Revolution #413, November 16, 2015 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of the entire issue. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/ardea-skybreak-interview-new-theoretical-framework-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution

Excerpt from the Interview with Ardea Skybreak

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of this year (2015), over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak.  A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works,The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps, An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. An excerpt from this interview, “On Attending the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West,” was first published in February 2015.  In March 2015 two additional excerpts were published ("An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity" and "Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud"). This is another excerpt from this interview. The text of the complete interview is available as a book from Insight Press. A PDF of the complete interview (including a Table of Contents, with links to the different sections of the interview) is also available.

 

Q:       OK. So I thought we could kind of broaden it out now from talking about the Dialogue. But just before we do, I want to echo what you were saying about how people should really go to the website revcom.us and check out the Dialogue and really take it in, and check out the film of the Dialogue once it is available. I think your phrase about how there was magic in the air is a really appropriate phrase to describe it. So I want to echo your urging people to do that. But just to kind of broaden it out, I was wondering if you could speak in a more overall way about how you see the content and significance of Bob Avakian’s work, method and leadership. What is the significance of this in the world? And how this relates to the points that we’ve been talking about in terms of a scientific approach to understanding and changing the world through revolution.

AS:     Well, I think we’re talking about the most advanced revolutionary theoretician alive in the world today, the person who has taken things furthest in terms of the development of the science of revolution which started with Marx in the late 1800s and which was further developed through different periods by Lenin and Mao in particular. As time went on, and at every stage, there were some very significant new things that were learned and applied. There were some important new theoretical developments as well as practical advances. But I really think that Bob Avakian’s work in this period is actually ushering in a new stage of communism. And that’s both for objective reasons and subjective reasons in my opinion. Let me try to explain what I mean by that. First of all, there have been significant new material developments in the world even since the time of Mao, and the theoretical work that BA has done is capable of recognizing, encompassing and addressing those objective changes. The world doesn’t stand still and we don’t live in exactly the same world that Marx lived in, or that Lenin lived in, or even that Mao lived in, so the science of revolution has to remain dynamic and be able to continually develop, including in relation to these ongoing changes in the objective situation. But the reason I think that BA’s work is ushering in a new stage of communism is not just because of ongoing worldwide changes in the objective situation but because of the pathbreaking breakthroughs BA has been making on what we might call the subjective side of the equation—in other words, his whole development of a new synthesis of communism and the radically different method and approach he is taking to the problems of advancing the revolution, both in this country and worldwide, which I feel represent a very significant advance in the development of the science itself and which stand in sharp contrast to the various kinds of wrong-headed methods and approaches which have plagued most of the so-called international communist movement for quite some time now.

BA’s theoretical work has deeply analyzed, sifted through, and recast the experience of the past in a way that is actually bringing forward some new theoretical components that have never been seen before, including in relation to the concrete process of building up revolutionary movements—identifying some of the key and much more consistently scientific methods and principles that must be applied in order to do this correctly (not just here, but in other types of countries as well), the key things that have to be kept in mind all along the road to revolution, leading up to the seizure of power; and bringing forward as well, again in some important new ways, some of the methods and principles that should be applied in the approach to actually seizing power, and to going on from there to build a new socialist society in such a way that it would not only truly constitute a society that most people would want to live in, but also one that would have a better chance than past such societies of not getting diverted and turned backwards, back towards capitalism instead of forward towards communism.

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

But here’s part of the dilemma, here’s what’s frustrating to me: most people today don’t get any of this! They don’t get the significance, literally on a world scale, of what BA’s new synthesis of communism is opening up, in terms of new possibilities for humanity. People don’t get this unless they actually start digging into these questions a little more seriously and actually start to grapple more scientifically with what’s going on in the world, and what’s actually needed.

Q:       Which questions?

AS:     Well, once again, the significance of what Bob Avakian has brought forward in relation to objective developments in the world and vis-à-vis some of the very wrong views and problems of method that prevail today among most so-called communists. Again, there was what has been called “the first wave” of socialist revolutions, which lasted up through the late 1970s, when capitalism was restored in China and the world was once again devoid of any genuine socialist societies. Marx really opened up that first stage of things in the late 1800s with his insightful historical materialist theoretical work on class contradictions throughout history and on the particular features of capitalist societies and the need and basis for revolutions to move beyond that towards socialism and communism, ultimately on a global scale. There was, in 1871, the experience of the Paris Commune, which was significant as a preliminary kind of attempt in which proletarian forces seized and briefly held power in Paris, but this really could not be consolidated for any length of time—there was not yet the conception, there was not yet the strategy, there was not yet really a vision, of what needed to happen to take it further. Obviously, the Russian revolution of 1917 was able to not only seize power, but to also consolidate power, and then go on to establish socialism and build the Soviet Union as a socialist state for a number of decades, before it got reversed and capitalism got restored there in the 1950s. And then the Chinese revolution, after the country-wide seizure of power there in 1949, and right up to the late 1970s, was able to take the process even further, before it too got reversed. So it’s important to learn from all this, both from the advances and from the shortcomings.

Lenin, who led the revolution that brought the Soviet Union into being, was a very important theoretician who, among many other important theoretical breakthroughs, developed a real understanding of how capitalism had evolved into imperialism, into a world-wide system. Those were important objective changes in the world at the time, and some of Lenin’s developments of the theory actually encompassed those changes and spoke to them in some very important ways, which I won’t try to get into here. Then, by the time of the Chinese revolution, Mao advanced things yet again, bringing forward a lot of new understanding of things, like how to get started on the revolutionary road in a Third World country dominated by foreign imperialism, and what it meant to actually wage protracted people’s war in that type of country over a period of time, leading up to the country-wide seizure of power. Some of Mao’s greatest contributions were made after the seizure of power, over a period of years, in the course of analyzing the positive and negative experiences of the Soviet Union, and in relation to the challenges encountered while working to develop a socialist society in China. Mao’s theoretical breakthroughs during those years included the analysis—the very important analysis—of what were the social and ideological remnants, the vestiges, of the old society which still exerted significant influence in the new socialist society, and his recognition therefore of the need to find appropriate ways to “continue the revolution” even in a socialist society. This was something new, that had not been previously understood or anticipated, and it marked a critical advance in the developing science of communism—a key lesson for communists to learn, and learn well, not just in China back then but everywhere around the world, and one that will be critical to have in mind in all future socialist societies. As part of all this, Mao developed critically important theoretical concepts about class relations under socialism, including the fact, that he famously popularized, that, in socialist society, “you don’t know where the bourgeoisie is—it’s right inside the communist party!” This is something Mao analyzed at a certain point in the development of socialist society, and he unleashed people to wage a Cultural Revolution, even under socialism, to advance things further. That was very important, and those important leaps and breakthroughs made by Mao have been deeply appreciated and analyzed by BA and have been incorporated into the new synthesis that BA has been developing ever since then. Despite all the major theoretical and practical advances and contributions of Mao and the striking accomplishments achieved in the course of developing socialism in China in the course of just a few decades, the fact that the revolution there did get reversed in the late ‘70s and that capitalism has been restored there was certainly a great impetus to recognizing the need to make rigorous scientific analyses of what had happened there and to develop the scientific theoretical framework of communism even further, in order to be able to handle things even better the next time around. Which is precisely what BA set out to do and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward is very much the fruit of the work he has done in order to meet that need.

So again today, there are no socialist countries in the world. That doesn’t mean there aren’t revolutionaries or people talking about communism and socialism in different parts of the world, in different countries, even waging people’s war in some places—or people who have done so in more recent decades. But, frankly, the international situation is a mess. The international communist movement is, by and large, a mess. And it’s because of some very, very problematic lines and line differences in the international movement—some very fundamental errors that have been made in either one or another direction, and which BA has spoken to. He’s helping to sort that out. But, to be blunt, he’s basically not appreciated by the bulk of what has been the sort of old-school international communist movement. He’s very controversial in those circles. People disagree with him a lot, because there are these very wrong tendencies and trends in different countries that get away from the revolutionary road and from the path towards genuine socialism and communism but that some individuals and organizations are very invested in holding on to, it seems. And, I mean, some people actually think he doesn’t even have the right to speak about these issues because he’s not from a Third World country, he’s a white guy from an imperialist country. That’s a pitifully narrow and pathetic way of thinking. But it’s rooted not just in narrow nationalism (though that is certainly a factor), but also in the kind of devaluing of science, and of theory in general, that is so prevalent everywhere these days.

On the more positive side, I’d like to point people again to the polemics that have been written by revolutionaries in Mexico, the OCR, which can be accessed through the revcom.us site, and other things that have been written by others, polemicizing against some of these wrong trends in the international communist movement today and upholding BA’s new synthesis of communism in opposition to that. Again, people should go to the online theoretical journal Demarcations, which can also be accessed through revcom.us. These polemics point correctly to the fact that, on the one hand, you have these dogmatic tendencies...I’ll just very briefly say this: On the one hand you have these trends in the international movement that represent dogmatic tendencies, that argue that you only have to rigidly “stick to the fundamentals,” that act as if there’s basically nothing new to learn (!), despite the clear evidence that the world keeps changing in many important ways that need to be taken into account, and despite the fact that there’s obviously a great need to sift through past accumulated experience in order to better learn how to avoid critical setbacks and have more successful revolutions and build more successful socialist societies. Seems kinda obvious, right? But there are more than a few mechanical dogmatic types around the world who approach revolution and communism more as a religion than a science and who therefore won’t even really examine and engage these types of questions. And then there’s the other kind of trend that basically says, “Well, there have been problems in the international communist movement and mistakes made in the past, so we’ve gotta loosen things up and just have a whole lot more elasticity and we’ll be fine”—but basically they’re going in circles and sort of rediscovering bourgeois democracy! They might as well just sign up, sign on the dotted line, to just try to obtain a few more bourgeois democratic freedoms and liberties, while essentially leaving the world as it is! This trend has very little to do with actually breaking away from the capitalist framework in any kind of fundamental sense—it often seems to be trying simply to promote the economic development of Third World countries within that global capitalist framework, and maybe just extract a few more freedoms and liberties, especially for the middle strata in the cities. But none of this is actually taking sufficiently into account the real core contradictions in these countries, the objective changes that have been taking place, and what it is that the broad masses of these countries actually need, in order to really break out of the overwhelmingly oppressive and exploitative framework under which they live.

Look, I realize that in this interview we can’t really get into all this in detail. I more just wanted to make the point that, today, in terms of the international communist movement, well, there really is no single international communist movement. There are revolutionaries and communists in different parts of the world, and, since the loss of socialism in China, to a very large degree they’ve been in disarray. In fact, it was thanks to Bob Avakian that there was even a coherent analysis put forward at the time of the coup in China and the restoration of capitalism. He analyzed what actually had happened there to set things back on the capitalist path. And he helped to forge a deeper understanding of what is the correct way to unfold revolution and socialism in the modern world. But it’s not like everybody decided to stand up and clap and agree with it—it’s been either ignored, or very contended, and it still is, right up to this day. So frankly, it is a big problem in the world that there is not even much serious and substantial engagement and wrangling with the theoretical developments of the science of communism represented by BA’s new synthesis. And it would be better if there were more unity forged on that developing foundation and basis.

Q:       So, a big part of what you are saying is that the work that Avakian has done has actually carved out a new theoretical framework for a new stage of communist revolution, has actually advanced the science of revolution.

AS:     That’s exactly what I’m saying. And I think how much it’s needed, both in this country and internationally, is pretty clear, given what is actually happening to the world and to the people of the world, and how much revolutionary change is needed. But there’s so much confusion and disarray. And there are people...look, there have been attempts at developing revolutions in recent decades in Peru and Nepal, to take two salient examples. In both those cases there were some very dedicated people who made great sacrifices and fought for years to try to have revolutions in those countries, but they have gone completely off track. And the thing is, it didn’t have to end up that way...I’m not saying that there could have been any guarantees that they would stay on track, and revolutionaries did face some very difficult conditions in both those countries. There were a lot of challenging problems that needed to be solved for those revolutions to have a chance of being successful. But the point is that there was a lot of unnecessary resistance to digging into some of the critical theoretical struggles that needed to be waged, to try to actually bring light into, shine a light onto some of the problems that were being encountered by the revolutionary struggles as the conditions in the world were changing—the conditions of the cities in the Third World, the conditions of the countryside in the Third World. For instance, the whole question of the application of solid core, with lots of elasticity based on the solid core, to those particular situations, in those types of countries, would have been extremely relevant to explore. But that kind of overarching principle is neither well understood nor even much examined or reflected on by revolutionaries in different parts of the world these days. Instead, as I was saying earlier, what you find are either tendencies towards going in the direction of brittle dogmatism and being static, stiff and controlling in a bad way; or tendencies towards throwing everything out the window by being too loose, including trying to pander to the middle strata of some of those countries and their interests–essentially advocating for what looks a whole lot like bourgeois democracy. Even if you give it the name socialism or communism, that’s not what it is.

So there’s a need for a whole world-wide engagement with some of these things. I really do believe, from my scientific perspective, that what Avakian has done is...he has really developed...on a number of key questions, he has really developed some very new thinking: about the road to revolution, about the seizure of power, about the nature of the new society that should be built up. In all of these dimensions he has carved out some very new thinking, identified some warning signs and problems to be avoided, and in particular he’s done this by highlighting the typical philosophical and methodological errors that people tend to fall into, and by drawing out the implications of the fact that if you don’t approach things with the right methods, there’s no way you are going to be able to bring about some truly positive advances. He’s shown this, and he’s brought out lots of concrete evidence of this, and he’s drawn on lots of historical examples to reveal patterns and show where these errors of method can lead.

In any field of science, whenever you have people who are bringing forward genuinely new thinking and really visionary analyses and syntheses, and who are critiquing old ways of thinking, old methods, old ways of approaching things, it’s unfortunately often the case that, for a while at least, their work is not understood, is mocked, and reviled, or simply ignored. The history of science–all science–is full of examples of this. And it’s a shame really...it constitutes a loss for humanity. In my view, every minute that goes by where Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism is not being seriously engaged and grappled with is another minute lost in the struggle to emancipate humanity from the horrors of this capitalist-imperialist world.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/ardea-skybreak-what-is-new-in-new-synthesis-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

What is New in the New Synthesis?

Excerpt from the Interview with Ardea Skybreak

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of this year (2015), over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak.  A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works,The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps, An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. An excerpt from this interview, “On Attending the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West,” was first published in February 2015.  In March 2015 two additional excerpts were published ("An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity" and "Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud"). This is another excerpt from this interview. The text of the complete interview is available as a book from Insight Press. A PDF of the complete interview (including a Table of Contents, with links to the different sections of the interview) is also available.

 

Q:       Yeah, I think what you just said is a really important, a really provocative and powerful point. And I want to continue with that thread. In this interview so far, you’ve been talking about the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward, and to get a little bit more into this: What does it mean to say that there is a new synthesis of communism? Or another way to go at this is, what’s new about it?

AS:     Well, that’s a very big question, obviously, which I can’t do justice to in a limited interview like this. I would first of all point people again to the website revcom.us, where, if you go to the BA portal and you click on it, not only are some of the key works of BA in recent times featured there, but there’s also a complete bibliography of core works, and you can actually access for free a whole lot of very important works by BA. He’s making these very broadly available and facilitating that process. And, on that website, there are some explanations of what the new synthesis is, a brief explanation, and also some longer explanations. I think BA and the Party are making a lot of efforts to try to give this to the people, to anyone who is interested, making it available very broadly and encouraging people to check it out, making things either free or very inexpensive, trying to really make it easy for people to get into it. There are many different works, and I think it’s important that people actually read BA’s works. There are many books and articles and essays. There are many talks, there are films of his talks, and you can get a better sense there than what I can possibly represent here.

But I will say that some of what’s new about the new synthesis of communism is, first of all, that it’s much more scientific than anything that’s come before. You can see this, and we talked about some of this earlier, in the ways it approaches really digging into material reality as it actually is, uncovering patterns, using scientific methods to investigate and explore ever more deeply, being willing to go to some uncomfortable places, really promoting critical thinking, being willing to look into some of the errors of the past in order to learn from them and go forward on a better basis. Look, one of the things the new synthesis has done is that it hasn’t just limited itself to sorting out and distinguishing the positives and what was correct in the past experience of socialist revolutions, from the negatives and the errors that were made. It has done that, but it’s done a lot more than that. It’s not just some kind of cobbling together of these things. It’s not just a deeper and more scientific analysis of the past, it’s a new synthesis, one that is based on that deeper analysis, of how to better go forward in making revolution and building a new socialist society on a better foundation and with better methods than at any time in the past. It’s actually breaking new ground in terms of sorting out and recasting the experience of the earlier wave of socialist revolution, basically from the 19th century and Marx’s early development, up through the reversal of the Chinese revolution in the 1970s. Again, that’s what is meant by “the first wave,” and there’s been a lot of deep analysis of what was correct in all these different experiences, what does or doesn’t help things move forward in the direction of communism, what is actually, objectively, in the interest of the vast majority of humanity. The new synthesis has deepened our understanding of internationalism, with the concept that the whole world comes first and is the fundamental basis and stage on which all these different contradictions are playing out. It has more deeply analyzed the nature of the capitalist-imperialist system, including as it has evolved into further developed empire and has further consolidated its rule over the entire globe.

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

And the new synthesis has made a deeper and more correct analysis of what does it mean to meet the needs of society, to meet the needs of humanity—what I was saying earlier about going beyond strictly trying to deal with the most basic economic needs. In other words, capitalism-imperialism does exploit the working people for profit, and so on, and there is a struggle to meet the basic requirements of life; but with the new synthesis there is a greater understanding that the world we need, in order to meet the needs of humanity, has to encompass a lot more than that. It needs to meet basic economic needs, but it also has to meet the cultural needs, the scientific and artistic needs, of people broadly and in all their diversity. It obviously needs to be able to encompass and meet the needs of the most oppressed and exploited, but it needs to do even more than that. It needs to encompass very broad swaths of humanity, in all its variations and diversity. So there’s been quite a bit of development in terms of a better understanding of both the nature of the problem and the nature of the necessary solutions, if you want to put it that way.

Again, a hallmark of the new synthesis is that, compared to any previous theoretical development of the science of communism, it is much more thoroughly and consistently scientific in its method and approach to everything. It puts a lot of emphasis on critical thinking and on really boldly confronting errors and shortcomings, while not denying or throwing away the actual successes and accomplishments of previous incarnations of the socialist revolution. And that’s very important. It gets back to what we were talking about in terms of truth and the understanding of what truth is. What is true is what actually corresponds to material reality. That’s what truth is. It’s not just an idea, it’s not just what you might think or what I might think. Does something correspond to the way things actually are in material reality, or does it not? What does the evidence show? You often have to be willing to dig, to explore more deeply, to uncover the evidence and get at the patterns. You generally can’t just answer a question like that in two seconds. You have to be willing to look for patterns and concrete evidence that actually exist in reality. You also have to look for evidence over a period of time: You want to examine repeated examples, not just one example. You don’t just want to go on very partial or limited experience, you don’t just want to say, “Oh, well, this happened the other day, so obviously that’s truth, or obviously that’s a significant thing.” Well, I don’t know. Is it part of a recurrent pattern, or is it just something that occurs every now and then? I mean, what is the actual significance? You have to dig more deeply to get at the bigger lessons of life and the bigger patterns of reality. And one of the things that Avakian has done is to actually promote that kind of method. He basically tells people: Look, no matter how much you might want a better world and no matter how much you might want revolution, and you might want communism, you just can’t try to twist things to fit your expectations or come out the way you’d like them to. You have to actually look for the truth of things, based on concrete evidence, even if it turns out to be an uncomfortable or inconvenient truth, and even if it ends up revealing your own errors or shortcomings. If you really want to go in the right direction, you have to be able to face up to that.

And one of the things that really distinguishes a good scientist—and I would include BA in this category—is this understanding I pointed to before, that you learn at least as much from an analysis of mistakes and shortcomings as from an analysis of successes. And again, one of the things that BA has done is dig deeply into the experience of the first wave of socialist revolution to understand where people, even the best-intentioned people, went off track, made mistakes, had the wrong conceptions or the wrong methods and approaches. And by digging into what actually happened—including some of the errors of method and approach—it becomes a lot more possible to understand what were some of the underlying causes of the restoration of capitalism, why socialism was overthrown and capitalism restored in the Soviet Union and later in China. It becomes much less mystifying or confusing. People sometimes say, “Well, if socialism was so great, how come it got overthrown, how come people didn’t want to keep it?” Well, we now know there were mistakes made, and we can learn from those mistakes. But we also understand better now that one of the big problems of socialist revolution is that you make that revolution in particular countries at particular times, but meanwhile the rest of the world is still wrapped up in capitalism and imperialism; so, for a while at least, any emerging socialist country starts off embedded in an imperialist world, and this generates a lot of pressure and makes it objectively even more difficult to develop the new socialist society. That’s one of the problems people have to wrangle with.

And mistakes have in fact been made in the past when trying to defend socialist societies while also contributing to expanding the world revolution, and when trying to develop the internal socialist life of a society while at the same time having to contend with all those capitalist-imperialist forces pressing in on them, antagonistically, from the outside. These are big complicated problems to have to deal with. And yes, there have been errors of method in how some of that has been dealt with in the past. For instance, there were some errors made in terms of sometimes making unconscionable alliances with repressive foreign regimes in a misguided attempt to defend new and fragile socialist societies by finessing certain international relations or exacerbating some international contradictions between competing imperialists. There were also sometimes errors of method that were made when dealing with some of the middle strata people who may have had one foot in the new society and one foot kind of back in the old society: Sometimes such forces were given too much room to exert their undermining influence, and sometimes they were given too little room to breathe and were restricted too severely.

I don’t feel I can get into all this in great depth right now, but the point is that leading communist revolutions and developing socialist societies on a correct basis is a tremendous challenge, full of complexity and a great many thorny contradictions, which in an overall sense have to be handled “with just the right touch,” or things can easily go off track in some very bad directions. In my opinion the new synthesis, if it is systematically applied to such problems, provides the methods and means to unfold the revolutionary process—both before and after the seizure of power—in a much better way than at any time in the past. It really has broken new ground in terms of the process of getting to the seizure of power, in terms of developing strategy for revolution in a country like the U.S., and also in other types of countries. What are some of the key principles for getting there? What about the question of how to go about actually seizing power when conditions are ripe for this? Seizing power in an actual revolution means going up against the armed force of the state. How could you possibly do that without getting crushed? How do you do that while involving millions of people, and in a country like the U.S.? How do you do it with a realistic chance of winning? You can’t just wish for it to turn out alright (!)...that’s one of the big obstacles...when it comes to that stage of struggle, you’re going up against very powerful forces with entrenched traditions and lots of armaments. How do you develop the work, theoretically and in terms of strategic orientation and approach, so that, when it gets to that point, people have a chance of actually winning and coming out the other end, not just having experienced a lot of loss, but with a new and better society being born and on the way to being developed?

And then there’s the question of how do you nurture this new society in a way that actually moves in the direction of overcoming the “4 Alls” very concretely, in other words, going in the direction of communism. And, at the same time, do it in the way we talked about before—solid core with lots of elasticity based on the solid core. If you’re too elastic, you’re going to get overthrown. All these different forces of basically the old capitalist guard, as well as some newly arising capitalist-inclined forces within socialist society itself, are still going to find a lot of material basis to restore capitalist modes of production and capitalist values, if you’re too loose and don’t prevent that from happening. On the other hand, if you try to control everything too tightly, people broadly are going to feel like they can’t breathe and things are going to chafe and grind.

Innovations are going to be stifled and people are not going to want to take a lot of initiative. There’s going to be fear, there won’t be enough ease of mind, and things will feel repressive even when they’re not, and people just won’t be very motivated to fight for this new society. So you have to get the right synthesis.

I think Avakian is breaking radical new ground on the relationship between these two aspects. There’s the analogy I used earlier about riding a horse, and the two kinds of mistakes you can make: You can let the reins go too loosely and the horse will run away with you, and you’ll probably get thrown off the horse that way; or, you can hold the reins in too tightly but then the horse can’t even run, and nothing positive gets developed, if you follow the analogy.

So these advances, these breakthroughs in the new synthesis, are rooted very fundamentally in a rigorously scientific approach to questions of philosophy and method, applied to meeting the complex needs of humanity in the very best ways possible. Once again, in relation to the question of truth, are you going to think something is true just because that’s what you’re hoping it will be? Are you going to start lying to yourself and convince yourself of something that’s not true, just because it might be more comfortable or convenient? Are you going to try to make reality fit your conceptions, or preconceptions, or are you going to take up scientific methods to get a more accurate picture of how reality really is? Are you going to look for immediate results in the short-term but not bother thinking about strategic objectives and how best to proceed, even now, and at any given moment, in such a way as to advance towards those overall objectives?

 

 


 

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

Revolution #413 November 16, 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/413/sunsara-taylor-plunging-in-and-widening-debate-at-mizzou-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Plunging Into and Widening the Debate at Mizzou Against White Supremacy and Christian Fascism, and for Revolution

by Sunsara Taylor | November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcoms and students at Mizzou
Revcoms and students on the Mizzou campus November 12. Photo: @NinaCavender
See Interactive Graphic: RevCom, anti-police brutality movement came to Mizzou

Big questions have been—and need to be further—torn open by the ferocious struggle that jumped off at the University of Missouri against racism and spread to other campuses. As Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, posed it in a recent statement, “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 urgency to these questions—and the answers that the RevComs were bringing into the situation—was intensified when white racists responded to these righteous protests by threatening to shoot and kill Black people on campus.

On Thursday, November 12, Carl Dix and the RevComs stepped right into the middle of this, connecting with, widening, and transforming the profound level of ferment that has been stirred up. About 15 students, mainly Black, gathered at “Speaker’s Circle” (a “free speech zone” on campus), a small plaza in the middle of a busy campus crossing. Many more were drawn in once he began. Dix saluted the students who had protested, linked the racism on campus with the white supremacy this country was founded on and which takes a concentrated expression today in police terror, and called on people to get into Bob Avakian, the strategy for revolution, and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward to put an end to the many other crimes of this system once and for all. Other RevComs passed out Carl Dix’s statement (“Which Side Are You On? Statement of Support for University of Missouri Students”) and signed people up to get into the revolution and get involved in mobilizing protests on the upcoming anniversary of the police murder of Tamir Rice.

Many had heard of Tamir Rice, but very few knew the whole story and circumstance of his death and how the police had tackled and arrested Tamir’s sister rather than even allowing her to comfort her brother as he bled to death on the street. Several Black women present each made the point separately that the story made them think of a younger brother or a cousin, boys in their own families who are in danger already simply because of the color of their skin. One had tears in her eyes as she spoke.

BAsics

"There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.”

BAsics 1:1

Get your free e-book copy of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian here.

Two Black men who had traveled down to Mizzou from Albany, New York, joined with us. One held the bullhorn for several hours and the other helped hold the Stolen Lives banner and at times joined in the agitation. They, too, came because they were inspired by and wanted to support the student struggle and, from their own perspective, linked this with the fight against other forms of oppression. With encouragement, a Black student testified about the fear she has been made to feel due to the racist attacks and threats on campus and her fear for the safety of her younger brother who looks so much like many on the Stolen Lives banner. “Black lives matter,” insisted a young white man. He pledged he would never sit back while other white people say racist shit in front of him, expecting him to laugh along.

All this was very rich and going strong when a viciously hateful white Biblical fascist showed up with his own bullhorn and sign covered in Bible quotes and the words “Obey HIM.” He got right up in the face of women, calling them “sluts” and “whores” and started taunting Black students, accusing them of “sipping gin and juice” and blaming Michael Brown for his own murder and justifying the actions of the police. It was vile and unadulterated woman-hating, racism, and homophobic bigotry, and it was meant to offend and to injure.

Several students told us that the guy is always on campus and that people usually just ignore or laugh at him. But this kind of celebration of oppression is not funny, and shouldn’t be accepted as just the normal backdrop to life.

On this day, however, a group of students surged forward and got in the face of this fascist bigot. At one point, a physical altercation seemed to briefly break out. It is unclear exactly what happened, but when it was over the fascist was whining about allegedly having been hit in the mouth.

Immediately, the whole scene got more intense and the crowd swelled even more. The preacher was screaming that he was “punched by a Black guy.” A progressive white student started screaming that it was absolutely necessary to “denounce the violence” or else “the protests would end up looking bad.” Right wing students dove into the fray, screaming about how “the left silences free speech with violence.”

In the face of this wild scene breaking out in many directions, we fought hard to refocus things back on what is truly important. We made clear: There is no “war on free speech” as the right wing students and much of the media has tried to pretend. And there is no tyranny of violence coming from “the left.” The whole notion is absurd. Here we were just a day after every single Black student on campus had been threatened with death by white people who were intentionally mimicking the language of people who had carried out mass shootings. And here we were holding up a banner of the faces of just a few dozen of the thousands of Black and Brown people who have been murdered by police. This is what there is an epidemic of: white supremacy and racism, including the police systematically killing Black people. This is the subject that has been focused up by the student protests and this is the subject we will not allow to be changed.

Soon, we had drawn most of the crowd away from the Christian fascist to listen to what we were agitating about, but he could still be heard spouting out his hatred behind us, condemning women who get abortions, gloating over the way the police keep getting away with killing Black people, screeching in the most graphic and hateful terms about gay sex, and howling about the alleged evils of socialism and godlessness. All this made it even more necessary, but also easier and more joyful, to get into why it is absolutely necessary for people to get into Bob Avakian’s work and leadership and join the fight for an actual revolution to put an end to all the outrages the fascist was boasting about.

Build unity against ALL oppression

We got into the first quote of Bob Avakian’s BAsics, “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” As well as: Fetuses are NOT babies, abortion is NOT murder, women are NOT incubators. We got into the fact that the Bible was written by human beings, not by god, and that those human beings lived in agrarian, slave-owning societies that stoned women to death if they weren’t virgins when they got married and didn’t understand science yet. We backed this up with Bible quotes and challenged people to confront the real world and a morality rooted in that real world and the interests of emancipating humanity. We got into what communist revolution actually is and challenged people to dig into the work of Bob Avakian, who has advanced the science of communism and is providing leadership today so we can finally get free. Everything the fascist said became fodder for a deeper discussion of the need and the way to break all the chains of oppression and ignorance.

Before long, the right wing students got their steam up again and started shouting about the “left’s suppression of free speech.” A woman got in the main right-wing student’s face, calling out his racism as well as insisting that “as a white male he had no right to speak about her reality as a woman or the reality of Black students.” He accused all of us of being afraid of his ideas and unable to take them on, claiming that instead we rely on violent suppression or “discounting him because he’s a white male.” He screamed that everyone deserves the right to speak, even if you don’t like what they have to say. Oppressed people do have the right not to have to listen to reactionary threats and abuse.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

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

While we united firmly with this woman’s anger, we also clarified: The right wing student’s ideas are wrong not because of his “white male identity,” but because they do not correspond to objective reality. They are morally wrong because they are at odds with the interests of humanity as a whole and serve to reinforce a whole system of oppression—indeed his “independent ideas” are backed up by the armed force of the state. There is not an epidemic of suppression of fascist, racist, woman-hating speech in this country. Turn on Fox News. Turn on CNN, for that matter. Take a history class that promotes the LIE that this country was “founded on liberty” (meanwhile, enslaving millions of Africans and whipping, torturing, raping, and savagely driving them). Besides, if this right wing student is really serious about “everyone’s right to speak,” where is his outrage about Tamir Rice’s right to speak, or Sean Bell’s, or any of the other thousands of Black and Brown people who have been murdered by police? We pointed to these people’s faces and more on the Stolen Lives banner. Where is his concern about the right of Black students to speak about and protest racism without receiving death threats and worse? On those things he was silent, proving that his claim about “free speech” is a cover and an excuse to change the subject and we weren’t going to allow it.

And, no, we weren’t “afraid of his ideas” and we wouldn’t discount them because he is a white male. We were perfectly happy to take on his raggedy bullshit with substance, which we proceeded to do in front of an eager and growing crowd. At the same time, we made clear that this is not some airy “battle of ideas” in the abstract—and we challenged the students listening on this, too. The ideas that this reactionary student was spouting, the ideas that encourage and excuse white students and others to “change the subject” when racism comes up and to turn their heads and allow it to keep happening, are ideas that come from and reinforce a society and a system that is currently carrying out a slow genocide against Black people who have been penned into ghettoes in the millions, denied work, routinely terrorized and even murdered by police, degraded and dehumanized in the media, and locked in cages at a rate unrivaled anywhere in the world.

Sunsara Taylor with revcoms and students at Mizzou
Sunsara Taylor with revcoms and students at Mizzou, November 12.
Photo: @NinaCavender
See Interactive Graphic: RevCom, anti-police brutality movement came to Mizzou

The ideas of the Christian fascist that were shaming women for having sex and spewing the crudest hatred for women for having abortions or birth control are backed up by thousands of years of tradition’s chains and are being given the force of law across this country as abortion clinics are closed, doctors are terrorized, and women are being forced to risk their lives or have children against their will. We are not “afraid of the ideas,” we are recognizing and fighting against and calling on everyone to join the fight against the system of capitalism-imperialism that is enforcing these oppressive ideas on millions and millions of oppressed people here and all around the world. This is why the work and leadership of Bob Avakian is so valuable and important, this is why people need to get into this and join the revolution and this is why—even as people are learning about and figuring out where they stand in relation to that—we need to join together from different perspectives, shoulder-to-shoulder to fight against oppression today.

Throughout all this, one progressive white student kept insisting that we all be quiet and give him a chance to speak, because he “wanted to put forward a position in the middle.” Now that we had re-cohered the crowd, we gave him the space to say his piece. He insisted he was against racism and with the students who rose up, but also insisted that everyone present “denounce the fact that a preacher had just been punched in the mouth.” He said all violence is wrong and if we don’t insist on this we will allow Fox News to distort and discredit this movement.

Every time he followed something positive with the word “but,” one of the other protesters from out of town would interject, “Everything he says after that ‘but’ is going to be bullshit.” He had a point—that this student was trying to find a “middle ground” where there objectively was none. At the same time, we didn’t feel like this guy should be condemned in the same way as the fascists and reactionaries.

When he was done, I openly refused to denounce anyone for allegedly punching that fascist bigot in the face. Besides the fact that I didn’t see what happened and have no reason to trust the claims of that fascist bigot, the fact is that people should not have to be subjected to racist and degrading diatribes.

As for the broader notion that “all violence is bad,” this is simply not true. Think of the violence of a woman being raped, I told the crowd. Now, think of the violence of a woman fighting back against that rape and possibly injuring or even killing the rapist. Is the violence of the rapist and the violence of that woman the same? Many students shook their heads. I challenged people to look at the tremendous global violence that this system carries out every day for its mere functioning—its armies, its police forces, its prisons, its borders, and so much more that enforces relations that trap billions on the edge of survival. All that violence is going to keep going on until there is a revolution which, when the time comes for that under different conditions than today, will have to defeat and dismantle this system’s armies by force. And, in those circumstances, that will be like the violence of the woman fighting back against rape—liberating violence.

Around this time, students who had been listening intently for more than an hour began to sit down, making the decision to sit back and listen to all of what we might have to say. Afterwards, many thanked us for standing up to such hate but also for all the new information we had shared. They were moved particularly around what we said about the depth and outrageousness of white supremacy and police terror as well as the vicious oppression of women and the liberating views on all of this that we championed. At the same time, they were deeply compelled and intrigued by the rest of what we were saying—about revolution, about violence, about the Bible and atheism, about communism, and in our answers to the many different questions and arguments that got thrown at us. Dozens signed up, took flyers and got copies of Revolution newspaper.

See also earlier coverage from Sunsara Taylor at Mizzou:

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

Racist threats at Mizzou: Anger, and struggle over the way forward

This whole scene went on for over four hours. The crowd would swell and then thin out, fluctuating from about 200 at its peak to about 30 at its thinnest. At times we would lose the center of gravity to some reactionary or fascist and then we would fight and gain it back. At one point, one of the Black men who had traveled from upstate New York asked to get back on the mic. In addition to wanting to share his own thinking, he seemed concerned that perhaps all the talk of communism might be turning off students who otherwise would be interested in the fight against racism. Not afraid of anything he might bring up, even if he chose to go up against what we were putting forward, we gave him the mic. He did go at the question of communism, but quite differently than I had expected. He challenged the students: “Don’t be afraid when you hear the word communism. What you should be afraid of is capitalism—that is what brought slavery, that is what brought white supremacy, that is what brought rape culture and all the rest. Communism...” he paused, turned, and pointed at me, “is this nice lady right here!” I threw both arms up in the air with pride and then, together with him and many others, plunged in to further open air debate over some of the most important and pressing questions confronting humanity today.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/a-terrorist-attack-in-paris-a-world-of-horrors-and-the-need-for-another-way-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

A Terrorist Attack in Paris, a World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY

November 15, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 13, simultaneous attacks across Paris took the lives of at least 129 people. ISIS—the reactionary armed Islamist movement now dominating parts of Syria and Iraq—has apparently taken “credit” for these attacks. The victims were normal everyday people. They were eating in cafes, attending a soccer game, or walking down the street. They were people of all walks of life, from France and around the world. The gruesome and arbitrary nature of the killing—including the massacre of 89 people trapped in a concert hall where a rock band was playing—could only be intended to create an atmosphere of societal chaos and fear. And the attack was clearly undertaken with knowledge that it would be invoked by France and the U.S. to supposedly justify new rounds of repression and war. The cruel horror of the Paris attacks should be unequivocally denounced.

At the same time, the French president declared this an “act of war” and he would hit back with a “merciless” response. We should be clear. This threat from France—and the ways in which this attack has taken over the airwaves and political life in the U.S. since it was carried out—are very ominous. This almost certainly means one thing: more war and military attacks in the Middle East coming from France, the other European powers, and the U.S. itself, taking even more lives and creating all that many more refugees to add to the literally millions now desperately seeking to survive, who often lose their lives in the process.

And so the nightmarish dynamic which billions of people today find themselves locked in intensifies and escalates. The world cries out for another way. To get that other way, we have to understand first of all the root causes of the dynamic that IS going on.

A WORLD of Horrors

Again, we should be clear: The attack in Paris was aimed at advancing a reactionary agenda by spreading terror. It was cruel and unjust and horrific.

Downloadable PDF of this statement for print

As was the U.S. bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan on October 3—a conscious act of state-sponsored terrorism—that destroyed a desperately needed hospital, and murdered a dozen courageous doctors along with volunteers from around the world and Afghan patients. Since 2001, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has led to the death of tens of thousands of civilians. And the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq—which was the crucible in which ISIS formed and arose—directly killed many tens of thousands and “indirectly” caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands more.

As was the terrorist bombing, for which ISIS took credit, on a poor Shi’a neighborhood in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 12. It targeted a community where Islamic forces allied with the Syrian government, Iran, and Russia have a base of support—but the bombs were aimed at and killed dozens of civilians. The multisided war between contending reactionary powers and forces in Syria has resulted in 250,000 deaths, and over 12 million people have been driven from their homes into refugee camps or the dangerous trek to persecution and concentration camps in Europe.

As was the bombing of a wedding party in Yemen on October 8 by the U.S. armed and backed Saudi regime. This was the second time in a month that Saudi Arabian fighter jets rained death on a wedding party in Yemen—this time killing 30 people. In late September, Saudi rockets hit another wedding party in Yemen, killing 130 people. The Saudi reign of terror is aimed at the civilian population in areas where anti-Saudi forces are in control. And the Saudis have waged war since the summer in Yemen, using U.S.-supplied cluster bombs—a weapon outlawed in most parts of the world—to slaughter several thousand civilians, including hundreds of children.

This whole nightmarish inhuman cycle must be stopped.

Two Reactionary Poles of Oppression

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

The rulers of the U.S. portray themselves as the global “good guys” in all this. They cover over the fact that their whole system can only function and proceed through the bitter, grinding exploitation of literally billions of people, through the plunder of all of nature, and through the oppression of whole peoples and of women, half of humanity. They insist that people forget the foundations of this empire in genocide and slavery, and endless wars for empire around the world.

The Islamic fundamentalists like ISIS portray themselves as the only opposition to this. Their opposition is one of small-time oppressors hungering to be big time ones. The society they enforce is one of brutal oppression of women and the violent enforcement of ignorance and superstition. Nobody who has an ounce of justice in their heart should have anything to do with this stuff and in fact should oppose it, strongly. Humanity is actually capable of something much greater: a new society, without exploitation or oppression.

As we say on our website and in our newspaper, all the time:

“It is this system that has got us in the situation we’re in today, and keeps us there. And it is through revolution to get rid of this system that we ourselves can bring a much better system into being. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.

“This revolution is both necessary and possible.”

And, as we also say, “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 reading this, if you found yourself agonizing over what happened in Paris—or what happened before that in Kunduz or Gaza last year or anywhere of dozens and hundreds of other places—you need to dig into this. This really IS a way out of the madness, and everyone owes it to themselves, to their fellow humans, and to the future to really engage this.

At the same time, right now, this cycle of terror and horror must be broken through. Attacks like the one in Paris are unconscionable and must be denounced. But we must not enlist in, but resist our rulers’ moves to take advantage of these attacks to justify even worse ones. We must resist when they move to implement more repression (which they claim will “keep us safe” but actually ratchets up the problem). We must resist when they try to escalate their invasions, drone attacks, and bombings. Resist when they whip up patriotism and prejudice, including ugly attacks on immigrants. To remain silent and complicit in all this is to contribute to the whole cycle and to strengthen both sides in the reactionary clash of the West vs. Jihad.

In the absence of a positive, liberating alternative, and in the absence of determined and visible opposition in “the West,” the crimes of the U.S. drive people into the arms of reactionary Jihad. What is needed—and what is morally right—is visible, determined opposition to the crimes of “our government” on the part of those of us in the U.S., France, and other imperialist countries. Breaking through to another world, and breaking out of the current vicious cycle requires that people around the world see that the rulers do not speak for us. And that we stand with the interests of humanity.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/editors-note-on-getting-out-the-statement-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Editors' Note on Getting Out the Statement "A Terrorist Attack in Paris, a World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY"

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The terrorist attacks in Paris have stunned millions in this society and the world over. Everywhere people are talking about these events and responding—in twos and threes and in larger groupings, including people who may be coming together to express their grief and solidarity with the citizens of Paris and some who may be protesting the draconian repression and military measures being taken by the French and U.S. governments. In the swirl of these events revcom.us has published an important statement which speaks to these events and as the title says: the Need to Bring Forward Another Way.  This statement needs to reach thousands and thousands of people in this country and around the world.

At the same time, the struggle to carry forward the battle to Stop Murder by Police must advance and this movement is approaching another key juncture: the one year anniversary of the wanton murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police. This too is critical in the battle to emancipate all humanity.

So, print up this PDF of the revcom.us statement, distribute it everywhere people are gathering and as you build for the November 22 actions.  Post it on the internet wherever you can and tweet out the headline.  Get it out on the campuses. And wherever people are debating and discussing the attacks in Paris.

 

 


 

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

Revolution #413 November 16, 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!

 

 


 

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

Revolution #413 November 16, 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 #413 November 16, 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 #413 November 16, 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]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/november-14-message-from-cornel-west-and-carl-dix-justice-for-tamir-rice-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

November 14 Message from Cornel West & Carl Dix

November 22, 2015—Demand Justice for Tamir Rice
1 Year Since He Was Murdered by Police

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Friends,

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

A beautiful struggle against racist outrages and white supremacy has broken out on the campus of the University of Missouri. This righteous struggle has spread to college campuses across the country, and it is laying bare the ugly reality of white supremacy. People involved in this struggle are getting a sense of their strength, and they are being opened up to dig into why these outrages are still happening 150 years after slavery was supposed to be ended, and what can and must be done to end them.

All the students and faculty who have been part of this struggle need to take up the Call to mark one year since the police murder of Tamir Rice. And all of us involved in the fight to STOP police terror need to take the Call for Justice for Tamir to everyone on the campuses who has been involved in this struggle and to everyone who has been moved by it.

This struggle is connected in every way to the fight to STOP murder by police. The white supremacy that's driving the racist outrages on this and other campuses is the same white supremacy that drives the terror police enforce in Black and Latino communities across the country. This is opening up a precious moment that needs to be seized on.

So take the Call to mark one year since the police murder of Tamir to the campuses. Gather the family members of police murder victims, the youth who are tired of being treated like criminals, the clergy and everyone else who was in NYC for RiseUpOctober. Let's all go together to the students and faculty to make plans to be part of demanding Justice for Tamir, and get those plans posted online

 

Stop Mass Incarceration Network stopmassincarceration.net

See: "Into the Streets on November 22—ONE YEAR Since Tamir Rice's Murder by Police and STILL NO JUSTICE"

Schedule of actions for the one-year anniversary of police murder of Tamir Rice

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/into-the-streets-november-22-one-year-since-tarmir-rice-murder-by-police-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 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.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/exposed-prosecutors-expert-reports-tamir-rice-case-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 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.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #413 November 16, 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.

 


Tweet this

* 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.

 


Tweet this

* 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/412/an-invitation-to-learn-about-and-change-the-world-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 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

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/278/ba_contended_question-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

BA: A Contended Question

A point of orientation—and this is something where clarity is important...

Rather than avoiding (or being defensive) we need to be assertively and boldly—and, in a real sense, positively—putting forward the fact that BA is a "contended question"...that a lot of people who find out what he is all about really like him and what he stands for, and then there are people who really hate him, fundamentally because of what he stands for. We should speak directly to why "doofuses," backward fools, opportunists and outright counter-revolutionaries, as well as functionaries and enforcers of the present oppressive order in the world, hate him: precisely because of what it is that he is all about, what a radical break this is with this whole rotten world, while some people, out of their own deeply invested interests, or their narrow outlook and aspirations, want to hold onto this, or at least significant parts of it—and so actually hate BA for being very clear and firm, and putting forward very clearly and firmly, why we need to sweep aside and move beyond all this, and move forward to something far better.

Further, there are people who do have a basic sense of what BA stands for and have contradictory feelings about this—liking some of this, while disagreeing, or feeling uneasy, about other aspects of it—which is a concentrated reflection of their contradictory sentiments and aspirations in relation to the need and the prospect of radically changing the world.

And then there are people who themselves are confused (or misled) about what he stands for, because of distortion, slander, etc.—which further emphasizes the importance of popularizing what it is that BA actually represents (and in this way countering this distortion and slander).

Again, the point is that, rather than seeking to avoid, or to play down, this controversy around BA, we should be popularizing it, AND VERY POSITIVELY putting forward that what many really like, and what some others really hate, what still others feel conflicted about—and what many, many more need to know about—regarding BA is what in fact he is a concentrated focus of, that is, what humanity needs: a real, really radical and thorough revolution, aiming for the ultimate goal of communism throughout the world and the emancipation of all humanity as a whole from thousands of years of tradition's chains, exploitative and oppressive relations and outmoded ideas.

Doing this will actually better orient and prepare, and better lead overall, people who are being newly drawn to this and are inspired and enthusiastic about taking this out into the world, as well as people who have been part of, or partisan to, this for some time.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/interactive-graphic-revcom-anti-police-brutality-movement-came-to-mizzou-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Interactive Graphic Created by a Journalism Student at Mizzou:

RevCom, anti-police brutality movement came to Mizzou

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

CREDIT: @NinaCavender

Hover over the photo to see five interactive popups.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/700-march-at-loyola-univ-chicago-in-support-of-mizzou-struggle-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Student Correspondence:

700 March at Loyola University, Chicago, in Support of Mizzou Struggle

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received the following from T.L., a student at Loyola University in Chicago:

Nationwide, colleges and universities have been responding to the events that have recently taken place at the University of Missouri. The explosion of protests, demonstrations, and rallies across the country in the past year have revived the talk about racism and systemic oppression in institutions and society. The students at the University of Missouri, mostly black, demanded new leadership in their administration, and they called for colleges and universities across the nation to stand with them. Loyola University Chicago was one of those schools. Being a private, Jesuit institution, Loyola portrays itself as a place of diversity and a place where social justice is held to a high degree. Though there is some diversity on campus and opportunity to participate in social justice affairs, Loyola has its problems, especially when it comes to the inclusiveness of students of color on campus.

Loyola University, November 12, solidarity with Missouri University
Loyola University, Chicago, November 12. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Several days before the events at the University of Missouri, the leaders of the Black Cultural Center, an entity on campus for black students, called for a meeting with all the black students on campus. The meeting was called “Color My Loyola: A Reformation.” We talked about diversity on campus and representation of African-Americans on campus and in administration. As a first-year student at Loyola, I was shocked at how many problems black students faced on campus, especially in the classrooms. I was even more shocked at the fact that most of the issues addressed were systemic and micro aggressive issues. The meeting was empowering and brought awareness of the various issues at Loyola.

After the events at the University of Missouri had taken place, the black student leaders on campus called for a demonstration in solidarity with the University of Missouri. On Thursday, November 12, at 1:50 pm, students left their classes and walked towards the front of Cudahy Library and the Information Commons for the demonstration. As I was walking towards the crowd of people, I became overwhelmed with emotion at how many students there were. I was expecting it to be no more than 100 people; 700 people showed up to the demonstration. I was amazed at how many non-blacks were there.

At the beginning of the demonstration, we were yelling chants and just enjoying the moment of black unity. One of the black student leaders started to talk about the demonstration and why we were there. Then other student leaders spoke on the different issues at Loyola, such as, of course, the systemic oppression and targeting of students of color on campus, the underrepresentation of students of color on campus and in administration, the not-so-great decisions made by administration, and other issues on campus.

After some time into the demonstration, standing in the middle, I looked around and saw all of the people there and felt very empowered and heard. The most memorable part of the demonstration was when one of the leaders of the demonstration yelled the word “Ashé,” which is a statement of agreement, and the crowd would respond by yelling “power.” The word “power” was screamed so powerfully, it echoed throughout the entire campus. There probably was not one spot on campus where you could not hear the word “power” being yelled.

I also will not forget the speech of Heather Afriyie, a black senior at Loyola. Her powerful voice spoke volumes, which left a lot of the black students in tears. After Heather’s speech, the call and response “Ashé” and “power” was done once more, and the march around campus began.

The march was very powerful, yet very demanding. A plethora of chants were yelled and everyone felt a sense of unity and empowerment. We first stopped by the president of Loyola’s office. The black leaders compiled a list of demands that the black population and the other students of color would like to be done. That list was read and given to the president. After that, we marched around the campus and a part of the neighborhood Loyola borders. We were supported by the honking of cars riding past and residents in the apartments of the neighborhood peeking out there windows cheering us on.

Loyola University, November 12, protest in solidarity with Missouri University
Loyola University, Chicago, November 12. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Our final stop was the East Quad in front of the Damen Student Center, where one of the administration offices is. We locked arms and created a huge circle around the quad. The black students were called to the middle of the circle, and all of the non-black students cheered and clapped for us, which was a great overwhelming feeling. Finally, some of the black students, including myself, went into the administration office in the student center to read off the second list of demands and hand it to the administrators. The students who did not go inside stayed in the quad to continue demonstrating. Their chants could be heard very clearly from inside the building.

Overall, this experience was very empowering and showed what unity and solidarity can do for changing society and promoting justice and equality. I was born and raised in Ferguson, Missouri, and I witnessed first-hand what happened there. This experience was a lot similar to the demonstrations in Ferguson that were not shown in the media. I believe that society is progressing towards the right path. Racism and systemic oppression is coming more and more into the light, and hopefully society will continue to progress.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/berkeley-anger-and-ferment-at-high-school-and-univ-campuses-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Berkeley: Anger and Ferment at High School and University Campuses

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a member of the Revolution Club, Bay Area

All across the country, including here in Berkeley, students are rising up on their campuses against racism and white supremacy. The Revolution Club wanted to connect up with this growing spirit of resistance. We quickly made a banner that said: WE STAND WITH THE DEFIANT STUDENTS AT MIZZOU, BERKELEY HIGH, YALE... WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON??? Police Terror, Mass Incarceration, White Supremacist Attacks, No Jobs, Miseducation... “Post-racial” My Ass! This is Amerikkka! WE NEED AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION! REVCOM.US @REVCLUB_BAY

Protest at UC Berkeley

We took the banner and a bunch of flyers with Carl Dix’s statement of support for the Mizzou students, and also the flyer about the Tamir Rice protest on November 22, and we stood right in front of Berkeley High school as students were getting out for lunch—just last week at Berkeley High almost the entire school walked out in protest of a racist threat to lynch Black students, which a student had put on the library computers. I started doing some loud agitation: “We’re standing with the students who are rising up against racism all across the country. The days when the police or racists can get away with terrorizing Black people, those days need to be over! This kid wants to talk about lynching... where did he get that idea from? The police get away with lynching Black people every day! Tamir Rice, 12-year-old boy gunned down by police in Cleveland, that was a lynching! Eric Garner strangled to death in New York, that was a lynching!”

Students were reaching out and grabbing for the flyer. We got out almost 500 in a short time. This was way different from the typical response. In fact, at times there were small crowds gathered around the banner listening seriously to the agitation, and I was able to get more into the whole history of the oppression of Black people in this country, the system that it is a part of, the need for revolution, the leadership we have for that revolution, and the challenge to get with it and dig into it.

There was some controversy. A bunch of administrators, school security, and a Berkeley cop were standing around watching us closely. One administrator, trying to discredit us, told the group of students who was gathered around us, “These people are not with the Black Student Union,” as if that somehow meant that we weren’t legitimate. The students didn’t really pay attention to him. “Who are we?” I said loudly. “We’re the Revolution Club! We’re people who give a shit about the fact that Black and Brown youth gotta grow up with a target on their back! We are building a movement for revolution to put a STOP to this and all forms of oppression. And we stand with these Berkeley High students who refuse to accept racist terror!”

A number of Black students were open to seriously talking about what it will take to end the oppression of Black people. They were proud of what they had done by walking out last week and they wanted to know what we thought. Some of the them told us about what it’s like to be a Black student at Berkeley High... how diverse and yet segregated the school is, how other students don’t want to study with the Black students who are made to feel intellectually inferior... the whole buildup of anger about racism in society and at the school that led to the walkout.

Next we took our banner, the statements from Carl Dix, and copies of Revolution newspaper, and went up to UC Berkeley, where there was a big rally for the #MillionStudentMarch. The #MillionStudentMarch was set to take place on over 100 campuses, including Cal. It had three demands: make college tuition free, cancel student debt, and a $15 minimum wage for campus employees. It was led by Black students from the Black Students Union (BSU), along with Cal Democrats, Socialist Alternative, and over 700 nurses from the California Nurses Association, who boldly marched into Sproul Plaza, the main public space on campus, chanting. There were also some high school and college students from other schools. Many of the nurses, and some of the students, carried Bernie Sanders signs. There was some discussion about Mizzou and police terror from the BSU and ABC (African Black Coalition), but that was not the main theme of the rally and march. A number of people, especially the nurses, gravitated to our banner, taking pictures and expressing their support for the students and Mizzou.

After the rally, we marched over to California Hall, the main administration building. Students and nurses plastered the whole front of the hall with signs about all the debt that students face. Someone brought a replica of a ball and chain, symbolizing the burden of student debt, and people took turns putting on the ball and chain and taking pictures of themselves. After the nurses marched to downtown Berkeley, the students from the ABC led a hundred students who remained in chanting the lines from Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/412/there-must-be-a-defiant-mass-outpouring-for-abortion-rights-roe-v-wade-anniversary-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 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/413/fbi-interferes-with-exhibit-of-work-by-renowned-native-american-artist-leonard-peltier-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

From International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee:

FBI Interferes with Exhibit of Work by the Renowned Native American Artist Leonard Peltier

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a media advisory, dated November 14, 2015, from the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee:

An art exhibit commemorating National Native American Month at the state Department of Labor and Industries building, Tumbwater, Washington, is being dismantled in response to complaints received from law enforcers.

“This is overt government censorship and it’s unconstitutional,” said Peter Clark, co-director of the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

“Former agents of the FBI, joined by State police officers, have imposed their personal views on the citizens of the State of Washington. It’s ironic that in celebration of Native American Month, the government is suppressing freedom of expression by a Native American. But everyone should be alarmed by this occurrence. Once you allow the censorship of an artist by government, you give it the power to censor everyone.”

Those opposing the installation of the artwork were not offended by the content, which reflects Native American culture, but the artist. Leonard Peltier, who maintains his innocence, was convicted in connection with the 1976 shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.

“We are certain that had Peltier gone to trial with his co-defendants, who were acquitted on grounds of self defense; had he been allowed to present all of the evidence in his defense; had a racist juror exposed during trial not been allowed to remain on the panel; and had critical ballistics evidence reflecting his innocence not been withheld, Leonard Peltier would be a free man today.”

Appellate courts have repeatedly acknowledged evidence of government misconduct in the Peltier case—including knowingly presenting false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Mr. Peltier to the United States, and forcing witnesses to lie at trial. The federal prosecutor has twice admitted that the government “can’t prove who shot those agents.”

According to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, “the FBI used improper tactics in securing Peltier’s extradition from Canada and in otherwise investigating and trying the Peltier case.” The court concluded that the government withheld evidence from the defense favorable to Peltier, “which cast a strong doubt on the government’s case,” and that had this other evidence been brought forth, “there is a possibility that a jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier.”

As late as November 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that “...Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed.”

For background see: "The FBI Campaign Against Leonard Peltier"

Imprisoned for nearly 40 years, Peltier—71 years old and in declining health—has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, 55 Members of Congress and others—including a judge who sat as a member of the court in two of his appeals—have all called for Peltier’s immediate release.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/tens-of-thousands-across-u-s-strike-and-protest-to-demand-rise-in-minimum-wage-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Tens of Thousands Across the U.S. Strike and Protest to Demand Rise in Minimum Wage

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

November 10, Chicago

November 10, ChicagoNovember 10, Chicago

Chicago protest, part of the November 10 National Day of Action for economic and racial justice. Photos: Bobbosphere

On November 10, more than 60,000 people in at least 270 cities and towns across the country held strikes, rallies, and protest marches demanding an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. People who work at or slightly above the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour were joined by others—students, union members, teachers—in raising this just demand.

For three years people across the country have been fighting for a rise in minimum wage, and these protests were the most widespread yet. Reports indicate that protesters blocked traffic in Brooklyn, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Boston. Workers walked out of McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

Not a Life Fit for Humans

The rulers of the U.S. never tire of presenting this country as the “land of opportunity.” But for tens of millions of people, a line in an old song expresses a bitter truth: “seems the land of opportunity for me is just a curse.”

For tens of millions of people in the U.S., just being able to live gets more difficult day by day, week by week—one agonizing decision after another over how to use a meager income to meet basic needs. “Should we pay the rent... or should we get medicine for the little one’s asthma?” “We need to get winter coats for the kids, but then we won’t be able to make the car payments.”

People can’t live a life fit for humans on minimum wage. Two people, often working multiple uncertain jobs, can’t support a family on the pittances paid out in these jobs. This is intolerable! A study by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that one adult in Memphis would need to earn $27,000 yearly to meet the annual cost of living, by which they mean earnings that cover basic necessities without government assistance. But a full-time minimum wage earner in Memphis makes only $15,080, before taxes. In cities like New York, the gap is even greater. A full-time worker on minimum wage in New York, where the state minimum wage is $8.75, makes $18,200—but needs $43,000 just to stay even with the cost of living, even with no partners or children.

A Chasm of Inequality

A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION

The minimum wage, low as it has always been, has not kept up with the rise in the cost of living, especially of the essential means of life such as food and housing. People making minimum wage today have significantly less “earning power” than they did 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, the earning power of the minimum wage has been in decline since 1968. The percentage of the population earning at or around minimum wage is highest in the South, but the real earnings of minimum wage people are lowest in big cities, with New York City at the bottom of the list.

About 3.6 million people worked at or below minimum wage in 2012, according to the federal government’s own figures. Tens of millions more work at slightly above the minimum wage but below the $15 an hour the protesters are demanding—42 percent of the overall employed workforce, more than half of African-American workers, and nearly 60 percent of Latino workers. [See Fortune.com, http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/]

Most of the people with jobs at or just above the minimum wage are adults supporting a family—and often working two, three, even four jobs just for bare survival. Women are disproportionately among those making minimum wage. Tens of millions of people, especially children, are supported by people working these jobs. Most of these jobs provide none or few of the “benefits” essential to functioning in this society, such as health insurance, sick pay, and child care.

Much—in fact most—of the “job growth” in the U.S. that Obama brags about is minimum- or low-wage jobs. According to the organizing director of the Service Employees International Union, low-wage jobs are “the fastest growing jobs in the U.S.” A report by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors indicated that low-wage jobs include “food service workers, security guards, janitors and gardeners, cleaners, home health aides, child care workers, hairdressers and beauticians, and recreation occupations,” and “maids and porters, call-center workers, bank tellers, data-entry keyers, cooks, food preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, cashiers and pharmacy assistants, parking-lot attendants, hotel receptionists and clerks, ambulance drivers, poultry, fish and meat processors, sewing-machine operators, laundry and dry-cleaning operators, and agricultural workers.”

These jobs are not just a way for teenagers to earn some cash—they are not marginal to the functioning of the capitalist-imperialist economy. They are deeply integrated into and play a vital role in the overall functioning and profitability of capitalism-imperialism.

Changes and developments in the global imperialist economy have contributed to and accelerated changes within the U.S. economy. Millions of people worldwide have been pulled directly into the vortex of capitalist production, under brutally horrific conditions: young women in garment sweatshops in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines... youths in China working endless hours making products for Walmart and other Western outlets... farm workers who have been driven off their land in Mexico and now picking produce that winds up in U.S. grocery stores and restaurants.

This heightened globalization of production and the ongoing “outsourcing” of many industrial jobs; rapid developments in technological innovation that have impacted all levels of production, transportation, distribution, and communication worldwide; and a global assault on wages and living standards—all this has been shaped by intense competition between blocs of imperialist capital and imperialist countries. All this has meant even greater horrors and misery for billions of people in countries around the world oppressed and dominated by the U.S. and other imperialist powers. And it has driven the growth of low-wage jobs in the U.S. and the increasing poverty among growing numbers of people.

Democrats—and Dead-Ends

The November 10 demonstrations were timed to be one year before the next presidential election. A major theme of protest organizers was “come get my vote.” Leading protest organizers said that this appeal was “non-partisan”—not aimed at either Democrats or Republicans. But in fact the Democratic Party was a key force behind the protests’ themes, and leading Democrats, such as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, spoke at some of the events.

Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and other Democratic Party leaders have indicated support for the demand to raise the federal minimum wage. Meager concessions have been made in some places to the struggles people have waged for years to raise the minimum wage. Seattle and San Francisco have a $15 minimum wage. New York governor Andrew Cuomo said he is pushing measures to raise the minimum wage for all state workers.

The top Democrats are not supporting a rise in the minimum wage out of any benevolence or real concern for people’s well-being. Coming from the outlook and interests of powerful forces in the ruling class, they are deeply concerned that the widening gap between rich and poor could give rise to even wider and more intense social conflict. Tens of millions of people in this “greatest of all societies” are becoming increasingly impoverished, with little or no prospect of their lives getting any better for them. This is one very sharp expression of the utter worthlessness of a system based upon relentless exploitation.

People like Clinton and Sanders aim to mollify some of the extreme edges of income inequality, not end capitalist exploitation. They hope to channel the widespread simmering anger and discontent at the inequities of U.S. society into the dead-end of support for the Democrats.

An Outmoded System

Capitalism is completely outmoded and a detriment to humanity; it can’t in any way meet the needs of the masses of people. Human potential will be twisted and crushed, and the lives of tens and hundreds of millions of people will be destroyed and sucked dry as long as this system dominates the planet. It needs to be overcome, through an actual revolution, as soon as possible, everywhere on Earth.

The ruthless exploitation faced by low-wage workers is an expression of the actual workings of capitalism. The struggle people are waging to improve their living conditions and raise their wages is righteous, and can be an important component of mounting resistance and opposition to the savage injustices and inequalities of the system of capitalism.

 

Constitution of the RCP,USAIn today’s world the production of things, and the distribution of the things produced, is overwhelmingly carried out by large numbers of people who work collectively and are organized in highly coordinated networks. At the foundation of this whole process is the proletariat, an international class which owns nothing, yet has created and works these massive socialized productive forces. These tremendous productive powers could enable humanity to not only meet the basic needs of every person on the planet, but to build a new society, with a whole different set of social relations and values...a society where all people could truly and fully flourish together.

From Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/awtwns-capitalism-is-destroying-the-environment-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

Capitalism Is Destroying the Environment and Can Never Cure the Problem: What Is It Going to Take?

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

November 9, 2015. A World to Win News Service. The following is by the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group (Europe).

The environmental crisis is taking alarming proportions in the world today. Scientists warn that the rising temperature of the planet due to high levels of carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels as well as other greenhouse gases threaten to destabilise whole ecosystems, with devastating potential consequences for life on the planet as we know it. From destroying rainforests and coral reefs and depleting entire species to over-fishing the oceans and shifting land use away from food needs and consuming the Earth’s resources at galloping speed, together with the increasingly polluted air, poisoned groundwater and soil and much more. Who and what is responsible and who suffers most of the burden in this horrifically uneven world?

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)

The human toll is also as deadly as it is highly unequal. The destruction of the environment is a global problem. But the human exploitation and destruction of lives and livelihoods connected to the massive environmental wreckage underway and to the ongoing plunder of resources are concentrated among the world’s poor and countries of the South (Latin America, Africa and Asia), dominated by the ‘‘North,’’ where imperialism is headquartered—its finance, the organisation of its production systems, and by far the Earth’s greatest resource consumers. The terrible impact of climate warming and rising sea levels hits the already vulnerable populations the hardest, and it is going to get worse: more tropical cyclones like the one in 2013 that took the lives of 10,000 people in the Philippines, higher temperatures and worse flooding that every year washes away peasant food crops and kills thousands in Pakistan and Bangladesh, while desertification and rising heat shrink the arable land of farmers in the Sahel countries. So why aren’t the sustainability and preservation of the Earth in everyone’s interest? If we all want future generations to lead healthy lives and continue to enjoy nature, why can’t the ruling classes of the world agree on this one thing and take measures to stop it? Why can’t scientists’ knowledge, all the good intentions and awareness campaigns make it right? Why can’t we just cut back our personal consumption and hope that reason will prevail to reverse what capitalism’s recklessness has destroyed?

Capitalism is not only the cause of the resource massacre, the threat to the world’s ecosystems, climate destabilisation and the resulting impact on life on Earth; it cannot and will not offer any real or lasting solution. Why not? For capitalism, nature is seen as nothing more than an instrument to exploit and to fuel a certain type of growth, with little consideration for environmental and social need. It is the inner workings and logic of the system themselves that drive capitalists to carry out cutthroat competition in search of the highest profitability, rooted in the production of commodities. The main industries in the world driving the others and fighting for an edge over their rival producers depend on fossil fuels that also sustain cheap production. Environmental degradation and damage, loss of resources and ecosystems are not part of the capitalists’ calculation... and those costs and damage become the burden of society and the world.

Even in developing green sources of energy, everything the captains of industry do makes things worse: burning down Indonesian rainforests for palm oil has a global impact. With the Mozambican government’s complicity, multinationals force peasants off their land or to convert to industrial production of jatropha (biofuel), which later is scrapped as not sufficiently marketable. In fact, the market tunnel vision of capitalist industries and states cannot view each new environmental problem as anything other than potential investment, whether for ecosystem services and marketing, dumping, or “clean-up” practices.

Capitalism-imperialism functions as a system, under capitalist political rule. These states cannot and will not represent either the interests of the people in changing the world on all levels or protecting or seriously repairing the planet the system is bleeding and destroying. Imperialist states are also central to organising the control over key energy sources for waging geostrategic political and military rivalry. The U.S. military is the single largest institutional oil consumer in the world.

All the political debate and meetings that acknowledge the environmental crisis and establish conventions to reduce greenhouse gases; laws against deforestation and limits on ocean fishing; that expose the tar sands debacle and issue UN reports warning of the dire global situation cannot lead to any serious or unified action, despite the fact we live in one integrated world. Regulation and “responsible investment” are not a solution. Capitalists and willing governments trample conventions every single day. Toxic e-waste is still shipped to Africa in the form of ‘‘donating computers.’’ The Arctic melt is far away from the stock exchanges in the world’s capitals, where ‘‘counter-experts’’ are paid to cast doubt on the real dangers. What kind of perverted system argues for “emissions trading” to allow big, rich polluting countries like the U.S. to buy the “right to pollute” from less developed economies?!

A radical approach is needed—and this means revolution.

Revolution means a completely different path of social development not based on the narrow interests of the imperialists. A revolution carried out by the oppressed and proletariat acting in the interests of humanity as a whole and conceiving of and acting upon the reality of the natural world as a whole. Socialist revolutions, wherever power is seized, can with this perspective set global standards and begin to repair the immense damage to the environment. They can take steps required to put an end to the pollution-intensive, cheap labor, global manufacturing grids of production. This will be linked to planning and regulating growth—what is produced and how—the only way to protect and preserve a variety of ecosystems and prevent today’s environmental crisis from moving towards collapse. Revolution will mobilise the knowledge of science across the world, as well as the conscious activity of the people themselves to implement sweeping change. Socialist revolution must restructure industrial and agricultural production as well as transport, and replace fossil fuels they depend on with renewable energy sources. Wind, solar and other forms of power can be further developed, unhindered by the logic of capitalism. Food needs can be met on the basis of long-term land use planning, biodiversity and protection of ecosystems, developing many of the green initiatives, technologies and knowledge that weren’t available to past socialist revolutions as well as discovering new ones. With a communist perspective, socialist revolution will lead people to work to develop the health of the planet for future generations, to build a different culture not based on consumerist values, as part of one world, one Earth and one humanity that has a common interest in a very different, a radically different, social future and overcoming the huge gap between oppressed and oppressor countries. This other world is possible, but it requires revolution.

Socialist revolutions of the 20th century such as in Mao’s China made huge advances based on mobilising the consciousness of humans to change society, including measures to counter environmental destruction and plan for the future; yet in the drive for rapid industrialisation to improve people’s lives these initiatives were far from sufficient. With an understanding of these shortcomings and scientific advances since then we can and must do much better next time.

We have to urgently step up today’s struggles against the massive environmental crimes being committed now that under this system will only increase in magnitude. And we must just as urgently link the growing environmental movement to building a movement for real revolution. We who are revolted at the state of the planet and where it is headed must get beyond the more comforting illusions that capitalism can be ‘‘greened’’ and made to work for humanity. We need to take up the challenge of revolution, our only chance to create a sustainable and liberating society and planet.

 

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.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/border-patrol-agents-get-away-with-murder-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Border Patrol Agents Get Away with Murder!
Justice for Anastasio Hernández Rojas!

November 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The U.S. Justice Department announced on November 6 that no federal charges would be brought against any of the Border Patrol agents who murdered Anastasio Hernández Rojas five years ago while in their custody. Anastasio was 42, and had lived in San Diego for more than a decade with his wife and his five U.S.-born children when he was killed.

May 28, 2010, Anastasio was detained with his brother in San Diego after entering the U.S. illegally. Depositions in the civil lawsuit said they cooperated, but during their processing, Anastasio was injured by a kick from an agent. He asked for medical care, and an immigration hearing. Instead the supervisor decided he should be “voluntarily returned” to Mexico—by forcing him through the entry gate. The agents claim he resisted this deportation; and they attacked him brutally.

While handcuffed and hogtied, lying on the ground barely moving, yelling for help, he was beaten bloody by border agents, while they repeatedly said “stop resisting.” A dozen other agents stood by watching. People on the bridge at San Ysidro border crossing had been recording the inhumane beating of Rojas. So when they were finished, the killers went to the bridge and confiscated the cell phones of people who’d witnessed it, and erased their videos of the murder.

The coroner ruled Hernández Rojas’ death a homicide. His examination found he had died of a heart attack after sustaining massive injuries from the beating: “bruising to his chest, stomach, hips, knees, back, lips, head and eyelids; five broken ribs; and a damaged spine.” Despite these findings, including one video of the assault, no charges were filed.

But in 2012 a second video appeared. One woman on the bridge had hidden her cell phone when the agents took the others. She held it for two years out of fear, because it showed a man being killed. The video was aired in 2012 in a PBS report. This video clearly contradicted key evidence and testimony of the agents who killed Anastasio.

The uproar needed to be dealt with on another level, so the Justice Department stepped in. It wasn’t until over five years after the killing of Hernández Rojas that the Justice Department issued their verdict—that there was no evidence that could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernández Rojas had been murdered.

In their press release the Department of Justice wrote “a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that the evidence was insufficient to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges,” because they couldn’t prove that the Border Patrol agents had acted willfully, “with the specific intent to deprive the victim of a constitutional right.”

To which it must be said: a system where there is no right for someone not doing anything wrong to live—and to not be brutally, sadistically, tortured and murdered by a mob of police—is a system and constitution that needs to be swept away with revolution and replaced with a whole different system (and constitution) where this can never happen.

And why couldn’t they bring even a manslaughter charge against any of the agents, where they merely have to charge that the federal agents “committed a lawful act in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, that might produce death?” Because “the federal agents’ action were not done without due caution and circumspection.” Think about this: the bloody murder of a human being while restrained represents, in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Justice, the use of due caution and circumspection. What does that say about the role that the in-justice system plays, at all levels, in exonerating those they have given the monopoly to use violence against the people?

The lawyer for the family in the civil lawsuit went on to point out: “They waited until the statute of limitations ran on charging the officers with civil rights violations or assault. They waited five years, and when all that was left was murder charges, decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone with murder.” This is yet another example of the point that Bob Avakian has made: “Yes, there’s a conspiracy, to get the cops off.”

Hundreds of people demonstrated their anger in San Diego the night of the announcement of the exoneration of the killer Border Patrol agents. Maria Puga, wife of Hernández Rojas, said about the decision: “How can we believe in the government if they cannot deliver justice. From the beginning, it seemed like the investigation favored the agents; they got away with murder.” Anastasio’s mother said: “This is not justice. It seems like justice is only for the wealthy and not for the poor... The say that no one is responsible for the death of my son, but they are responsible. The agents that beat him, electrocuted him, and choked him are responsible.” And his brother Bernardo said: “If someone hits a dog, they get charged. These agents killed my brother, but nothing will happen to them. That is not right. Where is the justice?”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/interview-with-nate-hamilton-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Interview with Nate Hamilton, Brother of Dontre Hamilton

"We're on the side of righteousness, we're on the side of truth, and we are going to fight back"

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the end of a meeting of the Coalition for Justice in Milwaukee, Nathaniel Hamilton (Nate) spent a few minutes talking with Revolution newspaper about the recent decision of the Department of IN-justice not to file charges against the cop who murdered Dontre Hamilton, Nate’s brother, in April 2014. This was a case of a 31-year-old man having his life brutally stolen by a cop simply for sleeping on a park bench while Black and while mentally ill. The first minute or so of this brief interview was lost. In that segment, Nate reiterated what he said in his press conference after the decision—that his family is angry and disgusted, but they had expected nothing good, and that they will keep fighting. He made a strong point that morality—what’s right—needs to be higher than the law. He said at the press conference, “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.” The family of Dontre Hamilton participated in Rise Up October in New York City.

In the following transcript of the interview, references to statements by Nate Hamilton refer to those he made at the recent press conference. (See “Justice Department on Dontre Hamilton: If Shooting a Black Man 14 Times for Sleeping in a Park Doesn’t Violate Civil Rights, What Does?”)

 

Revolution: We at Revolution newspaper really appreciated your statement about destroying the U.S. Constitution because it never worked for Black people. Another thing you said that really struck home was if another Black man dies, then all Black people, Brown people, women—everyone should come out of their houses and hit the streets, and not sleep, and keep going until this stops. I think this really captures the spirit of Stop Mass Incarceration.

Nate Hamilton: We’re restless. We have to be restless toward fighting injustice, and how can we sleep when injustice is still alive and well? And I think that if you feel that connection and that passion for human life, that you respect all life, Black life, Brown life, Italian life, whatever life that may be, if you respect that life, then if you fail to do anything, then you’re just as responsible. And then that goes back to revolution. What side are you on? Are you on the side of the oppressor, or are you on the side of the oppressed? And right now, if you’re on the side of the oppressor, then you’re asking for a battle amongst the poor, and to fight against the poor is to fight against passion, is to fight against the people who have been down so long.

Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23

Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23, 2014. Photo: Special to revcom.us

So to fight against the person who has the odds stacked against them—I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t go against someone that has nothing to lose. And we are a people that has nothing to lose. And that’s what people need to realize. At this point in life we have nothing to lose. We have nothing to be ashamed of. They have already did all they can possibly do against us. And we cannot allow that to continue. But we know that we have been able to wake up every day knowing what we’ve been through. And I’m just telling people to get up out your homes. Don’t allow the system to run you anymore. We as people are supposed to run the system. We are supposed to have dominion over our land; not people having dominion over the people. And right now you see a system that’s been playing control over the population of the U.S., and until we say no more, until we say that we’re going to start punching and kicking back, they are going to continually think they can throw hard blows.

But I believe that if we come out our house we can throw a harder blow, by economically withdrawing, by being as aggravating and as demanding and as irritating to this Constitution, this system, to this belief, of what America looks like. Because we know what they say it’s supposed to look like, and we know what it really looks like. And we the people, it’s our time now to stand up and take our street back, to take our children’s education back, to take our loved ones out of jail for senseless crimes that they shouldn’t be in jail for. We have so much work to do. It starts with us.

Revolution: Your mother, Maria Hamilton, really expressed “what side are you on” tonight when she said she’s done, she’s through, if you don’t get behind these families, not just hers but every family that’s lost a loved one, then she’s done with you.

Nate Hamilton: You have to be both, you have to separate yourself from ignorance. And if you don’t separate yourself from it then you become a part of it.

Revolution: Is there anything in particular that you picked up from participating in Rise Up October that you can apply going forward?

Nate Hamilton: I’ve learned... it was a very strong weekend in New York. And just the commitment of people, just the willingness to get out there in the thousands to be demanding, to be boisterous, to be resistant, was something that I long for here in this city. What happened there and the families coming together was amazing. I think people need to see that. More people need to see that kind of commitment. To see that families all around the nation are tired, are willing to go into the streets, to risk arrest, to go beyond and above—any means to get justice for their children, and to prevent the injustice not just for their children, but for others’ children. We can’t get our babies and our brothers and our sons back, but what we can do, we can prevent our city from demolishing our nation, our Black and Brown families, by getting out here and putting up a resistance. By saying that we are no longer on the side of the oppressor, but we’re on the side of righteousness, we’re on the side of truth, and that we are going to fight back. We’re going to shut down, disrupt, and dismantle any system that gets in our way in our fight.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/from-prairie-view-texas-to-nyc-stop-police-brutality-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

From Prairie View, Texas, to NYC—to Stop Police Brutality

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a thank you letter written by a student at Prairie View A&M University in Texas who went to NYC for the Rise Up October demonstrations (see coverage at revcom.com). She wrote it to thank the many donors who sponsored her and two students for the trip to NYC.

Dear Friends,

“From Prairie View to NYC, to stop police brutality.” I first would like to start off with a special thanks to all that made it possible for my sister, friend and I to go to this historical venture. Most people feel that one push in the grand scheme of things is like dust in the wind or one more straw placed in the haystack that contains the needle making it more impossible to find, but what they fail to see is the other side. That in fact rather than being that one that makes it impossible, they have the potential to be the one that starts a chain reaction, the straw that broke the camel’s back or the one dust particle that triggered a landslide. In other words, together we can be something greater and every piece creates a stronger whole.

While on the trip, the gravity of the situation intensified. Hearing from the families especially as well as seeing the diversity of the participants made its mark. From the Native American man speaking of how the founding fathers have slaughtered his people in order to make way for this society to Eve Ensler calling on “[her] white brothers and sisters” to make a stance. These in particular struck my heart.

As a Black woman and student, I realized that my personal preoccupation with the struggle of fighting for equality for women and the Black community is not enough. I had not even thought about the Native Americans who have been and still are being discriminated against, equal to if not more so than the Black community.

Being able to attend this event was truly life changing as well as historical. I am grateful that you all made it possible for me and a few other Prairie View students to support and make a stance at Rise Up October 24th 2015 NYC.

Sincerely,
Prairie View student freshman

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/408/carl-dix-on-exonerating-tamir-rice-killers-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Condemn Reports Saying Cops Who Gunned Down Tamir Rice Were Justified!

Carl Dix

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

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

Read more

Authorities Greasing Skids to Exonerate Tamir's Murderers!

by Carl Dix

October 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The prosecutor's release of reports that say the actions of the cops who gunned down Tamir Rice were justified is a blatant step toward exonerating the cops who murdered Tamir. The question is: what are we going to do about this?

We must condemn these reports as the ignorant pig talk they are. And if they go ahead and let these killer cops get off without charges, we must take to the streets with great determination to deliver a message that we refuse to accept the system backing up its cops when they murder Black people. And this is one more reason why everybody who wants to STOP the terror police spread in Black and Latino neighborhoods has to be in NYC for #RiseUpOctober.

#RiseUpOctober—October 22-24 NYC
Massive Mobilization to STOP Police Terror
Which Side Are You On?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/scenes-from-rise-up-october-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Carl Dix
Photo: Eino Sierpe

audioListen here

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.

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 Grey. 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 no body 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.

Read more


October 24: Voices of Loved Ones of People Murdered by Police

Before and after the Rise Up October march through NYC on October 24, dozens of family members and other loved ones of people murdered by police shared the terrible loss they suffered, the outrage of lives stolen by police, and their solidarity with all victims of police murder. And over and over they declared their determination to continue to fight for justice—for their own loss, and to STOP all police terror. Following are just a few of those voices.

Lsana D’Jahspora is the father of Cinque “Q” D’Jahspora, killed by Jackson, Tennessee police, on November 6, 2014: Remember the name: Cinque, we called him Q. Q is here today I guarantee you. This young man’s spirit was connected to mine even before he was born, and trust me, he is here. Cinque was gunned down—I say executed—in Jackson, Tennessee, just three months after Mike Brown. Lying on the ground, face down, and shot in the back. And not only that, Cinque caused so little threat these cops actually went to the car and then came back and shot him—in the back. You can see the execution on video. But even until this day they are in denial. They have even lied about the cop who fired the shot, this is how layered the conspiracy is, the cover-up. So I say to you families, I’m glad to be part of this justice train. I will go anywhere to stand with any family, but bring this justice train to the plantation in Jackson, Tennessee. Those of you who can, November 6 is the one-year anniversary. We got to take this train all around the country, but come to the plantation, because we need you there brothers. It’s as bad as it was in the fifties and sixties.

Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller, killed by an off-duty Detroit cop at a party at his house, July 2012: No investigation into my daughter’s death. And they waited 25 minutes to call 911. They never checked him for alcohol or drugs. They stopped short of saying she shot herself. She had no gunshot wounds on her. She was shot in her lungs and it went through her heart. I don’t think her going out that night to celebrate her life, her upcoming birthday, was her plan to end up dead. The last thing I told her was that I loved her. And I thank God that I got to hear her say ‘I love you’ back because I gotta keep that, I gotta remember that, for the rest of my life. But I’m here to fight for my daughter. I’m here to fight for everybody’s child, parent, and grandchild. I’ll be their voice. I’m gonna be here. And the police officer in Detroit who killed my daughter, I will be there when you go down too.

Venus Anderson, mother of Christopher Anderson, shot to death by Highland Park, Illinois, police in the hospital, November 3, 2014: My son was shot down in an emergency room by the Highland Park police station. Now my story might be a little bit different from y’alls considering my son did have a weapon on him, but it took them about two-and-a-half hours to realize he was armed. My son never pulled a gun out on the police. He was in the hospital for two-and-a-half hours before they discovered he had a gun on him. My son went walking through the hallway with his hands in the air saying ‘Don’t shoot, I surrender.’ They put him back in a room and gave him forty-four seconds to put the gun down before opening fire on him, in 1.7 seconds, nine bullets at my son in a small closed in room in a curtain. My son was shot in cold blood. He fell over off the bed, and while his body was dead, they put handcuffs on him. And when they rolled him over, ladies and gentlemen, the gun was still beneath him indicating he never pulled a weapon on the police. This is injustice. So whether they have a gun or not, you have to look at the circumstances. My son didn’t deserve to die that way, like none of your family, none of your kids deserved to die like this. We pay the police to serve and protect us, they are no longer hiding behind white sheets, ladies and gentlemen, they are hiding behind their shields. These are the new age police. Let’s shut em down!

Read more

Thousands in the Streets of NYC for #RiseUpOctober: STOP POLICE TERROR! Which Side Are You On?

October 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us | More to come, check back...

Revolution/revcom.us greatly appreciates the many photos, videos and reports we received of Rise Up October. While we may not be able to post all of them we really encourage people to keep sending us these valuable contributions.

See coverage below.

  • Rise Up October, October 24, 2015, New York City, The front of the march

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

  • Carl Dix speaking at Washington Square Park

    Carl Dix speaking at Washington Square Park. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Cornel West speaking at Washington Square Park

    Cornel West speaking at Washington Square Park. Photo: Phil Buehler

  • #SAYHERNAME contingent. The #SAYHERAME campaign documents women murdered by police.

    #SAYHERNAME contingent. The #SAYHERAME campaign documents women murdered by police. Photo: Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

  • Jivonte Lee Davis, a close friend of Tony Robinson who was killed by the Madison police on March 5, 2015.

    Jivonte Lee Davis, a close friend of Tony Robinson who was killed by the Madison police on March 5, 2015. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Justus Howell was killed by police in Zion, Illinois, April 14, 2015

    Justus Howell was killed by police in Zion, Illinois, April 14, 2015. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, Quentin Tarantino, on march with family members

    Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, Quentin Tarantino, on march with family members. Photo: twitter.com/tuneintorevcom

  • Contingent from Ferguson at Rise Up October

    "Ferguson is in the House"—Contingent of Ferguson and St. Louis activists marched on October 24.

  • Members from Stop Mass Incarceration, San Francisco/Bay Area, CA

    Members from Stop Mass Incarceration, San Francisco/Bay Area, CA. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Revolution Club contingent, made up of members from around the country.

    Revolution Club contingent, made up of members from around the country. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Revolution Club contingent, made up of members from around the country.

    En route from Washington Square Park to Bryant Park. Photo: Oscar Diaz @oscmdiaz

  • Artwork contributed to Rise Up October

    Artwork contributed to Rise Up October

  • Artwork contributed to Rise Up October

    Artwork contributed to Rise Up October

  • Carl Dix speaking at Washington Square Park

    Photo: Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

  • The Audre Lorde Project march to end police brutality and murder. They demand justice for the McNeil family, whose sister and mother, Yvonne McNeil, a homeless lesbian, was murdered by the NYPD in October 2011.

    The Audre Lorde Project demanding justice for Yvonne McNeil, a homeless lesbian, murdered by the NYPD in October 2011. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • St. Mary's Episcopal Church,  Harlem, New York.

    St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Harlem, New York. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Youth and others take the message to Times Square. Police attacked, and arrested six people.

    Youth and others take the message to Times Square. Police attacked, and arrested six people. Photo: twitter.com/StopMassIncNet

  • Huge, beautiful  portraits of people murdered by police were contributed by French street artist/photographer, JR as part of his #insideoutproject-A Global Art Project by JR.

    Huge, beautiful portraits of people killed by the prison system and prison authorities were were contributed to Rise Up October by French street artist/photographer JR as part of his #insideoutproject-A Global Art Project. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • South Bronx Community Congress.

    South Bronx Community Congress. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Unitarian Universalists.

    Unitarian Universalists. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

  • Columbia University students. Photo: Noel Altaha @ngaltaha

    Columbia University students. Photo: Noel Altaha @ngaltaha

  • Demanding justice for Justus Howell and all victims of police murder

    Demanding justice for Justus Howell and all victims of police murder

October 24:

Thousands in the Streets of NYC for #RiseUpOctober:
STOP POLICE TERROR! Which Side Are You On?

 

Thousands took to the streets of Manhattan today to demand STOP Police Terror. And to pose to the world: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? The march was the culmination of three days of Rise Up October. The people were fired up with righteous determination. This is a beginning snapshot of what happened.

Carl Dix led the crowd chanting, “I am a revolutionary!” Cornel West challenged people: “When you love folks you hate that they’re being mistreated!” Eve Ensler declared “I am tired of living in a country where state violence has created a terror state for Black and Brown people, it is unacceptable!” Between the beginning and end of the march, scores of family members and representatives of victims of police murder shared their pain and outrage and challenged everyone to fight. They led the march. People defied police attacks that seized five people near the end of the march, and six more youth out of a group of a couple hundred youth and others who took the message into Times Square. The march posed to the world: Which Side Are You On?

A contingent carried posters of women murdered by police and prison authorities—#SAY HER NAME! Faces of those murdered by police were everywhere, on signs and banners—calling out for justice and an END to the horror. Unitarians demanded JUSTICE and LGBT activists called out sadistic police brutality that targets trans people. There was a striking mix of all nationalities, and representatives of people around the world. There was a sea of signs: RISE UP! STOP POLICE TERROR! The Revolution Club manifested fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution. A chant erupted up and down 6th Avenue: “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

Students came from around the country—from the Truman State SDS chapter in Missouri to students from California to Prairie View A&M University in Texas. They came from Sarah Lawrence College, and Hofstra University’s NAACP chapter. A grad student and teacher told Revolution, “They’re killing my students with slow genocide.” Youth and others came from the communities of the oppressed, from the East, South and Midwest as well as from NYC. An example: a contingent from Waukegan, IL representing the struggle for justice for Justus Howell and for all victims of police murder.

Unitarian-Universalists came from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and a contingent marched from the Holy Ghost Upper Room Filling Station Ministry in the oppressed community of Jamaica, Queens. St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Manhattanville, NYC carried a banner that declared, “We are not afraid!” Film director, Quentin Tarantino spoke: “When I see murder I cannot stand by.”

At the end of the march Carl Dix declared “You should feel good about what you did but not so good you’re ready to go home, pat yourself on the back, and go back to normal, because normal is the police murdering people, especially Black and Latino and Native people. We have been acting to stop it and it goes forward from today.”

 


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/a-shout-out-to-the-courageous-fighters-who-put-their-bodies-on-the-line-to-shut-down-rikers-island-prison-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

A Shout-out to the Courageous Fighters Who Put Their Bodies on the Line to Shut Down Rikers Island Prison

Updated October 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Rikers Island Prison Shutdown October 23, 2015

See photos of the action and statements from courageous resisters HERE

Watch the rally and action at Rikers



The torture chamber and debtors prison known as Rikers Island was, for about an hour, shut down on the morning of Friday, October 23! Seventeen courageous freedom fighters, in a demonstration of civil disobedience, sat and laid in front of the only entry to the dungeon and were arrested. And about 100 others gathered around them chanting, "We Are Kalief Browder," "Rikers, Rikers, Shut It Down! This audacious and historic action made a powerful statement: we're not going to stop until the epidemic of systematic mass incarceration and police terror end.

An incredibly powerful rally on the street leading to Rikers fueled everyone's determination to shut it down. The reality of this prison: where 85 percent of the prisoners have not been convicted on their charges, but waste away for months, even years in Rikers awaiting trial, as happened to Kalief Browder; the people who died because of the actions and inactions of prison authorities; the torture, cruelty, and indifference routinely meted out to prisoners and their families. All this and more was exposed and condemned.

But even more, speaker after speaker—students who agonized over committing civil disobedience for the first time, and decided they must; "Raging Grannies" who sang a song of protest against mass incarceration; families who lost loved ones to police murder and traveled from across the country to contribute to Rise Up October—expressed a fierce determination to STOP this shit, and challenged others in society to take a stand.

The people committed to civil disobedience laid down in front of the gate to Rikers. In front of them, beautiful enlarged portraits of people killed by police, including 11 who had died at Rikers; around them, about 100 witnesses, determined to carry forward the fight for Rise Up October and to shut down Rikers. Rikers Island is an abomination, an atrocity. It is a concentration of the horrific abuse this system routinely, daily inflicts on Black and Latino youth. The heroes who sat in and laid down at the gates of Rikers have put a challenge in front of anyone with a conscience and a sense of justice

Reverend Jerome McCorry, a leader of Rise Up October and a witness to the Rikers Island civil disobedience, said, "I think this is fantastic. It's going exactly the way it should have gone. The people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And today all this changes. This dynamic weekend, this Rise Up October, will always be remembered as the October that change is made. And it's going to happen exactly like this."

All of those arrested were released late Friday night. Call the NYC Mayor's office at 212-788-1400 and Queens County DA Office at 718-286-6000 to demand the dropping of all charges on the protesters.

Rikers Island Prison Shutdown October 23 2015 Rikers Island Prison Shutdown October 23, 2015

All photos: Special to Revolution

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/October-22-Rise-Up-October-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Family members and representatives of the following victims of police murder spoke at Times Square:

 

Nicholas Heyward Jr.

 

Eric Garner

 

Akai Gurley

 

Aiyana Stanley-Jones

 

Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket

 

Terrence Kellum

 

Mohamed Bah

 

Jordan Baker

 

Ahjah Dixon

 

Meagan Hockaday

 

Kimoni Davis

 

Cinque "Q" DJahspora

 

David Silva

 

Janisha Fonville

 

Jonathan Ferrell

 

LaReko Williams

 

James Rivera Jr.

 

O'Shaine Evans

 

Nathaniel Wilks

 

Mario Romero

 

Richard Linyard

 

Daniel Covarrubias

 

Justus Howell

 

Darius Pinex

 

Dakota Bright

 

Freddie Latrice Wilson

 

Emmett Till

 

Gary Hopkins Jr.

 

John Collado

 

Angelo Miller

 

Kiana Nicole Blakey

 

Dontre Hamilton

 

Dale Graham

 

Tyrone West

 

No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names

October 22, A Public Reading and Remembrance: A Demand for Justice

 

See coverage below (updated October 23).

 

Photos are being added as revcom.us receives them. If you were there and have photos please send them to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

  • Jamal Joseph

    Lulu Fogarty, actress, playwright and co-producer, and Jamal Joseph, professor and filmmaker.

  • Tony Montenieri, and Eve Ensler, author and playwright

  • Nicholas Heyward

    Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward Jr., 13, murdered by NYPD, 9/22/94

  • Sister Shirley on behalf of Eric Garner's family

    Sister Shirley on behalf of the family of Eric Garner, 44, choked to death by NYPD, July 17, 2014.

  • Religious Contingent

    Clergy from different religions stood with the families to Stop Police Terror.

  • Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7 years old, murdered by Detroit police, May 16, 2010.

  • Reverend Phelps

    Rev. Stephen Phelps

  • Ma-hi-vist Goodblanket

    Simon Moya-Smith, for Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, 18, killed by Custer County OK sheriffs, December 21, 2013.

  • Joshua Lopez

    Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, murdered by an undercover NYPD cop, September 6, 2011.

  • Hertensia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley, 28, murdered by NYPD on November 20, 2014.

  • Terrence

    Kevin Kellum and Yvette Johnson, father and step-mother of Terrence Kellum, 20, murdered by immigration police in Detroit, April 27, 2015.

  • Gbenga Akinnagbe and Artuo O'Farrill

    Gbenga Akinnagbe, actor (left), and Arturo O'Farrill, musician

  • Mother of Mohamed Bah

    Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, 28, murdered by NYPD, September 25, 2012.

  • Mother of Ahjah Dixon

    Ishtyme Robinson, mother of Ahjah Dixon, 23, died in Corsicana TX police custody, March 4, 2010.

  • Meagan Hockaday cousin

    Mayesha, cousin of Meagan Hockaday, 26, killed by Oxnard CA police, March 28, 2015.

  • Kimoni Davis

    Kimberley Griffin, mother of Kimoni Davis, Murdered by Hanging Rock OH police, 6/29/15

  • Father of Cinque Djaspora

    L'Sana DJahspora, father of Cinque "Q" DJahspora, 20, killed by Jackson TN police, November 6, 2014.

  • Naomi Wallace and

    Playwrights Naomi Wallace (left) and Kia Corthron. Photo: Phillip Buehler

  • Chris Silva for David Sal Silva

    Chris Silva, brother of David Sal Silva, 33, beaten to death by Bakersfield CA police, May 8, 2013.

  • Janisha Fonville

    Paris Bey, cousin of Janisha Fonville, 20, murdered by Charlotte NC police, February 18, 2015.

  • Jonathan Ferrell's Mother

    Georgia Ferrell, mother of Jonathan Ferrell, 24, killed by Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC police, September 14, 2013.

  • LaReko Williams' family

    Meko, Lavic, Lameka, Tameka, Family of LaReko Williams, 21, tasered to death by Charlotte NC police, July 20, 2011.

  • Rev McCorry

    Raquel Almazon, actor, and Reverend Jerome McCorry

  • James Rivera's Mother

    Dionne Downs, mother of James Rivera, 16 years old, murdered by Stockton CA police, July 22, 2010.

  • O'Shaine

    Cadine Williams, sister of O'Shaine Evans, killed by San Francisco PD in October 7, 2014

  • Nathaniel Wilks

    Chemika Hollis, partner of Nate Wilks, killed by Oakland police August 12, 2015

  • Cindy Mitchell's sister

    Cyndi Mitchell, sister of Mario Romero, 23, murdered by Vallejo, CA police, September 2, 2012.

  • Jessica Gatewood

    Jessica Gatewood, mother of Richard Linyard Jr., 23, murdered by Oakland police after a "routine traffic stop," July 19, 2015.

  • Mother of Daniel Covarrubius

    Lanna, Elijah, and Marilyn Covarrubias, for Daniel Covarrubius, 37, killed by Lakewood WA police, April 21, 2015.

  • Lawyer and Philosopher

    Civil rights attorney Martin Garbus (left) and ethicist and professor Kwame Anthony Appiah

  • Latoya Howell

    LaToya Howell, mother of Justus Howell, 17 years old, killed by Zion IL police, April 4, 2015.

  • Darius Pinex

    Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex, 27, murdered by Chicago police, January 7, 2011. Also in picture are Darius' three brothers.

  • Airicka Gordon-Taylor, Emmett Till's cousin

    Airickca Gordon-Taylor, cousin of Emmett Till (1941-1955), lynched by white racists in Money MS, at the age of 14.

  • Gary

    Marion Hopkins, mother of Gary Hopkins Jr., 19, murdered by Prince George's County, MD police, November 27, 1999.

  • Quentin Tarantino and Gina Bellafonte

    Quentin Tarantino (left) and Gina Belafonte. Photo: Phillip Beuhler

  • Brother of Kianna Blakely

    Art Blakey, Brother of Kiana Nicole Blakey, 17, killed by Cleveland police, 1989.

  • Parents of Dontre Hamilton

    Maria and Nate Hamilton, mother and brother of Dontre Hamilton, 31, murdered by Milwaukee WI police, April 30, 2014.

  • Tyrone West

    Family, for Tyrone West, 44, murdered by Baltimore police, July 18, 2013

  • Tyrone West

    Tawanda Jones (speaking), sister of Tyrone West, 44, murdered by Baltimore police, July 18, 2013. At left, Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex, 27, murdered by Chicago police, January 7, 2011.

  • Darlene Cain, Mother of Dale Graham

    Darlene Cain, mother of Dale Graham, 29, killed by Baltimore police, October 28, 2008.

  • Carl Dix

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

  • Families - Phillip Buehler

    Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley, 28, murdered by NYPD on November 20, 2014; Mertilla Jones (at mic), grandmother of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, murdered by Detroit police on May 16, 2010; Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward Jr., murdered by NYPD on September 22, 1994. Photo: Phillip Buehler

  • Banner brought from San Francisco to Say Their Names

  • October 22

    Crowd at Times Square, October 22. Photo: Phillip Beuhler

"Don't hide behind the lies, don't hide behind the blinds..."

Times Square, NYC: Saying Their Names & Demanding a STOP to Police Terror

The truth: An epidemic of police murder and terror. The DEMAND: It must STOP! The message broke into the light of day from a stage in the middle of Times Square in New York City, and before the world, on October 22.

No More Stolen Lives: #SayTheirNames was an unprecedented event. It was a coming together of more than 30 family members, loved ones, and representatives of victims of police brutality from around the country, together with prominent voices of conscience. It launched three days of Rise Up October, leading up to the National March to STOP Police Terror on October 24 in New York City.

People 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. Most of all, they courageously came to STAND UP and FIGHT and to call on others to do that until police terror is brought to a stop.

~~~~~~~~~~

Early in the day, Nicholas Heyward, Sr. stepped to the front of the stage. His 13-year-old son, Nicholas Jr., was murdered by police in 1994 for playing with a toy gun. Nicholas Sr. shared the pain of that loss with courage. And he didn’t stop there. He issued a challenge that would echo across the world from the center of NYC: “We are talking about innocent lives that are taken constantly and the police never, never are held accountable. Enough of these officers killing our children. We need to put a stop to it. It don’t matter which one they bring into office, we still have to suffer these injustices to our children and that is something we need to put a stop to.”

Darius Pinex’s 2011 murder by Chicago police was covered up by a massive conspiracy of lies by the Chicago police and other city officials. His brother said: “People don’t know what we go through at the crib, thinking about the loved ones I lost, the ones you lost. For people to just keep saying, ‘Oh, he pointed a gun at me,’ or ‘I saw a shimmer, oooh’ they just steady lyin’ goin’ with the same excuse, steady over and over. And nobody pays attention, and nobody cares. Just ‘That’s what he did.’ That’s bogus man. Thank y’all for coming out. Justice for all y’all. Justice for Darius Pinex! Justice for Dakota Bright! Justice for Tamir Rice! Justice for everybody! Rise up October!”

The loved ones of victims of police terror came from all over New York City and beyond—from Cleveland and Detroit, from Oklahoma and Oakland, and everywhere in between. There was a contingent of clergy, representing in their vestments. They were joined by prominent voices of conscience. Artists contributed powerful works. Hundreds gathered to listen in Times Square, increasingly drawn into saying the names of victims as they were challenged to do so from the stage.

LaToya Howell is the mother of Justus Howell, 17 years old, killed by Zion, Illinois,  police, April 4, 2015. She said: “The first thing they tell you when they kill one of our youth is ‘I fear for my life.’ What are you trying to force us to do? Because we fear for our lives every day. Every day we send our child outside those doors we fear for our lives. We’re shown on TV, we’re shown on computers, we hear from word of mouth, we hear it all—that your child can be killed by the way that they look, walk, or talk.”

And she issued a challenge: “I am Justus Howell and I stand for all of our youth and loved ones. I want y’all to go home and think it over. Because today is the first day of the rest of your lives. And I need y’all to be a part of the solution. If you have a mouth, speak about change. If you have eyes, use them to see this bullshit. Don’t hide behind the lies, don’t hide behind the blinds and act such as you are blind. I see this every day and I have to live it every single day, and the pain never goes away. These are not just pictures and posters, these were people breathing, living their lives dreams and their compassion for people. My son and your son, I will fight for the rest of my life. No justice no peace!”

~~~~~~~~~~

Prominent voices of conscience read names of victims of police terror, told their stories, and lent their moral and physical presence to the day: actress and playwright Lulu Fogarty; graduate theology student Nkosi Anderson; professor, artist, and activist Jamal Joseph; Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, and Tony Montenieri; Rev. Stephen Phelps; actress Raquel Almazan; Rev. Jerome McCorry; playwrights Kia Corthron and Naomi Wallace; philosopher and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah; civil rights attorney Martin Garbus; director Quentin Tarantino; activist Gina Belafonte; and Carl Dix, co-initiator of Rise Up October and representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Martin Garbus told the story of the murder of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in 1969—a political assassination of a freedom fighter and revolutionary by the Chicago police and the FBI. Eve Ensler ended saying “Can we just take a moment to think about each of these lives, each of these very real people, and hold them in our hearts for a second.” And after a moment of silence, she threw her fist in the air and challenged everyone: “Rise up to end police brutality and murder!”

For four hours in Times Square, the picture came more and more sharply into focus: A toy gun... A man walking down housing project stairs when the elevator wasn’t working... A seven-year-old child sleeping on a couch... Someone in desperate need of mental health care and compassion... MURDERED. The sadistic randomness... The insulting and absurd excuses... The systemic pattern of targeting Black, Latino, and Native American people for nothing...The pervasiveness of police terror... The fact that over and over and over, these murdering police are exonerated if not promoted.

~~~~~~~~~~

Searing testimony and stories from the loved ones of those killed by police and voices of conscience, including voices that rooted the current epidemic of police terror and murder in the genocide, slavery, and Jim Crow oppression, and in the persecution of immigrants that are the history of this country.

Airickca Gordon-Taylor spoke. She is a cousin of Emmett Till, who was tortured and brutally murdered by white racists in Mississippi 60 years ago for whistling at a white woman. She described the vicious, horrific way Emmett Till was tortured to death. And then declared: “This is still Emmett Till! What we have going on today, instead of hiding behind white hoods, cops are hiding behind their badges. This is a system with the new Jim Crow, it’s no different. And if we don’t rise up, it’s never gonna change. It’s up to us to make a change! Rise up! Rise up! Rise up!”

~~~~~~~~~~

Over the morning, the stories were told of about 250—out of literally thousands of people murdered by the police. And what was revealed was far, far more than enough to indict a whole damn system whose police are not there to protect and serve, but to enforce a world of slavery and oppression.

No More Stolen Lives: #Say Their Names—A Public Reading and Remembrance: A Demand for Justice was the kick off for three days of Rise Up October. It took place on the 20th anniversary of the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, along with a protest later in the day in Brooklyn, and marches in other cities across the country.

In the face of lies and denial, whitewashing and threats, the stand of the families, the voices of conscience, the activists, organizers, and volunteers was absolutely necessary, courageous, and inspiring. It set a standard for everyone to rise to, stand on, and advance off of in the three days of Rise Up October, and the battle to bring an end, once and for all, to a situation where—among all the other horrors—every Black, Latino, and Native American child is born with a death sentence hanging over their head.

 

Chicago October 22, 2015

Chicago, October 22. Photo: Frank James Johnson

 

 

See reports of October 22 National Day of Protest in Brooklyn, NYC, and across the country.

Read more


 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/reports-from-october-22-national-day-of-protest-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Reports from October 22—20th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation

October 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

These are reports we've received from cities about October 22 protests around the country. We will add other reports as we receive them.

 

Rally and March in Brooklyn: Fierceness, Anger, and Determination to STOP Murder by Police

On October 22, in New York City, about 200 people rallied in Brooklyn for the 20th anniversary of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

There was a fierceness and anger in the spirit of the crowd and in the rally—a determination to be heard, to shout out loud that this rampant police murder MUST STOP. This was brought home very powerfully when the parents of those whose loved ones have been killed by the police took the microphone and spoke from the heart, with passion and tremendous anger. There were at least a dozen family members at the rally, coming from New York City and other cities, who had taken part in the public reading of names of lives stolen by the police in Times Square earlier in the day.

One of the first groups to show up was a contingent of 25-30 students from St. Anne’s High School. The group, mainly white, all marched in together. At least one teacher from the school also came with them. One student said, “This is something I hadn’t thought about much but I should, it’s a big problem.” Another said what’s happening to Black people is genocide. There were other high school and college students at the rally as well and many others, including a group who came together from Housing Works, a social service agency that works with people with AIDS and the homeless. About half a dozen transgender people came together from the Audre Lorde Project. There was a banner expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle.

There were a number of other speakers and cultural performances, including a nine-year-old reading a poem about police brutality and an older Black man playing the violin and singing a song about those who have been killed by the police. Rev. Jerome McCorry, who heads up the national faith task force for Rise Up October, spoke, calling on ALL the churches, Black and white, saying that there was no excuse for them not to join this struggle. Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-initiator of Rise Up October, called on people to look at the pictures of loved ones killed by the police, and to think about the fact that this is just a drop in the bucket of the people killed by police. He said this is an illegitimate system and called on everyone to come out on Saturday to march in the streets to demand a stop to this police terror.

After the rally, people marched through the streets to Barclays Center for a short rally.

All Photos: Special to revcom.us

Chicago

Chicago October 22, 2015

Above and below, Chicago, October 22, 2015. National Day of Protest. Photos: Frank James Johnson

More than 70 people gathered at the James A. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago for a spirited “Say Their Names” protest. The crowd formed a circle to represent how the thousands in New York City on October 24 will figuratively “form a circle” around the families of police murder victims. Each person in the circle read three names of stolen lives, chanting “Say Their Names” after each name, and a pot and pan were banged after each reading in the spirit of the Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina. There was a contingent of 25 mainly Black youths from a high school. One of the young women had a handmade sign against the police murder of her boyfriend by the Chicago PD this summer. Also participating were 25 people from Save Our Sons and Daughters—a community organization from the West Side—and some college students, including seven or eight students from the University of Dubuque, Iowa, who were in a class studying social protest and drove three hours to be part of October 22. Speakers of conscience included Unity Lutheran Church Reverend Emily Heitzman, pastor with Youth and Households Edgewater Congregations Together, who called for more “holy anger” at the systemic racism in America. The crowd joined together to sing “I Can’t Breathe” and “Hell You Talmbout.”

Chicago October 22, 2015

Then the youths marched through downtown bursting with energy and defiance, chanting “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!” The high school youths were boldly in your face to the police; one youth shouted, “You talk about Black-on-Black crime, how about Blue-on-Black crime?” A number of people on the street joined in the march and came to the final rally where people spoke out against the crimes of police and why we have to Rise Up October. Several people signed up for the bus to New York City on the spot.

Cleveland October 22, 2015

Cleveland

Fifty people assembled in front of the Justice Center in Cleveland to read hundreds of names of a small portion of the people killed by the police in the past 10-plus years from all over the country. Many people came up and read, from a family member, to a Black professional singer, to people organizing in the Black community, to white middle class activists, to Black people from the bottom, and a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party. And some of the people reading are coming to Rise Up October in New York City. We had many posters of people killed by the police from Cleveland and many Stolen Lives posters. There was a serious and determined feeling among the people there that the police killing is indeed an epidemic and part of genocide against Black and Brown people and only we the people can stop it.

The readings were interspersed with two vocalists; the readings went on for almost two hours. A Black man who is part of Rise Up October summed it up this way: “People need to hear the names. It could be any of us, our family, our children. If you don’t do something it will probably be one of our names, family members or someone we know. They kill people and no one is accountable. If we commit crimes we are held accountable. I fear for my life. For us Black and Brown people it’s modern-day slavery, a way of controlling.” Brenda Bickerstaff, a Black woman whose brother was killed by police and whose niece died in police custody a few months ago, said, “[We are] reading names so people cannot forget and have a constant reminder. We are tired of putting these pictures on posters.” A young white activist said, “Reading the names reminded us of why we are going to NYC.” At different points people called on others to get on the bus and be in NYC on October 24 to declare that the police terror must stop, and “which side are you on?” has to be a rallying cry throughout society.

Seattle

Seattle October 22, 2015 Seattle October 22, 2015

Photos: special to Revolution

The October 22 protest in Seattle was riveting and inspiring. Black and white youths, Native Americans, middle class white people, basic people of different nationalities, students from community colleges and art schools and others lined up to read the names and stories of cherished people who have been ripped from their families and us by police murder. April Nation, the aunt of James Whiteshield, told the horrifying story of her nephew’s beating and murder in jail in Seattle. Jamilla Gardner told of how the police stole away the life of her dear friend Victor Duffy Jr. As the stories were read of the people lost, their lives and the horror done to them, youths openly wept and people shook their heads in disbelief. The “Say Their Names” went on for an hour. People were welded into a determination to take this out to the streets and to people, to challenge them about which side they are on in the face of this genocide. People took off in a defiant, spirited, and youthful march through downtown, marching down main streets and disrupting traffic, singing “Hell You Talmbout” and other songs and everywhere saying the names of those lost to police terror.

 

Los Angeles

 

Atlanta

Atlanta October 22, 2015

Houston

Houston October 22, 2015

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #413 November 16, 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/410/michael-slate-interviews-at-rise-up-october-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Michael Slate Interviews at Rise Up October

Updated October 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the Saturday, October 24 Rise Up October rally and march, and at the Thursday, October 22 Say Their Names public reading and remembrance in Times Square, Michael Slate was able to catch up with a number of people to get their reasons for coming out, and their views on the epidemic of police terror and murder. Listen to some of those interviews here:

 

Quentin Tarantino:   Listen here | Read transcript

Jamal Joseph:   Listen here | Read transcript

Eve Ensler:   Listen here | Read transcript

Kwame Anthony Appiah:   Listen here | Read transcript

Arturo O'Farrill:   Listen here | Read transcript

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/reality-check-stop-changing-the-subject-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

REALITY CHECK:

Stop changing the subject!

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Big questions are being torn open by the righteous struggle that jumped off at University of Missouri against racism and spread to other campuses, and by the ongoing battle against the epidemic of police terror that targets Black and Brown people. The question is the nature of and solution to white supremacy, and the connection between that and ending all forms of oppression. But the mass (ruling class) media—when they talk about this—fixate on whether the “rights” of bigots and racists to spew racist bullshit and threats are being respected. That’s NOT a problem! And that’s not the question. So stop changing the subject.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/410/reality-check-on-october-20-events-in-east-harlem-NYC-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Reality Check on October 20 Events in East Harlem, NYC

The REAL Problem

Updated October 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The reactionary New York press—from the Daily News to FOX News and the New York Post—wasted no time slandering the extraordinary culmination to the three days of Rise Up October actions in New York City—the powerful, stunning rallies and two-mile march of thousands of people from all over the country up 5th Avenue, demanding “Stop Police Terror” and challenging the thousands on the sidewalks riveted to it to join this battle and take their stand: “Which Side Are You On?”

These media hitmen ridiculed and degraded as a “gripe-fest” the family members of dozens and dozens of people murdered by police in cold blood who courageously traveled from across the country to tell their stories describing their devastation at the wanton killing of their loved ones and the determination to stop this from happening to anyone else. And these media are using the death of a policeman in Harlem four days earlier to say this event should never have happened.

In light of the controversy fueled by the media in the wake of this important and controversial Rise Up October, and the attacks on the demonstration, we are re-issuing this statement: The Real Problem.

* * * * *

Last night a policeman named Randolph Holder was killed in Harlem. Nobody knows the circumstances of what happened last night, including whether self-defense was involved. But already the politicians, media and police are trying to make this the center of attention of everyone. They declare that "there is a war on police," that "people must support the police all the time and on every corner," and say that people should stop protesting the rampant, ongoing, systematic murder carried out BY the police.

Rise Up October

No. This is wrong and upside down.

Let's talk about reality. This year, police have killed at least 923 people. This figure does not count instances of people dying in custody, like Sandra Bland—the young Black woman found hung in her cell in Texas after being arrested for changing lanes. Of those people, at least 187 were unarmed. (This figure is conservative, for it leaves aside instances where the police claim the murdered person was armed but in which this claim is either false or distorted.)

Very, very few of the cops who inflicted these homicides will ever face charges. On those rare occasions they do go to trial, it is only due to either powerful mass protest and resistance OR the existence of dramatic video evidence, and fewer still will be convicted. And sometimes even THAT is not enough. In New York last year, a gang of police choked the unarmed Eric Garner to death for selling loose cigarettes, with the whole heartless, excruciating lynching caught on video. No cop was even charged. The same kinds of things go on day after day after day. And these murders are only the concentration point of a daily rule of verbal abuse, bullying, harassment and violence.

Over half of the 900 plus people that police have killed so far this year were people of color. This is no accident. One out of three Black males born in 2001 will end up spending time in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Over 40 percent of Black children live in poverty. Black women in New York City are 12 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. If this were happening to any other people in any other country, people would call it by its name: genocide.

THIS is the real war going on, a war against people of color. The police are the institution that enforces, with violence, this genocidal program. The police are the institution that enforces with violence a law and order of exploitation and degradation, of white supremacy and discrimination. The police play the role of an occupying army in the Black and Latino communities, 24/7/365. They play the role of modern-day slave-catchers. Any individual cop must fit his- or herself into that institution and do that enforcement—and if they don't, they don't last.

The mass political activities calling for an end to police terror and mass incarceration, called for October 22 to 24, absolutely must not only go on but be built as powerfully as possible. The thousands who will gather on those days will remember the thousands and yes millions who have been victimized by this, or who face the prospect of this every day, to insist that this MUST stop.

Which side are you on?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/405/reality-check-polemics-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Reality Check

Updated October 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

What REALLY Changes Things?

Those who insist voting can bring change, but determined resistance and struggle cannot... have it backwards. Yes the powers that be wield their police, army, and media to enforce their rule, but they’re in deep shit around the world and have conflicts within their own ranks—they can be challenged and defeated. A lesson from history: In 1964, a Democrat (Lyndon Johnson) won a landslide victory running for president as a “peace” candidate. He massively escalated the Vietnam War. In 1972, Republican Dick Nixon ran for president threatening to escalate the war further. He was forced to pull out U.S. troops and sign a “peace agreement” that led to the defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam. In neither case did how people voted in the elections determine what happened. The actual factors were a whole set of events in the world along with defeats the U.S. suffered in its wars for empire, and protest and rebellion in the homeland. A critical lesson for today: Real change never comes through working through this system’s elections, but determined struggle can be a game changer.

 

Why Economic Boycotts Will Not STOP Murder by Police

The real power the masses of people have is the ability to challenge the injustice this system has brought down on Black people and other oppressed people from the very beginning of this country; not withholding our dollars from the economy of the country.

The outpourings of protest have stripped away the cover of legitimacy the rulers work to keep over the savage oppression and the vicious exploitation this capitalist-imperialist system brings down on people. Rather than calling on people to stay home and not shop, which is a very passive form of activity, we need to mobilize even more powerful resistance, bringing forward wave after wave of people taking to the streets and saying NO MORE to police getting away with murder... It is easier to stay home and not shop or to work on getting people to do that than to go right into the teeth of the repression, the mass arrests and the threats the authorities have unleashed against those who have stood up to say this shit must STOP! But it won’t stop the horrors from continuing to be perpetrated against the people.

—Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party
and co-initiator of #RiseUpOctober

 

Codifying Racism into the Law

Every time another pig uses “I feared for my life” as a justifiable legal excuse for the straight-up murder of unarmed Black or Latino people, this system is codifying racism into the law. They are saying that it’s legally “justifiable” for an armed enforcer of this system to murder someone based on their racist, white supremacist ideas—ideas that are shaped by this racist, white supremacist system. Such a system is murderous and decrepit, it’s totally fucking illegitimate and needs to be swept away!

 

Who Are You?

To those who say: “Who are you to be standing up against police murder?” We’re people who think this is outrageous and has to stop—where do you stand?

And to those who say: “You’re invading my safe space by being so sharp.” Bullshit! There is no safe space, for you or for the masses of people getting harassed, beat down, brutalized, and murdered.

Now let’s get down and change all this once and for all!

 

Crime Among the People and the Police: A Revolutionary View

There should be no “ambiguity” or “confusion” about the role of police in dealing with crime among the people. Let’s look at the actual relations here. People have been maintained forcibly in conditions where, to quote a conservative writer, Edward Luttwak, for masses of youth in the inner city, crime is a “rational choice.” Even with the risk of prison and lives cut short, crime is a “rational choice” under this system. Why? Because of the workings of this system, there are no decent jobs and there is no education for millions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities, there is forced segregation to this day, and there are forced conditions of poverty. There is absolutely no justification for bringing down violence on people who have been forcibly kept in this position in their millions and millions for generations.

 

A Point to Media Mouthpieces

To Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the media mouthpieces of this system who defend police violence and murder: At every point in the history of this country, when it comes to Black people, people just like you defended the enslavement and the vicious violence they were subjected to and then came around later and said it was wrong. When the overseers were cracking the whip and the slave chasers were running amok, people like you defended it as necessary to keep the slaves in line... until the next phase of white supremacy, where you came around and said that, after all, slavery was so wrong—while you backed up Jim Crow, KKK, and widespread lynching. Now you’re up there, ready to admit that that was just terrible, while you defend the current form of white supremacy: police murder, brutality, and mass incarceration. Until you admit that and are ready to fully expose the violence this system rests on and perpetrates, shut the fuck up!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/outrage-in-streets-over-shooting-of-young-unarmed-black-man-in-minneapolis-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Outrage in Streets over Shooting of Young Unarmed Black Man in Minneapolis

Confronting police at the scene where they shot Jamar Clark, an unarmed Black man. Photo: @McMcdowell397
Confronting police at the scene where they shot Jamar Clark, an unarmed Black man. Photo: @McMcdowell397

Occupying the Fourth District police station in Minneapolis, demanding the arrest of the police officer who shot Jamar Clark
Occupying the Fourth District police station in Minneapolis, demanding the arrest of the police officer who shot Jamar Clark. Photo: @BlackLivesMpls

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As we go to press, people have been in the streets of North Minneapolis for over seven hours in outrage after police shot Jamar Clark, a Black man in his mid-20s, early Sunday morning. Authorities are refusing to disclose his condition, but relatives and activists are reporting he is either “brain dead” or dead. Protesters, including witnesses to the shooting, say Clark was handcuffed and not resisting police when he was shot “execution style” in the words of his family.

People are outraged, defiant and determined—marching, disrupting a community meeting on “police relations,” confronting the police at headquarters. A meeting to “listen” called by Urban League was shut down with chants of “Justice for who? Jamar!” Press accounts and social media report that after the shooting police tried to force people to leave the scene—some reports say police drew guns on protesters—but hundreds of people of many nationalities defied them and declared and enforced a “no-cops zone.” Many in the crowd spoke with intensity and fury about being constantly hounded by police, and people debated how to put a stop to it. Tonight protesters have hung a Black Lives Matter banner at the Fourth Precinct police station and a group at the station is demanding the arrest of the cop. People are bringing in food and blankets.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/student-upsurge-a-challenge-and-an-invite-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Student Upsurge: A Challenge and an Invite

November 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The student upsurge on campuses across the U.S. in recent days and weeks is an inspiring and very welcome development. Sparked by courageous actions of students at the University of Missouri, the fight has spread to other campuses. There is a new generation rising up to demand an end to the longstanding, dehumanizing racist outrages that are a reflection of and enforce a system that has denied the humanity of Black people since its inception. At the same time, and in places intersecting with the Missouri solidarity actions, protests have broken out on many campuses against the extreme economic burden imposed on students broadly in the form of skyrocketing tuitions and enslaving student loan debt. This upsurge of students should give heart to many, many people—from those who catch the most hell in the ghettos and barrios of AmeriKKKa, to people from the ’60s generation who still carry hopes for a better world, to oppressed people across the globe, and everyone who thirsts for real, radical change. And the students’ bold stand and actions have drawn in—and compelled—others to support and join the struggle.

To students: Carry through on the convictions that have moved you to act—the righteous rising up on the campuses needs to go further and spread even more widely. And as you do this, engage with revolutionary communists who are uniting with this fight against oppression and bringing the understanding of the real source of these and other outrages—and challenging students to get into the leadership and work of Bob Avakian and the real revolutionary way forward to a radically different, much better world.

 

 

Sights and Sounds of the Student Upsurge

(updated 11/22/15)

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/revolution-books-grand-opening-harlem.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Grand Opening of Revolution Books...

A Great Day in Harlem For the World!

November 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Grand opening celebration at Revolution Books in Harlem, November 15
| credit:revcom.us
Grand opening celebration at Revolution Books in Harlem, November 15

It was a brisk November afternoon in New York City. 437 Malcolm X Blvd. The sign atop the storefront was just finished: Revolution Books. Balloons were bobbing in the wind. A crowd was gathering and growing outside the entrance. People were expectant, many peering through the book display window. And then, at 2:30 p.m., the doors to Revolution Books opened.

People entered wide-eyed, taking it all in. There were smiles, handshakes, and congratulations. "I was here over the summer when you first started renovating...it's incredible what's been done," a professional consultant commented. A student from Columbia University chimed in with pride: "We were working late last night to get it ready." And there were others like him and also people from the neighborhood contributing time, ideas, physical work, and funds. A long-time Harlem resident was beaming with delight: "We so need a bookstore like this!"

You walk in and quickly come upon the fiction section. Move along the wall and there are the shelves on the history of Black people. Look around and you encounter artwork, including African face masks donated by a Harlem resident and an old friend of Revolution Books. Glance at the wall opposite and there's the section titled "The Emancipation of Humanity," where Bob Avakian's work and communist theory and the history of the Russian and Chinese revolutions are featured. Okay, later to browse...people are taking their seats. It's now a full house inside, and outside (the event is sold out) people are sitting in folding chairs, sipping coffee, and waiting to watch and hear it all on monitors.

The grand opening celebration for Revolution Books in Harlem was about to begin.

"It's On... We're Here!"

Overflow crowd at the opening, watching the program on a monitor |
 credit:revcom.us
Overflow crowd at the opening, watching the program on a monitor!

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, went to the podium: "It is with great joy and with a serious sense of responsibility that comes from understanding what Revolution Books can mean for a radically different and better future for the people of the world, that I have the honor of opening the first program at the new Revolution Books in Harlem, NY." The audience erupted in applause. He continued: "And I say to the world: It's on! We're here. We're ready to make real just what we say we are. A center of a movement for an actual revolution, a bookstore with novels, poetry, history, science, philosophy, and more, a place about the world and for a radically different world."

November 15 was truly an exciting and momentous grand opening. The great Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o had flown in specially to give a reading and talk on the occasion. Andy Zee spoke about the mission of Revolution Books. There was mingling and discussion. Ngũgĩ and Andy spoke at two programs in the new store: the afternoon event and a benefit dinner to help raise the $35,000 still needed for RB to be fully up and running.

People turned out from Harlem, and from around the city and beyond—people of different nationalities and ages; from different sections of society; students and scholars; activists and professionals; revolutionaries. All told, some 175 people came together to CELEBRATE. And they experienced a place where ideas and books and critical inquiry are taken seriously and joyfully—and that is a center of emancipation where you discover Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism, and a movement for an actual revolution to put an end to all exploitation and oppression. Where you are challenged and transformed.

Imagination, Books, Liberation...and Revolution Books

Andy Zee on Revolution Books

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books

| credit:revcom.us
Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books

Andy Zee opened. His talk was called "Revolution Books and the Emancipation of Humanity." He got into how Revolution Books embraces people's dreams and hopes—indeed, "dreams in a time of war," invoking the title of one of Ngũgĩ's memoirs. Wars on women, on refugees, not to mention drone strikes, and war on the planet itself. RB is where people find, experience, and can engage science, history, philosophy, and poetry, telling stories of struggles and hopes and providing understanding of the world and how it might be different.

RB does this, Andy explained, "in the context of not just how the world has been historically or how it is today, or even an imagined future, but looking at all this with our sights set on what really could be. Because: the world today holds the potential for something far better. And to unlock that, at the foundation of Revolution Books is the most advanced scientific theory for a revolution for the full emancipation of humanity: the new synthesis of communism brought forward by the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian."

Andy looked out into the crowd: "The problems of the world today appear on the surface to be intractable. People are compelled to choose between 'competing horrors and futures that are no future'—whether it be reactionary Islamic fundamentalism vs. imperialist modernity...or the 'choices' given Black and Latino youth, of winding up in prison or being shot by the police."

Andy went on: "We live in a world where there is no socialist society, like the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1956, or revolutionary China from 1949 until 1976. These were breakthroughs for emancipation—but they were defeated. And for 40 years there has been no beacon of real liberation, and sights have been lowered. But the world needs revolution more than ever; it needs a way forward."

And this is the great need that Bob Avakian has risen to. Andy talked about how over the last four decades, Bob Avakian (BA) has been charting that way forward. Avakian has developed the concrete strategy and vision for a new liberatory society and world—and, most decisively, Avakian has made a qualitative breakthrough in the scientific method and approach for understanding reality as it actually is, and for discovering and probing the patterns and pathways in the acute contradictions that oppress people today, how they are developing, and how this holds the potential for revolution.

In a world that cries for fundamental change, and many decades after the previous great socialist revolutions were defeated, Avakian's new synthesis of communism is...a "game changer." And that is the heartbeat of Revolution Books—and why Revolution Books is this center for emancipation and transformation.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: "The Book, Story and the Conquest of Time and Space"

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o 
| credit:revcom.us
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Andy then introduced Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. Ngũgĩ is known and revered the world over as a master storyteller, an innovative literary and cultural theorist, and an artist of conscience and conviction. He has identified with and given voice to the oppressed, to those who suffer and struggle against imperialism. His work spans Kenya's history as a colony of Great Britain, the heroic uprising and insurgency against the British, and Kenya since it gained formal independence in 1964 but still dominated by imperialism. (See"Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: Kenyan Writer Dedicated to Opposing All Oppression")

It was utterly fitting that Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o would help inaugurate the store. And he did so with incredible verve, warmth, and humor.

The title of his talk was "The Book, Story and the Conquest of Time and Space." He read movingly from an installment of his memoirs and told of his mother who did not know how to read or write but who encouraged him to learn—and, always, even when he came home with perfect marks, chiding him: "Can't you do better?" And he recounted the glorious moment when he realized that he could write.

He teased the audience, "You don't believe I can conquer time and space?" He challenged people to think about what they had eaten for breakfast and to jump ahead to where we are now. To think about places they had been and here we are. "You see," he said, "you are conquering time and space."

Which led to his account of being arrested by the Kenyan government in the late 1970s and being locked up in Kenya's maximum security prison, which he described as "walls within walls." He said he was able to "escape" by using his imagination to, yes, conquer time and space. Imagination, he said, is one of the most important qualities of being human: consider the architect who envisions a building—because it allows us to think about possibilities. It was in prison, he explained, that he wrote his novel Devil on the Cross—on toilet paper. He was able to reach across the walls, to the oppressed in Kenya and beyond, through imagination. (Revolution Books will soon be posting a video of Ngũgĩ's talk.)

An Amazing Dinner

The fundraising dinner was itself a highlight. People introduced themselves; there was animated discussion; and Ngũgĩ made contact with old friends and new readers and admirers. Not least, the food was stupendous (and got rave reviews): Indian dishes by way of South Africa, Senegalese and Ethiopian specialties, soul food and more. Seven restaurants—six in Harlem and one in Brooklyn—catered the event, donating the food.

Provocative Q&A

Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Andy Zee
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (left) and Andy Zee

A lively Q&A followed the evening presentations. Someone from Senegal, now living in Harlem, asked Ngũgĩ about the relationship between writing in one's local language, to connect with people at home, and being able to reach an international audience through languages like English, French, and German.

Ngũgĩ explained that the world is interconnected, but historically colonialism and then imperialism—and he gave the examples of slavery and Ireland—seek to suppress and steal people's names and languages. The oppressors do this in order to erase memory and culture. People, he elaborated, need their own culture and language to speak to, reflect on, and preserve experience—but they also need translation to reach across borders and to share knowledge.

Someone asked about the influence of Islamic fundamentalism in Kenya. Ngũgĩ quipped that we've also got this problem with another fundamentalism—"capitalist fundamentalism"—subjecting everything to the market and to capitalist-corporate control—alongside religious extremism, which only helps imperialism.

Andy Zee, drawing on Bob Avakian's work, and against the backdrop of the recent, horrific attacks in Paris, spoke about the clash between the two oppressive "outmodeds" of Western imperialist modernity and reactionary fundamentalism.

Ngũgĩ signing books
 credit:revcom.us
Ngũgĩ signing books

He got into how these "choices" lock people into the current intolerable social order; how if you support one you wind up strengthening the other, and both; and how Western imperialism is far and away the greater problem and fundamental cause of this—in the domination it has exerted and suffering it has brought and continues to bring to the billions on the planet. And how, here at Revolution Books, you discover the liberatory alternative to this. He also observed that when there were genuine socialist countries in the world—the Soviet Union before 1956 and China during the Mao years—this had a tremendously positive and revolutionary influence on liberation struggles. And now there is a new synthesis of communism that opens up new possibilities for making even more liberatory revolution in today's world.

A linguistics scholar in the audience commented to one of the organizers of the program that he had been thinking about this question, and had some similar thoughts, but that Andy's comments really opened his eyes and got him thinking in a new way.

You felt that solid core of Revolution Books, the science of communism as it has been taken to a whole new place by Bob Avakian, wrapping its arms around diverse artistic and intellectual currents, alive to all those dreams and insights—and raising this up. It came through in the exchange between Andy and Ngũgĩ...in the interactions with the audience...in the conversations taking place in the store and at the dinner.

A Great Beginning

(left to right) Andy Zee, Columbia University professor Jamal Joseph, and Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club, NYC
 credit:revcom.us
(left to right) Andy Zee, Columbia University professor Jamal Joseph, and Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club, NYC

And, yes, it was a joyous celebration. The afternoon program and benefit dinner drew notable figures. Jamal Joseph, a professor at Columbia University who is also on the advisory board of Rise Up October, came. So too did Herb Boyd, the well-known writer and chronicler of Harlem and a long-time friend of Revolution Books.

Several distinguished scholars attended the benefit dinner, including Gayatri Spivak, a founder of Columbia University's Institute for Comparative Literature and a renowned voice against "intellectual colonialism; and Brenda Green, head of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, and also a long-time friend of Revolution Books. Other distinguished professors, including some department heads, came from Columbia, CCNY, Hunter, Princeton, and other institutions. There were people from the literary scene, as well as the people's media, from the Harlem Development Corporation, as well as people from the neighborhood and students just learning about and getting active in bringing this bookstore and center for revolution into being. Front-line fighters from the Revolution Club were at the dinner tables too.

The scene at the grand opening of Revolution Books in Harlem   credit:revcom.us
The scene at the grand opening of Revolution Books in Harlem

Revolution Books' move to Harlem, the renovation of the new space, and putting the celebration together—this has truly been a labor of love. More than $125,000 was raised and loaned over the last year. People have been giving their time and energy and creativity. Some 20 publishers—mainstream, university, and small independents—donated books for the grand opening.

A community of support and engagement is being forged around this store—on the foundation of its solid core of BA and the new synthesis of communism. It was evident in the conversations, in the formal talks and question-and-answer, in the good will that permeated the air, in discussions about expanding the financial base and raising the profile of Revolution Books.

After each of the two programs, people stayed around, looking at books, talking with Ngũgĩ and Andy, and sharing with each other. There was incredible warmth. This was a great beginning—with much more to come!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/revolution-books-emancipation-of-humanity.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Speech by Andy Zee at Grand Opening of Revolution Books...

Revolution Books and the Emancipation of Humanity

November 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Andy Zee credit:revcom.us Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, at the store's November 15 grand opening celebration in Harlem

The following is the text of the talk given by Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, at the store's November 15 grand opening celebration in Harlem.

It is with great joy, and with a serious sense of responsibility that comes from understanding what Revolution Books can mean for a radically different and better future for the people of the world, that I have the great honor of opening the first program at the new Revolution Books in Harlem, New York.

So now, I say to all of you have joined us for this Grand Opening Celebration, and I say to the world: It's on! We're here. We're ready, to make real just what we say we are: a center of a movement for an actual revolution, a bookstore with the novels, poetry, history, science, philosophy, and more, a place about the world and for a radically new world...a place where people have the opportunity to discover, experience, and engage all of this...and do so in the context of not just how the world has been historically or how it is today, or even in an imagined future, but looking at all this with our sights set on what really could be, because the reality of the world today holds the potential for something far better, and to unlock that at the foundation of Revolution Books is the most advanced scientific revolutionary theory for a revolution for the full emancipation of humanity: the new synthesis of communism brought forward by the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian.

My name is Andy Zee, I am the spokesperson for Revolution Books, Welcome. My appreciation to all of you for joining us today for this celebration. I want to invite you to join me in recognizing the dedication and work by the staff of Revolution Books over the past five months. I also want to appreciate the incredible warmth of the people from this neighborhood who pitched in and worked so hard on the renovation; who came by and donated what they could to make this possible. Let's give a big shout out to the people who are listening outside because the program was sold out. And I want to say to you, I look forward to meeting you here next weekend at the open house.

And, please join me in also recognizing the welcoming spirit and encouragement of people from all walks of life—from the Harlem arts community to the people from the projects—as well as those from across the city, everyone who contributed funds, opened up doors and who came in to work, paint, and move and shelve the books. And I want to shout out to the students and grad students from Columbia University, CCNY and other schools, to everyone who has pitched in and pulled together to make this possible.

The joy of today's celebration is made so much sweeter by the students from the University of Missouri, including the Mizzou Tiger Football team, who beat Brigham Young University yesterday, which only matters because the Mizzou players put the interests of the people before their athletic careers, inspiring students across the country from Yale to California to stand up against the white-supremacist structures of the universities—students who themselves were propelled into political life by the righteous rising of the youth of Ferguson. Let's recognize too, the 100 families whose loved ones were murdered by police who came to NYC on October 24th for Rise Up October, who stood up in the face of their unimaginable loss and said THIS MUST STOP—and were joined by thousands of people, including voices of conscience and artists like Quentin Tarantino, which unleashed a firestorm of attacks and threats on him from the police and media. To all of these fighters I say, Revolution Books is for you.

And now, join me in welcoming a long-time friend of Revolution Books, a voice of conscience and former prisoner of conscience, a story teller of incredible imagination and beauty who has given the world the gift of taking us inside the lives and experience—the sufferings, the struggles, and the dreams of his country, Kenya—an experience that resonates the world over because of the commonality of life under the domination of imperialism, the billions of lives grotesquely circumscribed, economically, politically, and culturally—making life a living hell—an agony ultimately, and indeed continually, brutally enforced militarily. It tells you a lot about Revolution Books, and lot about this man, that he has come here today to open Revolution Books. Join me in welcoming Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

***

The last time Ngũgĩ spoke at Revolution Books NY we debuted his childhood memoir, Dreams in the Time of War, a memoir of a master storyteller that reads like a novel and which delivers the promise of its title, telling of a person and a people who dream of a better future in the midst of oppression and real horrors.

Today the door opens on this place of truly great possibilities. For Revolution Books is a place of dreams and yes, in a time of war...for everywhere today humanity is besieged. Revolution Books is a place that holds the dreams and the hopes for humanity for a world where no longer will the legacy of the lash of slavery or the noose of lynching be present as it is today in the bullets of the police or the cages of mass incarceration. Where no longer will women fear to walk down the street, be afraid even of her most intimate partner, or have control of her own life and body with the right to decide when and if to have a child taken from her by the state. Where gender will no longer be cause for stigmatization. Where no longer will people across the world fear the buzzing that signals death by the remote-control missiles of terror launched from suburbs of Maryland. Where no longer will tens of millions be driven as refugees from their homes to endure horrific detention camps and face demonization, deportation and worse. Where no longer will the creative potential and spirit of billions of people be crushed by the murderous grinding of imperialism. Where no longer will the planet itself be despoiled.

At Revolution Books the dream of a world that has overcome all forms of exploitation and oppression lives. What is extraordinary at RB is that here people can find the way to make these dreams a reality.

People's lives and dreams, our struggles large and small, are told in the pages of the books at RB. The engagement, dialogues, debate with authors, artists, scientists, front-line fighters, thinkers from the university and around the way; reveal a fertile vein—a deep mine—that reflects and concentrates the rich and complex history and present brutal reality as well as the aspirations and soaring artistic achievements of humanity. It is true that you will find the world at Revolution Books.

But the problems of the world today appear on the surface to be intractable. People are compelled into choices of competing horrors and futures that are no future. Witness the contention between two horrendous forces—the reactionary fundamentalisms rearing their backward path around the world and, on the other hand, the brutal forcible imposition of imperialist modernity... We are seeing this played out in blood in France with the outrageous attacks on innocent people, actions that have nothing to do with liberating anyone, anywhere. And what drives this fury are the imperialist bombs and troops and special ops unleashed from imperialist metropoles with the U.S. at the head of the pack, enforcing the daily robbery and deprivation that is the norm of this system. Humanity needs another way.

Look at the choices and the future of a Black or Latino youth growing up in projects like those two blocks from Revolution Books, whose life trajectory is mapped out by the system before they are even born—where one in three will end up in prison if not shot by the police.

Consider what it means that the first communist-led revolutions of the 20th century were defeated, first in the Soviet Union in 1956 and then in revolutionary China after the death of Mao in 1976. These revolutions began and achieved much in the struggle for people to get free from the thousands of years of oppressive class divided societies. Today, because for 40 years there hasn't been any country that is a beacon of real liberation, political sights around the world seek backward answers or at best are politically low—working on band-aids at the margins of what is today.

This is a time crying out for radical transformation. For a way to breakthrough. For revolution. At Revolution Books, people have the opportunity to discover the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, who today is playing a role analogous to that of Marx in the mid-19th century, piercing the methodological and theoretical fog and limitations of the past; developing a strategy for an actual revolution with a vision and concrete framework for a radically new society and state that is going to work on uprooting all exploitation and overcoming all forms of the oppression of different peoples and nationalities, and genders, and the great division between those privileged to work with their minds and those locked out of the full life of the mind and ideas—forced to toil, from dawn to dusk in manual work. This is a new society where people will be struggling with each other to overcome all the superstition and thinking that reinforces outmoded class and social relations. This too must be a revolution where the whole world comes first.

Most of all, Bob Avakian has brought forward a further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach—more firmly rooted in understanding reality and working on the objective world as it actually is...discovering the patterns and pathways that are nascent in the acute contradictions that oppress people today and how they are developing and which hold the potential for revolution.

In a world crying out for fundamental change, and many decades after the previous great socialist revolutions were defeated, this is a game changer. At Revolution Books people have the opportunity to experience, engage, and 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.

At Revolution Books ideas connect with people. Thinking is explored and challenged. Community is forged by through the process of engaging the big and the hardest questions. There is space here to read and think by yourself, to sip a coffee or a tea. Here people can find a path to begin a process to a life of profound meaning and import, not just for yourself alone, but to be a part of freeing the people of the world. At RB, as I said, if you want to act on what you are coming to understand, you can connect with the movement for revolution and the party which is its leading core. Lives are changed at Revolution Books. Let today's celebration of the opening of Revolution Books be your invitation.

Last week, there was a young man from the neighborhood and two freshman women from Columbia University working in the store and they got to talking with each other about the police brutalizing and murdering people in epidemic proportions. A staff person brought up a quote from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian where he raises in response to the murder of Tyisha Miller, a woman in Riverside, California who had passed out in her car from a seizure, that in a new society the people's police would sooner give their life than wantonly murder someone like this. Then the discussion was on: is it good cops and bad cops, or is it something deeper and systemic? When they were getting ready to leave, the young man said: "I have never been so challenged in my life while moving heavy boxes to a basement. You know, I think about these things all the time. I know I sound like I'm defending the police, but the truth is I'm more of a target than me being able to change them." The two young women said: "We are so lucky we ran into Revolution Books. We have been looking everywhere on the campus—campus groups—for something radical and we were so disappointed to find nothing! But now we are here where it's really about change and the whole world!" This is what happens at RB: People connect with each other who would otherwise pass in the night. People with different life experiences that normally pull them in different directions find themselves together digging into the biggest questions from the broadest perspective of: Does it have to be this way? Could humanity live differently? Is reform or revolution the solution?

A few days ago I spoke with a graduate student in journalism from South Africa. We only had time to begin a conversation to take apart what it really means for the people of her country that as incredibly historic and important as it was to end institutionalized apartheid in South Africa, without a change in the economic and the political system of capitalism-imperialism, which was then justified and in reality covered over by Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, what this has meant for the masses of South Africans, especially the basic youth, is a life of continued horror, but now without hope. Humanity needs a way out. RB is the place to take the journey to find it.

I have said before that RB encompasses nothing less than the present and the future, and, in a living sense, what we learn from the past. How people understand reality shapes what they do, how they fight back—with what objectives, how they determine friends of the people from enemies, how differences among the people should be taken up now, and in the future, how to fight and how to win—not just the immediate struggle, whether in the streets, the schools, or in the realm of ideology and culture, but how to win in the largest sense, bringing about a whole new society.

As you are figuring out what you think about the new synthesis of communism, your agreements and disagreements, recognize what it means that there is a place where there are the books and the engagement over the biggest questions of what is at the root of the problems humanity faces and the possibility of a radically new world. Without Revolution Books, without this place with its scientific spirit of discovery, the critical thinking, the poetic spirit, and the engagement with revolutionary theory and a broad spectrum of intellectual, cultural, and scientific work, without a place that can connect people to the movement for revolution and its leadership, no matter how heroically people fight, no matter how passionately people expose and denounce the current state of the world, it will stay as it is.

Today we inaugurate the new Revolution Books. It is great to be in Harlem with its rich cultural legacy of Black America...Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, Ellington and Billie Holiday, the creativity on the court of Rucker and the passion and insight of Malcolm X. Harlem has been and remains today a concentration of the foundational oppression of Black people: housing projects run like prisons, militarized police raids stealing the lives in the projects half a mile from here, setting up, framing, and sending the youth to prison. And all this runs smack up against the energy, creativity, and cultural vibrancy of the people and place of Harlem. In recent decades, there is a new diversity of people in Harlem—new immigrants from Central America and Africa, as well as middle-class white people, including students. There's a new energy in the air.

All of this will infuse the new RB. RB is now on the scene—bringing revolution, straight up and all the way—the potential of a radically new world—not just for Harlem but to emancipate people the world over.

Thank you!

See coming events at Revolution Books

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/the-savage-beating-of-stanislav-petrov-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Caught on Tape: The Savage Beating of Stanislav Petrov

November 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Two Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies chase a man down an alley in San Francisco, California on November 12. One cop tackles the man and the two begin a merciless beating lasting more than a minute. Blow after blow rain down on the man who is clearly not resisting, lying curled on the ground or with his hands above his head. Again and again loud, sickening thuds are heard as the cops strike him repeatedly in his head, arms and body. All of this is captured on video and posted online by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. As of November 18 it had more than a quarter million views on YouTube.

People in the area were woken in the middle of the night to the savage beating taking place in the alley below. "I heard just loud smack, smack, smacks. I really thought they were gunshots 'cause they were super loud,” a witness told ABC News 7.

The victim, 29-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Stanislav Petrov, was still in the hospital as of Sunday, November 14. He was visited there by Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods. “From his elbow through his hands are swollen. It looks like he has several broken bones in both of his hands or arm areas,” Woods told Bay Area CBS-TV.

"The surveillance video footage is disgusting and reminds me of Rodney King," Woods said in a statement. "Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting. This is clearly excessive force."

The video of the incident was not the result of any police investigation. Instead it was tracked down by people who live nearby and heard about the attack. The video was turned over to the Public Defender’s Office.

“This is some sadistic shit!!! I guarantee they say it was ‘justified.’ This needs to be out there,” one viewer commented on YouTube. Sure enough, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff said that the officers thought that Petrov was high on drugs so they didn’t know what he might be capable of. The two cops have been placed on “paid administrative leave” (aka vacation). The names of these brutal cops have not been released.

The brutality captured on the video is NOT an isolated incident but is the standard operating procedure for police. California, by far, leads the nation in murders by police, and the Bay Area and Northern California are a big part of the tally of victims of this growing epidemic.

So far in 2015, the San Francisco Police have killed five people, including three Latinos and one woman; senior officers have been caught falsifying evidence, and texting racist and homophobic messages; and jailers were exposed for staging gladiator fights among inmates and forcing them to perform sexual acts. A study in 2012 found that African Americans, who make up 6 percent of San Francisco's population, are seven times more likely to be arrested than whites. 
San Jose Police have killed eight people in 2015 (including one man they shot in the back and then lied about him reaching for his waistband), and three people have died in the county jail (in one case three jailers were charged with murder). In neighboring Sunnyvale, three people have been killed by police this year.

Everywhere across the country, police are killing, brutalizing and getting away with it. This must stop! And that is up to us—all of us. Stepping into the streets, challenging the millions who do not like what the police are doing, but have not yet stepped out: Which Side Are YOU On?!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/413/conflict-at-a-press-conference-in-turkey-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Obama After Paris: A Sane and Moral Response?

by Alan Goodman | November 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 16, Barack Obama held a press conference in Antalya, Turkey, where he is attending the “G20” Summit. This is a meeting of world economic powers. The terrible November 13 attacks across Paris by ISIS—the reactionary armed Islamist movement now dominating parts of Syria and Iraq—was not on the agenda. But it was all anyone was talking about. As Revolution emphasized immediately after the attacks, “The attack in Paris was aimed at advancing a reactionary agenda by spreading terror. It was cruel and unjust and horrific.” (See “A Terrorist Attack in Paris, a World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY.”)

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

When Obama finished his opening remarks, representatives of ruling class media swarmed like piranhas. They hit Obama with “questions,” like calling on him to address those who say “[Y]our preference of diplomacy over using the military makes the United States weaker and emboldens our enemies.” Or, since “the United States has the greatest military in the world... why can't we take out these bastards?”

It almost seemed like déjà vu all over again—back to the days right after September 11, 2001, when anyone who said anything but “kill them all and let God sort them out” was condemned as a traitor.

At the press conference, Obama punched back—visibly pissed off. He argued that it was not possible or necessary for the U.S. to send 50,000 troops into Syria and every other country from which a terrorist attack is launched. He defended his moves to allow in 10,000 Syrian refugees (out of more than 11 million people displaced by the war).

Afterwards, Obama was denounced by all the Republican presidential candidates. They called him weak and demanded more aggressive military attacks, more fascist repression, and competed with each other to demonize immigrants and openly declare a religious war on Islam. Jeb Bush—the supposed “moderate” in the bunch—was not to be “left behind” in the race to incite Christian fascists and frame this as a clash of “my god is bigger than his god.” Jeb Bush called for the U.S. to make the criteria for refugee status those who “can prove you’re a Christian.”

Compared to the howls of the press, and the Republicans demanding more military aggression than Obama would commit to, and in the wake of the terrible ISIS massacre in Paris, Obama’s stand might seem measured. But let’s examine it.

First, at the press conference Obama reminded anyone who thought he was reluctant to carry out mass slaughter that during his administration, he has launched more than 8,000 air strikes. Obama was not specific about who those air strikes were directed at, but nobody (including him) mentioned the deliberate U.S. bombing attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on October 3 of this year that massacred a dozen doctors along with patients and staff and destroyed the only surgical hospital in a major city in Afghanistan. So, while he argued for continuing to maneuver diplomatically and pay attention to public relations considerations, his basic message was insisting that a “sustained” strategy was the best and only alternative—which boils down to a grinding, endless, and hellish war.

For a MOMENT—Put Yourself in the Shoes of the Ruling Class

The tense and testy exchanges at Obama’s press conference in Turkey and in its aftermath reflect real crisis and dangers for the U.S. empire in today’s world.

Put yourself, for a moment—repugnant though it is to do so—in the shoes of those whose role in this world is to safeguard, maintain, and project the U.S. empire. They are top dog in a world of the most grinding exploitation. Around the world, they align with junior partners in crime in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who run torture chambers and death squads. The workings of their system, and their wars, drive millions from their homes. They are devastating the environment. In their U.S. “homeland” they are waging a reign of terror against Black and Brown people, and moving to force women to bear children against their will through making abortion—or any form of birth control—inaccessible to millions.

If you pull the lens back, you can see that what is going on right now with ISIS—their brutal and reprehensible attacks in Paris, in Beirut (the capital of Lebanon, where ISIS murdered 43 people and wounded over 200 one day before the Paris attacks), and apparently on the Russian passenger plane on October 31—and the response now coming from the imperialist powers, is part of a whole dynamic in which both of these poles carry out crimes on a daily, hourly basis.

If you took global imperialism out of this equation, the fundamentalist jihadists would be relatively dormant. But the workings of this system around the world have actually breathed life into and generated continuous incarnations of fundamentalist Islam. In part this is because of the way capitalism-imperialism tears up traditional societies from the “top down”—uprooting traditional ways of life while imposing new oppressive norms (for a substantial analysis of this phenomenon and how to bring forward a REAL alternative, see “Why Is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today’s World” by Bob Avakian). And the invasions, torture chambers, and drones that enforce all this have fueled the rise of fundamentalist Jihad.

In this situation, one side of the argument within the ranks of the U.S. ruling class insists that any sign of weakness, any sense that the USA will hesitate to invade anywhere, anytime, for any reason, opens the door to unraveling the whole U.S. imperialist setup. And so, insane as it seems, they argue for doubling down and lashing back in unrestrained forms.

The other side argues that if the U.S. strikes at their jihadist foes with all-out invasions—like they did after September 11, 2001—they will unnecessarily drive more and more people into the arms of more and more virulent jihadists. And as a matter of fact, reactionary jihadists openly bank on and want to provoke the U.S. and its allies into doing just that—in many ways actions like blowing up the Russian passenger plane in Egypt, or the attacks in Paris and Beirut (where ISIS massacred civilians in a poor neighborhood that is a base for Islamist forces fighting ISIS), are calculated to elicit a stronger response from “the West.”

Plus, sending large number of U.S. troops into the region, and suffering casualties, is bound to set off domestic conflict within the U.S. that can turn into a real danger for their rule. Obama argues for staying the course. For pressuring other powers and forces to throw more into the conflict; to maintain an endless reign of terror from bombs and drones; to ratchet up big-brother repression; and to continue to wage a war for “hearts and minds” by maintaining a facade of “tolerance” and branding wars for empire as “bringing democracy” to the world—tattered as that is.

A Horrific “Logic of the Logic” of the U.S. and “Global Powers”

Nobody in the “debate” within the U.S. ruling class rules out horrific mass slaughter. A truly chilling article in the November 17 New York Times—representing the outlook of liberals within the ruling class—explored various strategies for how global powers can smash ISIS. One was what the Russians did in Chechnya, which the article explicitly described as “a scorched-earth policy” that included the Russians kidnapping and holding innocent civilians as hostages, demolishing or burning the homes of relatives of suspected anti-government fighters, devastating the capital city of Grozny, and even holding the families of jihadists hostage.

And the article includes a call from the former chief of Israel’s “intelligence” bureau who demanded, “With this enemy, we have to push aside arguments on law, morality and comparisons of security and the rights of the individual. That means to do what they did in World War II to Dresden. They wiped it off the map. That is what has to be done to all the territorial enclaves that ISIS is holding.”

There are no accurate numbers, but civilian deaths in Dresden were at least in the tens of thousands. They were innocent civilians. There was no military value to the U.S. bombing Dresden. The city was swollen with refugees from fighting who were bombed “off the map” along with the city itself. The bombing was an act of massive terror on a monstrous scale. 

The Times article was an obscenely dispassionate exploration of how these ghastly war crimes might be duplicated to smash ISIS. In fact, the bombing launched by France in recent days has essentially begun to implement a strategy of wiping out not just ISIS, but also the civilian population in areas it controls. According to the Times article, when Obama began bombing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria last year, he did not go after known targets in Raqqa, Syria—the Islamic State’s proclaimed capital—where hundreds of thousands of people live. But in the aftermath of the ISIS massacres in Paris, France is doing just that—bombing Raqqa with U.S. support.

In short, for the U.S. ruling class, the logic of their kill-or-be-killed system has them in a situation where they don’t have any good options. And whatever options they do pursue bring nothing but suffering and death to millions and millions of people.

Obama’s Role, and Record

Let’s be clear: Barack Obama has not mitigated the escalating vicious cycle between Islamic jihad and “the West”—just the opposite. In the actions taken in his capacity as chief executive and commander-in-chief of all this, he has actually contributed to this dynamic in very vicious ways. 

And this is only a beginning list!

Another Way Is Not Only Necessary, It Is Possible

The U.S. rulers’ calculations are those of the defenders of an empire built on genocide and slavery, enforced around the world with endless unjust wars. On the other side of the conflict are smaller-scale reactionaries who aspire to a higher position within that horrible world and who have imposed Dark-Ages ignorance, vicious intolerance, and violent and extreme oppression of women where they are in control.

The interests of humanity lie completely outside these “alternatives.”

Here, we will refer readers to a statement we have up all the time at revcom.us and in every print issue of Revolution—which we cited in “A Terrorist Attack in Paris, a World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY”:

“It is this system that has got us in the situation we’re in today, and keeps us there. And it is through revolution to get rid of this system that we ourselves can bring a much better system into being. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.

“This revolution is both necessary and possible.”

And, as we also say,

“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.”

This really IS a way out of the madness, and everyone owes it to themselves, to their fellow humans, and to the future to really engage this. And spread it as you do.

And instead of, and opposed to, self-delusion, blinding oneself to the actual consequences of what any moves by the U.S. will bring to the world, or buying into the immorality of choosing between evils, there must be visible, determined opposition to the war and repression being carried out and now escalated by “your government” on the part of those of us in the U.S., France, and other imperialist countries.

Breaking through to another world, and breaking out of the current vicious cycle requires that people around the world see that the rulers do not speak for us. And that we stand with the interests of humanity.

Read, share online, and print and distribute “A Terrorist Attack in Paris, a World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/414/3-young-fighters-to-stop-murder-by-police-convicted-of-3-misdemeanor-charges-in-la-superior-court-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network So Cal

3 April 14 Protesters Convicted in LA: No Jail Time—Drop the Charges on Other Protesters!

November 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Blocking train in Los Angeles, April 14 Blocking train in Los Angeles, April 14.

On November 19, three young determined fighters to STOP murder by police were each convicted of 3 misdemeanor charges in LA Superior Court. These protestors dared to hit the streets April 14, 2015 to demand cops in the United States STOP murdering people, NOW. They were arrested at the protest by the LAPD.

For standing up to a reign of terror by police in this country, the system responded by targeting them politically, dragging them into court and piling on charges. The multiple charges these protestors faced, and now their trial convictions, are a clear-cut case of political persecution. A serious struggle to overturn these convictions and demand no jail time, and to drop the charges against seven other #ShutDownA14 defendants whose trials start soon, is being mounted.

#ShutDownA14 in Los Angeles was part of nationwide actions to stop police murder, and came at a crucial juncture in this country. At the time of these April 14 actions, the mass U.S. protests following the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner had ebbed and the movement that had shaken the country since Ferguson was being attacked and slandered. There was an urgent need to retake the political offensive. These three defendants were part of actions that took place in 30 U.S. cities on April 14. They took the streets with several thousand others nationwide to re-open the road of mass resistance to murder by police of Black and Latino people, who are specific targets of police violence in the U.S. The powers-that-be have zeroed in on those arrested at A14 actions in vindictive prosecutions, as well as a number of other people who were arrested during the powerful upsurge over numerous months, to intimidate any others from standing up to demand police murder must STOP.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

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

The trial of these three in LA Superior Court was an outrage. Judge David Fields acted as prosecutor and worked hand-in-glove with City Attorney Jennifer Waxler to paint the righteous protestors as criminals and the police as purveyors of fairness and public order. It’s not a good development that not one juror voted to reject what was clearly a politically-driven persecution aimed at suppressing mass protest against police brutality, murder and mass incarceration.

The protestors were convicted of “trespassing” on Metro Train property in downtown Los Angeles, “failure to comply with a lawful order by police” to leave the train tracks, and “willfully and maliciously obstructing streets and sidewalks” during the protest (for which there was an LA Police Commission approved permit!). The sentencing date for the defendants is December 3, the same day as the one year anniversary of the exoneration of the cop who choked Eric Garner to death.

The protestors face 3 years in jail! Yet, day after day and year after year – thousands of people in the U.S. are killed by police, including hundreds of unarmed people. Ezell Ford, Omar Abrego, Brother Africa, and so many others murdered by the LAPD, and no charges filed against the police responsible for their murders. Tamir Rice – a 12 year old child in Cleveland, murdered... yet no charges. Police are exonerated time after time, even when we ALL see police murders on video. This epidemic of police murdering people, and getting away with it time after time, makes the political convictions that happened in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, November 19th even more unacceptable and outrageous – a legal decision that must be responded to by broad sections of society with anger, condemnation and disgust.

What You Can Do:

Protest this latest act of political repression aimed at the movement to stop murder by police and demand the police who murdered 12 year old Tamir Rice be indicted, convicted and sent to jail as part of nationwide actions on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice’s murder by Cleveland Police:

Sunday, November 22
3:00PM
65th and Broadway
At the site of the LAPD murder of Ezell Ford

Monday, November 23
12 noon
Los Angeles Superior Court
210 W. Temple St

Call, or send letters to demand NO JAIL TIME for the convicted defendants and to demand DROP THE CHARGES on the remaining seven A14 defendants to:

Mike Feuer, LA City Attorney
213-978-8100
mike.n.feuer@lacity.org

Jennifer Waxler, Prosecutor in LA City Attorney’s Office
213-978-7840
Jennifer.Waxler@lacity.org

And please send copies to stopmassincarcerationsocal@yahoo.com
And/or call the Stop Mass Incarceration Network So Cal at 213-840-5348, including for info on the upcoming protest actions!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/414/occidental-students-occupy-campus-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

From a reader:

Occidental Students Occupy Campus—Demand Resignation of School President

November 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Occidental CollegeOccidental students have taken over the administration building for a week since Monday, November 16. Students are demanding for an end to tuition hikes, racial/gender equity, and for President Veitch to step down. During a speakout in the building by OSAC (Occidental Sexual Assault Coalition) on Tuesday, students told their stories of being sexually assaulted and raped and the opposition to action by administrators as well as the President of the university. Various campus groups and over 400 students have come together to follow through on these clear demands. (Photos: Special to Revolution/revcom.us)

Students at Occidental College took over the administration building.

As of Friday, November 20, students at Occidental College were in their fifth day of occupying the administrative offices (AGC) on the campus, and their ninth straight day of protesting racism and sexual assaults. Occidental is a private liberal arts college with a student population of 2,100 and is located five miles northeast from downtown Los Angeles. Black students make up 4.5 percent of the student body.

The students have listed 14 demands, including the resignation of the college president, increase funding for Black and marginalized students, creation of a fully funded Black Studies Program (a demand that has not been met for over 40 years), increase the percentage of tenured faculty of color, increase funding for the Chief Diversity Officer, demilitarize campus security (including removing bulletproof vests), and remove LAPD’s (Los Angeles Police Department) presence from the campus.

The occupation follows a weekend of protests that started with a walkout Thursday, November 11, as part of a nationwide protest in solidarity with activists at the University of Missouri. Over 600 students, including many white students, most dressed in black, walked out of their classes and marched through the campus, disrupting classrooms and the library. The march included some faculty and staff. The protest was led by student organizations—Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE). Oxy United for Black Liberation (a coalition of BSA and CODE) is demanding Occidental President Jonathan Veitch’s immediate resignation or removal, because he has “mishandled issues of diversity and sexual assault on campus.” That night, students involved in the walkout received death threats from other students.

The protests continued over the weekend and Occidental Weekly, the school paper, reported, “At the football and basketball games Saturday, student activists wore all black, and many turned their backs to the American flag while the national anthem was sung. According to a post Saturday on CODE: Oxy’s Facebook page, students were heckled while singing the Black National Anthem, and white allies were shoved while trying to leave the stadium during the football game. The basketball team turned their warm-up uniforms inside out at their game so that the Occidental logo was not showing, in solidarity with Oxy United.”

On Monday, the students held a mass rally where it was reported that “organizers implored the crowd to continue attending the protests for an equitable and just campus with the same passion exhibited during Thursday’s demonstration. They reiterated experiences of racism on campus, such as the defacement of a Trayvon Martin memorial in February 2014.”

The rally then marched to the administrative offices (AGC) where over 400 students began to occupy the building. Antoniqua Roberson, a senior, announced that students would occupy the building until the administration met their demands. She said, “We are prepared to camp here, day in, day out, sunrise, sunset, until our demands are not only heard, but actually met.”

Students took over the hallways and parts of the building on the first two floors. Tents went up outside of the building. The students designated parts of the buildings as quiet areas, areas for meditation, and areas for video games. Food and water was brought into the building. Students began to sign up to sleep in the building with 55-73 signed up for each night of the week. On Wednesday, the students expanded their occupation by taking over the third floor of the building.

Professors were asked to stand in solidarity with student activists and hold class in the AGC. Several classes, the ASOC (Associated Students of Occidental College) Senate meeting, and the DEB (Diversity Equity Board) meeting were relocated to the AGC.

The Faculty Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing “full support of the Oxy United for Black Liberation students’ actions and demands for the culture around racism and diversity in the institution change.”

The Oxy students’ occupation and protests are a part of the rising tide of student protests throughout the country. This is a great and most welcome development and something that must be supported by everyone.

Students need to be getting into all the questions, including getting into revolution as the only way to end the oppression of Black people, being posed in the article, “Racist threats at Mizzou: Anger, and struggle over the way forward,” by Sunsara Taylor. That article states: “Big questions have been—and need to be further—torn open by the ferocious struggle that jumped off at the University of Missouri against racism and spread to other campuses. As Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, posed it in a recent statement, ‘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?’”

We will report further on what is happening at Oxy as this struggle continues.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/414/justice-for-laquan-mcdonald-en.html

Revolution #413 November 16, 2015

Justice for Laquan McDonald!

Dash Cam Video of Chicago Police Murder to Be Released November 25

Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop of Laquan McDonald to Jail, the Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!

 

November 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald

From a reader in Chicago:

Thursday, November 19—In an overflow courtroom in downtown Chicago, Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered the release of the police dashboard cam video of the killing of Laquan McDonald by Wednesday, November 25. In an 18-page ruling, the judge said that lawyers for the city had failed to prove that making the recording public would jeopardize any ongoing investigation. Judge Franklin Valderrama also rejected the city’s attempts to delay his order pending an emergency appeal.

A year ago, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times and killed by Chicago police for “refusing to put down a 4-inch knife.” Sixteen times!! And this murder was captured on the dash cam video from a police car. But the City has suppressed the video. The lawyer for the family said the video has not been aired because of the “fear of violent protests.”

The family’s lawyer has described what is seen on the video. Laquan is walking away from police with a small knife in his right hand. “He is not running. He is not lunging. He is walking. Two Chicago police officers jump out of a Tahoe with their guns drawn. Laquan is still walking west toward the sidewalk with a full lane of traffic separating him from one of the officers. One cop opened fire from 12 to 15 feet away. The video shows the 16 rounds hitting Laquan and the bullets making the body jump again and again.”

Bob Avakian, "Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off."

Click here for more about and by
Bob Avakian

“It shocks the conscience,” the lawyer said. “The video was disturbing. It was described accurately by one of the witnesses as an execution. He was on the ground, and the police officer kept shooting.”

An eyewitness to the shooting—who has already testified before a federal grand jury—said, “I was there, I saw it. He (McDonald) wasn’t attacking anybody. He was looking for a way out. He was just trying to turn away. The kid turned away, was dropped at the first shot or two, and the police kept shooting and shooting. You could see his body moving. It freaked me out. It freaked my son out.”

The six cops on the scene, who participated in this execution, and the higher-ups have been lying and covering up and demonizing Laquan from the very first press release when they claimed Laquan lunged at a cop and the cops feared for their lives.

Last April the Chicago City Council voted to approve a $5 million payment to Laquan’s family with the stipulation that the family cannot release the video.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Valderrama ruled in favor of petitioner and independent journalist Brandon Smith, saying that the police violated state Freedom of Information laws in withholding the dash-cam video. City lawyers said they’d keep fighting. Mayor Rahm Emanuel signaled as much in his abrupt about-face Thursday over the dash-cam video, the one an attorney for the city has acknowledged shows Officer Jason Van Dyke emptying his gun into the 17-year-old. But then, just a couple of hours later, Emanuel reversed course and said he’d release the whole thing to the public.” For a whole year Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department have fought to keep this video murder from the light of day. Now Emanuel is hoping the whole thing can be swept under the holiday rug and that the city can start “healing”—in other words, avoid enraged protests.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

Fuck Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago cops and the whole system that brings down brutality, terror and murder against the masses of Black and Latino people across this country! The cop needs to indicted, convicted and sent to jail for murder.

The video needs to go viral when it’s released. Millions of people across the country will see this horrendous execution of a Black teenager, shot down in cold blood by the police in a hail of bullets. And millions should be outraged and act with mass resistance to STOP POLICE MURDER.

Rise Up-Stop Police Murder activists and revolutionaries will be out in downtown Chicago for actively boycotting Black Friday, November 27, 12 noon at State and Jackson, and we will be demanding that the cop and all others who have been part of the cover-up of the execution murder of Laquan McDonald be indicted for murder and all the cops who participated in this yearlong cover-up be immediately charged.