Revolution #426, February 15, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

How a Socialist State Power Would Handle a Water Crisis Like Flint

Updated February 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editor’s note: The following is a new version of a previously posted article with the same title that appeared online at revcom.us, which includes some updates as well as some changes to address how a socialist state would address immediate needs in a crisis like this in a way consistent with and contributing to the long-term and strategic objectives of that revolutionary society.

 

Let’s say it straight up—what has happened in Flint, Michigan, screams “EMERGENCY!” One hundred thousand people have been drinking water poisoned with lead and other toxins for almost two years. More than 30,000 of these people are children, and about 9,000 of those are under six, the people most vulnerable to permanent and irreversible brain and nerve damage from lead.

Here’s what NEEDS to be done, and what WOULD be done by a socialist state if one held power in this country—in sharp contrast to what has NOT been done by the governing authorities of this system, on either the state or the federal level.

To be clear, we are talking about a real socialist state that can only come to power through the overthrow of this current capitalist system, the dismantling of all its institutions, their replacement by revolutionary power, and the reorganization of the whole economy. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world. (For a fuller understanding of what socialist society is and where it is heading, check out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America at revcom.us.)

See also: A Reader Writes on "How a Socialist State Power Would Handle a Water Crisis Like Flint"

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

First, instead of trying to cover up and minimize the scale of the disaster, the socialist state would immediately declare a major emergency. Instead of suppressing and ridiculing scientists who blew the whistle on this—as happened in Flint and happens over and over in this system—the institutions of the revolutionary society would provide them the opportunity to share their research, to test it, and if there was truth to it, or more to be investigated, to alert the whole country. It would mobilize all sections of people to step up and be part of solving the water crisis, give them resources, backing, to immediately address the crisis. And to do that in a way that would further break down barriers among the people and root out social inequalities. Government members, revolutionary communists (whether part of the government or not), and other civic and social organizations would become organizing hubs to tap and mobilize all the many thousands of people who would certainly WANT to help in a situation like this.

On that footing, here are some of the key things that could and would be done:

IMMEDIATELY mobilize thousands of people to go to every home to alert every affected resident—including those who speak Spanish, Arabic or other languages—with a straightforward and scientific message that the water was unsafe due to lead contamination, that boiling this water makes it more toxic, and that they should not drink it or expose themselves or their children to it in any way.

IMMEDIATELY, as a more permanent solution is being worked on, organize a system of daily distribution of bottled water to every household, and as quickly as possible provide lead-effective water filters to all, along with developing a plan for replacing the filter elements on a regular basis. Under this system, that took an outrageously long time. And experts agree that filters must be properly maintained and monitored and people educated on how to use them, and this is NOT happening, and there are no serious plans for it to happen.

IMMEDIATELY address the health and nutritional needs of the people affected by the crisis. Scientists have learned that there are certain foods that will help people’s bodies in dealing with lead poisoning and others that will make it worse. And there are other health needs for people exposed to lead. The majority of people in Flint today, Black people in particular, have little or no access to scientific education in nutrition, to health care, or to fresh food! And even as these needs were being addressed immediately, further research would be stepped up to better understand the long-term effects of lead poisoning and how to address them.

The socialist state would mobilize nurses, doctors, nutritionists, and other medical professionals who would in turn work with students and youths, particularly from the most affected areas. Working together and learning from each other, these experts and ordinary people could identify the areas of greatest need and figure out solutions. Neighborhood youths could be given quick and basic training in the nutritional, health, and hygiene issues and be unleashed as a dynamic force in the hood for health and education. And the socialist state could mobilize people and resources in surrounding areas to make sure that fresh food was available, and delivered, to people on a daily basis.

In all of these immediate mobilizations, the focus would be on going first to the areas that bear the scars of oppression from the old society, particularly Black neighborhoods where there would be the legacy of the worst housing, health care, and education. And attention would be paid to encouraging students, academics, and others who’ve had more opportunities for education to cross the boundaries into these areas so they could, in the course of assisting the people in the most need, also witness and learn about the real—often hidden—conditions that people of color experienced in the former U.S., and to have different sections of people learning from and appreciating each other’s insights and experiences. And through this process, people who have not had as much opportunity to be exposed to science could get training in the scientific method and learn to appreciate the contributions scientists and others can make, including those who may not—at any particular point—agree with the aims and objectives of the new socialist state.

A similar approach of combining the efforts of trained professionals with ordinary people from the affected area and elsewhere could be used to VERY RAPIDLY deal with the other burning needs—testing the tap water in all the homes and institutions, identifying which homes have lead service pipes, examining and testing children to see the extent of damage from lead, and to develop individual and social plans for ongoing care and treatment.

All of this could be done right away, in DAYS or WEEKS, not months, or years, or decades, or NEVER, which is the approach of the government today, even as people learned more about the complex aspects of the problem.

To boil it down, a socialist state—coming from completely different objectives than this system—would treat a crisis like this as a real emergency, a human catastrophe, and not a “political football.” And this state would deal with the crisis by providing leadership and putting society’s resources in the hands of thousands of people to solve the urgent problems.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of what the rulers of this system have done and are doing. Besides inflicting this crisis on the people, besides covering up and lying about it, government officials on every level have dragged their feet every inch of the way on relief measures, taking several months even to organize water distribution.

Every informed expert and activist agrees that the only real solution to the situation involves detecting and replacing the estimated 15,000 lead service pipes which poison water in the homes they connect to. The state and federal government talk about this like it’s “a nice idea” but “unrealistic... too expensive... not really necessary,” or at most say it might be done over years or even decades.

Just think about it, these motherfuckers—on the state and federal level—sitting on top of an empire with vast amounts of wealth, in a country with millions of unemployed, do not see it as serving the interests of THEIR system to allocate the resources to detect, remove, and replace 15,000 water pipes. In fact in the face of this emergency, the Democrats proposed $600 million to detect and replace the lead pipes (less than half of what experts estimate the cost to be), immediately dropped that to $300 million, and then this was shot down by the Republicans.

That is totally unacceptable—if you can’t solve the basic problem of providing safe drinking water to a whole city, even after it has been revealed that you were poisoning people for almost two years, then get the fuck out of the way of the masses of people who, with revolutionary leadership, CAN solve this problem.

A socialist state would mobilize engineers and construction workers, along with other working people and especially youths, in their thousands to work in teams aimed at replacing all the lead service pipes involved in a crisis like Flint. Again, these teams would combine the strengths and knowledge of scientists, skilled workers, and ordinary people, working together and learning from each other, and would rely on and unleash the energy of youths. And they would be backed up by the economic resources, materials, and equipment of a state which prioritizes human needs.

In a nutshell, the rulers of this system cannot meet even the most basic needs of the people, like water; they cannot stop generating one catastrophe after another; and they cannot mobilize the people and resources of society to address even the extreme emergencies that their system has created.

But a revolutionary, socialist society can!

All this is part of why Bob Avakian says:

It is right to want state power. It is necessary to want state power. State power is a good thing—state power is a great thing—in the hands of the right people, the right class, in the service of the right things: bringing about an end to exploitation, oppression, and social inequality and bringing into being a world, a communist world, in which human beings can flourish in new and greater ways than ever before. (BAsics 2:10)

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 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

An Invitation ... to Meet the Revolution

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.

***

Who are Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor?

Carl Dix

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.

See also:

February 8: The Beginning of a Journey: Reflections from students and Revolution Club members

Big Questions, Deep Engagement, and Beginning Organization Sparked by Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor Tour at a State University in California

"The Most Radical Revolutionary Leader and Scientist on the Planet Today Came Out of Berkeley High!"

This is the most important thing you can do with your life. Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor Invite and Recruit Students Across California into the Real Revolution

Snapshot: Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor campus tour visits Berkeley High School

From Sunsara Taylor:
Digging into BAsics—"Reform or Revolution; Questions of Morality, Questions of Orientation"—with Students as Part of Our Campus Tour

Rutgers Students on the Carl Dix-Sunsara Taylor Tour

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Bernie Sanders and the (Deadly) Illusion of Painless Progress

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Let’s say you have a lot of pain. You go to a doctor, and after doing lots of tests and examining you, she gives you the bad news. You’ve got a really serious disease and unless you have major, radical surgery to get rid of what’s causing all the horrible pain—you’re not only gonna keep having that pain, but you’re gonna die. The problem is, the surgery itself is very dangerous and not guaranteed to be successful. You can’t deal with the thought of going through all this so you leave the doctor’s office and start searching the Internet for other “cures” to the disease you have. You try different kinds of things like herbal remedies, you change your diet, you take lots of pain medication, etc. And these things DO help to make you feel better for a while. Some of the pills you take are actually just placebos and don’t actually have any effect on your condition, but they have the effect of making you feel better. None of these things will make the disease go away and eventually, if you don’t have that surgery to get rid of the root cause of your pain, you’re gonna die.

OK, so what does this analogy have to do with Bernie Sanders?

Well, many people, especially lots of youths, are attracted to his campaign because they look out at the world and see a tremendous amount of pain and suffering. They see endless wars and the destruction of the planet. They see police murder and all kinds of injustices here in the U.S. And they think Bernie Sanders has some solutions to these problems.

So what is the “disease,” the root cause, behind the problems here? What kind of “remedies” is Sanders delivering? Is there a need for radical surgery? And if so, what kind?

Let’s take a central plank of Sanders’ platform. Sanders says “tackling structural inequality” is at the heart of his campaign. He vows to change the fact that “Ninety-nine percent of all new income generated today goes to the top 1 percent,” and says his policies, like “fixing the tax code for citizens, corporations, and banks” and “creating and keeping better jobs” address the root causes of these inequities.

But where did all this wealth come from that Sanders says needs to be spread out more equally among people in the United States?

A Bangladeshi woman cries holding a photograph of her son, a victim of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed 1,129 people on June 29, 2013. The garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh made clothing for foreign retailers like Walmart. Photo: AP

Look at Walmart, the largest U.S. corporation, #1 in the Fortune 500. This is a company that has grown, expanded, and thrived on the basis of a network of global super exploitation—contracting, sub-contracting, and sub-sub-contracting to sweatshops; using child labor, slave labor all over the world. Walmart has sold clothes made by women and children in Bangladesh sweatshops, forced to work 14 hours a day, often seven days a week. Some of the shrimp you get at Walmart is harvested by men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand. There is a good chance the Nike soccer ball you get at Walmart has been stitched by the hands of children. And this is true of virtually all the major capitalist corporations.

So when Sanders says we should “Use revenue from progressive taxation [higher taxes on wealthy people and corporations] to expand and create programs to help alleviate poverty and help Americans move forward and contribute to a more robust, equitable economy,” this is what it basically comes down to: more people in America having a share in the spoils of U.S. imperialism—the wealth that comes from the blood and wasted lives of millions of people around the world, from the tears of children consigned to a life of slave labor, from the women who die in factory fires in places like Bangladesh.

Further, electing Sanders will not change—and he does not even promise to change—the fact that under the capitalist mode of production, a small class of people, the capitalist class, OWNS the means of production—the land, raw materials, and other resources, technology, and physical structures like factories needed to produce all the things people and society need to exist and grow. Redistributing the income wouldn’t change the fact that the capitalist mode of production is based on private ownership—where there is the anarchy of capitalist production with individual capitalists all producing with the aim of trying to capture a bigger and bigger share of the market. It couldn’t change the dog-eat-dog economy where different capitalists have to compete with each other in order to survive and in doing this, must find ways to cut costs—whether it means cutting wages and benefits of workers here in the U.S. or just picking up and moving operations to a Third World country where people can be more ruthlessly exploited. Or completely ignoring measures necessary to stop killing the environment because this will just cut into profits and make a company less competitive vis-à-vis other capitalists, and hence drive them under. And this takes you back to the compulsion that these capitalists face to expand and brutally exploit people all over the world, and to back that up with military power and violence.

So, to the extent that any of what Bernie Sanders promises would even be possible, it would be possible on THIS foundation. And this foundation is enforced with all the terror that the U.S. rains down on the world. This is the real meaning of Sanders constantly saying that the U.S. should have the “strongest military in the world.” This military exists to protect, enforce, and extend the interests of U.S. capital all over the world, and this is behind every single war and every single military action it undertakes.

And, very important and central to this society, the U.S. empire has been embedded with white supremacy since its beginning with the enslavement of Africans and the slaughter of the Native Indian peoples, as well as its subjugation of Latin America. All this plays out in a million terrible ways every day. It is so “baked into” the functioning of this system and the psyche and culture of this society that no simple program of economic reforms (even with “add-ons” of promises to deal with mass incarceration and some forms of discrimination) can get anywhere close to the roots of it—and participating in the illusion that it can will only perpetuate it, whatever people’s intentions.

As Bob Avakian says:

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

Illusions of Painless Progress

Bernie Sanders himself has said, “What I am trying to do in this campaign, with some success, is to call for what I call a political revolution, to rally millions of people, many of whom have given up on the political process, young people who have never been involved before.” (Face the Nation, November 15, 2015)

In fact, the Sanders candidacy comes at a time when there has been a major upsurge against police murder, widespread questioning of the racism and white supremacy endemic in all parts of American life, concern over the environment, as well as struggle over income inequality. Thousands have participated in these struggles and millions have been moved by them and many have been stirred to question the very legitimacy of this country. The movement against police murder and, earlier, the Occupy movement, came up against the violence of the state. Now here comes Sanders to promise a more painless progress—one which does not require breaking with patriotic American chauvinism, let alone going up against the violence of the state.

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

But any real struggle, even one short of all-out, for-real revolution, very quickly comes up against the repressive forces of the state. At the same time, and working hand-in-glove with that state violence, the system has always sent and will always send representatives into these struggles to channel them back into the “normal channels” and “proper procedures.” They do this to blunt the sharp edge of these struggles and “bring people back into the fold”— and there is in fact a pull on people to “go there,” even as the very system that generates the problems cannot ultimately solve them. Sooner or later, if you are serious about really stopping these outrages, you will have to rupture with the institutions, representatives, and thinking of the system. This was a lesson painfully learned in the last great wave of revolutionary struggle in the country in the 1960s—and it remains true today.

So on two fundamental counts voting for Sanders is actually harmful. One, because it reinforces belief in and allegiance to the very system of U.S. imperialism that is the source of all the suffering, of all the big problems that people are losing sleep over. And two, because it siphons people out of meaningful resistance against the system and deep engagement over the sources of the problem and the solution of revolution into rituals designed to restore faith in that very system.

The Change We Really Need

In fact we DO need a revolution—but a real revolution, not another election campaign that calls itself a “revolution,” even with a phony so-called socialist. If you are getting caught up in this Sanders campaign because you want to see change, you need to look at and get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), by Bob Avakian, and get into a vision of what a society on the road to ending exploitation and oppression and all social antagonisms would actually look like. If you think that such a revolution could not be won, you need to get into “On the Possibility of Revolution.” And if you think that millions could not actually be called forth and mobilized to fight for this, then you need to read our Party’s statement, “On the Strategy for Revolution.”

The point is that there IS a solution to the problem—and you need to get into it and engage with that. A better world IS possible. And Bernie Sanders is part of the problem standing in the way of that better world—and NOT part of the solution.

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

On the Death of Antonin Scalia

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

5 Stops

Antonin Scalia, a vicious operative for the capitalist-imperialist class who sat on their Supreme Court, has died. He “made his bones” by viciously opposing affirmative action and voting rights for Black and other minority people; the rights of women to abortion; the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry and raise children, and to generally live their lives free from government persecution; and the basic legal rights of defendants in criminal cases. He consistently fought for capital punishment, on and off the bench. He also “distinguished” himself by making caustic, mean-spirited speeches and statements from the bench at any opening.

The fact that Obama and other Democrats mourn Scalia, and that this even extends to Democratic Party mouthpieces on the liberal MSNBC, shows that those who rule this empire—whatever their differences—recognize that at bottom they stand on the same side. That is, on the side of exploitation, oppression, and military domination all over the world to enforce that. The side of capitalism-imperialism.

At the same time, those at the very top have differences over HOW to maintain and expand this empire. Sometimes, especially at times of crisis, these differences become very sharp—as they are now. Hence, before this nasty motherfucker was even cold, the daggers came out over who would succeed him and whether Obama would even be given the right to seriously nominate someone. It is very likely that Scalia’s death will exacerbate, deepen, and aggravate the splits among those who rule this empire. Those who fight for revolution should not take sides in such splits, but seek to take advantage of them for revolution.

Constitution, Law and RightsConstitution, Law, and Rights –
in capitalist society
and in the future socialist society

Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian
and excerpts from the Constitution for the
New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Read or download (PDF)

Order the book

And to all those who may not be sure about wanting revolution, but ARE sure that they do not want to live in the world according to Antonin Scalia—CHECK OUT the revolution. Get into the work of Bob Avakian, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. See the way that society could be. And join with us in the fight to STOP the relentless attacks on Black and other “minority” people, to STOP the oppression of women, to STOP American military aggression all over the world, to STOP environmental plunder, and to STOP the outrageous persecution of immigrants. To STOP, that is, everything that Scalia and those like him, Republican or Democrat, have stood for and defended, at the expense of billions of people worldwide.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Police Murder & Terror Must Stop Now
We Need a Whole New World
We Need Revolution, Nothing Less
Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win

Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Chicago Branch

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There is a genocidal emergency in this country, police are murdering Black and Latino people, shooting them in the back, beating them to death, tasering them to death, deaths on the street, deaths in police custody, often caught on video and still getting away with murder.

Chicago
Families of the stolen lives, October 22, 2015, Chicago. Photo: FJJ

Chicago, December 9
Chicago, December 9, 2015. Photo: FJJ

Look at what is happening in Chicago. It is almost 3 months since the video of Laquan McDonald was released and shock, outrage, and protest burst out for weeks. It is almost 2 months since the police murdered Quintonio Legrier and Bettie Jones. Video after video and exposure after exposure have revealed past police shootings of unarmed youth. And the Chicago Police Department, the Fraternal Order of Police, IPRA, the city’s law department, the City Council, and the Mayor have been lying and covering up the crimes.

But after all this exposure, all the outrage and all the protests what happened? Only ONE murdering cop has been indicted. The cops who killed Darius Pinex, Ronald Johnson, Cedrick Chatman, Christian Green, Pedro Rios, Martice Milliner, Quintonio Legrier, Bettie Jones, and many, many others have not been charged. Dante Servin, who killed Rekia Boyd, has still not even been fired. None of the cops, prosecutors or city lawyers—none of the criminals who are neck deep in aiding, abetting and covering up the police murder have been charged.

And the police are back on the offensive, retaliating against the families of people they murdered. The cop who murdered Quintonio filed a lawsuit saying HE is the victim, that Quintonio caused HIM emotional trauma, saying Quintonio made the cop murder him and Bettie Jones!!! This is no different than a Nazi death camp guard suing the families of the people he exterminated. This cop’s lawyer had the nerve to say that families who file lawsuits when their relatives are shot by police think they have won the “ghetto lottery.” This really shows their sick, racist, unrepentant oppressor mentality.

THIS IS INTOLERABLE! THIS MUST STOP NOW! HUMANITY NEEDS A WHOLE DIFFERENT WORLD!

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

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

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

What kind of system breeds police forces that callously murder teenagers, children, men and women over years and years and then covers it up? What kind of system covers and lies and buries evidence to keep serial murderers on the job? What kind of system requires police forces to act like an occupying army in communities of the oppressed? What kind of system despises and fears and views and treats as less than human those they brought here in chains to create the wealth and power of America, subjecting them to the whip, the noose, the dogs, the KKK and in contemporary America, police departments all over the country acting as the KKK of today?

What kind of system? The same system that incarcerates over 2 million people, closes school after school while greasing the skids for the school to prison pipeline. That slashes desperately needed social services and denies jobs or any future except for a life of crime to many youth, while pumping out the get-rich-or-die-trying mentality, and then blames them. The same system that knowingly allowed the water supply in Flint, MI to be poisoned by lead and covered it up for over a year.

What kind of system? A brutal, capitalist-imperialist system that needs to be brought down at the earliest possible moment through revolution. The only real chance for billions of oppressed people around the world lies in communist revolution, as envisioned by Bob Avakian (BA), Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. He is 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, and bring into being a whole new world. He has developed a strategy for a real revolution to rip up at the roots this capitalist-imperialist system that is responsible for the patriarchal oppression of women, the wars of empire and oppression of billions of people around the world, the persecution of immigrants, and the destruction of the planet itself.

Six Resolutions

We are working right now to get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win. Get with BA and get with this Party. Go to the website www.revcom.us and find out more. In Chicago contact the RCP at Revolution Books, 773-489-0930, 1103 N Ashland.

Right now everyone must stand up against police terror and murder and take the resistance against police terror and murder to a new level—one where everyone in society has to confront WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? The powers-that-be have been stalling for time, hoping the anger will die down, that this will be the new normal and things will go back to business as usual. What are their so-called “reforms”? Tasers! As if tasing people to death is better than shooting them. NO! And the Department of Justice has shown that they will bring NO JUSTICE to the victims of police murder anywhere.

If we don’t stand up now, the message will be that it’s OK for the police to murder with impunity. But going back on the offensive now will send the message to the powers-that-be that we will not tolerate this situation and it will strengthen our side and make us more united in our ability to fight for a different future and a different world.

ACT on MARCH 2. Stop Mass Incarceration Network* has called for a day of resistance against Police Terror on MARCH 2. Everyone, young, old, Black, white, Latino, Asian, from all walks of life—if you are opposed to police terror, STAND UP. BE THERE.

 

Wednesday, March 2, 12 noon to 2 pm

“Stolen Lives” Families Demand Justice

Thompson Center (State of Illinois Building), Clark and Randolph

Wednesday, March 2, meet up 3 pm State and Jackson

No Business as Usual as Long as Murdering Cops Walk Free

STOP POLICE MURDER—WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Indict ALL the killer cops & EVERYBODY who covers up their crimes... the whole system is guilty.

For more information on the protests contact Stop Mass Incarceration Network at 312-933-9586.
StopMassIncarcerationChicago@gmail.com | stopmassincarceration.net
@StopMassIncChi | www.facebook.com/SMINChicago

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Loyola School of Social Work, Chicago:
First Stop in National Stolen Lives Tour

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On January 23, 2016, in an important talk titled “We’re in a Genocidal Emergency and We Gotta Stop It,” to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) Midwest Regional Conference, Carl Dix made a call for the No More Stolen Lives Tour to reach out to campuses all over the country. He said, “Now this No More Stolen Lives Tour is something that’s gonna take activists, family members of people murdered by the police, students, and voices of conscience, especially to college campuses. The aim of this tour is to issue a broad challenge to the students to join the movement to stop police terror. This is an important strategic step that our movement has got to take. Any movement fighting for fundamental change on major social issues has to have broad numbers of students on the front lines of their fight.”

Thursday, February 11, was the first stop on the No More Stolen Lives Tour—at Loyola University in Chicago. It was sponsored by the Advocacy Committee for students in the School of Social Work after a member of SMIN reached out to them. The chair of the committee welcomed the chance to host the tour, saying she was thrilled to work on the event because she feels strongly that social workers need to advocate for their clients, many of them affected by police violence. She said taking a stand on this issue is not “off to the side” but goes to the heart of what social work should be.

Images of beautiful Stolen Lives banners flanked the podium. About 40 people came to the program—most were social work students, along with a couple professors as well as other students and some Stop Mass Incarceration Network members and Revolution Club members. Speaking on the panel were Jess, a social work student who is active in protests against police murder and went on the bus to RiseUpOctober in New York; Ryan, co-founder of the Black Tribune, a radical online news publication; Marge, from Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago and supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and follower of Bob Avakian; and Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex, murdered by Chicago police; and a member of the Revolution Club of Chicago. D’man Pinex, Darius’s brother, also sat on the podium—in front of him was a large poster of Darius.

Sheila, the chair of the Advocacy Committee, gave a warm welcome to the event, saying it was to “raise awareness to the very real issue that some police are murdering people of color.” She encouraged the audience to have “an open mind and open heart” and to listen and ask questions.

The first speaker was Jess, who had been in the Peace Corps in West Africa. She quoted an African proverb: “A boat cannot go forward if each rows his own way.” And she emphasized, “Those of us who believe in social justice and that we need a change, we’re going one way, and there’s only one other side: those who don’t want a change and don’t want to acknowledge police brutality and don’t want to acknowledge the reality. Those of us who are here, we’re in the same boat, we gotta paddle together.” She described the experience of being at RiseUpOctober: “We get to NY, we’re marching and screaming and the whole time we there were family members telling stories, back to back of how the police killed people in their family, for hours, non-stop.” She spoke passionately about the need to stop police murder and how she had been at the protests in Chicago against the murder of Laquan McDonald. “We all know that when Laquan McDonald was killed, there were five other cops there and none of them pulled their guns out, none of them said anything. This happens every single time. The cops don’t want to say anything, the general public doesn’t want to say anything, everyone’s scared of the police and what’s going to happen. We have to say something. We’re all ‘Which Side Are You On,’ we’re all on this side, and until people start speaking up it’s not going to change.”

Ryan was one of the organizers of national protests in support of the students at University of Missouri fighting racism, including a protest of 700 at Loyola. He described how the administration of Loyola, an institution that claims to be for social justice, tried to punish him and other organizers for breaking the school’s “demonstration policy” but that support from students, community, and faculty forced the administration to back down. Ryan described himself as a “Black radical in philosophy and Black nationalist in ideology...Dr. Cornel West teaches us that Black nationalism, being a Black radical means having a radical love for your people. It means being able to give everything you have for your people and your communities.” He called for massive civil disobedience: “Cause havoc and stop the system till the system pays attention to us. Whether it be a university administration or whether it be Rahm Emanuel, they’re going to try to ignore us for as long as possible. That’s why we have to continue massive civil disobediences that will hinder the system unworkable till they address our concerns.”

Marge posed the question to the audience: “What kind of system breeds a police force that callously murders teenagers, children, over the years and then covers it up? What kind of system covers and lies and buries evidence to keep serial murderers on the job? What kind of system requires a police force to act like an occupying army in communities of the oppressed?” She called on “anyone who strives for a world without slavery of any kind to get into Bob Avakian and his new synthesis of revolution and communism, and get into this movement for revolution.”

Marge put out a powerful challenge to students: “Students are a crucial force in this battle. A lot of people say that in the 60s students opposed the Vietnam War to keep their own asses safe, but that’s bullshit, they opposed it because they knew it was wrong, and rose up in the millions, shutting down campuses, whole cities, and awakened and challenged millions broadly in society to fight until the government was forced to end the war. That’s what has to happen today on campus, like the students across the country, including here at Loyola, who rose up around the racist attacks on students at Mizzou in November. There will never be a serious movement of resistance without students, much less a revolution.

“What can you do? First, reach out to other students with the challenge POLICE TERROR MUST STOP. WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? This Stolen Lives Tour needs to reach very broadly, including students on other campuses. Organize a student chapter or affiliate your organization with Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Second, take this out to other people from all walks of life: your churches, the communities you live in and those you serve in as social workers, your friends, relatives, EVERYONE who is disturbed by police murder.”

She called on everyone to build for Wednesday, March 2, a Day of Major Resistance to Stop Police terror in Chicago.

Gloria Pinex spoke last. Her son Darius was murdered at age 27 by Chicago cops, and even after it came out in court that they had lied about the justifications for stopping and murdering Darius, the judge refused to charge them. She has been fighting for justice for Darius these 5 years, and with her sons and dozens of other families spoke out in New York Rise Up October on October 22 and marched and spoke on October 24.

She spoke quietly, reminding all of the tremendous courage it takes to speak through enormous pain to end the police terror that took her son, so that others will not suffer as she has. “I knew all along they were lying to me, I decided to fight, for 5 years I’ve been fighting. I’ve been to NY, met a lot of moms going through what I’m going through, with no justice. The city lawyer didn’t think I deserved a fair trial, he withheld evidence. So I got ordered a new trial... I’m still fighting, still have no justice for Darius, even though they know the officers were lying. One of the officers, that was involved in murdering my son, after they justified my son’s murder, they put him back on the street. June 7 of that year he encountered Flint Farmer, shot him multiple times, it’s on dash cam, like Laquan McDonald’s, they can’t justify that murder.”

“The reason I think we need to stand up, in 2015 more than 1134 people were murdered by police, only one officer charged, the one for Laquan McDonald. All the cases are being covered up. So that’s my reason for standing up and fighting back. If we don’t stand up, no one’s going to stand up.”

Though there were differences in how speakers saw the solution to police terror and other horrors of the system, they were united in the need to continue the struggle to stop police terror and take it higher, all speaking for the need for many more people, and students in particular, to stand up in massive, defiant resistance.

The panel was followed by a Q and A with very thoughtful comments and questions. One Loyola social work student pledged the support of Loyola social work students for Gloria, asking for her court date so they could be there for her. Other people asked what specifically should they do to act. Another question was is there any hope that anything will come of the special task force to investigate the police or the Department of Justice investigation. Marge said “there has never been any justice from the Department of Justice,” and repeated the call for March 2 to be a day of massive, defiant resistance. A member of the Revolution Club put out a heartfelt call for people to visit the table with Revolution newspaper and other revolutionary literature, urging people to “go over there and look at it,” that he had been in a gang and dealt drugs but Bob Avakian and the book BAsics changed his life. Half the crowd stayed to talk and several visited the table. Along with Stop Mass Incarceration material and flyers for March 2, Revolution newspapers and a copy of the film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion went out.

The first stop on the National Stolen Lives tour was an important start for the Tour and shows its potential. It should be noted that the Columbia University Rise Up event that played a crucial role in building for the Rise Up October protests was also sponsored by social work students; they are a section of students that comes face to face with oppressed people and the horrors they face. It makes me think that in mobilizing all positive factors for this Tour, and in the movement to stop police terror, and the movement for revolution, like the campus tour by Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor, we shouldn’t see students as a monolith, but should pay attention to different sections of students who stand up against injustice, like the football players at Mizzou, who knew? And we should fully appreciate how much it means for students to learn about and meet basic masses who bear the brunt of police terror. We should find all kinds of ways, statements from family members to students, videos, speakers’ bureaus, etc. to connect students with the reality, the human cost, of this system’s savagery towards those on the bottom of society. And as revolutionary communists, to more aggressively bring BA and the full out revolutionary solution he represents to students, looking for answers, who have such an important role to play in fighting for a future worthy of human beings.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/from-vietnam-war-vet-us-troops-are-not-heroes-but-murderers-and-baby-killers-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

From a Vietnam War Vet:

We Were Baby Killers for U.S. Imperialism

New introduction January 17, 2017, originally posted February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

January 17, 2017: Fifty years ago, in January 1967, the U.S. troops occupying Vietnam began a major military offensive against Vietnamese forces fighting to liberate their country. The heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, combined with upsurge of opposition within the U.S., would lead to the defeat of the U.S. imperialists in Vietnam. The war in Vietnam is part of a whole bloody history of U.S. wars, invasions, and aggression against countries and people fighting for their liberation. There’s a responsibility for people in the U.S. to understand that “America was NEVER great” and oppose all the crimes carried out by the U.S. imperialists around the world.

We are reposting this piece from a Vietnam War vet, who was not yet in Vietnam in 1967 but has important things to say about the massacres and other horrors that the U.S. committed during the war against the Vietnamese people.

 

I am writing to revcom.us/Revolution because this is the one place that consistently stands with the people of the world against all forms of oppression and for a radically different and far better world. The reason for this letter is the current wave of patriotism, using America’s soldiers and veterans to justify every conceivable crime and atrocity being carried out by the “troops,” i.e., the U.S. military.

I speak from a whole lot of experience—from both sides of the political battles—supporting and defending U.S. wars and then serving in Vietnam, where I began to learn the truth about America’s bloody, genocidal history.

Right now there is a major campaign to raise millions of dollars in the Wounded Warrior Campaign, for medical care for the wounded veterans of America’s current wars around the globe. Now, let’s set something straight first—they are not heroes but murderers and baby killers. Nowhere in American mainstream media and culture do you find the people we are killing, torturing, droning, raping—the people of the world do not matter in the path of America’s march across the earth. There is no honor in being a soldier in the U.S. military that has invaded every corner of the world and nearly every country on the planet. There is no pride in torturing people across the globe, invading people’s homes and beating up the occupants in the name of the “War on Terror.” The U.S. is actually carrying out a “War OF Terror” against the people of the world. In fact, it can be said with historical certainty that the wholesale slaughter of tens of millions of people is “The American Way” and that, except for the Civil War, there has never been anything honorable about serving in the U.S. military. As I tell youth when I go into high schools as part of the We Are Not Your Soldiers Campaign, you are going to be part of a military that is about killing the people of the world for profit and empire!

You can be sure that whenever there is a stepped-up campaign of patriotism and flag waving, there are also stepped-up military actions that need to be supported by the unthinking and the privileged, while the rest of us are supposed to shrink back, and not speak the truth, as atrocities are carried out in our names. Right now all over Africa and the Middle East there are and have been hundreds of secret military operations, assassinations, kidnappings, and murders galore by special operations teams, while the myth is promoted that “there are no ground forces” in those places. These are American “death squads,” all with the story that this is what is needed to protect “us from the terrorists” when the truth is that the United States is the biggest terrorist on the planet.

Villagers massacred by U.S. Army troops at My Lai in Vietnam, March 16, 1968.Villagers massacred by U.S. Army troops at My Lai in Vietnam, March 16, 1968.

GIs refuse to go out on patrol, AK Valley, Vietnam, September 1969
GIs refuse to return to combat, AK Valley, Vietnam, September 1969.

What I am saying here is not my opinion, but history and, yes, science. Because this is not a case of human nature, or bad people, or even the nature of being in the military. No, I learned, through bitter lessons in Vietnam and back here in the American empire, that we live in a capitalist-imperialist system that will go to any length, commit every crime imaginable, to defend and spread this empire of profit and exploitation across the globe. From the banana fields in Guatemala, to the sweatshops in Bangladesh, to the oil of the Middle East, the U.S. has over 700 military bases ringing the globe to defend what the monsters who run this empire call “our interests.” To do that, the military and the powers that be need the bodies and minds of young people, mainly men and some women, to carry out the crimes. So, how do they do this?

They do this in many different ways, and especially through the racism, lies, manipulation, and fear that are a normal part of American culture and education. This is reinforced by a brutal and cruel brainwashing of the young soldiers called “basic training” to instill in them blind obedience to orders, concern only for American lives, and a “shoot first and kill all” mentality in these young brains. Then, when these soldiers return home, they are used again, and especially the wounded ones, these killers for empire, as sympathy and pity for them is drummed up to justify continued murder and torture. The message that is driven home is that the only lives that matter are American lives.

Now I know that some people will say that these soldiers are victims too of this imperialist system. My answer is that these soldiers and vets have a choice: they can cross over to the side of the people of the world and tell the truth about what they saw and did or forever face the world’s condemnation as the baby killers and murderers they are.

It is true that today’s generation born after 9/11 have no real memory of the turmoil of the 1960s and how tens of millions came to oppose the war in Vietnam and the American empire in many different ways, including massive opposition to the war right in the U.S. military. For this same generation, what happened in Vietnam 50 years ago is as ancient history to them as was my growing up listening to WW2 veterans tell their stories. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (the murder of 3,000 innocent people by a group of terrorists in the name of Islamic fundamentalism), the United States used them to carry out and justify the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of drone killings in many countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and torture and murder by the military and the CIA at prisons and “black sites.” This is the reality of the world we live in today and lessons from the past must really serve helping to end all this madness. No more stupid and meaningless “war stories.”

The process of how I came to end up in Vietnam is instructive because today’s young soldiers and vets can see similarities to how they have been manipulated and lied to. Back then, in my schooling, the only ideas I learned about America’s wars were the necessity and the wonder and glory of fighting them. On television I learned to cheer for the cowboys as they killed multitudes of Native Americans, while the war movies portrayed Americans as right and justified in defending our way of life. Watch the movie Purple Heart and the racist portrayal of the Japanese. In the 8th grade I won an American Legion Americanism award for an essay I wrote about patriotism. In high school my history teachers, Mr. Gavigan and Mr. Murphy, had the maps that showed communism as evil and taking over all of Asia, especially Vietnam. I even worked for Barry Goldwater after high school when he ran for president in 1964. I was at the first antiwar demonstration in New York City in spring 1966—to stand on the side in support of the war. I joined Young Americans for Freedom, a right-wing campus group.

So while most of the youth in this country are trained in blind patriotism and kept ignorant of history and the nature of the system we live in, I was political at an early age, and I thought I knew American history and why the country was worth defending. I joined the U.S. Air Force and ended up guarding nuclear weapons in the U.S. at small bases on the East Coast. But, I told myself that I could not be alive at this time and not follow my generation’s calling and go to Vietnam. I arrived there just in time for the Tet Offensive of 1968—a military operation by the Vietnamese revolutionaries against all the major U.S. bases in Vietnam. After four of my fellow soldiers and friends died in that attack, my whole world view fell apart because I began to realize that nothing I had been taught or believed about the nature of U.S. reasons for being in Vietnam were true. I knew nothing about the Vietnamese people, culture, and history. We called the people all sorts of racist terms and nowhere did they count as human beings. I spent my next 11 months coming to oppose the war, to see the humanity of the Vietnamese people and beginning to oppose this lie that Americans are the best people in the world. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Davis and Johnson, two of the many Black guys in my unit who refused to salute the American flag (when a movie was shown on our base), and argued with me about the war, Black history, and that they were talking about coming back home to America to make revolution.

Protest against the Vietnam War, Washington, D.C., April 24, 1971. Photo: Leena Krohn via Wikimedia Commons
Vietnam veterans marching against the war, Washington, D.C., April 24, 1971. Photo: Leena Krohn via Wikimedia Commons

After Vietnam, I joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and became one of its national leaders. And it was here, along with other veterans and the growing soldiers’ movement in the U.S. military worldwide, that we all learned to not just oppose the war but actively resist it. This is where I learned the truth of U.S. history, and not just Vietnam but what America has always been about. I learned about the Sullivan Expedition in the summer of 1779—where Gen. George Washington (yes, that one—the slaveholder) orders a genocidal attack on more than 40 Iroquois villages—destroying the people, buildings, and crops. This became a standard practice of the U.S. military in the following 300 years of wars against the Native peoples of the western U.S., in the Spanish-American war in the Philippine Islands in 1898, to the use of insects and chemical and biological agents in the Korean war in 1950 to 1953, to the American invasion of Vietnam and all its horrors. Research many of these crimes on revcom.us, and you can also find on the Internet several lists that document the hundreds of military invasions, occupations, “small-unit actions,” aerial and offshore bombings, almost 300 years of U.S. military actions around the world.

The veterans and soldiers I was meeting and organizing were studying U.S. history, about the history of slavery, the lynchings and oppression of Black people, talking about how this was an imperialist way of life—killing people for profit and empire. And I met many who were openly talking about why revolution seemed to be necessary to stop all this horror that we were inflicting on the people of the world. We marched for 70 miles through small towns in New Jersey in a simulated search-and-destroy mission to graphically portray “to the heartland” that what we were doing in Vietnam was massacring and torturing the people. Then, we took 125 combat vets to Detroit in 1971 to the Winter Soldier Investigation where vets testified for three days about mass rape of Vietnamese women, mass murder, destruction of villages and crops, napalm, chemical poisoning of the land and people, and yes—the deliberate murder of kids by the soldiers. While there are many powerful and important examples of resistance and opposition by soldiers and veterans to imperialist wars, this was the first time in history that they were self-organized with two goals: to tell the truth about what they had seen and done, and then to call on the American people to stop the crimes.

Throwing medals back onto the Capitol steps, Dewey Canyon III, 1971."For a full week in the spring of 1971, we camped out on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Congress and we named it Dewey Canyon III—'an invasion into the country of Congress.'” Above, throwing medals back onto the Capitol steps as part of the Dewey Canyon III protests.

Before Winter Soldier, I thought I understood the scope of what we had done in Vietnam, but after three days of hearings I was devastated by how deep was the betrayal of our youth, our ambitions, and our minds, that we were really nothing more than killers and cannon fodder for empire. After Winter Soldier, we knew we had to do something that would put Vietnam Veterans on the front page of the newspapers, something dramatic that would send a message around the world, that while we were the baby killers, we were beginning to understand who and what was really responsible. For a full week in the spring of 1971, we camped out on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Congress and we named it Dewey Canyon III—“an invasion into the country of Congress.” After a whole week of demonstrating everywhere, doing guerrilla theater portrayals of how we treated and murdered the Vietnamese people, on the last day 800 to 1,000 vets lined up outside the Capitol to walk up the Capitol steps and throw their medals back at the U.S. Congress and the rulers of America. Some of the comments from the vets as they threw their medals over a fence marked “trash” were: a Black vet who said, “This is my opposition for the policies of this country against the non-white peoples of the world”; “My name is Peter, I got a purple heart here and I hope I get another one fighting these motherfuckers”; “We don’t want to fight again, but if we have to it’ll be to take these steps.”

Then, in the summer of 1971, I was selected by VVAW to represent the organization on a peace delegation to Hanoi—the capital of North Vietnam—“the enemy.” As the first Vietnam veteran to go to North Vietnam on a peace mission, with two other activists from Women Strike for Peace and the War Resisters League, I did not think twice about going. We spent eight days in Hanoi, traveling to Haiphong Harbor and witnessing the lives of a people whose whole history and culture is embedded with the ethos of resisting foreign invaders. This is when I completely went “over to the other side” and became an advocate for the victory of the Vietnamese against the U.S.

I say that today because while there is not an equivalent nation or group that can be supported right now against the crimes the U.S. is carrying out, everyone, and especially the soldiers and veterans of these wars, can and must speak out for the people of the world and against U.S. crimes. This means NOT supporting the troops, because the troops are murdering people. I really hate the slogan “Support the Troops, Not the War” because it makes what these wars are about is American lives, and the humanity of the people we are killing is secondary or nonexistent.

Finally, for those who can only see the power of the empire to manipulate and control the population into either being blind flag wavers or docile opposition, I want to say how important it is to tell the truth, to call on others to do so and to fight for the interest of all humanity. After all, I was witness to something that many people today cannot imagine: I saw a large segment of the former baby killers and murderers of my time turn against the empire on the side of humanity.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

From A World To Win News Service

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: The Criminal Persecution of a Truth-Teller

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Julian Assange speaks to journalists and supporters from the balcony of the ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.

Julian Assange speaks to journalists and supporters from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, February 5. (AP photo)

February 8, 2016. A World to Win News Service. The February 5 report of a United Nations working group on arbitrary detentions (UNWGAD) has concluded that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held in “arbitrary detention” by the UK and Sweden for more than five years and they should end “Mr Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.” In announcing the decision, Christophe Peschoux, a senior official at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, argued the UN panel ruling is legally binding because of its basis in international human rights law.

Outraged over this decision, the British and Swedish governments have rejected these conclusions, claiming Assange took refuge from arrest in the Ecuadorian embassy in London simply to avoid facing allegations of rape during a visit to Sweden. After allegations were made against him in August 2010, the Swedish government willingly allowed him to leave the country in September. His detention was ordered in late November and he was put under house arrest in the UK. In 2014, a Swedish appeals court scolded the prosecution for failing to move forward the preliminary investigation of the allegations against Assange. When Sweden demanded he return for questioning, Assange jumped bail and sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy fearing that Sweden would then send him to the U.S.

The UN’s Peschoux also criticised the “lack of diligence” by Swedish authorities and the lack of preliminary investigation. The UN group determined that Assange has effectively been detained, and that since he has never been formally charged with any crime or offense, let alone brought to trial, this detention is illegal.

The panel called on the UK and Sweden to compensate Assange for their illegal actions, but the U.S. is the central figure in this case. This is because Assange could face extradition to the U.S. if the UK were to send him back to Sweden. Rather tellingly, just as Sweden has refused to promise that they won’t send Assange to the U.S. if they get their hands on him, there has been no official U.S. denial of rumors that a secret grand jury investigation has laid the basis to extradite him from Sweden for trial on charges that could result in a lifetime in prison. Prominent U.S. political figures have publicly called for his death.

The appeal to the UN panel by Assange’s lawyers had been going on for a year and a half, with input from the UK government. In the past this panel has demanded the release of prominent individuals such as Aung San Suu Kyi (released in 2010, she is now president of Burma) and Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian recently released by Iran. The U.S. (and UK) used the panel’s calls when they served to legitimize its diplomatic manoeuvring. Only now, when the UN body has decided against them, do they question its authority.

An even harsher light on this hypocrisy is cast by the fact that in 1998, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher protected Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet from extradition to Spain, when that country requested his extradition to stand trial for the murder of Spanish nationals who were part of the 3,000 people killed during his regime. Obviously for imperialist ruling classes the question of who has “human rights” is to be decided according to their political interests.

Shameful Amnesia on Imperialist War Crimes

Assange’s persecution by various Western governments intensified some weeks after the April 2010 release of 250,000 U.S. intelligence reports and embassy cables on the wars waged by the U.S. (with help from Europe) in Afghanistan and Iraq and American spying on “friendly” governments to better position Washington in international trade deals. An international arrest order was issued, with Interpol putting out a “red notice,” making Assange one of the planet’s most wanted men.

A prisoner being abused in Abu Ghraib prison.A prisoner being abused in Abu Ghraib prison. AP photo

The true face of the U.S. government was righteously exposed by these revelations. There are details on war, rendition (the practice of kidnapping suspects and sending them to secret detention facilities to be tortured under CIA supervision in third countries such as Syria), direct torture by American operatives and soldiers, extra-judicial killings, illegal mistreatment and murder in U.S. prisons in Iraq (Abu Ghraib) and Afghanistan (Bagram), and other atrocities and war crimes that could have been kept secret for years. How can we forget how the U.S. lied, coerced, bribed, threatened, and blackmailed governments around the world to back off from investigating and prosecuting these crimes?

To mention a few of the murky dealings pursued by the U.S. government revealed by the diplomatic cables alone, among the other documents WikiLeaks made public: The U.S. agro-industrial multinational Monsanto received help from the U.S. government to fight Argentina environmentalists/farmers who opposed use of Roundup pesticides, considered by an Argentine medical association to be the cause of the rise of cancer among children. The U.S. trained and funded Costa Rican security forces to suppress anti-free-trade agreement protests. Ex-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to cover up U.S. drone strikes. The U.S. and China conspired to block reform on climate change at the 2009 Copenhagen summit. The U.S. interfered in Spain’s judicial process to prevent U.S. military servicemen from being prosecuted for killing Spanish journalist Jose Couso. U.S. diplomats were ordered to spy on UN officials.

President Barack Obama, chief guardian of the U.S.-dominated current world order, has viciously gone after more whistleblowers than any other U.S. president. The vengeful tone against Assange was set by his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called the WikiLeaks publication of U.S. diplomatic cables “an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.” Her office sent out letters calling on Internet providers to refuse to host the WikiLeaks website, which they did. U.S. military chiefs referred to Assange as having blood on his hands.

Screenshots from the Collateral Murder video, one of the documents Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was accused of leaking. The video was released by WikiLeaks just a few months before Assange came under attack and shows American soldiers in an Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007, firing on and killing 12 Iraqi civilians.

The persecution of Assange by the U.S. and its allies came only a few months after WikiLeaks leaked a video it called Collateral Murder, edited from U.S. military footage and recorded through the gun-sights of an Apache helicopter as it gunned down civilians in Iraq. This American secret archival material was uploaded to WikiLeaks by U.S. soldier Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

The 2007 footage shows the aircraft machine guns cutting down a Reuters news service photographer and his assistant and other people casually walking down the street in a Baghdad suburb. Several minutes later, a van pulls up, and men get out to rescue a severely wounded man who is trying to crawl onto the sidewalk. Children are visible through the window. The helicopter flies over the van, opening fire again and again on each pass until the crew is satisfied that everyone seems dead.

The audio track records the crew’s eagerness to kill Iraqis, and their laughter and mutual congratulations at the sight of at least 18 bodies (“Good shooting!”). When ground troops report over the radio they have found two seriously wounded children in the wrecked van, one of the crewmen sneers, “It’s their fault for bringing children into a war zone.” American medics are about to take the children for treatment when an officer orders that they be abandoned.

Manning was arrested and targeted by a media slander campaign that portrayed him as a psychologically disturbed misfit whose motivation was anything but political, and Assange as a bizarre paranoid with obscure motives. Manning has since been tried and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

In 2010 Time magazine conducted a poll asking people who their choice would be for Person of the Year. Among the magazine’s list of 25 candidates, Assange received 382,024 votes, greater than the total received by the second and third choices combined. Despite the fact that, according to Time itself, its Person of the Year selection is not an award or an indication of approval on its part, but instead goes to the person who “for better or worse ... has done the most to influence the events of the year,” Time overruled the people’s choice in favor of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with the reactionary Tea Party as the runner-up. The hypocrisy here is another example of the system-embedded media toadying to the government script.

To show what lengths the U.S. government would go to silence truth-tellers, there is also the example of Edward Snowden, who revealed how the U.S. government spies on every person in the U.S. and almost everyone around the world. The U.S. took drastic measures to capture him. While condemning Snowden for taking refuge in Russia, the U.S. has made it impossible for him to leave. They forced Bolivian president Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria as it was rumored that Snowden was on board. The Danish government recently revealed that a U.S. government jet already used in renditions (read kidnappings for the purpose of torture) was waiting in Copenhagen to grab Snowden should he decide to go onward to a Scandinavian country from Moscow in June 2013. Were Snowden to return—or be forcibly returned—to the U.S., he would face charges of theft and espionage and likely be imprisoned.

During the current controversy following the UN panel ruling, the question of what the U.S., the UK, and others did in Afghanistan has been the “elephant in the room,” unmentioned by most of the major Western media, reactionary talking heads, and even some self-identified progressive people whose focus is on what they guess about Assange as a person. This amounts to a cover-up, in that the facts are known to all who care to know them but public opinion makers don’t want them mentioned in hopes that the world has forgotten.

All these revelations call into question why there is such ubiquitous monitoring of people across the planet by those who rule over the system. Why is it that the greatest criminals are in power and people who expose their crimes are hounded, threatened with assassination, or jailed?

Assange, Manning, Snowden, and truth-tellers like them should be actively supported for their courage. People of the world are indebted to them.

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

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/madeleine-albright-and-special-places-in-hell-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Madeleine Albright and "Special Places in Hell"

by Mary Lou Greenberg | February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, says that women should vote for Hillary Clinton, and that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” I have a thought on this, Madeleine.

YOU must have a very special place there, Madeleine, for contributing to the devastation of the lives of hundreds of thousands of women in Iraq, including the mothers of 500,000 Iraqi children killed by economic sanctions begun in 1990—and that YOU so viciously defended by saying the deaths of those 500,000 Iraqi children were “worth it.” As opposed to the mythical hell you refer to, you actually contributed to consigning these women—and men—to a REAL hell.

The women of the world, including in the U.S., don’t need “help” like this, Madeleine Albright—nor does any human being anywhere—just as they don’t need “help” from Hillary Clinton, or from Bernie Sanders for that matter, or from any of the Republican candidates. And women don’t need to get in on—get “a place at the table” of—a system that carries out such crimes against humanity and relies on domination (including male supremacy), repression, exploitation, fear, and cruelty for its very functioning and existence. This whole setup is a horror for billions of people on this planet, and for the planet itself.

What they—WE—do need is REVOLUTION, communist revolution, as Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of revolution provides a framework for. A revolution that is not about revenge or “getting my share of the goodies” but can and will transform all existing class and social relations and all the old ideas based on those relations. This will be a revolution where women and men together bring in a new system with new ways of working, living, creating, loving, and thinking free from patriarchy and all repressive institutions. And that’s what people need to be focusing on and working towards.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/chicago-state-university-students-walk-out-over-education-cuts-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Chicago State University Students Walk Out Over Education Cuts

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

CSU Students block highway
Chicago State University students shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway, one of the main arteries into the city, for 15 minutes, demanding funding to save the school. Photo: Touissant Werner

From a reader:

Chicago State University students cited by police for protesting school closuresChicago State University students cited by police for protesting the state's funding cuts to state universities. Photo: Afrah Manderson

The spirit of discontent continues to linger in the streets of Chicago and the youth continue to rise to the occasion. Students from Chicago State University (CSU) staged a walkout recently and took their movement to save the school to the streets. They managed to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway, one of the main arteries into the city, for 15 minutes striving to get the attention of the press so that something can be done to save the school.

The governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, has yet to pass a budget that will help to provide the funding to save not just Chicago State University but other schools that are currently being affected by this current stalemate.

Kwesi Ronald Harris, program director of the African-American Male Resource Center at CSU, had this to say about the students’ actions: “I can tell you that I’m proud and encouraged by this display, which has been a series of responses and expressions of solidarity. Chicago State University has been viewed as the vanguard, it has never taken an individualist position, [and] we truly recognize #wewinwhenweallin meaning all nine public universities affected by this assault on higher education, which [will] result [in] educational genocide.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/football-concussions-and-super-bowl-50-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Letter from a reader:

Football Concussions and Super Bowl 50

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At Super Bowl 50, in the third quarter, Carolina Panther wide receiver Corey Brown leaped high into the air to snag a long pass. As he fell backward to the ground his head hit the turf with a thud. He lay there for a few moments before being helped up by a teammate and then he walked wobbly off the field. He was taken to the locker room and was diagnosed with a “head injury” and did not return to the game.

See also:

Tackle Football 'Can't Be Saved': Early Retirements Keep the Focus on Concussions in Football

George Carlin, Frank Gifford, the NFL and Rugby—More Thoughts on Concussions in Football

Racism, Science, and the Corporation That Owns a Day: Dr. Bennet Omalu's Story of Concussion

Later in the third quarter, Shaquil Barrett of the Denver Broncos was blind-sided as he went downfield after a kick. He was taken from the field with a suspected concussion.

These two injuries were a nightmare for the NFL (National Football League), which absolutely did not want the millions of people watching the game to be thinking about how dangerous the game of football is, particularly at a time when concussions in football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)1, the brain disease caused by concussions, have been in the news on a regular basis and the film Concussion is playing in movie theaters across the country, educating all those watching it about the dangers of football.

The bad press for the NFL was at a high point this week before Super Bowl 50 when two former Super Bowl quarterbacks were diagnosed with having CTE.

Ken Stabler, who played in Super Bowl IX for the Oakland Raiders and was just inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, was diagnosed with Stage 3 of the 4 stages of CTE. Stabler, who died of cancer this past summer, had severe memory problems, so his family sent his brain to Boston University to be studied and it showed the disease was “widespread throughout his brain.”

Earl Morrall, who played in Super Bowl III for the Baltimore Colts and started 11 games for the Miami Dolphins during their perfect season in 1972 but did not get to play in their Super Bowl game, was found to have Stage 4 CTE. His family disclosed this to the New York Times this past week, saying that after he died in 2014 at age 79, they decided to have his brain examined because he had some “complications with Parkinson’s disease.”

Then, just a day before the Super Bowl, an article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News about former Super Bowl quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, Joe Kapp, who has been battling Alzheimer’s disease. Kapp, who has concerns about having CTE, which at this time can only be discovered after death, is participating in a neurological study at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. He told the Mercury News that “he has promised to donate his brain to UCSF neurologists” for the study of CTE.

Kapp, who played in the Rose Bowl and later coached for the University of California at Berkeley, talked about his conflicting views about his grandson playing football for Cal. “Don’t let your son be a football player,” he said, “and here I am letting my grandson play.”

About an hour and a half before Super Bowl 50 started, James Brown of CBS did an interview with Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL. With every question posed to Goodell about concussions and the dangers of concussions, he fended them off by talking about how safe football is with new concussion protocols and new equipment and turf technology. When Brown asked what Goodell tells mothers about their children playing football, Goodell only talked about how “great” the game is and how there are only benefits for those playing it.

Fuck you, Goodell! Say that to the face of all the families whose loved ones suffered from CTE caused by your “great” game. Mothers, don’t listen to Goodell. Listen to Joe Kapp. “Don’t let your son be a football player.”


1. “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.  These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.  The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.” (Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/check-it-out-mustang-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Check It Out: Mustang

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Mustang is a beautiful and deeply moving film about the irrepressible spirit of five young sisters coming of age in modern-day rural Turkey and fighting not to be crushed by the heavy weight of tradition’s chains on women.

It has received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film and features five non-professional actors playing the roles of the sisters in the most stunningly real and heart-wrenching way.

Mustang opens a window into the complex and clashing social contradictions in a society like Turkey where westernized secularism was imposed on top of a framework of backward oppressive traditions in relation to women, marriage, and sexuality. Without explicitly touching on the intense political and religious conflicts currently shaking Turkish society, the film depicts the sharpness of the social contradictions as they play out in a rural village. While bringing to life the soul-crushing human costs of the age-old oppressive relations which continue to imprison women, Mustang is at the same time filled with the exuberance and untamed spirit of youth. It makes you ache for the liberation of women and all of humanity from all forms of oppressive relations.

Do not miss this film.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/fundraising-dinners-to-get-ba-everywhere-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

Dinners Set for Weekend of March 18-20

Fundraising Dinners to Get BA Everywhere

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The BA Everywhere campaign aims to project Bob Avakian's voice and works throughout society—to make BA a household word. This requires huge sums of money. BA Everywhere is a multi-faceted fundraising campaign to involve and bring forward thousands of people to contribute and be a part of raising these funds. On the weekend of March 18-20, this campaign will hold dinners across the country to cap four weeks of fundraising to begin on February 20. Fundraising should go on in many forms—mass projects and mass fundraising days in the neighborhoods... organized efforts reaching out to people in the middle strata... and serious efforts to reach people with significant means. The dinners themselves should involve many people, bringing the four weeks of effort together, and taking this to another level. Party members and supporters should meet soon to launch this effort, and write to us with your plans.

 

DONATE to the
BA Everywhere Campaign!

Click Here

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/chicago-iggy-alfredo-legal-update-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Chicago:

POLICE WHO MURDER PEOPLE WALK FREE
Iggy & Alfredo Face Felony Charges
For Protesting Police Murder & Demanding Justice!
Drop All the Charges Now
On All Those Arrested Protesting Police Murder!

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Police nationwide continue to murder unarmed people, disproportionately Black and Latino. While police almost never face charges, people who protest police murder are arrested, charged, and threatened with years in prison. The murder of Laquan McDonald 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 protests against the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner broke out over a year ago. 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 for everyone to demand that all charges against all protesters be dropped and that the 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.

Iggy & Alfredo Face Felony Charges

On December 13, 2014, protesters took to the streets in Chicago, furious over grand juries’ refusals to indict cops for the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Chicago police arrested more than two dozen people. Most had their charges dropped or were allowed to opt for “community service.” One woman won her trial, defeating the misdemeanor charge against her.

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. Over a year later, they still face felony charges carrying possible 7-year prison sentences.

We Demand—Drop the Charges Now! Hands Off Iggy & Alfredo!

Iggy works with the Revolution Club of Chicago and has been very visible in protests to stop police murder. 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 protest, 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 targets of police spying during this time.

Alfredo joined in the protest against police brutality.

If you have been protesting against police murder and terror, if your heart is with the protesters, if you believe in the value of protests shining a light on grave injustices—then
STAND WITH IGGY & ALFREDO!

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Demand the charges be dropped against David “Iggy Flow” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes. Contact state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, 69 W. Washington, Suite 3200, Chicago, IL 60602; statesattorney@cookcountyil.gov, 312-603-1880.

Publicize the case. Invite the defendants to speak in classes, to church groups, on the radio. Spread the word on social media. Get this flyer out everywhere. Make sure all protesters, and everyone you know who is supportive of the protests, is aware of these cases and get them involved. Speak out at your school, church groups, etc.

Pack the courtroom. Next hearing for Iggy and Alfredo: Thursday, March 3, 2016, 9:30 am, Room 206, Cook County Court, 2600 S. California Ave, Chicago, IL.

Refuse to be intimidated. They arrest people and put heavy charges on some so that you will be afraid to stand up for justice. Make this backfire on them. For everyone they arrest, many more must join the struggle.

Funds are urgently needed. Stay tuned to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network Facebook page for information on crowdfunding.

***

DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST THE SOUTH SHORE 2!

Pack the courtroom, February 18, 2016, 9:30 am, Room 604, Cook County Court, 26th and California.

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 palm cards, 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 the police murders of Alfontish “NuNu” Cockerham and JJ Kemp (two men from the South Shore neighborhood), 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.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network—Chicago

stopmassincarcerationchicago@gmail.com • (312) 933-9586 Facebook.com/SMINChicago
@StopMassIncChi stopmassincarceration.net

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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/march-through-chicagos-south-side-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

From the Chicago Revolution Club:

Solidarity March Against Police Brutality and Gun Violence

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Photo: Special to revcom.us

February 13—Holding our Stolen Lives banner and wearing super-size BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! and BA-image T-shirts over our heavy winter coats, we marched up King Drive chanting, “Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are, so we tell them, we are the revcoms, the mighty, mighty revcoms,” along with a call and response of “I am a revolutionary.” When we got to the rally site, organizers of the day’s Solidarity March were exuberant.

The march had two focuses—to end the violence among the youth (since January 1, 70 people have died in gun violence and another 305 have been wounded by gunfire) and an end to police terror. While the crowd was much smaller than organizers had hoped, about 60 people gathered at the rally site in the bitter cold; it was a defiant and highly energized group. At the beginning, a number of local politicians joined in, along with Father Pfleger—the white priest of Chicago’s Black nationalist-oriented Catholic church, St. Sabina’s, made famous worldwide through the movie Chi-Raq.

As we joined the crowd, a member of the Revolution Club spoke. He addressed both focuses of the march, ending his remarks with BA’s quote:

No more generations of our youth here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that. (Basics 1:13)

Saying, “This quote will give you a feel for what Bob Avakian and the revolution he is calling for is all about.” The club member then led the crowd in a call and response of “No More, No More!”

Everyone’s heart went out to a representative for the family of Bettie Jones (the 55-year-old Black woman who, along with 19-year-old Quintonio Legrier, was murdered by Chicago police on December 26) when he told the crowd how a pig told Bettie’s daughter, “Get over it, she’s dead!” as she tried to hold her mother as she lay dying on the floor of her home. It was excruciating to hear him describe how Bettie’s children, alone in their home for four days, were on their hands and knees scrubbing up their mother’s blood.

As we stepped into the street chanting “We represent the Chi and call for U N I T Y” (a call for the youth to stop killing each other and unite), more police than marchers appeared in front of us, at our side, and behind us. Undeterred, the march took the streets. After a half mile, the pigs tried to force the marchers back on the sidewalk. The people weren’t having it and the police backed down. “Sixteen shots and cover-up,” a by now iconic chant in reference to the police murder of Laquan McDonald, rang out as marchers defiantly linked arms and stopped traffic at a busy intersection.

For three and a half hours, the march, with bike cops on one side and a sea of pigs’ cars, an aid car, and even an empty bus marked “police charter” behind us, crossed different gang territory lines calling for an end to the violence among the youths and an end to police murder. At different points there were intense face-offs and verbal confrontations with the police, who tried to force the march off the street or cordon us into a smaller space. As we passed the Englewood police station a couple dozen smirking cops stood in front of it, and the youths in the crowd got in their faces, jumping up and down and chanting “16 shots and cover-up.” Before we moved on the pigs had slunk back inside.

We also passed groups of people on the street who cheered and raised fists of solidarity. “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell” was particularly popular with both marchers and bystanders. At one point the march passed some members of the family of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson waiting for the bus. Together with marchers they chanted “Justice for Ronnieman.” Gloria Pinex, mother of police murder victim Darius Pinex, joined the march as we entered Englewood. A sister of Dakota Bright, killed by the police at age 15, came running out to greet the march as it passed by her. A group of youths hanging outside a corner store cheered the march and jeered the pigs, and people from the march went over to engage with them.

Photo: Special to revcom.us

A poignant event occurred when the march stopped in front of the Illinois Casket Company (see photo to right). People in the crowd demanded that the killing of our youths, by the police and by each other, end. Ja’Mal Green, the march organizer, spoke about Matt Williams and dedicated the march to Matty Matt. Matt, 21 years old, who had been in the streets at almost every protest since the release of video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald, was murdered one week prior when a bullet meant for someone else came through the window and killed him as he played video games with a friend. A Columbia College student and aspiring rapper, Matty Matt rapped about police violence.

Each time we stopped to do a die-in or linked arms at busy intersections in Englewood and Auburn Gresham, the questions of “what is the problem” and “what is the solution” were in the air. Contending views were offered as different people spoke to the crowd. Some called for Black-owned businesses. Another refrain was “Get out and vote,” especially against state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, on March 15, when a local primary is scheduled. While we took on this “vote, vote, vote” stuff some, we could and should have done this more, and more sharply, drawing from BA’s quote about the presidential elections (in his piece “On ‘Principled Compromises,’ and Other Crimes Against Humanity”). Members of the Revolution Club repeatedly called out the police as enforcers of the system of capitalism- imperialism that can only be ended through revolution and called on the youths in the life to stop doing what the system wants you to do, killing and maiming each other, and to get with the revolution and its leader, Bob Avakian. Throughout the march we passed out flyers and called on people in the march and along the street to be there on March 2, a day of no business as usual to stop police terror.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/426/david-joseph-murdered-by-austin-tx-police-en.html

Revolution #426 February 15, 2016

David Joseph—Unarmed 17-Year-Old—Murdered by Austin Police

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader in Texas:

David Joseph, murdered by Austin, TX policeDavid Joseph

Monday, February 8, in broad daylight, 17-year-old Black high school senior David Joseph was shot by Austin, Texas, police officer Geoffrey Freeman. After receiving calls about a tall, thin Black man acting erratically in a North Austin apartment complex, a police dispatcher called Freeman to the scene. The dispatcher can be heard saying that the “suspect” was “unarmed.” When Freeman approached him, Joseph was unarmed and not wearing any clothes. Freeman claims that the youth, ignoring his commands, charged at him. The cop shot him twice. David Joseph was pronounced dead shortly after in the hospital.

Yet another unarmed Black person—this time, a high school student clearly having health/mental problems—shot in cold blood by a cop!

The police department and the city have gone into overdrive to both justify this murder and to chill out the anger that is widespread in this supposedly “progressive” city. Police Chief Art Acevedo says that there is dash-cam video but has so far refused to release it to the public. He says that the shooting itself took place outside of the view of the camera. However, there is audio recording which begins as Freeman is issuing his orders to Joseph—and as acknowledged by APD chief of staff Brian Marley, the shooting took place within “a matter of seconds.”

Several protests at city hall and APD headquarters demanded justice for David Joseph. Acevedo called this incident “tragic” and promised a quick internal investigation. Acevedo claimed that Austin is a model of police-civilian cooperation, and expressed hope that once again that would be the case. He referred to a recent example where the family of Larry Jackson, a Black man, received nearly $2 million in a lawsuit settling a case where Jackson was shot in the back of the neck and murdered by a police officer. The prosecutor led the grand jury to find no basis to indict the cop, who has since retired from the APD.

Many people are questioning why lethal force was used when David Joseph was clearly unarmed. Many have stated that police have no clue how to deal with people with mental issues, where all too often instead of getting help, the person is killed. In response, the police department, with plenty of help from local news media, is spinning another variation of the nauseatingly repeated police claim that “I feared for my life.”

Friends and family of David Joseph are stunned by his murder. David played football and soccer and was known as a thoughtful and amiable youth. Shortly after the murder, a vigil took place in the spot where he was killed, and a memorial was set up there.

We don’t need “police-civilian cooperation”! This fight is not over, and people will continue to demand answers and demand justice for David Joseph.