Revolution #431, March 21, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Excerpt from the section:
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity Based on the Solid Core

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Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, The New Communism. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from Chapter II, "Socialism and the Advance to Communism: A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation," from the section titled "The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity Based on the Solid Core." A previous excerpt, published in Revolution issue #426-427 and available online at revcom.us, came from the opening section, "Introduction and Orientation," and from Chapter IV, the part titled "The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP."

From the section:
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity Based on the Solid Core


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One of the things that should really be understood about this Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, in most fundamental terms, is that this Constitution is dealing with a very profound and very difficult contradiction: the contradiction that, on the one hand, humanity really does need revolution and communism; but, on the other hand, not all of humanity wants that all of the time, including in socialist society. So this Constitution is set up to provide the basic methods and means to deal with that contradiction. You don't just have a popular vote every few years that is set up in such a way that the result is that one day you have socialism, the next day you go back to capitalism, and then you try to create socialism again—which would be impossible, because then you'd get everything bound up with capitalism back, and once again you'd have to go through everything you had to go through to try to get to the point of overthrowing the capitalist system. And, frankly, nobody's going to support that kind of idiocy. So, at times, a lot of the people may want to be going in a different direction, but you've got the institutional means to keep the socialist system going toward the ultimate goal of communism, unless overwhelmingly the people are against you; but, at the same time, this Constitution is constructed in such a way that you have to repeatedly win the masses of people to fight to stay on the socialist road. You need to get to communism, but you're not going to get to communism by putting guns in the backs of the people and force-marching them to communism. You have to continually win them to that, fighting through all the contradictions that get posed, including the ones that the enemies put in your way, or accentuate, in order to turn the people against you.

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

Fundraising Dinners for BA Everywhere:

"If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place."

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is the text of a talk that was given at the BA Everywhere fundraising dinners around the country on the weekend of March 18-20.

Welcome. If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place. Today we are going to kick off the BA Everywhere campaign for 2016. Dinners like this are happening in cities all over the country. People like us are coming together to break bread and build community for the thing that matters most of all—giving people the opportunity to be a part of making the leadership of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward—the scientific approach to the revolution we need—known everywhere. For this is a way out of the madness and brutal oppression and exploitation that has plagued humanity for millennia. BA Everywhere is a mass campaign to involve hundreds and thousands of people working together to raise the big money necessary to make this revolutionary science and the leadership of Bob Avakian known so that everywhere people are questioning why the world is the horror it is, everywhere they are raising their heads and fighting back, so they know about, discuss, debate, get into, and can take this up and transform themselves and the world.

To begin, we are going to give you a brief experience of Bob Avakian himself in this short film: BA Through the Years.

 

“We can change the whole world together with people all over the world.” This is a bedrock understanding of the revolutionary potential of the masses of people that Bob Avakian has been working on all these years. And, he has kept at it, making breakthroughs in the revolutionary theory the masses of people need to make the revolution they need. Today we have a monumental work—a new talk, published online, available here in prepublication form, titled: The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, soon to be published as a book. One of the most important projects that the BA Everywhere campaign will be raising funds for, beginning this evening, is for the promotion of this book, which holds the potential to rear a new generation of revolutionaries here and around the world. This work is, if you will, a synthesis of the new synthesis, a sweeping course in the problem humanity faces and the solution, through revolution for, as the title says—a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.


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We are going to read two short excerpts from the book.

Reading # 1: From the Introduction

In reading reports on work in various areas over the recent period, and looking at our website (revcom.us) in particular, I think of the comment by people in Baltimore, when people went out to them with revolution—and it’s a comment you hear quite frequently when you go out to masses of people, taking the revolution to them. They sharply posed the question: “Will you be here? We’ve seen people come here, we’ve seen groups come and go and talk a lot of talk. But is this serious? Will you be here?” This is a very important question and poses a very direct challenge for us. We have to meet this with the answer “yes” in the immediate sense, but also in the most profound and all-around sense. We have to be here, now—and we have to be here for the whole thing. Whether any particular individual is there at a given time, that’s not the question that’s really at stake; it’s whether or not the movement for revolution and, above all, the Party, the leadership that people need to get out of this nightmare, is going to be there, in an overall and fundamental sense, because when you get down to it, ultimately the people really do have nothing if they don’t have a party based on the science that can lead them to emancipate themselves and emancipate all of humanity. This is true whether, at any given time, the people know it or not.

And I was thinking about something even heavier when reading about the work being done in Baltimore: the comment of a woman, one of the basic masses in Baltimore, who said, “I am getting worried”—when people were bringing the revolution to her—”I’m getting worried.” Now, you might say, why was she getting worried? She explained:

“Because I am beginning to hope.” Now, think about what that means for the masses of people, that they are afraid to hope. Afraid to hope that maybe the world doesn’t have to be this way, that maybe there is a way out of this. Afraid to hope, because their hopes have been dashed so many times. Now, we know there’s a ruling class out there. We know how, along with the vicious repression they carry out, they maneuver and manipulate whenever the people rise up. We have seen it already again in Baltimore, for example: Oh, all of a sudden there’s a crime wave, they say; and they insist that they have to come down even heavier with the police and that they need the federal authorities to come in and help out the police, because the masses are running wild, and the police can’t go out and kill them with impunity, right now.

So, all this is why people say, “I’m getting worried.” They are afraid to hope. And if we don’t intend to meet the responsibilities that we have, if we don’t intend to follow through when we go to people and say there is a way out of this, we should get up and leave right now. Because the masses of people do not need anyone else who comes along, fly-by-night, and leaves them to the miserable conditions they will be subjected to, and the even worse horrors of this system coming down on them. We have to mean it when we say we’re serious about revolution.

This brings us to the question of for whom and for what are we doing what we’re doing. This is not about any individuals, including ourselves. This is one of the first things you have to come to grips with—that this is not about any individual, but is about something much bigger. Look, many people do come to revolution out of their own direct experiences, what this system has done to them, even though they don’t understand It’s a system—or even if they have heard this word “system,” they don’t really know what that system is. But a lot of people do come to this out of their own direct individual experience—they don’t immediately understand that it’s part of a larger picture of what’s happening to literally millions and even billions of people around the world. This is the understanding we have to bring to them. But, first of all, we have to understand: for whom and for what? This is for the emancipation of humanity. This is for the masses of oppressed humanity who desperately need this revolution. It’s not about anything else—and It’s certainly not about ourselves; it’s not about our egos, it’s not about whether we look good or don’t look good, or any of these kinds of questions that should be completely out of the picture.

Reading # 2: From the section of BA’s Talk on the Cultural Revolution within the RCP

Now, here, let me speak to the question: Why was I doing the work I was doing? Once again, we’re back to for whom and for what. I wasn’t doing this work for myself. When I was young, in middle school and then even more so in high school, my life got changed in a very major way by coming into contact with people that I hadn’t really known that much before, in particular Black people. I started learning about their situation and how that relates to what goes on in this society as a whole. I was drawn to the culture—not just the music and the art overall, but the whole way of going through the world—of the Black people who became my friends, and the world they introduced me to. And I came to the point of recognizing: these are my people. Now, I knew they had a different life experience than I did. But these are my people—I don’t see a separation—it’s not like there are some other people “over there” who are going through all this and somehow that’s removed from me. These are my people. And then I began to recognize more deeply what people were being put through, the oppression they were constantly subjected to, the horrors of daily life as well as the bigger ways in which the system came down on them. And as I went further through life and began to approach the question of what needs to be done about this, and was introduced to taking up a scientific approach to this, I realized that my people were more than this. I realized that my people were Chicanos and other Latinos and other oppressed people in the U.S.; they were people in Vietnam and China; they were women...they were the oppressed and exploited of the world...and through some struggle, and having to cast off some wrong thinking, I have learned that they are LGBT people as well.

These are my people, the oppressed and exploited people of the world. They are suffering terribly, and something has to be done about this. So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being. You have to persevere and keep struggling to go forward in this way. And when you run into new problems or setbacks, you have to go more deeply into this, rather than putting it aside and giving up.

“My people .... Suffering terribly ... something has to be done ... So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being.”

This, BA has done—digging into and taking up the science of revolution first developed by Marx and continuing through Lenin and Mao—working with it, applying it to the problem of how we can get beyond all the miseries of the centuries of oppression. Working on this problem led BA to further develop this theory, now having made a breakthrough in the science of revolution that is to guide us in the struggle to really get to a world that has overcome all forms of exploitation and oppression. This is a very big deal, for this country, more, for the whole world.

This is why today, 40+ years after the first communist revolutions were defeated, and when there is a crying need for fundamental change, for a new stage of communism, we can say without hesitation that BA is the Marx of our time. This is why BA must really be everywhere.

We just saw and heard a taste of the person that BA is. Not only is he the foremost theorist of revolution in the world today, he is a rare and precious leader who has a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the people who are the most oppressed in this society, who has an incredible ability to “break down” the complexity of the world, to bring science and the science of revolution to the people.

Working from this scientific foundation, he has forged a strategy for an actual revolution in an advanced, modern imperialist country. This opens up possibility previously thought impossible.

More, he has mapped out a vibrant and viable plan for what a new socialist society would actually look like: a far better society—one that is collectively working to overcome all forms of oppression and exploitation. The blueprint is here in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which he authored and which was adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP. There really is the way forward to a world and society that gets beyond what is today.

What Bob Avakian has done is new. Radically new. While BA builds on the work of the great revolutionary leaders like Marx, Lenin, and Mao and has deeply summed up and synthesized the pathbreaking positive as well as the negative lessons from the first socialist revolutions of the 20th century, the new synthesis breaks with conventional thinking even within the communist movement itself. This is why the Central Committee of the RCP, USA passed Six Resolutions that set forth the foundational and historic quality of BA’s leadership and the new synthesis of communism and the content of its work of preparing for revolution.

Today these resolutions mark the dividing line between real communism and revisionism—which means revising the revolution out of the science of revolution. Revisionism is theory which pretends to be communism, but actually stands in the way of the further advance of revolution and communism. This dividing line runs through the whole world and it runs through our Party itself, which is waging a Cultural Revolution within its own ranks to fully make the new synthesis of communism what it proceeds from, applies, and carries forward in the world. This is not a timeless struggle—it needs to be won—everyone who dreams, who wants to support or to work for revolution for real emancipation, needs to join this struggle and take up and promote BA and what he has brought forward. This can make all the difference in the world, and for the future of the world.

One of the biggest ways that all of us can be a part of this is working together to solve a really big problem. It is still the case that far, far too few people even know about BA, about the scientific work he has done, or about the fact that there is a radically different way that the world could be and the scientific theory and leadership to actually make revolution and build a different kind of society. We here today can be the start of a new wave of people working to rally even more people to CHANGE THAT—spreading this work and leadership and raising the big sums of money needed to make it known everywhere.

The first of the Six Resolutions I just spoke of says:

Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on.

Humanity is suffering from a terrible disease—the plague of capitalism-imperialism and all the misery and forms of oppression that this inflicts on people every day—literally causing the death and stunted lives of millions of children around the world and right here in the U.S.—think about Flint, Michigan, and all the other cities and towns which knowingly have allowed lead pipes and paint to poison our kids. If you know that this is the cure, or if you are just learning that someone has developed such a cure, wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it and to check it out? And if you found it to be what it says it is—the real deal—to then devote every ounce of your energy to seeing that the people know about and take up this cure?

BA has said in the new book I spoke of:

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

That is what has brought us together here today: to envision what it would mean for these ideas and this understanding of what it will take to radically change the world for real. This is what the BA Everywhere campaign is about. Now we need to take this to a whole other level of reach and impact.

This is where you, where we all, come in. In all the work and struggle we do—whether at home, school, work, or in the streets—in the great movements against mass incarceration and police terror, or against the degradation of women and the fight for the right to abortion so that women can control their own bodies and lives, or the fight to save the environment, or the struggle against the demonization and deportation of immigrants; and the courageous struggles to stop the U.S. wars of aggression—in every battle people should hear about and have the opportunity to discover and engage with what BA is all about. As people fight the power they can at the same time be raising funds to spread real total revolution through the work of BA, and they can be engaging the work themselves and with others fighting the power—struggling and learning and then taking what they’ve learned so that the fights we wage today contribute to finally getting free.

With BA Everywhere we can and need to break people’s sights out of the killing confines of struggling so hard for the most minimal reforms only to see them snatched back by the system, if they are even achieved. We can open minds beyond being forced to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” We can strive for much more than the illusion of safe space in a world of growing danger.

Imagine the difference if a new generation of young people around the globe actually had real hope in the future—hope and daring rooted in a scientific understanding of the potential for revolution that exists in the sharp situation we face—in the very contradictions of the system itself. Think about the difference in the whole atmosphere if people were thinking not about how I can get “mine” at the expense of everyone else, but instead were inspired with a morality of the “whole world comes first” and being a fighter for the emancipation of humanity—two of the cornerstones of the vision and work of BA.

This means having the people and the money to spread BAsics in the hoods and on the campuses. It means the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTON—NOTHING LESS!; the film of the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; the film of BA’s talk in 2003 which we saw a clip from today—Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About; as well as the film of the cultural event celebrating the publication of BAsics—Stepping Into the Future, need to be seen by tens and hundreds of thousands of people. With money and people, short trailers, YouTubes, and promotion could be created and big audiences developed.

There is so much that could be done to promote the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and the collection of writings that BA has done on the law: on the campuses, among lawyers, everyday people. Symposiums, debates, op-eds—really when you think about it, there is nothing more relevant to giving people a concrete vision of how to radically change the world. What’s missing? People and money. We here are the road to raising the funds and bringing forward even more people.

Right now the RCP, Revolution Books stores, and the Revolution Clubs are leading study classes in Bob Avakian’s new work, The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation. If you are serious about getting into this new work, join a group. All of us should be raising funds together with the BA Everywhere campaign to make the publication of the book a big deal.

One of the most important organizations for making the work of Bob Avakian known and engaged on a whole other level is The Bob Avakian Institute. This is a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Its mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience. Hundreds of thousands of dollars need to be raised to enable this institute to do its work, to begin to get the kind of societal impact that is actually shaking up the terms of debate in cultural, academic, and activist circles.

So, who should be a part of the BA Everywhere campaign? Should you—if you are just finding out about BA and if you are not sure you fully agree, or if you can’t answer all the objections that family and friends may raise? Earlier, I read a quote from BA’s new work where he spoke of among whom and where the new synthesis of communism needs to be engaged. He said:

Everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

If you are at this dinner today and if you feel that others need to hear what you’ve experienced today, you can and need to be a part of BA Everywhere. Yes, there’s going to be and there really needs to be a big ideological struggle in society about this new synthesis—because this is so radically different than how people have been taught to think about the world. Yet, just because this is a struggle does not mean that many people can’t be won to be involved in this campaign—and be won to see the importance of BA being known, discussed, and debated. Why? Because the questions raised by what’s concentrated in BA Everywhere are questions that a tremendous number of people have, but yet are not a part of what is discussed and debated throughout society. These questions of “whither humanity,” such as: what is the problem, what is the solution, what is going on in the world, why is it going on, does it have to go on, if there’s a solution to it, what is the solution, how do we bring about that solution—all these big questions are very much at the heart of what the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA is all about, and people can be won to see the importance of being a part of raising the funds so that these questions are out there in society through the work of BA having major impact, even as they are figuring out what they agree and/or disagree with.

When you leave here today... pick up copies of one or more of the films if you don’t already have them. Watch them and invite over friends and family or people you work with. This will be the start of a movement of house parties/film showings to raise funds and engage with BA on the weekend of April 22 through 24.

Everything I have been speaking about needs to be organized. The BA Everywhere Committee here is meeting soon. (Click here to find a meeting near you.) Come to the meeting and get involved.

In conclusion, what this is all about is humanity at long last getting free.

Before we end the formal program and have a chance to hang out and talk, we want to leave you with one more taste of BA full out, in a segment from the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! called “Resisting the Brainwash—A Radical Revolt Against A Revolting Culture.” Right there, the title tells you one more reason why BA needs to be everywhere. Let’s watch. Thank you.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

2016... And the Dogs Are STILL in the Street

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In 1978, Gil Scott-Heron released “A Poem for Jose Campos Torres,” a 23-year-old Chicano murdered by Houston police in 1977, tossed into a bayou to drown while pigs “joked” about let’s see if this “wetback” can swim. Early in the poem, he says:

I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this

I had said I wasn’t going to write no more words down about people kicking us when we’re down

About racist dogs that attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down

But the dogs are in the street

Now it’s 2016... And the dogs are STILL in the street.

In Houston, in March, Houston sheriffs and police killed Marco Antonio Loud. Then they went and killed Peter Gaines. But the night wasn’t over. Then they shot a third man who, so far, survived. All unarmed Black men, doing nothing wrong.

In Southern California, police in six counties have shot more than 2,000 people since 2004. Only one of those cops was prosecuted—and he was acquitted.

In Chicago, a cop murdered Quintonio Legrier on the morning after Christmas; they murdered Bettie Jones, who had come to help Legrier; and then the pig who did it sued the family for mental stress.

How many Black people do the police have to shoot and kill in one night...

To terrorize a whole people,

The way the Klan did in the days of the Old Jim Crow?

How many murdered Black men will lie in hot midday sun for hours, like Mike Brown? How many will be bent like a pretzel and have their backs broken like Freddie Gray? How many Black women, like Sandra Bland, will be “put in their place” by racist murdering pigs?

Body cameras? They wear them and they keep killing. Two Los Angeles cops had body cameras when they shot and killed 37-year-old Norma Angelica Guzman—a woman described by neighbors as harmless. The depraved state-sponsored terrorist who murdered Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, smirked and waved at a video camera as he left Eric lying handcuffed and dying on the sidewalk.

Ugly fascists run for president. Their rallies smell like the lynch mobs of old. They scream “support the police” as if racist murdering police are an endangered species. And what kind of “friend” is Hillary Clinton who called our youth “super-predators” that need to be “brought to heel,” and—so far—can’t even bring herself to call Donald Trump a motherfucking racist?

Yeah, it’s 2016... and the dogs are STILL in the street.

There is a Black man in the White House, but his IN-Justice Department ruled that the pig who broke into the unarmed Ramarley Graham’s home without a warrant and murdered Ramarley in his goddamn bathroom did not “willfully deprive an individual of a constitutional right.”

There are promises of reform, but Jackie Salyers was a 33-year-old mother of four, a Native American, a member of the Puyallup tribe, pregnant and unarmed. She was in a car with a man she reported for perpetrating domestic violence against her. Police showed up and murdered her. Another dead Indian in 500 years of ongoing genocide.

Is there any excuse that isn’t too absurd, obscene, or insulting that it cannot be used to justify police murder?

“He was going for a (nonexistent) gun.”

“I feared for my life (based on racist demonization of Black people).”

“She seemed angry (in a society that sadistically torments people and drives them to desperation).”

“He was making unusual movements (unlocking his door and going into his house).”

“He ran from police (based on an entirely justified fear of being murdered).”

You’re gone, Gil, but your poem still rings too goddamn true. The dogs are STILL in the street. And the people behind the dogs still wield power.

How many more people will this system kill before this nightmare is forever stopped? How much longer will the system bring down its daily terror against Black and Latino and Native American and other people of color? How much longer all its unjust killings, fast and slow?

For just as long as it stands.

The dogs are still in the street. But they don’t have to stay there forever. Check out the revolution and get into Bob Avakian... and right now stand up AGAINST those dogs in the street.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

From A World to Win News Service:

The Migration Crisis: A Threat to a Despicable World Order

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update from the editors of Revolution: On March 18, an agreement on refugees was announced between the European Union and the government of Turkey. While we have not been able to analyze this agreement, it is clear it is a vicious escalation of the brutal repression faced by refugees. Under the agreement, the E.U. will give the brutal Turkish regime billions of dollars to “outsource” the inhumane interdiction of refugees and attacks on them at sea, and to pay Turkey to detain many of those who survive the journey to Greece. 

Thousands of refugees stranded in the Greek town of Idomeni try to find a route across the border to Macedonia.
The more than 40,000 refugees who have made it alive to Greece only to be stuck there have been offered little way out but death or deportation. Above, thousands stranded in the Greek town of Idomeni try to find a route across the border to Macedonia. (AP photo)

March 14, 2016. A World to Win News Service. The words “Fortress Europe” are becoming a reality. The more than 40,000 refugees who have made it alive to Greece only to be stuck there have been offered little way out but death or deportation. There are no concentration camps and no mass killings of migrants, but the value of their lives has already been discounted by the European powers.

EU [European Union] Council President Donald Tusk warned immigrants: “Do not come to Europe... It’s all for nothing.” But given what they are trying to escape from, what else are they supposed to do? They risked death to get this far, and for many, the most rational choice is to continue risking death from the cold, disease, the police, vigilantes, drowning in frigid rivers. or perishing in the woods as they try to head north.

Four more countries that have been conduits out of Greece—Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia—have closed their borders “with the implicit backing of the European Union.” (New York Times, March 3, 2016) Albania deployed police to help patrol its border with Greece, to be joined by Italian officers. Bulgaria announced it will build a fence, closing the last opening. The UK is already sending Land Rovers to capture refugees attempting to cross that country and send them back to Turkey.

London announced it will send three ships to join the NATO flotilla in the Aegean. Unlike previously, these ships will operate in Greek and Turkish waters. They are not there to save anyone—18 people drowned March 13, adding to the preventable deaths of more than 300 people in these waters so far this year. The six ships now include two landing craft, designed to dump large numbers of soldiers or anyone else on a beach.

In these same waters, on March 12, two men on a Turkish Coast Guard boat were filmed approaching a rubber dinghy filled with refugees and beating them with sticks. A BBC correspondent said this was not the first time. On other occasions, reporters have seen them puncturing life rafts. Inside Turkey, which kept its borders with Syria open to allow recruits and supplies to reach Islamist fighters, border guards opened fire on refugees fleeing Syria, according to the Independent (March 4), which also reports “heavy beatings of those caught after attempting to slip across.”

Syrian refugees in a Turkish government-run camp.
Syrian refugees in a Turkish government-run camp. 300,000 of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are living in such camps with only the bare necessities for life. Many have been there for four or five years already. (AP photo)

The European Union’s plan so far has three aspects: immediately use walls and weapons to keep the 42,000 refugees already in Greece from escaping, stop more from coming, and send as many of those people as they can to Turkey. They have offered Turkey billions of dollars to accept them—making the EU and the Turkish regime the biggest “human traffickers” on the planet. Given what Turkey is doing to them, why would any refugees want to end up there?

More than 14,000 people, from half to two-thirds of them women and children and many elderly, are trapped in the town of Idomeni, on Greece’s border with Macedonia. They are wet and cold all the time, and many are falling sick from these conditions. If they are treated in a hospital, they are released back into a tent in the frigid mud.

Greeks from this village and as far away as Thessaloniki bring food and supplies. A chef’s club comes to cook meals for thousands of people at a sitting. “Pensioners struggling to make ends meet buy two loaves of bread, one to share with those who have descended on their community; elsewhere, villagers open their homes.” (Independent, March 12) NGO activists, doctors, and others from around the world come to do what they can. But Europe’s governments seem to be waiting for these people to die or accept whatever unacceptable fate is offered to them. A political decision has been made to get rid of them, and making them suffer is part of enforcing that decision.

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The stakes are very high, not only for the European powers but the U.S. as well. They perceive this situation not as a humanitarian crisis but a threat to their “security interests.” It is true that their domination is at risk. The top NATO commander in Europe, the American General Philip Breedlove, told the U.S. Congress that “Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration from Syria in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.” The target is “the agreed rules of the international order.” (U.S. Department of Defense website)

This statement, as insane as it sounds, reflects concerns roiling the whole U.S. ruling class today, and those of its Western allies. The claim that Russia is deliberately trying to cause Syrians to flee to Europe by backing the Assad regime’s military offensive cannot hide the fact that the U.S. and its allies have done so much to prolong the civil war and turn it into an international conflict. All the world’s imperialist countries bear responsibility for the horrors Syrian refugees are fleeing, as well as the horrors Afghans, Iraqis, and others are trying to break out of. People should think about the general’s point that the military might of rival Russian imperialists and sick refugee children both represent a mortal threat for the interests he represents.

“The truth is that it is impossible for a handful of wealthy countries to benefit from and enforce the backwardness and poverty in so much of the world without having to confront the consequences of that domination,” the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group wrote (AWTWNS150928). “The current crisis is full of real and serious dangers, not only for the refugees but for everyone. But these same explosive conditions can also bring real opportunities for beginning to carve out a different type of future. There is no use in pining over the broken promises of an increasingly bankrupt European social democracy. Rather we need to look past the boundaries of the present system and begin to construct the kind of movement that, fighting to beat back the reactionary onslaught, can lead in the direction of the only real solution, communist revolution.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/high-stakes-in-apple-vs-fbi-face-off-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

High Stakes in the Apple vs. FBI Face-off

by Alan Goodman and a team Revolution/revcom.us writers | March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In early February, a federal court in California ordered Apple to comply with a demand from the FBI that Apple help bypass the security features of an iPhone. The FBI claims that the phone may contain crucial information in their investigation of the murders of 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2. Apple has so far refused to obey, saying that “the implications of the government’s demands are chilling” because of the potential expansion of the government’s “power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data.”

The phone in question is an iPhone that was used by one of the alleged shooters involved in the terrible outrage in San Bernardino where 14 were killed and 21 injured—people at a holiday gathering of different nationalities and a wide range of backgrounds. Apple said it has already cooperated with the FBI and provided all the information associated with the phone that it can access, including data from the phone on Apple’s online cloud server.

However, like other iPhones in recent years, this phone’s contents are encrypted and a four-digit password is required to access that information. One of the security features on the phone is that after 10 incorrect password entries, all the data on the phone is completely and irreversibly erased. This protects the phone from attempts to unlock the phone by “brute force”—using a high-speed computer to try millions of combinations of find the right one. Apple itself does not have possession of these passwords and cannot access them.

What the FBI is now demanding, through the federal court, is that Apple create a new version of the operating system that drives the iPhone so that the security features can be bypassed and the phone can be hacked. The FBI claims that they would only use this newly created operating system in this one case for this one phone.

In a public “Message to Our Customers” on February 16, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the FBI’s false assurances:

“In the wrong hands, this software—which does not exist today—would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS [Apple’s mobile operating system] that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

“Some would argue that building a backdoor for just one iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution. But it ignores both the basics of digital security and the significance of what the government is demanding in this case.

“In today’s digital world, the ‘key’ to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks—from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”

In other words: The FBI is lying, and people should not believe what they are saying. And let’s be clear that FBI isn’t just acting on its own. It is part of the Obama administration’s Justice Department, so there are larger forces at the top who are behind the FBI’s push against Apple.

There is also a dangerous legal precedent involved in the FBI’s federal court case against Apple. The court order for Apple to create a new operating system was issued under a law from the late 1700s called the All Writs Act, which says that federal courts can issue “all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” A “writ” is a written order, and this Act gives courts authority to issue orders compelling people and entities to do certain things as long as that order itself is lawful.

If Apple is forced under this Act to obey the FBI’s demands, what else could the FBI or other government agencies, acting through the federal courts, force Apple or any other entity or individual to do? In a brief in the current case, Apple noted, “If Apple can be forced to write code in this case to bypass security features and create new accessibility, what is to stop the government from demanding that Apple write code to turn on the microphone in aid of government surveillance, activate the video camera, surreptitiously record conversations, or turn on location services to track the phone’s user? Nothing.”

***

Almost three years ago, Edward Snowden—who had worked for a decade inside the “intelligence community” at the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency—came forward to blow the whistle on the massive, illegal, and illegitimate surveillance that the U.S. has been carrying out on phone and Internet communications of literally billions of people, in the U.S. and around the globe.

Snowden’s revelations shocked and outraged the world, and raised big questions: What is the U.S. government doing getting all into the private business of countless individuals? The U.S. government launched a furious retaliatory attack, accusing Snowden of “betraying his country” and charging him with felonies under the Espionage Act, which could land him in prison for a lifetime. Snowden now lives in exile in Russia.

At the same time, the exposures by Snowden and the angry reaction around the world forced the U.S. government to take some public steps, like ending NSA’s direct “bulk collection” of phone data of people in the U.S. But NSA can still get that data through a warrant or a court order to the telecommunication companies—such requests by the government are routinely granted by the courts. And overall, NSA and other intelligence agencies have continued their spying on people in the U.S. and around the world.

And now, the FBI’s current demands against Apple are part of an attempt to further strengthen the government’s ability to grab up information about individuals and groups—including by trying to gain some kind of a “back door” to get around encryption that makes it harder for the government spies to get their hands on information.

Some encryption engineers at Apple have reportedly vowed that, if the FBI wins the court case and Tim Cook and Apple agree to comply, they would rather quit their jobs than be forced to carry out the order to create the new software. People like these software engineers and others in the tech community and beyond should understand that Tim Cook represents the positions and interests of a certain section of the U.S. bourgeoisie—the capitalist-imperialist ruling class. This is the class that owns the major means of production—land, factories, technologies, etc.—and exercise control of the state and rule over society on that basis.

What is going on in the FBI vs. Apple fight reflects divisions within that ruling class over how to approach the question of encryption, among other issues. Those like FBI Director James Comey—and the Obama administration and others—are aggressively pursuing the strengthening of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ abilities to penetrate encryption on phones and Internet activity—arguing that not doing so would harm U.S. interests. And then there are others—including Cook and Apple, but going way beyond them to powerful forces in the ruling class—who argue that pursuing such back doors into encryption would actually harm U.S. “security” interests.

Tim Cook notes that Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and NSA (who, as director of NSA, installed and still defends the program that collected phone metadata from millions and millions of people around the world), supports the view that strong encryption developed by U.S. corporations like Apple should be protected and that the government should not be given a back door into encrypted phones and communications. Other former high-level intelligence agency officials also put forward this position. In a recent interview, Hayden argued that the “overall health of the American computing industry” is a “far more strategic advantage to the security mission” of the U.S. than “any specific tactical operational transient advantage to the security mission” gained by limiting encryption. Hayden also says that if companies like Apple are forced to hand over a “key” so that the U.S. government has a way into the encrypted data, then other governments and groups and forces could also use that same “hole” to hack into the information.

It is important for those who oppose the repressive moves of the government to understand such differences at the top of this class society—but it is deadly to get drawn into the terms and framework of the debate among the rulers. Central to that framework is that both sides of the ruling class debate argue their position on encryption—and the larger issues concerning the ability of the U.S. to spy on people here and around the world—is in the best interests of “national security.” By “national security,” what they mean is protecting the security and promoting the interests of the U.S.capitalist-imperialist system.

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Now, these rulers say that what they are up against are forces and powers that threaten and harm U.S. interests and “Western values,” including fundamentalist jihadists. So, they declare, it’s necessary—and in the interests of all the people—for the U.S. to have strong military and intelligence forces (even as there is disagreement over how best to achieve this).

Let’s be clear: Islamic jihadism is not a radical alternative to the nightmare created by capitalism-imperialism. They actually enforce—and aim to spread further—oppressive relations that keep people in chains, and life under their rule is a horror that no one should want. But if we look at things historically and on a global scale, these jihadists pale in comparison to the U.S. and other imperialists who are responsible for mass murder, destruction, and terror on an exponentially more vast scale against the people of the world.

This is a system that thrives on a planet of slums and sweatshops—grinding up countless millions of lives, including small children, as part of its daily workings. Even if there may be some “environmentally conscious” CEOs or government officials, the very workings of capitalism-imperialism mean that this system is hooked on fossil fuels and compelled to continue spewing greenhouse gases, threatening global environmental catastrophe. It’s a system that keeps women, half of humanity, in millennia-old chains, facing violence and degradation in different forms... whether in the villages of India or the high-tech workplaces of Silicon Valley. And Apple, one of the largest corporations in the world, itself plays a major role in all of this. The rulers of this system order murderous drone attacks on wedding parties and villages thousands of miles from U.S. borders while imprisoning their own population at a higher rate than any other country. They bring down the hammer of repression and terror against legitimate protest and opposition that endanger their hold on power in any way.

All this and more is not driven by concern about the “safety” of the people in the U.S., much less people in other parts of the world. This system of violent oppression and exploitation is fundamentally against the interests of the vast majority of people. That is why the rulers of this system see billions of people—in the U.S. and across the world—as potential threats to their power. And why, even as these rulers go on and on about democracy and rights, they are driven to build and maintain a vast network of spying and surveillance—as part of a bourgeois dictatorship that maintains the rule of their class over society.

***

Edward Snowden talks during a simulcast conversation during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival on Monday, March 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Snowden, who has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, is the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and Central Intelligence Agency employee who boldly and with great conscience released thousands of classified documents exposing massive government spying, surveillance, and monitoring. The room for Snowden's video conference was overflowing, as were two other Austin auditoriums where the talk and interview were shown. He was given a standing ovation by the SXSW audience. Photo: AP

Part of what’s behind the opposition by Tim Cook and Apple to the FBI demand also has to do with their corporate interests. An important part of the “selling point” of iPhones around the world is that these devices have better security, making them more protected against hacks, than other types of smartphones. After the Snowden revelations, Apple made changes in the iPhone operating system so that, in its own words, “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode, and therefore cannot access this data.”

Cook frames this opposition in the language of civil libertarians. But whether or not he himself sincerely believes that he is fighting for civil liberties, Cook and his board of directors (or any other heads of capitalist enterprises) do not make decisions on that basis. What ultimately drive their decisions are the interests of the capitalism-imperialist class. Cook and Apple’s stand against government snooping has hardly been steadfast. Up until the FBI demand that Apple create a new operating system to hack into an iPhone, Apple had complied with FBI requests to turn over available information on the phone. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Cook said that if Congress passed a law requiring Apple and others to provide a way around encrypted phones, he would comply. And if the federal court decided for the FBI in the current case and ordered Apple to obey under threat of huge fines, it’s likely that Cook would obey.

While Cook and others are fighting for their class interests—which, again, are antagonistic to the fundamental interests of the great majority of people—there are many others in the lower levels of the tech industry as well as millions of iPhone users around the world and people more generally who are justly outraged by these latest attempts to expand government surveillance of personal communications. These are people who also have opposed the massive NSA spying exposed by Edward Snowden and the government’s unjust, repressive attacks against him. The secret government documents leaked by Snowden revealed activities by the U.S. government that shred basic rights that are supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and basic to “what America is about”: just for starters, the Fourth Amendment, prohibiting unreasonable or warrantless searches of people, property, and documents; and the First Amendment, which claims to guarantee freedom of speech and the press, and the right to protest.

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

To be clear, these rights exist under a system of brutal exploitation and oppression, and serve the needs of a predatory empire that had brought down incredible suffering on billions of people across the globe. And when they feel their power is threatened, these rulers openly bring down the iron fist of their dictatorship—as they have shown repeatedly through the history of the U.S. But, at the same time, it is not good for the masses of people when the state moves to move the “norms” of society in a more fascistic direction, and the government’s attacks on rights should be opposed.

So even as Apple, driven by the dictates of profit and expand-or-die competition with competitors, is part of the global network of super-exploitation... the federal court order against Apple to obey the FBI is outrageous, and everyone who stands against the system’s assaults on the rights of people should oppose it. Even as the terms of struggle among those at the top around this fight are around how to best pursue the interests of empire, it is against the interests of the people if the FBI and the Obama administration are able to force Apple to cave in.

Broad numbers of people are deeply disturbed by what’s going on in the world today, including the increasing government intrusions into people’s lives—and there are those who are being compelled into resistance in various forms against the crimes and outrages of the system. But what most people do not know is that there is a radically different—and much better—way society can be organized. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, is an inspiring vision and a viable, concrete plan for such a society. Among the whole range of questions addressed in this Constitution, in the context of a society moving to end all exploitation and oppression throughout the world, is the basic rights of the people—giving a much more expanded and liberating vision of this than what exists today, while scientifically addressing the sharp contradictions involved. We will write more on this in the future in Revolution—but the Constitution and other works by Bob Avakian are available online at www.revcom.us and in printed form.

As people fight together against the government’s insidious attacks on people’s rights, including their attempt to coerce Apple into opening a back door into encrypted phones—we invite everyone to get into and wrangle over this inspiring and viable vision of a society on the road to real human emancipation. And to check out and become part of the movement for an actual revolution that is needed to get to that new society.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/430/will-reese-in-memoriam-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

March 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Will Reese

Will Reese (1950-2016)

Will was a revolutionary communist, someone proud to call himself a follower of Bob Avakian (BA), and ready at all times to marshal the science to say why he was and convince you to be a follower too. Will was a Party member who devoted his whole life to communism and went wherever people were in motion and the struggle was sharpest, wherever the Party asked him to go, to spread this revolution. Will fought as best he could within the Party and as hard as he could to grasp and struggle for the understanding brought forward by BA and to apply it to the problems of the revolution, taking initiative to come up with creative ideas and plans, and contribute as best he could to the collective struggle to transform the world toward communism.

Will spent a tremendous amount of time out among the people, particularly (but not only) among the most oppressed, and was known, loved, and respected by thousands in New York City and around the country as an unapologetic revolutionary, a fierce fighter against the many crimes of the capitalist-imperialist system, and a passionate and scientific advocate of Bob Avakian’s leadership and the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, which Will grasped was the key link in reaching a world free of all the unnecessary cruelty and horror that he saw raining down on the masses of people every day of his life.

Will was on the front lines of many crucial struggles over the last 35 years, in Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and finally in New York. He went to Atlanta in the time of the Child Murders, when at least 20 Black children and youths were abducted and murdered by “forces unknown” in the early 1980s. He went to Miami in the wake of two major rebellions against police murders of unarmed Black men, and to LA after the massive uprising sparked by the acquittal of four of the cops who were caught on video savagely beating Rodney King.

Will’s fierce anger in calling out these crimes against the people, his willingness to give voice to his own deep pain and that of the people, especially at what was being done to the youth, both inspired people and could move them to tears, and to action. (See the video of his talk at the August 2015 gathering of hundreds of people at a Harlem church to build for the Rise Up October protests against police terror and murder.) He led people many times to go up in the face of the oppressors in the streets, and also went widely among teachers, professionals, and intellectuals, including meeting with people like the authors James Baldwin and Tony Cade Bambara to win their support for key struggles. At the same time, Will never stopped focusing on the need to bring forward to the movement for revolution those most in need of revolution, those catching hell every day from this system—especially the youth.

But what was most striking about Will was his determination to bring things back, again and again, to the fact that unless and until people rose up to make revolution, these horrors would keep happening, over and over again, and that for revolution to happen in the future, people had to start stepping forward now and get into Bob Avakian and the revolutionary science he has forged.

Will could—and did—go into a room of hundreds of students who were raging against police brutality, but were completely bogged down in petty and illusory non-solutions, and flip the room by bringing forward the need and basis for revolution, and challenging people to make their lives about that and nothing less. He could and he did lead the Revolution Club in Harlem, who went into huge housing projects with a mission and a plan to talk to every single resident at least once, about why the premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! was something that they had to be at if they cared about the people and the future. He could and he did go out widely among the people to build for the Dialogue on revolution and religion between BA and the revolutionary Christian Cornel West in 2014. And when people responded that they wanted to go because they liked Cornel (who has well-deserved respect among large numbers of Black people), Will had no hesitation about saying to them, “That’s great, but do you know about Bob Avakian? This is a leader that you really need to get into.” Will saw the importance of, and acted on, the need to draw people forward around these efforts—making it a point to get statements from among the masses about WHY they were going to the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and why others should go, and challenging and working with people to take responsibility for organizing others to come to the Dialogue on revolution and religion.

Will did not just promote and popularize BA—he greatly appreciated and sought to apply BA’s scientific method and approach, including an unyielding confidence in the ability of the masses to take up revolution and incredible persistence to bring this about in the face of whatever obstacles. Even when plagued with ill health, Will would stay up all night reading, thinking, talking about problems like this, putting them before other comrades and to the masses themselves, going out persistently to engage and challenge the youth and sum up that experience, keeping journals of what people had said, and then developing new plans with specific goals to make advances.

Will Reese from the NYC Revolution Club calls on people to donate funds to send 100 families to Rise Up October, August 27, 2016, New York City at First Corinthian Church

Will understood the importance of, and placed great emphasis on, bringing the basic people forward as communists, into the Revolution Club and into the Party, which often meant overcoming the problem that so many people on the bottom of society have been denied even the rudiments of an education and are illiterate or semi-literate. Drawing from his own experience teaching students who had dropped out or been thrown out of school, Will worked with people by reading aloud from BA’s writings or other works and then deeply discussing the ideas. In this way, in Los Angeles he recruited Willie “Mobile” Shaw, who himself was—until his death in 2005—a powerful force connecting BA and revolution among the people in LA. (See “Statement by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, on the Occasion of the Death of Willie ‘Mobile’ Shaw.”)

Will was also a masterful agitator who mercilessly hounded and ridiculed the enemy—right to their faces! When he was in Atlanta this earned him a bitter nickname from the pigs who called him “the Mouth of the South.” It was a common sight on the streets of Atlanta to see dozens of people gathered around Will listening intently as he called out the crimes of this system. But Will was also “listening intently.” He didn’t talk “at” people—he was always very aware of his audience, watching for signs, in their eyes, a smile, body language, from which he could get a sense of what they were thinking and going through, and he would call out to people, even if they were just walking by—“Come on, sister, you know what I’m saying is true, what do you think about this?”—and he would draw people in, forging an instant community of people resisting oppression, wrangling with why things are the way they are and how they could be different.

As part of all this, Will was an incredibly warm, playful, and loving person who saw, and reached for, the best in everyone he met, urging and welcoming people to play the greatest role they could in the movement for revolution, whether they were lifelong veterans of that movement or were just encountering it at that moment. Consciously learning from BA, Will modeled a communist spirit of loving and cherishing the masses of people but always struggling to lead them. With good humor, with firmness, and sometimes with great courage, Will challenged expressions of male chauvinism, racism, nationalism, of slavishness or submission to the oppressors, and any other idea that kept the people enslaved by the system.

Harlem, NYC. Reaching out to—and drawing in—the youth.
Harlem, NYC. Reaching out to—and drawing in—the youth.
(Special to www.revcom.us/Revolution)

Although he was deeply aware of the many barriers to people stepping out against the system, or the pulls to give up that struggle—the difficulty of just surviving, the fear of the power the system could bring down on you, the pull of a “look out for #1” society and of backward “traditional ideas”—he was even more conscious of the need and the potential for people to break through those barriers and be part of the force fighting for the emancipation of all humanity.

All of this had a powerful impact on everyone around him; many people who encountered Will even 20 or 30 years ago never forgot him, and Will held a great many people in his heart as well.

Will Reese’s Early Life

Will himself was one of those who, from very early on in life, was driven forward by a love for the people and a hatred of the oppression they suffered, and searched restlessly for an understanding and a road forward out of this, a way to a world fit for human beings.

Will came up in rural southwest Virginia under the suffocating reign of open white supremacy, where the rules for Black people were plain to all, written in Jim Crow laws, in reactionary customs... and in blood. And all those rules came down to one rule: “know your place” and, most of all, always submit to white authority. Every Black person understood that to violate those rules could mean arrest, a beat-down, or a savage lynching.

But Will was already feeling the beat of a different rhythm, as the Civil Rights Movement spread through the South, giving heart to the rebellious spirits of youths even in the rural backwaters. At an early age, Will was one of the defiant ones who refused to submit. He and his crew boldly tried to integrate an all-white barber shop, but were turned back when the owner pulled a shotgun. They succeeded in integrating a roller rink after his little sister was turned away. They showed up at a country club dressed in their funkiest threads and insisted on playing golf. But even among these defiant ones, Will stood out for his fearlessness—one time when barely more than a child, Will and his friends were confronted by a large group of white youths; Will’s friends took off, but Will stood there, facing down the challengers.

A few years later, Will would see a picture of the Black Panther Party decked out in their berets and black leather jackets, and he recognized the militancy he wanted to emulate. So he set off searching for a beret. But there were no berets in his town! Undeterred, he fashioned one out of an old hat and got a leather jacket to go with it.

After high school Will got a football scholarship to attend Emory and Henry, a small liberal arts college that had only a few years earlier admitted its first Black students since its founding in 1839. College opened up new worlds and new possibilities for Will. He was attracted to the rebellious spirit and largeness of mind he found among the art students and professors, all of whom were white. He had a passion for oil painting, and to this day one of his paintings hangs in a community college in the area. He got into jazz. He studied history.

But with all his interests, talents, and passions, most of all, Will saw the need to radically change things, and that set the terms for his life. The upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s were increasingly influenced by revolutionary ideas, but there was not yet a clear revolutionary leadership or a clear strategy for revolution in the U.S. In these conditions, thousands of students and former students came together in small collectives and initiated different projects, often aimed at connecting the radical ideas that were flourishing on campuses to the oppressed people in different communities.

Will was part of this—after college he formed a collective to publish a magazine based in the Appalachian region near his school. The Plow published essays, creative writing, and art reflecting the unique culture of the deeply oppressed people—predominantly white—of Appalachia. Will saw this as a vehicle to spread radical ideas and initiate resistance, but others in the collective saw it purely as a cultural magazine, and when that line won out, Will moved on looking for something new.

Some friends invited him to Hawai’i in the mid-’70s, where he connected with the struggle of oppressed Native Hawaiian people to reclaim their culture as part of fighting for their liberation. Will loved to go to their encampment on the beach and hang out with them. He got a job in a pineapple processing plant and joined strikes and workplace struggles that were commonplace at the time.

Through all of this, Will continued to widen his view, learning that the problem was more than just white supremacy, his eye drawn more and more to a worldwide system of imperialism that ravaged the lives of billions, though he was still basically rooted in a revolutionary nationalist view of that.

Making the Leap to Communism

But around 1978 he met comrades from the recently formed Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) who were fighting fiercely against the oppressors, but with a different outlook, that of proletarian internationalism and communism. At that time, Bob Avakian was under heavy attack from the rulers of this system, both for his role as leader of the revolutionary struggle in the U.S., and as a leader in the international communist movement who was calling out the new leadership in China—leadership that came to power in a military coup after the death of the great revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong—as revisionist betrayers of the revolution who were restoring capitalism in China*. BA was facing charges carrying a potential 241 years in jail stemming from a brutal police attack on a demonstration he led against Deng Xiaoping (the leader of the coup) when Deng came to DC, where the U.S. rulers welcomed him as a hero.

Will, still struggling with the need to rupture beyond revolutionary nationalism, decided to join 170 volunteers to go to Washington, DC, for six weeks for an intense political battle to free Bob Avakian and the other 17 people facing heavy charges from the demonstration. This battle involved going out very broadly among the people in DC, from the most down-pressed ghettos to artists, intellectuals and activists, to relatively privileged and professional people, and not only exposing the outrageous frame-up, but getting into the need for revolution and the role of genuine communist leaders like BA.

It was through the course of this that Will himself came to recognize that this communist movement, this science, and the leadership of BA, was what he had been looking for, the road forward for real liberation for all the people. And once he did that his tremendous defiance, love for the people, and hatred of oppression became fused with the science and the leadership that could actually forge a path to a whole different future.

And Will was all in from that point forward—to those who worked with him, he seemed both completely fearless and absolutely inexhaustible both in leading people to resist oppression and in taking revolutionary communism to them and struggling with them to take it up themselves, unleashed as a veritable force of nature, fearless, fierce, focused on bringing about revolution at the earliest possible time.

Will told people that one of his favorite writings by Bob Avakian was the final essay in BAsics, “The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses and the Responsibility of the Vanguard.” This is very fitting, and the outlook and orientation of this essay very much characterized Will. In essence, Will had a deep sense of the oppression of the masses and an unshakeable confidence in their ability to take up the struggle and the science of revolutionary communism.

One-on-one, Will would really put the whole thing to people, even if they were very new. Before the April 14, 2015, protests against police murder, a couple of college-age youths came around to help make banners for the march, but then started to head home rather than actually go to the protest. Will asked them why, and they basically said that while they supported the protest (which is why they were helping with the banners), they didn’t want to run the risk of fucking up their college education, and also thought doing this would drive a wedge between them and their parents. Will didn’t shine on that possibility, but he spoke at length about what the world needs from them now, and also talked about his own experience—and that of hundreds of thousands of people—in the ’60s, when those youth who were the backbone of the revolutionary upsurge often had to go up against and became alienated from their families. And he said that, really, revolutionary change is not possible if youth are not willing to do this, and that it is important to put the future of humanity and of the people, including people like their parents, ahead of the real pain that this might cause in the short run. This struggle was for real—Will wasn’t just making some points for these kids “to think about,” he was challenging them to make a big change in their lives because that’s what was needed.

Even in the hospital, when he was very ill, whatever energy Will had, he used to spread revolution, getting Revolution newspaper to doctors and hospital staff, starting up conversations with whoever was transporting him, and trying to deepen his own understanding so he could play a greater role. When the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, January 2016 came out, he was able to discuss them with comrades several times.

The death of Will Reese is heartbreaking to those who knew and loved him—and a great loss for the whole revolutionary movement. But it also poses a challenge. To all those who knew, admired, and loved Will, and even to those who are just learning about him: There is a great need for you to follow his example—to put the interests of the people, or to more fully put the interests of the people, at the center of your life, and to get into this—or get more fully and deeply into this—as a follower of BA, studying his scientific method and approach, popularizing and spreading his leadership in the way that Will did, in the way that made him such a precious leader and fighter for the future of humanity. This challenge goes out to longtime revolutionaries and brand-new people; it is a challenge to do the most important thing anyone can do with their life, and to do it well, and each and every one of you who responds to this will make a huge difference in the struggle for a world free of all oppression to which Will Reese devoted his entire life, body and soul.

 


* Today it is much easier to see that the coup in 1976 marked a reversal of the revolution, because China today is a grotesque “model” of capitalist exploitation run amok, destroying the lives of the people and the environment in pursuit of profit. But in 1978, this was not well understood even by most communists, and this confusion was actually disorienting the whole worldwide revolutionary struggle. BA’s role in very thoroughly and scientifically analyzing what had happened and on that basis opposing this and fighting to keep the communist movement internationally on the path of real revolution, was deeply threatening to the worldwide system of imperialism. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

What Is the REAL Solution?

The People Run Trump Out of Chicago—The Crisis Sharpens

Updated March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Since this article was originally posted (March 14), determined protests against Trump have spread to Utah, Arizona, New York, and elsewhere.

Chicago, March 11.
Chicago, March 11. (AP photo)


Chicago, March 11. (Video: revcom.us)


Saturday, March 19, New York City, as many as 2,000 people defied police attacks to protest Trump, including marching to Trump Towers. Photo: AP


Saturday, March 19, a major highway leading to Fountain Hills, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, was blockaded and shut down by protesters delaying a Trump rally for over an hour. (Patrick Breen/The Arizona Republic via AP)


Friday, March 18, hundreds of protesters confronted and challenged Trump supporters at a Trump rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, and were attacked by police. Photo: AP

The crisis concentrated in the candidacy of Donald Trump intensified, reaching a new height in the powerful and very justified disruption of Trump’s scheduled rally in Chicago on March 11. Thousands of protesters, including many students of color, confronted the fascist rally and essentially forced Trump to cancel it.

Trump has for weeks incited physical attacks on protesters at his rallies and defended his followers who carry them out. This reached a peak on March 9, when someone reached out and sucker-punched a Black protester being forcibly removed from the rally by eight police. And when the puncher was arrested, he said, “We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not acting like an American. The next time we see him we might have to kill him.”

In the face of this, and in the face of a constant stream of racist and chauvinist invective and threats coming from Trump and his minions, and on top of all that, in the face of Trump very provocatively coming to the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is attended by many Blacks and Latinos as well as many immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants, people had very righteously had enough. It clearly felt good to the people in the hall to confront this shit—you can’t miss the joy that people feel when they stand up and sense their potential power—and it felt good to watch it. Fact: conciliating with fascists does not make them go away!! This protest and disruption must be upheld, and those who would lecture people “on the right way to go about things” should be taken on.

The Crisis Sharpens

At the same time, for all the reasons we said in our main article online and in print in Revolution issue #429-430 (“On the Rise of Donald Trump... And the Need and Possibility of Real Revolution”),  what happened in Chicago has exacerbated the legitimacy crisis among those ruling society. By that we mean the crisis over HOW the representatives of the capitalist class that rules America carry out its rule.

As we said in that article:

The system as a whole faces multiple crises on different fronts—the globalization and “turbo-charging” of the world economy, which has led to the hollowing out of the domestic industrial base and the downgrading of the living standards of tens of millions of people, accompanied by an extraordinarily pronounced income inequality... the fracturing international situation, with a direct challenge to the U.S. (and Western Europe) mounted by the fundamentalist Islamic jihadist forces but also coming from other rivals... the tumultuous changes in the role of women, economically and culturally, especially in relation to the family... and changes in the “racial” makeup of America—the increasing necessity to rely on immigrant labor coupled with the actual removal of millions of African-Americans out of the labor force, and the institution of a genocidal system of mass incarceration... and the intensifying ecological crisis. There is widespread alienation and a feeling, among many different sections of people, that the system is not working and the rules are not being applied fairly.

Generally speaking, over the past two decades two sections of the imperialist ruling class have been engaged in extremely sharp struggle. This finds expression in the complaints about “rancor in Congress” and gridlock, etc. One group, more or less corresponding to the Republican Party, has promoted a more or less openly fascist set of “legitimating norms” (that is, basic assumptions that are more or less accepted as the “way things should be” or at least “the way things are”), while the other group—more or less corresponding to the Democrats—has had a more liberal approach, and has over and over again conciliated with the Republicans. In large part, this is because the Democrats find (and attempt to build) their base among the oppressed groups in society, as well as among people who generally want justice and believe in reason. While the Republicans are more than willing to stoke their base of soreheads, reactionaries, and fundamentalist morons and to—sometimes—call them into action, the Democrats fear calling their base into the streets, precisely because these are the groups whose most basic interests can only be met through revolution and who, even if they don’t or may not see that at any given time, still can be part of opening up questions at the very heart of how oppressive and exploitative this system actually IS, as they stand up and fight against it. In other words, the sharpening crisis between these two camps and the wild-card element represented by Trump could set in motion a process containing great potential dangers for the system.

For an example of the craven and disgusting attitude of the top Democrats when those they consider their base do stand up, look at Hillary Clinton’s shameful—and shameless—response to what went down in Chicago. She couldn’t even bring herself to denounce Trump by name or call him a racist when asked about him in the Miami debate. She lectured those who are outraged by Trump, and who courageously disrupted and shut down one of his fascist rallies, that they should be like the families of Black people murdered in a church in South Carolina by “an evil man” (she couldn’t even call him a racist!). Clinton said, “The families of those victims came together and melted hearts in the statehouse and the Confederate flag came down. That should be the model we strive for to overcome painful divisions in our country.” But you are not going to “melt the hearts” of a fascist movement (nor of Hillary Clinton’s heart for that matter)—“hearts” are checked at the door when you enter the high reaches of ruling class politics.

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Trump has seized on this situation in general to sort of preemptively call a large part of the fascist social base into action, including in his campaign itself. The violence at his rallies is a big part of his thing—the “strongman” appeal. And, in fact, not only did Trump not back off of threatening people at his rallies, he openly threatened to send his people into rallies for Bernie Sanders.

The intensity of this crisis of legitimacy can be seen in many ways. To take just one, right now, you have Republicans debating over whether they should just basically negate the results of the primaries and deny Trump the nomination should he win the number of delegates he needs. This would have serious ramifications, at minimum for the Republicans’ short-term aims, and it is not clear that they would do this. But this is the kind of thing they’re openly discussing, and that is just the tip of the iceberg—it goes way deeper. To quote from an article in the New York Times: “Behind the showdowns is a climate of frustration and fright not seen since the 1960s, or even the 1850s when, in the words of Joanne Freeman, a Yale historian who has studied violence in American politics, ‘each side was convinced that the other side was about to destroy America—or what they believed to be the fundamental essence of America—and each side totally alienated the other side.’” (“Donald Trump’s Heated Words Were Destined to Stir Violence, Opponents Say,” March 12, 2016)

This quote illustrates just how sharp the crisis is, and the possibility evoked by these historical examples for the social fabric to be torn open—a possibility which carries dangers but also carries the potential for great change and which, together with the very active work of revolutionaries, could be part of what leads to a revolutionary situation and the chance to actually go for power. Not guaranteed by any means, not one-two-three out of today’s situation in any case, and certainly something that would require a great deal of scientific rigor, imagination, initiative, struggle, work, and going against the tide by revolutionaries to even present itself as a possibility... But still, this situation is extremely volatile. And things could happen.

Why the Democrats Are NOT the Answer

Yet many say—even with the proven conciliation carried out by the Democrats, again and again—that while revolution would be good, or might be good, right now people have to unite with the Democrats to stop Trump.

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That is wrong, for two reasons. The first is that the Democrats have proven themselves unwilling to oppose any of the Republican-led outrages in any meaningful way—again, because from their calculus, the possibility of “masses in the streets” getting out of their control is far more frightening than anything the Republi-fascists have done—and again, they have done and are doing plenty. Further, the Democrats not only share much of this fascist program (after all, Obama IS “deporter-in-chief” even as he talks a different game), they share the most basic assumption: that the yardstick in everything is the survival of this capitalist-imperialist system. To now rely on these people to oppose the fascists is the popular definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing over and over, when you know the results will not be what you want and what you are convinced you need.

A Call, a Question, to Those Searching for a Way Forward

Here we have to ask our readers to step back and ask yourselves: What kind of society, what kind of system, IS it which even produces a Donald Trump as a leading candidate? What kind of system produces, as the limits of political discourse in society, an argument over HOW to best preserve and expand a worldwide empire of grinding exploitation of billions of people all over the world? And yes, “even” Bernie Sanders works within these parameters. Sanders, after all, repeatedly says, “I believe that the United States should have the strongest military in the world.” This means the drones, the counter-insurgencies, the proxy wars, and everything else—and if he, or the ruling class as a whole, deems it necessary—all-out brutal war, exactly of the type fought and/or threatened by “progressive presidents” of the past, like Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama. Bernie Sanders has an economic program of high taxes on the super-rich. But such a program requires the super-rich themselves to BE super-rich. And where does that wealth come from? From the parasitism of this whole system. From the horrifically exploited gold miners in Congo; the women who die whether by slow or all-too-often fast death in the factories of Bangladesh or Vietnam or any of dozens of countries; or the plunder and despoliation—the downright poisoning—of the environment for the massive profits in petroleum, agriculture, etc., in every corner of the planet.

What kind of society, what kind of choice is it, when one of the “social justice” candidates (Clinton) has a history neck deep in the, yes, genocidal policy of massively incarcerating millions of Black and Latino people, and the other (Sanders) has basically ignored the whole question during his decades in power and political life until it became inopportune to not even pay lip service and make cheap promises? Why should we settle for a politics whose vision of “women’s liberation” is essentially confined to incremental adjustments to inequality for some women, constrained within the social relations of capitalism and all the commodification and oppression that means, while severe attacks on the fundamental rights of women overall are not seriously fought and the root-and-branch transformation really required for the emancipation of women—which means revolution and upheaval in everything, from the ways people make a living, to how children are reared and socialized, to the standards of what is tolerable and not, to the very ideas of human potential—is ruled off the table? Why should we have a world where the vast majority of human beings live in countries and regions that have been plundered, impoverished, and dominated by imperialism and where these same people are then deemed “illegal” and demonized, persecuted, drowned, raped, imprisoned, humiliated, and even murdered when they flee their birthplaces that imperialism has made intolerable?

So listen. You are questioning. That is critically important and indispensable. You are fighting. That can be very positive. As you do that, as you intensify that, learn about, get into, struggle over what humanity really needs: revolution, a real revolution. Get into Bob Avakian (BA) and his work and leadership. Get into the way of scientifically understanding the world and what drives a society forward and what the real possibilities are for social transformation that he’s brought forward. Get into the blueprint for a whole new society, on the road to the elimination of all exploitation and oppression that he’s concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Get into the strategy he’s developed for getting to a situation in which millions would be won to and be prepared to go all-out for revolution and win. Get into and spread this website, revcom.us. Get with the Party BA leads and the Revolution Club led by that Party, and get into the whole movement for revolution and the process of “fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution.”

Whatever happens with the immediate crisis—whether those on top succeed in defusing it, or whether in fact it sharpens—the most crucial thing is that there be a vanguard, with real roots among the people and a real magnetic pole among millions FOR revolution. There is work to do NOW. Be part of it.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/430/hamilton-or-the-real-american-hustle-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

Hamilton—or, The Real American Hustle

March 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hamilton, an American Musical is the biggest thing to hit Broadway in many years. It premiered to rave reviews in February 2015, and has played to a packed house ever since. Hamilton was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on a biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It tells Hamilton’s story from his arrival in the U.S. as an impoverished teenager to his death in a duel at the hands of then Vice-President Aaron Burr. It portrays Hamilton—one of the U.S.’s “Founding Fathers”—as a feisty, hot tempered, intelligent guy; ready to stand up for his honor and his principles, working relentlessly and determined to make it big, to make a name for himself.

The musical is presented at a high artistic level. Its music and choreography are creative and energetic. Its themes and ideas come wrapped in pulsing rhythms, staccato raps, and soaring melodies. A big part of its appeal is that it draws on hip-hop, jazz, and other musical genres not usually associated with Broadway. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson face off in angry rap battles during cabinet meetings. King George of England enters sounding like he could be singing from a lost Beatles album. Hamilton projects a modern, urban sensibility, language, and mood onto colonial and early U.S. history.

Hamilton’s essential message is that “in America you can be anything you want if you really try.” The youthful Alexander Hamilton and his friends sing, “Yo, I’m just like my country, young scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot.” Hamilton is all about not throwing away that shot—the one shot to make it, to strike it rich. The musical merges this “shot” with the shot to “...claim our promised land.” In this imagining, the country itself can be reshaped so that it includes people like the Black and Latino actors who portray Hamilton and other—all white—colonial figures. Personal success in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism and the country’s success conflate and reinforce each other in Hamilton, and the whole package is wrapped in red, white, and blue bunting.

A review on the Huffington Post site enthusiastically summed up this outlook: “The core of this wonderful entertainment is an affirmation of America as a land of opportunity... What the three-hour musical does is transform this story into a motivational tour de force by casting black actors in the roles of Hamilton, Jefferson, Washington, and the other founding fathers. The message: anyone who feels left out, overlooked, underprivileged and/or passed over can find a hero in Alexander Hamilton.”

This statement concentrates a big part of the appeal of Hamilton to younger, Black, and Latino audiences. Fantasizing back to an America that never was, believing that in the America of today—the land of mass incarceration; a border bristling with razor wire and prisons; routine brutality and murder by police against youth of color; drone bombings and government run torture chambers; millions of youth locked out of a society that has no future for them—in this America even youth of color, even a penniless, outcast immigrant who’s smart and energetic and makes the system “work” for him or her can make it big against all odds.

Flowing from the musical’s success, all kinds of people are now interested in Alexander Hamilton. So, who was this Hamilton, what did he do, what were his outlook and goals, what does he actually represent?

A Land of Genocide and Slavery

Alexander Hamilton first arrived in what became the U.S. in 1772. At that time, the 13 colonies along the Atlantic Coast from New Hampshire in the North to Georgia in the South were part of the British empire. Genocide and slavery were integral to the land Hamilton was determined to make his mark in.

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The Europeans who had settled in North America waged a series of murderous wars to seize the lands of the Indians who lived there, including spreading deadly “gifts” of contaminated smallpox blankets to eradicate entire villages and peoples. Shiploads of brutalized, whip lashed Africans were regularly brought to ports and put on auction blocks from New York to Savannah. Slavery of Africans and people descended from Africans was most prevalent in the Southern colonies, but legal in all 13. Slavery was the foundation of enormous wealth amassed not only by Southern plantation owners, but also by the emerging class of merchant capitalists in Massachusetts, New York, and other Northern states. Among the Northern states, New York in particular had a high number of slaves.

The colonies were seething with discontent at British control and domination. A foundational premise of colonial rule at that time was that colonies enrich the “mother country.” Each of the 13 colonies was ruled directly by an English governor in the interests of the English ruling class. The emerging class of merchant capitalists increasingly resented that they were denied any representation in English decision making and policy formation, especially when it came to issues of taxation. These Northern capitalists decided to strike out on their own, and sought to bring the slave owners of the Southern colonies with them.

In 1776 the colonies declared their independence, and a war began between the colonists and the British Army. When Hamilton was still in his 20s he became chief aide to Commander in Chief George Washington (himself a prosperous slave owner) during the U.S. War of Independence from England. The 13 colonies emerged from eight years of war as an independent country. But it was a country exhausted from war, and weakened by an ineffective central government and endlessly squabbling states.

Bob Avakian has written of the “particular—and peculiar, if you will—historical evolution of the United States. Today, we say this as one entity (almost as one word), but actually it has real historical significance: the ‘United States’ of America. This is a reflection of the whole historical development of this country and of the bourgeois state (or the bourgeois/slaveowners’ state for a certain period in this country, up until the Civil War in the 1860s) out of 13 colonies, which were to a significant degree separate and distinct entities and had to go through a process, a halting and difficult process, marked by a lot of conflict among them, before they were able to form themselves into one unified nation-state, if you will.”

Hamilton and others among the rising class of Northern capitalists were convinced that the Articles of Confederation that loosely bound the former colonies together did not adequately represent their interests. They wanted a cohered, firmly unified nation. They needed a political framework that brought together the emerging capitalists of the North and Southern slave owners, and enabled them to expand westward into regions still populated by Native Americans—regions they would “clear” with more genocidal military campaigns.

That framework was provided by the U.S. Constitution.

A “Founding Father”... of Emerging Capitalism

Hamilton did not write the U.S. Constitution. But his foremost achievement, and the main reason he is regarded as a “Founding Father,” is that during the rough and tumble political battles of the early days of U.S. independence, he fought more than anyone to forge a country with a strong central government unified around that Constitution.

In the tumultuous and unsettled environment of the early U.S., Hamilton consciously fought for the development of capitalism, and represented the emerging Northern bourgeoisie. He knew that if the former colonies splintered into several distinct nations, the interests and aims of nascent capitalists could be overwhelmed, and possibly crushed. Hamilton repeatedly and energetically argued that in the absence of a strong central government in the U.S., European powers would be able to pit the interests of some states against others, and weaken all of them in the process.

Hamilton was the principal author and overall director of a project that came to be called The Federalist Papers. This was a series of 85 articles arguing for the adoption of the new U.S. Constitution against people who bitterly opposed it. Conventions were held in every state to determine whether or not that state would accept the Constitution. Hamilton fought relentlessly for over a month against entrenched opposition to win the crucial state of New York to accept it.

In The Federalist Papers and elsewhere, Hamilton articulated three basic goals for the newly formed country to get on its feet and for capitalism to grow. He thought there needed to be a muscular central (federal) power if the young U.S. was to become what he called “the embryo of a great empire,” capable of developing the economic and military strength needed to compete with well-established European powers (who still had a direct presence, including military presence, in North America); he wanted to protect private property in whatever form it existed (and enslaved human beings of African descent were, along with land, the most valuable form of property in the U.S. at that point); he wanted to maintain the order and stability capitalism needed to flourish.

The accomplishments of the U.S. Constitution and The Federalist Papers were not to “establish justice” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” as the Constitution proclaims and as generations have been taught. They were in enabling two different modes of production based on exploitation—capitalism and slavery—to coexist and expand within the same political structure.

The U.S. was founded as a “slaveholders’ union.” It “embedded slavery in American law,” as historian George William Van Cleve wrote. Some of the U.S. Constitution’s most infamous passages express this explicitly—Black people were to be counted as “three-fifths” human; escaped “fugitive” slaves were to be returned to their owners, even if they had escaped to non-slave territory. But the entire document legitimized and provided a basis for the expansion of slavery.

With the acceptance of the U.S. Constitution by the 13 former colonies, Northern capitalists and Southern slave owners were coalescing into a single ruling class over the entire country. There were many sharp conflicts within this arrangement from its onset, and these erupted into all-out civil war 74 years later. But Hamilton and other Northern capitalists wanted the union with slave owners to provide a political framework for working out disputes between them, and to provide a basis for capitalism’s growth, as well as for the defense, survival, and expansion of the entire country.

The Narrow Horizons of Bourgeois Right

Hamilton’s political actions, the positions he fought for, and his world outlook flowed from his desire to promote and establish the capitalist mode of production in the new country. Hamilton served in George Washington’s cabinet as the U.S.’s first Secretary of the Treasury, and in his five years in the cabinet, that and other institutions he initiated to develop capitalism became significant and lasting components of the structure of the U.S. government.

Hamilton and other early advocates of capitalism wanted to sweep away feudal privileges given to lords and kings. He thought this would eliminate social divisions “as far as such divisions should be eliminated”, as Bob Avakian wrote in Birds Cannot Give Rise to Crocodiles, but Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon. (Birds/Crocodiles)

The U.S. Constitution Hamilton advocated so strenuously provided a legal and political foundation for cohering a society that contained chasms of inequalities—economic, social, and legal. The political freedoms given to propertied white men were founded upon the mass murder and theft committed against Native Americans, and the enslavement of Black people. Both Native and Black people (and all women) were excluded from the political order established by the U.S. Constitution.

These glaring inequalities were not troublesome to Alexander Hamilton or any other of the U.S.’s leaders. Hamilton’s understanding of concepts such as “rights” and “freedoms” were shaped by the narrow limits of the capitalist mode of production. His world outlook and political goals were an expression in the realm of ideas of a basic underlying reality of capitalism—the appearance of equality that masks a reality of great inequality.

“Bourgeois right” is a concept of rights that corresponds to and reflects the capitalist mode of production. It is founded on the “right” of individuals to privately own the means used to produce social wealth, and to exploit other people to amass more of that wealth. But bourgeois right does not recognize the right of people collectively to determine society’s priorities and how production should be carried out to meet those priorities in such a way as to overcome exploitation, inequality, and all forms of oppression.

The state in such a system—and this is a state Alexander Hamilton fought to develop—is a vehicle that above all serves to protect the rights of individuals to accumulate capital. Down on the ground, this means the right to exploit others and to plunder the environment. All other rights in capitalist society are subordinate to that—and all this appears as and is presented as “equality.” French author Anatole France sarcastically captured a basic reality of bourgeois law over 100 years ago: “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”

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Part 2: BUILDING THE MOVEMENT FOR REVOLUTION

As BA continued in Birds/Crocodiles, Hamilton and other “founders” “believed that they had established equality, as far as it should be established, and ‘equality before the law’ stood as a decisive expression of this. They would not, or could not, recognize that social divisions, and antagonisms, were reproduced, and perpetuated, even if to a significant degree in some new forms, through the dynamics of the very system of which they were advocates: what is in reality bourgeois democracy—not classless or ‘pure’ democracy—and the economic system in which this form of political governance is ultimately grounded and which it serves—capitalism. They would not, or could not, understand that this system is, in its own way, as much an embodiment of oppression—and yes, of despotism and tyranny, that is, of dictatorship—as the systems of hereditary hierarchy which they opposed, and worked to overthrow.”

The political system cohered by the U.S. Constitution provided a legal and political framework for centuries of exploitation and brutal oppression. Almost immediately upon its signing, renewed extermination and relocation campaigns against Native Americans were begun to further the U.S.’s westward growth. The U.S. Constitution also provided the legal justification for the country as a whole to wage an unjust war of aggression against Mexico that opened up the further expansion of slavery into what became the U.S. Southwest.

For several decades Northern (non-slave) states and Southern slave states were admitted to the Union together in a way that sustained slavery and provided for its massive growth, and maintained a “balance of power” between the states that lasted until the Civil War tore it apart in 1861. After the Civil War, the U.S. Constitution provided supposed “legitimacy” for genocidal campaigns by the U.S. Army against the Native peoples that “won the West” for the U.S., and for the institutionalized repression and lynching of Black people during decades of the open racism of Jim Crow. In the epoch of imperialism—invasions, occupations, nuclear bombings, napalm (jellied gasoline) dropped on villages, carpet bombing of agricultural areas, and countless other crimes against humanity—this Constitution continued to supply a framework that allowed for any atrocity committed by American forces. Such was the “genius” of the U.S. Constitution Hamilton fought for.

Changing the World, Transforming Humanity

Lin-Manuel Miranda has said the story of Hamilton is a very “hip-hop” story. An immigrant, a penniless orphan, a quick witted guy comes to the big city and makes it big “his way.” Stepping on people, using his wits to get ahead, living large, marrying into money, and making a lot more.

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

But why would anyone want to celebrate, applaud, and promote Hamilton’s cutthroat capitalist ethic, especially at a time when the interests and the possibilities for humanity are so much greater? Alexander Hamilton is no role model to uphold, no one for today’s youth to emulate. People don’t always have to be at each other, trying to get ahead by slitting someone else’s throat. The behavior and outlook of humans are shaped by the economic, social, and cultural conditions of the society in which they live. Changes in society—especially changes brought about by an actual revolution—bring about changes in how people think, act, and relate to each other. And working and struggling right now for the values that could be possible in a new revolutionary society on the road to communism (as we’ll get to later) is a critical part of bringing about those changes; as is cutting to the essence of, and struggling against, the values promoted of a show like Hamilton.

Democracy—Another Form of Dictatorship

In Hamilton, Miranda celebrates and extols bourgeois democracy—democracy that serves the capitalist mode of production. All democracies and all forms of government in which society remains divided into classes—are, at bottom, dictatorships.

As Bob Avakian explains in BAsics 1:23:

When a monopoly of political power—and, in a concentrated way, the monopoly of “legitimate” armed force—is in the hands of one group in society, and that group excludes others from that monopoly of power and force, then that is a dictatorship of the ruling group—or class—regardless of whether or not that ruling group allows those it excludes from power, and over whom it rules in fact, to take part in elections to vote for different representatives of the ruling class, as happens in the U.S. and a number of other countries. Political rule in the U.S., regardless of whether or not there is an open and undisguised tyranny, is and has always been a bourgeois dictatorship, a dictatorship of the ruling capitalist class (or, in the early history of the U.S., before the defeat and abolition of the slave system, through the Civil War, what existed was the dictatorship of the ruling classes—the slaveowning as well as the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie).

If there were a different state power—a dictatorship of the proletariat that was brought into being through the overthrow of the capitalist system and the dismantling of all its institutions, their replacement by revolutionary power and the reorganization of all of the economy—the situation would be dramatically, radically different.

A socialist state would be rooted in a radically different mode of production—one based on social production that would first and foremost advance “the world revolution to uproot all exploitation and oppression and to emancipate all of humanity,” as the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) says. It would not be based on exploitation of millions across the world by a relative handful of capitalists. It would work with and lead the masses of people in transforming all of society. Its ultimate aim—and its guiding principle at all times—would be enabling humanity to transcend the division into antagonistic classes, and overcome the very need for states, for armies, for prisons, and other institutions of repression. It would consciously aim to lead people in overcoming all their class distinctions, all the production relations that foster those distinctions, and all the social relations, such as the oppression of women, and backward ways of thinking that reinforce them.

Instead of “look out for number one” and step on anyone who gets in your way, it would work at uniting people of different nationalities, people who speak different languages and live in different neighborhoods, to cooperate with each other in building a new world aimed at overcoming all oppressive relations. It would open up great possibilities for people to overcome divisions between people who work with their minds and those who do manual labor, and draw masses of people into great questions and debates of science, politics, and morality as part of transforming the whole world. This socialist state under the dictatorship of the proletariat would pulse with exploration, debate, experiment, and dissent—thinking itself will be increasingly emancipated from the “narrow horizons” of self-interest that correspond to and reinforce the capitalist mode of production. There would be contention with real stakes for the direction of society and the well being of the planet itself, involving and developing active participation of masses of people from different strata of society.

And a beautiful new culture would thrive and grow in dazzling ways in that society.

This isn’t just a dream or a nice idea. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, gives a living sense of how a new society would work at uprooting and overcoming all exploitation, oppression, and antagonistic divisions between people. The Revolutionary Communist Party, under the leadership of Bob Avakian, has developed a strategy that can, in conjunction with changes in society, mobilize millions of people to carry out this revolution consciously. There is a leadership taking responsibility for carrying through with all this—the Revolutionary Communist Party, led by Bob Avakian.

There is a way to conceive and live your life that is not about getting over or “making it.” It is about contributing all you can to the emancipation of humanity. It is about making revolution—and the fact is there is a shot at making that real today.

Let’s not throw it away.

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

On the Rise of Donald Trump... And the Need for and Possibility of Real Revolution

March 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump is three things.

Make America Great Again? Hell no!

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One: Trump is the perfect representative of the ugliest, most rotten, most parasitical, and most corrupt parts of the already extremely ugly, vicious, and oppressive American empire and the social values that embody that empire. Not only his political stances, but the whole way he moves through life—the bullying, the sleaze, the worship of and glorying in money, the pride in ignorance, the crude chauvinism of “USA Number One,” the leering nastiness toward women: this is exactly where the so-called American Dream leads. He embodies the exploitation and plunder that is capitalism, and the me-first mentality it spawns. He is an extreme expression of that, but an expression nonetheless. This is what people are conditioned to want and to follow in this society. And this is what strikes a deep chord in the hard-core followers of this braying, pig-headed jackass.

Two: Trump has pulled together a section of the fascist movement in America in a much more visible and aggressive way. He is organizing those who feel left out and “disrespected,” who have been taught that their white skin and American identity make them special but who don’t “feel special” anymore, and who blame it on those they have been taught to despise as being “beneath them” in society. This sense of frustrated “white male entitlement” runs deep in the marrow of white America; it is openly played on by the Republicans and “politely respected” (while being played on its own way) by the Democrats—and now Trump has taken it to a whole other level. He is aiming these angry people at immigrants, at Black people—against, in short, the most oppressed; he is aiming them against “foreigners” and “the different,” and in particular against all Muslims: and he is aiming them against anyone who would refuse to go along with the crimes of this system or who even dares differ with Trump. He stirs “his people” up with a vision of America rampaging, murdering, and openly torturing all around the world—open, crude, unapologetic gangsterism, as opposed to the “refined” gangsterism of Obama. His rallies are not complete without some of his minions mobbing and beating up anyone who would dare to raise a voice against this, to the raucous cheers of the mob that Trump has summoned. And should anyone criticize Trump online, he has millions of followers who, piranha-like, create a “virtual mob” to go after them.

In doing this, Trump has swept in many people who may not be dyed-in-the-wool reactionaries, but whose dissatisfaction and yearnings, coupled with their naiveté and even more than that the historic advantage and status afforded them as “white people” in America, make them susceptible to Trump’s appeal—which makes him all the more dangerous.

All this and what it says about the larger society, even if there were nothing else (and there is plenty else), concentrates the need for a real revolution.

See also:

A Serious, Scientific Approach to What Gave Rise to Donald Trump:
Some Works by BA on How We Got To This Situation—And the Possibility of Something Far Better

 

The Makings of a Crisis in Legitimacy

But there is more. Third, Trump has seriously exacerbated the ongoing legitimacy crisis in the way that the American empire is ruled. “Legitimacy” refers to the way in which people very broadly, in normal times, perceive the rules by which the system runs—and the armed force that is used to back up those rules—as being “legitimate.” They may object and protest when these rules seem to be bent, or violated, by those in power, but in normal times they mainly accept the rules themselves. However, when these rules begin to be questioned and violated by those who hold power, when those in power fall out in disagreement over what the rules should be, when the rules do not seem to work, when the working of the rules becomes so odious that people are driven to resist, or when acts of resistance call the rules into question... people may begin, on a mass scale, to question the very rules themselves. Where did these rules come from in the first place, and who and what do they serve? When people in their millions are wondering about this, these questions become very dangerous indeed for the ruling class.

Revolution--Nothing Less

For some time now, there has been fierce contention between two groupings in the ruling class, more or less centered in the Democratic and Republican Parties, precisely over forging new “legitimating norms,” or rules. This contention has gone on for two decades now and takes many different forms—right now, the very sharp and unprecedented fight over whether Obama will be allowed to exercise his constitutional duty to nominate another Supreme Court justice is one example. But at bottom is a fight over what will be the “legitimating norms”—the cohering consensus of the “rules” of society—in a time of great change and upheaval.

The system as a whole faces multiple crises on different fronts—the globalization and “turbo-charging” of the world economy, which has led to the hollowing out of the domestic industrial base and the downgrading of the living standards of tens of millions of people, accompanied by an extraordinarily pronounced income inequality... the fracturing international situation, with a direct challenge to the U.S. (and Western Europe) mounted by the fundamentalist Islamic jihadist forces but also coming from other rivals... the tumultuous changes in the role of women, economically and culturally, especially in relation to the family... and changes in the “racial” makeup of America—the increasing necessity to rely on immigrant labor coupled with the actual removal of millions of African-Americans out of the labor force, and the institution of a genocidal system of mass incarceration... and the intensifying ecological crisis. There is widespread alienation and a feeling, among many different sections of people, that the system is not working and the rules are not being applied fairly.

The Center—Can It Hold?

Here the observations and analysis in the article “The Center—Can It Hold? The Pyramid as Two Ladders,” from the pamphlet The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, by Bob Avakian (BA), are very relevant. BA writes that “when a legitimacy crisis occurs, when the ‘glue’ that holds society together begins to come undone, and there is an attempt to forge a new ruling consensus, then it is acutely posed whether that attempt to forge a new ruling consensus (a new ‘social glue,’ so to speak) is going to hold and work.”

Faced with this, the Democrats have in the main gone for a more “multicultural” approach. They pay lip service to and attempt to recast and channel the struggles of the different oppressed nationalities that have been historically severely discriminated against to allow room for some small sections to advance, while locking the majority into even more desperate conditions (for example, the “welfare reform” cuts and mass imprisonment carried out under the first Clinton regime). They generally prefer to wrap their military aggression in “soft power” and alliances overseas while continuing to carry out vicious war crimes by drone and wage really savage wars through proxies like Saudi Arabia. They make some reforms in the “social safety net” in a “business friendly” way, even while presiding over draconian cuts overall.

Those mainly grouped around the Republicans have opted for the openly aggressive use of military power AND the building up of a fascist base within the U.S. around the imposition of fundamentalist Christian beliefs and values, a cult of the military, and a much more unrestrained capitalism, which has included the further gutting of the unions. In this dynamic, the Republicans have for decades been far more aggressive, and the Democrats have over and over sought to conciliate with them—while the Republicans have denied the very legitimacy of the last two Democratic presidents.

The Coming Civil War cover
Click to read

Right now, each of these groups has encountered problems in the current electoral campaign. This finds expression within the Democrats in the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, running on a platform of a “people’s revolution,” and as a “democratic socialist” who professes his aim to bring people into the electoral process in the form of the Democratic Party. Never mind that his candidacy is NOT a people’s revolution, nor is he a socialist, and that getting people to put on the straitjacket of the Democratic Party (even a supposedly slightly roomier straitjacket) will make it impossible to actually confront and solve the problems facing humanity.

But these problems are much sharper in the Republican Party. The main forces in this party find themselves going up against the person leading in the nomination fight in a way that has not happened in living memory. To be clear: Trump has, from the beginning, been backed by larger forces; he is not quite the “independent actor” he poses as. The wall-to-wall coverage he has gotten since last summer—which until recently was quite respectful—is not simply explained by “ratings.” But right now the main forces in the Republican Party have indeed grouped up against Trump in a rather unprecedented way.

For years, the Republicans have used the very same themes with the very same people that Trump is now ringing with such success. In fact, Trump’s main rival, Ted Cruz, is himself an extreme fascist, many of whose positions are even more reactionary than Trump’s. Cruz also is fighting with Trump for the Christian fascists—Trump has a significant chunk of these, but has also expanded this base to other sections and has been welding all this together under his command, which is part of the particular threat he poses overall, and part of the threat to Republicans—but also part of why people like the Republican governor and former candidate Chris Christie are drawn to Trump.

But the fact that all these Republicans, and the party as a whole, have based themselves on these themes is why, once they perceived him as a possible threat, they had no real way to counter him (at least at first). When they attack him for being a racist apologist for the Klan... when they attack him for being a hater of women (a misogynist)... well, it rings hollow, because this is what their whole party has relied upon, this has been at the very core of their appeal. The more this goes on, and the more the underlying dynamics are dragged into the light, the more people may wonder why this racist, chauvinist, fascist party has been viewed as legitimate at all. They may wonder why the Democrats have not only sought to cooperate with the Republicans, but have bent over backward to conciliate with them. Who and what does this serve? Which class and what class interests?

Conversely, if Trump is put down by the Republican establishment, how would his base respond to that? Already, the militia movement and similar groups are all over the Trump thing—they don’t even conceive of the current government as legitimate. What then if those in charge violate their own rules to deny Trump the nomination? They may, to be sure, be able to do this in a way that discredits Trump among the people he has up to now called forward, and do so without real damage to themselves. But they may not, either.

As BA also said in this same series (“The Danger of the Christian Fascists and the Challenges This Poses”), “you can’t keep making promises to these forces, as the Republican Party does—you can’t keep making promises and then leave them unfulfilled.” Trump has exposed and taken advantage of the fact that the section of the ruling class grouped around the Republicans has not, over decades, really “delivered” to this base. The vaunted American military has been defeated or bogged down all over the world by foes who are much weaker militarily. Black people have not only NOT been “put in their place,” they have in the past few years led a huge questioning of American racism and the streets have been filled, at different times, with all kinds of people uniting and putting it on the line against racist police murder.

And even though Obama in fact is nothing but an instrument—in fact, the commander-in-chief—of this very same empire, for the people in this hard core Republican base the very idea of a Black man in authority—let alone president—is totally intolerable and illegitimate. And there’s more: gay people, rather than being ostracized and cast out, have been much more accepted, with the Supreme Court even granting the right of marriage equality. And while, yes, they have continued to hammer at women, and have taken away the right to abortion from millions, this doesn’t satisfy these followers of patriarchy; further, if the Supreme Court rules against the savage, woman-hating new abortion restrictions in Texas and other states that are now coming up for review, these people will be highly inflamed. Finally, there have been the ongoing serious cuts in the living standards of tens of millions that we referred to above, which form a backdrop and underpinning of all this.

The Rise of a Would-Be American Hitler

Trump now comes and claims to redeem these frustrated promises. He aims to cohere a section of the longtime Christian fascists, with newer people who share many of the same feelings of resentment and rage, ultimately based on white American entitlement.

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The implications loom very large, even as things are still in a great deal of flux. If Trump wins the nomination, then this movement would likely be further unleashed, with extremely ugly consequences in every part of society. If Trump becomes president, this would reach a whole other dimension, with Trump himself then moving to implement the program he has run on.

And what if those in the ruling class who perceive Trump as a threat, and are now—after letting him build himself up for months, after promoting him during those same months—attacking him... what if they succeed in derailing his quest for the Republican nomination? Well, they would have a problem: What do they do with this movement that has now cohered around him? It is not clear in that case what either Trump, or the people he has drawn around him, would do.

Further, this situation could increasingly pose problems for the Democrats as well. For instance, what if a section of the people stoked up by Trump is either disappointed by him being denied the nomination or, alternatively, is emboldened by his winning it, and escalates their violence against the people whom the Democrats consider “their base”? The Democrats continually conciliate with the fascists—what if they do so again, and refuse to lead people to confront this... when there are people in a mood to do so?

These are the type of things that those who make the decisions in the American empire might have to confront: What would cause more instability and harm for their interests, as they perceive them?

See also:

White Supremacy and the White House—an American Tradition

 

What to Do and How to Proceed in the Face of this Fascist Threat

Whatever immediately happens, the times are becoming heavier. There will be repression. The current polarization—in which tens of millions of people are looking for a way out, but see their alternatives as being between fascists like either Trump or Cruz, and the Democrats (including the supposedly “radical alternative” of Sanders)—is NOT good, and left to itself would lead to disaster. There must be RE-polarization for revolution—and this must be wrenched out of the current situation. There will NOT be any easy road to something better.

There is, and there must be more, resistance to this—not in the form of voting for a Democrat—but building on the kind of thing you see already in people going into these Trump rallies and calling him out. But the most important thing we have to understand is this: The turmoil at the top of society right now... the emergence of political figures who aim to change how the people are ruled, in possibly dramatic and extremely disruptive ways... the fighting amongst the rulers over what to do about this... opens new possibilities, and new necessity, to expose the system that has spawned this and to build a magnetic pole around an organized force that represents a real alternative: real revolutionary hope on a solid scientific foundation. All this taken together is part of a process that could create an opening in which a force that is going for revolution, and willing and able to lead people to do that, can make tremendous gains and possibly even open up the chance to go for it all. That is, to lead millions to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

This is not the only possible outcome, nor is it necessarily something that would grow one-two-three out of the present situation. But revolution will NOT be made in a ready-made, easy-bake situation; it will necessarily involve turmoil, upheaval, and advancing in the face of sharp repression. The point is to analyze, grasp, and work on those possibilities now.

The complexities of that... all the challenges that would pose... all that is beyond what we are going to get into in this article or this issue. But we DO have an article guiding you into the works of Bob Avakian, who has developed a whole way of scientifically understanding this kind of social upheaval and how extremely dangerous situations can be seized on, with the right kind of leadership, to make huge gains. How to apply those principles will be very much on our site and in our pages over the next months, as this unfolds. And you, our readers, have a definite role to play in getting into these works, and writing in with your thinking provoked by them.

Right now, though, some things that CAN and MUST be said about what the rise of Trump, even now, means for those working for revolution:

It means, most of all, getting out to people that there is a REAL and NECESSARY alternative to all of this: revolution. This means, right now and in the coming months, seizing on the highly charged atmosphere to get BA out to millions—his way of understanding the world, the vision of a new society he’s developed (concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America), and the strategy to accomplish this. And this includes, as part of this, going out to those attracted to Sanders’ message and winning them to see that what we face cannot be dealt with in the terms Sanders is proposing—this is, as we said recently, an illusion... a “wisp of painless progress.”

It means preparing ourselves, the movement for revolution, and the people to deal with the much more repressive atmosphere already being unleashed, and the heightened repressive measures and actions that now loom with the ascendancy of Trump (and which, whatever happens to Trump, his candidacy is creating public opinion and organization for). This means very much building a wall of support around BA—based on people understanding what he is all about and coming to respect and love him on that basis.

This is extremely important. Without a REAL alternative, people will remain locked on the same deadly treadmill they now find themselves on.

It means getting out among the people and showing very vividly how Trump actually embodies what America stands for and does not in any fundamental way go against it, and that the solution is not to return to the illusion of “America’s democratic traditions,” nor to throw our energies into electing a Democrat as some kind of defense, but to actually fight to get rid of a system that produces no end of Trumps, Reagans, and, yes, Clintons, once and for all. It means getting out both to those opposing Trump and to those who are currently seduced by him but whose most fundamental interests and aspirations can only be met by communist revolution and who, through struggle, can be won to see that. The basis to do this and to succeed in doing it lies in the contradictions of this social system and what it gives rise to, in so many different ways—and that Trump is not an anomaly, or some weird exception, but a concentration of this social system at a time of crisis.

It means getting revcom.us and Revolution newspaper way out there into society. In a time like this, when people are unusually hungry to understand what is going on and what to do about it, this website and paper must truly be, as BA has called for, “the guide, the pivot, the crucial tool in drawing forward, orienting, training, and organizing thousands, and influencing millions—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution—hastening and preparing for the time when we can go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.” And it means this on a whole other level.

Revolution Club at Rise Up October

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Revolution Club
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Join the REVOLUTION CLUB!

In addition, the movement for revolution must assume much more powerful form. This means that the Revolution Clubs have to become much more vital forces in the neighborhoods and campuses, recruiting people on the basis of their two slogans: Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism; and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. This means that centers of revolution—the bookstores—must become vital sites where BA’s new synthesis of communism engages and contends with key trends in society and coheres the trend of revolutionary communism. And finally, the Party itself, the vanguard, needs to grow and further develop—quantitatively and, yes, qualitatively, in its scientific rigor and revolutionary orientation.

It means continuing to mobilize people to fight the power, both to tap into the righteous anger and defiance that people do feel toward Trump, reaching out to and joining with those who disrupt his rallies and, at the same time and even more important, continuing to fight—and to draw more people into the fight—against police terror and other forms of the oppression of Black and Brown people... against the oppression of women and, right now, the vicious attempts to deny tens of millions of women the right to abortion... against the demonization of immigrants... the wars... and the plunder of the environment.

In short, these are times of danger... and times of great opportunity. Prepare to rise to the challenge before us.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/429/a-serious-scientific-approach-to-what-gave-rise-to-donald-trump-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

A Serious, Scientific Approach to What Gave Rise to Trump

Some Works by Bob Avakian on How We Got to This Situation—And the Possibility of Something Far Better

March 7, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution--Nothing Less

The Coming Civil War

If you want to seriously understand the situation that gave rise to Donald Trump, a key place to start is with the work Bob Avakian (BA) has done on the decades-long crisis in the U.S. ruling class and its possible implications for revolution. Bob Avakian is the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and the architect of a new synthesis of communism. This new synthesis represents a qualitative advance in the scientific approach to making revolution and emancipating humanity. You can find out more, and find his talks and writings, here.

Along with digging into what he reveals about this particular crisis, the most important thing is to learn from the method and approach he applies.

Get into this, and get into BA. There is a way forward.

Where to start:

All these works and more are available here.

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/raising-funds-for-ba-everywhere-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

Raising Funds for the BA Everywhere Campaign

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us/Revolution received this correspondence in Spanish; the English translation below is our own.

A group of immigrant  readers of Revolución, we joined together to take up the challenge of raising funds to build the BA Everywhere campaign. We decided to make shrimp and crab ceviche and our goal was to raise $500. The plan was to make 50 small cups of ceviche and sell them for 10 dollars each. Once the plan was set, we began to tell people that there was going to be ceviche on the weekend to raise money for BA Everywhere.

One Sunday the alarm went off, I got up at 5:15 to take the 5:50 am bus in order to get to the place for preparing the delicious ceviche. My compañeros were right on time with their sharp knives and cutting boards to cut the shrimp, onions, tomatoes and gherkins. One compañera put on some music and we all began to move our hands to the rhythm of the music. We had a great time and by 11:00 the ceviche was ready.

We went out to take some orders of ceviche to an outdoor market and sell to people who were entering and leaving. We were distributing Revolución and the leaflet to raise funds and build the BA Everywhere campaign. In the market we delivered 6 orders. The people passing by didn’t buy any. One person who was drinking Coronas with his friends and who bought Revolución and who we gave the leaflet to, said to me would I sell him two ceviches for $5 each, and I told him no, because it was to raise funds for BA and we wanted to raise thousands of dollars.

One man says that he supports the BA Everywhere campaign and he has read Away with All Gods!, he likes it a lot. He struggles with people over religion, it’s said that regarding the people he struggles with, my comrade is going to drive them crazy. He told his wife to buy two ceviches, she said she would just buy one and he insisted that she buy two. By buying two ceviches, he supported with $20 dollars.

We raised $340 for the campaign, we still have to raise $160 to reach our $500 dollar goal, in two weeks we are going to sell a second round of ceviche. We challenge you to do an activity or, if you are a person who is economically in a good position, that you match the $500.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/sunsara-taylor-digging-into-basics-reform-or-revolution-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

From Sunsara Taylor:

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

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Even before others arrived, a young Black woman who has protested police murder and proudly wears her hair in a natural Afro pointed to a sentence that spoke to her deeply in BA’s essay “Reform or Revolution; Questions of Morality, Questions of Orientation”: “Right now, you don’t get that much ‘social approbation’ for being a revolutionary, and in particular a revolutionary communist.”

See: Reform or Revolution; Questions of Morality, Questions of Orientation by Bob Avakian

“That is so true!” She lamented the way so few of her peers are into revolution and the way her parents constantly tell her to focus on “getting ahead.” She was moved by BA’s insistence that you have to be for revolution despite all this and work to change other people’s minds. At the same time, she wondered if it was really possible and how long it would take.

We had met the day before, when Carl Dix and I spoke at her school as part of our national speaking tour inviting students to meet the real revolution. Soon several others from the event joined us at the table. We had been straight up with the students that getting into the leadership and new synthesis of Bob Avakian and joining the revolution he is leading is the most important thing they could do with their lives. Now, we were beginning to follow through with them.

After reading the essay out loud together, another woman expressed appreciation for the analogy BA makes about going back in time when a great plague was wiping out huge numbers. BA asks us to imagine that the antibiotics necessary to treat the plague are brought back by some time-travelers, but that these time-travelers hoard the antibiotics, guard them with armed thugs, and won’t distribute them unless they get paid an amount most people can’t afford. He asks, in that situation, is it better to just try to comfort people as they die or to rise up and steal the antibiotics and end the epidemic. This young woman said the essay made her think about how elastic people are and how all the treacherous things they do to each other (like crime) as well as the horrible things that are done to them by the system all “trace back to capitalism.” She agreed that the problem is not human nature, but the system we are all trapped in.

A woman from China said the contrast between reform and revolution in the essay made her think about the difference between radical feminists, which she considers herself, and liberal feminism. A fourth young woman voiced her support for revolution and also appreciated the analogy. But, she asked, “Why does the title link together the question of ‘reform or revolution’ with the question of morality?”

This was a great question, one that others hadn’t yet considered, and it drove everyone back into the essay. Eventually, a member of the Revolution Club read aloud from a part where BA expressed admiration for the morality of people who want to alleviate suffering, who do things like put water out in the desert for immigrants crossing over from Mexico. “But,” he writes, “that cannot provide the fundamental solution to that particular problem, of the suffering of these immigrants and what drives them to leave their homelands in the first place, nor can it eliminate all the other ways in which masses of people, throughout the world, are oppressed and caused to suffer. Or, again, while I admire the people who volunteer with things like Doctors Without Borders, if they were to say, ‘this is the most anybody can do, there’s nothing more you can do,’ we would have to engage in principled but very sharp struggle with them, even while uniting with them and admiring their spirit, because it is objectively not true that this is all that can, or should, be done—and it is harmful to the masses of people to say that this is all that can be done.”

The Revolution Club member walked through the imperialist plunder and exploitation that drives people from their homes in Mexico or Honduras and how righteous it is for people to leave water in the desert so that these immigrants don’t die. “But,” she echoed BA, “if you say that is all that should be done you are wrong! That is not true. That doesn’t fix what’s being done to their countries. That doesn’t fix the racism and exploitation they face in this country. And if you oppose revolution—which can fix this—then you are doing something very harmful and wrong!” She fought for people to really think about what BA was getting at and how what you think is moral depends on what you understand to be true and if you recognize that the problems can only be solved through revolution than it is immoral to do anything less.

Just as people were beginning to see how the question of “reform or revolution?” fits together with questions of morality, a new question emerged: “But how do we respond to people who can’t see that objective truth? Even if we see it as objective—like what you are saying about immigrants on the border—isn’t truth relative?” The woman who asked hesitated a little, saying, “Maybe that is too philosophical.” But it wasn’t “too philosophical.” The question of how to determine what is true, or whether “everyone has their own truth” is one of the most pressing philosophical questions of our time.

Folks went at this in different ways, including by returning to the immigrants in the desert. “Is this just a ‘narrative’ or is it objectively true that these immigrants are being driven out of their homes because of U.S. imperialism? Is it just a ‘narrative’ or is it objectively true that leaving water for them is good, but won’t really solve the problem?”

Several Club members argued that truth is objective and not dependent on what people think, but others weren’t so sure. They felt strongly that what goes on to immigrants is true and wrong, but felt very conflicted about telling anyone else that they were wrong if they perceived it differently.

This question did not get fully resolved, because each question would stir another. Someone asked, “So, what about the people who don’t see it this way, who aren’t awake. Does this revolution reach out to and try to change people on the far right as well? Like hardcore racists? Or just focus on those who are closer to ‘objective truth?’” Everyone at the table was encouraged to give their thoughts on this question. Some expressed hope that we could do something about the hardcore racists, but mainly people felt that we needed to focus on those who might be more likely to agree. Carl Dix and I spoke briefly about how we are today fighting to prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard to get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution all out with a real chance to win. This means we are right now bringing forward thousands to work actively together with us to influence the thinking of millions. At the same time these thousands are being trained and enabled to lead millions as larger crises break out and millions are ready to be led to put everything on the line to bring this system down and bring something much better into being. All this is being knit together and led through our website, revcom.us.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian
Learn more about BAsics

As a big part of that, we emphasized, is for them to keep getting deeper into this strategy and the kinds of philosophical questions that had already come up in the discussion, even as we are acting together to fight the power and to let the whole world know about the leadership of Bob Avakian. We led people to look through the full table of contents of BAsics—appreciating the scope, from why revolution is necessary to what kind of world we are fighting for, from the question of strategy to the scientific method and modes of thinking, from communist morality to the responsibility of leadership. We spent the remainder of our time exploring initial plans to take this revolution out into the world—joining in actions for International Women’s Day and the upcoming student strike against police murder—and to schedule further discussion of the rest of the chapters of BAsics.

Same Essay, Different Richness

The next day, after going out to together to promote the revolutionary leadership of BA at a local high school, we gathered students from a different university to discuss the same essay. While some similar themes were touched upon, in some ways this developed in a very different way.

The first big debate that broke out was over what was being gotten at by BA’s analogy about the time-travelers who were hoarding the antibiotics in the midst of a major plague. The first student who dove in thought this was referring to the way Americans go to other countries and have all sorts of advanced medical treatments but won’t distribute them unless they can make a profit. He saw the problem as greed and thought that we need to get different people in charge and different people needed to become capitalists so that they could be more compassionate about pricing.

A second thought the analogy was arguing that, for the people suffering the plague, the antibiotics were from the future, just like today for people suffering under capitalism, “Communism is in the future—it is something that hasn’t happened yet and we are still trying to imagine it.” He made clear that, to him, the fact that communism “hasn’t happened yet” didn’t merely mean it has yet to be achieved; he thought it meant that it hasn’t yet been “proven to be the cure.”

For a while, people continued to pose different interpretations of BA’s analogy. Eventually, a Revolution Club member walked through how she understood the analogy. “Let’s put into our scenario some other people who had also gone back in time from the present age and had taken with them a big stash of antibiotics, which could prevent the millions of deaths that were caused by the plague several centuries ago. But these other time-travelers were monopolizing the ownership of these antibiotics,” she read from BA. She paused to ask people who the time travelers were, and agreed when someone suggested they are the capitalists.

She continued reading about how these time-travelers, “had organized and paid an armed force of thugs to guard this stash of antibiotics, and were refusing to distribute any of these antibiotics unless they could profit from it, by charging a price that most of the people could not afford.” She suggested that this “armed force of thugs” seemed to her like today’s reactionary armies that defend capitalism and keep everyone suffering under this system where no one can eat or get medicine unless the capitalists get a profit.

Finally, she read the question from BA, “Now, knowing this, which way would people be better served: by continuing to put towels on the foreheads of the fevered people, or by organizing people to storm the compound where the antibiotics were being hoarded, seize the antibiotics and distribute them among the people?” She posed sharply that she thought the analogy was drawing the difference between reform and revolution and revealing the need to seize the power of the state.

“But reform or revolution is not black or white, it’s a spectrum,” posed one student. “There is the least type of reform, like just putting water in the desert or putting blankets on the heads of the dying, but at the other end of the spectrum is working within the system to change the system. Even though this is a capitalist society, it is not completely. There are some socialist programs.” He went back and forth, acknowledging that things like welfare are just barely helping people scrape by, not really satisfying people’s real needs, but held out hope that this could be changed with reforms. He thought if more people were less apathetic, maybe we could do enough reforms within this system to solve humanity’s problems. He even posed that he would be satisfied going back in time and convincing the time-travelers to lessen the price of antibiotics, maybe it wouldn’t help everyone but it would at least help a few.

Another student voiced support for this “spectrum idea.” He pointed to the “REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS” shirt someone was wearing. “That shirt is saying we have to emancipate all humanity, but what if we just lower the price of the antibiotics. Most people will be better off. I could sit by with that I think. It depends on your own moral compass.”

A second Revolution Club member jumped in: “In Germany, during the Nazis, if you knew how to end the whole genocide, would you help a few people to escape or would you fight like hell to save millions? I don’t see a spectrum here—what’s the difference between helping 10 or helping 100... but there are millions being killed? That is where morality comes in, if you know there is a way to save millions you have to do that.”

The room fell silent for a minute, sitting with the weight of this challenge. But, rather than engaging it, a student redirected the discussion towards something more comfortable. “I see a different moral dilemma,” she posed, “I can see why you’d want to steal the antibiotics because it would help people who were suffering, but wouldn’t this be violating the rights of the time-travelers? I mean, if they belong to them, we can say we think they are wrong and try to convince them, but don’t we have to respect their right to decide how they should be used?”

At this, the guy who had first argued for the “spectrum” idea got uncomfortable. “That is what is happening now! There is a guy who just raised the price of the AIDS pill. That is an example where I disagree with the political system. If I were in power I’d say fuck this, even if it violated the [U.S.] Constitution. I would say the ends justify the means. What I am saying might not be the best, but at the end of the day it would be helping people out and people really need this.”

The first Revolution Club member argued that the morality of what the guy was saying was right, but that if he really wants a world that operates with that morality he needs to stop trying to hold on to this system. “Why should you hold onto a system where doing what you are describing, literally using the resources developed by humanity to save millions, is against the law? You are still seeing things through the capitalist framework, where people have the right to own what they invent and get more for it, rather than people working collectively to make the world better for all of humanity.”

For a while, people went back and forth. Should you have a morality that corresponds to a system where individuals have the right to own the copyright to a medicine and only sell it for a profit even if it means millions will die? Or, should you have a morality that corresponds to the communist revolution where the needs of humanity come first and production is not organized on the basis of profit? Can you have a morality that is based on meeting the needs of humanity while still having the system of capitalism intact? Do you actually need a revolution or can this system be reformed? All this got linked up with competing theories about “human nature” and what this might mean in terms of what kind of change is really possible.


Download PDF

In this discussion, as in the one the day before, what stood out was how seriously and deeply people were provoked to think and wrangle based on really engaging the questions and method focused up by Bob Avakian. And here, just as the day before, we argued that people have a responsibility to pursue these questions further. The Revolution Club member who led the discussion pointed to the need to get into the full new book from BA, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, and A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, because of the way—among other things—it goes deeply into the way that capitalist production is driven forward by competition and anarchy and, therefore, cannot be reformed. Plans were made for this to happen as well as for discussions to continue of BAsics with a broader group of students.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

From Travis Morales:

The NYPD Cover-up of Their Execution of Mohamed Bah

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Mohamed Bah
Mohamad Bah

On the night of September 25, 2012, Hawa Bah, an immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, asked for an ambulance to take her son, 28-year-old Mohamed Bah, to the hospital. He was having a mental problem. Instead of giving him the medical care that he urgently needed, three cops from the NYPD Emergency Services Unit, fully clad in SWAT-style gear, broke into Mohamed’s Harlem apartment, firing eight bullets into him, the fatal shot being a shot to the head.

The following account is drawn from a recent conversation that I had with Hawa Bah and one of her attorneys, Randolph McLaughlin.

Randolph McLaughlin said at the very start of our discussion, “After 20 years, we believe this case is the most egregious example of an execution and cover up.” He then walked through the evidence for this. After the call for an ambulance, the police arrived. Hawa Bah begged the police to allow her to speak with her son who would not open his door. They refused to let her speak with him. He never knew that his mother had called for an ambulance. She kept asking and they kept refusing, lying to her that everything would be alright. Even, after they murdered Mohamed, they lied to Ms. Bah, claiming Mohamed was fine.

Immediately, the cover up of this cold-blooded murder of Mohamed Bah began. The police claimed that after they broke into the apartment, Mohamed stabbed one of the officers with a butcher knife and this is why they shot him. Crucial evidence that could help prove that the police are lying has been lost or destroyed. They have been caught lying about what has happened to the evidence. The police testimony in depositions taken as part of Hawa Bah’s lawsuit against the NYPD is in direct contradiction to the forensic evidence.

After the murder of Mohamed, the three cops were alone in the apartment. This was a crime scene, nothing is supposed to be moved. Yet, in several pictures taken by the police, the knife that they claim Mohamed had is in different positions on the floor. And one police video does not even show a knife on the floor!

If Mohamed had cut one of the police officers, his fingerprints should be on the knife and the officer’s DNA from the blood should be on the knife. Or it could not show Mohamed’s fingerprint at all and instead show glove prints like the ones worn by police at a crime scene, indicating Mohamed never had a knife. In addition, the officer’s shirt should have a hole and blood where they claim Mohammed cut the officer. The shirt could have blood splatter showing that Mohamed was shot at close range if he was stabbing the cop. So where are the knife and the cop’s shirt? Initially, the police claim that the knife and shirt were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Later, the story changed. Four days before Hurricane Sandy struck, the knife and shirt were moved into an NYPD warehouse in the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn that was flooded when the hurricane struck. The warehouse is in a flood plain. They now claim the knife and shirt are contaminated.

One of the cops said he was on the floor shooting up at Mohamed, who was standing over him with a knife. The forensic evidence shows that the bullets that struck Mohamed were all fired in a downward trajectory. A section of the wall in the apartment was removed. The corner has a mark that appears to be where a bullet grazed. The removed piece could have bullet holes indicating the trajectory of the bullets, but it is missing.

The clothes that Mohamed was wearing are missing. Clothing is critical. It could show powder burns indicating how close the shots were fired. The police claim they never had the clothes. The medical examiner’s records show that the examiner received the clothes from the police, examined them, and turned them over to the police. The police deny they ever received them, though a picture exists of a police detective holding the clothes after receiving them from the medical examiner.

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, 28, murdered by NYPD, September 25, 2012
Hawa Bah, speaking at RiseUpOctober, October 22, 2015. (Photo: www.revcom.us/Revolution)

The police say they used their Taser in the apartment. The Taser wires have disappeared.

A woman that lives in Mohamed’s building testified in a deposition that a cop showed up, later, at Mohamed’s apartment. He told her, “I’m here cleaning this nigger’s blood.” He then proceeded to clean up the blood in the apartment and hallway.

The NYPD carried out the cold-blooded execution of a young man in urgent need of medical care. Instead of being taken to the hospital, the cops filled him with eight bullets. And now the NYPD wants us to believe their lies, disregard destroyed and missing evidence, and just accept the murder of Mohamed Bah. NO!

What kind of sick system is this? Over and over the police murder Black and Latino people and get away with it. Over and over the police murder people whose only crime is the need for mental health care. Why didn’t the police actually help the paramedics and Mohamed’s mother get him to the hospital instead of killing him? Where was the “serve and protect” for Mohamed instead of shoot and murder? To the police, Mohamed Bah was just another young Black man with a target on his back.

Bob Avakian is absolutely right when he says in BAsics 1:24:

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

And that is exactly what the police were doing when they murdered Mohamed as they have murdered countless others. Again, BA is absolutely right. It is going to take revolution, nothing less, to end this nightmare of horror and brutality.

Joined by the mother of Amadou Diallo on stage, Hawa Bah spoke on October 24 in New York at #RiseUpOctober—Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On? When we spoke, Hawa Bah’s eyes filled with tears as she talked about Mohamed being an honor student. She said she is fighting for justice for her son because “I don’t want this to happen to any other child.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/awtwns-colombia-intl-womens-day-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

From A World to Win News Service:

Colombia: "Put an end to the degradation, dehumanisation and patriarchal subjugation of all women everywhere, and all oppression based on sexual orientation or gender!"

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

March 14, 2016. A World to Win News Service. The following text, dated March 8, is from Alborada Comunista, the website of the Revolutionary Communist Group (GCR) of Colombia (acgcr.org).

International Women’s Day seeks to raise awareness and achieve a clear perspective on the fact that half of humanity, women, are everywhere treated as less than full human beings. It also seeks to raise awareness and have a clear perspective on the fact that it is not only necessary but possible to put an end to this disgraceful state of affairs.

Download the PDF of this pamphlet: A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity

Domestic violence, state repression, the kidnapping of girls, forced marriage, death by stoning, acid attacks, “honour” crimes, pornography, prostitution (including by husbands), suicide, forced wearing of the veil, genital mutilation, control over the female body, displacement due to war or for economic reasons, etc., are all part of daily reality.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that worldwide six out of every ten women experience physical and/or sexual violence during their lives; that Latin America is considered the world’s second most dangerous place for women (report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime); that during the current decade gender violence in Colombia has meant the murder of more than 1,600 people every year, and that every day at least 133 women are beaten (Informe de Medicina Legal 2015).

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that of the 825 million poorest people in the world, 700 million are women, and out of ten refugees in the world eight are women or children.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that prostitution networks are spreading throughout the planet and women are bought and sold in both the oppressed and imperialist countries. They stretch from Asian countries where millions of females are sold and trafficked starting from very young, through the big European and North American cities where women from different parts of the world are even exhibited in store-front windows like merchandise, to the islands of the Caribbean and cities like Cartagena, built up to be paradises for “sexual tourism” where the “clients” pay pimps for virgin girls from the poorest and most oppressed sectors of society.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that women in this world are subjected to all kinds of control of and aggression against their sexuality and reproduction. Millions of girls are forced into marriage or killed for disobeying patriarchal norms that are part of the obsolete traditions that consider women the property of men.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that everywhere in the world women are pressured to have children as the most important part of their fulfilment and as a mechanism of subordination to men. In India, China, Vietnam and other countries women are considered a burden, and consequently many new-born girls are abandoned. Basically, women are not allowed to decide about their own body, their own reproduction and their own life and sexuality. Instead they are put under the control of the state, the church and the family.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that, as incredible as it may seem, in the 21st century some people—including people in positions of power and authority—are determined to force women to give birth no matter what their situation may be, how they feel about it or what they think is best for them. These are cruel fanatics determined to deprive women of the right to abortion.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that more than 70,000 women die every year after botched abortions because there is no right to abortion where they live, or, where it is legal, because it is restricted and hindered in an effort to eliminate that right.

It’s not an invention or an exaggeration that what’s going on, especially in the domain of evermore violent and brutal pornography, is that men are being excited by physical torture and the degradation of women, which is increasingly widespread and increasingly considered normal in pornography; and that as the whole culture is becoming pornified, one of the most popular kinds is rape porn, showing a woman actually being raped.

It’s a fact! In the “counter-subversive” wars waged by soldiers and paramilitaries, the wars of occupation unleashed by imperialist armies, the wars waged by Islamic fundamentalists and every kind of reactionary war, women are seized as booty and property, raped and enslaved. This has been going on for centuries and is reinforced and defended by the “sacred” texts of all the world’s religions.

This is a horror! From crowded cities to the most remote villages, the home to the street, school to university, the workplace to the park, on public transport, night and day, women are under the constant threat of sexual harassment and abuse. Rape is endemic, often extremely so—in Congo, a girl is more likely to be raped than go to school. Globally 120 million girls under the age of 20 have been raped or sexually abused. And patriarchal culture blames women, justifying and normalizing all this.

All the ways through which ideas are spread—the media, the educational system, the family, religion, art, and culture in general, reflect, defend and generalize the whole patriarchal system of the subordination of women. They mould the way people think and relate to each other, and consolidate women’s role as submissive to men. A degrading culture constantly bombards us to accept this as natural.

Today the universities are mired in a paralyzing relativism and innumerable rationalizations for how women are “empowered” by pornography and the sex “industry.” Instead of liberation, what’s offered is “empowerment” basically reduced to the idea of women increasing their value as commodities in one form or another. This has too much influence, especially among youth, but also in general.

Changes in the economy and the struggles that arose in the 1960s, especially the women’s liberation movement, led to significant changes in the situation of women in many dimensions, including employment, while at the same time women are still subject to systematic discrimination in employment and more broadly. Today there is a growing feminisation of both “legal” and “illegal” immigrant labour (especially in prostitution, domestic service and other badly paid jobs that can be considered new forms of servitude).

The 1960s and ’70s saw the take-off of “identity politics”—restricted and reduced aspirations—according to which each “identity group” should focus on its own particular situation and demands. Similarly, the sexual liberation that was fought for in the 1960s and ’70s has become a commodification of everything associated with sexuality. Far from being liberating, this works to reinforce the notion of women as sexual objects—except that they should also “succeed” as housewives and full-time mothers.

Throughout the world in general, women are increasingly part of the work force and many other social spheres, and among the masses of women there is growing resistance to “traditional” forms of their enslavement and attacks on them. This is coming into open conflict with the necessity of the ruling classes to more aggressively reinforce this “traditional” enslavement and its accompanying “traditional morality.” This is a very explosive contradiction, a potentially very powerful force for the most radical revolution in human history.


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It is possible to put an end to the oppression of women and all the horrors that go with it, and it is possible to create something radically different and emancipating. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. To many people it might even seem impossible, but that’s because of how things are today. The way things are now sets the framework for how people think. We don’t perceive the possibility of radical change because of the degree to which our vision and sense of reality and possibilities are confined, conditioned and filtered by the relations of domination on which this whole system is founded, and the traditional values and ways of being and thinking constantly generated by this capitalist-imperialist system we live under and that serve to perpetuate it.

We need a revolution to liberate women not only from one of the forms of enslavement but also from the epidemic of rape and sexual violence, beatings and abuse, the trafficking of women and girls as sex slaves throughout the world, the degradation and dehumanization of pornography, and this system’s many other crimes, such as hunger, the war against immigrants, the destruction of the environment, and the terrible and growing nightmare of what the imperialists are doing all over the world—their occupations, wars and torture—that feeds and reinforces Islamic fundamentalism and all reactionary and enslaving forms of oppression of women and other people.

What’s necessary is revolution and nothing less, a proletarian revolution whose goal is the establishment of communism on the world level (which, contrary to what’s constantly crammed into our heads, is a society where individuals can fully develop as an integral part of a collectivity without oppressive divisions of class, gender and nationality). People who hate the way the world is today need to step forward and join with others (taking up the most advanced understanding, the new synthesis of communism by Bob Avakian that has put communism on an even more scientific basis) to make this new society a reality. They need to unite and contribute to fighting this capitalist-imperialist patriarchal system, and as we fight the system and its whole ideology of domination, we must transform ourselves into emancipators of humanity.

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/431/response-to-i-m-interested-but-need-to-know-more-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

From readers:

A Response to: "I'm interested.... but I need to know more before I can make a donation"

March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the course of building for the upcoming dinner and raising funds for the BA Everywhere campaign, we’ve been encountering a common response, especially with people we meet on the street who are just learning about Bob Avakian (BA) and the new synthesis of communism. This has been so widespread, we assume people in other parts of the country are encountering this as well, and we wanted to share how we’ve been speaking to it.


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After substantive, if initial, discussions we’ve been having on the street, letting people know who BA is, getting directly into his work (through BAsics, audio and video clips, or the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA), we’ve talked with people about coming to the fundraising dinner, encouraging them to buy a ticket or make a donation on the spot; and to find other ways to get involved in this campaign to make Bob Avakian’s work known throughout society. An incredibly common response to the invitation for people to get with this concretely and on the spot has been: “OK, I’m interested but I need to know more before I commit to getting involved, getting a ticket, contributing funds, etc.”

Given the real-time urgency to this campaign, we don’t just want to “get back to people later” in a way that conveys the opposite of what we want to convey, which is the urgency in making Avakian’s work known, and that we can have a major impact on society right now by making him known... and by getting organized through raising the funds necessary for this to reach everywhere.

So the response we’ve developed goes like this: First, we acknowledge that they do need to know more... and that’s a big part of the whole point. We encourage them to get Revolution newspaper, get a sub to revcom.us on the spot and to get one of BA’s works right then and there. We also ask if there’s something specifically they want to ask about or understand. This way, we’ve learned more what their questions or differences are... and what they’ve gotten from the discussion we’ve had up to that point.

But whatever their particular question, we’ve come back to this essential point: “Look, you’re absolutely right to want to dig into this, that’s essential and you DO have to know more. But even just off this brief discussion, you know enough to know others need to know about BA... and that we should come together to raise the kind of funds to make that possible. Have you ever before now raised your sights to the actual possibility of a whole different world... a whole different system and society... one that is actually about real human emancipation? When was the last time you even CONSIDERED that possibility, and isn’t this something that millions need to have the opportunity to encounter? The fact that you’re running into this by accident is a real problem. And yes, you’re just hearing about something very big and very serious and probably aren’t sure yet what all you think. That’s an important part of the process but, again, shouldn’t others have the opportunity to know there’s a way out for humanity?”

This has then provided a different foundation to get more deeply into the world historic significance of BA and what difference it would make if his work, and the awareness of his leadership, really were everywhere. When we got into things this way, some folks did contribute or buy tickets to the dinner. We also noticed in our follow-up, calling them back within two days of these conversations, the content of those engagements were very different because the initial discussions set more serious terms.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/a-basic-point-of-orientation-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

A Basic Point of Orientation:

In Answer to the Question
"Who are you to say what the masses of people need?"

March 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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We are people who represent, on a scientific basis, the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity, the great majority of the 7 billion people on this planet; who understand what the problem and the solution is to the situation that faces the masses of humanity; and who have taken on the responsibility of leading people to fight to bring about, through revolution, the solution that is urgently needed.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/431/framework-and-guidelines-for-study-and-discussion-en.html

Revolution #431 March 21, 2016

THE SCIENCE, THE STRATEGY, THE LEADERSHIP
FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION,
AND A RADICALLY NEW SOCIETY
ON THE ROAD TO REAL EMANCIPATION

FRAMEWORK AND GUIDELINES FOR STUDY
AND DISCUSSION

March 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


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The presentation by Bob Avakian—THE SCIENCE, THE STRATEGY, THE LEADERSHIP FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION, AND A RADICALLY NEW SOCIETY ON THE ROAD TO REAL EMANCIPATION—is a sweeping, comprehensive document of world-historic importance. At the same time as it has great immediate relevance, it also provides, in an overall and ongoing way, a foundation and strategic orientation in relation to the basic questions of human emancipation it speaks to, which are indicated and concentrated in the title. In order to facilitate the kind of serious and deep engagement with which this document should be approached—both the particular parts of this presentation and the decisive questions they address and, most fundamentally, the method and approach that underlies and runs through the presentation overall—the following provides a framework and guidelines for both individual study and collective discussion of this document.

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Introduction and Orientation

* Why does this presentation begin by emphasizing the question: “for whom and for what?” Why, at the same time, does it emphasize the importance of theory and method?

* In BA’s opening presentation in the Dialogue with Cornel West, there is a section that speaks to “what if” the world could be radically different (and gets into a number of particular “what if’s”).

What is the reason and purpose for including this in that presentation—what role and aim does this have there? And how have you—and, as far as you are aware, how have others—understood and approached this?

* If what Lenin argues is true—about people being the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics, etc.—why is this true? And what is the importance of this, in relation to the transformation of society, and the ending of all exploitation and oppression?

I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

* Why is method and approach the most fundamental and essential thing in the new synthesis of communism?

* Why is it correct that “Everything that is actually true is good for the proletariat, all truths can help us get to communism”?

** Why is “class truth” wrong?
** Why is it the case that, in the relation between being partisan and being scientific, being scientific is principal?

* BAsics 4:10 argues that relativism—and treating truth as subjective, and a matter of “narrative,” rather than correspondence to objective reality as the criterion of truth—will ultimately contribute to remaining trapped within a world where “might makes right.” Is this true, and if so why? And what does this question of epistemology have to do with getting beyond such a world?

* What is the difference between materialism—dialectical materialism—and determinism (or “determinist realism”)?

* In an episode of the TV show The Good Wife there is a scientist who makes the statement that human beings are just clusters of atoms, like everything else in nature. What is correct—and what is incorrect—about that statement? How can it be determined whether what is correct, or incorrect, about this statement is the main thing—the principal aspect?

* How should the following statement by Raymond Lotta, cited in the Presentation, be understood: “The basic change wrought by bourgeois society is the socialization of production.” How does this relate to the fact that capitalism represents and embodies the generalization of commodity production and exchange—and the key and pivotal role of labor power (the ability to work) as a commodity under capitalism?

* Why is it that “through which mode of production?” is the most important question in how any social problem is addressed? What is the relation between this and the understanding that this system cannot be reformed, but must be swept away?

* What difference does it make whether the driving force of anarchy (the contradiction between anarchy and organization in capitalist production and accumulation) or the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is the more important expression of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism?

* Is “solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core” just a policy—or is it something more, and if so what?

* Which is principal—which is the main and most decisive aspect—in the relation between epistemology and morality?

II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
A Radically Different Way the World Could Be,
A Road to Real Emancipation

* The “4 Alls”

** Why is the goal of the communist revolution not “equality”? What does getting beyond democracy and beyond equality have to do with Marx’s statement that Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society, and the culture conditioned thereby, and with getting beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right?

** What is the materialism, and the dialectics, of the “4 Alls,” and how should the interrelation of these “4 Alls” be understood?

** Marx begins the statement on the “4 Alls” by talking about how the dictatorship of the proletariat is the transition to the achievement of these “4 Alls.” Why is the dictatorship of the proletariat necessary for this?

* BAsics 2:12

** Why is what is said in BAsics 2:12 correct, and what is its importance? How is this different from how this has been widely understood in the international communist movement?

** What does BAsics 2:12 have to do with why it is that, while socialism is three things—a radically different economic system; a radically different political system; and a transition to communism—a socialist state must be, above all, a base area for the world revolution?

* What is the relation between meeting the needs of the people in socialist society—broadly understood as meaning cultural as well as material needs—carrying forward further the transformation of economic and social relations, and the political and ideological superstructure, and supporting the world revolution?  How, in turn, is this connected to the relation between abundance and revolution in the advance to a communist world?

* The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

** How is this Constitution an application of solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core? What does the “parachute point” have to do with this?

** Why is there provision for a military draft in this Constitution?  And why is there inclusion of measures that may be taken in an emergency situation, which restrict the rights of the people?  What does this have to do with the relation between necessity and freedom, and the principle that Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society, and the culture conditioned thereby?

* “Emancipators of Humanity”

** What does it mean that there is a great deal concentrated in the call to be “emancipators of humanity”?

** What is the relation between materialism and morality in this formulation: “emancipators of humanity”?

III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

* Why, and in what way, is it correct to speak of strategically “working back” from “On the Possibility of Revolution” and that there is one overall strategic approach for revolution, with distinct but interrelated stages?

* How should the relation between “hastening” and “awaiting” a revolutionary situation be understood and applied?

* Discuss the content of “Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution” and the questions posed in the Presentation about this and “On the Strategy for Revolution.”

* Speak to the question posed in the Presentation about the dialectical relations involved in “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.”

* The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat (UFuLP) strategy

** Why is this the correct and necessary strategic orientation for revolution?

** What is the meaning and importance of the separation of the communist movement from the labor movement, and what is the relevance of this for revolution in this country?

** What is the importance of the “two maximizings”?

** It has been said that there can be no revolution without a powerful student movement with a strong current favorable to revolution and communism within that student movement. Why is that true?

** Why is it important for a section of the intelligentsia—understanding this to mean people in the arts, as well as in academia, and others—to be won to this revolution?

** Discuss the point in the Presentation about the relation between the importance of waging struggle against lines, programs, tendencies, etc., that are representative of the petite bourgeoisie, and maintaining and applying the strategic orientation of UFuLP.

** Why is the oppression of Black people an “Achilles heel” for this system in this country?

** Why is what is said in BAsics 3:22, about the emancipation of women and its relation to the communist revolution, correct, and why is it correct to say that, in today's world more than ever, the woman question—the struggle for the emancipation of women and the relation of this to the communist revolution—is more pronounced and more important than ever?

* Internationalism and This Revolution

** What is the importance of “revolutionary defeatism,” particularly in a country like the U.S.?  To what degree is this orientation understood and taken up by people opposing the crimes committed by U.S. imperialism—and, more particularly, how well is this understood and applied as a matter of basic orientation, in terms of people in and around the Party and the movement for revolution?

** Discuss what is said in the Presentation about how revolution in (what is now) the U.S. not only needs to be internationalist in its fundamental orientation but also may have a significant aspect of being international.

** How does bringing about revolution here relate to “bringing forward another way” in key parts of the world, and the world as a whole?

* The promotion and popularization of the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA

** Why is this promotion and popularization, as concentrated now in the BA Everywhere campaign, a crucial part—one of the two mainstays and the leading edge—of building the movement for revolution and the Party as its leading core?  How should the accusation of “cult” be understood and answered in relation to this?

** In the Interview with Ardea Skybreak, the title is Science and Revolution—On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian. To what does “On the Importance” apply in that title?

* Discuss what is said—including the questions posed—in the Presentation about the role of the website/newspaper, as the second mainstay of the Party’s overall and ongoing work.

* Why is popularizing the strategy an important part of carrying out this strategy?

IV. The Leadership We Need

* If “the masses make history,” why is it true that leadership is decisive in order for the masses, and humanity as a whole, to be emancipated?

* Why should people join the RCP if it has been necessary, and is still necessary, to carry out a Cultural Revolution within the RCP to keep it on the road of revolution and communism?

* Discuss what is said, including the questions posed, in the Presentation—drawing from the Interview with Ardea Skybreak—about the fundamentally antagonistic relation between what is represented by this Party, and its leadership, in particular BA, and the ruling class.

* What is the importance of having a Party in this country based on the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA? What particular internationalist responsibilities does this place on this Party, and generally those upholding and applying this new synthesis?

* The “Ohio”

** How should this be understood and applied in building the movement for revolution and the Party as its leading core?

** What is the role and importance of the Revolution Clubs in relation to this “Ohio” (as well as more generally)?

* “Strategic commanders of the revolution”

** What is the meaning and importance of this formulation? Does this apply only to the leadership of the Party, or more broadly?

** How does the discussion in the Presentation on methods of leadership, and in particular the science and the “art” of leadership—and the relation between the two—relate to being “strategic commanders of the revolution"?

Conclusion

* What is most fundamental and pivotal in this Presentation?

* What is the relation between the basic orientation of “for whom and for what?” and the role of a consistently scientific method and approach, overall and specifically in relation to human society and its revolutionary transformation toward the goal of a communist world without exploitation and oppression?