nighttime speak-out after the grand jury recommendations were released and then issued a petition demanding that the district attorney immediately file charges against the killer cops.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James has the full power and authority to bring criminal charges against both officers. The families of Kevin Davis and Anthony Hill have been crying out for justice ever since the DeKalb County police killed their loved ones. We demand that DA Robert James file criminal charges now! Justice for Kevin Davis and Anthony Hill! No more green lights for police murder! Killer cops should be indicted, convicted and sent to jail!

Add your voice by signing the petition and contacting District Attorney Robert James at (404) 371-2561, email dekalbda@co.dekalb.ga.us, Facebook Robert James DeKalb DA.

Stay tuned for news of protests DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR KEVIN DAVIS AND ANTHONY HILL! at: www.stopmassincarcerationATL.org

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/the-suicide-of-GI-Joe-Gliniewicz-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

The Suicide of “GI Joe” Gliniewicz—A Poster Child for a Non-Existent “War on Police”

November 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On September 1, Fox Lake Illinois cop Charles Joseph Gliniewicz died from one or more gunshot wounds. News reports said before his death he radioed that he was chasing three people engaged in "suspicious activity.” Four hundred heavily armed cops, helicopters, snipers in camouflage and dogs launched a massive search for three “suspects”—two white and one Black, in the almost all-white suburb of Fox Lake.

Now authorities are admitting that Gliniewicz killed himself, in fear that he was about to be exposed for embezzling money from an Explorer Scouts program to, among other things, pay his online porn bill. The whole story has yet to emerge, and perhaps never will, but the admission by authorities that Gliniewicz killed himself came at the same time as reports that before his suicide, Gliniewicz tried to arrange for a gang member to put a hit on a village administrator because he feared she would discover he had been embezzling money.

From the very beginning there were indications that Gliniewicz’ death was not a murder. The three suspects who were the targets of the militarized invasion of Fox Lake were detained and released within a week, to almost no press coverage—even as images of the manhunt continued to be invoked to paint police as under siege (see “Exposed! The Real Story Behind a Shooting in the “War on Cops”). When the county coroner told the media that, based on the evidence so far, he could not rule out the possibility of suicide, he was publicly attacked by high ranking police officials who said this was "completely outside of policy, procedure, protocols” that a coroner is supposed to follow. Those attacks on the coroner were given all kinds of airtime and print space in mass media. In light of how this case turned out, those attacks on the coroner stand as a self-exposure of what kinds of policies, procedures and protocols authorities pressure investigators to follow when there is a need for a cover-up in a police-involved death.

Until yesterday, “G.I. Joe” Gliniewicz—as he was memorialized—was a poster child for the fictional narrative of a “war on police.” Thousands of police from around the country and others attended his funeral, followed by a mile-long funeral procession marked with blue ribbons in support of police. The so-called “Blue Lives Matter” movement made Gliniewicz a martyr and a hero. Fox “News” that claimed “In America today the blue uniform has a bull's-eye on it.” But so did mainstream liberal ruling mass (that is—ruling class) media. A USA Today columnist wrote, after Gliniewicz’ death, that his “murder” (this before anyone was even charged with killing Gliniewicz, let alone convicted) was connected to “the rhetoric of ignorance and hate” in the movement against police murder and terror.  NBC News featured Fox Lake residents saying things like “I think it’s time we rally around our law enforcement and stop the madness."

The media continued this portrayal even as evidence mounted that he was not murdered, and even as he left a record of all kinds of outrageous criminal activity all over the place. Compare that with how they rush to condemn the victims of police murder as “bad guys,” who must have been doing something wrong. How they dredge up irrelevant gossip and bullshit about the victims, and promote the authorities' story no matter how absurd unless or until a video completely exposes the police as liars (and even then—as in the case of Eric Garner—the media acts to whitewash police murder).

The Gliniewicz incident concentrates the way the ruling class media routinely promotes the myth of a “war on police” regardless of evidence. And at the same time they vilify victims of an actual reign of police murder. That pattern is in synch with, and serves a genocidal agenda of a ruling class carrying out mass incarceration, police terror, and un-punished murder by police.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/st-louis-prosecutor-says-police-murder-of-kajieme-powell-was-justified-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

14 seconds—12 bullets—0 charges
St. Louis Prosecutor Says Police Murder of Kajieme Powell Was “Justified”

November 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a reader:

On November 3 the St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce (the city prosecutor) announced that there would be NO charges against the two cops who cold-bloodedly murdered Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old Black man. Kajieme Powell’s life was stolen by the police on August 19, 2014—just 10 days after and 3 miles away from Michael Brown’s murder by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson.

In Kajieme’s case—as with Eric Garner and Walter Scott and many others—a cell phone video captured the murder. The video shows a disoriented Powell wandering around in front of a market in North St. Louis. You hear Kajieme tell the cops who arrive, “Shoot me, shoot me.” These are clearly words of someone in severe mental distress and in need of urgent help. But just 14 seconds after arriving on the scene, two cops shoot Kajieme 12 times, killing him.

In the video you hear the videographer’s voice turn from a light-hearted tone to horror as a minor incident (alleged theft of energy drinks from a corner market) turns into a man being gunned down in a hail of bullets. The voice says, “They puttin’ him in cuffs. He’s dead, oh my god. They just killed this man. He didn’t have a gun on him. Now they’re cuffin’ him, he’s already dead. The man is already dead. How the hell can a dead man be of ANY threat to anybody?!”

The St. Louis prosecutor claimed that the two police cops had “reasonable” belief that Kajieme Powell posed a mortal threat when the cops shot him. Mildred Powell, Kajieme’s grandmother, said: “There’s so many cases that’s like Kajieme where guys have gotten killed. They said they were afraid for their lives. Are they just afraid of Black people, is that it?” There is a deep truth in Mildred Powell’s bitter words.

Jennifer Joyce is the same prosecutor who announced in May that no charges would be filed against the cop who, working as a security guard, murdered 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr. in October 2014 (see “A Year After Police Murder, Lies and Coverup: Justice for VonDerrit Myers NOW“). And as in that case, the decision not to charge the cops who killed Kajieme Powell is an official green light for cops to murder more Black people, as well as Latino and Native American people—and get away with it.

Lies and Bullshit

After Kajieme’s murder, the authorities rushed to the scene to immediately begin the lies and cover-up and efforts to suppress the people’s righteous anger. St. Louis Police Chief Dotson arrived with a detachment of cops and, faced with an angry group of people, he claimed that the officers were forced to fire when Kajieme Powell came to within three or four feet of them holding a knife in “an overhand grip.” The cell phone video released later contradicted his claims—showing that Kajieme had not come as close to the cops as claimed, had his hands at his sides, and was walking sideways and looking backwards. The safety of the cops was not in question due to the presence of Kajieme Powell. And in any case, what about the safety and welfare of the young Black man, in obvious mental anguish, who they so ruthlessly gunned down?!

Also at the scene of Kajieme’s murder along with Police Chief Dotson was St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, trying to cool down people’s righteous anger at injustice and convince them to put their faith back into the system. It should be remembered that when Kajieme was murdered, the authorities were reeling from the uprising in Ferguson during the prior 10 days. After Dotson went through his lies while promising to get to the truth, the people were still unconvinced and angry. There were chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot!” French had been put forward as a voice of the protest movement following the murder of Mike Brown—but in reality, from the very first days of Ferguson uprising, French collaborated with the authorities, trying to get angry youth to back off and slandering and attacking revolutionary communists who stood with the people rising up. (See “Antonio French—Bootlicker Supreme“)

French said to the crowd at the scene of Kajieme’s murder: “It goes down in Ferguson because they don’t have any Black folks in power... a chief that doesn’t listen to the people. We are different here.... We will get justice here... We’re gonna be patient in our neighborhood. Because you got people that got your backs here. You ain’t the law like they are in Ferguson. Let’s be patient. The last thing we need is violence in our neighborhood. No silliness over here.”

It would take a dump truck to carry all the lies, false promises, and general bullshit put out by French to shut up and mislead people and quell the resistance to Kajieme’s murder. But to start with, what exactly has been the upshot for people in St. Louis who supposedly have “Black folks in power”? St. Louis police have gotten away with murder after murder of Black people: Kajieme Powell, VonDerrit Myers, Terrell Beasley, Isaac Holmes, LaDarius Williams, Mansur Ball-Bey... They have repeatedly brutalized, tased and tear gassed protesters and bystanders. At least six people killed by police in St. Louis North County over the same 15 months. There’s a whole brutal, white-supremacist system at work, not a few rogue cops or a few bad people in high places.

French, and forces like him, are still actively working to divert people’s struggle back into the deadly embrace of the system. This is not just “past history.” They continue to work to derail the righteous struggle that broke out in Ferguson and spread across the country—”silliness” as French calls it. French is a highly visible spokesperson in “police accountability” efforts, including through his role on the St. Louis City Council and in connection with the Civilian Review Board. French’s goals are now the same as the job he was doing in Ferguson and in north St. Louis where Kajieme Powell was murdered: keeping the people from rising up and keeping them locked into relying on the same system that is carrying out a genocidal program, with police terror and murder as the spear point. Peddling illusions and false hopes like French is doing actually protects the murdering cops by diverting people away from struggle that has real potential to rock the enforcers and those who oversee them back on their heels.

Today the struggle against police terror and murder is at a critical crossroads. As Revolution/revcom.us said in the editorial that came out after the October 22-24 Rise Up October demonstrations in NYC, “The thousands who testified, resisted, and marched through the streets made clear that there was a force, a movement, that is determined to draw a clear line, challenging everyone, throughout the country, to RISE UP against this.” On the other side is the continuing, unrelenting murders and brutality by police, and a campaign to make heroes out of cops and slander and suppress the people’s genuinely heroic struggle. Which side are you on?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/carl-dix-statement-of-support-for-university-of-missouri-students-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Which Side Are You On?
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI STUDENTS FROM CARL DIX

Download PDF of this statement here, print and get out all over.

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Everybody must support the actions of the students at the University of Missouri who have stood up and said NO MORE to the unrelenting string of racist outrages they have been forced to endure on their campus. The actions of #ConcernedStudent1950, the courageous hunger striker Jonathan Butler, and the extraordinary and bold stand taken by the football players are things that we all need to support and learn from.  All this indicates that there is a new generation that is not going to take the racism constantly hammered on people by this white supremacist society, that they are willing to put things on the line to stop it, and that when this kind of bold stand is taken it attracts, and compels, others to support it and also step into the fight.  This is a very important moment in relation to the struggle throughout the society against the oppression of Black people and other oppressed peoples, and it is part of focusing the thinking of millions to what is fundamental in this society. 

The resignations of University president Timothy Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin represent a great victory, one which should be celebrated and built off of.  As the struggle goes forward, people should ask themselves and ask all of society, “What kind of a system breeds, supports and defends the kind of racism that the Black students at Missouri—as well as students at every college—have to face?   Racism that finds expression in millions of other ways in this society?  And what do we intend to do about it?”

The question must be posed to everyone throughout society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
                                                                                                                                               
The outrages endured by Black students on campuses across this country are not “isolated.”  They are linked to the slow genocide of mass incarceration, the locking in cages of millions of our youth and the relentless terror and illegitimate violence inflicted on them by police day after day, year after year.  Unarmed Black and Brown people being tased to death, beaten to death, choked to death, shot in the back... and over and over again the courts and the media back up the killers and the police walk free.  The long and bloody history of slavery, the equally bloody history of Jim Crow segregation and lynch-mob terror, and now the genocidal assault of mass incarceration and police terror: these are all forms of the white supremacy that has been built into the fabric of U.S. society from the very beginning.

It is a basic truth that this SYSTEM has no future for Black youth.

And that: We need a whole different system, one in which the oppression of Black people and other oppressed nationalities, as well as all the other outrages of this system—its rampant violence against women and LGBT people, its brutal wars for empire, its destruction of the environment, its war on immigrants—are eliminated.  This requires an actual revolution, nothing less!  This revolution is real and it is possible, but it won’t be easy, and the way out of this madness is not obvious.  Truly getting free, after so many centuries of oppression and horror, requires science and leadership.  We have this science. And we have this leadership in Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  I call on everybody who has taken part in this struggle and everyone who has been inspired by this struggle—to get with this revolution and to deeply check out the work of Bob Avakian, who has actually shown the way forward on the most critical problems facing the movement for revolution.  To learn more on this, people need to go to revcom.us (in print—REVOLUTION newspaper), as well as check out the book BAsics, the DVDs BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and the Dialogue between Avakian and Cornel West, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

And right now—as part of hastening and preparing for this revolution, as well as taking further the extremely just and broadly felt urgent demand that the racist terror of the police stop now—students and others must go into the streets in a major way on November 22, one year since the murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black child playing with a toy gun who was shot down by a marauding cop in Cleveland.  The system has been working to grease the skids to exonerate the cops who murdered Tamir, and this must not be tolerated.  We must join those nationwide who will be saying on that day: “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail.  The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Thru acting on November 22 and thru carrying forward the struggle that has erupted on the Mizzou campus, we will be posing the question to all of society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/a-salute-and-a-shout-out-to-student-athletes-of-univ-of-missouri-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

A salute and a shout out to the student-athletes of the football team at the University of Missouri-Mizzou.

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the midst of protests at the University of Missouri, the refusal of the football team to practice or play until the university president resigned was a game-changing moment—in more ways than one. Black students on campus have taken a determined stand refusing to put up with the abuse, threats, dehumanization, discrimination and terror that is daily life for Black people in ameriKKKa. Other students, faculty and others on campus joined or supported them. And coming in the midst of that, the actions of the football team stood out in a system where students, and student athletes in particular, are constantly warned to  not do anything that might risk their career, and to “look out for number one” despite what that might mean for humanity as a whole. The football team, and all those who have been part of the protests at Mizzou should be supported, defended from any recriminations or backlash, and most of all emulated everywhere.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/cheers-for-the-mizzou-students-and-football-team-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Cheers for the Mizzou Students and football team

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Having attended the University of Missouri back in 1965 I wanted the readers of Revolution to have a sense of the background of U of Mo. and what still is going on today. What has happened at “Mizzou” is huge if you have a sense of just how the oppression of Black people is ingrained into the fabric of this society right down to its roots. It wasn’t till 1950 that Black students were admitted to the University of Missouri.

These are just a few thoughts. The campus football team is part of the National Collegiate Athletics Association.  Football and other sports are a big part of the whole “college experience” at Mizzou and is known as a “party school” with all that entails.  Having the football team and others come out and take the stand against the systemic racism was a critical step in breaking open what Mizzou really is all about. What the football team did took courage and the willingness to put the University on notice that the racist bullshit that continues today would not be tolerated, even if it meant personnel loss for them; many of the Mizzou “Fighting Tigers” have gone on to NFL careers.  So this was big for them to come out and join the students and others who refused to be on a campus where this racism flourishes.

Let me give you a few examples: Right now on campus there is a fraternity Kappa Alpha (KA) which upholds and cherishes Robert E. Lee. He is the founder and historical figure at the heart of this fraternity and the leader of the Confederate Army that fought for slavery.  Check KA out online right now!  During the time I went there, the members of this fraternity would hold Confederate Balls. They would ride up on horseback in their confederate uniforms to the dorm or sororities houses to pick up their dates.  This was considered one of the big events on campus. The theme of these parties was to uphold the old southern plantation days.  

One of the historical figures this “brotherhood” still upholds is Thomas Carlyle. “The essay ‘Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question’ was written by Thomas Carlyle about the acceptability of using black slaves and indentured servants. It was first anonymously published as an article in Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country of London in December, 1849, and was reprinted as a pamphlet four years later with the title ‘Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question.’ The essay was the spark of a debate between Carlyle and John Stuart Mill.”

While I was there, some of these same people would ride through the Black community, which was segregated from the town, and hurl racist chants, fly confederate flags off their cars and basically terrorize people. This was considered just “good old boy fun.”  Never once was this called out by the University. The racism was so deep that even dancing with a Black athlete at a local pub was considered off limits and would destroy your “reputation.” 

The only students that were Black on campus were mainly athletes and they were used by the University to win the big football championships.  You never saw Black people on campus, and even to this day they make up a small section of the student population that attends the university.

Cheers for all the Black students, football players and others who refused to go along with the overt racism that exists at Mizzou!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/over-1000-students-march-at-yale-against-racism-on-campus-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Over 1,000 Students March at Yale University Against Racism on Campus: "We are unstoppable!"

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"March of Resilience" at Yale University, November 9."March of Resilience" at Yale University, November 9. Photo: Ryan Flynn/New Haven Register via AP

On Monday, November 9, more than 1,000 students of different ethnicities marched at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in protest of racism on the campus. The chants at this “March of Resilience” included “We are unstoppable—another Yale is possible!” The righteous protest at Yale comes hot on the heels of the upsurge at University of Missouri.

The student population at Yale, one of the elite Ivy League universities, is 9 percent African American.

The immediate spark for this protest was outrage over an email sent out before Halloween that told students, in the name of “free speech,” that it was OK to wear racially and culturally offensive costumes. The email was sent out by Erika Christakis, a professor and the assistant master at Silliman College, one of the residential communities around which undergraduates are organized at Yale. (A “master” at Yale is the chief administrative officer and presiding faculty presence at each undergraduate college.) Her husband, Nicholas Christakis, who is the master at Silliman, defended her position when confronted by students on the campus. Christakis’s email was in response to a campus-wide email sent out by the Intercultural Affairs Council advising students to consider the impact that Halloween costumes may have on their peers and to avoid such things as “feathered headdresses, turbans, wearing of ‘war paint’ or modifying skin tone or wearing blackface or redface.”

There was also anger over reports from several Black women students that they had been turned away from a Halloween party at a fraternity because the event was for “white girls only.”

"March of Resilience" at Yale University, November 9."March of Resilience" at Yale University, November 9. (AP photo)

Like at University of Missouri, the concerns of students about racism on campus were ignored by the head of the school. A Yale senior, Aaron Lewis, wrote that “It took almost a full week for Yale’s president to formally acknowledge students’ legitimate concerns about racial discrimination on campus.”

Lewis emphasizes that the protests happening now at Yale are not simply about offensive Halloween costumes or an ugly incident at a frat party: “They’re about a mismatch between Yale we find in admissions brochures and the Yale we experience every day. They’re about real experiences with racism on this campus that have gone unacknowledged for far too long. The university sells itself as a welcoming and inclusive place for people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, it often isn’t.”

And Lewis places the situation at Yale in the context of pervasive racism throughout this society: “I’ve heard a lot of people dismiss this situation as out of hand because Yale is a ‘place of privilege.’ But if racial discrimination of any kind can happen at a place like this, then it’s certainly happening elsewhere in this country.”

It is very important and heartening that Black students and other students at Yale are speaking out with a loud voice and acting with determination to make clear they will not stand for racism on the campus—which is part of the daily abuse, dehumanization, and terror that Black, Latino, and Native American people face in this country.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/Cleveland-prosecution-forced-to-drop-charges-against-protesters-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

From Cleveland Rise Up October:

Prosecution Forced to Drop Charges Against Protesters

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Charges were dropped against Dominique Knox, Eric Maxwell and Jordan Workman, the 3 freedom fighters arrested with 68 others protesting the judge's decision to find Brelo not guilty. Brelo is the cop who together with dozens of other cops chased down and murdered Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams, firing 137 shots, and in the case of Brelo, jumping onto the hood of the car emptying and reloading his gun numerous times. Timothy and Melissa were Black and unarmed. Black, unarmed and murdered by police who go free –this is the story behind countless killings across the country.

The protesters were confronted at every turn by riot cops on horses, motorcycles and in cars. After arresting 4 on felony charges they corralled the demonstration into a blind alley and arrested anyone they could get their hands on, including legal observers and members of the press. These freedom fighters were held in jail for almost 3 days. They were confined in dilapidated cells in a building unused for years, contaminated water running red and yellow and an infestation of bed bugs. Many were intimidated with the threat of extended jail time into taking a deal.

The arrests and treatment were totally unjustified. Its only purpose was to intimidate anyone who would dare stand up to fight against police murder. The year anniversary of Tamir's death is fast approaching. The authorities are nervous that anything less than an indictment and conviction will bring even greater numbers into the streets. This October in NYC 100 families of loved ones murdered by police led the Rise Up October – Which Side Are You On? protest of thousands strengthening the mood and organization of those determined to resist. With their total lack of evidence that Dominique, Eric and Jordan committed any crime and the growing anger and resistance to these endless murders, the prosecution was forced to back off.

This is an important victory.

Defend those whose trials and sentencing are upcoming. Take to the streets when the verdict in Tamir's case comes down. Anything less than an indictment and conviction for Tamir's murderers and we don't get out of the streets, we rise up until we get justice.

Drop the Charges on All Those Arrested Fighting Police Murder

Stop Police Terror - Stop Murder By Police

Which Side Are You On?

 

Rise Up/Which Side Are You On? riseupoct24cleveland.wordpress.com 216-246-8377

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/sunsara-taylor-hitting-the-ground-in-mizzou-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Hitting the Ground in Mizzou—Raw Anger at Racist Terror and Profound Openness to Revolution and Greater Resistance

by Sunsara Taylor | November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the moment I stepped onto Mizzou campus together with a crew of other RevComs earlier today, one day after the president and chancellor resigned in the face of growing student protest against the pervasive racism on campus, the powerful mix of deep emotions was palpable.

We encountered deep anger. While the immediate round of struggle had jumped off in response to a racist verbal assault endured by the student body president and the administrations refusal to take this and other incidents seriously, the source of this anger was much deeper and widespread. Students spoke with ragged emotion about the racism they endure on campus in ways big and small, as well as the terror they felt directly in the wake of the murder of Michael Brown in St. Louis, just two hours away. “We were all thinking, it could have been any of us,” a Black graduate student said.

Several recounted an incident a few years ago where white students had spread cotton balls all over the lawn in front of the Black Culture Center because they thought it would be funny to see Black faculty and students forced to “pick cotton” in order to clean it up. As if that is not bad enough, two students who were caught participating in this act of grotesque racism were allowed to plead guilty to littering. This not only enormously trivialized the wrong that had been committed, but also portrayed the victims of it as the grass or the pavement rather than every Black person on campus and far beyond.

An Asian student described how he had only recently transferred to this school from another college in LA, but during his first week on campus he’d been yelled at and called a “chink.” “Its not the first time I have been called this,” he made clear, “But here, when I told people about it they all kind of shrugged, like this is just what we should get used to.” He said that last part—the way everyone else seemed to just accept the open racism—was the hardest for him to take.

We also encountered tremendous joy. As we strode across campus, and even before we reached the encampment where students had been sleeping for a week, we heard a crowd erupt in cheers. A speak-out was underway of graduate students who had formed up to protest cuts to their benefits but who had quickly taken on an active role in the struggle to oust the university’s president. A couple hundred students sat rapt as their peers got up and shared what they had learned, how they had changed, and expressed their determination to go forward. Later, a wide smile spread over the face of a Black woman in the encampment when she described how this whole experience had changed her, “I was always someone in the background, but now I am right out front just saying what I think is right.” Another Black woman described the hostile environment most of her classes are and how, for the first time she found the courage to raise this to a professor and how the big changes going on had created an atmosphere where she really felt heard. “See, even though they cancelled class, a lot of people learned a lot because of what you did,” her friend explained proudly.

This joy was mixed with pride and, sometimes, amazement. Over and over students would insist that it be noted how the struggle on this campus was anchored by Black students, including Black women and LGBT students. Often, these same students would go on to insist that it be noted how extremely broad the support that had grown up was—there were white students and the entire football team and faculty and parents. None of them had expected all of this when they began and they were so proud of what they and their peers had accomplished.

Profound Openness and Deep Questions

While the speakers I heard at the rally and many of the students I spoke to initially framed their remarks in very local terms, as in “improving their campus,” there is a tremendous amount of churning and a profound openness and eagerness to get into the very big questions. Dozens of students thanked us as we handed out hundreds of copies of Carl Dix’s new statement  offering support and thoughts on what this struggle needs to link up with and become part of. After the rally and march of graduate students, I spoke up and congratulated the students on what they had accomplished and let them know I had traveled with others down from NYC that morning. Before I could get any further, students burst into applause. They stayed as I drew links between the racist outrages on their campus and campuses nationwide and the system that has unleashed its cops in the streets to terrorize and murder Black and Brown people. I got into the need to get rid of this system through revolution and for students to get into the leadership for this revolution by getting into Bob Avakian and Revolution newspaper (revcom.us). At the end, there was more applause. Knots of students stuck around to get the newspaper, talk with us, and share their own thinking and questions.

Carl Dix caught up with us after finishing up a couple of interviews and we introduced him and directed students to go talk with him and learn from him in particular. A crew of students did.

A Black male graduate student pointed out to me that revolutions are always bloody. He didn’t raise this to argue against revolution, but more—it seemed—to find out if we were just throwing the word around or really understood what it meant. We got into the need for the entire system of capitalism-imperialism to be swept aside and for its military and courts and police forces to be dismantled and defeated for a new society and world to be brought into being. We got into the fact that non-violence is a myth, every day this system carries out unfathomable levels of destruction, terroristic and oppressive violence and it will not stop doing so unless and until it is overthrown and abolished forever. He nodded and laughed in recognition of the daily violence and expressed interest in learning about genuine communism.

Later, when I was just standing, a student approached to ask for a copy of what I was clearly holding a stack of. I gave him Carl Dix’s statement and he began grilling me with questions. What did I think the protests had accomplished? Why would communists come down all the way from New York City and other places to be here? What did we think should happen next? Why would white people feel so strongly about this issue and how do I navigate when and how to speak out, given that I am white? He opened up about racist hate that has been shouted at him and admitted that he’s begun thinking about politics and social change in ways he was never inclined to before. “Are you really communists? Like, all-in, all the way communists?” When I told him, “Yes, absolutely,” and got a bit into what that means he responded, “I am going to give you my phone number but I want to be clear, it's not because I am a communist or am now convinced of everything you have said—I just want to learn more. I am open to it.” We read out loud the “Invitation”  from Bob Avakian and then walked through the approach that he takes and the responsibility the student has to follow through on his own concerns and convictions in the ways described. He appreciated this approach and then lit up, right before running off to class, when we told him that the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA has published a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). He seemed surprised just how intrigued he’d become to learn more about real communism through the course of our conversation, coming on top of weeks of intensifying political struggle.

There is so much more I’d like to share. Reactions to the Stolen Lives poster about people murdered by police and the ways we are fighting to win people to take up the need to mobilize people on the anniversary of the murder by police of Tamir Rice on November 22. Some of the history of the land beneath Mizzou campus and the indigenous tribes that once lived there. The threats that student protesters have received—death threats, rape threats, are disturbingly credible. Reactions to the quote from BA on the potential for unprecedented beauty to rise out of unspeakable ugliness  focusing up on the oppression and liberatory role of Black people. Questions of identity and nationalism versus scientific communism and internationalism. And more. But it is late and this will have to wait.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/a-call-for-emergency-action-in-solidarity-with-univ-of-missouri-black-students-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

A Call for: Emergency Action in Solidarity with University of Missouri Black Students

November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Missouri State University student has issued a call to action for Thursday, November 12: "Emergency Action in Solidarity with University of Missouri Black Students." This call was originally issued before University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin were forced to step down because of the student protests—but the call for emergency action is still going forward, and it has been taken up on at least 14 different campuses.

As of Tuesday night, November 10, universities and colleges committed to participating in this action include: Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri Western University, Webster University, Stephens College, University of Central Missouri, Missouri Baptist University, Loyola University-Chicago, Columbia University, DePaul University, University of Missouri Kansas City, Rockhurst University, Kansas State University, University of Kansas.

The call to go forward from the protests at University of Missouri and spread the fight to campuses across the country is very significant and important. As Carl Dix, co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, said in his statement of support for the University of Missouri students: “All this indicates that there is a new generation that is not going to take the racism constantly hammered on people by this white supremacist society, that they are willing to put things on the line to stop it, and that when this kind of bold stand is taken it attracts, and compels, others to support it and also step into the fight. This is a very important moment in relation to the struggle throughout the society against the oppression of Black people and other oppressed peoples, and it is part of focusing the thinking of millions to what is fundamental in this society.”

We call on our readers to unite with and support these actions on campuses across the country—and to join them where you can. Take out to the students the basic truth that this system has no future for Black youth. And the understanding that we need a whole different system that will eliminate the oppression of Black people and other oppressed people, as well as all the other outrages and horrors of this system. That bringing such as system into being requires an actual revolution—nothing less! That making this revolution requires science and leadership—and that we have this science and this leadership in Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

And take out to students that right now—as part of hastening and preparing for this revolution, as well as taking further the fight to STOP the racist terror of the police—students and others must go into the streets in a major way on November 22, one year since the police murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black child playing with a toy gun in Cleveland. The system has been moving to exonerate the cops who murdered Tamir, and this must not be tolerated. Join the protesters nationwide who will be saying on that day: Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

Get out copies of the statement from Carl Dix to everyone (download PDF of the statement to print) at the campus actions. Bring Stolen Lives posters and banners—with the faces and names of people murdered by police. Spread the word and organize for the November 22 actions on the one-year anniversary of the police murder of Tamir Rice. Back-pack copies of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian—a great way to introduce people to BA. And distribute copies of Revolution newspaper.

Send reports, photos, and videos from the November 12 actions to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/thoughts-from-a-reader-about-univ-missouri-football-strike-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Thoughts from a reader about the University of Missouri football strike

November 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I really appreciated Carl Dix’s statement, “Which Side Are You On? Statement of Support for University of Missouri Studentsand wanted to add a few thoughts about one aspect of why this is such an important moment.

I want to address the significance of the fact that the football team at the University of Missouri joined with the weeks of protest by students, including the brave hunger striker Jonathan Butler, who put themselves on the line against racist threats and incidents on campus and demanded that the university act on this and oust the head of the university.

Specifically, I want to address the fact that this team declared that until the demands were met, we refuse to practice or to play. No team in this country has, since the 1960s, to my knowledge, REFUSED TO PLAY until political demands were met (there have been player strikes over contracts and conditions). This is truly a big deal and it literally rocked society. Several media accounts I saw called the football team’s stand a “revolt.” The Chicago Tribune editorial board called it “amazing” and said, “When the football team spoke, that was a fearsome and unavoidable voice of dissent.”

This act of refusing to play crossed a certain line in America. Football culture is a big part of American culture. I grew up deeply embedded in that culture. There’s more of a military flavor and discipline to football than in many other sports. As with many team sports, the whole ethos is about “the team” and “winning”—winning football games against other football teams, not standing together and refusing to play football for the greater good. They are definitely not supposed to use their team spirit, cohesion, training, and discipline to tackle the injustices of society to win something that really matters. But that’s what the MU team, not just individual players, did here—together they put it all on the line, they risked their athletic scholarships and future careers to help a “bigger team” win. And the coach and athletic director stood with the players. And that is something new on the landscape. In terms of societal cohesion, THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. But it did happen, and it’s a really good thing for the side of all those who want to end the horrors of national oppression and all oppression. And it’s a threatening thing to the powers that be. And it happened in the context of Rise Up October in New York and the attacks on Quentin Tarantino and the continuing battle around that. And we have to appreciate this and learn from it and build on it as Carl Dix said in his statement.

This action by the football team impacted the football world, which is a big section of mainstream America and a major part of American culture and ideology, as well as being a powerful industry. It was all over ESPN and the sports social media. Through the avenue of the “sports world,” the question of white supremacy and its ugly and devastating effects were brought right to the doorstep of millions of fans, many of whom may never have seriously thought about this before. (In the mid 1960s in high school, I only read the sports section and the comics in the newspaper, I didn’t watch the TV news. The way I learned that there was an uprising of Black people going on in “the big city” only 100 miles away was because one of the stars on “my” NFL football team had to miss a game because he was in the National Guard, which was called out to put down the uprising!)

What this Missouri University team did has set an example and an objective challenge to other sports teams across the country, and everybody else, about what it means to stand up, and what courage and team spirit can and should be used for. On a CNN interview, a player said, “Look what a couple of people can do!” He said two players on the team took a stand in support of Jonathan Butler and the demands, then 30 other Black players joined in, and then the whole team, including the coach and the athletic director, united. According to media interviews, the MU students have heard from colleges all over the country that what they did is emboldening students to step up the fight.

As I was trying to wrap my mind around this football player strike, it made me think about what does this say about what the mood of people and the conditions that could develop into a revolutionary situation could look like— when many different and unexpected blocs of people begin to refuse to tolerate things they tolerated for a long time and start to act in ways they have never acted before, and what impact that has on the further polarization of society where other people are jolted and have to take sides. And what the role of revolutionaries is in hastening all this, including right now in seizing new openings created by this situation.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/smin-la-stand-with-those-standing-up-to-stop-police-terror-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

From the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, LA

Defend the A14 Freedom Fighters

November 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us received the following leaflet from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Los Angeles.

October 26...A young Black woman assaulted and brutalized by school police in her classroom at Spring Valley High in South Carolina. October 28... Almonderez P. Green, 18, chased, shot and killed by St. Louis and Ferguson police who then claim that he killed himself. November 3... Louisiana police shoot five bullets into the chest and head of SIX-year-old Jeremy Mardis, killing him as they shoot up the car driven by his unarmed father. Tamir Rice... Michael Brown... Eric Garner... Sandra Bland... Charly “Africa” Leundeu Keunang... case after case, name after name, video after video we see the spearhead of a slow genocide unfold before our eyes. Illegitimate killing after illegitimate killing; brutality that wouldn't be accepted against an animal, found "justifiable" again and again when used against a people that have been criminalized and rendered less than human. Police who murder Black and Latino people almost never face charges, but those who protest to stop police murder are arrested, charged, and threatened with years in prison.

On November 5th trial began for the first three of ten people who were arrested during #ShutDownA14 protests to stop police murder. After the nationwide protests of the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, when the movement that has shaken the country since Ferguson was being attacked and slandered, on April 14th people took to the streets in more than 30 cities nationwide to say we are not backing down and nobody should accept a "business as usual" in which police kill people every day—more than 970 so far this year.

While cops murder and walk free, the A14 protesters face three misdemeanor charges because the Blue Line train in downtown L.A. was stopped for an hour during the protest. Each charge carries a possible one-year jail sentence. This is outrageous and all charges should be dropped immediately. The people arrested are Stop Mass Incarceration Network members, people from the L.A. Revolution Club, communists, and others who stepped forward for #ShutDownA14. They must be defended.

This battle to get the charges dropped is an important part of further building the movement to STOP police murder and terror—which has reached a new level through the #RiseUpOctober actions in New York City October 22nd - 24th. Culminating October 24th, thousands—led by family members who have lost loved ones to murder by police—marched through Manhattan, carrying pictures of the people killed, demanding an end to police murder and terror and putting the challenge to the whole world: Which Side Are You On? Anyone who wants to see an end to terror by police needs to side with all those under attack, from the #ShutDownA14 defendants to Quentin Tarantino to all the #BlackLivesMatter protesters—standing up together in the face of attempts to stop this growing movement.

We cannot allow the state to repress this movement by taking leaders and fighters from us. Defending the A14 freedom fighters is part of continuing to Rise Up to Stop Police Murder and Terror. We cannot allow them to turn reality upside down by painting freedom fighters as criminals instead of the murdering police! Support the A14 defendants! Their unjust charges must be dropped!

What you can do:

Find us on Facebook, and/or call 213-840-5348. SMIN meetings are Tuesdays 7 pm at the USC School of Social Work.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/avakian-on-principled-compromises-and-other-crimes-against-humanity-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Download PDF for print. Can be printed 1-sided with the statement, or 2-sided wih statement, ads and room for local address.

ON "PRINCIPLED COMPROMISES," AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

November 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Break All the Chains!

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

Sampler Edition | Full Work

BA Speaks

* Writing in the New York Times “Book Review” section (Sunday, October 25, 2015), speaking about the convention in 1787 that “led to the creation of the United States Constitution,” Robert E. Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, actually says the following:

“Disagreements about the extent of federal power and the design of our democratic institutions were resolved through long arguments and, ultimately, principled compromises.” (Emphasis added)

Principled compromises?! The founding of this country on the basis of institutionalizing slaveryofficially establishing the “right” to own slaves, and the status of slaves as less than human, in its founding Constitution—that is a “principled compromise” in the eyes of a present-day representative and functionary of the ruling class of this country. And the fact is that no major politician and no other significant representative of this ruling class will, or can, denounce this country, since its very founding, and denounce its “founders,” in the terms in which they deserve to be denounced: monstrously criminal. If founding a country on the basis of institutionalizing slavery is not a monstrous crime, what is? The fact that no significant representative and functionary of this system, in this country, can recognize and acknowledge this as a monstrous crime—and instead they all uphold as “great men” those, like Thomas Jefferson, who founded a country on the basis of this monstrous crime, and who perpetuated this crime for generations—that gets to the very core of what this system is all about and why there is a great need to put an end to this system at the earliest possible time, and replace it with a system that has no need, no place, and no apology for slavery in any form.

 

* Unbelievable as it may seem, in the 21st century there are still people—including people in positions of power and authority—who are determined to force women to bear children, regardless of the situation, the feelings, and the better judgment of those women themselves. That is a way of enslaving women to the dictates of an oppressive male supremacist, patriarchal system; and that is what the cruel fanatics who are determined to deny women the right to abortion are really all about.

 

* On Elections: Choosing between oppressive rulers will not stop them from ruling over and oppressing you and committing horrific crimes against humanity. This is true of all the major presidential candidates, of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and it will be true of anyone who becomes president, or occupies any major political office, under this system. What supporting these people does accomplish is making you complicit with these crimes.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/justice-department-on-dontre-hamilton-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Justice Department on Dontre Hamilton

If Shooting a Black Man 14 Times for Sleeping in a Park Doesn't Violate Civil Rights, What Does!?

November 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On April 30, 2014, Milwaukee, Wisconsin cop Christopher Manney shot 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton 14 times at a Milwaukee park. Dontre Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The murder happened after two other cops had already checked on Hamilton and concluded he was not doing anything wrong. On November 10, the U.S. Department of IN-Justice ruled that this murder—police killing him for just being a Black man—didn’t violate Dontre Hamilton’s civil rights!

After the murder by police, the Milwaukee County prosecutor stalled for eight months and then refused to charge the killer cop with anything—claiming the murder of this mentally ill man who needed help, and wasn’t doing anything wrong, was “justified” and in “self-defense.” The pig that murdered Dontre Hamilton was originally fired, but as of now, he has been allowed to retire on disability because he claimed he has “debilitating mental health issues” resulting from the stress of murdering a mentally ill man!

As happens when there is a police murder that is so over-the-top, so outrageous, that just having local authorities sweep it under the rug doesn’t get over, the Feds announced they would “investigate.” But after an investigation that lasted more than ten months, the Department of IN-Justice announced there would be no federal civil rights charges, or any other charges, against the cop responsible for Dontre Hamilton’s death.

Dontre Hamilton’s family has been fighting for justice ever since his murder, and not just for Dontre. His mother Maria joined protests in Ferguson after the murder of Mike Brown, and the family participated in Rise Up October in New York City. In a righteously furious response to the DOJ ruling, Dontre’s brother, Nate Hamilton, declared, “I will show a constant display of disgust with every form of law enforcement that doesn’t get it right.” And, “I say destroy the whole constitution, because it never worked to begin with for Black people.”

Now tell us this, Department of “Justice”: If murdering a Black man - who wasn’t bothering anyone, in a park - isn’t a violation of the civil right not to be killed simply for being a Black man in ameriKKKa, then what is?! And what good are any of your system’s claims to be anything other than a system of New Jim Crow, genocide, and violent state-sponsored terror against Black, Brown, and Native American people—along with all the other crimes you commit here and around the world?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/the-last-hour-of-linwood-lambert's-life-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

3 Cops, 3 Tasers:

The Last Hour of Linwood Lambert’s Life—Tortured to Death at 50,000 Volts

November 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader

Two years ago in May, South Boston, Virginia police were called to help Linwood Lambert. Three officers responded to a “trashed” motel room and found Lambert acting delusional, clearly in need of help. The cops handcuffed him and told him that they were taking him to the emergency room. Lambert was cooperative and unarmed. 

Yet ONE MORE video of an outrageous murder by police. Linwood Lambert shackled, tased and murdered by South Boston, Va. police. THIS WANTON MURDER MUST END...WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Watch MSNBC's report including newly available video

Once arriving at the hospital, the entire situation took a sharp turn. Confused and out of touch, Lambert began kicking the window in the back of the police cruiser, eventually shattering it. The three cops removed him from the back of the car. Handcuffed and unarmed, Lambert bolted toward the hospital entrance. Before making it through the door, he was knocked to the ground by 50 thousand volts of electricity discharged from the officer’s taser. Lambert was arrested, put back in the police car and driven to jail. Once reaching the jail, Lambert was unresponsive–unable to exit the car. Medics brought Lambert back to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The medical examiner’s report described the cause of death as “acute cocaine intoxication” (his blood report shows only 0.01 mg/l, a low and unlikely level for an overdose) while mentioning wounds on his body that appeared to be from a taser. For nearly two years this has been the official story. Investigators upheld the 3 officers use of force that resulted in Linwood Lambert’s death since he destroyed property and supposedly posed a danger to others.

Lambert’s sister filed a suit with the city over her brother’s death and only within the past few weeks has she been allowed to view the surveillance videos of what ACTUALLY happened. 

What the police did not release publicly in the wake of Lambert’s death is now available for the world to see. As of tonight many people have probably caught a glimpse of the last hour of Linwood Lambert’s life. Already tens of thousands of people have witnessed the image of ANOTHER unarmed black man MURDERED by police!

The video shows Lambert tasered while handcuffed in front of the hospital doors, not by one officer, but three! After the shackling his legs, the officers continue to taser Linwood Lambert. Each of the three tasers pulsing 50 thousand agonizing volts of electricity through Lambert’s body. Between the buzzing cracks of discharged tasers, the police shout commands at Lambert as he pleads for his life.

“Roll over or I’m gonna light you up again!” yells one of the cops.

“I didn’t do nothing, man. I just did cocaine, man. Why are ya’ll trying to kill me?” Lambert pleads from the ground as the three cops continue to tase him.

Footage from inside the squad car shows Lambert who had just been tased multiple times with his hands and feet restrained, slumping sideways in the backseat. The cops yell at him, “Sit your ass up like you’ve got some sense...I’m gonna tase you again!” Lambert doesn’t seem to even register that the officer is yelling at him, but twitches and cringes with pain as the officer begins electrocuting him again. 

Despite being tased at least twenty times over a thirty minute period, the cops take Lambert to jail instead of the hospital. They yell at his unresponsive body in the back of the car and then return his corpse to the hospital.

Two years later, despite going against the federal guidelines for taser use and breaking their own department’s rule against tasing a restrained individual, NO charges have been filed against the three officers! In fact—THEY HAVE BEEN PROMOTED! 

Linwood Lambert was murdered two years ago and until today, few people knew his name. Only recently did Lambert’s family discover the extent to which their relative was tortured to death! Think about it: Despite all the videos that have come to light exposing the police executing unarmed men, women, and children...many others have not received the light of day, not to mention the ones that were not caught on camera and/or witnesses’ footage confiscated and destroyed.

What kind of system does this to its people over and over again while celebrating the brutes that carry out these heinous crimes? It doesn’t have to be this way and there is no good reason for humanity to have to continue to endure such horrendous suffering at the hands of police. In closing, I want to share a quote from Bob Avakian. Although Avakian is reflecting on another needless murder by the police, I think it is very appropriate in regard to this murder as well and speaks not only to the outrage these murders invoke, but offers a sense of hope in terms of the type of society we can and must bring into being...

Editor’s note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed this:

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 2:16

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/justice-for-john-collado-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Justice for John Collado: Press Conference and March Friday 11/13 in NYC

November 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received the following press release from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network in NYC:

 

For Immediate Release 

Joshua Lopez 917-545-6022 
Steve Yip 929-249-7996

 

Justice for John Collado: Family Members Remember 2011 Police Shooting of Grandfather

 

John Collado

John Collado

WHAT: Press Conference & March to 1 Police Plaza 
WHERE: City Hall Steps 
WHEN: Friday November 13th at 10:00 am 
WHO: Family of John Collado, Stop Mass Incarceration Network, New Yorkers Against Bratton

November 13th, 2015 (New York, NY) – The family of John Collado, a father and grandfather, shot to death by police outside of his Inwood apartment four years ago, is outraged over the fact that his killer is being honored with yet another departmental award this year. James Connolly, the police officer who murdered John Collado, is being bestowed a new award this Friday at 1 Police Plaza.

The family plans a protest and a march on 1PP.

On September 6th, 2011, Collado intervened when he came upon a fight between a friend and another man who turned out to be plainclothes narcotics detective. Police said Collado was choking the officer when he was fatally shot. Witnesses say Collado never had the cop in a chokehold. In 2012, a grand jury refused to indict the cop.

Connolly was given the NYPD's 2nd highest award, the Police Combat Cross, this past June by police commissioner Bratton and mayor de Blasio.

Just this year more information about Connolly was finally made public -- including the fact that he had killed another man just two years prior. Transparency around what happened to Collado has always been disputed by the family. A relative of Collado's, a nurse, had tried to reach him as he lay dying but was tackled to the ground by other police officers.

By awarding cops who shoot civilians, a clear message is continually being sent to cops. It is open season on unarmed, particularly Black and Latino, civilians; and you can be assured you won’t be punished when you kill, but, in fact, awarded. As filmmaker Quentin Tarantino said when he spoke at the #RiseUpOctober demonstration against police killings of unarmed civilians, “I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Said Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, who has been in the forefront of the Collado family struggle for justice, "It's been a struggle. My uncle had faith in the system. But not only has he been murdered, they lied about him and said he choked the cop -- which he didn't. It's a burden on our shoulders. It's been hard on my aunt, who has been forced to raise a 6-year old son by herself. It's heartbreaking to hear a 6-year old asking 'why did the police kill my father?' I want justice for my family. Police killings must stop."

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/statement-from-cornel-west-11-12-2015-en.html

Revolution #412 November 9, 2015

Statement from Cornel West 11/12/2015: "Stay strong. Stay strong. Stay strong!"

November 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Cornel West - Missouri Statement

 

2015-11-12
Dr. Cornel West

To my dear and courageous brothers and sisters of all colors, though disproportionately chocolate, you at the University of Missouri have set a great example that inspires all of us in our struggle for unarmed truth and unapologetic love.

We know that justice is what love looks like in public and you've kept alive the spirit of Mohammad Ali, the spirit of Tommy Smith, the spirit of John Carlos and the spirit of Donny Hathaway and Nina Simone.

I stand with you and I stand with my brother Carl Dix as we continue to fight for stopping mass incarceration and ensuring that the humanity of each and every one of us is respected and we're treated with dignity and decency.

Stay strong. Stay strong. Stay strong!