Revolution #433, April 4, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

 


 

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

Revolution #433 April 4, 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

 

Download PDF

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 #433 April 4, 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

 


Download PDF

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.

Download 11x17 PDF | Download 8½x11 PDF

 

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?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/if-you-re-into-bernie-sanders-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

The following article appeared at revcom.us in April, during the build-up to the Democratic National Convention. We are reposting it in light of developments inside, and outside the Democratic Convention.

If You're into Bernie Sanders...

by Lenny Wolff | April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

...it’s not hard to see why.

You listened and agreed when Sanders decried the outrageous and grinding inequalities that mark U.S. society. Same when he went after the ruthless way that tens of millions have been locked out of basic necessities like housing, health care, decent jobs, and education. Or when he talked about the tens of millions more who had been taught to expect a better life—and now find themselves in a cycle of huge debt and utter uncertainty about the future.

You nod when Sanders proclaims the mass incarceration of Black and Latino youth to be intolerable, and calls for an end to the war on drugs. And you know that Hillary Clinton and all the rest were neck-deep in that horror till people began rising up. Sanders talks about the need to overcome the oppression of women, gay people, and immigrants, and you feel all that, too. When he attacks the other candidates for having supported destructive wars against other countries and people, and he calls for a different relationship to the environment and goes after the fossil fuel industry—that hits you, too.

More. He says “the system is rigged” in favor of the super-rich. He points the finger at “Wall Street and the billionaire class” and says “they can’t have it all.” He goes after “the 1%” and counts it a badge of honor that the bankers have never asked him to give a speech, let alone throw the money at him like they do at Clinton or Ted Cruz. He says that we need a revolution and that all real change comes from ordinary people banding together and saying “no more.” Sometimes he even talks about “socialism.” When he says “future to believe in,” well, you want that, too—it’s not an exaggeration to say that most of your friends are terrorized when they even think about the shit going on and what the future holds. Sanders says it in a way that seems direct and honest, and seems to be about uniting people and not dividing them.

And then there’s the answer: vote for Sanders. Give some money, and then vote and get others to vote. It sounds almost easy: a revolution with no real upheaval, no real battle, no real sacrifice. Even those who say that the Sanders campaign is a way to build toward a movement that would be full of upheaval and struggle—and we’ll return to just what kind of movement that would be a little later—still find themselves seduced by the ease of a “jump-start” off elections.

Now if you think about that for a minute, you might say a “just add water” shortcut approach to revolution is a bit of a contradiction. And you’d be right. If you are one of those people drawn to the Sanders campaign because you feel deeply that the old ways are working against people and we badly need something new, then you’ve got the responsibility to ask yourself whether this really IS what’s needed.

To be clear: We’re not about to tell you to lower your sights, or to “be realistic” in the nay-saying way that just means to go along with the status quo and do what you can on the margins. You probably get enough of that from the Clinton people and your parents. And we’re not gonna tell you to give up your principles—we’re gonna tell you to be true to the best of your convictions and to seriously dig into what it would take to bring about a world in which seven billion humans could flourish. To raise your sights to that.

But first we have to talk about Bernie.

How Bernie Sanders Defines the Problem

Let’s begin with how Bernie Sanders defines the source of the horrible situation we face. Sanders sees this as principally a problem of the super-rich “rigging the system,” but not the system itself. He bitterly attacks Wall Street and says “it can’t have it all”—but he never mentions the word “capitalism.” Wall Street is just a manifestation of the economic and political system of capitalism-imperialism. It’s a symptom, not the disease.

So, what is capitalism? First of all, it’s a whole “mode of production”—that is, the whole set of ways people must relate in order to produce the necessities of life. Like any other system, it’s got rules. Capitalism means that a relative handful of private individuals and blocs of capital own, control, and dominate the wealth that is socially produced by billions around the world. Capitalism means a system where that small class uses their ownership of the means to produce wealth to compel others to work for them. That relationship—that exploitation—is the fundamental source of the huge amounts of wealth concentrated in individual hands. Capitalism means that the capitalists compete with each other to maximize profit in a deadly game of “expand or die.” If you don’t exploit to the fullest, if you don’t constantly search out how to get more, sooner or later—and usually sooner—you will go under. Capitalism leads to huge wealth at one pole and tremendous immiseration on the other—independent of the intentions of any individual capitalist or group of capitalists. And this gets reflected—and it must get reflected—in the power relations in every single sphere of society.

The problem is not that the system is rigged; the problem is the system itself. In defining the problem as he does, Sanders points to the symptoms of the disease but refuses to name the disease itself.

Bernie Sanders and Empire

Girl in India, US troops in Afghanistan
Left: A girl in India. Background: U.S. troops on patrol in Afghanistan. Photos: AP

Sanders likes to talk about the time when poor immigrants like his parents were able to have a decent life. True, there was a time when, on the basis of dominating and plundering the entire world, the U.S. was able to provide a secure standard of living for a relatively broad section of people. That time—which again was based on a global reign of terror, stretching from Iran to Vietnam to South Africa to the Middle East and Latin America and costing the lives of millions of people—is gone, both because people fought back but even more so because other capitalist-imperialist powers came up to challenge the U.S., as well as reasons having to do with globalization, etc. And nobody should shed any tears over its demise, either. To be clear, the U.S. still tries to run roughshod over the world, still plunders the people and environment all over Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But they cannot provide the same crumbs to the “home population.”

That leads to a second huge and related problem with Sanders. Bernie Sanders has at best a blind spot toward the very towering injustice that makes both the flagrant parasitism he decries and the dream of redistributing those spoils even possible. Sanders compares the U.S. unfavorably to other “major countries” in measurements of citizens’ well-being. But he never says how these “major countries” got to be “major.” He can’t bring himself to say the “I” word—imperialism. He conceals the most profound division in the world today—the division between imperialist and oppressed nations. The only time Sanders really mentions these nations, which contain the vast majority of the seven billion people on this planet, is as destinations for what he calls “American jobs.” Well, there are no “American jobs”—there is a worldwide system of exploitation in which capital flows, and must flow, to where the maximum profit can be made and which exploits people in those areas.

Let’s be clear here: millions of children every year—millions—die from preventable disease and malnutrition in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America. Millions today are fleeing imperialist military invasions, economic devastation and looting, and ecological catastrophe. These outrages are neither accidental nor necessary—they are products of the ways in which the imperialist, or in Bernie Sanders’ parlance, the “major,” countries plunder and fight to dominate the vast majority of the world. And Sanders really says nothing about this. More: quiet as it’s kept, his whole program of taxing the super-rich depends on these super-rich still being super-rich... which is only possible on the basis of this plunder and immiseration. (By the way, these so-called model northern European countries—the examples of the so-called socialism that Sanders talks about—not only partake in this plunder, they distinguish themselves by their heartless attitude toward the refugees they’ve helped to create.)

American lives are NOT more important than other people's lives

Yes, compared to the other candidates, Sanders is not an outright warmonger and he did vote against the invasion of Iraq. But press him, and Bernie Sanders makes very clear that he is about maintaining a “strong military”—a military whose basic function is to ensure the continuation of that division into oppressor and oppressed nations and the continuation of America’s status vis-à-vis the other powers. When push comes to shove—as it did with Israel’s invasion of Gaza—Sanders supports imperialist aggression.

In short, the program put forth by Sanders would leave untouched the most towering and fundamental injustices in the world. And, really, let’s tell the truth here: Bernie Sanders’ campaign is training people to see everything from the standpoint of “what’s good for Americans” and NOT what’s good for humanity. There is a very ugly, if unspoken, chauvinism at the heart of his campaign. The trappings are different from Trump and Cruz, and even Clinton, but at the end of the day, the effect is the same.

Third, Sanders points to the racism, the oppression of women, the bitter exploitation and persecution of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment. He will change these, he says. But he does not actually get to the ways in which these people-mutilating horrors have been woven and structured into the capitalist-imperialist mode of production. Getting rid of these whole interknit systems of oppression is not as simple as a few reforms—it will require tearing up the roots of these institutions through revolution to get rid of capitalism and all the institutions and ideas which reinforce it. How can anyone and why should anyone take him at all seriously on this?

Bernie Sanders and the Myth of Peaceful Change

Because Sanders so badly misdiagnoses the problem, his solution is not really a solution. It’s a trap. Let’s just suppose for a minute that Sanders did get elected and suppose somehow he could implement his program. Very quickly, those with investment capital would feel that “the climate was unfavorable,” that American capital was being put at a disadvantage. Money for investment would flow out of the U.S. at an even more accelerated rate, searching for higher profits. Not mainly because the capitalists would be rigging the system, and not mainly because of their greed. No. The main reason that they would have to do this is the expand-or-die compulsion at the heart of the system. Before long they would present Sanders with an ultimatum—either change the policy or else.

But suppose Sanders defied this edict. First, capital would in fact flow out of the U.S. and the economy would be devastated. But much more likely would be that the real power of the capitalist state—concentrated in the courts and the military/police forces, with their power of violent suppression—would move against him, in different ways. Sanders himself may not be “in the pocket” of this or that bloc of capitalists in precisely the same overt way as Clinton is. But even with a “President Sanders,” the capitalists as a class will still control both the levers of production and the state apparatus of violent suppression, and on that basis will present Sanders with “an offer he can’t refuse.”

If you were “President Sanders” at that point, either you would fold or you would have to lead people into a battle which you haven’t prepared them for. This is what has happened in many countries where people tried this path of seemingly “painless progress.” People in Chile tried this path in the early 1970s, electing an avowedly socialist president, Salvador Allende. Allende tried to carry out a moderate program of reform and adopted a different policy toward the Soviet Union (which was the chief rival of the U.S. at the time). By 1973, the U.S. orchestrated a military coup in which thousands, including Allende, were slaughtered. People in Greece tried this just last year, where the Sanders-like “anti-austerity” Syriza government ended up caving in to all the demands of the dominant European imperialist powers.

The fact that this would be true in a situation where the only thing at stake would be an effort to make some reforms makes doubly clear that unless and until the instruments of violent suppression of the capitalist class are defeated and dismantled, there can be no liberation. Conversely, so long as those instruments continue to exist, the masses of people will be at the mercy of the capitalist ruling class. The overthrow of this power of violent suppression is at the very heart of any real revolution.

So What DO We Do?

Revolution Club, New York City
Revolution Club, October 24, 2015, New York City. Photo: Alex Seel

Right about now you may be saying, “OK, Sanders may not be the total answer. But what am I supposed to do?”

First, Sanders is not just “not the total answer,” he is actually part of the problem. He is putting forward a FALSE solution, an “easy-bake oven” road to liberation that is nothing but illusion. This does real harm. It may “feel” liberatory, people may be getting active around this—but you have to ask what the program actually does. If it’s not going to solve the problem, if it’s actively promoting illusions about the character of the problem, the source of the problem and the solution to the problem... then, yeah, it’s harmful.

Let’s be blunt here. This “wisp of painless progress” that Sanders promotes... this idea that voting and sending 27 bucks is gonna change anything for real... this is just BS, if you’ll excuse the pun. Any REAL revolution—in fact, any serious act of standing up against the injustices of the system—is going to involve a lot of sacrifice. And those of you who claim this campaign will jump-start a movement of mass struggle—the same claim people made eight years ago—think about this: you hope to build a movement based on a lie. The lie that you can make this beast work in the interests of the very people it consumes... the lie that you can fundamentally change the way this system does the seven billion people on the planet WITHOUT a complete rupture with its economic and political relations and structures, a real, root-and-branch revolution. Where can such a movement built on such a lie lead but right back into the killing embrace of that same system you claim to oppose? But don’t take our word for it. The history of movements that died in the suffocating “embrace” of the Democratic Party goes back decades in this country.

To those who in all sincerity, though, are awakening through the Sanders campaign: Look, you are right to think the situation is urgent. You are right to think that something drastic must be done.  You are right to be thinking about revolution. But think about—check out—get into the REAL revolution. And get into, learn about and follow the real leadership we have for that revolution.

The Revolution We Need...

On the Strategy for Revolution
Click to read

The revolution we need is a communist revolution. The ultimate goal of this revolution, as we say on our website, is

A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.

This revolution is both necessary and possible.

Necessary because of everything we’ve only touched on here about how this system functions and much, much more. Possible because with the advent of capitalism, production became global and highly socialized in a way far beyond anything previous. The means to eliminate want and to make possible a full life for all humans now exists. It is the system of capitalism that stands in the way of that and instead brings in its wake misery, terror, privation, and foreclosed lives and futures all over this planet. It is from this contradiction—both the crises that it repeatedly gives rise to, and the ways in which people resist and search for answers in response to this—that makes this revolution possible.

The first real attempts at this revolution took place in Russia and then China in the 20th century. Contrary to what you are taught in school and the media, these revolutions actually achieved great and unprecedented things, up against enormous resistance and aggression. But they were eventually defeated. There are today no communist countries in the world, despite the labels that various regimes may claim.

...The Leadership We Have

But there is leadership to carry all that forward, to build on the positive achievements and overcome the shortcomings and the errors—sometimes serious ones—of those first attempts. That leadership is Bob Avakian.

BA has taken to another level the scientific method to understand and change the world first developed by Marx. Because of BA and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, there is a new synthesis of communism that has been brought forward—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal.

On the Strategy for Revolution” can be accessed on revcom.us or in the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. Beyond that, there is the basic framework of a doctrine that could, when and as conditions change, with the system in even deeper crisis and millions ready to fight, enable people to actually defeat the violent suppression of the state. (See “On the Possibility of Revolution” online at revcom.us and in print in the pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation.) There is a plan, concentrated in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Revolutionary Communist Party, which gives a concrete and living sense of how the contradictions of the new revolutionary society would be grappled with, struggled over and resolved, as part of getting to the communist world described above.

And if you want to hear someone who REALLY tells the truth... who REALLY is “the real thing”... who can tell you why we’re in this horror and what to do about it, then watch BA’s speech BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live, or REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion—A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian. (Watch online or get the DVD at revcom.us/film.)

What to Do Right Now

So, what to do now? Right now? Get into the movement for revolution—real revolution. Get into and spread BA, learning about his work and helping spread it to others. As you do, fight back against the outrages that drew you to Sanders, not through the killing dead end of the ballot box, but through mass resistance. Join with the Revolution Club in doing this, or write to us and find out how to start one. If there’s a Revolution Books near you join it. Learn about and relate to the vanguard of the revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Be part of raising funds, right now, as people are agonizing over the future and what to do about it, to get the work and leadership of BA everywhere.

This is controversial. If you think about it for one minute, a REAL revolution would have to be controversial. This goes all the more if it is a revolution in human thought as well. As Ardea Skybreak has said:

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

“Another minute lost.” The people can’t afford any more of those minutes. As we said at the beginning, if you’ve been into Bernie Sanders, it’s not hard to see why. Our call to you is not to settle for something less, but to truly raise your sights to the greatest thing worth living and fighting and dying for—the emancipation of all humanity and to act on that basis.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/ba-everywhere-dinners-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

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

Fundraising Dinners Across the Country Kick Off BA Everywhere Campaign for 2016

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

With these words, people were welcomed to dinners held around the country the weekend of March 19 to kick off the BA Everywhere campaign for 2016. BA Everywhere is a mass campaign to involve hundreds and thousands of people in working together to raise the big money necessary to make Bob Avakian (BA), his work, and leadership known to millions here and around the world.

The dinners brought together people of all nationalities, ages, and backgrounds to break bread together and to experience a program that challenged, inspired, and provoked people to see just what a tremendous thing it is for the people of the world to have this revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian. The dinners aimed to build community, raise funds, and inspire new efforts to bring BA and his revolutionary vision and work to people everywhere... everywhere that people are questioning why the world is the horror that it is, everywhere that people are raising their heads and fighting back—because BA and the new synthesis of communism is what is needed for the emancipation of humanity, for people to transform themselves and to radically change the world.

“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.


Download PDF

Building off of these opening words, the presentation given at the dinners walked people through who BA is and how the work that he has been doing provides people all over the world with the science and pathways to free themselves—through revolutionary struggle—from the oppression, degradation, and ignorance that the vast majority of humanity has been subjected to for centuries. The presentation talked about the 40+ years of work BA has done, building on the work of the great revolutionary leaders like Marx, Lenin, and Mao, deeply summing up and synthesizing the pathbreaking positive as well as the negative lessons from the first socialist revolutions of the 20th century, and bringing forward a new synthesis of communism that breaks with conventional thinking and opens up a new vision and understanding of how to emancipate humanity:

We ... can say without hesitation that BA is the Marx of our time. This is why BA must really be everywhere.

People at the dinners got to experience BA himself. Through watching video clips and hearing excerpts from his important new work, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, And A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, people were able to get a small taste of his revolutionary passion and scientific approach, his humor, and the way that he connects deeply with people but also provokes them to think in a radically different way about why the world is the way it is and how a different and liberating future is possible.

The responses and discussions that this program provoked in the different gatherings across the country give a sense in microcosm of what it can mean to get BA out into the world on the broad scale that is truly needed—what can get opened up when BA is put before people and how it can change the whole terms of the discussion. The video clips of BA speaking challenged people to look at things differently than how they’d been seeing them. A few examples:

* A young Black woman who had seen BA Through the Years—a short compilation video that shows BA speaking in the 1960s, through his development as a revolutionary leader to the current times—said, “I have never heard anybody say that they have a plan and vision to get rid of this and I am interested in knowing about that.” It really struck her that he has been working for revolution for going on 50 years, that someone who was a revolutionary as a young man is still a leader and still fighting for revolution. She was moved to want to get some of the people together that she lives with and do a showing of one of BA’s films, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live! as well as REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN.

* A progressive journalist from another country who has been reading BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, said she was so happy to have made it to the event and to have learned more about BA. What struck her was how clear and uncompromising he is on what the problem is, and what has to be done about it, and she was struck by the confidence he has that people can understand all this and take it up. She said: “I have read Lenin, Trotsky, all of them, but this is different. He is embracing humanity. People in other countries need to know this.” She immediately started thinking about other people who need to engage his work and get involved with this campaign.

* A man around the movement for revolution commented on watching the clips that “not everyone in the movement is trying to go on the same path. There are different doors. One door is modifying the system, changing the existing system from within.” But because of BA he has been enlightened to know that there is another door—that if you go through it, it will give you an understanding of why the world is the way it is and how it could be changed, that you can’t modify the system, that it needs total change. “You have to contrast and think about these two doors,” he said. People don’t even know that there is this other door. This is precisely what BA Everywhere is seeking to change, so people increasingly know about this radical alternative.

* A young woman said she was struck by the way BA sharply takes on the use of the word “bitch,” but said she had not thought about the ways that he connects the use of that word to the situation of the oppressed. What he said about how people are conditioned to think in certain ways really resonated with her. She was commenting on an excerpt from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in which BA talks about the need for a radical revolt against a revolting culture. Another young woman, remarking on the same clip, said she hadn’t realized just how deep the degradation and oppression of women went, and how it’s so ingrained in the culture. She said that she herself has used some of the same patriarchal terms he talks about, like “man up,” not realizing or thinking about what it means. She said that she cannot fathom what would happen if people began to understand what BA is saying, and what a great thing that would be for revolution.

The discussions were vigorous. A veteran of the 1960s said that he sees the importance of getting BA and his new synthesis known to many, many people—in particular, BA’s “solid core with a lot of elasticity, based on the solid core.” But he expressed doubts that putting “too much emphasis” on this one person could lead to failure if for some reason he is no longer with us. Two young women who are students joined the discussion. One drew on the “Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and in particular on the importance of BA’s emphasis on “for whom and for what” this is all about. People got into how key the scientific method that BA has further developed is—and the great need for masses of people to be trained in and applying this method and on that basis become leaders themselves. And how can we do this if the millions of people who need this leadership don’t even know who BA is, and what he has brought forward, and how can they have his back and defend him if they don’t even know he exists?

The presentation challenged people to think beyond the bounds of the current suffocating atmosphere and see the possibilities of how things could change if BA and the new synthesis of communism were out there in the swirls of debate going on throughout society:

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.

Big money needs to be raised to make this vision real, to get BA out into all different sections of society, and realize the potential described above. A call was made for a movement of house parties where people all over the country gather their friends and family, raise funds, show clips of BA films—and let people experience BA for themselves. The launch of this movement is planned for the weekend of April 22-25.

The build-up to these dinners raised funds and led to actual engagement with BA. Groupings of immigrants made tamales and ceviche to sell. At one of the dinners, a Latina woman read a statement about working together with other women to make tamales, discussing BA’s new work as they assembled them, and then reaching out to the campuses to sell them, to challenge the students to donate and let them know that there is support for the BA Everywhere campaign from among the immigrants. A statement was also read from a Black man who had been part of a penny jar project where 18 people in the neighborhood had pooled their pocket change and reached out to others to raise funds for BA Everywhere. (See statements in column at right.)

A man very active in the environmental movement was moved to donate. He said that while he hasn’t read a lot of BA’s works, he has come to see that there needs to be a major systemic change in the world. He agonizes that he does so much but accomplishes so little because to actually solve all the problems with the environment would take something like a revolution. He was drawn to start reading the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by BA, because it looked to him that this plan is comprehensive and serious.

The dinners marked a step in the ongoing and much-needed efforts to involve different sections of society, including students, academics, intellectuals, and activists. Those involved in the BA Everywhere campaign are also learning through the process, not only about the mood of the people but also correct methods and approaches.

One person commented on different ways of approaching people. Remarking that he previously had been satisfied with an “exchange of ideas,” he contrasted this with proceeding from and being grounded in what is true and needed, and on that basis, struggling with people that they really need to engage with BA and his work for what it is, the pathbreaking work and leadership necessary to give humanity a fighting chance at emancipation. In particular, in talking with an academic he has known for a while, who is agonizing over the state of the world including mainstream electoral politics, he struggled for the fact that “it is not simply a question of not voting but of working for something radically different and fundamentally more liberating—the emancipation of all humanity.” He made the case that it was high time the professor joined him in watching BA together, to really get into who BA is and what is so emancipatory about the new synthesis.

The presentation at the dinners invited people to be part of the BA Everywhere campaign and spoke to how this kind of engagement and struggle with people is at the heart of the campaign:

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.

While the dinners, as a whole nationally, did not meet the campaign goals quantitatively in terms of donations and attendees, and qualitatively in terms of representation from different sections of the people, they gave a sense of the potential that we can and have to realize to get BA Everywhere. Those of us who have and are getting a sense of who BA is and what he represents, or can see what a difference it makes, have to take up this “great need” and challenge—at a moment of great agonizing among sections of people over the state of the planet and humanity, and an electoral circus ranging from fascistic lunacy to promises of a political revolution for a vote and a $27 donation.

The movement of house parties showing films of BA speaking that is being envisioned for the weekend of April 22-25 is part of an effort to expand the BA Everywhere campaign geometrically—introducing many more people to BA and raising significantly more funds.

Each of these films can open up a window for people to get a sense of who BA is and of the sweeping and provocative analysis he brings of why life for billions of people on this planet is a living nightmare and how, through communist revolution, there is the possibility of an emancipatory future for humanity. In these films he both connects deeply with the people and also challenges them.

Gather your friends and family to sit down and watch the films and ask them to donate funds. Or if you’re new to this, work together with someone who knows more about BA and figure out a plan to get some people together to watch the films and get into it. To get involved contact the BA Everywhere Campaign: (917) 741-6716, BAEverywhere@gmail.com.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/next-step-for-ba-everywhere-house-parties-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

Next Step for the BA Everywhere Campaign: A Movement of House Parties and Film Showings

Updated April 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The next step for the BA Everywhere campaign is a movement of house parties being envisioned for the weekend of April 22-25—introducing many more people to BA and raising significantly more funds. There are four important films, excerpts of which can be shown at these gatherings:

*BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

*REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

*Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, a film of a 2003 talk by Bob Avakian (this film is available in Spanish)

* Stepping into the Future: On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World, the film of the cultural event celebrating the publication of BA’s book BAsics.

Who Can Be Involved?

Those who have recently discovered BA through coming to the dinners, through seeing video clips, or through starting to read BAsics; students on the campuses; people living in the housing projects. People who are amazed to have found out about a leader like this who speaks so directly and so deeply about the biggest questions of “whither humanity” and want to tell everyone they know about this. People who are deeply disturbed about the current political atmosphere and are questioning all the dangerous and dead-end solutions being offered. All of these kinds of people, and more, can be part of contributing in one way or another to this movement of house parties if the BA Everywhere committees develop and unleash the plans and means for people to participate.

How Should It Be Organized?

Some people will have friends and family they can invite to a gathering in their home. Others may be happy to open up their home for a party—and then an invitation can go out widely to different social circles to draw people to come. Groupings of people who have been part of the fight against police murder and terror, or the fight against the mounting war on women—can figure out a place and a time, bring some tasty food, and sit down together to watch, discuss, and donate. Showings can be organized in dorms or community centers and fliers can go up calling on people to come. This all can be a means to begin to “light up the sky” with BA Everywhere among certain sectors of society—but it will take organization and determination and working through the questions and controversy that all this will ignite.

These big 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. Gathering people to watch these films can be part of opening the door for many more people to engage with all this—so that even as they are figuring out what they agree and/or disagree with, they can be won to see the importance of being a part of raising the funds that will enable the work of BA to have much greater impact and visibility throughout society.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/432/all-presidential-candidates-pledge-crimes-against-humanity-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

Presidential Candidates Declare Intent to Commit War Crimes

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Monday, March 21, all remaining presidential candidates told you they’re ready to support and carry out horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity.

They did so before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by endorsing, celebrating, and pledging support for the state of Israel. Donald Trump lashed out at any attempt to rein in Israel. Ted Cruz declared Palestine—home to six million Palestinians—didn’t even exist. John Kasich: the U.S. should give Israel “our 100 percent support.” Hillary Clinton: the “United States and Israel must be closer than ever” and the U.S. must “provide Israel with the most sophisticated defense technology.” Bernie Sanders sent a statement declaring: “Israel is one of America’s closest allies.”

This translates into continuing and stepping up U.S. backing for this settler-colonial state’s ongoing abuse, torture, killing, and genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, such as Israel’s 50-day rolling massacre in Gaza in 2014 when 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, were slaughtered in homes, schools, and UN shelters.

So now you know. All the presidential candidates have openly told you and the world that they are ready to carry out war crimes and crimes against humanity in order to defend Israel in service of the U.S. empire. And voting for ANY of these candidates means voting for towering crimes against the people... and makes YOU complicit in those crimes.

 

Stop thinking like an American, start thinking about humanity
Click to enlarge

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/carl-dix-2-questions-for-farrakhan-and-nation-of-islam-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

Two Questions for Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam

by Carl Dix | April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Question #1: What Is There to Like About Donald Trump?

Speaking at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviour’s Day, Minister Louis Farrakhan said: “[Trump] is the only member who has stood in front of [the] Jewish community and said, ‘I don’t want your money.’

“Anytime a man can say to those who control the politics of America, ‘I don’t want your money,’ that means you can’t control me. And they cannot afford to give up control of the presidents of the United States.

“Not that I’m for Mr. Trump,” Farrakhan said, “but I like what I’m looking at.”

What? What do you see that you like in Donald Trump? Him calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals? Or him saying Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S.? Do you like his call to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it? Do you like him saying women who have abortions should suffer punishment, or him calling women “pigs” and “bimbos”? Do you like him calling for openly torturing people who are suspected of being involved in what he calls “terrorist” attacks on the U.S.? Do you like the way he whips up his supporters to physically attack protesters at his rallies? Do you like his call to torture people suspected of links to “terrorists” and to kidnap and murder their family members? Do you like the way he’s at the head of a gathering fascist surge in this country? Or is it the way he trades in anti-Semitic drivel about Jews and "Jewish money" controlling U.S. politics, which just covers for the real ruling class in this country, the capitalist-imperialists?

Again, just what the hell is it you find likable about Donald Trump? And what does it say about your interests and aspirations that “I like what I’m looking at” when you see this fascist blowhard?

Question #2: Where’s the “Or Else” in “Justice or Else”?

I mean, hundreds of thousands of people were in DC in October 2015 for the massive rally called by the Nation of Islam (NOI) under that theme. The militant thrust of this gathering drew people who wanted to see the genocidal assault the system is inflicting against Black people stopped.

Well, the attacks haven’t stopped. The police are still getting away with murdering Black people. Black people are still being warehoused in prison in disproportionate numbers. State officials in Michigan got caught pumping contaminated water that leached lead into the tap water of the majority-Black population of Flint, Michigan, and while state, local, and federal officials pointed the finger at each other, that poisonous water has continued to flow. There is certainly no justice, so where is the “or else”?

Was it the call for people to invest in Black-owned farmland that was issued at the rally back in October? Or does it include the planned nationwide Red, Black, Green and Clean effort on April 16 being coordinated by the Chicago Justice Or Else Local Organizing Committee?

The description for April 16 is as follows:

Black people across America will:

Back when I was growing up in Baltimore, the Afro-American newspaper chain sponsored what they called a clean-block competition where people got together to do much the same thing on their respective blocks. But the Afro-American never claimed that cleaner streets would do anything to stop the attacks the system inflicted on Black people.

So I have to ask the NOI, are you saying this is the Or Else that’s going to make the capitalist rulers of this country stop unleashing their pigs to brutalize and murder Black people? Or make them stop warehousing Black people in their prisons or any of their other attacks that are part of the genocidal assault this system is bringing down on Black people?

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/432/stop-mass-incarceration-students-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

Students Rising Up!

April 21: National Student Day of Action to STOP Police Terror! WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Updated April 17, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Received through the Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

This Call was issued by students at San Francisco State University

Join them in this effort! Endorse Here


April 14, 2015 UC Berkeley #ShutDownA14 Sather Gate
Photo: melaniejaycee@Instagram

If you knew that a murderer was living next door would you do something? What if you witnessed the murder happen, would you demand for justice then? What if countless people were losing their lives every day at the hands of one notorious gang? We have all seen the videos of the crimes the police commit against humanity--killing people who are running away, have their hands up, are laying on the ground or doing nothing. People beaten, tased, stomped, choked and shot to death. If a photo is worth a thousand words, you would assume a video would be worth enough to indict, convict, and send these killer cops to jail. And yet they continue to get away with murder. If you are Black or Brown, you live under that threat every day of your life. If you don't, you probably know someone who does. There is a genocide happening right under our noses. It is a slow genocide now, but you look at people like Trump and you see how this genocide could escalate. The time to fight this is NOW!

#StopPoliceTerrorA21 Actions:

SF State: 12 Noon at Malcolm X Plaza
UCLA: 11:30AM Meet at Bruin Plaza Shut Down Bruin Walk!
UC Riverside: 11:15AM at the Bell Tower
University of Wisconsin, Madison: 11AM at Bascom Hill
Antelope Valley College: 12:30 by the library
Cal State East Bay: TBA
Cal State Monterey Bay: TBA, contact Izzy if you are in Monterey area 916-765-8593
Kent State, Ohio: TBA
College of Staten Island, NY: TBA
Agnes Scott College, GA: No More Stolen Lives Tour, 7PM at the Fire Place Lounge in the Alston Campus Center

Send your plans to students@stopmassincarceration.net

We the students are taking a collective stance in opposition to the mass murder of men and women from our communities. We have seen the United states government commit genocide against the indigenous peoples of the world, enslave and torture Africans as well as support and finance global terror through countless wars. What has changed? That's why we the students stand up in opposition to the perpetual terror and brutality carried out by the state via the police. The changes that we want to see in the world do not happen by hashtags and Facebook likes, they happen by rising up and fighting for the future you want to make a reality.

On Thursday April 21, we the students are calling for a national day of action—walkouts, protests, powerful manifestations of resistance on campuses across the country—in which we pose to each other the question: Which side are you on? If you are disgusted by the systematic murder of citizens by the state, if you oppose the targeting and disproportionate mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, you need to be a part of this strike and make a statement by standing with your fellow students as well as community members. However, if you feel that these issues do not pertain to you, know this: If they come for people of color but you are not, then they come for women but you are not, then they come for the poor but you are not, who will be left to protest in your name?

We as students have a crucial role and responsibility in standing up to STOP police terror. 50 years ago students took up the fight against the war in Vietnam, the Black and Chicano liberation struggle, the Women's liberation movement. And they helped to rock this system to its foundation. Today we need to do even more and go even further. Students always get asked what your major is, what career you want... but how often do we get asked what kind of world you want to live in? Everything in society is telling us to find our place within this messed up system. On Thursday April 21, we declare that we refuse to live in a world where law enforcement has a green light to brutalize and murder people.

STOP POLICE TERROR! WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?


From the film:
REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion—A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian


"STOP Police Terror; Which Side Are You On? No More Stolen Lives Tour" on College Campuses

The No More Stolen Lives Tour will go to college campuses and neighborhoods across the country saying the names of the 1000's of people whose lives have been stolen by those who are sworn to protect and serve. Family members of police murder victims will travel to these areas and connect with family from those areas to tell the stories of their murdered loved ones. This will powerfully put before all of society the reality that murder by police is a widespread, systemic problem, not a few isolate incidents or tragic accidents. It will recapture the humanity of the victims of killer cops who are demonized and criminalized in police reports and media coverage after their lives are stolen. This tour will challenge those who feel they can sit on the sidelines and be neutral in the face of this horrific injustice.

Read more

 

Read more

 

 

  • Reports from the
    "No More Stolen Lives Tour"

March 10, 2016:

San Francisco State University

Read more

February 11, 2016:

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

Read more


"No More Stolen Lives Tour" at San Francisco State.
Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution


"Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony? Check yes or no." For three years the Incarceration to Education Coalition at New York University (NYU) has been organizing to abolish this checkbox from NYU's admissions application, and has aligned itself with similar groups at other universities who are trying to fight against the effects of systematic mass incarceration of Black and Latino peoples in this country, fighting against the New Jim Crow. With almost no response to their efforts, on March 25 about two dozen students marched into Kimmel Hall at New York University (NYU) in New York City and occupied the steps leading into the hall demanding NYU "abolish the box."

As one of the organizers wrote, "When we ask about criminal justice history in this country, what are we asking? Not about GPA or academic prowess. Not about ambition or drive. Not often enough about respect or morality. We find out if you've been marginalized." She went on to talk about NYU being in "A city that embraced racial profiling. A city whose blood boiled when stop-and-frisk was deemed unconstitutional in 2014. Blacks make up 25% of the city's population, less than 5% of the university student body, and over 50% of the city's jail population."

Students are determined that the "box" be completely abolished and will accept nothing less.

 

 

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Bob Avakian, Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

A Must-See Film!

Disc 1
HOW LONG MUST THIS NIGHTMARE OF OPPRESSION & BRUTALITY GO ON?
Not God, Not "Unchanging Human Nature," Not Conspiracy...
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING REALITY
WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE... THEY HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY... THEY CAN BE RADICALLY CHANGED
• The USA: Founded on Slavery & Genocide
• The Oppression of Women: Bound Up With This System . . . a Driving Force for Revolution
• The Revolutionary Potential of Those Most Oppressed Requires Scientific Leadership
Disc 2
A RADICALLY DIFFERENT AND FAR BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE
WE NEED A REVOLUTION TO OVERCOME ALL OPPRESSIVE DIVISIONS
• We Need a Real Revolution, Not Better Democracy Under This System
• Socialism Is Three Things
• Above All, Socialism Is a Transition to Communism: A New Synthesis
REMIND ME: "WHICH SYSTEM, CAPITALISM OR COMMUNISM, IS THE NIGHTMARE FOR HUMANITY?"
THE ELECTION HUSTLE: "IF THEY DRAW YOU IN, THEY WIN"
• As Bad As Bush Was...Obama Is Even Worse
• Seizing on Contradictions of the System to Prepare for Revolution
• Bourgeois Democratic Intellectuals Thinking Like Serfs Unable to Imagine a Different World
INTERNATIONALISM – THE WHOLE WORLD COMES FIRST
EMANCIPATING HUMANITY...TRANSFORMING CONDITIONS & TRANSFORMING HUMAN NATURE
REVOLUTION IS POSSIBLE: THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION
Disc 3
A REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION...THE ROLE OF YOUTH...& HOW TO WORK TODAY SO THAT THERE IS A REVOLUTIONARY FORCE WHEN THAT TIME COMES
COULD WE REALLY WIN...REALLY?
RESISTING THE BRAINWASH – A RADICAL REVOLT AGAINST A REVOLTING CULTURE
PEOPLE ARE SYSTEMATICALLY MIS-EDUCATED UNDER THIS SYSTEM
SCIENTIFIC COMMUNIST LEADERSHIP – THE ROSETTA STONE WE NEED TO WIN
• Straight Talk on BA
THE CHALLENGE: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS!

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics." BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

Go to the BA Speaks:
REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
page.
Go to the BAsics page.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/2016-epidemic-of-police-murder-and-terror-rages-on-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

2016... the Epidemic of Police Murder and Terror Rages On

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It’s 2016, and the epidemic of police murder and terror rages on.

In Inglewood, California—near LA—a man and a woman are murdered by police for sleeping in a car. In New York City, a postal worker is terrorized by police for being a Black man delivering mail.


Kisha Michael


Marquintan Sandlin


Glenn Grays


Loreal Tsingine


Jamar Clark

How many Black people do the police have to shoot and kill with impunity...

To terrorize a whole people,

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

In Winslow, Arizona, a Navajo woman is shot down on the street by police for being a Native American woman, in a land stolen by terror and genocide.

And again and again, there is a cold-blooded stamp of approval from an IN-Justice system that enforces the capitalist system. That system never has, and never will, grant those it has enslaved, exploited and oppressed even the right to step out of their houses without fear of being the next in line for a police bullet.

* * *

1) February 22, around 3 am Saturday night, 31-year-old Kisha Michael and 33-year-old Marquintan Sandlin were in a parked car in Inglewood, California. The mayor of Inglewood said they were “unconscious” when police came up on the car. Police claim they saw a gun in Kisha’s hand—whether or not that is true, both occupants were unconscious and no evidence has been presented that either person in the car fired at police. After 45 minutes—during which time authorities have not revealed anything about what happened—police murdered Kisha and Marquintan in a barrage of fire as if the U.S. Army were storming into a village in Iraq: news video shows an armored SWAT truck and police with automatic weapons; neighbors describe the area under the floodlights of police helicopters, and a lawyer representing the family of one of the victims told Revolution that machine guns were used by police.

Kisha Michael was a woman who had gone through domestic abuse, was raising three children as a single mother, and ended up dead at the hands of police. Marquintan Sandlin was a father who had battled through hard times and had begun work as a truck driver. To this system, they weren’t even human beings.

* * *

2) March 17, Glenn Grays, a Black postal worker in uniform, was delivering mail when he was nearly run over by a reckless driver of a car full of thugs. The driver and occupants of the car were NYPD officers. When Grays shouted at the driver, the cop threw the car in reverse and screamed back at the mail carrier. In a crime captured on video, the plainclothes cops got out of the car, slapped Grays in handcuffs, and assaulted him while shouting “stop resisting”—setting up a scene that could have easily turned into a police murder like with Freddie Gray in Baltimore or Eric Garner in Staten Island.

Despite outrage from bystanders, police arrested Grays, charged him with “resisting arrest,” and left his mail truck unlocked in the street. As of today, none of these state-sponsored terrorists have been arrested.

* * *

3) On March 27, Winslow, Arizona, police fired five bullets into Loreal Tsingine, killing her as she walked down the street, unarmed. They justified murdering this 27-year-old Navajo woman by claiming she shoplifted beer, and “threatened” a cop with scissors.

Police murdered Loreal Tsingine on land stolen by capitalism—backed by the U.S. Army—from the Native peoples. They murdered her in a city where people from the neighboring Navajo reservation—with over 40 percent unemployment—come in search of work or to shop. Friends described Loreal Tsingine as a beautiful person, whose life was stolen. But to this system, she is just another dead Indian in an ongoing genocide that cleared the way for everything America is all about.

* * *

4) March 30, the county attorney for Minneapolis announced no charges would be filed against police who murdered Jamar Clark—a 24-year-old Black man—on November 15, 2015. This despite the fact that many, many witnesses say police handcuffed Jamar, knocked him to the ground, and then shot him in the head.

Immediately after the murder, defiant protest erupted in Minneapolis, including an occupation of the street in front of the police station from which the killers operate. Authorities are trying to defuse ongoing protest and outrage with a federal Department of IN-Justice investigation. But on March 8, that same Department of IN-Justice announced there would be no federal civil rights charges filed against the NYPD cop that killed Ramarley Graham in his home in the Bronx, New York City, in February 2012. The IN-Justice Department ruled that the police who broke into the unarmed Ramarley Graham’s home without a warrant and murdered Ramarley in his bathroom did not “willfully deprive an individual of a constitutional right.”

Yes, there is a Black man in the White House, but it is still the case that Black people have no rights in America that this system is bound to respect, including the right not to be murdered by police.

* * *

How many more people will this system kill before this nightmare is ended? 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 way to STOP it for good is to end the RULE of this system and replace it with a whole OTHER kind of rule that serves the interests of emancipating ALL of humanity. Check out the revolution that is about that, and get into Bob Avakian, who is leading that revolution, and who has brought forward a whole other way the world can be—for real. And right now stand up AGAINST those murderers.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/minneapolis-jamar-clark-update-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

"Black people shackled, slaughtered...we've been silent too long"

Challenging the Non-indictment of Minneapolis Pigs Who Killed Jamar Clark

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Jamar ClarkJamar Clark

On March 30, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that no charges would be filed against two Minneapolis police officers in November’s fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old Black man, within one minute of their arrival on the scene.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a commentary from a reader that captured the tone of the outrageous announcement by Freeman: “To be honest, it felt like you were talking about vermin and were troubled by having to spend so much time on the case. Your purpose seemed to be to repeat a story that is getting old—scary, violent black criminal causes well-meaning, innocent policeman to fire. You don’t seem to have really grasped that a human life was lost.”

The non-indictment was immediately challenged in reality—both by protest and by the incredulous statements of the many witnesses to this cold-blooded murder. This included televised testimony of the woman who was reported by the police and media to be Jamar Clark’s girlfriend, who called for help because she was supposedly being attacked by Jamar. She contradicted the whole premise and pretext for the police intervention and murder of Jamar, saying that she was not Jamar’s girlfriend and he didn’t attack her. She only called paramedics—not police—for an accidental ankle injury that happened almost two hours prior to her call.

Protesting the decision to not prosecute police for murder of Jamar Clark. Photo:Fibonacci Blue

Protesting the decision to not prosecute police for murder of Jamar Clark. Photo:Fibonacci Blue
Protesting the decision to not prosecute police for murder of Jamar Clark, Minneapolis, March 30. Photos: Fibonacci Blue

The evening of Freeman’s announcement, hundreds protested the non-indictment at the county courthouse. Many of the protesters marched back to the North Side site of Clark’s shooting for a late-night gathering. Later, the tone turned angrier, with some protesters swarming toward the front door of the Fourth Precinct headquarters. Outside, protesters burned an American flag that bore the names of Black men killed by police.

Demonstrations continued through Friday, April 1, again at the Hennepin County Courthouse, continuing through the downtown business complex, with a vigil in the evening at the North Side site of Jamar Clark’s murder. A Stolen Lives banner was taken to the front of both protests. In the evening, an activist read every one of the names and captions of the 44 pictures of unarmed people killed by police, plus a photo of Jamar, with the crowd chanting after each name, “That ain’t right!”

“I could be part of this. Black people shackled, slaughtered... we’ve been silent too long.” This was the response of a Black man in Minneapolis who lived through the upheavals of the 1960s, after reading this statement from Bob Avakian (BA):

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Near the memorial for Jamar Clark, Minneapolis
Near the memorial for Jamar Clark. Photo: @excelhiphop

This same man recruited several young people to be in touch with the revolution, and told them about the National Student Day of Action to STOP Police Terror on April 21 being called by students and by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

Palm cards with the statement above by BA, and on the other side “What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution you have to get seriously into BA,” were distributed widely on April 1, along with Revolution newspaper. Many people are asking about where all this protest is going, and what to do next.

In the short time I had in Minneapolis, I used the orientation concentrated in this quote from BA about the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward:

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.
(From The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, and cited in the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA)

In struggling with an activist in Minneapolis about what is the actual nature of the system, the role of the state, and how to actually end police murder and everything that goes along with it, it was apparent that there were some changes in her thinking going on. Instead of thinking that the movement should focus on “abolishing the prison and police system,” she’s seriously grappling with the fact that the whole system of capitalism needs to be uprooted at the base through revolution, along with all the institutions that enforce capitalism.

Some of the activists who are involved in planning “what next?” in Minneapolis were eager to get into Revolution with its article on a whole new society embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. We also challenged students that they need to bring the tour with Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor—An Invitation... to Meet the Revolution—to their campus.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/432/points-on-the-recent-events-in-brussels-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

Revcom.us/Revolution on the Recent Events in Brussels

March 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

1) Once again, forces associated with Islamic fundamentalist jihadism have struck against ordinary people going about their business, this time in Belgium. This is a reactionary attack in the service of a reactionary agenda and must be unconditionally opposed. This trend takes the anger against the oppression carried out by U.S. and European imperialism, couples it with a reactionary hunger for an idealized past that was itself awful, and misdirects it into fighting for a world in which women are dominated by men, in which superstition reigns over reason, and in which a new “caliphate” will insert itself into the same old reactionary imperialist order and the exploitation and oppression of the masses will continue.

As Bob Avakian (BA) has recently stated:

This system of capitalism-imperialism has been built on, and continues to perpetrate, slavery and white supremacy and all manner of atrocities against Black people, other oppressed peoples, and the masses of humanity throughout the world, including the half of humanity that is female. Some claim that the answer to this is Islam, and in particular fundamentalist Islamic jihad. But that is not the answer – it is not a radical alternative to this system and its monstrous crimes – it is itself another form of enslavement, oppression, and atrocity, against women and the masses of people overall. The answer is an actual revolution – a really radical and emancipating revolution – communist revolution, to bring an end at long last, to all oppression, everywhere.

2) But as BA has also emphasized, this trend would not be nearly as significant in the world today were it not for the far greater oppression carried out by imperialism and, in particular, U.S. imperialism. The U.S. along with its European allies has supported Israel in its open-air, slow-motion genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza (punctuated by periodic wars of aggression against Gaza) and in Israel’s apartheid-like oppression in the territory of historic Palestine overall; the U.S. has supported other reactionary regimes and social forces throughout the region, bringing down terrible suffering and mayhem on literally millions and millions, as it is doing today in its proxy war in Yemen carried out by Saudi Arabia, where thousands of civilians have died from U.S.-manufactured cluster bombs dropped from U.S.-supplied warplanes; and the U.S. has itself directly waged war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other places as well that has resulted in millions of deaths and the driving of many millions more into refugee camps or the open seas.

Now these imperialist hypocrites will use this attack, as they have all the others, to not only reinforce and intensify the worldwide horror they carry out, but to further whip up a warmongering patriotism and xenophobia (fear and hatred of “others”) and to crack down on all dissent and opposition within their “home base.” This will focus on Muslims very broadly, but will extend beyond that. Those who doubt this should consider how the French imperialists used the “state of emergency” measures after jihadist attacks last November to spy on, repress and jail environmental activists.

Bringing Forward Another Way

Bringing Foward Another Way is an edited version of a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to a group of Party supporters, in 2006. It is must reading for a serious understanding of what the U.S. "war on terror" is really about and how to bring forward a positive force in the world in opposition to both Western imperialism and Islamic Jihad.

Download PDF

We should in no way support ANY measures undertaken by our own oppressors in the name of safety, security, or any other buzzword they use. We should in every way OPPOSE anything that is done by our oppressor or other imperialists. Such opposition, rather than rallying around their flag, could actually contribute to the dynamic the world so desperately needs: a dynamic in which people all over the world see that people in the countries which are the main source of the oppression are saying NO to both poles of the madness.

3) Even more fundamentally: there IS an alternative to this madness, to a world in which this disastrous dynamic plays out daily all over the world and destroys millions – and that is revolution. Again, we direct you to the quote above from BA. This IS real... this COULD bring into being a different world beyond this horror and insanity...and you need to check this out and be part of it. Go to revcom.us and dig deeper into all this. Help get out this message. Support this movement and be part of helping to spread it.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/awtwns-oppression-of-women-in-afghanistan-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

From A World to Win News Service:

The Oppression of Women in Afghanistan and the Western-Appointed Regime

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Afghan women protest the killing of Farkhunda, March 24, 2015.
It has been a year since the brutal murder of Farkhunda by a mob of men. She was accused of burning the Quran. Above: Afghan women protest the killing of Farkhunda, March 24, 2015. AP photo

March 28, 2016. A World to Win News Service. It has been a year since the brutal murder of Farkhunda by a mob of men. She was accused of burning the Quran. Government officials initially justified the murder, but as the people’s anger rose in Afghanistan and the world, they backed down—slightly. Many of the perpetrators are still free. The government seems reluctant to sentence the few still in prison and many of the initial sentences were overturned by the state court, which then imposed lighter sentences. Farkhunda’s mother, Bibi Hajera, expressed her frustration in a video message sent to the media on 8 March this year. She said, “This 8 March in Afghanistan is being celebrated at a time when justice for women in Afghanistan has been buried with Farkhunda forever. God give me patience because justice has not been done.” (BBC, March 8, 2016)

She was making a strong point, because the murder of Farkhunda was not the end of injustice for the women in Afghanistan and it has been followed by other shocking events.

In November 2015, Rokhshana, a 19-year-old woman in a village in the central province of Ghor accused of adultery, was stoned to death by a group of men, apparently after a local trial. According to the governor of Ghor, Seema Joyenda, “Rokhshana first ran away several years ago to Iran after her family tried to marry her off to an old man. After they brought her back, they forcibly married her off to another old man. When she ran away this time, she did so as a married woman, and was punished with stoning.” (Guardian, November 3, 2015)

In December, the husband of Reza Gul, a woman from Faryab province, cut off her nose and part of her upper lip with a knife. A similar incident happened to Setara, another Afghan woman, a year earlier. An 18 year-old from Samangan was killed by her father using a hatchet. According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, so-called “honour killings” rose in the six months from March to September 2015. Out of the 190 women known to have been murdered in Afghanistan during this period, 101 were registered as honor killings. These are only samples of many more and perhaps thousands of similar cases of violence against women on a daily basis.

Even though only a small fraction of cases of domestic violence against women gets registered, and many forms of violence (for example, psychological and verbal violence) are not considered as such, still more than 5,000 cases have been registered, according to a report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. The same report indicates a five percent increase with respect to the previous year, after a 20 percent rise a year earlier. The same report indicates that the dimensions of violence are more horrific and the perpetrators are younger.

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

Some perpetrators have been arrested but many thousands are free, and they feel safe to continue committing crimes against women, even though those women could be their wife, daughter, sister or mother. They see the law, religion, tradition and the authorities on their side. According to Human Rights Watch, 90 percent of Afghan women have been victims of violence. Only a fraction of cases in which women are killed are treated as murder, and in only less than 30 percent of the cases are the killers arrested. Most can escape even a trial.

Since the Islamic regime was first set up by the U.S. and other Western imperialists in 2001, with a new U.S.-brokered government installed in 2015, Western political leaders have been giving the impression of a gradual improvement in the status of women in Afghanistan. The Western mainstream media continuously report the number of women members of Parliament, the number of women in the government cabinet or the number of women governors. The reports mainly compare women’s situation now with that under the Taliban. It is true that during the religious fundamentalist rule of the Taliban and, before that, the rule of the Mujahideen warlords in the 1990s, the situation for women in Afghanistan was especially harsh. Women’s rights were tremendously restricted, and their oppression took its most open form.

The Mujahideen (who had fought the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, the U.S.’s main imperialist rival) came to power with strong military, financial and political support from the U.S. and other Western imperialists. As each warlord established relations with a different regional power, they were eventually dumped by the imperialists. Then the Taliban took over the country with military and political support by U.S. allies such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Girls were banned from going to school, and many more restrictions were imposed on women, especially outside the home. In fact the U.S. and the West bear a big responsibility for what happened to women during both the Mujahideen and Taliban periods.

When the U.S. and the West, based on their global interests, decided to remove the Taliban from power, suddenly they remembered that these forces oppressed women and used this to justify their brutal invasion of Afghanistan under the pretext of liberating women.

Now Western politicians and the loyal media have decided to take into account the history of women during the Taliban era, comparing women’s situation today with that under the Taliban as if there were no history before that and subsequent “achievements” should be judged by that standard. Now, under the U.S.-led occupation, a section of women living in Kabul and maybe some other big cities might be able to work outside the home, but they still face tremendous danger, pressure and discrimination. The situation of the vast majority of women is not better, and likely worse. The only other so-called achievement of the new regime is allowing schools for girls to open. In reality, this has not affected millions of children who are too scared or too poor to go to school. Women’s situation under the current regime has a long way to go before even catching up with the situation during the 1970s and ’80s.

This worsening situation is blamed on the armed opposition groups, mainly Taliban because they have gained control over increasing parts of Afghanistan. Apart from that, it is also blamed on the “conservative society.” These are both ways of arguing that the government and the whole apparatus that was installed and structured in Afghanistan by the Western imperialist powers is on the side of women’s rights. This is a very false picture. They have done nothing to fundamentally change women’s situation, but have done many things to make sure that the oppression of women continues in some of its ugliest forms.

When the heart-breaking video of the stoning of young Rokhshana was circulating on social media, the regime claimed that this incident took place in a district under Taliban rule. But some activists in Kabul doubt this: “Usually, they are putting it on the Taliban to cover up their own kind.” (Guardian, November 3, 2015) Even if we assume that the stoning was in a Taliban-controlled area, the regime has tried hard to reintroduce the same kind of measures into law and compete with the Taliban in applying Sharia (Islamic law). Several weeks after the stoning, a local governmental court punished Zarmina and Ahmad, young lovers in the same province of Ghor, because they ran away from home. When the news reflected badly on the regime internationally, the government again tried to distance itself and blame it on the local courts and the conservatism that prevails in the society.

But the regime and its political base support this conservatism and backward ideas by enforcing backward laws through backward courts. At one point, the Afghan regime introduced a draft penal code that included “a proposal to restore stoning as punishment for adultery,” and the same report concludes that “tackling violence against women does not seem to be high on the Afghan authorities’ agenda.” (Amnesty International UK, posted November 25, 2013)

“Half the female prison population are convicted of ‘moral crimes’—which include running away from violent husbands, fathers or in-laws. Federal law is universally ignored in the local courts, where nearly 90 percent of all criminal and civil legal disputes are settled, and where girls are bartered to settle family disputes and a man who kills his wife can expect a fine.” (Guardian, January 13, 2013)

At the same time, “It is estimated the U.S. government put $15 million (£9.3 m) into supporting the ‘informal justice’ sector last year, entrenching the repressive mentality. In April 2011, the Afghan government sought to reintroduce public morality laws, regulation was drafted to impose wedding codes to ensure that brides were modestly dressed, to ban music at weddings and to prevent male and female guests mixing. Shops were to be fined for selling inappropriate wedding clothes.” (Guardian, January 13, 2013)

If financial aid (not to mention legitimacy) for local and unofficial courts and the introduction of this kind of repressive laws against women are not in line with religious fundamentalism, then what is it? The whole structure of the Afghan state and its organs, including the government, parliament, courts and religious institutions, are coordinated to provide the conditions for conservatism and institutionalize conservatism and fundamentalism, and as a result strengthen and enforce the anti-women mentality in the name of what some people in the West would call “the tradition and culture of the people of Afghanistan”.

These are clear advantages to men and a basis for their support of the patriarchal system and its promotion of violence against women. But the rise of violence against women in successively more horrific forms is not accidental or due to uncontrolled factors. It is a direct result of the policies of the regime and its backers, despite gestures such as the adoption of the UN agreement concerning the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) in 2009.

Today it is not uncommon for young women to set themselves on fire or commit suicide in some other way because they are trapped in domestic violence with no one to turn to. Some seek refuge in shelters or so-called safe houses that are not that safe. Because these places house the most vulnerable girls and young women, they are occasionally raided by various military forces who consider the women in the shelter immoral. In some cases, powerful local commanders or officials pop in to abuse and harass terrified women. Despite all this, some women see these places as an alternative to self-immolation. However, there are not enough shelters for even a small fraction of victims.

“Mariam, which is not her real name, has been hiding in a secret women’s shelter in Kabul for the past two months. She lives with around 20 women who have travelled here from across Afghanistan, each with their own horrific story of abuse. Some have left violent husbands. Others have been raped or are fleeing forced marriages arranged by their parents. All of them are terrified that they will be killed by their families.” (Aljazeera, July 3, 2015)

Powerful leaders and lawmakers make various excuses to close them, such as insufficient security personnel or financial difficulties, but the real intention is to shut down even the smallest way out of hell for women. Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a member of the Afghan parliament representing the western city of Herat and a notorious advocate of anti-women laws, declared, “These so-called ‘safe houses’ are very bad... They protect people who are doing wrong things and give them immunity. They open the gates to social problems like AIDS.” (Aljazeera, July 3, 2015)

The continuing vicious state-organized abuse of women has many other aspects. The latest report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, endorsed by Human Rights Watch and released on 8 March this year, reveals that women prisoners are systematically and frequently subjected to forced virginity tests. That includes girls as young as 13, and they are not only conducted by force but in the presence of many people and in an invasive manner. In fact it is a form of torture to punish women who have fled violence, since the majority of women in Afghan prisons have been charged with so-called “moral crimes” that include running away from home—either with a lover or to escape forced marriage or domestic violence. These women are charged and convicted by the local courts that receive direct financial support from the U.S. government.

One of the authors of the report, Soraya Sobhrang, says that not only the prisons but also “women’s shelters are sending women for the tests, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is sending them and the police are sending them.” (New York Times, March 6, 2016). This shows that these “tests” are a routine practice by governmental institutions aimed at already abused women. It has a particular ideological meaning. These “tests” mean that the authorities on every level consider these women guilty unless proven otherwise. Unfortunately, the report mainly emphasizes the unreliability of such “tests” and fails to emphasize that they are an unjustifiable act of violence, as is the arrest of these women in the first place.

The fact is that despite cosmetic measures, the situation for women is getting worse in many aspects. In particular violence against women is spiraling upward. The Taliban continue to oppress women in the harshest way in the areas under their control. The entire structure of the state installed by the U.S. and other Western imperialists and the current regime that the U.S. directly brought to power is increasingly harsh in its treatment of women. In fact, patriarchy is institutionalized and Afghan leaders are doing all they can to consolidate it by restoring and encouraging the most backward anti-women laws such as stoning, and putting restrictions on women’s private lives, on their activities and reducing their self-confidence by denying their most basic rights. There is literally no support for women who are victims of abuse or who flee domestic violence. Instead, they are arrested, imprisoned, tortured and punished, even in the shelters run by government organizations.

While women running away from violence and the threat of death from her husband and family for so much as talking to a man of her choice are arrested and imprisoned by the authorities, men who murder a woman in the name of “honor” are usually not arrested, and if they are, often serve less than two years in prison at most.

The regime legitimizes its anti-woman laws and policies in the name of respecting the culture and tradition of the people. These relations and ideas and practices correspond to the relations of production, the economic relations around which the society is organized, an economy that is in turn deeply embedded in the global capitalist system and imperialist power relations. The Afghan ruling class, like any reactionary ruling class, represents those relations and the ideas that arise from, justify and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. It cannot and will not seek to change these relations and the tradition and culture associated with them, but instead needs and seeks to consolidate and reinforce them, in old and new forms. The degradation of women and their status as the property and slave of men is a pillar of its rule and a condition for its existence.

Further, this regime is also connected to other, far more powerful extremely reactionary regimes, particularly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and its existence depends on world imperialism. Imperialism does not seek to and cannot liberate women in the countries it dominates, any more than it can eliminate male supremacy in its home countries.

Women’s liberation requires the abolition of classes, the social relations such as women’s oppression by men that go along with production relations based on exploitation, and the uprooting of all the ideas and practices that arise from and enforce these relations—in other words, a communist world. In a revolutionary society with a revolutionary state, starting immediately, women and men can be encouraged and protected to cast off such chains of the past—examining, debating, criticizing and where necessary uprooting old relations and ideas as part of creating a new society and a transformed, emancipating culture.

There are signs that women and especially young women in Afghanistan are increasingly defying these rotten and backward traditions, despite the high price they have to pay. But they must be organized to fight consciously for their liberation. The revolutionary and communist forces must rely on this highly oppressed section of people to wage and intensify their struggle for emancipation.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/in-response-to-trump-abortion-is-not-murder-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

In Response to Trump: Abortion Is NOT Murder!

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On March 30, Donald Trump said that abortion should be banned and that women who undergo an abortion should face “some form of punishment.” Trump quickly responded to the immediate uproar over his comment by saying that whether a woman should face punishment should be “left to the states” and that a woman who undergoes an abortion is “a victim” and only the doctor should face punishment. He said, “The laws are set now on abortion and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed.” Then in an interview on CBS (aired on Sunday, April 3) John Dickerson asked Trump, “Do you think it’s murder, abortion?” When Dickerson pressed Trump and asked, “But you don’t disagree with that proposition, that it’s murder?” Trump said, “No, I don’t disagree with it.”

Trump is openly saying what Ted Cruz, John Kasich and others in the Republican Party argue—that fetuses are babies with rights that are more important than the rights of women; in other words, that women are incubators and breeders.

The position of Trump and the whole anti-abortion movement rests on the LIE that abortion is murder. But ABORTION IS NOT MURDER. As a very important article, “What Is an Abortion and Why Women Must Have the Right to Choose—Life Cannot and Should Not Always Be Preserved,” by A.S.K. says:

Is it true that a fetus is a form of life? Of course it is. It is made up of live cells, it is growing and processing energy, it has the capacity to mature and reproduce, it has a genetic system and so on. Will an abortion destroy this form of life? Yes, absolutely. Well then, isn’t an abortion killing another human being? No, absolutely not. A fetus is not yet a human being. It is more like a seed or a sprout of a human being. It is "alive," but that is also true of all the other cells in a woman’s body. It has no life of its own yet. It is not yet a separate life from the life of the woman in whose uterus it is...

The life of a woman who is forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy is endangered. She might have to resort to a risky back-alley abortion. And if she is forced to go on with the pregnancy, her life is weakened and degraded. She will be robbed of pride and self-respect because she has been told by society that she is essentially worthless—even an undeveloped bunch of cells that isn’t even a whole baby yet gets more respect and has more value than this woman! Because she is not allowed to control her own body, her own reproduction, not allowed to decide whether or not or when to become a mother, she has no more freedom than a slave.

Fetuses Are NOT Children.
Abortion Is NOT Murder.
Women Are NOT Incubators.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/433/drop-the-charges-on-shutdownrikers-freedom-fighters-en.html

Revolution #433 April 4, 2016

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

Drop the Charges on the #ShutDownRikers Freedom Fighters Clark Kissinger & Miles Solay!

April 5, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Clark Kissinger (left) and Miles Solay (right) with their attorney Kenny Gilbert
Clark Kissinger (left) and Miles Solay (right) with their attorney Kenny Gilbert. Clark was National Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society in 1964-65. In 1965 he organized the first march on Washington to stop the war in Vietnam, and has never stopped fighting against injustice and working for revolution. He is the manager of Revolution Books in Harlem. Miles is founder of the revolutionary rock band Outernational, touring Europe, Latin America & the U.S.

EVERYONE WHO IS APPALLED at the brutality and beatings of prisoners at Rikers, the torture of solitary confinement, and the killings of people held for no reason other than they cannot make bail, is needed to demand that the charges against #ShutDownRikers Freedom Fighters Clark Kissinger and Miles Solay be dropped. They face one year in the torture cells of Rikers for daring to put their bodies on the line at the entrance to Rikers on October 23, 2015, in answer to the call of Rise Up October to #ShutDownRikers which says:

The time for wringing our hands is over. The time for cosmetic but essentially meaningless reforms is over. A line must be drawn. People of conscience must put our bodies on the line to stop the depravity and barbarity, else we ourselves are complicit.

In response to this call, 100 people – including family members of people murdered by police, students from Columbia and New York Universities, artists, war resisters, revolutionaries and the Revolution Club, and religious leaders – marched to the entrance of Rikers Island, holding high huge portraits of people who had died and suffered from brutality, sexual assault, medical neglect, years of solitary confinement and other forms of Rikers torture.

Shut down Rikers protest, October 23

When they reached barricades that police had put across the road, some sat down, and 16 were arrested, most of whom were released without penalty. But Clark and Miles were given much heavier charges. They are scheduled for trial Tuesday, April 12. In answering the call to Shut Down Rikers, Clark and Miles joined others in refusing to be complicit with crimes against humanity that go on at Rikers daily and at hell-hole prisons and penitentiaries across the country. They set an inspiring example that must be defended and become a model for others. This effort to convict them of a criminal offense is an outrageous attack on the right of the people to protest and fight against atrocities like Rikers. Approximately 10,000 prisoners are held at Rikers every night – 85 percent of whom have not had a trial or been convicted of a crime and are there because they cannot make bail. They are not less human and their lives not less valuable than the lives of people who live a short distance across the East River in Manhattan or anywhere else in NYC or across the country. Clark and Miles are facing Rikers themselves for standing with these prisoners. Now we call on you to stand with Clark and Miles. 

Which SideAreYou On?
Stand with Clark and Miles!
Demand that all charges be dropped!
Sign the Statement of Support at stopmassincarceration.net
Share on social media.
Invite Clark and Miles to speak at your school or organization.
Join court support at the trial Tuesday, April 12, 9:00 am.
Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Blvd. (Kew Gardens stop on the E/F)
646.709.1961 • @stopmassincnet stopmassincarceration.net 
Facebook.com/StopMassIncarcerationNetwork

 SIGN ON to the message to the Queens District Attorney, calling on him to DROP the charges on Clark & Miles

Download Flyer for Printing  (2 on 8.5"X11") Front Back