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Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, on the basis of 40 years of revolutionary work, represents a qualitative advance in the scientific approach to making revolution and emancipating humanity. It provides the foundation and point of departure for a new stage of communist revolution that is urgently needed in the world today.
Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on. The new synthesis and the leadership of Bob Avakian represents and embodies the scientific understanding and approach the masses of the oppressed need to make the revolution they need—a revolution whose ultimate goal is a communist world—to emancipate themselves and ultimately humanity as a whole.
As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis:
represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.
What is most fundamental and essential in the new synthesis is the further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach, and the more consistent application of this scientific method and approach to reality in general and in particular the revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression and advance to a communist world. This method and approach underlies and informs all the core elements and essential components of this new synthesis.
As with all scientific approaches to understanding and transforming reality, communism must continue to develop, and it has undergone a qualitative development with the new synthesis, which is a leap beyond, and in some important ways a rupture with, what has gone before. Recognizing this is the essential dividing line today between genuine revolutionary communists and those who may profess to be for communism and revolution, but who in fact are not. Just as, in 1975, being a communist meant being a follower of Mao and the path that he had forged, so today being a communist means following Bob Avakian and the new path that he has forged.
As a leader, Bob Avakian embodies a rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it accessible to the masses of people.
BA provides strategic and tactical leadership, in an ongoing way, for the revolutionary struggle, in all its crucial dimensions, and he has greatly developed the science and art of communist leadership.
As BA himself has put it:
Leadership—and in particular communist leadership—is, as I have been speaking to, concentrated in line. This does not simply mean line as theoretical abstractions, although such abstractions, especially insofar as they do correctly reflect reality and its motion and development, are extremely important. But in an all-around sense, it is a matter of leadership as expressed in the ability to continually make essentially correct theoretical abstractions; to formulate, to wield, and to lead others to take up and act on—and to themselves take initiative in wielding—the outlook and method, and the strategy, program, and policies, necessary to radically transform the world through revolution toward the final aim of communism, and through this process to continually enable others one is leading to themselves increasingly develop their ability to do all this. This is the essence of communist leadership.
The methods and approach of BA’s new synthesis of communism make possible the kind of leadership which, far from stifling the initiative of others, can and does unleash people’s initiative and creativity on a broad scale and in unprecedented ways.
All those who strive for a world free of slavery, in any form, should become followers of BA and take up the new synthesis of communism, and on that basis become leaders themselves in the revolutionary struggle to emancipate humanity.
The fact that there is, in the world today, a revolutionary leader of the caliber of Bob Avakian, and that there is now a new synthesis of communism, is a tremendous thing for the masses of oppressed people and for the cause of human emancipation.
Bringing the content and role of BA’s leadership to millions, making it a point of reference and an increasingly powerful pole of attraction in society, is essential to the whole revolutionary process. As a concentrated expression of the strategic approach to building a movement for revolution, with the Party as its leading core, our Party has brought forward the slogans: “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution” and “Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.” This means exposing the oppressive and exploitative nature of the capitalist-imperialist system and the fact that its underlying and defining contradictions, which are the basis of this exploitation and oppression, can only be resolved through revolution; it means mobilizing people to take on the most egregious abuses of the system, while bringing out the need for revolution to finally put an end to these abuses; accumulating forces for revolution all along the way; it means seizing on moments when the contradictions of this system find expression in sharp crisis, in order to make crucial breakthroughs to hasten the emergence of a revolutionary situation—a situation in which there is a deep crisis in the whole system and millions of people are oriented, organized, and determined to put everything on the line to bring about the overthrow of this system and its replacement with a radically different system.
In this overall process, the most important thing we need to be doing, everywhere we go and in everything we do, is promoting and popularizing the leadership of BA and the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward. This is the first mainstay of our Party’s work, which provides the framework and context for the Party’s work as a whole. It is the leading edge of the entire ensemble of revolutionary work and struggle undertaken by our Party.
The main vehicle through which the Party leads the ongoing ideological and political work of preparing for revolution is its website, REVCOM.US—the “second mainstay” of our Party’s work.
The website provides ongoing orientation and leadership, both long-range and “in the moment.” It encompasses the key works of Bob Avakian, as well as the newspaper of the Party, REVOLUTION. It analyzes world events and brings out the underlying dynamics and contradictions in those events, how they are grounded in the fundamental nature and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system and how they relate to the struggle to overthrow and move beyond this system; it includes reports on the Party’s work in mass struggles around major social contradictions, key Party documents and articles on the importance of building the Party as the leading core of the revolution that is needed. Within this website, the newspaper plays a particular role.
As BA has put it:
WWW.REVCOM.US/REVOLUTION NEWSPAPER brings alive a scientific analysis of major events in society and the world—why they are happening, how different events and developments relate to each other, how all this relates to the system we live under, where people’s interests lie in relation to all this, how revolution is in fact the solution to all this and what the goals of that revolution are, how different viewpoints and programs relate, positively or negatively, to the revolution that is needed, and how people can move, and are moving, to build toward that revolution. Revcom.us/Revolution is the guide, the pivot, the crucial tool in drawing forward, orienting, training, and organizing thousands, and influencing millions—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution—hastening and preparing for the time when we can go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.
This website is already powerful—but REVCOM.US must truly become a website that reaches and speaks to millions, providing guidance to them in understanding and moving to radically transform the world, as well as providing leadership to those already won to or drawn toward revolution.
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is the concretization of the decades of work by BA, an inspiring application of the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward.
This Constitution, which was adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, in 2010, is a blueprint for the new socialist society, beginning with Day One and stretching into the transition to a world without classes and class distinctions, a world without oppression and the destructive divisions and antagonisms between people.
This landmark work for the cause of human emancipation was written by—and could only have been written by—Bob Avakian. It is a simple fact that, in the world today, no other individual, or collective of people, would have been capable of producing such a comprehensive, visionary, and at the same time concrete, framework and guide for a radically new and emancipatory society. This is a powerful illustration of what is special and unique about BA and his leadership—and the tremendous importance of this for the masses of people of the world.
Bob Avakian is Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Like all Party members, he is subordinate to the collectivity of the Party overall, even as he has been elected by the Central Committee to lead the Party. At the same time, as the initiator and architect of a new synthesis of communism, he is also objectively “greater than” the Party. It is crucial that our Party be grounded in and proceed on the basis of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. This must be at the heart of the life and work of the RCP, USA, and it puts a special responsibility on Party members and supporters to deeply engage with and widely promote the new synthesis and BA himself, spreading this and fighting for it to take root, against all contending trends, in every corner of the globe; and to imbue in people very broadly a sense of responsibility to defend BA and ensure his ability to continue to make the fullest possible contributions to the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity.
As BA has said:
There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.
In sum, while he remains part of and subordinate to the overall collectivity of the Party, BA is greater than the Party, and this character of “greater than” is the principal aspect of the relationship. As we have emphasized, the leadership of BA and the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward provides the theoretical framework, the scientific method and approach for a whole new stage of communist revolution, not just in this country but in the world as a whole.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Updated February 5, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
...an important meeting to discuss six historic resolutions from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. These resolutions come at a time when the oppression faced by billions of people is increasingly unbearable, when resistance is flaring up, but when the need is acutely posed for leadership which genuinely enables people to understand the causes of that oppression and to act to uproot and transform it.
Revolutionary communism is the scientific understanding of the kind of radically different and radically better world that IS possible and how to get there. These resolutions focus on the leap in that scientific understanding that has been forged by Bob Avakian and on the overall leadership he provides and models—and what that means for humanity.
This January and February, the Party will hold meetings to discuss the content of these resolutions. Be sure to come. Be part of digging into what these resolutions mean and help figure out how to spread their message further.
Important Meetings on the Six Resolutions
of the Central Committee of the
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Sunday, January 31, 1:00-6:00 p.m.
The Gold Room
Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center
34 West 134th Street • Harlem, NY
Directions: from the 135th St stop on the 2-3 line, walk one block east on 135th St to Lenox Terrace Place, turn right and the street dead ends on the Center. Gold Room is on the lower level, accessible by stairs or elevator. For people driving: Lenox Terrace Place is between Fifth Avenue and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) and is accessible only from 135th St.
Saturday, February 6th, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Revolution Books, 1158 Mass Ave,
Cambridge, MA 02138
Parking meters are in operation until 8 p.m.
Revolution Books is reserving a space in the building to have this discussion—so it is important to be on time.
Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:00-5:30 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Parish Hall
125 East 26th Street
For more information: Call 773-489-0930
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, February 6, 1:00-6:00 p.m.
Live Oak Park Recreation Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
More info: 510-848-1196 or email@example.com
Saturday, February 6, 2-7 pm
Peace Center West, 3916 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230
On Sepulveda, south of Venice Blvd. From the 405 Freeway: take the Venice Blvd. exit, turn right on Sawtelle, right on Venice and right on Sepulveda. The Peace Center is on the east side. Parking available in back of the building.
For more information: 323.463.3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, February 6, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
SHAPE Community Center Harambee Building
3903 Almeda, Houston 77004
For more information call 832.865.0408 or email email@example.com
Saturday, February 6, 1:00 p.m.
89 S. Washington (1/2 block of 1st Avenue in Pioneer Square)
Saturday, February 6, 1-5 p.m.
Langston Hughes Library, 10200 Superior Avenue, Cleveland
Sunday, February 7, 1-5:30 pm
Little 5 Points Arts and Community Center
1083 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.
Top Floor, Room 202 Parking in rear. Wheelchair accessible.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (770) 861-3339
Sunday, February 7, 1:00 pm
Traffic Jam & Snug
511 W. Canfield
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Washington, DC & San Francisco:
January 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Defending abortion rights at the Supreme Court, Washington, DC, January 22, 2016. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us
Sunsara Taylor speaking at the protest at the Supreme Court building.
Bloody pants and chains symbolize women who die or are enslaved when safe legal abortion is not available. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, protesting at the Supreme Court. Photo: StopPatriarchy.org
Sunsara Taylor with image of Bob Avakian—total revolution against all oppression. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us
January 22 marked the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. 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. Roe v. Wade was decided in the context of a tenacious fight by women and others during the social upheaval of the 1960s and early 1970s—as well as the huge economic and social changes affecting the family and the role of women. Ever since, there has been a mounting assault on the right to abortion, spearheaded by Christian fascists and including widespread violence and terror against abortion providers, along with court decisions and state laws placing increasing restrictions on abortion. Each year woman-hating anti-abortion forces mobilize to protest at the Supreme Court. In 2015, and again this year, they were confronted and opposed by defiant people in cities around the country including Washington, DC; San Francisco; Chicago and Austin, TX. Many were organized by Stop Patriarchy, who staged street theater on campuses in New York City and DC to mobilize youth, and there were pro-choice activists from a range of perspectives. The National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority and other groups sent representatives to be present and speak out.
Warning; you are blocking this demonstration. This demonstrates is blocking women's rights! pic.twitter.com/TkEks8i0nR— Stop Patriarchy (@StopPatriarchy) January 22, 2016
Police: "Warning, you are blocking this demonstration." Protesters: "This demonstration is blocking women's rights!"
Sunsara Taylor leads people singing Glory Hallelujah (There Is No God) . Video: StopPatriarchy.org
January 23, San Francisco: Protesters defiantly marched alongside the "Walk for Life," repeatedly confronting the march chanting "Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement," and "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology." They were harassed by a huge mobilization of San Francisco police. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us
Two hundred people, overwhelmingly youth, confronted the anti-abortion march in San Francisco. They included students from UC Berkeley, Mills College, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State, UCLA, and area high schools as well as activists—revolutionary communists, radical feminists—and others. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us
San Francisco, January 23.
Pro-choice demonstrators face down “March for Life” in Chicago.
Photo: Gretchen Rachel Hammond
January 17, 2016: Neither bitter subzero wind chills nor hoards of anti-abortion fanatics, clutching rosaries and photos of bloody fetuses, could dampen the spirits or quell the voices of 200 defiant counter-protesters in front of the federal courthouse, as they faced down the so-called March for "Life," who were amassing across the street. Loud chants rang out across Dearborn Street: "Two, Four, Six, Eight, Abortion Rights in Every State!" and "Pro-Life, Your Name's a Lie, You Don't Care if Women Die!" The counter-protesters—mainly young women, joined by young men and a smattering of older people—had great determination to drown out the anti-abortion rally.
On January 24, two dozen people called together by Stop Patriarchy rallied in Austin, Texas, and confronted thousands of church members who came from across the state in buses. The crew included revolutionary communists, students from the University of Texas and Prairie View A&M University, and some youth who heard about the protest only a day before.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
January 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On this year’s MLK Day, January 18, aside from various official events and commemorations, there were defiant actions in different cities where people took to the streets to protest murders by police, racism, and to raise other demands. And in some places, revolutionaries who were part of the actions connected people with the movement for an actual revolution and the leadership for that. The following roundup of some of the protests is based on news reports and correspondence from our readers.
Around 4 pm, protesters drove onto the Bay Bridge in several cars and stopped. Strong chains were strung through the cars and across all five lanes—completely stopping westbound traffic for about 30 minutes on this heavily used bridge that connects Oakland and other East Bay cities with San Francisco. Twenty-five protesters were arrested.
A statement from the Black.Seed Collective, which carried out the action, said, in part: “Over the last few years, we have seen San Francisco and Oakland destroyed by police murders, rising housing costs, rapid gentrification, and apathetic city officials. Last year, we saw dozens of police murders throughout the Bay Area; since June of 2015 in Oakland alone there have been eight Black men murdered by police.”
While the media quoted drivers upset at being stuck in traffic because of the action, there were others who placed the “inconvenience” in a larger context—like one woman who tweeted: “Stuck in traffic trying to get onto the Bay Bridge, but I don’t mind because #BlackLivesMatter.”
Around the same time, not far from the action on the Bay Bridge, a freeway off-ramp in Emeryville was blocked as part of a march by hundreds of people that began in downtown Oakland.
Two groups of protesters braved freezing temperatures to block a bridge spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., demanding justice for Jamar Clark and Marcus Golden, January 18. AP photo
On an afternoon with freezing temperatures, two groups of protesters blocked the Marshall Avenue-Lake Street Bridge that spans the Mississippi River between St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The marchers going onto the bridge from the Minneapolis side demanded justice for Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old Black man killed by police last November 15. Many witnesses say the cops handcuffed Jamar, knocked him to the ground, and shot him in the head. Immediately after the murder, a couple of hundred people took over the outside of the police precinct, defying the cops and declaring a “no cop zone.” The determined encampment at the precinct continued for several weeks, including in the face of white supremacists who opened fire on the protesters, wounding five of them.
The marchers from the St. Paul side demanded justice for Marcus Golden, another 24-year-old Black man, who was murdered by cops in January 2015. Last May, a grand jury declined to indict the cops involved in the shooting. Monique Cullars-Doty, an aunt of Marcus Golden, said, “This is a tale of two cities. This is not a pretty tale. This is an ugly tale.”
Cleveland. Photo: Special to Revolution/revcom.us
Through the freezing cold, 60 people came out to protest the decision to not prosecute the cops who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and the police murders carried out throughout the USA. Students and activists marched through downtown. After two hours, they ended at the Justice Center. Several members of the Cleveland Revolution Club carried a banner with “Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism/Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” There was also an event at the United Church of Christ Headquarters honoring MLK and Tamir Rice, called by United Pastors in Mission. The event demanded the ouster of the prosecutor who pushed through the decision not to indict the cops who killed Tamir, and for special prosecutors to investigate future killings by cops. A Revolution Club member got out flyers calling on people to come to the celebration of the major new work by Bob Avakian at Cleveland Revolution Books, as well as Revolution newspapers and a flyer of BAsics 1:24. There was a sense at this event that even though people there are working for reforms, many were open to an actual revolution because the horrors of the capitalist-imperialist system—from the wars waged by the imperialists, to attacks on abortion rights, to police terror, to attacks on immigrants, and more—are relentless, and people feel that.
Outside the hotel where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held his "MLK Interfaith Breakfast." Photo: FJJ
A number of different forces called for a boycott of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s MLK Interfaith Breakfast. The participation of a group of ministers, who organized people to NOT go and got into the media with their call in the days leading up to the event, added to the climate of resistance that continues in Chicago in the face of snowballing revelations of police murder outrages. (See comprehensive coverage at revcom.us: The Police Murder of Laquan McDonald in Chicago and the Coverup. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!) Outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in McCormick Place, a huge convention center where the breakfast was held, a number of these ministers held a press conference. They were joined by a group of about 40 protesters, overwhelmingly Black—defiant, spirited, and determined to block the front door of the hotel. They linked arms, refused to move, and spoke out against Rahm Emanuel’s cover-ups of police murders.
Bishops Larry Trotter, Tavis Grant, and James Dukes were among the well-known ministers who had called for the boycott of Emanuel’s MLK Day breakfast. They spoke to more than 50 other church leaders and the event’s scheduled keynote speaker, author Isabel Wilkerson, about being part of the boycott. Wilkerson, author of the widely acclaimed book, The Warmth of Other Suns, on the Great Migration of Black people from the South to the North, did cancel her appearance.
The police tried to keep people on the sidewalk away from the front of the hotel, but we were able to get through their lines and link arms across the long front entrance to the Hyatt Regency. There was intense outrage over the recently released video of the murder of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman, shot as he ran away from police, and all the unrelenting police murders of unarmed Black men and women and the continual cover-ups of Rahm Emanuel and the whole system of injustice. Anyone who dared to go through the blockade was met with “Shame on you!”
There were many different political activists there, but what stood out and had real impact was the Stop Mass Incarceration Network banner, which captured the spirit and mood of the people: “Indict All the Murdering Cops & EVERYONE who was part of the cover-up.” There were chants of “16 shots and a cover-up,” “Justice for Laquan, which side are you on?” and “Indict, convict, send Emanuel to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!”
A member of the Revolution Club spoke about the videos of the police murder of Cedrick Chatman—how, after killing Cedrick, the murdering pig put his foot on his body lying on the ground, like a hunter with a prize kill. He read from the revcom.us statement “More Police Murder... More Murdering Police Go Free. This Cannot Go Down Like This! This Cannot Go On!”: “Black people have been kidnapped, murdered, enslaved, exploited, Jim-Crowed, lynched, segregated, rioted against, discriminated against, beaten, scorned and slandered, imprisoned, bitten by dogs, lied to and lied on, soft-soaped with hope and promised and tricked, sold out and shot out and shot down in the streets, and just goddamn brutalized and killed over and over, since day one. And here we are going into 2016, and nothing has changed. How long?!? As long as the system that did all this and does all this still stands....” Many people responded viscerally with “speak the truth!” The Revolution Club member brought out the need for revolution—and the leadership that we have in Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. He challenged people: “The world truly doesn’t have to be this way. People should seriously get into Bob Avakian.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel’s breakfast was also interrupted on three occasions as individual protesters shouted during the program. They included the Rev. Matthew Ross, a South Side minister who shouted, “16 shots and a cover-up!” as he was escorted out of the room, a reference to how many times the Black teen Laquan McDonald was shot by white Officer Jason Van Dyke... Ross, who was dressed in black and wearing a clerical collar, said, “I did what I did because when I take this collar off, I look just like Laquan McDonald.... We’ve had enough.”
When the breakfast was almost over, and the blockade began to wind down, people gathered in little groups, talking about where could/should all of this go. Copies of Revolution newspaper and flyers for the upcoming Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) Midwest Conference were gotten out widely. And we called people’s attention to the new major work from Bob Avakian.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Police Murder of Cedrick Chatman Approved by Chicago Powers
Updated January 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In the midst of outrage over one horrendous police murder after another and exposures of the official cover-up from every institution, the video of the police shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman in January 2013 was forced into the light of day after a battle by the city to suppress it. The family wanted the public to see the video to counter the official lies and verdict that Cedrick’s shooting was justified. “You see him running away from the officers as fast as he possibly could--he never even begins to turn,” Brian Coffman, the family lawyer, said. “Fry [the cop] never says anything. He just gets out of the car, watches him run with his gun trained on him, and fires.” Not only did they gun down Cedrick in the middle of the day on a busy South Side street corner, but there is the sickening sight of the other cop standing with his boot on the mortally wounded, handcuffed teenager, as though Cedrick is some kind of animal in a trophy kill. This horror gives graphic illustration to the reality expressed by many that it is “open season” on Black people. THESE HORRORS MUST STOP NOW!
What has come out around this case is the fact that all the “institutional processes” involved knew about and officially approved the cop’s right to shoot this unarmed Black youth while he was fleeing for his life. In this case both the state’s attorney and the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) cleared Fry of any wrongdoing. Neither cop faced any discipline and they have been on the street to this day.
The official police story was that Cedrick and others had carjacked a car. The police said they saw a car that matched the description, stopped it and that they saw Chatman reach down for something in the car and then get out of his car and run with a black object in his hand that they thought might be a weapon and that he turned slightly toward the pursuing cops, so “fearing for his life” the cop, Fry, opened fire. But the investigation of the scene showed that the object was a black iPhone box, there was no gun. And video footage from three nearby buildings shows Cedrick was sprinting away from the cops. Coffman, who initially was hesitant to take the case, said, “The more I saw, the more I realized, ‘Oh my god, this is a giant scam.’ It was unbelievable. They were fighting tooth and nail to cover this up from the very beginning.”
The only thing that was not pig business-as-usual in this case is that the lead investigator for IPRA, Lorenzo Davis, found that the shooting was unjustified and recommended firing Fry, the cop who murdered Cedrick. Fry was not fired, but Lorenzo Davis was fired for refusing to change his decision. Davis examined the video and concluded that “Cedrick was just running as the shots were fired. You’re taught that deadly force is a last resort and that you should do everything in your power to apprehend the person before you use deadly force. I did not see where deadly force was called for at that time.” The head of IPRA (who is appointed by the mayor), a supposed independent and impartial investigative body, was determined to protect the police and intervened directly and ordered Davis to change his decision to “justified” on this case (and five others including the police murders of Laquan McDonald and Flint Farmer). Davis, who had been a Chicago cop for 23 years, refused and he was fired for “anti-police bias!” After his firing, the higher-ups at IPRA changed the decision on the shooting to “justified.” No charges were brought by the state’s attorney either. Case closed. Officially-approved murder—signed, sealed, delivered.
THERE IS MORE. The murdering cop has a long record of brutality and at least one other death. The wrongful death civil suit filed by Chatman’s family is the fifth civil rights lawsuit since 2006 in which Fry is named as a defendant. The other four allege violations of excessive force, false arrest and illegal searches. They all ended in settlements. At least one involved the shooting of another Black teen. Fry has been the target of 30 complaints throughout his career and ALL were marked as “unsubstantiated." In fact, Fry has faced no discipline whatsoever in his whole career.
AND THERE IS MORE. Instead of charging the killer cop, two alleged accomplices in the alleged carjacking who were 10 blocks away at the time the cops killed Cedrick, were charged with Cedrick’s murder! The prosecutors wrote that the men “set in motion a chain of events that caused the death of Cedrick Chatman.” This is a twisted logic—cops kill a man and get away with murder and two youth who weren’t even on the scene are charged for his murder. The murder charges were used as a club to force them to plead guilty to lesser charges. They are now in prison for 10 years while the cops are free and on duty on the street.
What does this tell us? That the whole process and routine machinery of the police, the law, the supposed investigative and legal “checks and balances,” and the executive (mayor and city council) is set up to give the stamp of approval to police murder and terror and to hide what’s really going on so they can keep doing it. Who was punished? Not the cops, not the head of the IPRA. They fired the investigator who wouldn’t back off his finding. This is more than a code of silence, it is a system that is in place to allow the police to murder with impunity, and at the same time routinize it, cover it up, and make it look like the process is fair and equal by suppressing evidence and demonizing a whole section of people that they viciously repress.
Brian Coffman said, “the symmetry between our case and the McDonald case is pretty obvious...This is a bomb that’s about to drop in the city of Chicago, where everyone suddenly realizes the system is broken.”
What this actually reveals is how the whole system really works, and is meant to work, yes, in Chicago, but all over the country, as Bob Avakian sharply reveals in the video “Yes there is a conspiracy ... to get the cops off.”
Everyone who is sick of what they have seen on these videos, everyone who can’t sit silent while police murder more people like Bettie Jones and Quintonio Legrier, everyone who wanted 12-year-old Tamir Rice to have a chance to grow up, everyone who has been protesting and refusing to be quiet—you need to be in the streets and schools raising hell!
And you need to be at the Midwest Regional Conference of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) to STOP POLICE TERROR on Saturday, January 23, 12-6 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 East 26th Street, Chicago. (Go here for SMIN regional conferences coming up in other areas of the country.)
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
From Chicago Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Updated January 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Police nationwide continue to murder unarmed people, disproportionately Black and Latino. And while the police almost never face charges, people all over the country who protest to stop police murder are arrested, charged, and threatened with years in prison.The murder of Laquan McDonald has unleashed a torrent of almost daily protests in Chicago. In response the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the powers behind them continue to arrest protesters who are standing up for justice, just as they have done since the protests over Mike Brown and Eric Garner broke out over a year ago. And the police have been singling out, threatening, and arresting key activists from different perspectives who are playing major roles in the protests. THIS MUST STOP!
Now is the time, in the midst of these roiling protests, for everyone to come together and demand that all charges against all protesters be dropped and that CPD stop targeting key activists! A political and legal battle needs to be waged to make this happen and all people of conscience need to get involved in this.
Last year, after grand juries refused to indict cops for the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Chicago police arrested more than two dozen people at a downtown protest that was part of a national day against police murder on December 13, 2014. Most of those arrested had their charges dropped or were allowed to opt for “community service”. A misdemeanor case was defeated in court.
But two protesters, David “Iggy Flow” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes, were beaten by police, and then charged with aggravated battery to a police officer and slapped with $75,000 bail each. One year later, they still face felony charges and 7 years in prison.
Iggy works with the Revolution Club of Chicago and has been very visible in the protests against police murder, from Michael Brown of Ferguson to the protests today against the murder of Laquan McDonald. He is still being singled out by police. At one recent protest for Laquan, a cop who recognized Iggy assaulted him with a night stick and at another, a cop got in his face, shouting, “Hey, Punk, wanna take a swing at me?” The Sun-Times recently revealed that the Revolution Club and others were the target of police spying during that period.
Alfredo joined in the protest against police brutality.
If you have been protesting against police murder and terror, if your heart is with the protestors, if you believe in the value of protests shining a light on grave injustices — then
On September 26, the South Shore 2 were in South Shore with the Revolution Club and others from the neighborhood organizing for the national protest “Rise Up October —Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?” in New York City on October 24, 2015.
The group was passing out palmcards, calling on people to stand up against police terror, and displaying a banner with the faces of 40 people murdered by the police. They passed out whistles to “blow the whistle on police brutality.”
As people from the neighborhood gathered, speaking their outrage about their treatment by the police and about the police murders of Alfontish “NuNu” Cockerham and JJ Kemp, (two men from the South Shore neighborhood), the police began harassing a man nearby for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Many people gathered to “blow the whistle” on the police, and in the face of this resistance, the cops backed off and let the man go. But a short time later, after most of the crowd left, the police returned and suddenly attacked the group, arresting a young Black woman and young Black man – the South Shore 2. They did nothing to deserve this. For a political protest against police terror they were each charged with the serious felony of aggravated battery to a police officer, by the very police that they were protesting.
PACK THE COURTROOM FOR THE SOUTH SHORE 2! At the last hearing on January 6 the court proceedings were continued to a later date. Watch revcom.us for future information.
Stop Mass Incarceration Network - Chicago
email@example.com • (312) 933-9586 Facebook.com/SMINChicago
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more info, see stopmassincarceration.net
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
From A World To Win News Service
January 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Silopi, in southeastern Turkey near the border with Iraq, January 19. AP photo
19 January 2016. A World to Win News Service. A political crisis has been revealed and deepened by a petition initially signed by well over a thousand academics condemning the Turkish government’s offensive against city neighbourhoods and towns in the Kurdish provinces of eastern Turkey.
Entitled “We will not be a party to this crime,” the petition signed by “Academics for Peace” from almost 90 universities accuses the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan of seeking to use hunger to punish people in Sur (a neighbourhood in the city of Diyarbakir), Silvan, Nusayno, Cizre, Silopi and other towns kept under curfew since mid-December. “It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons that should only be used in wartime,” it says, calling this a “deliberate and planned massacre.”
Rather than denying the accusation, the government’s reaction was to escalate. “Pseudo intellectuals” with a PhD should not expect to be treated any differently than the “terrorists” under attack by the army in Turkish Kurdistan, Erdogan warned. He declared that signing the 10 January petition was an act of treason and anyone who did not retract their signature would be charged and put on trial. Twenty-seven scholars, mostly from Kocaeli University in north-western Turkey, were arrested in early morning raids and briefly detained for “terrorist propaganda”. The signers were put under formal investigation.
Professors and researchers were denounced as supporters of “terrorism” by their academic bodies and some were suspended from their posts. Many received death threats. In some cases a red cross was painted on their office door. This symbol was used to indicate targets for slaughter during the genocide of the Armenians in 1915. A prominent gangster, Sedat Peker, an Islamist and Turkish nationalist believed to be close to Erdogan, posted the following on his Web site: “We will spill your blood and we will take a shower in your blood.”
The polarization spread throughout society, with forces loudly lining up on both sides. The number of petition signers more than doubled. Turkish writers (including Novel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk), publishers, film makers, associations of lawyers and journalists, and many other groups and individuals publicly voiced support for the threatened academics. So did many scholar activists abroad such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar and David Harvey. The petition was read aloud in front of the Palace of Justice, where people came to “turn themselves in” for signing it. Even some political actors who have not been regime opponents expressed concern about Erdogan’s handling of this affair, if not his agenda.
Erdogan’s deliberate baring of his teeth at intellectuals is more than a power grab by an ambitious strongman, although it is that as well. His represents the ambitions of a large part of the Turkish ruling class and the Turkish state. Now he is faced with a crisis his own policies have created, in conjunction with a regional and international situation that is making itself felt in a concentrated way in Turkey.
The country is becoming “Syrianized”, both in the urban warfare going on in the south-east and Daesh (also called ISIS) attacks in major cities, and in the way developments in Turkey are fuelled by those on the international level. This means particularly the clash between Islamism and Western imperialism and the intertwining of that contradiction with the aggressive moves of a whole swarm of reactionary states seeking to protect and advance their interests in this gathering maelstrom.
The oppression of the Kurds is one nodal point in all this, and a key one in terms of Erdogan’s ambitions and the dangers he must deal with, even though it is not the only one, or even the main factor driving the overall development of the situation.
Erdogan’s Turkey has been deeply involved in the Syrian civil war since the start, seeking to bring that country under its influence as part of grabbing regional predominance and promoting Islamism, the ideological glue to hold this project together. It is public knowledge that Turkey has been the main conduit for weapons and recruits into Syria for a variety of Islamist forces, from the Turkoman (ethnic Turkish Syrians) militia it created to Al-Nusra and beyond in the constantly shifting and recomposing Islamist nebula. It has done this with the acquiescence of the US, whose anxiousness to oust Russia and counter Iranian influence in Syria has been a big factor in prolonging and intensifying the civil war. At the same time, Turkey’s position has brought it into conflict with the US, which is threatened by the Islamist onrush, especially Daesh. And yet, given the US’s rivalry with Russia and need to weaken Iran, the US has made it very clear that it needs Erdogan, even though it also needs whatever help it can get from Kurdish forces.
Erdogan hoped to get a parliamentary super-majority in the June general elections. This was not because he intended to rely on parliamentary means to achieve his ends, such as changing the constitution to give more legitimacy and leverage to his Islamist project. He also wanted to use these elections as a club against other ruling class factions. He was foiled and instead his party lost seats in parliament. One reason was the defection of some of his own base to the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), an umbrella group of many stripes that stands for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey and tries to act as a go-between between the state and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leadership in the Kandil mountains on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan.
HDP planned to oblige Erdogan to concede some rights and limited regional autonomy in the new constitution, integrating Kurdish and erstwhile “left” forces into the framework of the Turkish state. But instead of being cowed by the electoral reversal and accepting HDP’s extended hand, Erdogan stepped up his game. If an election doesn’t come out right, hold another one. Breaking the ceasefire with PKK was part of his campaign. In the November elections the governing AKP (Justice and Development Party) got back its majority. Some prominent Kurdish political bigshots who had stepped outside the AKP came back in. The US, while pretending to remain aloof, played a major role in this developing situation by making an agreement with Erdogan, more or less openly spelled out: Erdogan would help the US (supposedly against Daesh, but so far mainly against Russia). The State Department gave him a go-ahead to attack PKK in Turkish Kurdistan and Iraq, but not to attack the PYD, the PKK’s sister organization in Syria, which has become the US’s only armed forces in Syria.
In the past few months, Erdogan has tried to assert full Turkish state dominance in south-eastern Turkey. Tanks and artillery have destroyed areas suspected of PKK sympathy and held the population hostage under around-the-clock curfews, trying to turn people against PKK. (Not everyone in the Kurdish region is in agreement with Kurdish nationalism—many are more in tune with Islamic fundamentalism.)
With this scorched earth policy, like the Israeli army in Palestine, the Turkish army’s aim is not to win hearts and minds but to set the terms of the situation. With these terms being set, the AKP has also made moves to recognize Kurdish identity and language—measures that should have been taken a very long time ago and which now can’t assuage the anger of a new generation of Kurdish youth that sees no future for itself under this set-up. The army has used special units and vicious military tactics designed cut down as many youth and very young teenagers as possible in order to turn their families against PKK. The widespread outrage—“The government is deliberately killing our kids and destroying our homes”—was a major factor spurring the academics’ petition.
The lack of any basic positive change in south-eastern Turkey through decades of war and negotiations has stoked an explosive frustration among young women and men in the region. PKK has been able to mobile these youth to bring the war down from the mountains and lead armed resistance in the cities. Trenches have been dug to keep the Turkish authorities out of neighbourhoods and towns, while local governments have taken up local autonomy in policing, services, etc. The demand is for the Turkish government to recognize some degree of local administration in the new constitution to be debated in parliament, although HDP is being excluded from preliminary discussions with the pretext that they have not yet sufficiently distanced themselves from “terrorism”. Many people in Western Turkey and internationally hope that the youthful spirit of rebellion in Kurdistan will crack open an unbearable situation.
Illusions about parliamentary democracy and the possibility of a “realpolitik” alignment between Kurds and the US have been helpful to Erdogan and the US but deadly to the people. The concept of “self-administration” as a form of coexistence with one or more reactionary states, as modelled in Kobani, where US air power allowed the PYD to beat back a siege by Daesh, brings all these illusions together. What happened was not that the US threw in with the Kurds but that Kurds threw in with the US—so much for “local administration” and “no state”. Such a model is not a viable and still less emancipating solution to the oppression imposed by the Turkish state.
As for the US, it can only be detrimental to the people. When the US ambassador tweeted a mild admonition to the Turkish government, it distanced itself from the petition at the same time. (“It is imperative that citizens have the opportunity to express their views, even controversial or unpopular ones.”) The US State Department has not budged from its position that the Turkish state has a right to “defend itself” against PKK “terrorists”. There is no division of opinion about this within the Obama administration, just a division of labour.
This is the ninth anniversary of the assassination of journalist and democratic activist Hrat Dink—which the state incited and is still covering up. In November, Dyarbakir bar association president Tahir Elci was shot down while holding a press conference in front of a mosque. Even before Erdogan’s recent declaration of war against petitioners and Kurdish youth—“Anyone who rebels, we will crush them”—there was more evidence than anyone needs to understand the deadly futility of imagining that the Turkish state can be fundamentally reformed and that the imperialist powers will help or even allow that to happen.
The petition and upwell of courageous protest are extremely welcome developments. The Turkish state cannot be allowed to crush this opposition, which could gather even more momentum. But the hope for “a lasting peace that includes the political demands of the Kurdish movement” is doomed, and the sooner people realize that the better. The antagonistic contradictions at work in Turkey and the region will continue to tear people apart, and most likely on a even more massively destructive level in the future, unless and until people recognize the nature of the social forces and reactionary dynamics at work and learn to use the conditions of political crises to bring about a revolutionary solution.
The following is the full text of the Academics for Peace 10 January petition:
The Turkish state has effectively condemned its citizens in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, and many other towns and neighbourhoods in the Kurdish provinces to hunger through its use of curfews that have been ongoing for weeks. It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons and equipment that would only be mobilized in wartime. As a result, the right to life, liberty, and security, and in particular the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment protected by the constitution and international conventions have been violated.
This deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law.
We demand that the state abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region. We also demand that the state lift the curfew, punish those responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage. For this purpose we demand that independent national and international observers to be given access to the region and that they be allowed to monitor and report on the incidents.
We demand that the government prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement. We demand inclusion of independent observers from broad sections of society in these negotiations. We also declare our willingness to volunteer as observers. We oppose suppression of any kind of the opposition.
We, as academics and researchers working on and/or in Turkey, declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state. We will continue advocacy with political parties, the parliament, and international public opinion until our demands are met.
A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
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.
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 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
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:
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Speech by Andy Zee at Grand Opening of Revolution Books...
November 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The following is the text of the talk given by Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, at the store's November 15 grand opening celebration in Harlem.
It is with great joy, and with a serious sense of responsibility that comes from understanding what Revolution Books can mean for a radically different and better future for the people of the world, that I have the great honor of opening the first program at the new Revolution Books in Harlem, New York.
So now, I say to all of you have joined us for this Grand Opening Celebration, and I say to the world: It's on! We're here. We're ready, to make real just what we say we are: a center of a movement for an actual revolution, a bookstore with the novels, poetry, history, science, philosophy, and more, a place about the world and for a radically new world...a place where people have the opportunity to discover, experience, and engage all of this...and do so in the context of not just how the world has been historically or how it is today, or even in an imagined future, but looking at all this with our sights set on what really could be, because the reality of the world today holds the potential for something far better, and to unlock that at the foundation of Revolution Books is the most advanced scientific revolutionary theory for a revolution for the full emancipation of humanity: the new synthesis of communism brought forward by the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian.
My name is Andy Zee, I am the spokesperson for Revolution Books, Welcome. My appreciation to all of you for joining us today for this celebration. I want to invite you to join me in recognizing the dedication and work by the staff of Revolution Books over the past five months. I also want to appreciate the incredible warmth of the people from this neighborhood who pitched in and worked so hard on the renovation; who came by and donated what they could to make this possible. Let's give a big shout out to the people who are listening outside because the program was sold out. And I want to say to you, I look forward to meeting you here next weekend at the open house.
And, please join me in also recognizing the welcoming spirit and encouragement of people from all walks of life—from the Harlem arts community to the people from the projects—as well as those from across the city, everyone who contributed funds, opened up doors and who came in to work, paint, and move and shelve the books. And I want to shout out to the students and grad students from Columbia University, CCNY and other schools, to everyone who has pitched in and pulled together to make this possible.
The joy of today's celebration is made so much sweeter by the students from the University of Missouri, including the Mizzou Tiger Football team, who beat Brigham Young University yesterday, which only matters because the Mizzou players put the interests of the people before their athletic careers, inspiring students across the country from Yale to California to stand up against the white-supremacist structures of the universities—students who themselves were propelled into political life by the righteous rising of the youth of Ferguson. Let's recognize too, the 100 families whose loved ones were murdered by police who came to NYC on October 24th for Rise Up October, who stood up in the face of their unimaginable loss and said THIS MUST STOP—and were joined by thousands of people, including voices of conscience and artists like Quentin Tarantino, which unleashed a firestorm of attacks and threats on him from the police and media. To all of these fighters I say, Revolution Books is for you.
And now, join me in welcoming a long-time friend of Revolution Books, a voice of conscience and former prisoner of conscience, a story teller of incredible imagination and beauty who has given the world the gift of taking us inside the lives and experience—the sufferings, the struggles, and the dreams of his country, Kenya—an experience that resonates the world over because of the commonality of life under the domination of imperialism, the billions of lives grotesquely circumscribed, economically, politically, and culturally—making life a living hell—an agony ultimately, and indeed continually, brutally enforced militarily. It tells you a lot about Revolution Books, and lot about this man, that he has come here today to open Revolution Books. Join me in welcoming Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.
The last time Ngũgĩ spoke at Revolution Books NY we debuted his childhood memoir, Dreams in the Time of War, a memoir of a master storyteller that reads like a novel and which delivers the promise of its title, telling of a person and a people who dream of a better future in the midst of oppression and real horrors.
Today the door opens on this place of truly great possibilities. For Revolution Books is a place of dreams and yes, in a time of war...for everywhere today humanity is besieged. Revolution Books is a place that holds the dreams and the hopes for humanity for a world where no longer will the legacy of the lash of slavery or the noose of lynching be present as it is today in the bullets of the police or the cages of mass incarceration. Where no longer will women fear to walk down the street, be afraid even of her most intimate partner, or have control of her own life and body with the right to decide when and if to have a child taken from her by the state. Where gender will no longer be cause for stigmatization. Where no longer will people across the world fear the buzzing that signals death by the remote-control missiles of terror launched from suburbs of Maryland. Where no longer will tens of millions be driven as refugees from their homes to endure horrific detention camps and face demonization, deportation and worse. Where no longer will the creative potential and spirit of billions of people be crushed by the murderous grinding of imperialism. Where no longer will the planet itself be despoiled.
At Revolution Books the dream of a world that has overcome all forms of exploitation and oppression lives. What is extraordinary at RB is that here people can find the way to make these dreams a reality.
People's lives and dreams, our struggles large and small, are told in the pages of the books at RB. The engagement, dialogues, debate with authors, artists, scientists, front-line fighters, thinkers from the university and around the way; reveal a fertile vein—a deep mine—that reflects and concentrates the rich and complex history and present brutal reality as well as the aspirations and soaring artistic achievements of humanity. It is true that you will find the world at Revolution Books.
But the problems of the world today appear on the surface to be intractable. People are compelled into choices of competing horrors and futures that are no future. Witness the contention between two horrendous forces—the reactionary fundamentalisms rearing their backward path around the world and, on the other hand, the brutal forcible imposition of imperialist modernity... We are seeing this played out in blood in France with the outrageous attacks on innocent people, actions that have nothing to do with liberating anyone, anywhere. And what drives this fury are the imperialist bombs and troops and special ops unleashed from imperialist metropoles with the U.S. at the head of the pack, enforcing the daily robbery and deprivation that is the norm of this system. Humanity needs another way.
Look at the choices and the future of a Black or Latino youth growing up in projects like those two blocks from Revolution Books, whose life trajectory is mapped out by the system before they are even born—where one in three will end up in prison if not shot by the police.
Consider what it means that the first communist-led revolutions of the 20th century were defeated, first in the Soviet Union in 1956 and then in revolutionary China after the death of Mao in 1976. These revolutions began and achieved much in the struggle for people to get free from the thousands of years of oppressive class divided societies. Today, because for 40 years there hasn't been any country that is a beacon of real liberation, political sights around the world seek backward answers or at best are politically low—working on band-aids at the margins of what is today.
This is a time crying out for radical transformation. For a way to breakthrough. For revolution. At Revolution Books, people have the opportunity to discover the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, who today is playing a role analogous to that of Marx in the mid-19th century, piercing the methodological and theoretical fog and limitations of the past; developing a strategy for an actual revolution with a vision and concrete framework for a radically new society and state that is going to work on uprooting all exploitation and overcoming all forms of the oppression of different peoples and nationalities, and genders, and the great division between those privileged to work with their minds and those locked out of the full life of the mind and ideas—forced to toil, from dawn to dusk in manual work. This is a new society where people will be struggling with each other to overcome all the superstition and thinking that reinforces outmoded class and social relations. This too must be a revolution where the whole world comes first.
Most of all, Bob Avakian has brought forward a further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach—more firmly rooted in understanding reality and working on the objective world as it actually is...discovering the patterns and pathways that are nascent in the acute contradictions that oppress people today and how they are developing and which hold the potential for revolution.
In a world crying out for fundamental change, and many decades after the previous great socialist revolutions were defeated, this is a game changer. At Revolution Books people have the opportunity to experience, engage, and be a part of a movement for an actual revolution that is guided by this scientific method and approach, and the concrete strategy and vision for a new society.
At Revolution Books ideas connect with people. Thinking is explored and challenged. Community is forged by through the process of engaging the big and the hardest questions. There is space here to read and think by yourself, to sip a coffee or a tea. Here people can find a path to begin a process to a life of profound meaning and import, not just for yourself alone, but to be a part of freeing the people of the world. At RB, as I said, if you want to act on what you are coming to understand, you can connect with the movement for revolution and the party which is its leading core. Lives are changed at Revolution Books. Let today's celebration of the opening of Revolution Books be your invitation.
Last week, there was a young man from the neighborhood and two freshman women from Columbia University working in the store and they got to talking with each other about the police brutalizing and murdering people in epidemic proportions. A staff person brought up a quote from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian where he raises in response to the murder of Tyisha Miller, a woman in Riverside, California who had passed out in her car from a seizure, that in a new society the people's police would sooner give their life than wantonly murder someone like this. Then the discussion was on: is it good cops and bad cops, or is it something deeper and systemic? When they were getting ready to leave, the young man said: "I have never been so challenged in my life while moving heavy boxes to a basement. You know, I think about these things all the time. I know I sound like I'm defending the police, but the truth is I'm more of a target than me being able to change them." The two young women said: "We are so lucky we ran into Revolution Books. We have been looking everywhere on the campus—campus groups—for something radical and we were so disappointed to find nothing! But now we are here where it's really about change and the whole world!" This is what happens at RB: People connect with each other who would otherwise pass in the night. People with different life experiences that normally pull them in different directions find themselves together digging into the biggest questions from the broadest perspective of: Does it have to be this way? Could humanity live differently? Is reform or revolution the solution?
A few days ago I spoke with a graduate student in journalism from South Africa. We only had time to begin a conversation to take apart what it really means for the people of her country that as incredibly historic and important as it was to end institutionalized apartheid in South Africa, without a change in the economic and the political system of capitalism-imperialism, which was then justified and in reality covered over by Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, what this has meant for the masses of South Africans, especially the basic youth, is a life of continued horror, but now without hope. Humanity needs a way out. RB is the place to take the journey to find it.
I have said before that RB encompasses nothing less than the present and the future, and, in a living sense, what we learn from the past. How people understand reality shapes what they do, how they fight back—with what objectives, how they determine friends of the people from enemies, how differences among the people should be taken up now, and in the future, how to fight and how to win—not just the immediate struggle, whether in the streets, the schools, or in the realm of ideology and culture, but how to win in the largest sense, bringing about a whole new society.
As you are figuring out what you think about the new synthesis of communism, your agreements and disagreements, recognize what it means that there is a place where there are the books and the engagement over the biggest questions of what is at the root of the problems humanity faces and the possibility of a radically new world. Without Revolution Books, without this place with its scientific spirit of discovery, the critical thinking, the poetic spirit, and the engagement with revolutionary theory and a broad spectrum of intellectual, cultural, and scientific work, without a place that can connect people to the movement for revolution and its leadership, no matter how heroically people fight, no matter how passionately people expose and denounce the current state of the world, it will stay as it is.
Today we inaugurate the new Revolution Books. It is great to be in Harlem with its rich cultural legacy of Black America...Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, Ellington and Billie Holiday, the creativity on the court of Rucker and the passion and insight of Malcolm X. Harlem has been and remains today a concentration of the foundational oppression of Black people: housing projects run like prisons, militarized police raids stealing the lives in the projects half a mile from here, setting up, framing, and sending the youth to prison. And all this runs smack up against the energy, creativity, and cultural vibrancy of the people and place of Harlem. In recent decades, there is a new diversity of people in Harlem—new immigrants from Central America and Africa, as well as middle-class white people, including students. There's a new energy in the air.
All of this will infuse the new RB. RB is now on the scene—bringing revolution, straight up and all the way—the potential of a radically new world—not just for Harlem but to emancipate people the world over.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
January 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a reader:
Revolution Books Chicago welcomed evolutionary biologist and author Jerry Coyne on January 16 to discuss his latest book, Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. The event drew a standing room only crowd of more than 50 people, some longtime supporters of the store and Revolution Club members, and many who were new to Revolution Books and the movement for revolution, including members of science meet-ups and other atheist and secular groups. One man drove from central Wisconsin and a young man who said he grew up in a creationist family came from Indiana.
The moderator opened the event by situating Coyne’s book in the context of the battle going on in society today between religion and science, a battle about how to think, whether the scientific method can be applied to analyze and probe reality to get to the underlying truth, whether there IS an objective reality beyond our individual experiences and, if so, whether and how we can understand it with any certainty. She explained that Bob Avakian has done a lot of work on these questions because they are so vital to getting beyond the horrors of this world—from police murder with impunity to mass incarceration, the war on women, the U.S. wars OF terror, a world of sweatshops and ecological devastation that only enriches a handful of capitalist imperialists. She explained, “We can’t change this world unless we understand it as it actually is, and that includes not only scientists and academics but everyone who wants to see a radically different and better world.”
Coyne is a professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, with a concentration in speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and the 2010 New York Times bestseller, Why Evolution Is True. He is also the recipient in 2011 of the Emperor Has No Clothes award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
In some informal remarks before a very lively Q&A session with the audience, Coyne explained that he wrote Faith vs. Fact when he observed that some people refused to accept evolution even after admitting that they found his evidence convincing. Why? Because it contradicted their religious beliefs. So he set about writing a book to explain why the scientific method is the means to acquire reliable information about the world, a method based on facts that are testable, repeatable, and subject to refutation as more knowledge is acquired or previously held positions found wanting. The book contrasts this to religion’s reliance on dogma, authority, and scripture, all of which are beyond refutation because they are not “of this world.”
Coyne tore apart various attempts to insert a god or some external purpose into the thoroughly natural process of evolution, which has no “purpose” at all.
In his book, Coyne quotes a passage by Karl Marx that includes the important insight that “To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness.” From Coyne’s perspective, this is illustrated in statistics showing that income inequality and general insecurity of life correlate with religiosity, contrasting secular Western and Northern Europe’s relatively greater income equality and universal health care with their opposites in the U.S. His comments opened up a conversation about the complexity of factors that contribute to the phenomenon of religiosity.
Perhaps the most controversy was provoked by Coyne’s contention that Islam is more violent, anti-democratic, and anti-woman than Christianity (which is the main target in his book) and his assertion that the left treads lightly in criticizing Islam because it views Islam as “the religion of the oppressed.” The responses were varied and lively. One person objected strenuously that Muslims ARE targeted, even assassinated, in this country, and labeling the entire religion (not just fundamentalists) as “dangerous” contributes to that deadly climate of hate. Another person pointed to Bob Avakian's scientific approach to religion in Away With All Gods, where he gets into the truth that both Islam and Christianity are thoroughly reactionary and extremely harmful, and he struggles with people to break out of the chains of all the major religions as part of radically changing the world.The ideological struggle must be waged to free the mind from all religious superstitions and we must unite with religious people in political battles that are also part of that process. There was much for future discussion.
It was exciting to participate in a discussion with a leading evolutionary biologist who could marshal complex and often cutting-edge developments in the field in his arguments in ways that were nonetheless accessible to people not versed in the science. His books are the product of a passion to help more people understand evolution and give them the tools to make the case for it themselves, and that passion enlivened the discussion of Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible at Revolution Books.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
August 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The mainstream media amplify every one of Donald Trump’s fascist rants. But it is Bernie Sanders who is attracting 10,000+ people at his campaign stops. Sanders rails at what he calls the “billionaire class.” He pledges to raise the minimum wage, mandate family leave, and push other policies that improve the lot of the working class. He promises to defend and extend Medicare and make college tuition-free. Very recently he added a “Racial Justice” section to his website.
In future articles, we will make the case that the kinds of domestic economic reforms Bernie Sanders is promising cannot actually be delivered in the context of this system, and the challenges it faces in a tightly wound and inherently dog-eat-dog global marketplace. And we will address whether the Bernie Sanders campaign is moving the agenda “to the left” or whether it is serving to rally progressive people behind an agenda set by the system.
But first we want to speak to something much more defining of the nature and role of the Bernie Sanders campaign for president: The Bernie Sanders campaign—like those of every candidate who the ruling class allows to be taken seriously—essentially takes as its starting point stabilizing, strengthening, and ultimately enforcing the whole structure of a world dominated, exploited, and oppressed by the U.S. empire. And telling people that those interests are their interests.
And nothing good can come from that.
Let’s pull back the lens and look at where programs like Medicare and Social Security come from. And beyond that, what accounts for the great gap between the relative economic security and stability people in the United States have experienced over the past several generations, and the conditions of billions of people around the world living on $2 a day.
Is this gap due to some unique and outstanding work ethic on the part of U.S. workers? Look, if economic security was the product of hard work, just to be blunt, most people living in the U.S. would have lifestyles exponentially more sparse than Bangladeshi garment workers, millions of whom work 14-16 hours a day, seven days a week, in grueling, dangerous conditions.
But workers slaving in the death-trap sweatshops of Bangladesh are among the lowest paid in the world. They live in flimsy shacks without sanitation, access to clean running water, and in constant hunger while most people living in the U.S., even the poor, generally have access to a roof over their heads, plumbing, and drinkable tap water.1
So no—concessions like Social Security and Medicare are not the product of some uniquely U.S. “American can-do spirit” or “work ethic.” Social Security was granted in 1935 during the Great Depression in the U.S., when there was an unemployment rate of 20 percent, in the midst of a tremendous economic and social crisis and a tremendous struggle and sacrifice against the hardships produced by U.S. capitalism. And this took place at a time when the socialist Soviet Union—where unemployment had been eliminated—was looked to as an inspiration by people around the world. Medicare was one product of the 1960s, a time of radical and revolutionary upsurge in the U.S. and around the world, when the U.S. ruling class assessed it had a need, but also the freedom, to make some concessions (even as those concessions, particularly in relation to the struggle against the oppression of Black people, have been under assault from the moment they were granted).
But the ability to make these concessions was a product of the position of U.S. imperialism. People in Bangladesh, to return to that country as an example, have waged tremendous struggles and gone up against more severe repression than people face in the U.S. The fact that they don’t have the same social safety net that people in the U.S. do is because Bangladesh is in a whole other position in the global “food chain” than the United States or the more prosperous countries of Western Europe.
In short, the enormous profits wrung out of the sweat and blood of people around the world by the operation of U.S. capitalism-imperialism have been foundational to the “American way of life” and the relative economic security many North Americans have had access to for decades.
What enforces this world order of sweatshops and slums? More than anything, it is the vast military apparatus of the U.S. empire. It is not that the U.S. military (mainly) occupies mines, plantations, and factories. But U.S. military power enforces a global division of the world where the rulers of the U.S. are in a position to appropriate vast wealth. And the U.S. enforces this setup with drones that assassinate wedding parties, creating generalized terror in large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. It backs up what it declares to be its turf with torture chambers, run directly by the USA (like Guantánamo) or secretly outsourced to local enforcers. The U.S. has an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons that threaten all humanity with extinction. It carries out invasions and coups and deploys and glorifies assassins and spies on pretty much everyone on the planet who uses a cell phone.
And the enforcement of this whole setup takes place through diplomacy—bullying, and in other ways enlisting as allies the rulers of reactionary regimes to serve as small-time enforcers and thugs for the U.S. empire.
All these forms of enforcing U.S. domination of the globe have, at their foundation, violence and terror. And they all enforce a world of horrors.
In light of all this, what does it mean that Bernie Sanders’ campaign seems silent on these crimes?
Let’s return to where Bernie Sanders’ paradigm fits into this picture by examining his position on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. Bernie Sanders was an early and vocal proponent of the U.S.-Iran nuclear treaty. He endorses Barack Obama’s argument that opponents of the treaty are making the same “mistake” the U.S. made in invading Iraq. Now listen to how Sanders characterizes that “mistake”: “The war in Iraq, which I opposed, destabilized the entire region, helped create the Islamic State, cost the lives of 6,700 brave men and women and resulted in hundreds of thousands of others in our armed forces returning home with post-traumatic-stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.”
Notice anybody missing in this picture? What about over one million Iraqis killed as a result of the U.S. war, directly (about a half a million) or indirectly (due to destruction and disruption of war, including to water and power systems, health care, and food production)?! Or the 4.2 million injured? Millions were forced to leave the country and now live in dire conditions in neighboring countries. Or the escalating conflict between reactionary Islamic jihadist forces like ISIS and U.S.-backed regimes—a hellish spiraling conflict driven in the largest part by U.S. invasions?
The U.S. invasion of Iraq may have turned out to have been a “mistake” from the perspective of those who rule this country. But this invasion was a crime against humanity of epic proportions.
Bernie Sanders ends his stated position on the Iran nuclear treaty: “If Iran moves toward a nuclear weapon, all available options remain on the table.” This “all options on the table” threat comes from a superpower with the largest military machine in the world. And from the one country in the world that has already murdered hundreds of thousands of people with the atomic bomb at the end of World War 2. (See A World to Win News Service: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The world’s worst war crime and the countries willing to do it again.”
This U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, as we have analyzed in the pages of Revolution and at revcom.us, is a move by the U.S. to try to incorporate, on some level, the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran into the U.S. orbit, enforcing its interests in the Middle East (the Iranian rulers have their own agenda for stabilizing their rule and expanding their influence as a regional power as well). It is not a good thing, and the bullying and threats the U.S. has mustered (along with economic sanctions that have brought hardship and suffering to millions of ordinary Iranians) are not just “militarism” or “war-mongering,” they are part and parcel of what the U.S. is all about.
In Bernie Sanders’ position on the U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement, you can see how his campaign is starting from upholding the U.S. projecting its interests all over the world. And training people whose interests do not lie with that, to look at the world through that skewed lens.
Many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters express disappointment that, as they see it, he speaks out on domestic issues but is—again as they see it—silent on foreign policy, military spending, and war.
But Bernie Sanders’ relative silence on “foreign policy” flows from the fact that his positions on “foreign policy” are completely in line with and in the framework of everything we’ve been addressing here—maintaining and enforcing a tightly knit global system of exploitation and oppression.
When Bernie Sanders proclaims “the time is long overdue to end the waste and financial mismanagement that have plagued the Pentagon for years,” he does so in the context of declaring, “I support a strong defense system for our country and a robust National Guard and Reserve that can meet our domestic and foreign challenges.”
While he criticizes some of the most egregious specific incidents of Israeli massacres, he equates that with the exponentially smaller impact of attacks on Israel by various forces in Gaza, and upholds the essential nature and role of Israel by calling it a bulwark against terrorism and oppression. (For a full response to the argument that Israel, whatever its faults, is a bastion of enlightenment against terrorism and obscurantism in the Middle East, see the special issue of Revolution on Israel.)
Let’s examine one more example of how Bernie Sanders’ positions (even when they take the form of silence) on key issues are also sharply framed by keeping the U.S. at the top of the heap of global predatory powers.
The Climate Change & Environment section of his campaign website has no mention of opposing either fracking or Arctic drilling. Yes, he—and others in the ruling class—are on record, for now at least, that the XL extension to the Keystone Pipeline is not needed. But you will find no mention of opposition to fracking or Arctic oil drilling.
Fracking and Arctic drilling are environmental catastrophes in their own right, and major contributors to deepening the world’s addiction to environmentally devastating fossil fuels. And we have analyzed and exposed through coverage at Revolution/revcom.us how both fracking and Arctic drilling are critical not just as a source of profit for U.S. energy companies, but in U.S. contention with rival powers. As we wrote recently:
“The U.S. has already vastly expanded oil and gas production to become the world’s leader. And it is using these resources, as well as its lead in fracking technology, as a weapon in rivalry with other capitalist countries, for instance battling Russia over Ukraine. Control over Arctic resources means strategic power and domination. None of the great powers or big oil companies can afford to stand aside from the race to grab for this or else they will risk losing out, being driven down, and even under by competitors.
“And this is not just about economic competition. The projection of military power—while not yet to the point of endangering a direct conflict, is a growing aspect of competition between the U.S., Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark, and others like China, who are trying to find a way in.” (“Why Is the U.S. Opening the Arctic to Drilling?”)
To this point, we’ve identified how on the most fundamental questions facing humanity, Bernie Sanders’ positions (or apparent silence) serve to endorse and enforce the global U.S. empire.
That global U.S. empire came into being on a foundation of violent genocide of the Native Americans, and the violent kidnapping of millions of African people to create a critical part of the wealth appropriated—again violently—by the rulers of this country. U.S. capitalism-imperialism grew with the theft of much of Mexico. By the end of the 1800s, the U.S. ruling class, drawing on the great wealth created by these crimes and others, emerged as a global power, violently seizing Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, the Philippines, and other colonies.
After World War 2, the U.S. emerged as the dominant capitalist-imperialist power in the world, and in a position to feed off the vicious exploitation of people around the world. And, to go back to where we began, it was on that basis that they were able to—in the face of crisis and struggles of the oppressed—make concessions like Social Security and Medicare.
But today the rulers of this country face fierce and intensifying competition and conflict, with threats to their setup around the world—from rival powers like Russia and China, and from relatively small-time reactionary forces like Al Qaeda and ISIS. And moves by the U.S. and its allies that they expected would serve their interests, like the bombing assault that drove out the Qaddafi regime (which was a thorn in their side for decades) and left Libya in misery and chaos, have created large regions of North Africa and the Middle East that are highly destabilized and threaten to unravel the world order, albeit in ways that do not lead anywhere positive for the masses of people.
And, particularly back in the 1960s, but in scenarios that could develop again, the ferocious destructive power of the U.S. military has been, and is prepared today, to attack genuine revolutionary movements.
So, again, it is on this basis—an empire of exploitation, oppression and death—that the rulers of the U.S. have been able to maintain a level of economic security and stability for large sections of people in the U.S.
The “American Way of Life” is being torn apart by huge changes in the world, and in U.S. society. And this is leading to all kinds of intense social conflicts. But if social conflict is to lead anywhere good, it will be on the basis of opposing, not lining up behind, the U.S. empire.
It is possible to create a society that provides for the basic needs of people in this country—not just food and shelter but culture, sports, education, and more—without that all being based on the plunder and enslavement of the people of the world. The methods and means for that are broken down in detail and in depth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).
But that wrenching transformation of the economy, the culture, and society as a whole requires a revolution. And an orientation that American lives are not more important than other people’s lives.
1. There are also, within the United States, super-exploited workers whose conditions of life, hours, wages and working conditions are extreme and severe—like undocumented immigrants working in agriculture. And this vicious super-exploitation is also part of the basis on which the U.S. is the richest country in the world. [back]
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
Updated January 30, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
More than 80 people came together at the Midwest Regional Conference of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) on January 23. They made plans and took steps to get organized to take the resistance to STOP police terror to a higher level as part of nationwide efforts focused on the No More Stolen Lives tour on key campuses and a National Student Strike against Police Terror in April. Plans were also made for a powerful day of resistance in Chicago on March 2 that draws the line: Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice, STOP POLICE MURDER—WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Indict ALL the Killer Cops and Everybody Who Covers Up Their Crimes.
The national SMIN call for regional conferences painted the picture of why we must act in the face of the attempts by the powers that be to suppress the movement to stop police terror: “Police continue to murder people all across the country without letup, and the whole system continues to go into gear to exonerate these killer cops. The more the truth of how widespread this horror is gets brought out in the open, the more it calls into question the whole way this system carries out policing and law enforcement. The horror of police getting away with murder concentrates the genocidal assault of mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization of whole sections of people. All this is illegitimate and unacceptable. It must be STOPPED! Stopping this is going to take a movement of mass, defiant and determined resistance, one that ultimately numbers in the millions.”
More than 30 people drove in from St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Waukegan, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin, and one person flew in from Florida. There were 18 family members of 13 loved ones killed by police, four from Chicago and 14 from other cities, who have been fighting for justice for their own—some for years and years, and for all the victims of police murder. They gave a powerful and moving picture at the beginning of the conference of the human loss and devastation caused by police murder and a living testimony that these are not “isolated incidents.” There was a strong voice from family members that THIS MUST STOP and that it will take nationwide determined resistance among broad sections of the people to stop it. This was echoed by a heartfelt positive response from the audience that included members of the Revolution Clubs from Cleveland and Chicago, people who participated in RiseUpOctober, and those who have been part of the upsurge of protests in Chicago and Cleveland. Well over half the crowd was African-American, including people from the most oppressed neighborhoods, as well as middle class people.
The keynote speaker was Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and RiseUpOctober. (See video of the speech on this page.) He spoke to the emergency situation we are in where police terror is the spearhead of the genocidal assault on Black and Latino people that includes mass incarceration of more than two million, the criminalization of youth, and even the poisoned water in Flint, Michigan. He exposed the situation in Chicago after the Laquan McDonald video was released, how the people poured into the streets, and how the authorities, chiefly Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who seemed to have it so together have been scrambling to try to deal with the crisis of legitimacy by promising a few reforms as more and more of their crimes and cover-ups come out. (See coverage at revcom.us: The Police Murder of Laquan McDonald in Chicago and the Coverup—The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!) Dix spoke of the youths to whom the system has denied any decent education or jobs or future, and who are pushed by this situation to fight each other, and then the authorities use that to justify using the police as an occupying army.
There is an answer to all this, Dix said. The only real chance, not only for our youth but for billions of oppressed people around the world, lies in revolution, communist revolution, as envisioned by Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the revolution, who has deeply examined the biggest questions facing humanity of how we can actually take on this system and make a revolution to free humanity. Dix said, “If you like the work that I've done, who do you think led us to take up this fight? BA.” He said that BA has given his heart to the people, and challenged people to get into BA’s new major work, The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation.
Carl Dix then put forward the national plans for a No More Stolen Lives tour on campuses and a National Student Strike against Police Terror in April, plus a powerful day of “No Business as Usual as Long as Murdering Police Walk Free” in Chicago: STOP POLICE MURDER—WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? And Indict ALL the Killer Cops and Everybody Who Covers Up Their Crimes. He said, “There is a place for everyone in this fight against police terror: religious people and atheists, communists and nationalists, young and old. The only test is: DO YOU WANT TO SEE POLICE MURDER END?”
Work groups made plans for the national No More Stolen Lives tour and the National Student Strike, focused on campuses in Chicago and other places in the Midwest, and for fundraising and social media for the tour. The Stolen Lives families were a strong moral force at the conference, as they were at RiseUpOctober, in bringing out the reality of the epidemic of police murder and why everybody must stand up against it. A number of family members volunteered to be part of the national tour and will play a crucial role.
Some key schools to focus on for the tour were identified, and people volunteered to go to students and professors on those campuses. A sharp contradiction at the conference was that the student presence was very weak. There is great need to immediately transform this situation by reaching out to and struggling with students to oppose police terror and pose why “Which Side Are You On?” needs to be a sharp dividing line on campuses, and on the role students must play in standing up to stop police terror. This tour must shake things up on the campuses, and far beyond that, to build resistance at other campuses and much broader into society so that nobody can stand aside from taking a stand.
Some of the discussion and contention among groups at the conference was over why the focus of the national plans for the tour and strike is to STOP POLICE TERROR—what is the urgency of that question as the spear point of genocidal attacks on Black and Latino people affecting all of society versus why not make the focus school closings and cuts, or violence among the people? Why make colleges the main focus of the tour and not high schools? Should the tour go to campuses where most of the students are white? How can it be a major galvanizing factor in building for a nationwide student strike against police murder in April?
People enthusiastically volunteered to make this happen in cities in the whole region. The fundraising and social media group planned for an online campaign to raise funds specifically for the regional No More Stolen Lives tour, reaching out broadly with what this tour is about and what the money will specifically fund, such as travel expenses for speakers and materials. People shared local fundraising experiences and there also were plans for local fundraising projects.
The second session at the conference took up two things: 1) building ongoing organization for local and campus SMIN chapters, as well as regional and national SMIN chapters, and 2) plans for powerful actions in Chicago on March 2. The group on organization discussed the question of why it is necessary to form SMIN chapters, and what's the relationship between SMIN and the revolution. There was a need to make clear what the mission of SMIN chapters is, and the basic guidelines for what to do to get organized and recognized as a chapter.
The conference decided to make Wednesday, March 2, a powerful day of resistance in Chicago in answer to the attempts by the powers that be to suffocate the anger and resistance of the people through repression and false promises. We have to say “NO, WE WILL NOT GET USED TO POLICE TERROR, WE ARE NOT WAITING FOR REFORMS.” There was some controversy about disrupting the routines of those impacted by the Day of Resistance. Most people agreed that this is an urgent situation and the line needs to be sharply drawn for everybody from all ages and all walks of life—city, suburbs, and beyond to take a stand to STOP POLICE MURDER—WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Indict ALL the Killer Cops and Everybody Who Covers Up Their Crimes. The whole system is guilty.
This day will have two major actions:
To learn more about the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and get involved, go to stopmassincarceration.net.
Revolution #423 January 25, 2016
A Call from Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor:
If you are serious about changing the world and want to know what a REAL revolution is
Campus Tour, Winter-Spring 2016
Updated April 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This world cries out for radical change.
Life is a nightmare for billions around the world. Millions cast off their lands by war, poverty, and environmental devastation. Risking their lives for a different future, only to be further hounded and demonized. Vast sections of humanity trapped in the vise of Western-backed regimes and Islamic fascism. Women in the third world confronting choices of slaving in a sweatshop or selling sex. Being a woman or gay or just “different” too often the cause for being abused and degraded. Being Black or Latino in this society too often the cause for being killed by the police and the system ruling it “justifiable homicide.” Yawning gulfs of inequality and a bleak future of environmental catastrophe.
A radically different and far better world is possible—getting rid of this madness and horror, and getting beyond a world of oppression, exploitation, and domination. This will take an Actual Revolution.
“Revolution” and “socialism" are in the air, promised through the ease of a ballot or a $10 online donation to an electoral campaign. But a real revolution—one that aims to change the world—is radically different and, yes, more demanding. A real revolution requires a scientific understanding of society and how to radically change it. That science has been qualitatively developed by the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian. We're coming to your campus to get into this with you.
A real revolution requires organization. We're coming to your campus to invite you to be a part of the movement for revolution.
A real revolution must aim to emancipate all of humanity—not just reforming but getting rid of this monstrosity of a system of capitalism-imperialism, and replacing it with a radically different economic, political, and social system, a genuine socialist society aiming for a world without social divides and exploitation and oppression, a genuinely communist world.
This is a complex process. How do we even identify and understand the real source of the problems we face, and the real way out of this? What about the oppression of Black people, of women, of immigrants—and how does that relate to the history of this country, the nature of this system—and can we get beyond this? What can we learn from past attempts to make revolution and radically change society—positively and negatively? How do we unleash the conscious initiative and creativity of millions to make history—especially when this system keeps us divided, and blind to its dynamics and workings?
There’s answers to these questions, but you’re gonna have to dig. We’re on tour to engage you on these answers, and to get into—and to recruit you into—the actual revolution.
The leader of this revolution is Bob Avakian, BA.
BA is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism. This is based on more than 40 years of work, drawing from both past revolutionary experiences and theory, and from science, history, culture, and politics. He has qualitatively advanced the science of communism, applying a thoroughly scientific method and approach to the dynamics of society and its transformation. He has developed the strategy and theory for revolution in this current era, including in a country like the U.S. He has developed a concrete and viable vision for what comes after the revolution, in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.
As a leader, BA embodies a rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it accessible to the masses of people.
What we say will challenge you. We’re going to go against a lot of what you have been taught to think is true... it will not be comfortable. But if you are serious about really changing this world, you have a responsibility to check us out... to BE challenged.
At the same time, even as we wrangle, we want to involve you in fighting the power today, in struggles we call the 5 STOPS—to STOP mass incarceration and police brutality, to STOP the oppression and degradation of women, to STOP the wars carried out by the government, to STOP the wanton environmental destruction, and to STOP the heartless attacks on immigrants.
There is the science, the strategy, and the leadership for an Actual Revolution. What is needed is you. We are coming to your campus so that together we can find the ways for you to be a part of the movement for a real revolution.
There will never be a revolution without students playing a crucial role. All of you, in one way or another, are figuring out the world and weighing what your lives will, or should, be about. What you learn and what you do matters greatly—today, and for a future where humanity could really flourish.
Carl Dix is a courageous freedom fighter from the 1960s who went on to become a revolutionary fighter and a communist. Dix spent two years in military prison for refusing to fight in the unjust Vietnam War. He emerged unrepentant and went on to become a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), USA, dedicating his life to the emancipation of all humanity. Today, Carl is a follower of and advocate for Bob Avakian, his leadership and his visionary new synthesis of communism. Carl Dix and Cornel West co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN), and Rise Up October that brought thousands into the streets in New York City demanding a stop to police terror.
Sunsara Taylor is an ardent follower of Bob Avakian, a fighter for his leadership and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward, and a revolutionary communist. She writes for Revolution newspaper (www.revcom.us). As part of preparing for revolution, she has led resistance to this system's imperialist wars of aggression, against police terror and mass incarceration, against religious fundamentalism, and against all forms of the enslavement and degradation of women. Taylor is the key initiator of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women (StopPatriarchy.org), uniting people from diverse political perspectives to stand up against the war on women, including the Abortion Rights Freedom Rides across the U.S.