Revolution #416, December 7, 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/416/revolution-books-events-get-into-ba-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

An Invitation to Learn About—and Change—the World

Upcoming showings of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and discussions of BA's outline of the new synthesis of communism—near you.

Updated December 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People are grappling with big questions: Is there a way to change, to really change the way that people around the world are forced to live? What would 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?

The world today IS a horror—but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way forward, a way out of the horrors. As we say 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 the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), even as we fight forward to change the world. Two good ways to start doing this is to get into BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—a six-hour film of a talk by Bob Avakian—and the outline developed by BA himself laying out the key elements of the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward. 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.”

In the coming weeks, there will be opportunities for you to get into this film and the new synthesis outline together with other people at Revolution Books stores in different cities. See the schedule below.


New York City

Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave.

Contact Revolution Books at the address above or 212-691-3345 / revbooksnyc@yahoo.com for upcoming events.

Chicago

Revolution Books, 1103 N. Ashland. 773-489-0930, revbookschi@yahoo.com

Contact the store for upcoming events

Los Angeles

Revolution Books’ temporary space at the Multicultural Artists United (MCAU) Gallery, 220 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park, between Beverly & Temple.

January 21, Thursday, 7:30 pm: Discussion of Bob Avakian’s The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements.

February 4, Thursday, 7:30 pm. Screening and continuing discussion of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Contact Revolution Books for upcoming events at 213-304-9864

Berkeley

Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Avenue

January 19, Tuesday, 7-9 pm: Screening and discussion of sections of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Contact Revolution Books for more info at above address or 510-848-1196 / revolutionbooks@sbcglobal.net

Atlanta

Little 5 Points Community Center, 1083 Austin Ave @ Euclid Ave.
(enter building from back parking lot, take elevator to 3rd floor) Free Parking

Contact Revolution Books for upcoming events at 770-861-3339 or revbooksatl@hotmail.com


Boston

Revolution Books, 1158 Mass Ave., Cambridge

Contact the store for upcoming events at 617-388-0133 or info@revolutionbookscamb.org

Cleveland

Revolution Books, 2804 Mayfield Rd, at Coventry, Cleveland Hts

Wednesdays, January 13 and 20, 6:30 - 8:30 pm: Screening and discussion of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live.

Houston

2501 Holman (in Project Row Houses)

January 17, Sunday, 4pm: Come to watch and dig into Part 3 of BA Speaks:  REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

For information, call 832-865-0408, or email RevolutionHtown@yahoo.com.

Seattle

Revolution Books, 89 S. Washington St. (off 1st Ave. in Pioneer Square)

Saturdays, 1 pm: Screening and discussion of sections of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

For more info, contact Revolution Books at the above address or 206-325-7415 / rbsea@yahoo.com

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/no-pogroms-paranoia-persecution-no-more-unjust-war-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

In the Wake of the Outrage in San Bernardino:

NO More Unjust War!
NO Pogroms, Paranoia & Persecution!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The murders of 14 people at a holiday social event for environmental health inspectors in San Bernardino, California, and the injuries to 21 more, are a terrible outrage. The victims were men and women, with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, outlooks, and of many different nationalities, including people who immigrated to the U.S. from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. There can be no justification for targeting these people. Their deaths, whatever the motives behind the killing, are a vicious crime and a painful tragedy.

At the same time, the powers that be and their politicians and media have seized on this terrible incident to train people to see the world through a grotesquely warped lens: The killings in San Bernardino are being used to enlist people behind an agenda that will escalate the cycle of death and terror in the world. In the name of “safety,” people are being whipped up with xenophobia (irrational fear and hatred of “outsiders,” including people from other countries) aimed especially at Muslims, with paranoia, and with a program of repression and war that actually makes people here and around the world much less safe.

How People Are Being Trained to Think (or... NOT to Think)

Despite a blizzard of speculation and pronouncements by not just certified fascist liars like Donald Trump and Fox “News,” but the whole ruling class media machinery, right now the actual motives and connections of the people who carried out this murderous rampage cannot be determined by what has been revealed publicly. The suspects’ apartment was not secured by law enforcement authorities, but instead opened up to reporters who trampled the entire scene and corrupted evidence, while posting inflammatory photos and personal information like the driver’s license of a relative of the suspects. A deleted Facebook page that nobody can see, which was reportedly posted in a name other than that of either suspect, is being cited as “evidence” of motive. And routine activity related to the suspects’ Muslim faith is being portrayed as inherently suspicious, intensifying a climate where any Muslim person in this country feels—understandably—under siege.

Contrast this to how the murderous attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado on November 27 has been treated by the media and prominent ruling class political figures. In the attack on Planned Parenthood, the suspected murderer has a public history of connections to Christian fundamentalists and attacks on abortion clinics. And he was reported by a cop to have said “no more baby parts” after his arrest—invoking a slanderous and inflammatory doctored video falsely portraying Planned Parenthood as selling baby parts. Yet the powers that be have been much quicker to draw much broader conclusions about the motives and connections involved in the San Bernardino killings, based on much less actual evidence.

Whatever the facts behind this crime turn out to be (if they are ever really brought to light), the media and major ruling class representatives are using the atmosphere they are creating in the wake of it to enlist people blindly behind vicious repression and persecution of Muslims. And all major ruling class forces are seizing on this incident to line people blindly behind the U.S. empire in the global clash between Jihad and the West. This is a conflict that is bringing death by drones, beheadings, torture, assassinations, invasions, and massacres to a wide swath of the world on a daily basis.

This global dynamic is best understood and explained in the following quote from Bob Avakian that speaks to “outmoded” strata—who represent systems that oppress humanity—in different forms:

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

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

It is interesting, I recently heard about a comment that someone made relating to this, which I do think is correct and getting at something important. In relation to these “two historically outmodeds,” they made the point: “You could say that the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the world would be largely dormant if it weren’t for what the U.S. and its allies have done and are doing in the world—but you cannot say the opposite.” There is profound truth captured in that statement.

(From Bringing Forward Another Way, 2007)

Interests of the Ruling Class vs. the Interests of Humanity

Within all this, different sections of the U.S. ruling class and their political representatives are spinning this incident in their own interests and with conflicting agendas. But while there are sharp differences within the ruling class right now, they are over how―not whether or not―to maintain the U.S. empire of exploitation and oppression, and how to enforce their rule in the “homeland.” None of them even claim to represent the interests of humanity.

And through the way this incident is being exploited, people are being trained in the poisonous outlook that only American lives are precious. American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. The million-plus people who died as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq; the people killed by an ISIS bomb attack in Beirut, Lebanon; the people who died when U.S. ally Saudi Arabia bombed a hospital in Yemen; the people being tortured for years in Guantánamo... these are human beings too!

In short, whatever the actual factors behind the murderous attack in San Bernardino, the incident is being used and will be used further—by both sides—in the clash between the West and Jihad to further ratchet up the cycle of terror and death.

There is a way out of this madness! There is a viable and visionary alternative to, and strategy for, breaking out of this deadly dynamic, and into a world where people can dream and breathe. That way out is being led by Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—which he leads—as well as forces around the world taking up and promoting BA’s new synthesis of communism. This is a movement for revolution aimed at getting to a world without any exploitation and oppression, and the horrible conflict and bloodshed that is a product of, and enforces exploitation and oppression.

As part of fighting to break out of the terrible “choices” of Western imperialism or Islamic Jihad, and for everyone with a conscience: there needs to be a visible spirit of looking at the world from the interests of humanity. People in this country need to resist the crimes of “our” government, and support people around the world who oppose both the U.S. empire and Islamic Jihad (for more on what that means, see “Why We Should NOT Root for Our Own Rulers... And Why It’s Better If They LOSE Their Wars” by Larry Everest at revcom.us).

Critical to breaking out of the disastrous cycle of escalating death and terror: it must become clear to the world that millions of people in the U.S. do not accept the actions and crimes of “our” government, however they are “justified,” that ratchet up intolerance and repression at home, and a cycle of death and terror in the world. Millions need to visibly manifest that these actions are not being carried out in our name.

NO TO WAR—WHETHER DRONES, PLANES, OR TROOPS...

NO TO REPRESSION AND SURVEILLANCE...

AND NO TO POGROMS, PARANOIA, AND PERSECUTION!!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/gun-violence-as-american-as-apple-pie-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Gun Violence: As American as Apple Pie

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Look up mass shootings in America on the Internet and you see picture after picture of people of diverse nationalities holding each other, eyes wet with tears over the loss of loved ones, and a painful loss of life. Americans shoot each other far more than in any other “advanced” country. While the recent horrific shooting in San Bernardino—leaving 14 people dead and 21 wounded—is also throwing up big questions about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the world (however that did or didn’t play a role in this as a motive), this is giving rise to many asking why these mass shootings keep happening on American soil and why there is such a high level of gun violence in the U.S.

But to really understand this, you can’t just look at the question of guns; you have to look more deeply at the character of the society that is shaping the people who are turning those guns on each other.

American Massacres Founded American Society

The U.S.’s particular relationship with violence in “the homeland” has everything to do with slavery, genocide, and the theft of land from Mexico. The idea of the “rugged American individual” or being a “self-made man” is built on all that—armed with the ideology of “my right to prosper above all else” (and profiting from all of what that sat on) and the weaponry to back it up.

The American mythology of the individual small farmer striking out on his own actually rested on the wealth created from the enslavement of Black people and the genocidal, land-robbing assault on Native American Indians.1 This could not have taken place without white men owning and using guns on a mass scale, at the same time as they used their guns on each other to settle disputes. All this got enshrined in the culture and has shaped the “American ideal of individual freedom.” (The typical Western film being a celebration of American, read: white male, individualism.)

At the same time, white supremacist violence has been relied on, and fostered, by the ruling powers to conquer the land and control oppressed sections of people from the founding of the U.S. through today: from the slave-owner's militias, the slave catchers and bounty hunters used to put down slave rebellions and catch runaway slaves; homesteaders (small farmers given plots of land by the U.S. government) after the Civil War who participated in the genocidal slaughter of Native peoples in order to control the land; mass lynchings and violence against Mexican people in the Southwest; racist violence and attacks on Chinese miners and railroad workers who played a key role in building up the infrastructure of the U.S. after slavery; lynch mobs that were aimed at terrorizing Black people, containing and suppressing them in enforced segregation from the late 1800s all the way up until the 1960s... This violence—and the right to commit this kind of violence—is integral to white male supremacy as an ideological glue of this system, and the fervent, even fanatic, culture of gun ownership is bound up with all this.

American Society Is Saturated in Brutal and Wanton Violence

All Played Out

"All Played Out"
(spoken word piece with words by Bob Avakian and music by William Parker), Centeringmusic BMI, 2011. Available at soundcloud.com/allplayedout.

Right now: America is a society that is saturated in a culture of brutal and wanton violence which affects and infects everything: from the brutality and torture this system uses in its war on the world; the rape culture that is endemic in everyday life, including this system’s military and police forces; the celebration of lynching in the history of the U.S. and the backing of the system’s police forces to brutalize and murder Black and Brown youth. From Afghanistan to Baltimore, from Ferguson to Palestine, from the slave ships to the reservations, this violence—aimed at terrorizing innocent people, here and around world, trying to go about their daily lives—IS America.

A big feature of this violence is male supremacy and the violent attempt to control and subjugate women. A concentration of this is the recent rampage on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado where three people were killed and nine injured. The murderer was, at least in part, inspired by the Christian fascists’ demonization of Planned Parenthood, which is about one thing only: female enslavement through taking away the ability of women to choose whether and when they will bear children. There is the revenge mentality against women for refusing to be controlled by male partners or ex-partners, where men will go shoot up a woman and her children with the idea that, “If I can’t have you, no one will.” Or the fury against women that was concentrated in the shootings at UC Santa Barbara by Elliot Rodger, which was in large part instigated by wanting to punish women for not wanting to be with him, as if by virtue of being a man, you are owed a woman—who in all this is never seen as a full human being but as something to be owned and dominated. This is also seen in the guy culture of pornography or in many video games that celebrate and reward reactionary violence, revenge, and degradation.

All this is on top of the most cutthroat enshrinement of unfettered capitalist relations and the wolf-like individualism that this promotes—again, among everyone, whether they sit at the top of this capitalist system, owning the means of production or not—and again coincides with the constant fortification and assertion of various forms of privilege (male right, white supremacy, nativism, etc). This is the culture that is promoted, celebrated, and given official backing in America—whether it be Shark Tank on TV, a show about brutal entrepreneurialism, or too much of the hip-hop that is promoted by the powers that be, where one track will brutally celebrate the degradation of women, and the next is about chasing money, taking down anyone who gets in your way, and using mass weaponry to do it (which is just parroting the larger rules and dynamics of this system).

Then there is the overall fraying of the social fabric: the “traditional relations” and social norms are being pulled apart by the workings of this system even as they are being forcibly enforced. There are big changes in the world, growing economic disparity in the U.S., great anxiety about the future, and this is causing a lot of turmoil, frustrated white male entitlement, and a tremendous amount of alienation. (Just think of the staggering number of people who numb themselves with drugs just to get through their days.) This is contributing to a lot of the craziness, unpredictability, and volatility in our society.

As painful and horrific as it is, these constant mass shootings—even as different incidences have different particularities—flow from all this.

Infighting Among the Rulers

In addition to a lot of struggle about the role of the U.S. internationally and in particular about how to deal with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism (which I’m not going to get into in this correspondence), the infighting among the bourgeoisie about guns and gun control has grown—in particular in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting. The New York Daily News (a more mainstream imperialist newspaper) has featured several newspaper covers in the last week calling for gun control, including going so far as to call the head of the NRA (the National Rifle Association) a terrorist. The New York Times, one of the main voices of the mainstream liberal imperialist wing of the bourgeoisie, ran an editorial on its front page calling for gun control. Running an editorial on its front page is something the Times hasn’t done since the 1920s! There are big questions up among the ruling forces—not over whether this system should stay in place, but what are going to be the cohering norms of this system as it carries forward its male supremacist, white supremacist imperialist system scrambling to maintain its top-dog position in the world. There is a lot coming apart and they are battling over how to keep it all together.

It would be important to think more about why the mainstream imperialists feel the need and freedom to go on the offensive around this right now. There is a basic question of people coming to feel the illegitimacy of a system that can’t “keep us safe” when this is something that Americans have come to expect in ways that most people in the world don’t. Then there is the need, from the mainstream imperialists’ perspective, to reign in the fascist forces. The Democrats don’t have a social base that they want to arm in the way the fascists do... so how, from their perspective, do you keep all this together? I’m thinking out loud here, but I think this would be worth batting around more to understand the sharpening and volatility of the terrain more deeply.

What Is the Way Out?

That said: gun control is not the answer. We cannot, and should not, rely on the source of the problem to solve it. This is a system that uses its guns in the hands of the police to murder people in the streets indiscriminately, in particular Black and Brown people. This is a system that uses its guns and its bombs halfway around the world to massacre people in hospitals and wedding parties as a fighting doctrine.2 And when they talk about “gun control”—they are not talking about stopping all this!

What’s needed—and what’s possible—is a profound struggle to bring into being a society where the destructive social antagonisms between people are eliminated and in which there is an ethos of cooperation, of mutual recognition of people’s humanity, an open-mindedness and curiosity proceeding from the world out; but the ONLY way to get to such a society is to dig out the roots of the one that gives you the dog-eat-dog daily relations and the system of oppression and privilege that requires the twisted and broken psyches that gives rise to, the close-minded and narrow individualism and the consequent madness and mayhem that rages. This requires revolution and communism, and a movement today that promotes, lives. and struggles for those emancipatory relations as much as it can in the present as it fights urgently for the future.

 

1. Read Bob Avakian’s Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy for a powerful dissection of the “yeoman” mentality, the mentality of the individual farmer, which Thomas Jefferson held up as the American ideal, an ideal which rested on slavery and genocide. [back]

2. This has only contributed to the geometric growth of Islamic fundamentalism. For more, read “In the Wake of San Bernardino: NO Pogroms, Paranoia & Persecution! NO More Unjust Wars!” at www.revcom.us. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/flash-obama-speech-on-terrorism-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

FLASH: Obama's Speech on Terrorism—More War, Conflict in the Halls of Power, and a REAL Way Out

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As we post this online issue of Revolution, on December 6, Barack Obama has just delivered what was billed as a major speech on terrorism. There is much more to analyze and speak to in this speech than we can address at this time, but the following basic points can and must be made now:

First, this was not a “peace” speech. Obama’s whole demeanor and tone was aimed at emphasizing that he is commander-in-chief of, and escalating, endless war and ramped up repression.

Religious Fundamentalism, Imiperailism, and the 'War on Terror'

While the U.S. empire is at war with reactionary Jihadists who carry out terrorist acts and enforce brutal oppression where they have established power, this is most essentially a war for empire on the part of the U.S. And this is a war, on the part of the U.S., that every minute of every day subjects large parts of the world to an unrivaled reign of terror.

Here we can only begin to scratch the surface of what the U.S. “war on terror” has meant to vast sections of humanity. When Obama brags about dropping “thousands of bombs,” he is talking about a generalized reign of terror. He is talking about U.S. bombs that purposely destroyed a hospital in Afghanistan in November. Or bombs dropped by U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia that destroyed a hospital and a clinic in Yemen over the past two months. Or U.S. drones that circle cities and towns, striking with random terror – in many areas 90% of those killed by U.S. drones are not even the intended targets. When Obama talks about giving “training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground,” he is talking about a motley collection of U.S.-backed armed reactionaries, many of them ISIS-like Jihadists, who are part of a terrible war of contending oppressors that has driven millions of people from their homes in Syria.

And Obama threatened stepped up surveillance of immigrants, stepped-up repression, and demanded, “Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us ... decisively and unequivocally.”

Second, even all this is not satisfying a growing section of U.S. ruling class who see Obama’s strategy as not working. While not cohering around an alternative, they are howling that Obama needs to be even MORE warlike and demand more repression.

They created ISIS

Finally, this is no time to rally behind any representative of the system, or to accept that the only alternatives are U.S. capitalism-imperialism or Islamic Jihad.

This is a system that is responsible for a world where a woman living in a prison-like dorm in an Apple factory in Asia is “used up” as a sweatshop worker by the time she is in her early 20s. A system where an undocumented worker -- hounded and without rights in New York City – risks or loses his life building a gleaming skyscraper. A system where a child in Pakistan sews soccer balls, where people in the slums of mega cities throughout the “Third World” pick through garbage dumps and sewage for scraps to survive.

The Islamic fundamentalists aspire to a bigger cut of the action in all this, and a different form of organizing and maintaining these horrors. But their aspirations are dwarfed by the crimes of the rulers of the U.S.

The rulers of this system are confronting a whole host of contradictions and challenges for which they have no answer. They are vicious and powerful but they do not have things under their control! They have no answers but the revolution does. There IS a real, positive, revolutionary alternative and NOW more than ever it is time for that to really get out into the world, as we oppose the crimes of the system.

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.

Read the full talk | Download PDF

 As we say in the editorial in this issue:

“There is a way out of this madness! There is a viable and visionary alternative to, and strategy to break out of this deadly dynamic, and into a world where people can dream and breathe. That way out is being led by Bob Avakian (BA), and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA -- which he leads—as well as forces around the world taking up and promoting BA’s new synthesis of communism. This is a movement for revolution aimed at getting to a world without any exploitation and oppression, and the horrible conflict and bloodshed that is a product of, and enforces exploitation and oppression.

“As part of fighting to break out of the terrible ‘choices’ of Western imperialism or Islamic Jihad, and for everyone with a conscience: there needs to be a visible spirit of looking at the world from the interests of humanity. People in this country need to resist the crimes of ‘our’ government, and support people around the world who oppose both the U.S. empire and Islamic Jihad (for more on what that means, see ‘Why We Should NOT Root for Our Own Rulers... And Why It’s Better If They LOSE Their Wars’ by Larry Everest at revcom.us).

“Critical to breaking out of the disastrous cycle of escalating death and terror: It must become clear to the world that millions of people in the U.S. do not accept the actions and crimes of ‘our’ government, however they are ‘justified,’ that ratchet up intolerance and repression at home, and a cycle of death and terror in the world. Millions need to visibly manifest that these actions are not being carried out in our name.”

NO TO WAR – WHETHER DRONES, PLANES OR TROOPS...

NO TO REPRESSION AND SURVEILLANCE...

AND NO TO POGROMS, PARANOIA AND PERSECUTION!!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/chicago-goddam-article-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Chicago Goddam!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

See also:

Update: Chicago Whitewashes Continue
No Indictment for the Pig Who Murdered Ronald Johnson

Laquan McDonald, 17 years old, gunned down on a busy Chicago street by a cop. Shot seconds after the cop pulled up and jumped out of the squad car, as Laquan walked away from the cops, hands at his side. After the first shot, Laquan fell to the ground and as he lay there he was riddled with 15 more bullets. This cold-blooded execution of a teenager was followed by a massive cover-up. 16 shots and a cover-up: CHICAGO GODDAM!

The city of Chicago, where Black people came up north seeking freedom and a better life only to be super-exploited in the steel mills and stockyards by this capitalist system, when they could get jobs at all...where 23 Black people were lynched or otherwise murdered “up south” in the bloody summer of pogroms in 1919 just to enforce their being locked down on the bottom of society and to let people know that there would be NO freedom in Chicago either...where white mobs rioted over and over again in the decades that followed whenever Black people dared to go in the “wrong neighborhood” or when schools were being desegregated and where this was managed by the top real estate interests in the city for the benefit of their capitalist system, backed up by the Democratic Party/city government and the mob...where the police murdered the Black revolutionary leader Fred Hampton in 1969 as he slept in his bed, drugged by one of their undercover agents, and then the city, the State’s Attorney and the police all tried to cover it up (see “December 1969: The FBI Assassination of Fred Hampton—I Am a Revolutionary!’“)....where they tortured Black people for decades and the cops in the force still revere the pig commander Burge who ran the torture. The list is long and the crimes are many.

And now Chicago, where they not only murdered Laquan but conspired together, up to the very highest levels—and let’s not rule out the White House either—to cover it up... (See “Recent History of the CPD & More Revelations of Cover-Up in the Murder of Laquan McDonald”)

Here is this goddam city with its downtown of gleaming skyscrapers and sparkling lights, upscale retail shopping districts like the Magnificent Mile...where the rulers have no real way to make profits off of large swaths of the masses of Black people, and unemployment is sky-high and lasts for generations...where segregation is still the rule of the day, more so today than ever, when they are not literally driving Black people OUT OF the city...where the schools in Black neighborhoods are turned into virtual prisons and pipelines to actual prisons, when they’re not being shut down by the city...where, especially now that the capitalists no longer have any use for them to directly exploit, masses of youth are consigned to lives of such hopelessness and desperation that crime, in the words even of one of the capitalist system’s defenders, becomes a “rational choice” and “the life” becomes a source of meaning for the youth and they are driven to murdering and shooting and crippling each other.

This goddam city is not an exception to the rule, it’s the rule itself—the way that Black people are forced to live, and die, in every major city of this country. There is more for people to know about all this, about where this oppression comes from and how to get rid of it, and this is part of the incredible work that Bob Avakian has been doing, and people need to get into that. The point is this: Chicago is Baltimore is Ferguson is Birmingham is Los Angeles is Houston is New York. And it is and it will be, grinding up Black people and even today threatening genocide...unless and until we make revolution, a real revolution, one that can finally get at and abolish this white-supremacist madness by getting at and abolishing the system that gave rise to it and keeps it going—capitalism-imperialism. A revolution guided by the method of understanding reality, the strategy and the vision developed by Bob Avakian and led by the Party he leads.

This goddam city is also where people just shut down the “Magnificent Mile” on “Black Friday”...where people have lifted their heads and are asking big questions...where the powers-that-be are on the defensive, pointing fingers at each other and trying to get this to calm down, blow over. This is just an inkling of what the masses of people are capable of, IF they are aroused and given leadership, revolutionary leadership. Chicago is a major part of this empire, and this whole empire is dealing with all kinds of crises right now, including right within the ranks of those who rule this empire. Right now there is the kind of crisis where truths can suddenly spill out and questions are raised in a way that doesn’t go on “normally.”

The powers that be are scared and maneuvering to contain the outrage, limit how much more about police murder and brutality comes out, quell questioning of the legitimacy of the police’s use of force against oppressed communities and channel the furor into dead ends. A section of the ruling class is in trouble right now, focused on their murdering police in Chicago. While nobody can say where all this will lead...one thing is damn sure, we cannot let them just “patch it up” and go back to their brutalizing business as usual with another task force, another mea culpa by the mayor, another pig chief. NO WAY.

Now is the time to double down, to get organized for an actual revolution and to bring into it everyone who dreams of justice, of freedom, of a radically different, liberatory world. It means getting out to the communities of the oppressed, those whose conditions of life scream out for revolution, to get organized and play a much greater role both in the current situation and in reaching out to and uniting with different sections of people, especially youth and students of all nationalities in the city and suburbs...doing all this to transform the terrain and the people, preparing the ground TODAY for revolution. Those who normally count for nothing in this society—what we do in this situation can count for a great deal in putting an end to all this madness here and around the world.

Anyone who is serious or is just waking up needs to know there is a revolutionary leader out of the great worldwide revolutionary struggles of the 1960s who they need to get into. Tell people to go to the website www.revcom.us and find out more about Bob Avakian and the revolution we need. Get with the movement for revolution the Revolutionary Communist Party is building and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.

Right now we have to be in the streets like mad, raising hell and demanding justice and at the same time giving out real answers as to WHY this happens and WHAT we could do about it. There can be no half-stepping—all the truth must come out. All the criminals—the real criminals who are behind the crimes committed surrounding the murder of Laquan and the cover-up of that murder—as high as it goes—must be indicted, convicted and go to prison for their crimes. All the other police murders, torture, shootings that have long been buried must also come to light.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/reality-check-answers-to-burning-questions-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Reality Check:

Answers to Burning Questions arising in the wake of the release of the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald and the extensive cover-up that followed.

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The police murders, brutality and torture and the cover-ups have reached a point where the scope and scale over a long period of time shows how deeply this is entrenched in Chicago. It is raising many questions about the role and nature of the police force. Even a major article in the editorially conservative Chicago Tribune on December 4, 2015 titled "Chicago's flawed system for investigating police shootings" starts out with this: "It is a system seemingly designed to fail."

There is a lot of debate over why this is the situation and what can and should be done about it. Many different class and social forces have jumped into the fray, putting forward and fighting for a different analysis of the problem and, correspondingly, the solution. It is important to walk through some of the main ones and indicate in a beginning way why they cannot begin to address stopping police murder and terror, uproot the oppression of Black people and ultimately are dead ends which will derail things.

The fact that the crisis in Chicago around the role of the police comes after a year of resistance to police terror nationwide, at the same time as the shutdown the Fourth Precinct struggle in Minneapolis, in the wake of #RiseUpOctober in New York City to retake the momentum on stopping police terror (see "On the Significance of RiseUpOctober: Building on Strengths, Overcoming Weaknesses...And Fighting to Actually Put an End to Police Terror and White Supremacy Through Revolution"), and the national student upsurge in response to the Mizzou student protests and the football team strike—all this is ripping the social fabric in ways that could be hard to repair. (See "Chicago Goddam!")

Is It a "Chicago" Problem?

It should not need saying after the past year, but it does—it is not that police in Chicago are more brutal, more corrupt or have a more entrenched white supremacist culture than other cities big and small across the U.S. Chicago is part of the U.S.—a concentrated part of it—and while it has its own dynamics, it plays a disproportional role, too, in shaping what goes on in the country overall. Even the stonewalling of the release of the video of Laquan's murder may well have been in consideration to what was confronting the Obama administration last fall. Remember that was a time when things were getting very heavy throughout the country for the first time in decades and where it was all going was NOT a given. The basic reality is that what is happening in Chicago is a CONCENTRATION of the oppression of Black people and the struggle against it. Chicago is not an outlier or an exception, it is rather a LYNCHPIN of this system.

Take a look at cities big and small, cities with "liberal Democratic administrations," cities with overwhelmingly Black administrations, cities with majority oppressed nationality populations, cities with "enlightened reform-minded" police chiefs, cities in the north and the south—all of them have systemic police brutality and murder. Ferguson and Baltimore, Minneapolis and Madison, New York and Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Pasco, Cleveland and Atlanta... and many other cities and towns. All these cities have been rocked by protests against police murdering people in this past year because there is a nationwide epidemic of police murder and terror that is part of a genocidal program. Let's start there.

Is the Problem the "Culture" of the Police or Does Police Culture Reflect Their Role in Capitalist Society?

There has been a lot of pointing to "police culture" as being the problem and what needs to be changed. White supremacy is part of that culture, as is the blue code of silence that protects all the pigs who brutalize people. Changing that culture: working to eliminate the "unstated racial biases," more police training, more Black police—all these are put forward as part of the solution to dealing with the institutional nature of the problem.

Bob Avakian (BA), leader of the revolution, gets to the essence of why this is the "culture" of the police and why delusional notions of changing that culture are going to go nowhere. This does not mean people should put up with this at all. What it does mean you have to understand what you are really up against if you want to stop police terror. BA says in BAsics 1:24:

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

In an essay written back in 1997, BA goes into this even more. This essay could easily be describing the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2014. (See "Richard Pryor Routines...or Why Pigs Are Pigs")

Recently I was reading reports of police assaults on Black people and of Black people fighting against the police in Memphis and Miami. This called to mind a story I was told a while back. A rookie cop was riding in his police car with his veteran partner when a report came in that there was a Black man in the vicinity with a gun. As their car screeched around the corner, a young Black man suddenly appeared sprinting up an alley—into a dead end. "Shoot him!", the older cop screamed, "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"

"It's free!" Think about that for a second. "It's free!" In other words, here's a chance that gets a pig to sweating and salivating with anticipation—a chance to "kill a n*" with the already provided cover that a Black man—a Black man, any Black man—was reported in the area with a gun. This is an opportunity too good to pass up: "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"

Well, in this case, the rookie was not ready for that—perhaps he was one of those rare ones who joins a police force actually believing the "serve and protect" bullshit—and that particular Black man did not die that day. But one of the most telling things about this whole incident is the fallout from it: The rookie cop had to resign. If he wasn't ready and willing—if he didn't have the proper attitude to do what his veteran partner was calling for, what came naturally to the seasoned "peace officer," what any pig in his place and in a pig's right mind would do—then there was no place for him on the force. It was he, the rookie who hadn't learned, and couldn't learn it seems, what it's all about—it was he who was the outcast and felt he had to resign....

Pigs are pigs. Of course, that's an image, a symbol—in the most literal sense they are human beings, but they are human beings with a murderer's mentality, sanctioned, disciplined, unleashed by the ruling class of society to keep the oppressed in line, through terror whenever necessary and as the "bottom line," as they like to say. Terror against the oppressed is even a special reward for "carrying out the dangerous and thankless duty" of being the "thin blue line" between "civilization on the one side and anarchy and lawlessness on the other." Think about it once again: Terror against the oppressed is not just part of the job, it's also a reward. That is one of the deeper meanings of the story at the start: "Go on, shoot him—it's free!"...

Is It Possible to De-Fund the Police and Use Those Resources for the Betterment of the Black Community?

If you come to grips with why the masses of people in oppressed communities, especially Black and Latino are actually worse off than they were decades ago in terms of the level and depth of the poverty, the enforced segregation, massive incarceration of the population and what that has to do with the actual workings of the capitalist/imperialist system, then it should be clearer that funding police is not fundamentally a matter of "policy choices" any more than funding the military is for running an empire. It all has to do with what is necessary for the capitalist system to maintain power. It has to do with the very nature of this system, how white supremacy is embedded in its DNA and has been through slavery, then Jim Crow and now the New Jim Crow. If you come to grips with this then the demand to "defund the police" is really "pie in the sky" and an illusion. This system based on oppression and exploitation here and all around the world has to have the police and the military, the armed forces of the state to enforce that system and prevent any challenges to it. No one has done more work than Bob Avakian on these questions—what is the nature of the problem and why are Black people oppressed as a people within the U.S. and why the answer to this is revolution.

Are Independent or Federal Investigations the Answer or a Dead End?

Many people are calling for federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations. There are people who have been subject to police murder and terror who see that the CPD is hopelessly brutal and that there can be no impartial or fair investigations in the city. These Stolen Lives families have been retaliated against by the same police department who carried out the murder of their loved one in the first place. Many people have the illusion that the DOJ will intervene on behalf of Black and Latino people who have been subjected to police terror and especially now that there is a Black attorney general. This is not only a dead end but a deadly illusion.

(There is deep discussion of the history and dynamics of this in BA's work, such as Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy and Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, but Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon)

Here is a clue from their own mouths: Mayor Emanuel at first rejected the idea of the Department of Justice looking into the practices of the Chicago Police Department. The Chicago Tribune ran a revealing article, which argued why Emanuel should embrace a DOJ investigation: a federal DOJ investigation would help insulate the mayor from pressure for his resignation; it would provide a club to use against the police department; and it would take a very, very long time for the investigation to be completed, and in the meantime, the problems of the CPD would be "out of the city's hands." Not surprisingly, Emanuel did an about-face and, along with top Democrats like Hillary Clinton, united with a call for a DOJ investigation.

The DOJ investigation upheld and whitewashed the pig Darren Wilson's murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Even worse, the DOJ basically instructed police all over the country in HOW they can commit murder of unarmed people and get away with it, by claiming that they felt in danger for their lives. The DOJ slandered as a "false narrative" the multiple eyewitness descriptions of Mike Brown with his hands up at the time he was executed by a pig.

There are many studies of DOJ-mandated consent decrees and other forms of federal supervision over local police departments, dating back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s. The Marshall Project has done a report, "Policing the Police" (at Marshallproject.org), which examines some of the failures of these DOJ mandated changes to even take hold in police departments.

The LAPD is held up as the model of federal oversight reforms, which might surprise all the victims of LAPD brutality and murder in the last few years. The Cleveland police department also underwent a DOJ investigation and supervision, and still 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered on a playground within 2 seconds of the cops arriving at the park where he was playing. The Laquan McDonald case is being heard by a federal grand jury. Since the video is so clear, why is this still dragging on?

As far as independent investigators, Wisconsin was one of the first states to require them by law for police-involved shootings. It was revealed that these "independent" investigators have law enforcement backgrounds. Why? Because no one else knows how to conduct investigations! Both of the police murderers of Tony Robinson in Madison and Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee were exonerated by "independent investigators."

Here is the reality: There is NO JUSTICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Ask the families of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Nicholas Heyward Jr., Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown. None have seen justice from the DOJ. Why is it you cannot name one case where the federal government has convicted a cop for killing someone? So don't deceive yourself about saviors from the Department of Justice coming to the rescue.

City Administration Mini Regime Change

There are many people who are calling for the mayor and the district attorney to resign. As with McCarthy, all these people deserve to be investigated and if involved in the cover-up, as seems to be the case, indicted and prosecuted for being part of a criminal conspiracy to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald.

The whole system is guilty as hell. As Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party put it, "When you're up against a genocide, and that IS what we're dealing with, you don't ask the people presiding over it to make some change to smooth out the rough edges of that genocide or to slow down its intensity. You act to STOP it."

A change of faces at the top and maybe some people getting a little more clout in city hall, or a few more jobs to pass on or some other tweaking around the edges of this monstrous system is not going to deal with the oppression of the masses Black people or stop police terror or stop the other major crimes of this system like the oppression of women. We don't want that and neither should you. We are about the emancipation of all humanity and as an integral part of this, ending the centuries-long nightmare of the oppression of Black people. You should want this, too. It is the only liberating way forward.

Ask yourself, why do you think the city was so afraid to release the video of Laquan's murder in the first place? It wasn't just Chicago politics. It was Ferguson and the uproar in the country over the police murder of Mike Brown, and the authorities' openly stated worry that Chicago would erupt with a fury that surpassed Ferguson and Baltimore. In Ferguson, defiant ones from rival gangs set aside their beefing with each other and stood up, together with many others from the community—and said we aren't taking this anymore. They braved tanks, National Guard, massive arrests, tear gas, rubber bullets, police dogs and more. Their standing up won support for the justness of their cause from all sections of society—artists, students, religious people—of all nationalities, people who themselves are not directly feeling the boot of the police but do not want to live in a society where this happens to people because of the color of their skin.

***

Anyone who is serious or is just waking up needs to know there is a revolutionary leader out of the great worldwide revolutionary struggles of the 1960s who they need to get into. Tell people to go to the website www.revcom.us and find out more about Bob Avakian and the revolution we need. Study the strategy for making that revolution in a country like this. Get with the movement for revolution the Revolutionary Communist Party is building and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.

If people who do hate all this madness and long for something better get together and seize this opening, big advances could actually be made toward a revolution, toward a whole better way of life, where power is directed toward mobilizing masses to end oppression, to dig it up by the roots, and not to constantly reinforce it or conciliate with it.

From that perspective, we have to be in the streets like mad, raising hell and demanding justice and at the same time giving out real answers as to WHY this happens and WHAT we could do about it and HOW to do it.

From that perspective, spread, deepen, the resistance to STOP police murder and terror and be determined to not turn back until that is achieved.

When people ask, WHAT ARE YOUR REASONABLE DEMANDS?...

Here is a very just and very reasonable demand: EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved in Laquan's murder and the cover-up should be indicted and prosecuted.

Here is a very just and very reasonable demand: EVERY SINGLE COP involved in the police murders and cover-ups of a long list of other people...like Ronnie Johnson or Roshad McIntosh, Darius Pinex, Dakota Bright or Martice Milliner...should ALL be indicted and convicted and sent to jail. There is no statute of limitations on murder. The list is long and the crimes are many.

Here is a very just and very reasonable demand: STOP police terror.

And challenge everyone in this society: Which side are you on?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/recent-history-of-the-chicago-police-dept-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Recent History of the Chicago Police Department & More Revelations of Cover-up in the Murder of Laquan McDonald

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

Police murder Laquan McDonald at 5 minute mark

Every day since the video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke was released last week, more has come to light about the cover-up carried out by the police that started right at the scene of the shooting of Laquan and reveals the cops’ standard operating procedure.

The regional manager of the Burger King near the shooting incident told the media that the BK video system had never experienced a technical glitch. But after police spent hours with it, right after the shooting of Laquan, over 80 minutes of video surrounding Laquan’s murder vanished. The audio from at least five police dash-cams on the scene (automatically triggered when the car’s flashing lights are turned on) somehow doesn’t exist due to “technical malfunction.” The Chicago Tribune recently obtained all the statements given by at least five of the other cops at the scene, along with the summary reports by the Chicago PD investigators who declared it “justifiable homicide.” All the pigs who were on the scene straight up lied in order to cover up for the pig who pulled the trigger.

The number of police shootings in Chicago has averaged one every week over years. In 2014, the year that Laquan was killed, there were 50 police-involved shootings on record, and 18 of them were fatal. The Chicago police have a long and sordid history of shooting and outright murdering people and doing so with complete impunity.

Another dash-cam video is about to be released—of the Chicago police murder of 25-year-old Ronnie Johnson. The city has just abandoned its months-long fight to keep the video from being released to the public. Ronnie’s mother and the family’s attorney, both of whom have viewed the video, say it clearly shows the police shooting Ronnie in the back as he is running away. This police murder took place in October 2014, around the same time and in a similar fashion as the murder of Laquan. The family has been demanding for months that the video be released to the public. No cop has been charged for Ronnie’s murder. Other cases of police murder continue to spill out into the public eye.

Besides police murder, there were major revelations earlier this year in The Guardian (UK) about the “black site” at Chicago’s Homan Square, supposedly a police evidence storage facility, where people detained by the police, disproportionately Black and Latino, were taken “off the record.” (See “Homan Square: Chicago Police Dept.’s Continuing Criminal Enterprise” at revcom.us) People were tortured, some forced to make false confessions. Many disappeared for days and lawyers and families could not find where they had been taken while police “questioned” them.

There is also the recent firing of Lorenzo Davis, the top investigator for the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), a Black 25-year police veteran. He was fired for refusing to change his findings against cops in just four of the thousands of cases of police use of excessive force. Around the same time, the police arrested and beat George Roberts, the only other Black investigator at IPRA, for daring to do the same. On November 18, 2015, the New York Times ran an article based on the findings of the Invisible Institute in Chicago which details how rarely police are punished. For instance, “from 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of the more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished...”

Before this there was the years-long Burge torture scandal. Under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, many people were subjected to unbelievable cruelty, including electric shocks to their genitals. Burge was protected from prosecution for this torture until the statute of limitations ran out—and then only did minor time for perjury. He still collects a pension, which funds his retirement in Florida. Other cops involved in the torture with Burge are still on the force.

Numerous major city officials (and those above them) are entangled in the current crisis around Laquan McDonald’s murder because over and over again, they have protected the police and pretended ignorance (really, ignore-ance) of the scope of police terror. But anyone on the street in Chicago’s oppressed communities will tell you about it. There was the court case in the murder of Rekia Boyd and the case brought in federal court in the murder of Darius Pinex, where it came out that there was a cover-up starting right at the scene—these were covered in major media. There were also studies associated with the University of Chicago, exposés in the pages of the Chicago Tribune, exposures and stories by independent journalists for literally years. It was all right there hidden in plain sight.

So it was an insulting and infuriating moment when Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at the press conference announcing the release of the video, implied that Laquan McDonald’s murderer, Jason VanDyke, was a single bad apple who had to be held accountable. A protestor’s sign on Black Friday expressed what many feel: “There are no good apples.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/interview-with-stop-patriarchy-student-activist-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Interview with Stop Patriarchy Student Activist

Stand Up to the Woman-Haters on the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 5, Revolution caught up with Luna, a student activist with Stop Patriarchy. This is a transcript of our conversation.

 

Revolution: You are wearing bloody pants to school to make a statement and provoke people to act around the assault on abortion rights. So we want to hear all about that. What is the message? What kind of response you’ve gotten? What inspired you or compelled you to do this? And how does this fit into the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade and actions in support of abortion rights on that day? But let’s start with what it is you are doing.

Luna: So, as you said, I’ve been wearing bloody pants to school every day that I go to school, which is four days a week. And I’ve been doing it for the past three weeks now and what that looks like is—I don’t wear them on the way to school because I don’t want people to like bother me on the subway or anything or follow me or whatnot. Especially in the situation where now there is a lot of violence against abortion activists as we’ve seen.

But I get to school and I walk in, I go into the lobby and I pull out my bloody pants, which are a pair of white medical pants that Stop Patriarchy bought en masse for our July 1 Abortion Rights Rally that we had last summer and we spray painted them with red spray paint one night. So it looks like there’s blood in the crotch area and it’s dripping down the legs and it’s supposed to be like, what’s the word, a very dramatic response. So it’s not really accurate to what abortions really look like, it’s supposed to captivate you and draw your attention in. And so since I’ve been wearing them I’ve been getting some very interesting responses.

July 1 New York City STOP the Assault on Abortion Rights1

Union Square, New York City, July 1Protest in Union Square, New York City, July 1—part of national actions to stop the assault on abortion rights. Photos: Special to revcom.us

Revolution: Maybe if we can just to go back to the symbolism, the point is to dramatize what happens when women do not have access to safe, legal abortion—say a woman in Texas who doesn’t have the means to travel hundreds of miles...

Luna: Yeah, it’s meant to show what it looks like when women don’t have access to abortion. And when they don’t have access they self-induce in unsafe scenarios where they could potentially lose their lives. And we have statistics of what it looked like when abortion was illegal in this country. ... We hear stories of clinics or hospitals where lobbies were filled with women every night. We don’t want to be put back to that time, but we are. We are being put back to that.

As you said, in Texas women travel hundreds of miles, have to take off work for days, find babysitters for the children that they already have, there are waiting periods—all this added stress or whatnot. What’s easier for them, for a lot of women, is to self-induce, to take up the proverbial coat hanger and to do it themselves. And that is terrifying and that’s what—when I wear these bloody pants—it looks like. That’s what is supposed to being brought across. Women shouldn’t be forced to be in this position again where they have bloody pants on, you know.

And that’s why it’s so important that I’m wearing these every day that I go to school until the end of the semester—to get people to wake up because people don’t realize. I talk to kids in school and they don’t realize the extreme situation that abortion rights are in. They know Roe v. Wade was passed 40 odd years ago and they just know it’s legal. Yeah, but there’s no access to it because clinics have been shutting down, an average of one every one and a half weeks now. That’s the rate at which it’s going. Texas is an easy case to point to in terms of how much it’s accelerated. You look at Texas in 2013, they had 40 clinics. The HB2 law1 was passed there, and the number of clinics dropped down to about 20, and now if it’s upheld by the Supreme Court in the coming months it’ll be dropped down to nine. It’ll be setting a precedent for more clinics across the South, and not just the South, but across the entire country. Laws like this are setting these standards that clinics have to live up to, where the burden is on the clinics to meet these medical standards that have been proven not to mean anything. It does not need to be a mini-medical center to do a simple outpatient procedure such as a first trimester abortion. And yet these politicians are passing all these laws that are making it so that that’s what it needs to be—this standard which is burdensome on the provider and on the woman because the provider shuts down and the woman has the burden of trying to find access elsewhere.

BOB AVAKIAN    The Vision, the Works, the Leadership for a New Stage of Communist Revolution    GET INTO BA!

And this all culminates in this whole right wing assault on women’s right to live their own lives, to decide when and how to be mothers and if they even want to become mothers period. And it’s outrageous, and it’s driven me to work with Stop Patriarchy. And when we decided to do the protest against the so-called “March for Life,” it’s what drove us to come up with this idea to wear these bloody pants every day, to go to school in them, and to make this statement. There’s a lot of potential for college students to come out on this and to mobilize on this en masse to stand up around what is a fundamental right for women.

Revolution: There are some things I want to come back to, including the larger picture that this is all a part of and the importance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the mobilization every year of anti-abortion fanatics—really anti-women fanatics, let’s call it what it is. But before we get to that, maybe you can talk a little bit about... I’m sure our readers are curious about the response you get.

Luna: So since I’ve been wearing the pants a lot of people just stare at me, they’re not really sure what’s going on. The first day that I actually wore them, it’s kind of a funny story—I wear them and I’m aware of why I’m wearing them. But I go to class and the class goes by and at the end of class I walk out and this girl from my class runs up to me down the hallway and taps me on the shoulder and she goes, we have an emergency. And I’m like, oh my gosh, like what’s going on, I thought someone in my class had an accident, I don’t know. And she goes, it looks like you had a medical emergency, it’s going to be OK, I just want to warn you. She thought I was like hemorrhaging or something. And I was like, oh, no, no, no. And then I explained why I was wearing the pants. And she was like oh, I don’t know, I’ve worn white pants and like when I’ve gotten my period it looks like that, just not on that scale, so I just wasn’t sure. On the one hand, it’s great that she thought I was having a medical emergency and she came up and told me. On the other hand everyone else had seen me and whatever they thought, they just ignored me.

It was kind of funny ’cause then, after that I thought I should put something on the pants so that people know that I’m not having a medical emergency, but that people know it’s for abortion rights. I put the Abortion On Demand And Without Apology sticker on the pants so that people could read that and try to figure out what its all about.

But since then, now that I have the stickers on, people still stare at me. Today, actually this morning, when I went to school when I was wearing them in the elevator after everyone got out and it was just me and another young woman, she turned to me and she goes, do you need a tampon? And I was like, no this is actually for abortion rights, we’re going down to protest for Roe v. Wade, to protest the March for Life and stand up for abortion rights. And she was like, oh, and I handed her a flyer—and then she had to go to class. But a lot of people just ignore me. They’ll see the pants, some people have taken pictures of it, and then I’ll make eye contact with them and they’ll look away and they walk very fast. And it’s because like whatever they’re thinking, they’re thinking, oh wow, what is going on, or whatever it is, it’s something we can’t talk about. You see blood on someone’s pants, most people think it’s her period at first and it’s like we can’t talk about that, we can’t tell her that something’s gone wrong or something. And that ties in to the shame of a woman’s body in general, the shame of her reproductive organs and stuff.

But then on the opposite hand, I’m in a lot of very forward thinking classes so it’s a lot of people who are very open-minded in general, and they love it. Like, I walked into class early one day and this kid comes up and he goes, I love your pants. And then I was like, oh thanks, they’re for abortion rights. He said, that’s what I thought, they’re fantastic. And then I got into a discussion with the entire class about the emergency of abortion rights. And people were like, it’s crazy, like it’s actually outrageous like how backwards it’s getting.

All the kids in the class signed up, they gave me their numbers for reaching out to them about doing outreach and about how they can take this up themselves. It’s not something for just me. There’s this one girl that I know who is always like, oh, you’re such a great activist, you’re like my activist goals or whatever. And I’m like, yeah, it’s goals, but you can do this, I know you can, anyone can do this. If you think that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way this country is handling abortion rights, then you can pick up these pants and you can put them on yourself. That scares a lot of people for whatever reasons, they’re very timid and they’re afraid to put themselves out there. But then you still see this hope, they’re like, oh, maybe I can do this, and like maybe I will do this, and then start people coming forward slowly but surely. But people are showing interest...

Revolution: I think you could maybe even pose to people, look people have somewhat gotten used to seeing me wearing these, but if more people started wearing them then they wouldn’t be able to just go about their business...

Luna: Yeah. Exactly. The second week that I wore them it was around the time that Mizzou was popping up and the Paris attacks had just happened and everything, and so there was a rally on my campus for that, where a few students had organized where they were going to be holding posters in solidarity with all the different things that were happening all around the world. And I showed up to it with my bloody pants. And this one girl was so amazed. She took a pair of pants right there. She was like... I was like, yeah, you know, if you want a pair you should take them, you should put them on, you should wear them. She was like, yeah, give me, I’m going to do it. She said I’m leaving out of the country for the next week and a half, but once I come back from Thanksgiving break I’m going to put them on. I haven’t run into her yet, but apparently she has been wearing them, which is very fantastic. The minute she saw me and the minute I explained what it was about, there was no hesitation, right away it was like this makes sense, this is what needs to be done. Which is what needs to be more of the attitude of people who consider themselves pro-choice and everything.

One thing we like to talk about when we go out and do outreach—and a lot of times we wear the bloody pants when we do outreach—is that it’s no longer good enough to just be giving a thumbs up, you know people who just smile and like I’m with you and walk away. It’s no longer good enough to be liking it on Instagram and Facebook. We’re in a situation right now where there needs to be mass political resistance, where people are in the streets saying this is not all right, that these clinics closing at a rate of one every one and half weeks is not OK. People need to stand up right now because if they don’t it’s going to be too late. And frankly it is almost too late.

Just yesterday, the Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Just yesterday. And I’m sure Obama will veto it, but it’s still setting this precedent, right? It’s still setting this tone that women’s lives don’t matter, not in this country, not around the world, frankly either.

Revolution: Except maybe as baby-machines...

Luna: Yeah, exactly, to be controlled, to keep reproducing, to be slaves to their reproductive system. Beyond that, their lives don’t matter.

Revolution: When you were saying it’s not enough to like this on Facebook, it’s interesting because that’s kind of like a theme of the activists in Rise Up October against police terror, when they speak...

Luna: There’s such amazing work done from Rise Up October. So much to be learned from it, too, about how we handled going out into communities and getting people to mobilize for this and this question of which side are you on—it can be used for this too. Like, if you’re not standing up for women’s rights, for a woman to make her own decision about her own body, and then you’re on the other side. There are lines being drawn on this subject of abortion rights and on the subject of police brutality and police terror and murder. And it’s not good enough to just be sitting on the line and kind of... but this, but that, but, but, but. It’s not good enough to just be calling out on your social media sites, calling out the atrocities that are happening in this country and everything. It’s just not good enough anymore. Because look where it’s gotten us. Have things really changed?

Abortion rights are on a downhill slide right now. And it’s only getting worse if people don’t stand up for what is really a fundamental right for women to decide. Like I’ve met lots of people who are like Catholic and everything. Literally I met two people back to back the other day while I was doing outreach. One woman, I was like... I asked, what do you think about abortion rights? And she goes, well, I’m Catholic. What’s that supposed to answer for me? And then another woman right afterwards, she goes, I’m Catholic but I understand it’s a woman’s decision and I’m going to fight for that. And it was back to back, and it’s like these two different ideas about what it means to be religious. Is your religion going to hinder people from living their lives or is it just going to be something that you practice yourself?

Revolution: I think that’s interesting and important and it speaks to what you’re saying—there’s a challenge to draw a line in society, where Catholic or whatever—right is right, wrong is wrong. As we’re talking, it makes me think about that quote from Bob Avakian that we have been promoting at revcom2 about how incredible it is in this day and age there’s actually these forces who want to drive women back and that poses some bigger questions about what kind of world we’re living in and what kind of society we’re living in, what’s wrong with it.

I want to come back to the importance of drawing a broad dividing line in society around abortion rights, and protesting on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But maybe before we get to that you could talk about how you’ve been exploring the root causes of women’s oppression, how it connects with some of these other forms of oppression, what changes you’ve gone through, and how you see changing things.

Luna: So, it’s kind of crazy. There’s a point when I was growing up, I was a Republican, right, my parents were—like what is good for our family, all that stuff. And I was in the Young Republicans in high school, like hard core believing that this is what’s right and everything. Maybe I wasn’t very religious, but like I was very much into politics and it was something that I loved to learn about and argue about.

Revolution: We were talking about that off the tape, how you were raised with a kind of mainstream Republican outlook in a Hispanic family, and later you identified as a “fiscal conservative, social liberal” Republican who was against “big government.” But things going on in the world cut the ground out from under that—including that the Republicans got so fascist. And it is interesting that when you started to question that, you started to explore alternatives outside the whole Republican/Democrat thing and get into the movement for revolution. I’m interested in how that happened—in part because it would be good to get more people to do that!

Luna: When I got into college everything kind of got thrown out the window. It was like: I don’t know what I like anymore. I don’t know anything really for sure. And then some stuff happens, I move from the school I was at in DC, take a year off, then I move up here to New York. And by coincidence, like through a friend, met the Revolution Books store, Stop Patriarchy, SMIN, the Revolution Club, the Party—the RCP. And just like, it was like a whole opening. I always knew that I kind of wanted to do activist work, but when I was in DC none of my friends ever wanted to come to protests with me or anything like that. And so it was like, oh, whatever. And then I came here and like April 14 happens and then after that there’s all this real bursting of stuff happening in New York around police brutality; it goes before that obviously, but when I came that’s when I kind of got more involved. And then I went down to Baltimore after Freddie Gray was murdered.

Revolution: Was that on your own?

Luna: With SMIN and the Revolution Club. I went with my friend and her sister. And it was just like so eye-opening ’cause I met Travis Morales and we were digging into BA (Bob Avakian) and all this stuff, and it was like a whole new world. And I’m like skeptical on this or not, ’cause like I was brought up on this idea—America is great, America is great, America is great. You know, government, you just got to get the right people in politics and all this stuff. And then that all had to be thrown out the window—like which I had already started seeing, you know, the breaks in it beforehand. But to have, like, a real explanation of it laid out nicely and, like, understandably through BA and BAsics and everything. It was just like, oh my gosh! It completely opened my eyes to so many different things. Like I would have never—I didn’t have an understanding of capitalism before that, or the roots of the oppression of Black people and women through patriarchy. These were words I’d heard before—but it was like what does that mean? I blocked out the understanding of it, and the true understanding of it too. And so I got involved and the minute I heard about Stop Patriarchy, I was, like, I want to be in that, I want to be a part of that. And so for the entire summer I got more and more involved.

And one of the really cool things that we did through the summer was Sunsara Taylor held a four-part session about the oppression of women and the roots of it. It all stemmed because a group of us were having a discussion one night and someone posed, like, where did the oppression of women come from? And we were trying to grapple with it, like, well did it come from this, and it wasn’t always around, and we were trying to figure it out. And we kind of came to the conclusion that with the emergence of the division of labor, you know masters and slaves, and everything, the division, the root of the oppression of women came about—maybe I’m not saying this correctly, maybe I still don’t have a full understanding of it. But then we had this four-part session and it was amazing to really dig into the roots of the oppression of women and where it comes from and how with the rise of patriarchy and with the rise of capitalism patriarchy rose even more and like how everything is so intertwined.

And BA has this quote, you can’t break all the chains except one, you can’t expect to free everyone but keep women oppressed3. And it’s so beautiful and it’s so true because the oppression of women goes so, so deep and it’s so, like,in every single significant sphere of life—like from a woman and her body, a woman at home, labor and everything. It’s everywhere. And to recognize that as a pillar of why this society is the way it is, along with the pillars of the oppression of Black and Brown people. It’s just something that I’ve never heard before. You see it on a daily basis when you go about your life—the little micro oppressions against women, like being at home. Like every Thanksgiving, who’s always in the kitchen cooking in my family? It’s the women. And we have a picture of it—the men are sitting down watching the football game and the women are in the kitchen doing the cooking.

Revolution: And for that matter, what’s Thanksgiving all about anyway?

Luna: Yeah, that’s a whole conversation! And it’s just like, I don’t know, from the cleaning duties that my mom assigned us growing up—like the girls were always in the house cleaning and the men were doing the hard labor outside. And you look around and it’s like, oh my gosh, like, it’s something that is so subtle and they might not be the big outward violence against women, which does happen in America and around the world. But it goes so much deeper than that. So much beyond what people recognize.

And it’s just recognizing that, and seeing it changed my way of thinking and continues to because you’re constantly learning more. You dig into this stuff and it just makes you more and more angry!

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

And more and more want to go out on this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, where every year since the first year after it was passed the “March for Life” has been going out there and spewing literal woman-hatred and getting the ears of politicians and the people where they make the laws that affect everyone’s lives. They go out there and they ship young kids who don’t know any better in from all over the country. And this happens every year and up until last year no one had ever put a stop to it. No one had ever put their bodies on the line and said this is not right—you do not have the moral high ground, you do not have the grounds to be spewing this hatred—until Stop Patriarchy did it last year, which was beautiful.

And this year, almost more importantly, we need people to come out to this because just what has happened within this past year, from the release of the fake tapes about Planned Parenthood about fetal body parts, to the attacks that have been happening the past few months, the most recent where they literally killed three people, three people died because they were just at an abortion clinic. You can’t separate that demand from the right-wing politicians who are spewing the hatred that he [the shooter] listens to—where he was mumbling about baby parts. It’s all connected.

And that’s why more than ever we need to go down to DC on January 22 to stand up for what is a right for women. If women don’t have this right they are enslaved to their bodies. And if they don’t have this right, women’s lives are at risk in so many different ways. They get locked in relationships that might be abusive or that they don’t want to be in. Their lives are, as so many people say, foreclosed on. They have a child, they can’t pursue their dreams. I think about my relatives or whatever, like my mom. She was going to go to college, she had a kid at 19 and then had seven more. What would her life had been if she had decided to have an abortion? Like, where would she be today? And people always quote this argument, but you wouldn’t be here today. It’s like, well then someone else would be in my place. Because this is a fundamental right for women and this is what is worth fighting over. If it’s not me, then it needs to be somebody else.

And there’s the question that was posed during Rise Up October of drawing the lines and everything, but also—if not now, when? And if not you, then who? Like you recognize that this is a problem, right? But you’re not going to act on that? That makes you no better than the people committing these horrendous crimes. And people get angry when you say that to them. When you say, you know what, you’re no better than the ones killing women and killing Black and Brown people if you’re not speaking up against it. Because when you don’t speak up, people don’t know what you’re thinking, people don’t know that you’re secretly supporting it with the money that you have. And we need masses amount of people!

Revolution: That’s an important point to end on—the need to stand up to the women-haters on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in DC on January 22. And people can find out about how to get involved at stoppatriarchy.org and at our website, revcom.us!

 


1. See “Court Upholds Ruling Likely to Close All but Eight Abortion Clinics in the Entire State of Texas” [back]

2. “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.” (from Bob Avakian, “ON ‘PRINCIPLED COMPROMISES,’ AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY”) [back]

3. “You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.” (Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:22) [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/sunsara-taylor-call-to-get-out-quote-from-ba-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

A Call to RevComs and ALL Who Care About Women's Liberation – Get Out this Quote From BA!

December 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From Sunsara Taylor

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.

Unbelievable as it might seem...

Right-click to download palm card here (PDF: with crop marks | w/o crop marks)

Back:

back of palm card

A CALL: Print and get out cards of the above quote from Bob Avakian all over – especially onto the campuses, into the projects and neighborhoods of the oppressed, at gatherings around abortion and reproductive rights, as well as to many places beyond. 

A few thoughts of appreciation for this statement and how much it stands out:

Bob Avakian published this statement just over a week before the recent murderous rampage at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, but his statement stands out all the more poignantly and urgently now.  Avakian puts his finger right on the central nerve of what the entire fight over abortion is and has always been about: whether women will be enslaved to a male-supremacist, patriarchal system or whether women will be liberated, treated and viewed as full human beings.  This – and nothing else – is what is at stake.

Yet, it is astounding how little this is being recognized or spoken to by others – including a great many who really ought to know better.

A few have pointed out how the lies that have been spread against Planned Parenthood and the ongoing demonization of abortion is what set the stage for this kind of crazed, murderous attack.  This is true and important, but it doesn't speak to WHY these lies are told or WHY abortion is being demonized and restricted in the first place.  And this doesn't even begin to give people an understanding of the full dimension of what is at stake which is not merely whether there will be violence at clinics (as important as that is) but whether half of humanity will be enslaved or liberated.

Others, especially on Twitter, have pointed to the discrepancy between the deadly violence routinely used by police against unarmed Black people and the way the police chose to take this white murderer alive.  This certainly is yet another exposure of the completely illegitimate police terror and murder of Black and Brown people.  And it is urgent this police terror and murder be fought!  But, if that is all you have to say about this murderous rampage on Planned Parenthood – you are missing the fucking point.  Worse, you are leading others to miss the point.  There is an actual war raging against women and when a gun-man goes on a killing spree motivated by fanatical anti-abortion beliefs, this is a part of that war on women.  This needs to be named, it needs to be confronted, and millions need to be rallied right now to stand up against it and STOP IT.

Thank you, Bob Avakian, for doing that naming and leading a Party that is serious about uniting all who can be united to stand up and stop this!

As BA has pointed out numerous times, one of the ways you can tell that the assault on abortion is really about enslaving women to the dictates of a male-supremacist, patriarchal system is that the entire anti-abortion movement is also against birth control.  In their large numbers they are motivated by a literal interpretation of the Bible, which mandates that women submit to men and bear children in order to “redeem” themselves for allegedly causing “original sin.”  And, beyond those who are motivated by a fascist literal interpretation of the Bible, those in power in this country who are slamming in anti-abortion legislation, forcing abortion clinics to close, taking birth control out of reach of growing numbers of women, and shaming women who choose abortion – as well as those in power who conciliate and compromise with this fascist agenda, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – are proceeding from the interests and the dictates of that very male-supremacist, patriarchal system.  This is why none of them can be relied on to speak to the heart of this matter or bring forward the kind of massive resistance and fight necessary to defeat this war on women.

In his many other works – like Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, as well as in his compendium, Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution – BA goes deeply into all of this.  He does this in the service of leading people to make an actual revolution to put an end to this system that enslaves women and causes so many other needless horrors for the masses of people, including the genocidal oppression of Black people, the destruction of the environment, the wars for empire, and the terror inflicted on immigrants.  This is something many, many more people need to be introduced to right now and many people need to be digging deeply into and making real in the world.

Getting this quote out in large quantities, together with getting out the word about revcom.us, is a very important way of right now changing the terms of the fight around abortion and of introducing more people to the leadership of BA that is needed to truly get free.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/awtwns-cop21-demonstrations-across-europe-and-world-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

CoP21: Demonstrations Across Europe and the World

Putting the Negotiators of the Earth's Future on Notice: "The climate is the state of emergency!"

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

November 30, 2015. A World to Win News Service. As CoP21 [the international conference on climate change] opened in Paris, climate activists were more determined than ever to demonstrate on November 29, and in many cities came out in very large numbers.

In Europe in particular these protests took place in the shadow of the horrible killings of 130 people in Paris two weeks earlier and the repression the French state unleashed since then. The situation is also marked by international realignments and stepped-up bombing of Syria and the urgent immigrant/refugee crisis that has not waned, but been swept out of the headlines by declarations of war on the Islamic State. Many people evoked both the broad dragnet of police terror against Arabs living in France and the intensifying clash of political forces in the world that have led to other murderous attacks from Ankara to the Sinai to the U.S. bombing of the Kunduz Trauma Centre run by Doctors Without Borders.

Police attack protestyers, Paris, November 29Above: Place de la République, Paris, November 29 (AP photo). Below left: Vancouver, British Columbia (Jimmy Jeong/The Canadian Press via AP). Below right: Athens, Greece (AP photo).

Vancouver, British Columbia Athens, Greece

As part of a three-month state of emergency the French authorities banned all outdoor demonstrations, targeting in particular the one on November 29 when hundreds of thousands had been expected to converge in Paris as CoP21 opened, as well as for the "day of action" on December 12 after CoP finished its work. While many people hope that the summit will take measures to reduce CO2 emissions and global warming, many more are very sceptical that this will stop the current disastrous path and so planned big demonstrations in advance.

Some groups active in the mobilisation for a global climate march and affiliated coalitions called for people to travel to and participate in the demonstration in Berlin and other cities instead of going to Paris. In the German capital, a crowd of 17,000 people from many different countries came out in the rain for climate justice. Revolutionaries wore T-shirts with the globe breaking the chains and the message, "Only revolution can save the planet! We have a world to win." They reported that many people grabbed leaflets denouncing the capitalist and imperialist system that is rapidly accelerating the destruction of the planet, a system which the summit negotiators want to preserve and protect at all costs. The leaflet calls on people to think radically and sketches out the ways that a completely different, socialist state would approach changing the economic foundation of capitalism, reversing the damage to the planet and resolving the social ills that people of the world face under capitalism today.

In Madrid, 20,000 marched, as did thousands in Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Athens and other smaller cities.

Despite the lockdown for nearly a week in Brussels that included banning the climate demonstration in the capital, together with the repressive atmosphere connected to the manhunt for people suspected of involvement in the November 13 attacks in Paris, actions took place in five different areas. According to revolutionary activists wearing the same "Only revolution can save the planet" T-shirts as in Berlin, protesters at the central stock exchange raised a range of political views, from “All power to the people” to "Environmental emergency, crisis of democracy." Four thousand people – young, old and children – formed a human chain in the city center. Banner slogans read "The street is ours," "The system must disappear, not the ecosystem," "Paris! We are here for the environment." The Belgian authorities had originally agreed to let demonstrators march in the city of Ostende instead, but that too was not allowed.

Belgian climate activist groups had organised 10,000 people in train, bike and bus caravans to travel to France for November 29 but cancelled in the face of the state of emergency conditions and draconian border controls. French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazaneuve crowed that CoP21 had been made safer by preventing the entry of 1,000 potential climate demonstrators at France's borders with Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. Demonstrators in Paris told our reporters that they had in fact witnessed open racial profiling on the public transport networks entering the country. 

Defying the State of Emergency in Paris

Human chain in Paris, November 29
People move into the streets as part of a human chain stretching along the originally intended march route, Paris. (AP photo)

The state of emergency declared in France had, as was intended, a chilling effect on those who felt strongly enough about the climate disaster to go ahead and demonstrate before the CoP21 talks began, according to AWTWNS correspondents who traveled to Paris for the climate activities. While it is likely that some sections of the French ruling class never wanted these massive protests to take place, the state of emergency and security concerns became the vehicle to try to stop them, with the pretext that police could not protect demonstrators and were needed elsewhere. Meanwhile, as activists constantly pointed out, Christmas street markets were not restricted, and outdoor wine festivals and other commercial events went ahead unhindered.

The harsh clampdown under the state of emergency has included 1,200 home raids and hundreds of people being put under house arrest, in most cases without criminal charges. In addition to those the state has called suspected supporters of jihadists – often without evidence – the government also placed 24 environmental activists under house arrest until after CoP21, clearly stating that the reason was to prevent mass mobilisations.

Just as the rulers counted on, climate organisers reacted in different ways to the ban on demonstrations, considered a sacred democratic right, while emotions still run understandably high about the wanton massacres carried out so recently in the streets of Paris – many exactly in the areas where demonstrations are regularly organised. Some climate organisers negotiated symbolic acts with the authorities, agreeing not to demonstrate. These included a display of shoes on the central square at Place de la République, in order to represent all those who wanted to be there but legally could not. They featured shoe contributions from some of the leading representatives of the same system responsible for the climate disaster, such as UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, the pope, as well as thousands of others.

Other forces within these coalitions, determined to persist with actions actually bringing people into the streets, organised a human chain stretching along the originally intended November 29 march route. They argued that the massive voice of the people was an important part of the climate summit which could not be successful without it, and called the action part of a "climate of peace." At the last minute, the authorities agreed to this. Some political figures apparently thought that a safety valve was needed for what they knew to be mass frustration and anger over their ban. At the same time, the main news media continued to report only the ban on actions, with a threat of six months in prison for any refusal to comply, and officials told people in Paris to stay home and not use public transport.

Despite the atmosphere of severe intimidation, several thousand people brought with them colorful and highly creative posters, banners, animal masks and home-made body messages for a spirited but static action that lasted about 45 minutes. "There's no planet B," "We're not letting go!" "Stop nuclear [energy]!” Slogans showed a wide variety of political views, not so much diverging on the seriousness of the climate crisis, but the source of it and the solution. 

Thousands of other people from many countries assembled directly on the Place de la Republique specifically to defy the state of emergency and demonstration ban. Demonstrators marched around the square, their numbers swelling to between 3,000 and 4,000 as many of those from the human chain poured back to that area to join them.

The police blocked most of the streets leading into the square except one, where people marched, thinking they could break through police lines. In fact the police also blocked that street further down, and tried to encircle the crowd from behind, but were themselves encircled by more demonstrators arriving. One of many chants rang out, "The state of emergency and police state won't stop our right to demonstrate!" "Police everywhere, justice nowhere!" 

Watch Bob Avakian: "Not Fit Caretakers of the Earth," a clip from the film Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States.

People began to march again around the large square. In the mix was a small contingent with a banner "Revolution Nothing Less!" that at one point was hoisted above the crowd from a scaffolding. Some media blame a few dozen anarchists for provoking the CRS (riot police), but the police attacked protesters without distinguishing among them. Pacifist youth sat down in front of CRS lines in one corner of the square and the police sprayed them and others with tear gas, moving in with their batons flaying. Pitched battles between the police and a small number of demonstrators began to engulf the square, while others describe trying to reason with the police to stop and ended up being beaten instead.

As the air filled with tear gas and the police entered the square itself, many demonstrators left, their numbers dwindling to 800 or so, according to reports. The police closed the metro station and isolated a section of demonstrators, hauling away and holding over 300 for questioning, searches and harassment.

The news media has tried to turn this important afternoon of defiance to their state of emergency into an offensive and reactionary political weapon, claiming that the climate activists don't care about paying homage to the victims of November 13 by seizing on a few incidents when candles from the memorial were thrown at the police. This is total nonsense and some protesters came out to defy the ban because they knew people who had been murdered and felt that they had to carry the struggle forward. The Marianne statue at the center of the square had become one of the main memorial sites, decorated with messages or poems in numerous different languages, candles, flowers as well as patriotic gestures promoted by the ruling class such as planting French flags to pay homage to the victims. The demonstrators in fact carefully marched around this memorial, but when fighting broke out and the police entered the square, it was they who recklessly trampled on the tributes, flowers and memorial photos as they pushed demonstrators choking on tear gas out of the way and whacked them with batons. This is captured on many videos taken at the scene but was totally blacked out by the mainstream media.

Artists on the Move

Artists practicing "brandalism" replaced messages of advertisements in Paris.Artists practicing "brandalism" replaced messages of advertisements in Paris. Photos: brandalism.org.uk

In a different act of defiance, artists practising "brand-alism" replaced the messages blaring out from 600 advertisements across the city to "denounce the multinationals' hold over climate negotiations." They aimed to show "the links between advertising, consumerism, fossil fuel dependency and climate change." Eighty artists from 19 different countries designed artwork that appeared on November 27. They created parodies of CoP21 business sponsors and big polluters such as Air France, Dow Chemical, Engie (former GDF-Suez), and heads of state such as Hollande, Cameron, Obama, Merkel and Abe. They also posted messages such as, in the wake of the tragic events of November 13, the government chose to shut down civil society mobilisations, but big business events proceed unhindered. "Those responsible for climate change continue their 'greenwashing' based on their destructive economic model, but communities directly affected by their activities are reduced to silence." They declared the importance of exposing the lies and going into the streets during CoP21 against fossil fuel energy. (Go to brandalism.org.uk for images and other reports.)

Other Cities Throughout the World

More than 700,000 people worldwide joined in protests on November 29. According to various sources, the largest demonstrations took place in London and Sydney, with 50,000 and 45,000 people, respectively. Representatives from the Pacific island nations of Tonga and Tuvalu joined forces in Sydney to address the already perilous situation for their islands faced with rising sea levels. "Save Tuvalu and the world" said a sign carried from this nation made up of nine tiny islands barely above sea level.

Sanaa, Yemen, November 29
Despite early morning air strikes conducted by U.S.-supplied war planes in the city of Sanaa, Yemen, 70 people joined with the rest of the world in protest against the destruction of the planet. (AP photo)

Thousands also marched in Manila, Philippines, now being devastated by repeated typhoons, a clear sign of the impact of planet-wide climate change. Acutely aware of the high stakes involved for those living in large areas below sea level in their country, people marched in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a country where rising seas and increasingly ferocious storms have already displaced  half a million people, with millions more facing the threat of becoming "climate refugees" in the coming decade.

Other demonstrations took place in Ottawa, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Bogota, Santiago, Rio and Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Benin, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kathmandu and Tokyo. In Rio de Janeiro, marchers smeared themselves with mud, as a metaphor for the recently burst dam on the river Doce, which spewed toxic waste over huge swaths of farmland, poisoning everything in its path, including drinking water, with toxic effects spreading to the Caribbean. Despite early morning air strikes conducted by U.S.-supplied war planes in the city of Sanaa, Yemen, 70 people joined with the rest of the world in protest against the destruction of the planet.

The march through central London was one of several in cities across the UK that day. It was the largest climate protest London has seen in years. The marchers included people of all ages, particularly teenagers. The mood was more enthusiastic than confrontational, with many groups and individuals taking creative protest initiatives.

To a large extent the tone was set by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose presence should have been discredited by his party's stance regarding Prime Minister David Cameron's proposal that the UK extend its air war from Iraq to Syria. As BBC remarked, although Corbyn "so endeared himself to Labour members because of his opposition to Iraq and other military intervention" in the past (according to a poll, 75 percent of Labour Party supporters are opposed to the UK extending its war participation to Syria), he left his party's parliamentarians free to vote with Cameron. About 5,000 people took part in a London march against more UK military intervention move the day before the climate march, and as many as 10,000 on the eve of the parliamentary vote. Nevertheless, Corbyn was allowed to play a similar role at the climate change march – telling people that parliament and the state represent a solution to the intense concerns they feel about the UK's role in the world and about the world itself. At the end, children put on a play where they satirized the first 20 COP conferences that achieved nothing for the last two decades.

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 global reach of this day of protest in the UK indicates growing awareness and concern about the climate crisis. There was more of a focus on state policy measures on climate change as a political issue than at events in the past, where changing personal habits and reducing personal carbon footprints was often emphasized. Yet the idea that representatives of the governments of the world imperialist system would or could agree to act against their basic, even if contending, interests has been battered by reality again and again, but still holds a strong attraction because most people don't see the system as an interconnected whole.

A popular widespread slogan is "system change, not climate change," representing a very wide range of ideas, including those who want to stop the big polluters within the system, those who think the system could be greened and humanised, and many other variations. Changing the system means changing the whole thing through revolution. These ideas were present in a beginning way in some of these climate demonstrations and much more engagement is needed with what revolution means, why it is necessary and possible and what it would take in the different types of countries.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/on-the-significance-of-riseupoctober-building-on-strengths-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

On the Significance of RiseUpOctober: Building on Strengths, Overcoming Weaknesses... And Fighting to Actually Put an End to Police Terror and White Supremacy Through Revolution

Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

November 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

RiseUpOctober, RUO—the mass demonstrations against police murder that took place in New York in October—represented a significant advance in the fight against this terror, and the overall fight against the oppression of Black, Latino. and Native American people of which it is a key part. The three days of action—the march and rallies on the 24th, the nonviolent direct action to shut down Rikers Island prison on the 23rd, and the reading at Times Square on the 22nd of the Stolen Lives, those killed by the police—each in its own right and taken together had a powerful impact on public opinion. The controversy that raged afterward in the media, mainly with the filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s comments at the march and the defense of Tarantino by others, kept the issue squarely in the public mind, with people representing the action making the point to millions: murder by police must stop—Which Side Are You On?

RUO brought forward and together the voices and participation of people from different sections of society, including students and prominent voices of conscience,around the “reasonable” demands to Stop Police Terror and the police murder of unarmed youths, and convicting and sending the killer cops to jail. On the 24th of October, the march of nearly 4,000 people was bold and defiant, with contingents from different campuses and organizations, and people from Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, and as far away as Texas and California. There were students from the historically Black colleges, the elite colleges and community colleges, along with those from the bottom of society, those “who catch the hardest hell,” joined by activists and others from the social movements and the broad progressive middle strata, all declaring to society, “Which Side Are You On,” STOP Police Terror.

Family members of those killed by police. New York City, October 22, 2015. Photo: Phil Buehler

This political and moral challenge was underscored by the parents and family members of the Stolen Lives, those killed by the police, who came to NYC from across the country, reading the names and telling the stories of their loved ones together with prominent voices of conscience at Times Square on the 22nd. Their powerful and courageous truth-telling was part of bringing home the hard and horrible reality of police murder. The workings of this system and the conscious policies of its rulers seek to keep people divided, and the most bitterly oppressed feeling isolated—and these manifestations of RUO broke through that barrier.

RUO was a powerful political and moral response in opposition to and as part of the political battle over the legitimacy and the right of the police to blow away lives without any consequences or justice. RUO was a necessary intervention to change the terms of discussion and to influence public opinion at a critical juncture. All summer the rulers of this system were on the offensive, attempting to re-seize the initiative after the uprisings of Ferguson and Baltimore had put the question of police terror on the societal agenda. They were posing as the victims, and defending and asserting the right of the police to continue raining terror and murdering people in genocidal proportions.

RiseUpOctober hit back hard at this, speaking the truth and mobilizing people, and as the 24th approached, the powers that be hit back in turn. It is no mere coincidence that Obama and James Comey, the head of the FBI, spoke on the 22nd and the 24th of October on these issues, defending the police in no uncertain terms. Nor is it coincidental that directly after the mass demonstration, the New York Post, Fox News, the PBAs (“Police Brutality Associations”), NYPD chief Bratton, and the rest went on a rampage.

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

Carl Dix, who along with Cornel West co-initiated RUO, hammered away at this legitimacy, and from this perspective, pointed to the real role of the police in enforcing the oppressive system, and brought alive the solution in communist revolution to get beyond this and its leadership in Bob Avakian (BA), while at the same time working to get everyone he could to get involved in this fight. Other people came together with Carl and Cornel, and this variety of voices and perspectives and the lively debate that ensued added to the strength of RiseUpOctober and modeled something very important for people.

RUO forged and advanced a much-needed and defiant pole of genuine resistance and struggle, giving people a way to act commensurate with the horrors and outrages of the all-too-common stories and videos of police terror and police murder. RUO also included the nonviolent direct action to shut down Rikers Island, a torture chamber and hellhole of a prison right in the middle of New York City, housing mainly Black and Latino inmates—and this action of resistance and struggle is a real leap toward what is needed to end the New Jim Crow, the program of mass incarceration.

Evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses

October 24—Thousands took to the streets of NYC for the culmination of three days of Rise Up October, led by families of victims of police murder (above), many carrying large pictures of men and women whose lives were unjustly stolen.

In evaluating an initiative like RUO, from the standpoint of its objectives, the criterion is its effect on the political terrain, on favorably changing public opinion and people’s thinking in line with the actual reality and putting an end to police terror, and organizing forces in the struggle and movement for this. Let’s remember: the point of RiseUpOctober is to STOP police murder; everything it does is designed to contribute to making that fight as strong as possible. And part of the thinking that went into this is that, in order to STOP this, you will need millions and millions of people feeling compelled to choose sides... and compelled to STRUGGLE AGAINST THE SYSTEM that gives rise to such murder and repression.

RiseUpOctober represented a significant advance, and this struggle and its organization, Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN), needs to be carried forward, grow and politically escalate, especially as people are righteously standing up in Chicago, Minneapolis, and other cities against police murder, and on campuses against racism and white supremacy.

At the same time, all of these advances—from bringing together different sections of society in struggle and resistance, in questioning the legitimacy of the police and the system of which they are objectively the enforcers, and the heightened profile of Carl Dix on the political terrain, as a revolutionary communist leader and follower of BA and courageous truth-teller about and fighter against police terror—need to be built on with strategic perspective to hasten the time when a radically different system and society can be brought into being through revolution, and this, as well as many other horrors, can be ended once and for all. 

In this context, there were some secondary shortcomings to be looked at, interrogated, and solved going forward.

First, we needed more of an organizational and infrastructural core at the heart of the initiative. We also needed to have raised more funds for advertising and promotion, so that many more people would hear of and be able to participate actively in this resistance. Even though RiseUpOctober did have real and powerful impact, had the RUO movement been able to solve these problems that impact could possibly have been even greater. This is a collective responsibility for the movement as a whole, and we should grapple with others on how to solve these problems, and really grow SMIN with vibrant chapters nationwide.

Bringing Out the Need for Revolution and the Leadership of Bob Avakian

BOB AVAKIAN    The Vision, the Works, the Leadership for a New Stage of Communist Revolution    GET INTO BA!

Second, as revolutionary communists, while we worked hard on fulfilling and bringing to life the key objectives of RUO, all too often we lost sight of WHY we take part in these struggles. On the one hand, we hate this outrage with all our might; many of us came into the movement for revolution through this and related battles, and the more that we have understood how deeply interknit it is into this capitalist system and how utterly unnecessary it is, the more—not the less—angry and outraged we have become.

At the same time, unless and until there is a revolution, this horror will go on. It’s that simple. For that reason, we unapologetically lead and participate in these struggles with that larger goal in mind, drawing the links to the system whenever we can and pointing to the solution in revolution and the leadership for that revolution in Bob Avakian (BA).

It is in this regard that we think we fell down some and did not fully enough carry out our responsibility. And a lot of this got concentrated around not letting people know about BA—maybe letting people know some things, but not consistently giving people the full picture of who he is, what he’s brought forward, and how he leads. To put it another way, not stepping off enough from the scientific fact that the outrage of police murder is made all the more unbearable by the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way, there is another way possible through revolution, and there is leadership for that revolution in BA, and the Party he leads.

This is what people need most from us. There is a lot more we could and should have done in bringing to all the need to study and follow BA’s leadership, and becoming part of the process of helping to realize this revolution, including through following revcom.us, the official website of Revolution newspaper, and the main way for people to get the ongoing leadership of BA and the Party.

BA and the Struggle to Uproot the Oppression of Black People and All Other Oppressed Nationalities

In speaking of BA in particular, a lot of people don’t know that he’s been a fighter on this question since way back in the 1960s, going back to the earliest days of the Black Panther Party, whom he worked closely with. People should check out the “TIMELINE—Political Activism and Revolutionary Leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), During the 1960s-1970s, and Continuing to the Present Time” at revcom.us to learn more on this. But it goes way beyond that.

Bob Avakian, over many decades of work, has scientifically shown how the oppression of Black people, since the time of slavery, has been central to the history of this country and integral to the workings of this system of capitalism-imperialism, interwoven into the economic, social, cultural, and ideological fabric of this country. Because of this, the system and its rulers have no solution, no answers to all of its horrific manifestations, from police murder to mass incarceration to rampant discrimination in jobs, housing, and all other areas of life.

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

He has done the work to show that with a radically different system, a different economic and political framework, and social relations and ideas that aim to get beyond all exploitation and oppression as part of a worldwide process, there IS a solution, there IS an answer, and we can put an end to the horrors and get to work on rooting out the inequalities of this system. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) goes into this very concretely. This Constitution is a concretization of the work done by BA on what such a society should look like, and an application of the new synthesis of communism which he has developed over decades, a whole new framework and a world-historic contribution to the science of communism and the emancipation of humanity. 

Bringing this society into being will take a revolution, and BA has also developed a strategy for this revolution, and is the leader of this Party implementing and leading this strategy. This strategy of course takes in many, many questions—the oppression of women, the wars waged by imperialism, the destruction of the environment, the persecution of immigrants—and shows the real living links to the capitalist society we live in, and the need to get beyond that. As part of this strategy, he has scientifically analyzed the oppression of Black people as one of the crucial fault lines of this system, one that goes to its very roots and foundations. From his earliest and formative political experiences in the 1960s, the centrality of the oppression of Black people in this society, and the resultant vulnerability of this system on this question, its “Achilles heel,” has been a hallmark of BA’s leadership—that has been scientifically deepened through decades of theoretical work and leading the revolution in the U.S., including deeply examining the struggles of Black people for liberation, and being part of and drawing the correct scientific lessons from the most advanced revolutionary experiences of the 1960s with the Black Panthers.

BA has shown how bringing growing numbers of people into motion around this crucial fault line of this system can deepen and widen the cracks of this system, doing this in a way that hastens the moment when the whole thing can be brought down and a radically different world brought into being through communist revolution. Concretely leading these struggles to end police murder and terror, and its manifestations in SMIN and RUO, are an application of this, with the perspective and goals of advancing the objectives of communist revolution—again, a revolution that can and goes to work on fundamentally resolving not only the oppression of Black people, but of women, of immigrants, and bringing to an end this country’s wars of empire and its destruction of the environment, within and as part of a radically different system aiming for and working towards the emancipation of all of humanity.

And people should definitely know that it was BA himself, as leader of the Party, who is responsible for the Party taking up this initiative, and others like it, going back decades. If you want to check out his thinking on the importance of initiatives like SMIN and RUO, and how they relate to getting to a world where things like police murder and white supremacy really are no more, check out his essay, “The Mass Initiatives and Our Strategic Objectives”.

The Problem... The Solution... And the Process

Why is this important? As people struggle and fight the power, bigger questions are posed such as what is the source of these injustices, what is the relation to other horrors such as the oppression of women and immigrants, the wars and the destruction of the environment, and can we end these and what will it take? There ARE answers to these questions, and it is the responsibility of the revolutionary communists to not only bring the answers to the people, but lead a process for them to increasingly get a scientific approach to society and all of reality, one that is denied the vast majority of people by the workings of this system, and organize them into the actual revolution.

The more people understand the common root of these injustices in the system of capitalism-imperialism, and the fact that these horrors are completely needless and can be done away with through revolution, then the more people’s sights are raised to a radically different world that is necessary, possible, and desirable, and the more people are impelled and compelled to fight even more ferociously—and with an increasingly conscious goal, in thinking and organization, of getting beyond this. This, after all, is the point of fighting to put an END to these horrors, and this takes leadership concentrated in science and a thoroughly scientific approach to society. At this moment in history, the most thoroughly scientific approach to society and the most advanced science of the emancipation of humanity through communist revolution, the solution to all this madness, the way out, is concentrated in the work and leadership of Bob Avakian.

Going Forward

In the little more than a month since RiseUpOctober, this struggle has further intensified, with both RUO, the Revolution Clubs (which are led by the Party), and Party members like Carl Dix right in the middle of it. This must not die down, but must instead go forward. We will be working as hard as we can to build this struggle as broadly as we can, and to do this as part of preparing for revolution, putting an end to this horror. And we look forward to participating with all the people in RUO and many more besides to make this winter and spring a time when the question “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?” resounds even more powerfully, throughout this society and the whole world.

***

For more on Bob Avakian, go to:

***

For more on how the Party views and participates in mass struggles and their relationship to revolution, see BAsics, Chapter 3, especially 3:1, 3:2, 3:3, 3:30, and the Party’s statement on strategy which supplements that chapter.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/carl-dix-justice-for-freddie-gray-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

From Carl Dix:

Justice for Freddie Gray—Convict the Killer Cops & Send Them to Jail!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The trial of the first of the Baltimore cops who murdered Freddie Gray has begun, and we need to be clear on some things. First, these murdering pigs are going on trial because people exploded in rebellion after these pigs murdered him. And second, putting the murdering cops on trial doesn’t equal justice.

Cops who kill people almost never go on trial. In the few cases where cops have been put on trial for murdering or brutalizing people, the killer cops either get off scot-free or with a slap on the wrist. The prosecutors who are so skilled at sending Black and Latino people to prison forget how to prosecute.

Let’s be clear, these cops chased Freddie Gray like he was a runaway slave, beat him down, hog-tied him and threw him onto the floor of their police van. Then they drove around the city stopping five times, giving him what Baltimore pigs call the “rough ride.” And these pigs ignored his cries of pain and pleas to go to a hospital. Their actions and inactions stole Freddie’s life. Justice in this case means these cops being convicted and going to jail, not just put on trial. And making that happen is going to take a real fight; people taking to the streets with defiance and determination demanding Justice for Freddie Gray.

We’ve seen police all across the country gunning people down, beating them to death, choking them to death, tasing them to death. This official terror has been built into the fabric of this system from the very beginning of this country; first in slave patrols, followed by KKK night riders and lynch mobs after slavery was ended, and today with police patrolling inner-city communities like an occupying army.

This horror must be STOPPED. The people who run this system have no solution to these horrors. They talk about having a conversation to heal the divisions between the community and the police or about reforms like putting body cameras on cops.

But revolution, communist revolution, has a solution to this and all the other horrors this system brings down—the attacks on women, devastation of the environment of the very planet we live on, the wars for empire, the attacks on immigrants; all of them. That solution is revolution, and we have the leadership needed for this revolution in Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). The revolution could STOP this state-sponsored violence right after seizing power from the capitalist rulers. The police departments that enforce brutality and murder today would be dismantled, and a people’s security force would be created to replace them. As BA says in BAsics (his book of quotations and short essays), this security force would be made up of people who would sooner lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person.

If you want to see the horror of police getting away with murder ended once and for all, you need to engage BA’s new approach to making revolution to get rid of this blood-sucking system and bring into being a society with totally different economic, political, and social relations and is in transition to a classless, communist world. And you need to get with the movement for revolution the RCP is building.

And everyone with an ounce of justice in their hearts needs to join in building a fight to get the cops who murdered Freddie Gray convicted and sent to jail.

PUT THE KILLER COPS IN CELL BLOCKS!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/outrage-three-freedom-fighters-sentenced-in-la-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Outrage: Three Freedom Fighters Sentenced in LA

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On the morning of December 3, the three revolutionaries recently convicted for taking part in the April 14 nationwide protests demanding an end to murder by police were sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court. They were given two years “summary probation,” large fines, and community service and labor.

This is an outrage! These three heroes were charged, tried, and convicted for protesting murder by police, at a time when the horrific incidences of murder continue and the killer cops are rarely charged or tried—and even more rarely convicted. And when they are, this is only through a tremendous fight from the people.

See also:
No Jail Time for Political Resisters!
LA Fighters Against Police Terror on Why They Acted

These sentences, just like the arrests and convictions that led up to them, are completely unjust. This is what “justice” looks like under this system. The murders of hundreds and hundreds of unarmed, mainly Black, Latino, and Native American people by the police are declared “justified” and the killers almost always exonerated, while the people who are in the forefront of fighting to put an end to these wanton murders are being singled out for political repression. As if to underline this point, in the courtroom right next to where the sentencing of the April 14 fighters took place, lawyers for seven defendants, many involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, were preparing to go on trial for their part in the protests that shook the country last November.

On December 11, another seven defendants from the April 14 protests are due to go to court and face trials. Everyone in and around LA should fill the courthouse, and everyone should add their names to the statement “It’s Right to Protest Murder by Police! Oppose the Convictions of April 14 Protesters and Drop the Charges Against All Those Arrested for Protesting Police Terror” (the statement is available online here).

The judge in the case of the three April 14 protesters had the audacity to tell all those listening that “Everyone should stand up for causes they believe in!”—but that these defendants “went too far.” So, courageous protesters putting themselves on the line to actually prevent new murders by police and insist this system indict, convict, and jail the killers who are on the loose is “going too far”—but a bloody epidemic of police murders, which is part of a genocide being carried out against Black people in this country, as well as wanton murder of Brown people, are not. This is the real crime this system cannot cover up.

The political persecution, conviction and harsh sentences of these three freedom fighters is meant to deliver the message that the escalating police terror will continue and opposition will be punished. The April 14 resisters, including these courageous defendants, are an inspiration and call to others to reject this message and continue the struggle to STOP police terror. They are challenging others to act to stop it with needed mass and massive resistance.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/minneapolis-cops-attack-encampment-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Minneapolis Cops Attack Encampment:
Protests Continue to Demand Justice for Jamar Clark

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us received the following report from a correspondent who has been in Minneapolis, uniting with the protests against the police murder of Jamar Clark and in the midst of this, taking out to people the movement for revolution—getting out BAsics by Bob Avakian; the video, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!; Carl Dix’s statement, “Justice for Jamar Clark! Condemn the Racist Assault on Protesters in Minneapolis!,” and promoting revcom.us.

 

Minneapolis, December 3
Protesters demand justice outside a police fundraiser, Minneapolis, December 3.
Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP

On November 15, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 24-year-old Jamar Clark was killed by the police. Many, many witnesses say the cops handcuffed Jamar, knocked him to the ground, and then shot him in the head. Protests against this police murder began immediately and people occupied the area outside the Fourth Police Precinct. Hundreds of people—of all different nationalities, those from the neighborhood, high school and college students, and from many walks of life, joined the occupation, building an encampment community. All kinds of donations came pouring in. People stood together in the face of threats and attacks—from the police and from racist gangs. On November 23, masked white supremacists came into the camp and shot five people. In the face of this, people remained determined to keep the occupation going until their demands were met—including the video of the shooting being released.

Then on the morning of Friday, December 4, at 3 am—after the occupation had been going on for 18 days—the police launched a coordinated attack, using bulldozers and other heavy equipment. Later, the police and media would say that people were given plenty of warning. But in fact, the cops came in, rousted people who were mainly sleeping in tents, and gave them only 10 minutes to clear the area. Those who didn’t wake up or move immediately were doused with cold water and/or arrested. Eight people were arrested. All the tents, signs, food, clothing, and everything else provided by the community to support the encampment were thrown in garbage trucks and destroyed or taken without compensation. The warming fires that gave the occupation its signature look were put out by the fire department and all the kettles and firewood taken. The police and city crews came in and set up concrete barriers in front of the precinct station, along with a steel fence on top.

So-called “community spokespeople” were trotted out to say how “unsafe” the encampment was, how inconvenient it was that one block of Plymouth Avenue was blocked off to traffic, and that the fires were “polluting the neighborhood.” The chief of police announced that protesters would not be allowed to set up similar encampments or block streets for an extended period. And as a prime example of how “unsafe” the occupation was, officials actually cited the shooting of five protesters, all Black men, at the encampment by white supremacists. Four white men were later arrested for the shooting. But what’s highly revealing—especially with regards to WHO’s been responsible for making the encampment unsafe—is that, according to witnesses, police on the scene were more concerned with roping in and suppressing the protesters than capturing the armed attackers.

A protester who was at the scene of the shooting and helped get some of the injured into a SUV to go to the hospital said that when the cops drove up, they were concerned with controlling the crowd, not helping the injured; they were “going after the crowd and pushing us back” and people were saying, “why are you doing this? And then the cops maced some people.” Another woman who was at the scene of the shooting said she asked two cops who were just standing around, what are you going to do about this, and they didn’t do anything and just told her to “call 911”—and that then no police or ambulance came for 15 minutes.

In the face of this vicious attack, protesters didn’t back down and the very next day thousands of people protested in the streets of Minneapolis.

Protests Continue

On Friday, December 4, immediately after the forced eviction, many hundreds of people protested into the afternoon and evening. Three hundred people filled the city hall rotunda to rally against the shutdown and demand more answers about the police shooting of Jamar Clark. Some of the demands people have put forward have been met, like the release of the names of the officers involved. But there are others that have not—like the release of the videotapes of the incident. One organizer said simply, “You have to stop killing us.” Another organizer, Alexander Clark, Jamar’s cousin, added, “The people are tired. It’s time for people to fight back.”

The rally turned into a march that targeted a credit union that financially supports the police union and a law enforcement social function at a restaurant. Another group of 100 people met at a park and demanded the removal of the police union president. Then both groups merged at the headquarters of the police union. Organizers said they would continue “bringing the fight to the Minneapolis Police Department’s doorstep.”

The forces of repression have dismantled the encampment but they have not been able to put an end to the resilience, militancy, and creativity of the people in Minneapolis who are fighting the police murder of Black, Brown, and Native peoples and demanding justice for Jamar Clark.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/state-sponsored-terrorists-in-blue-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

State-Sponsored Terrorists in Blue

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People are rightfully horrified by acts of terror against civilians. But let’s talk about other acts of terror—state-sponsored terror—that are horrific.

Here are videos of a few of the hundreds of people unjustly murdered by the police in the United States annually:

December 2, 2015: San Francisco execute 26-year-old Mario Woods with more than 20 shots. The video shows Mario Woods back up against a wall, surrounded by a swarm of SF cops. It looks like a firing squad. Mario seems to be limping, then he goes down in a hail of bullets. The SF Police Chief, Greg Suhr, after seeing the video, justified the murder.

September 23, 2015: Delaware cops shot and killed 28-year-old Jeremy McDole, a Black man who was paralyzed from the waist down and lived in a nursing home. The video starts with a cop coming on the scene where McDole is sitting in his wheelchair. It ends, one minute and 23 seconds later, with Jeremy McDole lying on the ground DEAD. The first cop approaches, already aiming a shoulder-fired weapon. Within about 4 seconds, he fires, starts yelling for McDole to put his hands up, then pumps the gun, ready to shoot again. Three more cops arrive with pistols drawn. You see Jeremy shifting his weight in his wheelchair. You hear the guy taking the video saying, “He’s bleeding, he’s bleeding.” No gun or anything else is visible in McDole’s hands. The cops are all yelling at him to put his hands up. About 35 seconds after the other cops arrive, you hear a hail of bullets. You see Jeremy McDole fall out of his wheelchair to the ground.

March 1, 2015: LAPD cops shoot and kill Charly "Africa" Keunang, a 43-year-old homeless immigrant from Cameroon during a struggle on a Skid Row sidewalk as several officers tried to take Keunang into custody on suspicion of robbery. A suit filed by Keunang’s family states that the police came after another homeless man told the police that Keunang was possibly mentally ill and “acting out.” Keunang “calmly engaged in discussion with officers” before crawling into his tent. Officers fired Tasers into the tent, then pulled Keunang out, knocked him to the ground and began punching him. Then the cops shot and killed Charly Keunang.

STOP POLICE TERROR!

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/the-trial-of-the-cops-who-murdered-freddie-gray-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

The Trial of the Cops Who Murdered Freddie Gray:
The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

freddie gray
Freddie Gray

Gary Proctor, the lawyer for William Porter, the first of the six Baltimore cops facing trial for the murder of Freddie Gray, wound up his opening statement in the case by doing a take-off of a slogan heard in the streets of Baltimore and many other places where cops have murdered people. He said: “Let's show Baltimore the whole damn system is not guilty as hell.” Outside the courtroom, protesters chanted the reality: “The whole damn system is guilty is hell!”

Well, which is it?

The fact that the lawyer for the cop involved in murdering Freddie Gray had to bring this up speaks volumes about how worried the powers that be are about the legitimacy of their whole set-up. Even when forced to put some of their front-line enforcers on trial for killing someone, as they have been in this case by the people’s uprising, they aim to use the trial to re-assert and reinforce the system’s legitimacy.

OK, Mr. Proctor, let's get into this: IS this system legitimate or is it... Guilty as Hell?
First of all, the so-called criminal “justice” system serves a whole global system that is built on genocide and slavery, wages unjust wars around the world, degrades and enslaves women, threatens to make the planet uninhabitable, demonizes and terrorizes immigrants, and more.

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.

How has this system treated Black people from the very beginning of this country? Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains, to be worked from can't see in the morning till can't see at night, doing unpaid labor that built up the wealth and power of America. And slave patrols, the forerunners of today's police, kept enslaved people from running away or rising up against the horrors inflicted on them. After slavery was abolished, Black people were subjected to slavery by another name, held as sharecroppers on the plantations where they had been enslaved, robbed by the plantation owners, and subjected to Jim Crow segregation and lynch mob terror. Today the police have taken over for the lynch mobs, enforcing terror on Black people by subjecting them to brutality and murder.

And the whole damn system has backed up the terror heaped on Black people. During slavery, theories about the inferiority of Black people and biblical passages about god having decreed that Blacks should be slaves were spread to justify slavery and Jim Crow. Today the victims of the terror are demonized and criminalized to justify the brutality and murder the pigs subject them to.

And when the murderous deeds of the cops get dragged into the light of day by the people’s defiant resistance, the whole damn system goes into motion to exonerate them. District attorneys refuse to indict them or lead grand juries through a process of letting the killer cops walk. If the authorities feel they have to indict one of their front-line enforcers, the prosecutors forget how to prosecute and the killer cop walks free or gets off with no more than a slap on the wrist.

Mr. Proctor, we have seen case after case of cops brutalizing and murdering people, with the whole damn system having the backs of the brutal, murdering cops. Thousands of innocent, unarmed people who were doing nothing wrong have had their lives stolen by those who are supposedly sworn to protect and serve.

So, yes, Mr. Proctor, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/414/la-fighters-against-police-terror-on-why-they-acted-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

No Jail Time for Political Resisters!

LA Fighters Against Police Terror on Why They Acted

November 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On November 19, three young determined fighters against police terror and murder were each convicted of three misdemeanor charges in LA Superior Court and face up to three years in jail. These protesters had dared to hit the streets April 14, 2015—along with thousands of others in over 30 cities across the U.S.—to demand that cops STOP murdering people. In L.A., over 1,000 people took part in protests that included high school walkouts, a march through Skid Row and the shutting down of the Blue Line train for over an hour.

The following are from recent interviews with the three #ShutDownA14 protesters.

Michelle: “I knew my life had to be about something meaningful”

I grew up in South Central. Growing up, seeing people I knew getting harassed and locked up for bullshit, I started questioning why. I knew them personally and knew they were not bad people—why are they getting fucked with? When I was 18, I heard about Trayvon Martin who was one year younger than me, was racially profiled, stalked and killed by a wanna-be pig, and I was outraged. I went to a protest and heard Clyde Young [a member of the Central Committee of Revolutionary Communist Party who died in 2014] speak. He spoke about white supremacy, that this is not just one incident, it’s just one example that came out, but it happens all the time, happens with cops. It was the first time I heard cops kill Black people and get away with it. I started looking into it. I read Revolution newspaper and thought I had to get involved. I found out all over the world things are happening you don’t get told about. Zimmerman was influenced with thinking like a pig and a white supremacist. Going through the paper, I learned about mass incarceration, wars, shit I’d never heard before.

BA SpeaksLearn more about this film

After a year of reading Revolution newspaper, where I’d heard about Bob Avakian, I watched BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! After sitting through six hours, I thought this is what I want my life to be about, not about myself. What he said at the end was very inspiring. I knew my life had to be about something meaningful.

When I decided to stay on those tracks on April 14—it was a statement, we’re not getting out of here until they stop getting away with murder. The cops keep getting away with murder. Going into April 14, I kept hearing new names, stories, seeing videos every day of people killed by police, and then Walter Scott. I would tell people, this happened and what are you doing about it? You see in the video a Black person is running from a pig, the pig shooting him in the back and planting a weapon. What are you going to do?

Felix: “People were willing to put something on the line and it was inspiring”

I grew up in L.A., near downtown, grew up in the same area my whole life. I’ve seen it change a lot. There was a lot of oppression going on, and I thought it was normal: poverty, gangs, police brutality. I thought everywhere was like that. In middle school I started seeing a change with gentrification and then I realized there was inequality. I started connecting things. It made me realize we don’t matter. I never saw things change until people came in with more money.

In 1992, I was five years old. They beat up Rodney King. I remember seeing places boarded up and burned down. I kind of always knew there was police brutality and just accepted it. I thought: stay out of trouble and get good grades and that will save you. Then I had my first bad experience with cops.

I was at home doing homework and realized I had left a book at school in my locker. I went out to go get my book. I was wearing basketball shorts and a black shirt. I was 14 years old. As soon as I went out of the building, I guess I went out quickly. The cops pulled in front of me, told me to stop. They got out and had their hands on their holsters. It was really intimidating. All I had was my keys. I lived across the street from my high school. I was just going to get my book because I was doing my homework. They said we want to talk to you. They started asking bullshit questions, trying to get something from me, guilty by association because of the neighborhood, the building I lived in. Who do you hang out with, asking about all the gangs, saying “tell me names.” I told them I don’t know about that, I stay out of it. They had no reason to stop me. Two big cops and a scrawny 14-year-old. I answered all the questions. Then they said, OK, turn around. I just responded without thinking, “What, are you serious, I answered all your questions!” They said turn around, we’re going to search you. I had to turn around and put my hands on my head, it was like a spectacle in front of my neighbors.

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.

I had thought, do what you’re supposed to do and nothing will happen. But anything can happen. I would come out of my building and they would follow me to the bus stop in a really obvious way. I remember thinking, should I run, but I haven’t done anything.

I always wanted to do something to have an impact, volunteering. I always wanted to help people. I didn’t see anything better to do. If you’re helping people, you’re doing something right. I heard about Trayvon, Oscar Grant, those stories stuck with me. At the moment I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know what to do. I just continued with my life until I heard BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! at Revolution Books and that stuck with me. I remember him talking about police brutality and at a time when so much things going on. I went to different events at Revolution Books. I remember an event when people came back from protesting for abortion rights in Texas and had been arrested. People were willing to put something on the line and it was inspiring.

At one of those events, I got a flyer for a Stop Mass Incarceration Network meeting. I had always wanted to get involved with something. I had thought maybe it would be an anti-corporate movement or with the teachers' union because my sister was a teacher and after she died I thought it would be a good way to honor her. She used to talk about the school system and how she was forced to teach to the tests, so I thought maybe I would do something against No Child Left Behind. I still think the school system is really fucked up. But I found something more urgent with Stop Mass Incarceration. I had seen people protesting on the news, protests in Crenshaw, but that seemed far away. I got involved towards the October Month of Resistance in 2014. I was asked to be a monitor for the October 22 protest and that gave me a sense of responsibility—I wasn’t just attending, I was part of it and I was doing something right. It was the month of resistance and we were going to detention centers and prisons and protesting police brutality and this is when I knew I wanted to keep going. I had found a purpose, a just purpose.

On April 14, I didn’t know if I was going to stay on the tracks. I remember thinking, “I have to do my taxes.” But this time was about taking it all the way. Not just hearing inspiring stories, but being one who inspires others. At the moment I felt that was the right thing and I still do and I haven’t changed my mind about it.

Diego: “I decided to dedicate myself to the struggle to emancipate all humanity”

I grew up in South Central, the only Latino on my block to have Black friends so I was ostracized. Before the rebellion of 1992, I didn’t know shit about Black people other than the racist caricatures I heard from people close to me. Then the rebellion happened. I was young at the time, about 9 or 10 years old. I remember seeing how happy people were and it was a shock to me. All I had been told was about raging Black people and all around me they were happy, as buildings were burning down there was this beautiful scene of people being joyful, literally dancing through the streets, with full shopping carts. I wanted to get to know these people more. I have a deep appreciation for Black people, I grew up with them, was educated by an older Black couple who lived on my block. I developed an openness to what people go through.

In my neighborhood I constantly heard about gang violence, but the only violence I ever saw was by police. Much later in life, a close friend was killed in gang violence, and another guy who lived on my block was killed in what police say was also gang violence. There was a lot of poverty in my neighborhood but growing up I never it saw it that way, maybe I was too desensitized. After ‘92, the cops would come up to kids in the park passing out baseball cards, and them come back and harass them for playing football in the street. They would kick your ball away or throw it away.

At the time I was growing up, South Central was mainly Black, with a few Latinos. I ended up going to a school where I got out of the neighborhood and I ran into Armenians, Iranians, Cambodians, Koreans, Vietnamese people. Even different Latinos who weren’t Mexican or Guatemalan—people from Nicaragua, El Salvador. I was inspired by the breadth of what was out there. I realized I didn’t know a lot of stuff. I felt I didn’t know enough about people. I hadn’t done a lot of reading prior to that. I wanted to learn so I went to a place I imagined they sold books and that was USC campus. I was about 14 years old and I was going there trying to find some stuff to read. It was scary to do that because it took me out of my comfort zone, all these white students. And then I saw books after books after books of all these different things. It was fascinating—all this stuff out there. I started digging in. Asking questions.

First I got into Che through a teacher. There was a swath of people that inspired Che: Mao Zedong, Marx, Engels. I found The Communist Manifesto at the USC bookstore and I read that. Then I found Revolution Books. I liked Revolution Books because I found non-conformist ideas, radically different than what was going on in society.

One of the things that became clear to me is there wasn’t a lack of struggle and sacrifice on behalf of humanity to better conditions to end tyrannical societies. I came to learn why these tyrannical societies existed and how these divisions came about. I was able to see where they arose in human history and that without leadership there would just continuously be a beautiful struggle and heroic sacrifice but that’s all it would be. I came to understand the need for revolution and communism, and I came to appreciate the role of Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party to bring about the conditions to liberate humanity. And I decided to dedicate myself to the struggle to emancipate all humanity.

On April 14, there was a need for a resurgence of protest that had been opened up by Ferguson and what it inspired in people. There were a lot of attacks coming down and they were trying to pop the bubble of resistance. People needed to see that in order to  stop this requires people in the streets. I did what I could to build for that day and on the day itself I wanted to take it as far as I could.


To learn more about and get involved in the fight to defend these three fighters, and others who were arrested on April 14, check out the leaflet from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network So Cal: “It’s right to protest murder by police! Oppose the Convictions of April 14 Protesters and Drop the Charges Against All Those Arrested for Protesting Police Terror

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/outrageous-convictions-of-A14-defendants-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Outrageous Convictions of A14 Defendants!

“I am not gonna stop, because they’re the ones
that should be found guilty.  Not me!”

Deceber 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, November 19, three young revolutionaries were convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of three misdemeanor charges each: being on railroad property without permission; disobeying a “lawful” order from a police officer; and blocking public access.  They were arrested on April 14, a national day of protest against police murder.  Their sentencing is scheduled to take place this Thursday, December 3.  The trials of seven other #April 14 protesters are scheduled to begin on December 11 on the same charges.

Los Angeles April 14

Los Angeles April 14, 2015.

These verdicts are outrageous, and completely unjust.  One of the three defendants, right after being found guilty, spoke with passion to the heart of this injustice:

I have not taken one life from anybody.  And these cops have killed more than 1,000 people in one year, and almost none have spent one day in court.  I’ve spent more time in jail than they have.  I have not taken anybody’s life, and yet I was found guilty.  I did nothing wrong.  And if they think I’m gonna stop because I was found guilty then they are fucking wrong.  I’m not gonna stop, because they are the ones that should be found guilty.  Not me! 

Police murderers are exonerated; protesting them is a crime

Murder by police in this country is an epidemic and is part of a genocide against Black people and horrific oppression of Latinos.  Yet time and time again, police get away with murder.  Eric Garner, father of six children and three grandchildren, strangled to death for selling loose cigarettes; Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child in a park with a pellet gun, shot dead less than two seconds after cops drove up to the scene; “Brother Africa” in L.A.’s Skid Row, shot to death after being jumped on by half a dozen cops; Sandra Bland, stopped and arrested without cause in Texas, found dead while in custody two days later.  The list goes on and on, added to every day.  Very few of these killings lead to arrests, and even fewer lead to convictions.  When this does happen, it is only because of the kind of resistance that is being criminalized through these trials.

Importance of the April 14 actions to “Shut Down Business As Usual”

The April 14 protests that took place in over 30 cities across the country came at a crucial moment in the battle to Stop Police Murder.  Was the massive, unprecedented upsurge of thousands across the country that had been sparked by the actions of the “defiant ones” in Ferguson, Missouri, going to be smothered by the attacks, slanders, and calls to return to “calm” which had been this system’s response?  Or was this movement going to retake the offensive to stop these unending police killings, and at the same time advance the overall movement for an actual revolution in this country.  Those were the stakes.  In the face of all that, through the actions on April 14 in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and many other cities the door was kicked back open! 

In Los Angeles the protest began downtown with close to a thousand protesters, including hundreds of high school students who had walked out of several schools in the face of warnings and threats by school administrators and marched blocks and blocks to get to the rally in front of LAPD Headquarters!  As we wrote in summing up the April 14 protests around the country, “A major element—you could even say the driving force—in the success of A14 were the youth who are fed up with this and refuse to be bottled up, or put in the pen of protest-as-usual.”  This was definitely true in Los Angeles. 

When the march went through Skid Row and stopped at the site where “Brother Africa” had been murdered by the LAPD just six weeks earlier, many of the students were stunned and silent at seeing the way that tens of thousands of human beings are forced to live under this system.  The permitted march continued through downtown, stopping traffic and making drivers ask themselves “Which side are you on?”  A recently graduated African-American student, when he learned what the protest was about, parked his car, grabbed a sign, and joined the march! 

The protest eventually came to its scheduled rally site in the intersection with the street where the Blue Line train runs.  The remaining 100 to 200 protesters took over the intersection, with an hour left before the permit for the march and rally expired.  They marched a block along the tracks, up to the spot where a Blue Line train had stopped.  The police arrived in massive force; they arrested 14 protesters, charging them with blocking the train; they declared the protest an illegal assembly; and dispersed the crowd.

A politically motivated prosecution from start to finish

As part of the overall political repression against protests to stop police terror, the City Attorney piled on charges against these protesters—three misdemeanors for each defendant with a possible three years in jail.

Even before the trial started, the defendants and their supporters were harassed by the sheriffs and prevented from entering the courthouse wearing the “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” t-shirts.  Revolution newspapers and political literature were confiscated.  The sheriffs searched the backpack of another defendant and prevented her from getting to her own court appearance because she was carrying “prohibited literature”—palm cards promoting the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion.   After a lawyer made an argument to the judge, where he was facing potential contempt of court, the judge ruled the t-shirts would be allowed. 

The prosecutor assigned to the case specializes in political prosecutions.  She is reportedly handling all the cases of people arrested since the outbreak in Ferguson last November.  And this is the same prosecutor who went after the Occupy Los Angeles protesters arrested when Occupy was driven from their space in front of City Hall—including a photographer grabbed by cops from behind and thrown down a flight of stairs—leading to a $2.5 million settlement by the city for unlawful arrests. 

The jury was told by the judge and the prosecutor that while the case arose out of a protest against police murder, they were not to consider that fact in arriving at their verdict—even though the heart of the case was whether the state was going to get away with continuing to exonerate one police murderer after another, and punish those who were putting themselves on the line to challenge what has become “business as usual.”  Also, in the trial itself, the prosecutor brought in irrelevant political questions about whether people were with the so-called “Radical Communist Party” and asking what was meant by the t-shirt people were wearing: “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!”

Most significantly, one of the cops overall in charge of operations that day testified that a sergeant and four other officers were assigned to operate undercover from beginning to end—to “provide intelligence.”  He testified that he was constantly being updated by these undercover cops, informing how he made decisions.  But no reports by these undercover cops were ever provided to the defense, nor were their identities disclosed.  What they were reporting—and doing—from within the march, and how that affected what the police did that day, has yet to be revealed. 

The jurors were told that the LAPD was forced to call for a city-wide Tactical Alert.  This is outrageous!  The prosecutors painted those fighting for justice, unarmed and sitting on the ground, as more dangerous to the population than the LAPD who have killed more people this year than any other police force in the country. 
 
In her closing arguments, the prosecutor had the nerve to justify this despicable prosecution by pointing to Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, who she said were both willing to “suffer the consequences” when they broke the law.  She was telling the jury that the rule of law in this country—where it is deemed “justifiable” when police murder innocent people and wrong for people to protest this—should be tolerated and enforced.  This is itself a deep exposure of the actual role of the courts in defending the crimes of this system—justifying convictions in this case by pointing to previous courts that defended the horrors of legal segregation in the South against MLK’s fight to end them; and the ugly Apartheid system of racist South Africa that sent Mandela to prison for 27 years.   

The Jury Verdict Was Unjustified

Each of the defendants took the stand and spoke with heart and with clarity about the continuing killings by police.  One defendant told the whole story of what happened to Tamir Rice and talked about their own 12-year-old nephew.  They spoke about feeling a moral responsibility to put themselves on the line to stop this. 

In their closing arguments, all three defense attorneys gave moving and substantive tributes to the defendants; they talked about how honored they were to represent them; that they were doing something right—out in the streets protesting injustice—and that we need more of them.  They made the argument that the defendants should not be punished while police who consistently break the laws go unpunished.   Many of their supporters inside the courtroom were moved to tears.  One of the attorneys said that her client was giving voice to those who will not get to go home to their families.  Another said they should never have been arrested; “you can do something about stopping police killings by voting not guilty.” And that’s what the jury should have done. 

These defendants should never have been charged let alone convicted of any of the charges in this case.  And the jury had plenty of evidence to draw that same conclusion themselves.  Look at the way the laws are applied, over and over, when it is the brutality and killings by police that are called into question: Ezell Ford was murdered by the LAPD nearly 16 months ago; and it’s been six months since the Los Angeles Police Commission issued a ruling stating that one of the cops violated Ezell’s civil rights by stopping him—yet no charges have been filed.  The video of the killing of Brendon Glenn by LAPD seven months ago in Venice, California still has not been released, despite the chief of police himself saying after viewing it that he hadn’t seen any evidence that would justify this killing.  The video of the brutal beating of Clinton Alford by LAPD cops 14 months ago has still not been released.  And with the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, they’ve only now pulled together a grand jury and are greasing the skids to exonerate the killer cop.

Yet those who protest this—with right on their side—are prosecuted.  Again, the question is posed: which side are you on?

Demand No Jail Time; and Drop the Charges on the Remaining Defendants!

The legal attacks on, and now the convictions of, the three April 14 protesters in Los Angeles, as well as the attacks and threatened prosecutions of demonstrators at other protests against police murders over the past year, are the real crimes that are being carried out—in order to protect the criminal system that needs the police to enforce their rule with such brutality and violence.  This is what is being resorted to and relied on in the face of the growing outrage and questioning of the legitimacy of a system that continues to exonerate killer cops.  We have to go on the political and legal offensive against these prosecutions and convictions—fighting this is an absolutely necessary part of STOPPING police terror. 

As a statement from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network LA against these charges and prosecutions says: “These arrests and prosecutions are meant to send a message of fear and intimidation to force people to accept the business as usual of murder and brutality by police; they are meant to send a message that ‘if you act in meaningful and determined political resistance, we will shut you down.’  Whether it be the tanks and tear gas in the streets of Ferguson, boycotts and bully threats aimed at silencing prominent voices who speak out or mass arrests in Baltimore, Los Angeles or New York, we will not accept this.”

NO JAIL TIME for the convicted defendants; 
DROP THE CHARGES on the remaining seven A14 defendants
and all those who are under attack for fighting to stop police terror!

What you can do:

  1. Sign and circulate this statement:
    http://riseupoctober.nationbuilder.com/its_right_to_protest_murder_by_police

  1. Call Judge David Fields at 213-628-7746 to demand no jail time for the convicted protestors. Send statements to stopmassincarcerationsocal@yahoo.com or call SMIN SoCal at 213-840-5348. Stop Mass Incarceration Network will forward the statements to Judge David Fields and to the City Attorney's Office.

  1. Pack the courtroom:
    Thursday, December 3 at 9:00am and Friday, December 11 at 8:30am. Criminal Court Building; 210 W. Temple St., downtown Los Angeles. December 3 is the sentencing hearing for the three convicted protestors. 7th Floor, Department 46. December 11 is the start of trial for the next set of April 14 protestors. 7th Floor, Department 56

  1. Contribute funds for the political and legal defense.
    Organize fundraising parties and activities. Send checks to Stop Mass Incarceration Network / AFGJ. In the memo line write: "Legal Defense - LA April 14 Protests." Send to:
    Stop Mass Incarceration Network
    PO Box 941, Knickerbocker Station
    New York City, NY 10002-0900

  1. Be part of building this political and legal defense!
    Contact:
    Stop Mass Incarceration Network, So Cal
    Phone: 213.840.5348
    Email: stopmassincarcerationsocal@yahoo.com

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/joe-veale-the-whole-damn-criminal-system-is-guilty-as-hell-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

The Whole Damn Criminal System is Guilty as Hell, Not the #A14 Protestors Who Stood Up Against It!

By Joe Veale and a member of the LA Revolution Club

December 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As the imperialists—whom Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party has referred to as fouler, more monstrous criminals than mythology has ever invented or jails ever held—commit the most horrendous crimes against the people of the world, their system’s police, courts, and prisons work to keep the people they rule over “here at home” in control through murder and mass imprisonment. Millions are kept locked in their prisons, while their brutal murdering police routinely snuff the life out of an unarmed Black or Brown person. These monstrous crimes are not the problem, say the courts; it is the people who call them out as crimes.

On April 14, 2015 thousands of courageous people throughout the country took to the streets to protest police murder and brutality. They dared to expose the murdering, white supremacist nature of this system’s repressive forces after the powers that be had been working so hard to push resistance to their racist oppression back down since Ferguson had erupted a few months before. The protestors let society know that they weren’t going to let resistance just die down and allow murder after murder by police to become the new normal. People shut down freeways, blocked traffic, and stopped passenger trains by taking their protest to the railroad tracks. For this they are being dubbed criminals, they are being prosecuted and three have already been tried and convicted in Los Angeles (See, “No Jail Time for Political Resisters!: LA Fighters Against Police Terror on Why They Acted”)

The reality is that it is this whole system that is criminal, including the courts that enforce “the rule of law”, not the people standing up against it. Their courts almost never do anything about rampant police murder—and when they do it’s only because people go outside the "proper channels" and wage determined resistance—but they’ll prosecute people who stand on the railroad tracks, arms linked in righteous indignation and courageously call it out.

The #A14 protestors in Los Angeles have been prosecuted not for breaking the law, they’ve been prosecuted for taking a moral stand, for their courage, and for their willingness to go beyond the limits of normal protest that the real criminals find acceptable. The message that is being sent is, “We will continue to brutalize and murder people we have no use for under this system and anyone who refuses to accept this will suffer the consequences.”

Fuck that! We can’t let bullying murderers set the terms. Whoever you are, you must search your conscience and take a side. We can’t respond to the political persecution of #A14 protestors by cowering down and staying within the limits drawn for us by a system that carries out and justifies murder by its enforcers on a daily basis. We need to show no less courage than these freedom fighters who took a stand to say that murder by police must stop. We have to let all of society know how this system deals with people who speak out against its crimes and mobilize others to flood the courtrooms where they are being tried and sentenced, demand no jail time, and all charges dropped. If they want to jail anybody for committing crimes, than demand they jail the killer cops NOT the protestors. Check out, “It’s right to protest murder by police!: Oppose the Convictions of April 14 Protestors and Drop the Charges Against All Those Arrested for Protesting Police Terror." This movement needs YOU.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/los-angeles-legal-defense-fundraising-party-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Los Angeles: Legal Defense Fundraising Party Celebrates Resistance to Murder by Police

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Saturday night, December 5 in Los Angeles, Stop Mass Incarceration Network hosted a Legal Defense Fundraising Dinner Party for Anti-Police Terror protesters. Thirty people celebrated the resistance to murder by police, and especially honored those arrested April 14 in Los Angeles during a national day of protest, #ShutDownA14, which happened in 30 cities across the U.S. (See "No Jail Time for Political Resisters! LA Fighters Against Police Terror on Why They Acted" at revcom.us) It was a fun, meaningful celebration, filled with conversation, good food, heartwarming presentations, and some righteous hip hop and cinema to top it off.

People mingled and broke bread to kick things off, with music artfully challenging murder by police that's dropped over the last couple of years as background. The MC began the informal program by thanking everyone for being there, and by recognizing the people whose lives have been stolen by police in a genocidal rampage against Black and Latino people in the U.S. The room was lined with pictures—the faces, the smiles, the beautiful expressions of joy—pictures of those whose lives have been snuffed out by killer police, because we recognize the humanity of all those lives stolen by law enforcement. We were there to celebrate the resistance to STOP this from happening ever again, and to honor the people who have stepped forward to take responsibility for stopping this genocidal plague, in the face of arrests, trials and jail time.

When two of the A14 defendants who'd recently been convicted of blocking the Metro train in downtown Los Angeles came up to speak, they defiantly spoke out against the continuing murders by cops and the exonerations of police who kill and brutalize the masses of people. One of the defendants, a young revolutionary artist, said "things had crystallized" for him during the trial and sentencing, and made clear he will continue to participate, organize and lead people to stand up to murder by police. Both young revolutionaries, along with a third, had been sentenced on December 3 to two years summary probation, 30 days jail or 20 days community labor, and heavy fines totaling in the thousands of dollars.

The other convicted defendant pointed out they were sentenced on the anniversary of the day (December 3) that the NYC police who choked Eric Garner to death, on video, got let off scot-free by a grand jury one year ago. And she said they were sentenced the same day the LA district attorney's office announced there would be no criminal charges against a California Highway Patrol officer, Daniel Andrew, who was recorded pinning down and punching homeless woman Marlene Pinnock over and over again on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. She said this is outrageous and she is not going to stop protesting murder by police.

The statement "It's Right to Protest Murder by Police" opposes the convictions of the A14 protesters and calls for dropping the charges against all those protesting police terror. It asks, "What is the government's answer to these howling and unjust crimes? To arrest, prosecute, intimidate and imprison those who protest against them." It's this that's crystallized for the defendants, and it's a profound truth that must become known and acted on through many forms of resistance, by growing numbers of people who will not accept this. A beginning and important range of notable people in society, and over 20 family members who have lost loved ones to murder by police, have signed this statement. The statement needs to spread widely and it was shared with everyone at the dinner party.

A moving tribute to defendants in the A14 trials was a highlight of the night. In addition to recognizing each of the brave resisters individually with personal anecdotes to highlight different people's contributions—including their steadfastness in the face of government repression—and appreciating the breadth of viewpoints among the defendants who've united to stop murder by police, each received a beautifully framed gift featuring the BAsics 6:3 quote from Bob Avakian.

The evening culminated with an entertaining hip hop set from one of the defendants and the inspiring documentary film William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe about the legendary people's lawyer. Money was raised to push forward the battle to oppose the convictions of the three A14 protesters and drop all the charges against the seven remaining defendants facing trial from the April 14 protests, and all those unjustly charged for protesting murder by police.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/the-murder-of-laquan-mcdonald-cops-lies-and-videotape-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

The Murder of Laquan McDonald: Cops, Lies and Videotape, Part 2

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald

17-year-old Laquan McDonald was gunned down and killed in cold blood by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Laquan was shot 16 times in 14 seconds as he walked down the middle of the street. The police say he had a three-inch folding knife. The Chicago Police Department released the police dashboard video of this killing more than a year later, and only after they were ordered to by a court. Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder on November 24, the day before the court had ordered the video released. The video was released later the same day. Now, hundreds of pages of newly released police reports reveal that Van Dyke and at least FIVE other cops just STRAIGHT-OUT LIED about what happened to justify the murder:

What the cops and the police report said: That Van Dyke exited his vehicle, drew his handgun, then stood in the street as McDonald came toward him and that “McDonald was holding the knife in his right hand, in an underhand grip, with the blade pointed forward.... He was swinging the knife in an aggressive, exaggerated manner.” That Van Dyke repeatedly ordered McDonald to drop the knife. Then, “When McDonald got within 10 to 15 feet of Officer Van Dyke, McDonald looked toward Van Dyke, McDonald raised the knife across his chest and over shoulder, [sic] pointing the knife at Van Dyke.” Van Dyke said he continued to fire at McDonald while he was on the ground because McDonald “appeared to be attempt(ing) to get up, all the while continuing to point the knife” at him and still presented a threat.

One cop said he believed McDonald was “attempting to kill them” when Van Dyke opened fire. One report read, “In defense of his life, Van Dyke backpedaled and fired his handgun at McDonald, to stop the attack.... McDonald fell to the ground but continued to move and continued to grasp the knife, refusing to let go of it.”

See also: Cops, Lies, and Videotape

Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

Police murder Laquan McDonald at 5 minute mark

What the video shows: Van Dyke started shooting six seconds after getting out of his vehicle, firing 16 shots at Laquan McDonald. (Prosecutors say 13 of them were fired at Laquan after he was already on the ground.)

Laquan McDonald is walking down the middle of the street, in fact moving AWAY from, not toward, the cops; when the shooting starts he is a full traffic lane away from the cops. His hands are at his sides. When Van Dyke opens fire, he is NOT moving back [backpedaling], but appears to be advancing as he fires his gun. Laquan spins around and then immediately crumples to the ground; Van Dyke continues to shoot. Laquan’s body, as he is lying on the ground, jerks as more bullets strike him, but he makes NO MOVE to get up from the ground.

What the police supervisors said: That McDonald’s death was a justifiable homicide and within the bounds of the department’s use of force guidelines.

What state investigators said: After viewing the video, they found it consistent with the officers’ accounts. Reports also note that the 911 call after the shooting and radio transmissions from the scene “were consistent with the statements of the police officers.”

*****

What the people demand: Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!

And as the statement from the Chicago Branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party said:

EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved in Laquan’s murder and the cover-up should be indicted and prosecuted. EVERY SINGLE COP involved in the police murders and cover-ups of a long list of other people, like Ronnie Johnson or Roshad McIntosh, Darius Pinex, Dakota Bright or Martice Milner should ALL be indicted. There is no statute of limitations on murder. The list is long and the crimes are many. Our demand is simple: Stop police terror.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/chicago-rcp-statement-mccarthy-fired-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

From the Revolutionary Communist Party, Chicago branch:

McCarthy fired. Now Indict EVERYONE who is part of the CONSPIRACY to cover up Laquan’s officially-sanctioned MURDER!
POLICE MURDER AND TERROR MUST STOP!
The whole damn system is guilty as hell. We Need an ACTUAL REVOLUTION!

December 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For days there has been national outrage and spreading anger and protest in Chicago over the police murder captured on video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014. Laquan was gunned down in the street worse than a dog. Demonstrations have been rocking Chicago, especially the shutting down of N. Michigan Avenue and major stores on Black Friday.  (See below for upcoming protests).

Download and spread (PDF)

Every day more comes to light about the cover-up by police that started right from the start...surveillance video and dash cam audio disappear...eight other police, none spoke up....lies spread through the media that Laquan lunged at the cops...hush money...400 days of cover-up.

In the face of all this, Mayor Emanuel did an about face from having complete confidence in police superintendent McCarthy to firing him. Yes, McCarthy has presided over and covered up the crimes committed by the police department and he should have been indicted. But let’s be clear, the whole damn system is guilty as hell. The powers that be are scared and maneuvering to contain the outrage, limit how much more about police murder and brutality comes out and quell questioning of the legitimacy of the police’s use of force against oppressed communities. The representatives of this system have backed up an inch...this is not a time to let up, but to take the resistance broader, deeper and to a more determined level as we continue to debate what is the problem and what after all is the solution to the hundreds of years of the oppression of black people and the other crimes of this system. 

Besides firing McCarthy, Emanuel created a task force to “study the problem.” Who is heading up the task force? The current head of the Police Board!!

This is your answer? Really? NAH. We are not fools. We aren’t having it.

Here is a just demand: EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved in Laquan’s murder and the cover-up should be indicted and prosecuted. EVERY SINGLE COP involved in the police murders and cover-ups of a long list of other people, like Ronnie Johnson or Roshad McIntosh, Darius Pinex, Dakota Bright or Martice Milner should ALL be indicted. There is no statute of limitations on murder. The list is long and the crimes are many.

Our demand is simple: Stop police terror. And we want to know—which side are you on?

The murder of Laquan McDonald and then the ongoing cover-up was not a one-time horrific act. Every day there is more news about just a small fraction of other cases of police murder and brutality of people in Chicago. It should not need saying after the past year, but it does—it is not that police in Chicago are more brutal, more corrupt or have a more engrained white supremacist culture than other cities big and small across the U.S. Ferguson and Baltimore, Minneapolis and Madison, New York and Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Pasco, WA....and many other cities. All these cities have been rocked by protests against police murdering people in this past year because there is a nationwide epidemic of police murder and terror.

This is the nature and role of the police in modern day America. As the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian says, “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people....” (BAsics 1:24)

This is not going to be fixed by some puny reforms like more cameras (Laquan’s murder was caught on camera!), more Black cops (like commander Evans!), independent prosecutors (Wisconsin’s independent prosecutor let the police who killed Dontre Hamilton and Tony Robinson off!), community review (NY City has this and Eric Garner was choked to death on camera and his police killers exonerated).

Further, let’s be blunt since a lot of people are calling for Federal investigations: there is NO JUSTICE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Ask the families of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Nicholas Heyward, or Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown. None have seen justice. Why is it you cannot name one case where the federal government has convicted a cop for killing someone. So stop kidding yourself about saviors from the Department of Justice coming to the rescue.

It is up to us. It is on us to spread, deepen and broaden the resistance to police murder and demand it stop. Why do you think the city was so afraid to release the video of Laquan’s murder? It wasn’t just Chicago politics. It was Ferguson and the uproar in the country over the police murder of Mike Brown and their worry that Chicago would erupt with a fury that surpassed Ferguson and Baltimore. The fact that in Ferguson, defiant ones from rival gangs set aside their beefing with each other and stood up, together with many others from the community – and said we aren’t taking this anymore. They braved tanks, National Guard, massive arrests, tear gas and more. Their standing up won support for the justness of their cause from many artists, students, community people and people of all nationalities who themselves are not directly feeling the boot of the police but do not want to live in a society where this happens to people because of the color of their skin.

Again, this system is guilty as hell. This system has a name. It is a system of capitalism-imperialism that has murdered Black people, Latino, Native Americans and other oppressed people since the day of its founding. As Carl Dix (a co-founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Rise Up October and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party) put it in his statement on Laquan’s murder:

We need a revolution to deal with this, and the path to that revolution has been charted by Bob Avakian and is being hastened every day by the party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. And right now, everyone who wants change... everyone who wants freedom... everyone who wants justice... everyone who is willing to say that these are OUR youth and the murder must stop—needs to do two things.

One, be out there on Friday demanding that MURDER AND TERROR BY THE POLICE MUST STOP! Take defiant and determined action to make clear to everyone, all around the world that killer cops like the one who wantonly stole Laquan McDonald’s life must all be indicted, convicted, and sent to jail. Jason Van Dyke, the pig who murdered Laquan, had many, many complaints for excessive force and using the “n” word. Yet he still marauded through Black and Brown neighborhoods with a badge and gun and a license to kill, as long as he said the magic words that killer cops always use—“I feared for my life.”

And two, go to the web site www.revcom.us and find out more about Bob Avakian and the revolution we need. Everybody, every group and every person that opposes this kind of madness, that wants a better future for the youth, should be reached with this statement. And they should get with the movement for revolution the RCP is building and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, For Revolution!

We support the call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network:
 
’Tis the season to be defiant. Stop police murder. Justice for Laquan
Saturday, December 5 at State and Jackson in Chicago at noon
Wednesday, December 9, Chicago City Council meeting, 10 am, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Chicago

Revolutionary Communist Party, Chicago branch

For more information and showings of film of a talk by Bob Avakian, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! call: 773-489-0930

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/the-spark-of-outrage-continues-burning-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

From a reader:

The Spark of Outrage Continues Burning—Will It Lead to Appropriate Action?

Police Brutality in the Execution of Laquan McDonald and Much More

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a translation from Spanish, done by Revolución, of a letter from a reader.

 

Chicago, Illinois, December 1, 2015

Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald

The protests and demands for justice continue in the wake of the execution of Laquan McDonald, after it became known yesterday that officer Jason Van Dyke was free after paying the $1.5 million bail set by the judge based on the argument that Van Dyke does not represent a public threat. If their goal is to placate the social outrage, I am afraid that they will achieve the opposite with this decision and argument. Especially in this paradigmatic case, such an argument does a disservice to justice because this is not only about police brutality. In context, the following seven considerations deserve consideration to enable our social transformation:

The police officer as an individual:

1. If a police officer, ostensibly hired to protect order and social peace, treacherously shoots and kills a minor as shown in the video, isn’t this contrary to the oath Van Dyke took when he became a police officer? How, then, are we supposed to understand “public threat”? The judge’s decision deserves a great deal of attention. If the social organizations or congressmen themselves fail to object, it will pass unnoticed and establish a legal precedent. This is not merely a matter of police brutality against an individual. It is a violation of the Rule of Law itself for Laquan McDonald to be denied due process and to be executed by someone who is sworn to uphold said Rule of Law. Of course this goes beyond the individual and clearly makes Van Dyke a public threat.

2. If a police officer has been on active duty for 14 years, during which time he has generated more than 20 complaints without receiving any disciplinary action until a murder like that of Laquan McDonald, can it still be considered that he is not a public threat? Shouldn’t this be seen as the culmination of his entire record up to this latest point—or should the murder that he committed against Laquan be considered an incident isolated from his record? Do police have a license to kill?

Police as a body:

3. If the story that Van Dyke and the police maintained for 14 months was that he acted in self-defense, lying consciously, how can there be confidence in a police force that conspires against the society that they are sworn to protect? It took a court order to release the video and disprove the story that had been maintained the whole time. Thank God that there is still the separation of powers, otherwise the lie would have continued to prevail. What if there had not been a decision to release the video? What if those who should maintain social peace disrupt it with their evil actions? All the police, as a body, have lied to the citizenry.

4. Fourteen months collecting a salary with nobody bothering him, while he and some 20 police officers knew of the crime that he had perpetrated—does this not tell us of a culture of dishonesty and cynicism? Are the police a body that covers everything with the same blanket? What nurtures in them a culture lacking transparency and accountability? Why did another branch of government have to intervene to demand the release of the video? As part of a system whose purpose is to obtain justice, where is their sense of justice?

The police as part of the system

5. The fact that a settlement of $5 million was offered to Laquan McDonald’s family, without them even filing a lawsuit, undeniably leads us to further reflections. If disasters caused by the police are paid out of the city’s pocket, when will the police as a body learn a lesson? Or, will the police themselves pay for it? And if they don’t, isn’t the system just protecting itself and remaining incorrigible?

6. After the video was released, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on the city to keep the peace. Isn’t that precisely the primary job of the police? Does the system now blame the victims instead of targeting the real culprits? Cover-up or conspiracy, or both?

7. If the video had been released prior to the elections, would it have affected the outcome? This was a question that a reporter from Univision asked Commissioner Chuy Garcia (video, in Spanish, here.)

In conclusion, this is not just about police brutality—as my reasoning above demonstrates, I argue strongly that the evil is greater: it is systemic. Society itself, in its outrage and protest, has recognized accurately that officer Jason Van Dyke, the police as a body with their chief Garry McCarthy, and the system itself, with its mayor as leader, cannot be tolerated when what they protect is evil.

Contrast this with the flashes of joy and hope that have emerged from this disaster. I am referring to the many actions in solidarity with the African-American community demanding justice for the murder of Laquan. The ability to have turned around in order to see each other as equals without racial distinction is invaluable. However, we need to move our protests and outrage to appropriate action to achieve a greater good: organizing forceful corrective actions to set a historic precedent and ensure that horrors like this never happen again in the city of Chicago, or in the entire United States.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/tis-the-season-to-be-defiant-stop-police-terror-which-side-are-you-on-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

'Tis the Season to be Defiant—Stop Police Terror, Which Side Are You On? Justice for Laquan McDonald and All People Murdered by Police!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Photo credit: FJJ

Saturday, December 5—On one of the busiest holiday weekends, Stop Mass Incarceration Network-Chicago and the Chicago Revolution Club challenged shoppers on Chicago’s busy downtown State Street to take a stand against the murder of Laquan McDonald and all police murders across this country. People from Chicago Anonymous and from one of the groups involved in boycotting Black Friday joined in. Sidewalks were jammed, packed full of holiday shoppers and people looking at the Macy’s holiday windows. They were greeted with about 30 people carrying the large Stolen Lives banner; signs calling for “Justice for Laquan McDonald! Stop Police Terror—Which Side Are You On?” and “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” Protesters chanted, agitated, and sang the Samuel L. Jackson song “I Can’t Breathe,” and called out the 16-shot murder of Laquan by Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. All this while Salvation Army volunteers and others sang Christmas carols. It was quite a scene.

People grabbed fliers, many with smiles, telling us they really appreciated us being out there. Several non-mainstream media, including from a local Chicago college, interviewed and videoed people from Stop Mass Incarceration Network. People from all over the Chicago area and other parts of the country and the world paused while they listened to protesters speak about the massive cover-up of the murder of Laquan, and how this happens all across the country, murder after murder. An older Black woman, who we had met at the Black Friday protest, told us how effective we were in getting out the message of Stop Police Murder to people. She had walked around the area checking people’s response and felt that many, many people were watching and listening to what was being said. She also warned us of police in vans behind the scenes and that we should be aware of them.

It took 13 months to get the video of the police murder of Laquan released. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, and all the cops involved had pushed the “official story” and declared the case closed: that Laquan supposedly lunged at the cop with a knife (which could have been loaded with bullets, according to one of Van Dyke’s reports), so they had to kill him. The Chicago Tribune ran a front-page story December 5 titled “Laquan McDonald police reports differ dramatically from video,” based on hundreds of pages of newly released police reports from the night of Laquan’s execution and the cover-up that followed.

Photo credit: FJJ

Many people who had been at other protests around Laquan and other police murders came or stopped to take flyers out to their friends. People joined in along the route, taking turns speaking on the bullhorn and calling out the cover-up of not only the murder of Laquan, but the many other young Black and Latino people who have been killed coast to coast. A Black man said he was a victim of police brutality, how we had to fight for our rights against the neo-Nazi cops that patrol their community. He said, “We are human beings, but the cops see us as sheep or dogs to be shot down in the street.” He challenged people to care, that what was happening was bigger than him and that this was not the future he saw for the youth. He ended with, “We are fighting for the future.” A Black woman came up and stuffed a #africanschargegenocide flyer in my pocket and took flyers.

The Revolution Club spoke to the slow genocide against Black people, and the whole history of slavery and Jim Crow and how this country was built on the blood and bones of the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of indigenous Indians: how it would take a revolution to really uproot the oppression that Black and Latino and all oppressed people face. They linked the oppression of women, the destruction of the environment, attacks on immigrants, and the wars of plunder for empire, how this was all part of the same brutal capitalist-imperialist system. They urged people to get into Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and to come to a showing of clips from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! at Revolution Books.

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.

There was sharp challenge to many of the white shoppers who went by, but who did not take flyers. What did they see on the video? Wasn’t it straight-up murder? Were they going to live in a society where the police gun down Black and Latino people? Is this the kind of society they want their kids to be a part of? This went right up against all the holiday shopping and window watching that circled Macy’s. There were a few who cheered the police, but not many, and if they did support police, they weren’t saying anything.

Some who protested felt that getting rid of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was the answer, that everyone involved in the cover-up and actual incident should be indicted for accessory to murder.

People need to be in the streets every weekend going into the holidays: speaking out against police murder nationwide, going to showings of Spike Lee’s new movie, Chi-Raq, getting out Stop Police Murder—Which Side Are You On? statements, and signing people up to be organizers for Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

The police have been forced this coming week to release the video of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson’s murder by police in October 2014. His mother has been fighting for more than a year to get this video released to show that the cops murdered her son. We have to be ready to hit the streets when the video is released. People around the country and the world are watching what we do in the face of these outrages.

People need to be checking out what it will take to stop these crimes being committed against humanity. Police murder won’t stop against Black and Latino people unless tens of thousands, influencing and challenging millions, say STOP Police Terror—which side are you on?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/the-police-murder-of-tamir-rice-and-conspiracy-to-get-the-cops-off-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

The Police Murder of Tamir Rice and the Conspiracy to Get the Cops Off

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In his 2002 Revolution talk, Bob Avakian (BA) makes this very sharp point1:

Now prosecutors in Cleveland are not just “forgetting how to prosecute,” but straight up taking the role of defense attorneys for the cops.

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, playing in a park by himself, was gunned down by Cleveland police on November 22, 2014. The crime was caught on video, and it was plain to see that Tamir was unarmed and no threat. But months went by without an indictment, so private citizens tried to bypass the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Tim McGinty, by filing a motion in Cleveland Municipal Court asking that murder charges be brought.

On June 11, 2015, a Cleveland judge reviewed the video and other evidence and issued a formal ruling that there was “unquestionably ... probable cause” to charge Frank Loehmann (the cop who shot Tamir) with murder. But the judge did not order that he be charged, stating that his role was only “advisory,” it was up to the prosecutor’s office to file charges.

So what happened? Did the prosecutor file charges against the two Cleveland cops involved? Did he arrest them and organize a perp walk in front of the cameras like they do when ordinary people are accused of some crime? Did he call a news conference to denounce the cold-blooded killers, and to build public opinion for their conviction, as prosecutors routinely do when basic people are arrested, often on flimsy evidence, or no evidence at all? Did he go to work gathering evidence and building a case so as to win convictions in court?

No, he did the opposite. He repeatedly warned the public through the media not to draw conclusions just because they had seen a child murdered on video, claiming that things were much more complicated than they appeared. He refused to bring charges, claiming that he needed to “investigate” further. And then he “investigated” how to come up with excuses for the murder of Tamir. He hired several pro-police “experts” to produce reports, released in October, that claimed that killing an unarmed 12-year-old was a “reasonable” thing for police to do because they felt they were in “danger” from this child.

Then on November 28, McGinty unveiled the latest in his defense of the cops—he presented the media with an “enhanced video” produced by a forensics video company in Seattle, of the last few seconds before Tamir was fatally shot by police. And the prosecutor added written text on some frames to “explain” to the public what they were seeing—explanations that contradict what is actually in the video. So for instance, the text says that the video shows Tamir reaching towards his waistband and then raising his arm a split second before being shot, but in reality, as brought out by an expert hired by the family, Tamir had already been shot at that point, and his arm motions were a reaction to being hit by the bullet. (In any case, since Tamir’s hands were empty, since all he had in his waistband was a toy gun, and since the cops couldn’t even see the toy, how does him raising his hand in any way justify murdering him?!?!)

Not only are the prosecutors in this case of police murder forgetting to prosecute, they are acting like defense lawyers for the murdering cop.

BA once again: “Yes there’s a conspiracy! To get the cops off!”

All of this is clearly building towards a decision by the grand jury now in session not to bring indictments... and there needs to be fierce struggle by the people against this going down like that.

 

1. If you do not have audio or video access, in this talk BA says: "Whenever they are forced to put a cop on trial for brutality or murder, all of a sudden the prosecutors forget how to prosecute. Anybody who has a case, I'm sure they say 'goddamn, gimme that prosecutor when I got my case go up.'" [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/u-s-number-1-putting-women-in-prison-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

United States: #1 in Putting Women in Prison

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

While men make up 90 percent of those imprisoned in the United States, the number of women behind bars has been growing at a faster rate than the overall prison population.

» Today, there are about 206,000 women in prison and jail in the USA. Only 5 percent of the world’s female population lives in the U.S., but the U.S. accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world’s incarcerated women.

» Thirteen percent of the women in the U.S. are Black; 30 percent of the women incarcerated in the U.S. are Black.

» According to a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative, the U.S. is the country with the second highest female incarceration rate—Thailand is #1. The report also breaks down the incarceration rate for each U.S. state, comparing these rates to countries around the world: If every U.S. state were counted as a country, the top 25 countries with the highest female incarceration rates would be in the United States. (Thailand would be #26 on this.) West Virginia at #1 incarcerates 273 of every 100,000 women. The state of Colorado has a higher rate of imprisoning women than Russia.

Women's Incarceration Rate--United States 1910-2014
The incarceration rate for women in the United States is currently more than eight times higher than it was throughout most of the 20th century. (Graph courtesy of Prison Policy Initiative)

In 1980 there were just over 15,000 women in state prisons. By 2010 there were nearly 113,000. This leap in the mass incarceration of women is due mostly to the war on drugs: most women in prison and jail are there not for violent acts, but because they have been convicted of low-level drug or property crimes. Many found themselves convicted as part of a larger conspiracy prosecution because they were living with drug dealers.

Bureau of Justice Statistics for 2014 report that 59 percent of women in federal prison were serving time for drug offenses and only four percent were in prison for violent offenses. In state prisons, 24 percent of women in 2013 were incarcerated for drug offenses, and 37 percent were imprisoned for violent offenses.

Most of the women behind bars in the U.S. have children. Many suffer from drug addiction and mental illness; many have experienced physical and sexual abuse in their lives. According to a 1996 study of California prisoners, 92 percent of the women in prison had been abused. (New York Times, “Women Behind Bars,” November 30, 2015) Women in prison face horrific abuse--brutality and rape by guards; and in 28 states, women can be shackled during labor, delivery, and while they are caring for their newborns.

See “The Scandal of Women’s Prisons... And the Shackles that Bind Half of Humanity“ at revcom.us.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/taking-revolution-to-chicago-climate-march-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Taking Revolution to Chicago Climate March

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

November 29—About 250 attended the rally and march. It started at Dearborn & Adams and marched up Dearborn to the Chicago River and then over to Tribune Plaza. It was mainly an older crowd – probably half were over 50. But there were a range of younger people too. It was also overwhelmingly white, but with a few Latinos and Blacks. I was by myself and I initially focused on getting everyone two flyers – the exposure from Revolution newspaper on how the upcoming Paris Climate Conference was not about saving the environment and the recent RCP, Chicago Branch statement on the police murder of Laquan McDonald. The latter had the listing of upcoming BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! showings at Revolution Books on the back. Almost everyone there got both of these. There were maybe a dozen people who declined to take them once they saw Revolution at the top. So I was getting out these flyers during the initial rally. The speakers were from various local environmental groups. I wasn’t able to pay close attention to what they said, but some of it was pretty narrow (like the need to support solar energy or to elect new leaders). The final speaker focused on what climate change meant for the people of the third world, and this conveyed more of the price that humanity will pay for this accelerating environmental disaster.

A few of the protesters wore Bernie Sanders buttons. I asked two middle-aged white women, one of whom had a Bernie button on, what they thought it would take to stop the destruction of the environment. The Bernie supporter said “more disasters” and went on to explain that it would take things like that to shake enough people into the level of mass action to get “our leaders” to change course on climate change. I asked her how these leaders were going to change course when their entire system of global production and exploitation is based on using fossil fuels to send stuff all over the world. She just kept arguing that you had to find the right leaders and vote for them. She asked me who I was voting for and I said no one because they all represent the same monstrous system that has done so much harm to humanity. This not voting thing was a little too much for her and she said that she didn’t want to talk any more. But her friend, who had been listening to all this, said she wanted a copy of Revolution newspaper to learn more of what I was talking about.

Another guy in his 50s was carrying a sign about the importance of listening to what the scientists were saying about global warming. I told him that I really agreed with his emphasis on applying science to solving this problem and asked him if that approach wouldn’t lead him to recognizing that the rulers of this system can’t solve this climate emergency because they have to live by the commandment of “expand or die.” But he wasn’t going for applying science in that way. He said that this upcoming conference in Paris was going to be the “first step” in actually reversing the damage. I asked him how this was different from all the previous climate conferences that were supposed to be “the first step”—yet things have gotten worse? Oh, he said those weren’t really the first step, but this one will be. I asked him how he was any different from people at those previous conferences who had argued “this is the first step” but instead had been played for fools? He didn’t want to talk any more.  

But there were also a number of people—mainly younger people—who quickly got the connection between the epidemic of police terror and the environmental crisis because they both reflected how deeply fucked up this society is. There were six teenage Black girls who came with one of their mom’s. I explained to them that it is the same system whose police murder Black people with impunity that also cares nothing for the environment because this system is all about the dog-eat-dog fight for profit. People and natural resources mean nothing to them, except as a way to make money.  And that is why we need a revolution and they need to get into Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of this revolution. They were listening intently and their head were bobbing up and down, and then at one point I referred to the police as the Blue Klux Klan and they all just fell out laughing and yelling “Yes, Yes.” The mom was also agreeing and they all got copies of Revolution newspaper. Just then a woman who was trying to get people to write their congressmen came over and gave her pitch to this crew. The kids listened politely. As she finished, I jumped in again and said if they wanted to write their congressman, go ahead. But they should not fool themselves into thinking that will change anything—any more than writing to congressmen has stopped this system from murdering and brutalizing Black people for hundreds of years. The kids were all—Yeah, you got a point. And the mom was right with them on this too.

During the march I talked to a woman who had just started teaching at a prestigious local university. Her focus is anthropology, so I asked her if she thought that you can scientifically understand human society. She thought and said that she tended to think not because there are so many grey areas and nuances. I asked her if you couldn’t say the same thing about quantum physics – tiny particles zipping around and no one knowing where they actually are at any given time – yet scientists have come to understand its basic dynamics. She thought about that, but responded by saying that there is just so much that people don’t know about how societies work. I agreed, but said that, in a certain sense, is always true about everything – there is always more to reality than human beings know at any given time. But does that invalidate what we have been able to scientifically determine to be true. This got us into a discussion about the difference between our knowledge at any given time being relative – meaning not being complete or absolute – and the philosophy of relativism which argues that no one can really know the truth (or even parts of it). She was quite familiar with relativism, but did not agree with the idea that everyone has their “own truth.” I asked her if she knew how relativism came to have such a prominent place in academia today. She didn’t. I explained that in the ’60s it was pretty much unknown. But its promotion on university campuses since then was payback against young intellectuals for rebelling in the ’60s because one of the things that characterized many student’s thinking back then was a growing certitude that America was an imperialist monster and needed to be gotten rid of (even if people were not clear on how to do that). Relativism was an attack on that scientifically grounded understanding about reality and the moral clarity that flowed out of it which led so many youth to stand up and oppose the rulers of this country.

At this point she mentioned that she is teaching a class in Marxism. I told her that this was even more reason that she needed to get into BA. I told her about BA’s new synthesis of communism and especially the leaps he has made in terms of epistemology (the theory of how one understands the world). This was all new and extremely interesting to her. She asked if what BA has done was based on Marx. I said definitely yes, but it also represented a further development of Marx’s scientific method and approach, based on leaps that were previously made by Lenin and Mao. I described how BA had more thoroughly broken with tendencies in the history of Marxism to think that communism was inevitable. I explained that another important rupture by BA was his rejection of the notion that some groups of oppressed people automatically know what is true about the world. And breaking free of that false notion allowed BA to put the collective pursuit of the truth much more at the center of the new revolutionary society – imbuing it with much greater vibrancy and critical thinking.

This was all going on in the middle of a climate crisis march, so the discussion could not go on forever. I went back to the question of whether we can have confidence in things we do know and asked her if she would agree that it is true that capitalism is the cause of all the misery that humanity now faces. Her face kind of lit up and she said, oh yeah that is definitely true. I told her that I wanted to come talk to her more – both to talk to her personally, but also to get her thinking about how we can bring forward a new generation of revolutionary intellectuals, because without them, there will be no revolution. She said that she too very much sees the need for new revolutionary intellectuals. So I told her we would have a lot to talk about.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/climate-march-in-honolulu-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Climate March in Honolulu

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Honolulu, November 29

Honolulu, November 29

November 29—Almost 200 people joined a march through Waikiki's tourist district to demand that world leaders take meaningful action to Save the Planet from devastating climate change. Among those marching was a contingent from Micronesia, where rising waters, ocean acidification and coral bleaching are destroying their Pacific islands. The speakers at the rally following the march were diverse, including local politicians and representatives from a number of local environmental organizations.  Among the speakers was a Chamorro poet from Guam, who made a passionate appeal to those there to see the link between climate change and militarism. World Can't Wait spokesperson Liz Rees gave a shout-out to the courageous protesters in Paris, squarely put the blame for climate change on the richer capitalist imperialist countries of the world (and especially Obama), who were attempting to control the Paris talks, ending the rally with a call for people to see the relationship between U.S. wars in the Middle East, police terror, and climate change—and to build a movement of resistance against all of them. The organizer of the rally then came to the stage to expose climate change had fueled the war in Iraq, where widespread drought had forced tens of thousands of Syrian people to move from their agricultural lands to the cities. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/414/from-writings-and-talks-of-bob-avakian-the-two-outmodeds-and-bringing-forward-another-way-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

A Nightmarish Dynamic That Imprisons Humanity... and the Real Alternative

From the Writings and Talks of Bob Avakian:

The "Two Outmodeds" and Bringing Forward Another Way

November 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris were cruel and unjust. The reactionary armed Islamist movement ISIS claimed credit for terrorist acts that took the lives of at least 129 everyday people going about their normal routines. In short order, the French government imposed a state of emergency—threatening more state terror and chauvinist violence directed at immigrant communities, as well as broad assaults on basic rights. France also launched massive air strikes on Syria. Meanwhile, other Western imperialist powers, particularly the U.S., are threatening new military action in the Middle East. All of which will only lead to more death and destruction, more uprooting of oppressed humanity in a region that has endured so much suffering at the hands of imperialism and its local enforcers. and to more terrorist acts. (See “A Terrorist Attack in Paris, A World of Horrors, and the NEED FOR ANOTHER WAY” at revcom.us)

Step back. Throughout the world, two forces contend. Neither has a real answer—an emancipatory answer—to the agonizing, killing, planet-destroying problems confronting humanity. On the one side are the imperialists who dominate the world: exploiting billions, controlling economic lifelines and global politics, and deploying overwhelming military power to terrorize people into submitting to this. On the other side is a form of reactionary, religious, woman-hating fanaticism. From Nigeria to Pakistan, to Syria and Iraq, to Indonesia and beyond, this fanatical Islam poses as an alternative to imperialism but is in actuality rooted in the same horizons of domination and exploitation.

All this is grotesquely magnified by the fact that for most people, these are the only alternatives that they know about right now.

Over the last few decades, Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, has produced deep, scientific, and indispensable analysis of this deadly dynamic shaping world events and locking people into the world as it is. As he incisively frames it:

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

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

(BAsics 1:28)

The people and the planet need to break out of this life-destroying, suffocating, and intolerable dynamic. This is possible because the underlying roots of this horrific contention—with neither side representing a way out—provides the basis for a radically better way forward for humanity. But, what is that way? Bob Avakian has developed the framework and vision for a truly liberating way that human society could be—and the strategy and orientation for making an actual revolution that can achieve this.

This selection from the writings and talks of Bob Avakian provides essential and crucial understanding of what is going on in the world, why the interests of humanity lie completely outside of and opposed to these “alternatives,” and how humanity can break the vise-grip of this vicious dynamic... and break through to a whole new world. We encourage people to study and spread this material. The works listed here are just a partial list of the work that BA has done on this question. Revcom.us will soon post a full list of all the work he has done on this crucial dynamic.

****

[1] Bringing Forward Another Way (2006)

Dig into this groundbreaking analysis for understanding the global phenomenon of the clash between Islamic fundamentalism and imperialism, with the U.S. as the top dog, and the political-ideological orientation for developing the revolutionary pole in today’s world. Written during the George W. Bush years, this has tremendous relevance today. The whole text deserves careful study.

Excerpts from this talk were published separately, and here we list two that can serve as a quick reference. However, this world-shaping deadly dynamic demands a full reading of Bringing Forward Another Way by Bob Avakian, available in full here.

* More on the “Two Historically Outmodeds”—Western imperialism and religious fundamentalism—the need to oppose both; why imperialism does the greater damage and is the greater threat to humanity; and why the “war on terror” is in essence a war for empire.

* “An Unequaled Barbarity”—America is not the good guy in the world, and American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. When you recognize the horrors committed by the system, you must act accordingly.

[2] Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today...And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution (2006)

This landmark and engaging audio of a talk by BA presents a sweeping overview of changes in the world since World War 2, including the rise of religious fundamentalism in the Middle East and the U.S.; as well as the international impact of the defeat of the first socialist revolutions, and the way forward today through revolution. Full audio available here.

[3] From Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity (2007); “Part 2: Everything We’re Doing is About Revolution. Heightened Parasitism and the “Two Outmodeds”

[4] From Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World (2008)

* Why is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today’s World?
How the vast economic and demographic changes spurred by imperialist globalization have contributed to the current growth of religious fundamentalism; the role of political-ideological factors, including imperialist undermining of secular regimes in the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s; and especially the far-reaching consequences of the defeat of genuine socialist revolution in China in 1976.

* Religious Fundamentalism, Imperialism, and the “War on Terror”
Refuting the argument that there is something particularly evil and dangerous about Islamic fundamentalism compared with Christian fascism and other varieties of religious fundamentalism.

[5] From the compilation Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women. Entire compilation available here.

*Imperialist Hypocrisy and the Taliban Oppression (2004)
"...These different forms and manifestations of degrading and subjugating women are "mirror opposites" and are all part of the overall oppression of women in the imperialist-dominated world today."

*The Qu’ran, Islam, and the Oppression of Women (1998)
Bob Avakian answers a letter from a reader that argues that Islam provides safety and freedom for women in the oppressed countries.

[6] Quotes from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

Focusing on internationalism and communist revolution as a worldwide process.

 

All the works above, except for Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, are available online at revcom.us.

Away With All Gods! is available in print and e-book editions and can be ordered from the publisher, Insight Press.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/us-in-middle-east-murder-inc.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

The U.S. in the Middle East, 1948-2015: Murder, Inc

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the period from 1948 to the present day, the US and its allies have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the Middle East and neighboring regions. Below are just a few examples...

Black Friday Massacre, Iran, 1978 | Photo: AP

Overthrowing the Government of Iran - Imposing the Murderous Shah

In 1953, the CIA organized a coup overthrowing the nationalist Mossadegh government of Iran and installed the Shah as an absolute monarch and U.S. puppet who ruled for the next 25 years. The Shah tortured, killed and imprisoned his political opponents. In September 1978 the Shah's troops carried out the "Bloody Friday" massacre of thousands of protesters. When it became clear that the Shah was losing control, the U.S. made a call that the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini was a "lesser evil" outcome of the uprising.

US-backed Islamic Jihadist forces fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan | Photo: AP

1979 - 1989: The Afghan proxy war—a million dead, seven million refugees

In 1979 the U.S. began arming and organizing Islamic fundamentalist fighters in Afghanistan as part of the "cold war" contention with the rival imperialist Soviet Union. In over nine years of horrific conflict between the U.S.-backed jihadists and the Soviet-backed regime, from 850,000 to 1.5 million people were killed, five million refugees were driven outside the country, and two million were driven from their homes in the country. Among the recipients of U.S. aid in Afghanistan was the then little-known Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden, who began to develop his terrorist network Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War—over a million dead

Iranian soldiers stand over Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq War | Photo:AP

September 1980: Iraq invaded Iran with tacit U.S. support, starting a bloody eight-year war. The U.S. supported both sides at times in the war—"tilting" to one side or another in order to prolong the war and weaken both sides. Estimates of the death toll range in the neighborhood of one million for Iran and 250,000-500,000 for Iraq.

1948-Present: support for the founding of the state of Israel and nearly every war waged by Israel

The U.S. has had and maintains a "special relationship" with the settler-colonial state of Israel, a nation founded on terrorist ethnic cleansing—which continues today, with unstinting support from the U.S. In 2014, Israel's massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza—including repeated bombings of schools, hospitals and apartments—resulted in the deaths of over 2,100, including almost 500 children.

Watch video of Israel's attack on the UN school in Beit Hanoun, Gaza in July, 2014.

Propping up of the "royal family" of Saudi Arabia

Rubble in Yemen from U.S. backed-Saudi Arabian air strike, September 8, 2015. Photo: AP

Saudi Arabia's dark-ages rulers whip and behead those who violate an extremely brutal and oppressive variant of Islam. The U.S. backs and works with and through the Saudi regime to control the country's vast oil resources and as a force for its interests in the Middle East. Today Saudi Arabia is carrying out devastating bombing campaigns targeting civilians in Yemen.

1991: First Gulf War—over 100,000 killed

In 1991, a U.S.-led coalition launched "Operation Desert Storm." For the next 42 days, U.S. and allied planes pounded Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, systematically targeting and largely destroying its electrical and water systems. On February 22, 1991, the U.S. coalition began its 100-hour ground war. Heavily armed U.S. units drove deep into southern Iraq. The U.S. used radioactive depleted uranium coatings on its artillery, leaving carcinogenic poison across vast swaths of Iraq that has caused a huge spike in birth defects. Overall, 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis were killed during the war.

1990s: U.S. sanctions against Iraq—500,000 children murdered

The aftermath of the U.S. war was even more devastating to Iraq. The shattered infrastructure, combined with imperialist sanctions on food and medical supplies to Iraq, turned the country into a poverty-stricken and disease-wracked society. In 1996, ABC News correspondent Leslie Stahl asked then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whether the sanctions on Iraq—which kept the country from important needed medicine, food and sanitation equipment—were worth the estimated death of 500,000 Iraqi children from malnutrition and disease. Albright's answer: "It is worth it."

Afghan villagers gather near a house destroyed in a U.S. raid, June 2012. Photo: AP

2001: U.S. invasion of Afghanistan—thousands dead, millions driven from homes

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden and drive out the Taliban regime. After 13 years of war, thousands of civilians have been killed directly by U.S.-led invasion and occupation forces who bombed wedding parties, humiliated Afghans with house-to-house searches, and locked people up in U.S.-controlled dungeons where many were tortured. Today the U.S. still has "advisory" troops in the country to try to prop up its puppet regime. Some five million people have been driven from their homes.

The Second Iraq War and occupation—over 100,000 killed, millions driven from homes

Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Iraq Body Count estimates over 150,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the second U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Over four million were driven from their homes in the ensuing war and occupation. U.S. forces committed numerous massacres and acts of terror against Iraqis, like the destruction of Fallujah in 2004 and the torture carried out in Abu Ghraib prison. The U.S. relied on brutal warlords and then a Shi'ite Muslim regime to help clamp down on the Iraqi people. Iraqi women, once among the most educated in the Arab world, were slammed back into subservient roles in society. The actions of the U.S. led to rise of the fanatic fundamentalist ISIS.

2011: Overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya—hundreds killed in NATO air strikes

Destruction caused by U.S. bombing in Libya

In 2011, after an uprising broke out against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi, the U.S. and its NATO allies intervened to shape and control it for their own interests. NATO launched thousands of air strikes, killing hundreds of civilians. After Qaddafi was murdered by a group of insurgents, Libya became enmeshed in warfare among rival groups of warlords and Islamic fundamentalists who have been variously backed and condemned by Western powers.

U.S. responsibility for carnage in Syria

In the past month the U.S. has massively ramped up bombing attacks on Syria. Obama sent 50 Special Forces to Syria, and there is talk of sending in more U.S. troops. U.S. moves, along with bombing campaigns by Russia, the military actions of Syria's reactionary regime, and the actions of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadists, are all intensifying the hellish situation in Syria. Over 250,000 people have been killed in four years of war, and over 12 million people out of a population of only about 22 million have been driven from their homes—refugees inside or outside the country.

Syrian Kurdish refugees at a refugee camp in Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. Photo: AP

        

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/donald-trump-fascist-trailblazer-for-even-more-massive-u-s-crimes-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Donald Trump: Fascist Trailblazer for Even More Massive U.S. Crimes

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump claims that after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York he was watching as “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the World Trade Center buildings crumbled, “on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations" (such cheering never actually happened). Before the horrific mass murders in San Bernardino, Trump said, “You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”

Donald Chump: No to pogroms, paranoia, and persecution

In the past couple of weeks Trump—a leading candidate for one of the two main political parties in the U.S.—has intensified his hate-filled tirades based on lies and demagogic appeals to ignorance, fear, and “America First” jingoism.

Let's be clear: Trump's lies that Muslims danced with glee at the destruction of the World Trade Center are no different from the rumors that white racists spread in the Jim Crow South that a Black man had allegedly raped a white woman, or the lies that circulated like a virus in medieval Europe that Jews had killed a Christian child and used the blood to make matzoh. The aim, and almost always the result: a brutal mutilation and lynching of a Black man, or a pogrom (mass destruction and murder of an entire community) of Jewish people.

Crimes of that magnitude cannot be allowed to happen again.

The fact is, Muslims, and people from the Middle East and South Asia generally, have been targets of a mounting wave of violence and hatred since 2001. After 9/11, racists not only attacked Muslims, they attacked and even killed people who they thought were Muslims—like Sikh men from India who wear turbans. Earlier this year, there was the horrific, racist murder of three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina—one of the victims told her father a few days earlier that the man who ended up killing her and two others “hates us for what we are and how we look.” The Council of American-Islamic Relations recently said that since the ISIS attacks in Paris in November, they have received more reports of acts of "Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims" than they had in any period since September 2001.

Trump is promoting this kind of hate-filled paranoid atrocities—and coalescing a mob of racist Americans who go along with it, who clap and laugh when they learn of assaults on Muslims, who would do it themselves. He is doing this in service of a global capitalist-imperialist system of oppression and exploitation. The endless TV airtime and newspaper/website exposure Trump has had—and the sprint by many others among this system’s political leaders to match his anti-Muslim, anti-Arab venom—serve to legitimize and present as the “will of the people” a program of violent and even murderous xenophobia (irrational fear and hatred of “outsiders” and people from other countries).

Trump is pushing for more widespread and unquestioned powers of repression, surveillance, suspicion, spying and, yes, pogroms of horrible violence in this country. And he is paving the way for a program of intensified global slaughter on a scale beyond the million already murdered in the U.S.'s wars of empire since 2001. His acceptance as part of the “political landscape” by the powers-that-be are legitimizing this program. Whether this horrific program is carried out by him, or by Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, or any other representative of this system, it must be confronted and opposed by mass resistance.

Stop thinking like Americans and start thinking about humanity!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/why-we-should-not-root-for-our-own-rulers-why-better-if-they-lose-their-wars-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Why We Should NOT Root for Our Own Rulers... And Why It's Better If They LOSE Their Wars

by Larry Everest | November 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After the horrific November 13 terrorist attack in Paris by ISIS, the rulers in the U.S., France, and other imperialist powers are again trying to line people up behind their war moves—including people who’ve opposed previous wars like the ones in Vietnam and Iraq. “We’re not perfect,” they say, “but at least we aren’t religious lunatics like ISIS, and right now we have to defeat ISIS. There won’t be any peace, and people will continue to suffer unless we defeat ISIS.”

Bullshit... on many levels.

U.S. forces being evacuated from Saigon by the CIA, 1975

The U.S. defeat in the Vietnam War weakened the empire militarily and limited its ability to invade or attack other countries for a number of years; and the U.S. defeat in Iraq and its difficulties in Afghanistan have prevented it from carrying out other large-scale invasions in the Middle East. Above: the scramble for the last helicopter out of the U.S. embassy compound in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh CIty), Vietnam in 1975 as liberation forces finally drove the U.S. out.

The U.S. and these other imperialists aren’t waging war to “stop terrorism.” They’re conducting wars, military interventions, and maneuvering diplomatically to preserve the system of global capitalist exploitation that they dominate, a system which grinds up, crushes, uproots, and casts off literally billions of people. So when the U.S. acts, they act in order to destroy whatever they happen to feel is in the way of their domination and/or to set up or protect oppressive relations and oppressive regimes which maintain this whole system—including Islamic fundamentalist forces when that serves their purposes.

Just to take the most recent examples:

» The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 promising “liberation.” It then put in power a murderous cabal of feudal power brokers, warlords, and armed militias hated throughout Afghanistan. All stood for brutal traditional relations, including the patriarchal enslavement of women, religious fundamentalism, and the subordination of Afghanistan to imperialism. (The new U.S.-backed regime was named the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”)

» The U.S. promised liberation in Iraq too. But after the 2003 invasion, it tried to install a hand-picked collection of puppets and thugs committed to fully integrating Iraq into the U.S. empire. When that move failed, the U.S. turned to reactionary Shi’ite parties and militias, and then to traditional reactionary Sunni powers as well. All this fueled the rise of reactionary Islamic fundamentalism overall and ISIS in particular.

» For the last four and-a-half years, the U.S. has fueled the savage Syrian civil war in order to protect the whole putrid, U.S.-dominated setup in the Middle East—including the barbaric settler-colonial state of Israel, and barbaric states like Turkey and fundamentalist Saudi Arabia (which is preparing to behead over 50 people). As part of these machinations, U.S. allies have directly supported ISIS and other jihadist forces. A recently released secret 2012 intelligence report exposes that the U.S. and its allies tolerated or supported the formation of jihadist enclaves in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

Carrying all of this out has involved torture, atrocities, and mass slaughter by the U.S. military—“our troops”—on a scale way, way, way beyond the crimes reactionary jihadists have carried out. In Iraq it meant using cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and depleted uranium against the people of Fallujah in 2004; murdering 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005; executing at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a five-month-old infant, in Ishaqi in central Iraq in 2006; and having a U.S. helicopter gun down 11 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

In Afghanistan—this meant U.S. soldiers murdering two pregnant women, two criminal justice officials, and a teenage girl during a party near the village of Gardez; in 2012 alone it meant one U.S. soldier massacring 16 Afghan civilians—including nine children—in two Kandahar province villages; it meant U.S. soldiers breaking into people’s homes, dragging them away and torturing them—sometimes to death—and then mutilating their bodies. One survivor reported he was threatened with 14 different types of torture and subjected to “electric shocks, beatings, simulated drowning, hanging from the ceiling, partial burial in freezing conditions, and the extraordinary and degrading torment of having a length of string tied tightly around his penis” for four days. (Daily Beast)

A recent study found that since 2001, U.S. wars were responsible for a total of 1.3 million deaths in Afghanistan (220,000), Pakistan (80,000), and Iraq (one million) alone!

All these U.S. actions have strengthened reactionary Islamist movements, which have in turn carried out horrific crimes against the people—also in order to enforce backward, oppressive social and economic relations. Why should anyone expect that further U.S. interventions and escalations will do anything other than this? Why should anyone who understands this want to see those moves succeed—or “win”?

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

Imperialism and Islamic Fundamentalism Are NOT the Only Alternatives! We Need a Revolution!

As Bob Avakian insightfully pointed out, the relationship runs like this:

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

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

It is interesting, I recently heard about a comment that someone made relating to this, which I do think is correct and getting at something important. In relation to these “two historically outmodeds,” they made the point: “You could say that the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the world would be largely dormant if it weren’t for what the U.S. and its allies have done and are doing in the world—but you cannot say the opposite.” There is profound truth captured in that statement.

Bob Avakian, Bringing Forward Another Way

But imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism are NOT the only alternatives today. There actually is a viable chance to make revolution and bring into being a radically different, liberating society based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. This revolution will come out of the existing contradictions of the system AND the work of revolutionaries now. This revolution is the ONLY source of real hope in the terrible situation confronting humanity now.

Strengthening imperialism—the very system responsible for the vast majority of the suffering and destruction on Earth today—including by supporting its wars and military machine—is only going to perpetuate this misery.

Just to be very clear: Revolutionaries totally oppose everything reactionary Islamist forces like Al Qaeda and ISIS stand for and all the horrific ways they fight for their Dark Ages agenda. Not supporting your own rulers—even welcoming their defeat—is NOT the same as wanting the reactionary forces they happen to be opposing to win. Genuine revolutionaries support communists in every country, including those who come directly up against reactionary Islamist forces, and work to spread the ideas of communism even where there are no organized forces currently taking them up.

We do all this as part of getting to a whole better world—and right now, in this country, preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.


For background sources on death and destruction caused by the U.S., see:

Endless War: As U.S. Strikes Tikrit & Delays Afghan Pullout, "War on Terror" Toll Tops 1.3 Million, Democracy Now!

The U.S. Legacy 10 Years After Invading Iraq: Death, Disease, Devastation, Displacement, Revolution

Obama's Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International, The Daily Beast

The A-Team Killings and The Kill Team: How U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians, Rolling Stone

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/revolution-books-holiday-party-and-weekend-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

November 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

REVOLUTION BOOKS
HOLIDAY PARTY & WEEKEND

Saturday, December 12 ... continuing on Sunday, December 13!

Revolution Books in Harlem

Support the new Revolution Books
at 437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave.
Harlem, NYC
Phone: 212-691-3345

Holiday Books and Gifts that matter
for this year and the future

Sunday 12.13.15

Afternoon: 

The first of a series of Revolution Books Art Auctions:

Artwork donated by artists and collectors to support Revolution Books

Books, Posters, Prints, African Masks



Saturday 12.12.15

Children’s Reading 11 AM:  

Javaka Steptoe, illustrator:

Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow:
A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix

Afternoon:  
Readings, Conversations, Surprises, and LOTS OF BOOKS & GIFTS!

Evening:  HOLIDAY PARTY

 

 

Revolution Books | Libros Revolución • 437 Malcolm X Blvd/Lenox Ave. • New York, NY 10037 | www.revolutionbooksnyc.org
212.691.3345  | revbooksnyc@yahoo.com

Revolution Books in Harlem, New York is open noon to 9 pm every day. For information on other Revolution Books around the country, see "Hook up with the revolution: Coming events at Revolution Books"

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/abortion-rights-protests-and-vigils-in-four-cities-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Abortion Rights Protests and Vigils in Four Cities Responding to Attack on Planned Parenthood

November 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As soon as news broke that a gunman had holed up inside a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs last Friday, Sunsara Taylor mobilized StopPatriarchy.org to hold a vigil Friday night in New York City's Union Square.  While the armed standoff in Colorado was still unfolding, over 25 people lined the south end of the park, holding bright orange posters which read, "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology." 
NYC Standing up for Abortion Rights after Colorado Planned Parenthood Clinic attacked

NYC

 

The next day, in response to a call issued again by Sunsara Taylor, StopPatriarchy.org and Revolution Clubs around the country mobilized protests and marches in Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco to Stand Up for Abortion Rights and Women's Lives. In New York City, about 40 people rallied and then marched through light rain in Union Square. 
NYC

As soon as news broke that a gunman had holed up inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last Friday, Sunsara Taylor mobilized StopPatriarchy.org to hold a vigil Friday night in New York City's Union Square.  While the armed standoff in Colorado was still unfolding, over 25 people lined the south end of the park, holding bright orange posters which read, “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology.”  Hundreds of holiday shoppers passed the demonstration, many stopping to take pictures and dozens joining in to hold a sign for a few minutes or even an hour.  This included large numbers of women, but also men of all ages.

Some, emboldened and incited by dishonest videos released over the summer attacking Planned Parenthood, screamed at those holding the vigil, accusing them of “harvesting baby parts” and even yelling out support for the gunman.  All this right in the heart of New York City.  Taylor made clear that while the specific motivations of the gunman at that time had not yet been established, there is clearly an escalating war against women's right to abortion taking place both through terror and violence at the clinics as well as laws being passed by Christian fascists in power which are forcing abortion clinics to close and creating a situation where women are once again being forced to have children against their will.

Taylor highlighted Bob Avakian's poignant new statement, issued just a week prior to these attacks, “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.”  She called on people to get into the leadership and work of Bob Avakian, who has developed the vision and strategy to make an actual revolution to get rid of this system that enslaves women and commits so many other crimes against humanity.  And Taylor called on people to join in on the spot and look forward towards the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade to stand up in massive protests FOR abortion rights and women's lives in DC and San Francisco in January.

News media from half a dozen local television and radio stations captured footage and interviewed Sunsara Taylor and other protesters who were sounding the alarm on the escalating violence and attacks on women's right to abortion and on abortion clinics and providers across the country.

The next day, in response to a call issued again by Sunsara Taylor, StopPatriarchy.org and Revolution Clubs around the country mobilized protests and marches in Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco to Stand Up for Abortion Rights and Women's Lives.

In New York City, about 40 people rallied and then marched through light rain in Union Square.  By this time, everyone on the street had heard the news of the murder and terror that had been carried out against the Planned Parenthood and many hundreds more stopped, took pictures, and put their fists in the air.  Dozens stopped and joined in for some period of time.  One woman stood and watched with tears streaming from her eyes before approaching and whispering that she works at Planned Parenthood and was extremely thankful and emotional to see the protesters out there supporting them.  A man encouraged his teenage daughter to step right in the middle of the protest and hold up a sign so he could take her picture.  Friends stopped and joined in.  Many mothers and daughters stopped and watched, talking to each other and then to organizers with StopPatriarchy.org.  Dozens of people were signed up and all were invited to an emergency meeting being held Monday, November 30th to plan further response and for massive protests for January's anniversary of Roe v. Wade on both coasts.

Keep checking back on this website (revcom.us) for more reports on these actions as well as postings about upcoming mobilizations to defeat the war on women and hasten a real revolution that can break all the chains.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/415/vigils-and-protests-respond-to-attack-on-planned-parenthood-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Vigils and Protests Respond to Attack on Planned Parenthood

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

 

San Francisco

From a reader

Responding to Sunsara Taylor's call to respond to the mass shooting and hostage situation at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs by STANDING UP against the whole assault against women's right to abortion—about two dozen people hit the streets in San Francisco to challenge others to oppose this tragic and unnecessary crime, and stand unapologetically for women's liberation.

A handful of people responded to the call from Stop Patriarchy. One mother-and-daughter pair came from Saratoga, and another from Fremont; they were outraged at the situation, and couldn't restrain their outrage. They wanted to talk about abortion in positive ways, and stand firmly on the right side, be part of something disruptive that sounds the alarm, and against a violent and woman-hating anti-abortion movement. They held two bright banners that read: FORCED MOTHERHOOD IS FEMALE ENSLAVEMENT and ABORTION PROVIDERS ARE HEROES.

Several news channels were there, and they interviewed organizers and others. There was compelling agitation and dynamic interactions between people based on their sense of justice. The local evening news portrayed a determined force that was outraged about the Colorado Springs shooting, and was determined to change the terms of the abortion debate.

Among the people who came out were people from the movement for revolution. We agitated long and hard against fascism, all the ways the American fascist forces are lashing out in reaction, encouraged by ruling class bigots like Donald Trump, against Black people (the shooting of protesters in Minnesota, Confederate flag rallies), against immigrants, against science and reason, against the people of the "Middle East," against preserving the planet's resources... and against abortion. These fascists are not comical or "irrelevant" - that part of the ruling class is unleashing nasty archaic lunatic fundamentalist terrorists with all that hot wind. They hate abortion because they hate the idea of women stepping out of the ancient role of property of men and forced breeders of children. People of conscience have got to fight back now, to change how millions of people think and act. And everyone who wants to see a world free from fascism, capitalism, exploitation, police brutality, and the oppression of women, needs to get with the movement for revolution, and dig into what Bob Avakian in particular has uncovered: the method, strategy, vision and plan for a new stage of communist revolution.

A few young people who got with Stop Patriarchy over the summer were proud to be part of this protest. They spread materials that bring the kind of analysis people need to understand what is at stake, march through the shopping crowds the day after Black Friday, and invite others in.

One young woman on the bullhorn walked through what it means for women to be forced into motherhood against their wills in the real world, and to live in fear every day. How women with unwanted pregnancies have to pay to travel, have to suffer shame, have to become more dependent on family (if they can) or much worse, and have their very lives threatened by people "on a mission from God" willing to gun them down out of deep hatred—just because they are women! This is worth fighting.

We took off on short marches and got out the call to action to counterprotest the massive anti-abortion Walk for "Life" at that same spot on January 23. Every time we agitated we drew a crowd and every time we left, new people (though sometimes 1 or 2) marched with us. Some of us got out hundreds of copies of Break ALL the Chains and connected people up with the program for women's liberation represented in Bob Avakian's new synthesis.

A strong minority of the thousands of people that saw us that day expressed deep appreciation and gratitude that this was going down, and in particular that we gave them "something to do" in response to this horrible tragedy in Colorado Springs. Stop Patriarchy was on a mission to bring out the objective of the anti-abortion agenda as slamming women back in time, into subhuman status, and this was very clarifying for some people. We challenged people: It's not enough to be right! It's not enough to have an opinion. The anti-abortion movement is winning. Which side are you on?

Two young women from Texas stopped to tell their stories and were happily recruited into Stop Patriarchy. The last year has made them sick—dozens of abortion clinics were forced to close in Texas. They were ready to act, and could quickly see how fighting to change the terms of this debate ("choice" / "life" v. women as human / women as incubators) is an urgent need.

A clear line was drawn. Several people who joined in got connected, and some who had responded to the call had not been active recently, but took materials and left on a mission to hit their campus or tell their friends to get into this fight.

In summation, one woman who had traveled from another county said she was shocked that there were not hundreds of people in the streets in response to the Colorado shooting. So we got into what is standing in the way of people's fighting spirit when it comes to abortion? What do people need to understand? There was agreement that what is at stake here, and what the anti-abortion movement represents, is not widely known. It's our responsibility to change that.

People were coming from different perspectives throughout the day. And within that, there is a revolutionary perspective that is being projected here! That's a good thing, because there is a solution to all this systemic oppression, and people need to know it. You may think of yourself as feminist, or humanist, or anything you'd like; it really, really matters that you came out to fight. You seized the moment, and when it's not only controversial but demonized and almost criminalized, you stood up for abortion and women everywhere. This and much more is what it will take to change how people think so they can fight to stop the attacks on abortion rights and the lives of women and the doctors who help them.

And among us we need to continue to discuss and debate the big questions. Is it true that the anti-abortion movement is the American Taliban? That they are about enslaving women? That capitalism can't fully liberate women? Get into it. Hear what Bob Avakian has to say about why the world is this way right now and what can be done about it, and decide whether or not it is true. Because this moment truly does demand we cast off illusions, look reality in face, and act on that.

Honolulu, Hawaii, November 28

Honolulu, Hawaii

From a reader:

In spite of very short notice, more than a dozen people responded to Sunsara Taylor's call for an emergency action for abortion rights and women's lives on Saturday, November 28 and held signs at a busy street corner outside of Honolulu's largest shopping center. Many drivers honked their horns; pedestrians stopped to thank us. One woman initially walked by, but then came back to tell us that she was a devout Christian and strongly agreed with us. Another man went into the nearby Walgreen's and brought out bottles of water, thanking us for taking a stand. While there were a few who clearly hated our signs, they were in the minority. 

Los Angeles

From a reader:

Sunsara Taylor and Stop Patriarchy called for an emergency demonstration in response to the attacks and shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that happened on Friday, November 27. The emergency actions around the country happened in New York, Seattle, the Bay Area, Honolulu, and Los Angeles. In LA, about eight people gathered on a corner on Hollywood and Highland, which is a location where many national protests have happened: the acquittal of the murderers of Eric Garner who was strangled to death by the police, the murder of a young man dressed in a “Scream” mask by the police for holding a fake knife, and the gathering of protesters against police terror and murder organized by Stop Mass Incarceration Network featuring Janelle Monae and the Wondaland artists. The busy intersection brings people from all over the world.

Volunteers from Stop Patriarchy and the Revolution Club assembled and brought out posters of the women who died from illegal abortions and the heroic abortion providers who were murdered by rabid Christian fanatics. Volunteers held up an orange banner that exclaimed “ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY” and another banner that stated “STAND UP FOR ABORTION RIGHTS. COUNTERPROTEST THE MARCH ON ‘LIFE’ JANUARY 23: San Francisco, JANUARY 22: Washington DC. FETUSES ARE NOT BABIES, ABORTION IS NOT MURDER, WOMEN ARE NOT INCUBATORS.” Some tourists snapped photos as they passed by on their cell phones. A few people would put up their fists and say, “I’m with you!” A woman claimed, “I already support Planned Parenthood.” We struggled with people to understand the severity of the attacks on Planned Parenthood and the armed attack by this Christian fascist who opened fire on the center, as well as struggling to cohere those with their fists up and thumbs up and support to join and get into more about why this happened and how they and others can become activated and involved.

A woman in pink walked up and said over and over, “RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON!” She walked up to the banner “ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!” and yelled, “RIGHT ON!” She walked up to the poster of Dr. David Gunn, who was an abortion doctor who was murdered, and said, “RIGHT ON!!” When asked to say something on the bullhorn, she took the mic and explained that she worked in an abortion clinic, and when Dr. David Gunn was murdered, she helped the operations of the clinic continue to provide the services that women needed.

Another woman was a pro-choice activist since the ’60s. She said she could tell you stories and stories of women who died from botched and illegal abortions before abortion was legal. She supported and cheered that we came together to respond to these recent attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics. She was visiting a friend in LA from Seattle and had just walked past us and felt compelled to talk to us. We handed her the pamphlet “A FETUS IS NOT A BABY” and pointed her toward StopPatriarchy.org and joining us to go to San Francisco on January 23 to counter-protest the March for “Life.”

For two hours we chanted “Without this basic right, women can’t be free, abortion on demand and without apology!” and “Fetuses are not babies, abortion is not murder, women are not incubators!” and put out that “Stop Patriarchy has called for this emergency response to the attacks on Planned Parenthood and the attacks on abortion clinics around the country and calling on people to join us to go to San Francisco to counter-protest the March for ‘Life.” We linked the shooting in Colorado Springs to the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, and linked the fight against women’s enslavement and degradation to the fight against police murder and terror. I was interviewed by CBS and talked about the emergency call by Sunsara Taylor for people to take to the streets and response to the attacks on Planned Parenthood and urgency to stop the war on women. On the bullhorn, I read a quote by Bob Avakian:

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.

Seattle

From a member of Stop Patriarchy in Seattle:

We responded to Sunsara Taylor’s call for emergency protests against the Colorado Springs shooting attack on Planned Parenthood by quickly rearranging plans and hitting the streets in the middle of the busiest holiday shopping district in downtown Seattle. There were only two of us at first but it was well worth it. We reached many more by agitating, holding the orange Abortion on Demand and Without Apology signs, getting out stickers, and passing out flyers.

The response was somewhat contradictory; one person walked by us and yelled “murderers!” A man approached one of us in an intimidating manner as she was agitating, and another member intervened, calling him over and taking on his argument, which was that Dark Ages notion that women shouldn’t have sex if they aren’t ready for the “consequences.” He left quickly after we asserted that a baby is not a punishment for having sex. On the other hand, some people in line for the Christmas carousel clapped, raised their fists, and asked us for stickers. Two women who signed up with us are interested in going to San Francisco or Washington, DC. to stand up for abortion rights on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and join us in counter-protesting the March for “Life.” Other people seemed taken aback that we were so vocal, and I’m sure many of them were there to shop.

A few who stopped to talk hadn’t heard anything about the shooting, and most everyone that we talked to who had heard about it were not connecting it up to the war on women, and how that’s intensifying, in particular around abortion rights. One young man from Canada who I talked to as we were wrapping up asked me what people’s responses are like when we go out, and said, “It’s Seattle, things are OK here, right?” His eyes got wide with shock when I told him about being called murderers earlier in the day, and I laid out some of the scope and depth of the abortion rights emergency happening now.

A longtime supporter and donor to Stop Patriarchy who has a deep understanding of and outrage at Christian fascism ran into us and expressed how good it was to see us out there. He joined in on the spot. A family of six stopped to talk about how wrong this violent attack was and proudly posed with signs and stickers, the mother telling us: “I taught my kids that fetuses are not babies.”

Some press showed up and did a short interview that got printed online and shown on the local Fox News that night. From the article: “Some residents in Seattle felt the gunman’s actions were part of a growing assault on women’s rights. ‘What we do know is there has been an escalating war on women and escalating attacks on abortion rights, both legally and then in situations like this, extralegal violence. And all of this creates an atmosphere in which women are being forced into motherhood through denial of this basic and essential thing, abortion rights. If women can’t control their own reproduction they can’t control the course of their lives,’ said rally participant Andrea Strong.”

Cleveland

Cleveland, in solidarity with Planned Parenthood
Cleveland. Photo: Special to www.revcom.us

From a reader:

To be part of the day of solidarity with Planned Parenthood after the violent attack in Colorado Springs, a dozen people rallied near the Planned Parenthood office. We had Cleveland Revolution Club members out, Black activists, a man who works for Planned Parenthood in New York, Revolution paper sellers, and others who joined in. We were at a busy corner, some cars honked, people stopped, many saw the signs. We passed out the “Statement on the Violent Attack on Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood” from revcom.us. A young woman came up from Columbus and said, “I am against violence, I am pro-choice, it is about what Planned Parenthood provides.” The man who works for Planned Parenthood in New York City said, “No one is free until we are all free. I support allies of Planned Parenthood in a time of need, we need to reach across groups and get greater justice for all. It is ridiculous that Planned Parenthood has to be defended. Abortion is healthcare."

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/notes-on-taking-the-fight-for-abortion-rights-to-the-broad-public-with-stoppatriarchy-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Notes on Taking the Fight for Abortion Rights to the Broad Public with StopPatriarchy.org

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is a lightly edited snapshot from a young revolutionary who led a team with two very new people going out in a busy public area to build for the demonstrations Stop Patriarchy is organizing in DC and San Francisco for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

 

One person commented that she’s never seen pro-abortion rights people campaigning and she was glad to see us. Another person said that Hillary Clinton supports abortion but someone with more experience corrected her (explaining that Clinton has conciliated and compromised with the anti-abortion fascists and this is part of why we have lost so much ground) and the lady smiled.

Another person was disgusted by the shooting of Planned Parenthood that happened in Colorado. One person ripped our “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!” sign and ran away as I was signing someone else up.

One of us had a long conversation with a guy who stood to talk to him after hearing us mention that Christian fascists like the attacker in Colorado who attacked Planned Parenthood enslave women. The guy said that the shooter was suffering from mental illness and not from Christian fascism. The guy with our outreach team said both, but the guy kept insisting. The woman who joined us after meeting us at our emergency protest last weekend and I stepped into the argument. I explained that politicians are trying to take away abortion rights and that this belief that abortion is murder does come from Christian fanatics.

The new woman who joined us explained that we are not attacking religious people but oppose those who take the Bible, Quran, or other religious doctrine literal to the point of killing and enslaving people. He said that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally. I said, exactly. He understood. But then he said that fetuses are babies. We explained they have the potential to be, but are not yet. He said that bacteria and other living organisms are alive just as fetuses are alive. I told him that might be true but that fetuses are still women’s living parts, not yet developing as a baby, and I gave him the “A Fetus Is Not a Baby” pamphlet which we started giving out after the lady ripped one of our posters. He said science does not determine when life begins. I told him that it is evident and that science has proved it. He said he would read it.

In the beginning, I noticed most people were ignoring me and walking to take their train, a few took the flyer. I was telling people to stand for women’s rights. The guy on our team would say in the background, “Show you have a pulse.” Some people found that amusing but would not take the flyers. I started agitating that women are half of humanity and that there is a war on women which will not be stopped until people stand up for women’s rights. More people were taking it with interest. I continued to agitate that politicians are trying to control women’s bodies and that women have the right to choose what they wish to do with their own bodies. I added that these politicians are Christian fascists and that the Bible taken literally is a horror for humanity. The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is coming and we must stand for women’s rights.

Some were saying “I agree.” A guy said, “Oh, I was going to argue with you because I thought the sign was against abortion. But we are on the right page.” But they wouldn’t sign up or take a flyer. A lady came to talk with us, but when she realized that we are for abortion, she started walking away. I agitated while she was walking away. I also saw annoyed snarks. A young couple was looking at the sign amused and then took the flyers. We were also giving out the ones given out on the emergency protest.

I continued agitating, “This is the year 2015 and most people still don’t know that fetuses are not babies, abortion is not murder, women are not incubators! We have nothing to be shameful about! Women have the right to choose what they do with their bodies! Forced motherhood is female enslavement!” A crowd started slowing down, looking scared but eyes on me.

One of the girls I signed up said she went through a similar situation but that she knows what she prefers to do with her own body. She told me to please contact her and that she wants to attend the meeting, mobilize, and join us in DC!

There is a man who stood to hear me speak before taking the flyers but said he will spread the word but would rather not sign up.

We discussed at the end how we should have also mentioned that clinics are closing, because there is an assumption that there are lots of abortion services. Damn. Great experience though.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #416 December 7, 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/409/stand-up-for-abortion-rights-counter-protest-march-for-life-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

From Stop Patriarchy

Stand Up for Abortion Rights!
Counter-Protest the March for "Life"

January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC
January 23, 2016 in San Francisco

Updated January 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fetuses are NOT babies.

We received this video from StopPatriarchy.org of a college student and other young revolutionaries challenging boldly challenging their peers to confront the abortion rights emergency and take a stand for abortion rights on January 22 in DC and January 23 in San Francisco:

Brave protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the so-called
Brave protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the so-called "March for Life" (march for forced motherhood), January 22, 2015, in Washington DC; 8 of them were arrested. Photo: Stop Patriarchy

Abortion is NOT murder.
Women are NOT incubators.

Stand up for abortion on demand and without apology this January on both coasts.

Abortion rights are in a state of emergency! Clinics across the country have been forced to close through unjust laws and anti-abortion violence. Women and staff are shamed, harassed, and threatened. Christian fascist politicians are fighting to shut down Planned Parenthood. Thousands of women are once again risking their lives and prison to self-induce their own abortions. Eleven people have been murdered by anti-abortion terrorists. And a looming major Supreme Court case will affect abortion rights for decades to come.

The time is NOW to stand up for abortion on demand and without apology!

Each year, tens of thousands of fanatics march against women's right to abortion and birth control on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Be part of standing up in counter-protest, letting the world and the powers that be feel our demand that abortion be available to every woman without shame, restriction, or stigma.

Forcing a woman to have a child against her will is a form of enslavement. It traps women in abusive relationships, drives them into poverty, forces them to give up their dreams and forecloses their lives. Denying abortion rights is a keystone of the entire web of degradation, violence, rape, discrimination and oppression that women face throughout society.

This must be stopped! Women are not bitches, hoes, punching bags, sex objects, breeders or property of men. Women are full human beings!

Get organized. Be in DC and/or San Francisco for these counter-protests. Mobilize your school, religious congregation, community group, family and friends. Spread the word far and wide. Donate and raise funds. Do not let the future belong to the woman-haters. Be part of defeating the war on women.

Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!
Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement!

StopPatriarchy.org
@StopPatriarchy
Facebook event for DC: www.facebook.com/events/754443141326468
Facebook event for SF: www.facebook.com/events/1660509807549937
For more info & to get involved:
For DC - StopPatriarchy@gmail.com
For SF - StopPatriarchyBayArea@gmail.com

Initiated by Stop Patriarchy

Endorsed by:
Carol Downer, co-founder of Feminist Women's Health Center, Los Angeles
Merle Hoffman, CEO, Choices Women's Medical Center
Cindy Sheehan, Peace Activist and Author
Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper
Deep Green Resistance
Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio – WBAI
Occupied Wall Street Special Projects Affinity Group
PopularResistance.org

Women's Liberation Front (WoLF)
World Can't Wait

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/south-carolina-representative-merry-white-christmas-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

South Carolina Representative: Wishing You A Merry, Merry, WHITE Christmas

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Latest news item about white supremacy in the USA government:

This past July in South Carolina, the Confederate flag was removed from the Capitol grounds—where it had flown for 50 years—after nine Black people were gunned down by a white racist in a Charleston church.

Now, South Carolina State Representative Chris Corley has sent out a Christmas card to his Republican colleagues which features a photo of the Confederate flag and says: “May you have a blessed and happy Christmas, and may you take this joyous time as an opportunity to ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.” During the House debate over removing the flag, Corley had suggested replacing the Confederate flag with the white flag of surrender.

His card says: “May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right.”

White supremacists like Corley pine for HAPPIER times—when white people OWNED other human beings!

They defend the Confederate Flag of SLAVERY—saying it stands for pride in their Southern ancestors who fought to protect their homes and land in the Civil War.

In “RESISTANCE, REVOLUTION, AND WHAT SHOULD—AND SHOULD NOT—BE SUPPORTED ,” Bob Avakian brings reality into focus on this bullshit:

A lot of these white people in the South say, “well, that flag doesn't stand for slavery and oppression, that just stands for Southern heritage.” Well, what is your fucking heritage? Your heritage is inseparable from and is founded on slavery and oppression and the Ku Klux Klan. That is your Southern heritage. There could be no South and no Southern heritage without it.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/184/Fred_Hampton-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

December 4 marks the 46th anniversary of the assasination of Fred Hampton, orchestrated by the FBI and carried out by the Chicago Police. We are reposting here for our readers an article originally posted in 2009.

December 1969: The FBI Assassination of Fred Hampton

"I AM... A REVOLUTIONARY!"

Photo: Paul Sequeira

December 4, 1969—40 years ago this week: Chicago police led by Cook County prosecutor Edward Hanrahan as part of an FBI Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operation stormed into Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton's apartment. Armed with shotguns, handguns, and a .45 caliber machine gun, and guided by a floor plan of the apartment provided by an informant, the police killed Mark Clark and critically injured four other Panthers. They gunned their way through the apartment into Fred Hampton's bedroom. There he lay sleeping, having been drugged earlier by an FBI informant. As he lay there, the cops stood over him and put two bullets in his brain, at close range. Following this murderous attack—where the police fired nearly 100 rounds in the house and were completely uninjured themselves—Hanrahan brazenly lied that the police were under heavy fire from the Panthers.

The cops stood over Fred Hampton as he lay sleeping and put two bullets in his brain at close range. Above, Fred Hampton's bed after his murder.
Photo: Paul Sequeira

Among all the many thousands and thousands of actions that show why the Black Panther Party correctly dubbed the police "pigs," few compare to the viciousness and lies surrounding the assassination of Fred Hampton.

The media took up and spread these lies from the authorities as if they were the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But the Panthers in Chicago—still shocked and grieving from the terrible loss of their key leader, and with many of their core members now in jail—refused to give up. Instead, they turned to the people and mounted a defiant political counter-offensive. The Panthers organized "people's tours" of the apartment. Thousands came, first from the ghettos and then more broadly. Film crews and reporters were brought in. People saw with their own eyes. And the evidence was clear: All the bullet holes were coming in. The famous picture supplied by the authorities and run in the Chicago Tribune at the time, of a door supposedly riddled with bullets coming from the Panthers, was shown to be a door with nail holes.

Even mainstream commentators felt compelled to speak out. Hanrahan had claimed that it was only through the "grace of God" that his men escaped with scratches. Mike Royko, then a columnist at the Chicago Daily News—and no Panther supporter—wrote in response, "Indeed it does appear that miracles occurred. The Panthers' bullets must have dissolved into the air before they hit anybody or anything. Either that or the Panthers were shooting in the wrong direction—namely, at themselves." (Cited in The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther, page 102, by Jeffrey Haas, Lawrence Hill Books)

The Panthers' "people's tours" of Fred Hampton's apartment. Thousands came from the ghettos and beyond, film crews and reporters were brought in.

Fred Hampton was a 21-year-old leader of the Panthers who inspired all kinds of people to take up revolution. As Bob Avakian says in his memoir, "many people throughout the country had been moved by Fred Hampton and had made a leap in their revolutionary commitment because of his influence—the whole way in which, before he was killed, he boldly put forward: 'You can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution.'" (From Ike to Mao... and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, Insight Press).

In one short year from the founding of the Black Panther Party in Illinois to the time of Fred's murder, there was a transformation in the culture of society in Chicago. Based on the teachings of Mao Testung, the leader of the Chinese revolution, there was a "serve the people" ethos and culture the likes of which Chicago had not seen before. The Panthers set up free clinics in neighborhoods of the oppressed, where before health care had been virtually unavailable. The Black Panther newspaper was sold everywhere. Posters from the paper were used for political education sessions in the communities and on campuses. Former gangbangers and student intellectuals became revolutionaries. The culture was so widespread in Chicago that conductors on the el and subway trains would announce "All power to the people" when calling out the stops where revolutionaries were getting off the train.

Hampton's assassination was part of a broad campaign to smash the Black Panther Party and the burgeoning revolutionary movement that burst onto the scene in the 1960s. In September 1968, notorious FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the Panthers "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country," and by 1969 the Panthers were the number one target of the FBI's COINTELPRO operations, which included 233 different documented operations from assassinations like those of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, to attempts to turn street gangs against the Panthers, efforts to create divisions within the BPP, and setting up Panthers on false criminal charges. Hoover specifically aimed to prevent the rise of what he called "a Black messiah"—that is, he focused on taking out leaders and potential leaders of the masses. Revolutionaries like Malcolm X, George Jackson, Bunchy Carter and John Huggins in LA, and Fred Hampton were either directly murdered by the government, or set up. These were counter-revolutionary criminal acts—not only were innocent people murdered by the U.S. government, but the ability of the masses of people to raise their heads and liberate themselves was grievously set back.

People lined up for blocks outside funeral home to honor Fred Hampton.
Photo: Paul Sequeira

Fred Hampton drew forward the best from among all these sections of the people, inspiring them with a revolutionary vision and calling on them to rise to being revolutionaries. And many thousands heeded the call. His famous chant "I am...a revolutionary" was transformative, as people would take it up, thinking seriously as they did so about what they were committing their lives to when they said it.

Leadership is critical to making revolution. Although revolutionary leaders like Fred Hampton were taken from the people, and others capitulated to capitalism and gave up on revolution, the spirit of devoting your life to making revolution and doing all you can to hasten the day when revolution can be made still lives—most of all in the leadership being given today by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, who worked and struggled closely with the Black Panther Party when it was the most advanced revolutionary force in the U.S. The possibility for revolution, right here in the belly of the beast of U.S. imperialism as well as around the world, is greatly heightened because of the leadership of Bob Avakian and the RCP.

Humanity still cries out for the revolution that Fred Hampton devoted his life to. As the Constitution of the RCP says: "The emancipation of all humanity: this, and nothing less than this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate our lives."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/jail-and-convict-the-cold-blooded-murderers-of-mario-woods-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Jail and Convict the Cold-Blooded Murderers of Mario Woods!

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The video of the December 2 firing-squad execution of Mario Woodsby San Francisco’s “swinest” has gone viral. For good reason! You look at it and don’t see one reason for his murder. Six pigs, guns drawn, surround him, box him in. Mario is trying to walk, not run away. The only “aggressive move” was by one pig who keeps stepping in front of him. Six big, baad police, all buffed up, could have found a dozen other ways to handle this without killing Mario. But no, it’s a “free one”—15 shots—open hunting season on another Black youth. They know the system will have their backs, as it always does.

The following evening, Thursday, hundreds of people of all nationalities converged in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood marching, rallying, calling for justice for Mario, and taking up the chant, “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell.” At one point they took to the streets, standing off against riot-clad police and shutting down street cars and traffic for a couple of hours. Many other families of police murder victims came out to offer support.

Mario Woods with his mother, Gwendolyn Woods.

Gwendolyn Woods, Mario’s mother, said he was mentally unsound after being incarcerated for years after a robbery conviction, but he was still a good person. “They’re going to paint my child out to be a monster, and he wasn’t a monster,” she said. “He would give you the shirt off his back. I was born and raised here in this community,” she said, “and officers don’t care an iota about people of color. You feel inferior. It’s an ugly dynamic.” She spoke about how her son was working to get his life on track following a stint in prison for a robbery conviction. He had just gotten a UPS uniform, she said, for his new job.

“How can you feel a threat when you have 10 cops around you?” said Chemika Hollis, a 26-year-old Bayview resident and partner of Nathaniel Wilks, a young man who was murdered by Oakland police in August. (Chemika was also one of the families to take part in Rise Up October in New York.)

People crammed into a meeting hall the following evening to confront the chief of police. Residents and others challenged him on his lie that the police had no option but to kill Mario. He asked for people to be patient while a thorough investigation is conducted. Bullshit! The video speaks for itself. This is one of the largest manifestations of outrage against police murder in San Francisco in recent years. The people have delivered their verdict: Cold-Blooded Murder!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/discussion-at-revolution-books-digging-into-bob-avakians-outline-of-his-new-synthesis-of-communism-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Discussion at Revolution Books: Digging into Bob Avakian’s Outline of His New Synthesis of Communism

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Recently, people gathered at the new Revolution Books NYC location up in Harlem for a lively and wild discussion of the new outline from Bob Avakian, “The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements.” We knew from the outset that we could not exhaust the content of this outline in one evening, rather we aimed to work together to get a deeper grasp of the significance and scope of what is in the outline and why the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA) is absolutely necessary if humanity is to make a genuine revolution that can fully and lastingly uproot all forms of exploitation and oppression. There were also very different levels of familiarity and experience with the revolution in our group—some who have been in the Revolution Club for a longer time, some who came to revolution through the resistance struggles in the fall, customers from Revolution Books, and others. We were young and old, many nationalities, and from very different life experiences. We saw this mix as a strength. Everyone had studied the outline and read a recommended section of the interview by Ardea Skybreak (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) and, on that foundation, everyone was encouraged to dive in fully to a collective process of learning and struggle.

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

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

Read more

What Is Science?

Taking note of where the outline itself begins, and how it ends, we decided to open things up around several questions pertaining to BA’s method and approach: What is science? Can science be applied to history and human societies? What is new in what BA has done on the question of science? Why is BA’s method and approach necessary for humanity to get free?

From the moment we divided into smaller break-out groups, people dove in with great passion as well as with some very different understandings of what science is. The first woman to speak is new to BA’s work and is still wrestling with whether or not a revolution and communism are actually necessary. She drew first from what she recalled from school about science. She emphasized that “rather than just ideas, science means you test your ideas to see if they are true. Science deals with data and you make a hypothesis and then you test it.” She was unclear, however, how this related to the work BA has done, “Are there multiple ideas BA is testing? Is the hypothesis ‘Why communism vs. something else?’ What data do we have to say this is a valid statement?”

Another newer person responded, “I don’t think BA meant to be speaking in absolutes. He proposes communism as a scientific hypothesis, but remains open to other ideas.” But when he went on to define science, his definition was very different, “Science is absolute definitions. This is what something is. This is how it works. Nothing else to add.” This led him to voice some confusion, “But it’s kind of a paradox. BA is saying he is open to applying other ideas to his idea, but calling it science, when I thought science means you are firm in your conclusion.”

A third person didn’t agree that science cuts off discovery, arguing, “What is science? You need ideas from before, and you advance from there, but the ideas have to evolve and advance. Like in physics, there was the ideas of Newton but then we advanced on those ideas. We kept some, but we also advanced.” The first woman built on that, adding, “Science is to constantly question everything. It’s not, ‘Here’s a theory, period.’ I mean, we used to think Pluto was a planet, now we realize it is not. You are constantly testing everything.”

A member of the Revolution Club spoke up, “Science is a method to interrogate and understand reality based on material evidence.” She posed, “Even the question of why communism, or how a revolution could happen, these are questions that have to be answered with science. With evidence.” Responding to what had been said earlier about BA’s ideas being “just a hypothesis” and “being open to other ideas,” she said, “BA has come to some conclusions, not just ideas. He’s done this based on looking at the material world—what kind of organization of society corresponds to a way that can emancipate humanity? How can you set up an economy that does that? Skybreak says in her interview that there were some key breakthroughs BA has made. He built on Marx who said that all ideas and relations are based on how human society is organized, based on the economic foundation. These are not just ideas. They are not even just the best idea that sounds the best, but he shows why... here is a materialist analysis of history and why this communist revolution is possible now...”

Already, different ideas on what science is and how BA approaches this question were swirling. The leader of the discussion pointed out that one person had argued that science was “absolute definitions” with “nothing else to add,” while others had emphasized that science builds on previous ideas and advances over time. Which is it? And, why?

Science Requires Evidence

Building on that question, she asked: If science does build on previous ideas, how does one determine which ideas to adopt and which ideas to discard? Don’t religions also change over time, building on some of what came before as well as adapting and adding new things at times? Are they both scientific because they both change, or is there something else involved in making something scientific?

A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What is New in the New Synthesis? An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA; Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

Several people argued that science is not “absolute definitions” with “nothing else to add” because the world keeps changing and we keep learning more. Some of what we once thought was true might be proven to be wrong and so we might have to change our theories, but what makes the theory scientific is that it is based on material evidence. This is very different than religion because religion, even while it might change at times, does not provide evidence.

Science Is a Reality-Based Method, Not a “Set of Conclusions”

Still, big questions hung in the air. One was: how to understand the relationship between scientific “conclusions” and the scientific process of “questioning and testing everything.” As recounted earlier, the person who argued that science is about “absolute definitions” with “nothing else to add,” had also noted how BA has insisted his approach and new synthesis is “still developing.” He drew from this that perhaps BA’s new synthesis wasn’t really scientific. In response, someone from the Revolution Club argued emphatically that BA had actually come to some very important scientific conclusions that were backed up by evidence. They walked through some of these, like the fact that you need a revolution and a different mode of production (a different economic system and way that food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities of life get produced) in order to end oppression and exploitation.

This was very important, and it is true that Bob Avakian has tremendous and well-grounded scientific certitude about many things—many of them are highlighted in the outline we were studying. It is also true that BA’s new synthesis as a whole is backed up by evidence and marks a qualitative leap and advance in the science of communism. Secondarily, BA’s new synthesis—as he himself points out—is an ongoing “work in progress.” How to understand this?

This opened up a whole discussion about how science in general, and BA’s new synthesis in particular, is so much more than—and actually quite different than—a collection of well-grounded “conclusions.”

As I was thinking about this more afterwards, someone pointed me to a passage in the Skybreak interview, “Good science, you know, does not just go out into the world with a big question mark without any kind of developed theory. In order to advance science, you go out into the world with a framework of certain analyses that have accumulated over time. You make your best possible analysis and synthesis at any given time. And then you go out and test it further against reality. That’s what scientists do. And, in the course of that, you discover that some things that you thought were true are in fact very much true—you see some patterns that maybe you expected—and you often also get some surprises, you learn some things you didn’t expect, you find out you were wrong in some instances, and you learn from that as well. That enables you to make an even more advanced analysis and synthesis. And you go on from there. That’s how good scientific knowledge advances. And Bob Avakian models that in everything he does, in my opinion. That’s why I think there’s really no one like him in terms of taking a really consistently good scientific approach to societal issues and the positive transformation of society.

One point that the outline draws out is that BA has developed a more scientific way of approaching reality, a more scientific method and approach, rupturing with elements in the methodology of communism that were NOT fully scientific. We got into how the new synthesis has been established to be true and is the most scientific foundation for acting to change the world towards human emancipation and for continuing to learn more about the world and about how it can be changed. It contains both a great deal of certitude and firm scientific conclusions, and on that foundation a truly searching and constantly restless and interrogating scientific spirit.

But, as one woman posed, “The more I start to understand about this, the more questions get opened up.” This was true for everyone in the discussion.

Does Objective Reality Really Exist, and Can We Know It?

Even the question of “evidence” and being “evidence-based” can be understood in different ways. One person argued that “reality is objective” and that people should “draw from evidence,” but “at the same time, we all have our own realities and our own evidence.” She argued, “You can’t know everything all at once. Everyone has their own reality, so the conclusions you draw from one point of view are valid for you, but that doesn’t mean they speak to all people everywhere.”

Others argued that, even while there might be some “evidence” being marshaled in the example she was giving, it wasn’t really a scientific approach and it’s simply not true that “everyone has their own reality.” People don’t “have their own reality”—in reality everyone exists within one larger objective reality. This opened up the larger question: Is it only possible to be sure about the surface of things that you can directly experience (through your five senses of touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing), or does science enable us to know things beyond our direct experiences with scientific certitude? Is science merely the collection of data and the testing out of theories on the surface of reality, or can science penetrate to discover the inner workings of things (whether it be a body and a disease, a human society and how it is changing, or anything else) and the underlying dynamics that give rise to the surface phenomena? These are very important questions that are taken up in many of the works cited in BA’s outline, including the polemic “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past” by Ishak Baran and KJA in Demarcations #4.

While we didn’t come close to exploring the answers to all these questions, we did make a start of real substance—and that’s pretty important. I mean, I am attempting to draw together some themes as I write, but in the actual discussion things were much wilder than this. At one point someone argued that the real world doesn’t actually exist, “We all are an imagination of ourselves and we experience ourselves subjectively.” Someone else walked through the basic philosophical divide between materialism (the view that reality objectively exists and can be known) and idealism (the view that there is no objective reality, just the ideas of people or the existence of god). In arguing for materialism, they pointed out that one way you know the real world objectively exists is that when humans interact with it, it behaves the same way for everyone. For example, ice melts into water at the same temperature for everyone, regardless of whether someone else has given them that idea before.

Someone else introduced the rupture BA has made with the view that people, simply because of their oppressed status, somehow were more able to tell what is true, and brought alive some of the significance of this breakthrough. Another Revolution Club member commented on how rarely people think about how they think and how important it is that BA is paying attention to this. She had to repeat this statement different ways, because for many of the people present it was so true they’d never thought about it before, and it took them a minute before they even understood what she was posing.

All this, and much, much more, got unleashed as we went forward. Throughout it all, the significance of what BA has done in really developing a thoroughly scientific method and approach—and in providing us with his outline to appreciate and dig into it systematically—stood out. Through no fault of their own, most people have been denied and deprived of an understanding of science. And, as Ardea Skybreak points out in her interview, keeping people from understanding science really serves the ruling class of exploiters and oppressors because it makes it easy to fool the masses of people and keep them enslaved and oppressed. On the other hand, the work that BA has done—in advancing the scientific method, in breaking this down in his extensive body of work to make it accessible to the masses, and in providing practical ongoing leadership to carrying out a scientific revolution—is giving people the most important thing they need to rise up as conscious emancipators of humanity.

Do We Really Need All This Theory?

At a certain point, however, someone got a bit impatient. It seemed to him that perhaps we were straying off into things that had nothing to do with the urgent need to change the world. People are being killed every day, he insisted, and locked down in prisons. “What does any of what we are talking about have to do with really going out and fighting to end this?” It took a while before anyone came out with a clear and correct answer to this. This itself revealed a definite underappreciation for the game-changing significance of BA’s new synthesis, and in particular his development of communism as a science. Eventually, people worked their way to an answer: while it is absolutely essential that people stand up and fight back and while we ourselves put a lot of effort into this, without the new synthesis that BA has developed and leadership that is based on this, they will remain trapped in the world as it is.

If one does not burn with impatience to put an end to this system that causes so much misery for the masses of people here and all over the world, then they do not have the basis to be a revolutionary communist. But, if growing numbers do not take up the scientific approach to communist revolution that is concentrated in BA and his new synthesis, then the masses will never get free.

Someone pointed to the heroism of the masses who rose up in Egypt just a few years ago in the “Arab Spring,” and the heartbreak of all the horrors and rape and U.S.-backed torture and oppression that pervades Egypt today. They needed leadership grounded in the new synthesis! Or, look at the heroism of the Black Panther Party in this country’s history, or the women who rose up in the women’s liberation struggle—and look at the way Black people are still being gunned down by police and slammed into prisons in genocidal proportions and women’s rights are being stripped away and abortion clinics are being shot up. This is because there wasn’t a revolution and we need one—and we cannot make one, and we certainly cannot make one that leads to uprooting and abolishing all oppression, without BA’s new synthesis. If we really burn with impatience to see humanity emancipated, that should drive us to get deeper into the revolutionary theory and leadership BA is providing and we should help each other do so.

Getting Clear on What an Actual Revolution Is—and Why That Matters

As soon as all this was said, a second person got impatient. She jumped to defend the Black Panther Party and the women’s liberation fighters, insisting they had been heroic and their efforts shouldn’t be dismissed. She insisted that they had made revolutions and that revolutions were happening all the time, “Just because they aren’t as big as you might like doesn’t mean you should look down on them.” She argued that even though there are still problems, things are much better for women than they used to be and much better for Black people and other minorities and this should be acknowledged.

One person jumped in to agree with her, while another began arguing that, in fact, things have been getting worse. But the leader of the discussion cut through this by speaking forcefully about what an actual revolution would mean. “Look, if we had made a revolution and now had revolutionary state power, there would not be ANY police terror and murder being carried out in the streets. I mean it, it would be over. It would not happen. No 16 shots in the back and then lies and cover-ups for years. No parents weeping and burying their children just because they are Black or Brown. No more generations locked in cages, dehumanized and degraded. And if the police did kill someone wrongfully, they would be on trial. And if people stood up to protest this, they would not be tear-gassed and beaten, and railroaded into jail. If we had state power, women would not have to walk through a militarized war zone to get an abortion, and they could do so on demand and without apology. They wouldn’t be being beaten and raped literally in the millions. We wouldn’t be sending drones around the world snuffing out wedding parties and reducing villages to rubble. These are not hard problems to solve—if we make a revolution and seize state power. If we don’t, they are impossible to solve.” It was necessary to pose this sharply because people needed to be shaken out of what were objectively very narrow sights.

She went on to acknowledge that there were many problems that are not so easy to solve, problems that would take a lot of time and a lot of work even after the seizure of power—like uprooting all the remaining vestiges of white supremacy and male domination, thoroughly changing the economy and repairing the environment as much as can be done, and bringing all of humanity into the realms of science and intellectual life and so much more—and this whole process is extremely complex. All this underscores why people need to get with the new synthesis and leadership BA is providing. He has developed a strategy and an approach to making this real. It is simply not true that the best we can do is fight heroically to push the same boulder up the hill only to have it come crashing back down on the masses of people year after year after year. Real and lasting emancipation is possible, this is what we must set our sights on and this is why we need to do the work to get into and to fight to get others into BA.1

As this agitation unfolded, the person who had initially expressed impatience at getting into so much theory dove back in, in agreement, adding his voice vigorously to the desire to see that kind of real liberation and not just more crumbs, and perking up to the questions of theory anew. One young woman’s eyes widened and she made clear that she’d never really thought about revolution in such a real way like that before.

The Culture We Need if We Are Serious About Revolution

That so much of this was so new for so many people gathered for the discussion only underscored how important it was that we were taking the time to dig into BA’s new synthesis outline. It also sharpened up a bigger question of what kind of ongoing culture we have in the movement for revolution, and how there needs to be a culture where all the questions taken up in BA’s outline are what we are living in and pulsing around all the time, not just on “special occasions.”

Towards the end, someone who had been in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War opened up about what a big deal it had been for him and other soldiers to get won over to supporting the Vietnamese side in that war. He spoke of how inspired he had been by their freedom struggle and their proclamations of fighting for some kind of communist liberation. He described how millions of them had been killed or given their lives fighting and actually defeating the U.S. Army, but then he choked up when he added, “But you look at Vietnam today and it is a hellhole. Even after all their sacrifice... This is why it matters that we take up the science and new synthesis of communism and BA’s leadership, because whether you really grasp communism or just call yourself a communist while really doing something else, it has life-and-death consequences.”

A young woman who had been challenged several times during the discussion but dove in eagerly with a good attitude all along the way added, “The important thing I am really getting is that this is possible for everybody to understand. I don’t understand it all yet, but I am getting that this is something everyone can learn and take up. Tonight I am going to buy a book from Bob Avakian so I can keep learning.”

We let these two comments stand as important points of orientation for all of us, new and old, not just in wrapping up a spirited discussion but in looking to our responsibilities going forward.

 


1. Bob Avakian has actually done a tremendous amount, going into the history of the Black Panther Party and the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s, summing these up and getting deeply into what WERE the lessons and how NOW to synthesize these lessons in going forward. Much of this can be found in his memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond; My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist; Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, particularly Part III looking at women’s liberation; “Rereading George Jackson,” from Getting Over the Two Great Humps: Further Thoughts on Conquering the World, and in other works. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/no-indictment-for-pig-who-murdered-ronald-johnson-en.html

Revolution #416 December 7, 2015

Update: Chicago Whitewashes Continue

No Indictment for the Pig Who Murdered Ronald Johnson

December 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In one day, Monday, December 8, here is what happened in Chicago. If you think about it, the two major events show the appearance of changes and at the same time the actual essence of how the system will continue to defend the police because it needs them to terrorize the communities of the oppressed.

For essential background to this story see:

The Police Murder of Laquan McDonald in Chicago and the Coverup
The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell

 

THE APPEARANCE OF CHANGES:

Chicago continues to scramble to contain the outrage that has been roiling since the recent release of the video showing the execution of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.

The head of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was forced to resign. The chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department, who was just appointed to that position this October, resigned. The new head of IPRA is a former federal prosecutor with close family ties to the Obamas. This is the appearance that “something is being done” to bring meaningful change. The reality is just the opposite.

The Department of Justice announced it was opening a “patterns and practices” investigation into the Chicago Police Department. An investigation everyone acknowledges could take a year or even years! (See “Reality Check: Answers to Burning Questions arising in the wake of the release of the video the murder of Laquan McDonald and the extensive cover-up that followed” at www.revcom.us)

THE REALITY: THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS GUILTY AS HELL.
ANOTHER MURDERING PIG GETS OFF AS RONALD JOHNSON’S MURDER IS DECLARED JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE.

Another sickening video documenting another police murder of a young Black man on the South Side of Chicago was released today (December 8). This murder happened one week before the police executed Laquan McDonald, and the “investigation” and suppression of this video was also dragged out for more than one year. The video clearly shows a cop jump out of a squad car and within seconds shoot Ronald Johnson as he is sprinting full tilt away from police. Ronnieman, as he is known, was fatally shot twice from the back. The Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, not only released the video but then spent 25 minutes with an elaborate presentation to the assembled media to justify the shooting and defend the murdering pig. She declared Ronnieman’s murder a “justifiable homicide” and refused to press criminal charges.

Alvarez justified all this by claiming Ronnieman had a gun in his hand when one is definitely not visible on the video.

Dorothy Holmes, Ronald Johnson’s mother, and her attorney, who is suing the police, held a press conference afterward to refute Alvarez’s findings. The lawyer was very clear in calling this out as a cover-up. He made the following points:

» Ronnieman did not have a gun OR anything in his hand. The gun was planted after they shot him and his blood smeared on it. There is DNA but no fingerprints found on the gun. The gun is old and rusty.

» The state’s attorney’s office had called just three days earlier to ask if he, the attorney for Dorothy Holmes and her family, had evidence that the gun was planted! In outrage, he said the state’s attorney has subpoena power, grand juries, and a lot of investigators, NONE of which were used to investigate this case. Then they have the nerve to call to ask about evidence!

» Alvarez said she relied entirely on IPRA’s investigation, when the head of IPRA had just been forced to resign due to its shoddy investigations. The attorney for Ronald Johnson’s family declared that this was a JOKE! The state’s attorney never even took a statement from the cop who was the shooter, or any of the other police on the scene, for that matter. The only person who took a statement under oath was the attorney for Ronnie’s family in a deposition he gave, because the cop said he already knew he was not going to be prosecuted. The family’s attorney demanded to know how the cop knew this months ago.

» The family’s attorney pointed out that Alvarez must not have read any of the depositions that he had taken in the case. A key witness cited by Alvarez and the media as saying he had the impression Ronnie might have had a gun, said under oath that the police introduced that whole narrative to him as the only logical explanation for what had transpired. One can only imagine how this witness was threatened to adopt this story.

This is the reality: they will continue to defend and whitewash police murder.

Trying to get ahead of the release of other damning videos, the city released another one, showing the vicious brutalization and murder while in police custody of a Black man, Philip Coleman, in December 2012. Coleman was a 38-year-old graduate of the University of Chicago and the son of a veteran cop who worked for departments in the suburbs south of Chicago. Coleman had a mental breakdown, and his mother called police for help. His father arrived back home and actually helped the police subdue Philip and put him in the police car to take him for psychiatric help. Instead of a hospital, the cops took Philip to jail where, as the father put it, their “bright, talented” son was killed. Philip Coleman was tased repeatedly in his jail cell, “taken down” and dragged out in handcuffs. He was then tased 13 (!) more times and beaten with a baton at the hospital. In spite of the fact that he had many visible marks and signs of having been unbelievably brutalized, the Independent Police Review Authority ruled that he died of a reaction to medication at the hospital and exonerated all the cops involved.

THERE IS A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY—TO GET THE COPS OFF!