Revolution #440, May 23, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

May 16, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution

Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

The Revolutionary Communist Party
IS ORGANIZING NOW TO OVERTHROW THIS
SYSTEM AT THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME.
Preparing to lead an actual revolution to bring
about a radically new and better society:
the New Socialist Republic in North America.

The  problem: this  system. This system drives refugees and immigrants into exploitation, horror and death. This system wages brutal wars of slaughter. This system destroys the environment. This system locks down generations of Black and Brown youth, brutalizing and incarcerating them and even blowing them away—or else setting them up to fight and kill each other, when they should be fighting the REAL enemy. This system conditions men to disrespect and brutalize women, when the fury of women must be unleashed for revolution. This system—capitalism-imperialism—must be overthrown.

The solution:  REVOLUTION–nothing less! Revolution where millions go up against, defeat and dismantle the system's armed forces of violent suppression. Revolution that sets up a totally new power, with a different economy and different ways people relate to each other.

The goal of this new revolutionary power is communism: a world where people are no longer divided into rich and poor, masters and slaves, rulers and ruled. No longer fighting and slaughtering each other, but working together for the common good. No longer locked in ignorance, but consciously understanding, and changing, the world. No longer destroying the earth, but acting as its caretakers. This is possible, humanity has developed the basis for such a world; it is the system of capitalism that is in the way.

The  leadership: Bob Avakian, BA, the leader of the RCP, has developed scientific theory on a world-class level. At the same time, BA deeply understands and connects with the most oppressed.

BA breaks down why reality is the way it is, and how people can change it for the better. He's learned from the achievements and the shortcomings of past revolutions, and brought forward a much more scientific approach to the big problems facing humanity. This is the new synthesis of communism.

Get with the Revolution Club  here

Read here | Download PDF Poster | JPG for web

BA has developed answers to why this system can't be reformed... how revolutionary forces could grow from weak to strong, and actually defeat the enemy...how people could then build a new society on the road to emancipating humanity throughout the world ...and how to wage the struggles of today to reach that goal.

BA's leadership is a huge strength for the revolution: to follow, to learn from, to defend.

How  to move  today:  The all-out struggle for power is a serious thing, and it can only be won when the system is in deep crisis and millions are ready to put everything on the line. Today is not yet that time... but today IS the time to urgently prepare for that.

1 Go to www.revcom.us every day.—the lifeline that cuts through events to reveal the need for revolution and how to move now to hasten, and prepare for, that revolution.

2 Join the Revolution Club. Revolution requires organization: the Revolution Club is where you get organized to fight the power today to STOP the horrors of the system, and to transform the people, FOR REVOLUTION.  Revolution requires a scientific approach: the Revolution Club is where you learn BA's new synthesis of communism, and how to apply it to solve the challenges we face.

The Revolution Club moves boldly and it moves wisely, up in the face of the enemy, projecting revolution into every corner of society.

All of this is part of going for a revolution that we, the RCP, have taken the responsibility to lead. There's a whole other way to live and fight and even die to change the world – a strategy to do that and a way, right now, to make that real.

Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

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Points of Attention for the Revolution


The Revolution Club upholds, lives by and fights for the following principles:

 

1 We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.

2 We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or “jokes” about people’s gender or sexual orientation.

3 We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures and languages. We do not tolerate insults, “jokes” or derogatory names about a person’s race, nationality, or language.

4 We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity—nor of our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.

5 We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.

6 We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.

Downloadable PDFs for printing the Points of Attention: ENGLISH | ESPAÑOL

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Excerpt from the section:
III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

Download PDF of entire work
Download PDF of this section

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

This excerpt comes from Chapter III, "The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution," and includes the section titled "Hastening While Awaiting."

Hastening While Awaiting

Now, this gets to the point about “hastening while awaiting”—which is another one of those things that everybody can repeat, but what does it mean, and does it really have any importance? We got this formulation from Mao. During the war against Japan, which I discussed earlier, Mao talked about how, in resisting—militarily, in that case—Japanese occupation and aggression against China, they didn’t have the basis to go over to the offensive right away, to drive out the Japanese. They had to fight, for a certain period of time, on the defensive; they had to avoid major encounters that could be decisive in terms of the outcome of the whole thing. In that situation, Mao used the formulation: we are hastening while awaiting—awaiting changes in the international situation, in that case. In other words, as World War 2 broke out, there was a whole larger struggle against Japan, or in which Japan was enmeshed—most of all, the inter-imperialist contradiction between Japan, Germany, and Italy, on one side, and the U.S. and Britain (and France, sort of) on the other side. (I say France was sort of involved because it was occupied by Germany and divided in half, and, so it wasn’t able to fight very much for most of the war.) Anyway, without getting into all the details of that, this was what Mao was talking about: waging the war of resistance against Japanese occupation, hastening while awaiting changes in the international situation.

Now, obviously, we have not only adopted but also adapted this; we’re not waging a military struggle now, and we’re not awaiting changes in the international situation in the same way they were in China—we’re hastening while awaiting the development of things toward a revolutionary situation, which obviously involves the whole international dimension, for the reasons I was discussing earlier about how the world system is ultimately decisive. But what we mean by this relates to the “three prepares” that we’ve been popularizing—we’re working on preparing the terrain (preparing the ground is another way to say that), preparing the masses of people, and preparing the vanguard—and the hastening part is that, in the context of all the objective contradictions we’re confronting, we’re working to accelerate the development of things toward an actual revolutionary situation. That’s what’s concentrated in that formulation, the “three prepares,” so that if a revolutionary situation, or when a revolutionary situation, does develop, we’re in the best possible position to go for everything at that point. We’re hastening while awaiting. We’re not just awaiting “one fine day” when we can start getting serious about talking to people about revolution, or we can stop just throwing the word around like everybody else and start really “meaning” it, or whatever that might be—which, again, would be criminal.

But, while we’re hastening, we are awaiting. Awaiting is part of the formulation, it’s part of the contradiction, it’s part of the strategy. Why are we awaiting? And what are we awaiting? We’re not awaiting Godot. We’re not waiting for some deus ex machina (some god-like force from outside the contradictions of the material world) to intervene and create, oh finally, a basis for revolution. We’re not even looking or waiting for “the great god, the masses” to come and create for us a revolutionary situation—“Oh, when the masses get ready, then everything will be fine; they’ll all want a revolution, and they’ll all come to us and say, ‘Please lead us to make a revolution.’ If you think that’s gonna happen, you are in for a big disappointment. You could think: “It’s just not fair, we’ve been out here since 1996 with the National Day of Protest against police brutality and murder, criminalization of a generation and repression. Now a lot of people are talking about police brutality and murder, but everybody’s not coming to us and saying, ‘Lead us, please,’ because we’ve been out here for 20 years. It’s just not fair.” Well, tough shit. That’s not the way it works, OK. And if you think that is what is going to happen with a revolution—finally everybody’s gonna come around and say, ‘Please lead us, because you’ve been out here talking about revolution forever’”—forget it. So we’re not waiting for something like that. But we are awaiting while we’re hastening. Why? Maybe this sounds, as they say, counter-intuitive, like it’s self-contradictory in a bad sense, but it isn’t. Why are we awaiting? Because we are actually serious about making a revolution. It’s the same principle Mao emphasized in their situation, in the fight against Japan. There were people in China who said, “We gotta go at the Japanese all-out, right now—we can’t just carry out actions from a strategically defensive position, we’ve got to take the offensive.” And Mao said, if we do that, we’re just gonna be crushed. If you read Mao’s military writings about the resistance against Japan, you’ll see this over and over again: We cannot take the strategic offensive against Japan right away, we don’t have the basis and the forces to do that at this point. If we do that, we’re going to be crushed. So, if you’re serious about defeating Japan, you have to fight during a whole stage of strategic defensive in order to get to where you can go over to the offensive. And if you try to just lash out and take the offensive right away, you’re going to be crushed, because we still have meager and weak forces compared to this powerful juggernaut, which Japan still is.

So, awaiting is part of being serious, if it’s combined with hastening. Why don’t we just jump off and do a few things that make us feel good now? There’s a pull, a temptation, in that direction if you’re serious about this. But if we do that, we’re not actually serious about making a revolution. If we were to just jump off like that, we would get crushed, with terrible consequences for the revolution, and for the masses of people who in fact desperately need this revolution.

Now look, the point is made in “On the Possibility”—and I want to stress this point because things should not be misinterpreted and vulgarized in a social-pacifistic kind of way (socialist in name but pacifist in content)—if you read “On the Possibility,” just like the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, it is a very carefully and finely crafted statement, not as some kind of intellectual exercise, but because of all the many different contradictions it’s dealing with, including the existence of the enemy, and what that enemy will do if you act foolishly or speak foolishly. And at one point in “On the Possibility” it emphasizes something that is also in the document “Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—In Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortion of Revolution”:49 If you try to implement a strategy like urban guerilla warfare—attempting to wage armed struggle with the aim of bringing down this system when the conditions do not exist for that—this will be a strategy that can only amount to substituting for the masses of people, because it won’t bring forward, and it won’t be able to bring forward, the masses of people, and you’re just going to be isolated and crushed before you could bring forward the masses of people to be part of such an armed struggle. At the same time, “On the Possibility” makes a point of emphasizing that this is different than the masses of people rising up spontaneously against their oppressors, or defending themselves in a given situation. Anyone with a decent orientation should be able to understand why that is justified. (I’m paraphrasing what’s in the document “On the Possibility of Revolution” where things are stated very precisely, and people can and should study that document carefully.) You can’t use the fact that we can’t go over now to the form of struggle they were using in China in resisting Japan—you can’t use that to say that, whenever masses of people rise up, well, that’s the wrong strategy.

I had a direct experience with this, back in the day. I remember there was a situation in San Francisco, back in the 1960s, where the pigs went into this Black Panther Party office in San Francisco and shot up the office. People from the surrounding neighborhoods—hundreds, even thousands—went out to the streets and rebelled in the face of this; but the Panthers went around and told people to get out of the streets and come to a meeting later. When I talked to Panther leaders and argued with them that this was a bad thing to do, they justified this by saying, “This rebellion was a form of spontaneous struggle, and we’re not for spontaneity.” Well, guess what? Hundreds, even thousands of people were in the streets rebelling—but only 25 people showed up at the meeting. It was meaningless. You don’t do that when masses of people are rising up. You get my point. You don’t do that.

That is different than the important principle that you can’t substitute for the masses of people. If you go out as a force that’s trying to substitute itself for the masses of people, or if you follow a strategy that means you can be easily contained and killed off before you could ever bring forward masses of people into the struggle you’re waging, then you are doing the wrong thing. You have to have the right conditions, the necessary conditions. Look, even for the people who desperately need a revolution, they are not going to support something that’s going to bring down heavy shit against them if they’re not convinced it’s really necessary and something worth sacrificing for. Now, to be clear, this is not a recipe for tailing the masses—it’s an emphasis on being scientific. So, awaiting—again, maybe this sounds, as the phrase goes, counter-intuitive, or ironic—but awaiting is part of being serious, if it is combined with hastening. But we have to understand what it means, and what it doesn’t mean, to say that this is not the time to jump off into things. It isn’t—but there’s a difference between us, as a conscious vanguard force, and what the masses spontaneously do; and you better be able to recognize and handle that contradiction correctly, and not in the way that the BPP did in that situation back in the day, because they killed off the struggle of the masses in that situation. So I want to emphasize that point.

“Oh, you’re just awaiting,” some people might say, in misrepresenting our strategic orientation. No, we’re not just awaiting. We are hastening while awaiting, but the awaiting aspect is part of a serious, strategic approach. I’m using an analogy here—for anybody who’s listening, I’m using an analogy, because it is a different road, a different strategy, different forms of struggle, etc.—it’s analogous to why Mao said, we can’t take the offensive right away. We have to strain against the limits of the objective situation and transform it to the greatest degree possible at any point; but if you just try to ignore, or just arbitrarily and willfully step over, the objective conditions, and act as if you have some whole other set of conditions, when you don’t, you’re on the road to being crushed. And that, too, is a betrayal of the masses of people. So the point is to be hastening while awaiting.

I don’t have time to go into all this now, but I do want to refer people, as has been done before, to the first 6 paragraphs of Part 2 of Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity,50 where it talks about this very question of hastening while awaiting and what that means, and correctly understanding the relation between what we’re doing and the development of the objective situation—how we work to transform the objective situation as much as we can, as fast as we can, while, at the same time, recognizing that there are larger forces at work. There are the contradictions of the system itself, and there are different class forces—the ruling class and different middle class forces, and so on—who are also trying to change the objective conditions in accordance with how they see their interests. All that’s part of what we’re working on—but working toward a very definite goal: getting to the point where it is possible and right to go all-out for the seizure of power. I won’t go into more detail about that here, because we don’t have time right now, but I would strongly urge people to go back to and grapple with what’s in those 6 paragraphs that begin Part 2 of Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, because it has everything to do with the correct orientation and strategic approach of hastening while awaiting.

I will point to this—an analogy with something said by Lenin that is discussed there, in the beginning of Part 2 of Making and Emancipating: Lenin analyzed that in imperialist countries there were certain sections of the working class that got bought off from the spoils of imperialism; and he said, nobody can say exactly where these more bourgeoisified, better-off sections of the working class are going to fall out when the revolution actually comes. Nobody can say exactly, he insisted—we’ll have to see in the actual event. And in those 6 paragraphs, that formulation—“nobody can say exactly”—is used precisely to make the point that you don’t know, when you’re working on things, where it’s all going to lead. That point is also made in the strategy statement (“On the Strategy for Revolution”51) that you don’t know where the “jolts” in society are going to lead. Uprisings of the masses, for example—you don’t know what mix that might become part of. But what you do know is that you have to be working to push things as far as you can, as fast as you can, toward the goal of revolution, and consolidate, to the greatest degree possible, the forces for revolution out of each such situation, so that you’ve advanced through it and, as that strategy statement talks about, you’re on a higher plane from which then to carry forward further work toward the goal of revolution.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I’m constantly amazed by how things can get twisted into revisionism. You try to use a formulation to help concretize and concentrate things for people, and then it gets turned into something else. It was reported that, in a discussion about this point (nobody can say exactly where things will go when you’re working to advance things toward revolution), somebody actually interpreted this to mean: “Well, nobody can say, so that means you just kinda go out and do what you can do, and nobody can really say if it’ll lead to anything.” No! That’s not the point. The point is exactly the opposite. Nobody can say in advance that there are gonna be “x” limits to where things might go. That’s the point being emphasized. It is very frustrating, I have to say, how things seem to be re-fashioned into revisionism, far too often—into a recipe for bowing down to the objective conditions—when the whole point is how to work as much as possible to transform the objective conditions, and not to, in advance, or at any point, set arbitrary limits on where it might go. We don’t know where everything might go, because there are too many things happening in the world, and we can’t calculate perfectly all of that at any given time. You don’t know where all these things are going to go. One thing leads to another—interacts with another—leads to another—and maybe it goes certain ways and doesn’t go further...and then maybe it does. And that’s the point here, that we shouldn’t set arbitrary limits on how far things might go at any given time, while we also shouldn’t just try to overstep where things are at at any given time. That’s another contradiction we have to handle correctly.

Navigating this is very difficult. You know, in Greek mythology you have Scylla, a dangerous rock, and Charybdis, an equally dangerous whirlpool, narrowly set apart, and ships had to navigate through this narrow opening. If you went too far one way, you hit the rocky terrain, you were shipwrecked; if you went too far the other way, you went down in the whirlpool. Well, that’s what we have to deal with a lot. I mean, not the one or the other—but neither! In making revolution, you have to navigate these kinds of things all the time, and you’re not always going to do it in the best way possible, but we have to strive to handle this in the best way we possibly can, not just individually, but collectively, struggling with each other, in the appropriate ways, through the appropriate channels, in the appropriate spirit, in order to learn how to do this better—learn from our mistakes, but also learn from our advances and build on that.

Moving on, here are some important questions relating to strategy. As I said, I’m not gonna do everything here—all the work—some of it is gonna be in the form of questions for people to think about and grapple with.

There are a couple of paragraphs that appear regularly on revcom.us, which are also found in BAsics 3:30: “Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution.” And, again, this is one of those things where the language is very carefully chosen and things are formulated in as precise a way as possible. Here is the first of these two paragraphs:

At every point, we must be searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions and the methods and forms which can strengthen the political consciousness of the masses, as well as their fighting capacity and organization in carrying out political resistance against the crimes of this system; which can increasingly bring the necessity, and the possibility, of a radically different world to life for growing numbers of people; and which can strengthen the understanding and determination of the advanced, revolutionary-minded masses in particular to take up our strategic objectives not merely as far-off and essentially abstract goals (or ideals) but as things to be actively striven for and built toward.

You notice that I’m underlining, emphasizing certain things here. Now, let’s go back to the first part of this: “At every point, we must be searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions....” What’s meant by that is the kinds of things that are formulated in the “5 Stops” that regularly appear on the revcom.us website. Those are all major concentrations of social contradictions, contradictions that this system cannot resolve, certainly not in the interests of the broad masses of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole. Now, why do I emphasize this? Someone who was criticizing this approach said, “Why do you want to go around looking for, searching out, the key concentrations of big social contradictions? Why don’t we do something that will have real meaning to people right away? Why don’t we do like the Panthers did and have a Breakfast for Children program and feed people?” Well, in the history of the Black Panther Party, when it took up things like the Breakfast for Children program, it didn’t necessarily have to be, but it became in fact, something that was part of going in the direction of reformism. This was part of a trend that was later formulated as a basic line—“survival pending revolution”—meaning that what you are trying to do is meet the needs of the people under this system while you are just passively waiting for one day when you can have a revolution. But there are two things wrong with that, two very big things. One, you cannot meet the needs of the people under this system; if you could, then why would you work for a revolution, with everything that goes into that? You cannot meet the needs of the people under this system. It’s not that you should pay no attention to the needs of the people. But you’re not going to be able to meet the needs of the masses of people who are exploited and oppressed under this system, even their very basic material needs for food, shelter and so on. And second of all, by trying to do that, you’re burrowing in, putting your head down and burying yourself in the present conditions, and you’re giving up on trying to build for a revolution. So what’s being emphasized here, in these two paragraphs (“Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution”), in opposition to that kind of reformist approach, is the importance of looking for the big contradictions in society around which people can be moved and which get to the deep fault lines of the system—like fault lines for an earthquake—the deep contradictions which lie at the very base of this system which, if people move around them, begin to deepen the cracks in the whole system and create more favorable conditions to actually bring the system down and replace it with something much better. So that’s why it says we must be searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions.

And then the second paragraph says this:

The objective and orientation must be to carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, can transform the political terrain, so that the legitimacy of the established order, and the right and ability of the ruling class to rule, is called into question, in an acute and active sense, throughout society [in other words, not just for a handful, but for masses of people broadly in society]; so that resistance to this system becomes increasingly broad, deep and determined; so that the “pole” and the organized vanguard force of revolutionary communism is greatly strengthened; and so that, at the decisive time, this advanced force is able to lead the struggle of millions, and tens of millions, to make revolution.

Notice that it doesn’t say, “wait for the development of the objective situation.” It says, “carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation...”—in other words, together with things that are happening that are bigger than what we can affect at any given time through the work and struggle we are carrying out. We’re working on things, affecting as much as we can, but there are also bigger things happening that are beyond what we can affect at any given time. So we carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, hastens the development of things toward a revolutionary situation.

Now, I’ve said this many times already, in speaking to important points that are being discussed, but it’s worth saying again in relation to these two paragraphs: a tremendous amount is concentrated in this statement, which appears regularly on revcom.us and is also found in BAsics 3:30. So this, in its various parts and as a whole, is something that should be gone back to repeatedly as both a guide and a measure of how—or even whether—we, in our particular responsibilities and as a whole, are really working to build toward an actual revolution.

And this, obviously, is closely related to the more elaborated statement put out by the Party, “On the Strategy for Revolution.” So, in relation to this, here are some more questions:

Thinking about what this statement (“On the Strategy for Revolution”) says about hastening while awaiting, and in particular “jolts” in society (and the world), how does this relate, on the one hand, to the 6 paragraphs at the beginning of Part 2 of Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, which I touched on here, and how does it relate to what is said in what I just read, “Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution”?

To what degree, in how you are working to contribute to the revolution, do you continually go back to this strategy statement (as well as “Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution”) as a guide and measure, and what is your sense of this in terms of how this is approached more generally by people in and around the Party and the movement for revolution?

Which brings me to the next point, and some more questions. “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution”—this is a formulation that is pivotal to the Party’s strategic approach to revolution, and is popularized through the work of the Party. How do we understand the dialectical, the contradictory, relations in this—the contradictions between the two aspects of this (fight the power, and transform the people) and, in turn, how all this relates to preparing the basis for revolution?

These are some questions to think deeply about and grapple with.

 

49. “Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution,” Revolution #102, September 23, 2007. Available at revcom.us and also included in Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation, a Revolution pamphlet, May 1, 2008. [back]

50. Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, Part 2: “Everything We’re Doing Is About Revolution” begins with the following 6 paragraphs:

“Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism”

Hastening while awaiting—not bowing down to necessity

Next I want to talk about “Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism” and its role in building a revolutionary and communist movement. I want to begin by reviewing some important points relating to the whole orientation and strategic approach of “hastening while awaiting” the development of a revolutionary situation in a country like the U.S.

I spoke earlier about the outlook and approach of revisionist “determinist realism”*** which, among other things, involves a passive approach to objective reality (or necessity), which sees the objective factor as purely objective—and purely “external,” if you will—and doesn’t grasp the living dialectical relation between the objective and subjective factors and the ability of the latter (the subjective factor—the conscious actions of people) to react back on and to transform the former (the objective factor—the objective conditions). In other words, this “determinist realism” doesn’t grasp the essential orientation, and possibility, of transforming necessity into freedom. It doesn’t really, or fully, grasp the contradictoriness of all of reality, including the necessity that one is confronted with at any given time. So, one of the essential features of “determinist realism” is that it dismisses as “voluntarism” any dialectical grasp of the relation between the subjective and objective factors, and sees things in very linear, undifferentiated ways, as essentially uniform and without contradiction, rather than in a living and dynamic and moving and changing way.

Of course, it is necessary not to fall into voluntarism. There are many different ways in which such voluntarism can be expressed, leading to various kinds of (usually “ultra-left”) errors and deviations, if you will—including in the form of giving in to infantilist or adventurist impulses—all of which is also extremely harmful. But—particularly in a protracted or prolonged situation in which the objective conditions for revolution (that is, for the all-out struggle to seize power) have not yet emerged—by far the much greater danger, and one that is reinforced by this objective situation, is this kind of determinist realism which doesn’t grasp correctly the dialectical relation between the objective and subjective factors, and sees them in static, undialectical, and unchanging terms.

It is true that we cannot, by our mere will, or even merely by our actions themselves, transform the objective conditions in a qualitative sense—into a revolutionary situation. This cannot be done merely by our operating on, or reacting back on, the objective conditions through our conscious initiative. On the other hand, once again a phrase from Lenin has important application here. With regard to the labor aristocracy—the sections of the working class in imperialist countries which are, to no small extent, bribed from the spoils of imperialist exploitation and plunder throughout the world, and particularly in the colonies—Lenin made the point that nobody can say with certainty where these more “bourgeoisified” sections of the working class are going to line up in the event of the revolution—which parts of them are going to be with the revolution when the ultimate showdown comes, and which are going to go with the counter-revolution—nobody can say exactly how that is going to fall out, Lenin insisted. And applying this same principle, we can say that nobody can say exactly what the conscious initiative of the revolutionaries might be capable of producing, in reacting upon the objective situation at any given time—in part because nobody can predict all the other things that all the different forces in the world will be doing. Nobody’s understanding can encompass all that at a given time. We can identify trends and patterns, but there is the role of accident as well as the role of causality. And there is the fact that, although changes in what’s objective for us won’t come entirely, or perhaps not even mainly, through our “working on” the objective conditions (in some direct, one-to-one sense), nevertheless our “working on” them can bring about certain changes within a given framework of objective conditions and—in conjunction with and as part of a “mix,” together with many other elements, including other forces acting on the objective situation from their own viewpoints—this can, under certain circumstances, be part of the coming together of factors which does result in a qualitative change. And, again, it is important to emphasize that nobody can know exactly how all that will work out.

Revolution is not made by “formulas,” or by acting in accordance with stereotypical notions and preconceptions—it is a much more living, rich, and complex process than that. But it is an essential characteristic of revisionism (phony communism which has replaced a revolutionary orientation with a gradualist, and ultimately reformist one) to decide and declare that until some deus ex machina—some god-like EXTERNAL FACTOR—intervenes, there can be no essential change in the objective conditions and the most we can do, at any point, is to accept the given framework and work within it, rather than (as we have very correctly formulated it) constantly straining against the limits of the objective framework and seeking to transform the objective conditions to the maximum degree possible at any given time, always being tense to the possibility of different things coming together which bring about (or make possible the bringing about of) an actual qualitative rupture and leap in the objective situation.

So that is a point of basic orientation in terms of applying materialism, and dialectics, in hastening while awaiting the emergence of a revolutionary situation. It’s not just that, in some abstract moral sense, it’s better to hasten than just await—though, of course, it is—but this has to do with a dynamic understanding of the motion and development of material reality and the interpenetration of different contradictions, and the truth that, as Lenin emphasized, all boundaries in nature and society, while real, are conditional and relative, not absolute. (Mao also emphasized this same basic principle in pointing out that, since the range of things is vast and things are interconnected, what’s universal in one context is particular in another.) The application of this principle to what is being discussed here underlines that it is only relatively, and not absolutely, that the objective conditions are “objective” for us—they are, but not in absolute terms. And, along with this, what is external to a given situation can become internal, as a result of the motion—and changes that are brought about through the motion—of contradictions. So, if you are looking at things only in a linear way, then you only see the possibilities that are straight ahead—you have a kind of blinders on. On the other hand, if you have a correct, dialectical materialist approach, you recognize that many things can happen that are unanticipated, and you have to be constantly tense to that possibility while consistently working to transform necessity into freedom. So, again, that is a basic point of orientation.

***The subject of “determinist realism” is spoken to in part 1: “Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right”—available at revcom.us—and, in the serialization of part 1, is found in “Marxism as a Science—In Opposition to Mechanical Materialism, Idealism and Religiosity,” in Revolution #109, Nov. 18, 2007. [back]

51. “A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party: On the Strategy for Revolution,” Revolution #224 online, February 11, 2011. Available at revcom.us. [back]

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

From Vietnam to Hiroshima:
America's Blood-Soaked Footprints

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 22, President Obama will have arrived in Vietnam, and on May 26 or 27, he’ll visit Hiroshima, Japan. But he’s not going to apologize for the towering crimes the U.S. committed in both places. Instead, he’s touring Asia to firm up U.S. alliances with Vietnam, Japan, and other countries in the region in order to contend with the U.S.’s rival, China, and maintain U.S. imperialism’s dominance of the Asia-Pacific region.

While Obama is covering up U.S. crimes, in this issue we’re highlighting two of America’s most towering crimes: the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the My Lai massacre, part of a war of massacres in Vietnam. And we’ll pay tribute to one American soldier who courageously repudiated the Vietnam War, Green Beret Master Sergeant Donald W. Duncan, and the role played by Bob Avakian in bringing Duncan’s story to light.

 

American Crime

American Crime is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

 

Case #97:

August 6, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima

THE CRIME: At 8:15 am, on August 6, 1945, a blazing, million-degree fireball suddenly appeared just above the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing, burning alive, or vaporizing tens of thousands. Firestorms engulfed the city. Shockwaves and winds over 1,000 miles an hour came next, shattering bodies and buildings, hurling men, women, and children through the air. Nearly all structures were destroyed over a mile from ground zero... Read more

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

 

Case #96:
Vietnam, March 16, 1968—
The My Lai Massacre

My Lai massacre
My Lai massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

THE CRIME: On Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, 100 soldiers from Charlie Company, U.S. Army Americal Division, entered and took over My Lai, a small hamlet in Vietnam’s countryside. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons... It was just like any other Vietnamese village-old papa-sans, women and kids,” a soldier said... Read more

Early Connection to Bob Avakian

Remembering Donald W. Duncan:
From Gung-Ho Green Beret to Outspoken Opponent of U.S. Crimes in Vietnam

The death of Donald W. Duncan, a former Green Beret turned outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, at 79, was noted on May 6 in a major New York Times obituary, which called him “one of the first returning veterans to portray the war as a moral quagmire” and a “fierce critic of the war” which he called barbaric and illegal. Duncan actually died in 2009, but his death only came to national attention recently...

The fact that Duncan died in obscurity is itself a condemnation of this system. Duncan should have been celebrated for his contributions. What should also be known, as a critical part of his story, is the role played by Bob Avakian (BA) in helping to make this happen.

Read more

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

American Crime

Case #97:
August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

American Crime is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

THE CRIME: At 8:15 am, on August 6, 1945, a blazing, million-degree fireball suddenly appeared just above the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing, burning alive, or vaporizing tens of thousands. Firestorms engulfed the city. Shockwaves and winds over 1,000 miles an hour came next, shattering bodies and buildings, hurling men, women, and children through the air. Nearly all structures were destroyed over a mile from ground zero.

“There were red burned and bloated dead bodies piled up high, the corpses with the guts and the eyes popped out, lines of ghost-looking people with burned frizzled hair and burned skin hanging,” one survivor recalled, and “barely living survivors who were not able to save their own children or parents.” In one room, there were 20 young men whose eyes had melted in their sockets. Clouds of dust turned the morning into twilight; later, black rain fell.

The U.S. had just exploded the first nuclear bomb over the center of a city of 350,000. Thousands who survived the blast soon experienced fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, hair and skin loss—the death knell of radiation sickness. By the end of 1945, between 140,000 and 150,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, had perished in Hiroshima. Hundreds of thousands more were wounded.

Later that day, President Harry Truman announced the bombing and threatened Japan: “If they do not now accept our terms [for immediate surrender] they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth.” Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped an even more powerful nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, destroying the city and murdering another 70,000 people.

Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.
Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.

THE CRIMINALS: President Harry S. Truman, who ordered the attack; U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who oversaw the war effort, including the building of this "most terrifying weapon ever known in human history"; General Leslie Groves, in charge of building the bomb; and the military command responsible for the bombing.

THE ALIBI: Dropping a nuclear bomb on Japan was needed to quickly end the war, avoiding a U.S. invasion which Presidents Roosevelt and Truman claimed would cost a million American lives.

“I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb.... We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans,” Truman stated after nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This alibi has been repeated by all presidents since: “What I think the president does appreciate is that President Truman made this decision for the right reasons,” said President Obama’s press secretary.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE: Control of Japan and post-World War 2 global domination. The U.S. knew Japan would collapse without an invasion and was suing for peace weeks before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On July 12, 1945, Truman admitted in his private diary that the U.S. had received a “telegram from [the] Jap Emperor asking for peace.”

But the U.S. rulers wanted to totally control post-war Japan, prevent the Soviet Union from gaining more ground in Japanese-held Manchuria and having more influence in the post-war setup—or “get in so much on the kill,” as one U.S. official put it. This meant terrorizing Japan into surrendering immediately. That’s why the U.S. incinerated Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. Japan surrendered on August 15, six days after the Nagasaki bombing. These were also warnings to any who might think about challenging America’s dominance of the postwar world, written in mounds of charred flesh and many tens of thousands of horribly disfigured survivors.

REPEAT OFFENDER: The U.S. has repeatedly considered and threatened the use of nuclear weapons to enforce its global dominance: In the 1950s, the U.S. planned for possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union, which they calculated would have killed 600 million; in 1958, 1973, and 1980 it put its forces on nuclear alert during Middle East crises in Iraq, Israel, and Iran; in 1969 President Richard Nixon threatened to nuke Vietnam; before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon secretly prepared for the possibility of using nuclear weapons; Obama has announced plans to spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on new nuclear weapons.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

American Crime

Case #96:
Vietnam, March 16, 1968—The My Lai Massacre

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

American Crime is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

My Lai massacre
My Lai massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

THE CRIME: On Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, 100 soldiers from Charlie Company, U.S. Army Americal Division, entered and took over My Lai, a small hamlet in Vietnam’s countryside. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons... It was just like any other Vietnamese village—old papa-sans, women and kids,” a soldier said.

“The order we were given was to kill and destroy everything that was in the village,” another soldier later testified. “It was clearly explained that there were to be no prisoners.” An order was given to push all the Vietnamese who had been forced into the area into a ditch. “I began shooting them all. I guess I shot maybe 25 or 20 people in the ditch,” one G.I. later recounted, “men, women, and children. And babies.” A baby crawling away from the ditch was grabbed and thrown back into the ditch and shot.

“Over four hours, members of Charlie Company methodically slaughtered more than five hundred unarmed victims, killing some in ones and twos, others in small groups, and collecting many more in a drainage ditch that would become an infamous killing ground,” Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, writes. “They faced no opposition. They even took a quiet break to eat lunch in the midst of the carnage. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area’s drinking water.”

THE CRIMINALS: U.S. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon all authorized and escalated the war. Robert McNamara, Johnson’s Secretary of Defense, oversaw massive troop and bombing escalations. General William Westmoreland, the overall commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Colin Powell, then an Army major, carried out a cover-up of atrocities by the Americal Division (one of which was My Lai). And far too many more functionaries of the U.S. imperialist state to name here.

THE ALIBI: The U.S. claimed the 1961-1975 Vietnam War was being fought to defend free and democratic South Vietnam from an invasion by communist North Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam was one country that had been temporarily divided. Under the Geneva Accords, North and South Vietnam were supposed to be reunified in the 1950s, but this was blocked by then-President Dwight Eisenhower because he was convinced that most Vietnamese would vote for Ho Chi Minh, the communist leader of North Vietnam.

The military described My Lai as victory: “U.S. infantrymen had killed 128 Communists in a bloody day-long battle,” Stars and Stripes magazine reported. GIs who attempted to expose the truth were denounced as “traitors” in Congress.

Journalist Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre in November 1969. The ensuing furor forced the military to conduct an investigation, which treated My Lai as an isolated incident, and blamed the officers in charge of Charlie Company. Twenty six soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, but only Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader in C Company, was convicted. For killing 22 villagers, he spent two days in jail, and three and a half years under house arrest.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE: My Lai was not an isolated incident—it was a concentration of the way the U.S. waged the Vietnam War.

During this period, national liberation struggles were raging in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with many led by communists or with a strong communist presence. The U.S. was the world’s main imperialist superpower and was determined to crush these struggles to ensure its domination of these regions. The Vietnam War was also aimed at encircling revolutionary China, and contending with the then-imperialist Soviet Union.

Mass murder of Vietnamese people was the policy, the military doctrine, of the war the U.S. waged in Vietnam, as Turse documents in his book. My Lai was, as Turse quotes a soldier, “an operation, not an aberration.”

In 1995, the government of Vietnam released figures saying it estimated four million civilians and one million soldiers were killed during the war. These figures have not been challenged. Yet, in spite of this multi-dimensional horrific onslaught that lasted well over a decade, the U.S. lost the war.

REPEAT OFFENDER: U.S. patrols like Charlie Company regularly killed everyone and everything within farming villages. The U.S. dropped more than seven million tons of bombs—double the tonnage dropped during World War 2—on a country roughly the size of New Mexico. It dumped over 20 million gallons of a highly toxic chemical defoliant called “Agent Orange” on forests and farmlands to destroy the ability of Vietnamese peasants to sustain themselves and their families. It rained some 300 million anti-personnel cluster bombs—”slaughter, spring loaded into little cans”—on Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia. It dropped 373,000 tons of napalm—jellied gasoline that burns at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—on the Vietnamese people, burning their flesh to the bone and causing agonizing pain and almost certain death.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Early Connection to Bob Avakian

Remembering Donald W. Duncan:
From Gung-Ho Green Beret to Outspoken Opponent of U.S. Crimes in Vietnam

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The death of Donald W. Duncan, a former Green Beret turned outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, at 79, was noted on May 6 in a major New York Times obituary, which called him “one of the first returning veterans to portray the war as a moral quagmire” and a “fierce critic of the war” which he called barbaric and illegal. Duncan actually died in 2009, but his death only came to national attention recently.

Ramparts magazine cover, February 1966
Donald Duncan's story in Ramparts: "The Whole Thing Was a Lie: I Quit!"

Donald Duncan announced his opposition to the Vietnam War in a February 1966 front cover piece in Ramparts magazine titled “The Whole Thing Was a Lie: I Quit!” (pictured in the New York Times obit). Duncan wrote, “We weren’t preserving freedom in South Vietnam. There was no freedom to preserve. To voice opposition to the government meant jail or death.” He described witnessing torture, murders, and other atrocities carried out by the U.S. military in Vietnam. Duncan’s unequivocal exposure and condemnation of the war in Ramparts had a huge impact and played an important role in fueling the anti-Vietnam War movement. Bob Avakian, then a reporter and staffer at Ramparts, played a key role in developing this piece—a point to which we’ll return.

Duncan would become one of the most important opponents of the war from the ranks of the military. He was a frequent speaker at antiwar rallies and also helped organize key protests, including at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. He was also the military editor at Ramparts, the author of the antiwar memoir The New Legions, and a participant in the International War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam, organized by philosopher Bertrand Russell and hosted by author and philosopher Jean Paul Sartre.

Donald Duncan and Bob Avakian

The fact that Duncan died in obscurity is itself a condemnation of this system. Duncan should have been celebrated for his contributions. What should also be known, as a critical part of his story, is the role played by Bob Avakian (BA) in helping to make this happen.

The following excerpt from Chapter 7 of BA’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist (pp. 144-145), explains his role in Duncan’s coming to grips with his experience in Vietnam and arranging for Duncan to publish his story in Ramparts. At the time, BA had taken a leave from UC Berkeley to be a full-time activist for the antiwar Vietnam Day Committee, including as part of its speakers bureau, and was also working at Ramparts:

One of the important stories we did at Ramparts concerned Donald Duncan. One day some people from the Berkeley anti-war movement came to me and said that they were talking to this guy who was a soldier who was questioning the Vietnam War very seriously and deeply. They wanted me to talk to him because I had done a lot of public speaking and study around the war. So I spent quite a bit of time over at their house talking to this guy, who turned out to be Donald Duncan.

Duncan had been a soldier in Vietnam—he was at the rank of master sergeant when he left Vietnam. He’d come back very disaffected by and very bothered by the war—questioning it and thinking it wasn’t right, but not that clear on a lot of things about it, understandably. I asked him a lot about his experiences in Vietnam and did what I could to help him come to a clearer understanding of the nature of the war and what was wrong with it. And at a certain point, I suggested to both the Ramparts editors and to Donald Duncan himself that they do an article in which he would tell his story and come out and denounce the war. This ended up being a front cover article, with a picture of Duncan in uniform and the headline “I quit!” At that time, there weren’t that many soldiers who’d been in the war itself and come out and publicly denounced it. Ramparts had a circulation of a couple hundred thousands or so, and this article had an impact even beyond the readers of Ramparts.

While I had argued with soldiers that the mere fact that they had been in Vietnam didn’t mean that they were right about the war, there is a truth that if you’ve “paid your dues” fighting there and then you come to say that it’s wrong, that has a big impact on many people—including for the reason that people who are more backward or conservative can’t say, “Oh, that’s just those disgruntled hippies who are cowards, who are draft dodgers, and all that.” As a matter of fact, I would, and did, uphold those people who dodged the draft as doing something truly heroic—not George W. Bush, but people who dodged the draft because they opposed the war, not just to save their own ass. People who evaded the draft, or outright refused to be drafted, or refused to go to Vietnam once they were in the military—people who did these things because they opposed the war—they were doing heroic things, definitely more heroic things than U.S. soldiers who, with all their destructive technology, were massacring and slaughtering the Vietnamese people. Nevertheless, for the U.S. population broadly, for someone who’d been in that war to speak out against it had a very big impact.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Pigs Still Running Amok, Getting Away With Murder

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

PigGood riddance to rotten pork. Police Chief Greg Suhr, pictured above, was driven from office last week by mass outrage and struggle in San Francisco. After he personally supervised the April 6, 1996 murder of Mark Garcia, Suhr was promoted and continued to rise through the porcine ranks.

The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.
From “The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have: A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA”

The pigs are still getting away with murder. Here are just a few examples from this past week alone:

* 30 minutes and dead. At 9:30 am on May 19, Jessica Williams, a 29-year-old Black woman, had a run-in with San Francisco police. By 10 am, 30 minutes later, she was dead. It happened in the Bayview, where the SFPD claims she was trying to flee police in a stolen car. She had crashed and was still inside her car, unarmed. One witness said there was a “back-and-forth” when police tried to remove her from the car. So they needlessly shot and murdered her. The pigs have dogged people in the Bayview, the city’s last neighborhood with significant numbers of Black people, for decades, and last December killed Mario Woods, shooting him 20 times. This is a department whose pigs have been exposed for exchanging racist and misogynist texts, and where one Sgt. Lawrence Kempinski, since put on “modified duty,” felt he could walk into the Bayview station and openly declare he came there to “kill niggers.” The pig chief, Greg Suhr, was kicked out after this latest murder, but the new chief has said he will continue the so-called reforms instituted by Suhr!

Chase ShermanChase Sherman

* Tased for four minutes and 10 seconds: “OK, I’m dead,” and the pigs keep going. On May 20, six months to the day after he died at the hands of Georgia police, the New York Times posted a video of Chase Sherman’s last moments. This 32-year-old white man was acting erratically, possibly from taking street drugs several days before, so his family called 911. After a short struggle, Sherman was shown handcuffed and pinned face down in the back of his family’s rental car by Coweta County sheriff’s deputies Samuel Smith and Joshua Sepanski. Sherman stopped struggling and can be heard saying: “O.K. I’m dead, I’m dead” and “I quit, I quit.”

The pigs’ response? Tase him 15 times, murdering him, as his mother, father, and fiancée protest in horror. “For four minutes and 10 seconds after he said ‘I quit,’ they still tased him and kept him on the ground,” the family’s lawyer said. “That’s torture, and they killed him.” Moments after Sherman was pronounced dead, police video showed the Georgia pigs high-fiving as they reassured each other they wouldn’t lose their jobs.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Coweta County DA both have the video of Sherman’s murder, but haven’t filed charges. The DA says his “investigation” is continuing: “I really haven’t formed a final opinion about it.” How long do you think it would have taken this DA to “form an opinion” about a Black or Brown youth charged with stealing, video or no video?

* Scuffle turns into a needless killing. On the morning of May 18 in Midtown Manhattan, 46-year-old Garry Conrad Jr. tried to buy a beer at the Food Emporium. Witnesses who spoke to the New York Times described him as disheveled, agitated, and belligerent. The store staff said he was argumentative and abusive, but they were able to get him out of the store without injury. Then the NYPD came on the scene. One cop reportedly grabbed him, and both went to the ground. When Conrad got up, he supposedly “displayed” a knife and approached three NYPD pigs. A few moments later, Conrad lay dead in the street, shot nine times. Even if you take the pigs’ account at face value, and even if you leave aside the possibility that Conrad was only attempting to engage in self-defense against members of a pig force who have been videotaped before killing people in street encounters, once again we have an encounter that could and should have been easily handled and de-escalated instead of ending with needless death.


Pig Risel Martinez waving gun at bystanders for videotaping.

* Pig batters suspect, waves gun at bystanders for videotaping. On May 21, NYC pig Risel Martinez stormed into a building in Harlem looking for a “suspect.” The alleged suspect didn’t resist, but was beaten anyway. “Put his hands up [and said] ‘I don’t want no problems,’” witness Calvin West said. “Cop punched in his face about three or four times, slammed him on his head.” Martinez had the “suspect” in a chokehold and West took out his camera and began filming. The pig then started waving his gun at West and other bystanders. “He held the gun out like he was one of them goddamn gangsters or like a gang member, you know, and saying, ‘Get away, get away,’” said the president of the building’s tenant association. Just everyday NY Pig Department terrorism against the masses exercising their legal rights.

Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

* Decision in Freddie Gray Case. As we go to press, we await Judge Barry Williams’ decision in the very high-stakes trial of one of the six pigs charged in the April 2015 murder of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose spine was severed while in custody of Baltimore police. We note that on Thursday, May 19, Judge Williams made a point of postponing the announcement of his verdict until Monday, May 23, after the running of the Preakness horse race, so that there would be fewer people in the city. We also note that the people’s massive, courageous uprising is the only reason these killers face any charges at all. All eyes should be on Baltimore.

UPDATES AS OF MONDAY NIGHT MAY 23:

NEWS FLASH, Monday May 23, noon: One of Freddie Gray's Murderers Walks Free.  This Must Not Be Tolerated. There Must Be Justice.

A Statement from Carl Dix: Court Exonerates Cop Involved in Murder of Freddie Gray!

 

All these examples puncture two lies now being spread by the system and its mouthpieces. First, that there’s a big spike in crime, so the pigs need to be more aggressive—i.e., brutal. Bullshit! First of all, this is not proven; and even if in some cities there IS more crime, quiet as it’s kept, it is often the police who encourage crime to confuse and demoralize the people. Second, people who are videotaping pigs murdering and abusing people are not the problem—the problem is the pigs murdering and abusing people. The people courageously videotaping these criminals are heroes, exercising their lawful rights!

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

 


 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Opening Remarks by Andy Zee, Spokesperson, Revolution Books

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I want to thank all of you for coming—some of you coming from long distances to this celebration of a life well lived, a life that mattered, a life that was lived for the people here and the people of the world, people brutally oppressed and exploited by this system that we live under—I want to thank you all for sharing with us this commemoration of a comrade and a friend, a brother and a husband. This afternoon we’re going to celebrate the life of Bobby Hill who was known in recent years and on these streets of Harlem as Will Reese.

My name is Andy Zee, the spokesperson for Revolution Books. This is the bookstore which is the political and the intellectual and cultural center for a movement for an actual revolution—a bookstore founded on and alive with the new synthesis of communism developed by the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian.

Revolution Books was a place that Will cared deeply about. In fact, the photograph on the invitation that you have was taken at Revolution Books this past July. Will came out even as he was ill, to the vacant store front that we had only half demolished at that point and hadn’t started rebuilding. He wanted to be a part of the announcement of Revolution Books re-opening in Harlem. I have to tell you as a personal note that when on November 15, I had the honor of opening Revolution Books and I stepped to the podium that I was very profoundly moved when I looked out in the crowd, not only because it was packed and we had seats out on to the street, and all that was thrilling enough, but when I looked out at crowd, right dead in the middle was Will Reese sitting ramrod straight up looking right at me with conviction, a sense of accomplishment, and I knew how sick he was. I knew he’d just gotten out of the hospital. I didn’t think he could come. But then he was Will. He was gonna be there, he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

He wanted Revolution Books to open in Harlem. Harlem was his last home. He worked to build a base for revolution here in Harlem. This is a journey that took him from the fields of West Virginia across the country, everywhere the masses of people rose up or where some bad shit came down on the people, he was the first to volunteer to go there. His bags were always packed.

Will wanted to be on the front lines of the revolution. We’ve been joined today with some of Bobby’s family. I want to welcome Dennis. Dennis is the second of three brothers and two sisters. We have the brothers here today. There’s Dennis over there. Dennis was a high school coach and then a high school principal in Glade Spring, Virginia, where they grew up. Bobby and Dennis played football on the same teams in high school and in college, the Hill brothers—famous scorers at Henry and Emory College. And then you’re going to hear from his brother Jerry, also graduated from Henry and Emory College, he was an elementary school principal in Glade Spring, Virginia, and he’s now recently retired and back in Glenn Springs.

Dennis’ son Travis and his wife Carla are also here. And I heard about Travis because he’s a New Yorker now and we had a chance to meet briefly at Weill Cornell medical center as Will was preparing for his last courageous fight to beat back cancer that eventually took him on February 28, when he was just 66 years old. We also have William, a cousin of Will’s. And Barry, he’s also a cousin of Will’s and he’s in New York City.

And also, you’ll be hearing from her later, Ruby was Will’s partner over the last decade and Ruby was with him every step of the way. I want to welcome Ruby’s family who also traveled here, her brother, her sister, her sister’s husband and her niece—Kelly, Shannon, Bill, and Ella.

Will Reese at Times Square protestPhoto: Special to Revolution/revcom.us

Will Reese was a revolutionary, a revolutionary communist. He was a comrade with a burning passion to rouse the people to realize their potential, to not only fight against the powers that so viciously oppress the people, but Will struggled for the people to understand the world scientifically and he did so with compelling substance. And he did so with that dogged determination that possessed him to win people—especially people that catch the hardest hell, to fight like hell, not just for themselves but to become liberators of all of humanity—to free the people who are just like themselves, not just here in this country, but around the world. Will was fired with the call from Bob Avakian that the path and the goal that revolutionaries must be and can only be emancipators of humanity, a phrase that Will loved. Will was relentless in struggling for the liberation of women. He would struggle with the brothers out in the street. He weren’t gonna get by him with some of that bullshit. ( You have to excuse me, I’m gonna curse a little bit even if it’s a memorial—but I think Will would be OK with that.) He was relentless in the struggle to end the oppression of women, and Ruby, his partner, said he was the first man who really listened and helped her through the abuse that she had suffered many years before.

A revolutionary communist, Will fought for and expressed the outlook in this statement from Bob Avakian—communism is about a whole new world and the emancipation of humanity, it’s not the last shall be first and the first last—no, Will was not going to let people be mentally imprisoned by superstition and he would let people know, and often going toe to toe with the street corner preachers right out here on 125th. No, Will learned that for a whole new world, humanity had to get beyond revenge and that me-first outlook that this system concentrates. Will had taken up the scientific method and approach of communism as further developed by Bob Avakian and was not to be deterred in struggling for this. You’re gonna hear today how he would struggle all night with comrades or people he just met, and then he’d do the work all night struggling to be scientific and solving the great problems of the revolution. And most especially, how to break through and bring forward those for whom revolution is so desperately needed.

Will Reese in HarlemPhoto: Revolution/revcom.us

You’re gonna hear today of Will’s life. How he went to college on a football scholarship but he took to the art department because this is where the people were who were more open minded. He had talent as a painter and a gift for teaching. You can see it runs in the family. Will could reach those others thought were unreachable. In Los Angeles he taught what were called “at-risk youth.” But Will didn’t believe that, he reached them. There are some photos on the wall that I think show this. Will was also a thinker. I remember last year when I was reading the book The Half Has Never Been Told, an incredible book about slavery and so I saw Will and asked, “Hey, did you read that?” “Yeah, three times.”

There are many things Will could have done with his life. He could have done good things for some of the people and done well for himself, as they say. But once Will came to understand scientifically by digging into the theory of revolution as developed by BA, and looking deeply at reality, that without a fundamental change in the system that people suffer under today, that without revolution, without communist revolution here and around the world the horrific oppression that people face will continue and go on and on killing people and stealing their spirit.

Will devoted his life to a larger purpose. A truly meaningful life of leading actual revolution to bring about a whole new and radically different world. Many of you here heard Will out in the streets. Maybe you heard him give an impassioned speech calling on you and others to support the revolution financially and to step forward into the revolution. And some of you experienced him up close and right in your face tenaciously to get with this—to build this great need for humanity. But most of you don’t know that as Will prepared for his last great fight to beat back cancer for a little while longer, to go through what his doctors said would be hell just so he could be with us another six months making contributions, that he was drafting a letter that we were going to publish that was going to urge all of you who are just finding out about this revolution to get with it to get involved to do what you can. But the letter didn’t stop there. He was also making this letter for those of you who already involved to deepen your commitment, to make even greater contributions—this is something Will consistently tried to do. So I want you to keep this thought in mind, keep this challenge in mind as we go through hearing from family and friends and comrades. Think about the mission that Will set out before you, as we celebrate the life tonight of Will Reese.

 

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Comrade Will Reese—
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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I knew Will almost 40 years. He was one of those people if I wanted to talk about something I’d get on the phone with him and call him up. It’s hitting me I can’t call the brother any more.

Will Reese’s life was one lived for the people. He lived and struggled to end the horrors enforced on humanity in the only way possible—through revolution, communist revolution.

Will Reese as a youth.Photo: Special to Revolution/revcom.us

Will was deeply acquainted with the horrors this system enforces on the people on the bottom of this society. As you’ve heard today, he grew up in the Jim Crow South and he hated every manifestation of the savage oppression that Black people there suffered—from not being able to go to the whites-only barbershops or roller skating rinks to the legacy of lynching, and the message that delivered to every Black person and every Black family: “You might not be the one strung up, but you could be.” He hated all that. Inspired by the images of Black militancy that were sweeping the country in his youth, Will began to mobilize people to resist this oppression. When he went to college, Will discovered the deep oppression suffered by the mostly white people in the Appalachian region of the country. He moved to Hawai’i in the 1970s and he connected with the struggles of the native Hawaiian people to reclaim their culture as part of fighting for liberation.

Will hated all this oppression and exploitation, wherever he encountered it, and he searched for how to end it, and to end it once and for all. In his youth, he took up a fundamentally nationalist approach to this, one that saw the basic problem in society being the inequities enforced on Black people and other oppressed people. But he didn’t stop there. He was like how are we gonna end this, once and for all? How are we gonna get rid of it? And his search led him to the understanding that all of these horrors, all of this oppression and exploitation was built into the fabric of this system, this capitalist-imperialist system. And that it could only be ended through revolution, through a revolution aimed at getting rid of this system, and bringing a totally different and far better world into being—that that was the way to end the oppression and exploitation that humanity was suffering everywhere all around the world. And through finding about and taking up the science of communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian, Will came to understand how such a revolution could actually be made, and what its full aims and objectives needed to be.

And when Will got that, he threw himself fully into it. Will wasn’t into no halfway stuff. He went at it. He went all in, dedicating his life to this cause. And, see, this is important to look at, ’cause Noche made the point: a lot of people gave up on the struggle. They went into the struggles in the ’60s and they gave up. And there were other paths he could’ve taken. The brother was an artist. You can see some of his work over there. He was an athlete. He was also an educator. He could have gotten a comfortable position in the educational system somewhere. And he would have done some good for some people. I mean look at the book over there, there’s a letter from a young girl that Will taught in LA saying, “If I could have a father, I wish he would be someone like you.” He could have done some good for some people, but that wasn’t enough for Will. How were we gonna end all of the oppression and exploitation that people were up against around the world. But Will couldn’t turn away from that suffering once he knew it was happening, and just go about his life and get something for him. Once he discovered that, and discovered the way out of that suffering then he went to work on how are we gonna end this. He committed his life to it, all the way up to the end of his life—to making revolution and, bring into being a new society that was in transition to a world where all the exploitation and oppression of this world was ended once and for all. And at every step along the way of doing this, Will followed the leadership of Bob Avakian. Will became a freedom fighter for humanity and an advocate for revolutionary communism as the way forward to overcome all the horrors humanity faces.

And like somebody had said, Will had his bags packed. He was ready to go anywhere where there were sharp attacks coming down on the masses of people, or uprisings among the masses of people. Or other things that created openings to rally people to join the struggle for the emancipation of humanity. Will was in Atlanta in the early 1980s during the child murders. He was in Miami following two rebellions down there against police murders of Black people. He went to Los Angeles in the wake of the uprising there in 1992 following the acquittal of those cops who brutally beat Rodney King even though the whole world saw the video and the criminal activity that they had carried out because it was caught on video. And he came to New York and spent a lot of time working to bring masses in Harlem and beyond Harlem into a movement for revolution to get rid of this system once and for all.

In doing all of this, Will was persistently working to solve one of the biggest problems of the revolution—bringing forward those who catch hell every day under this system and enlisting them to fight to get free. Not just to get them to fight for themselves, or to fight to exact revenge on those who did them wrong, but to fight to emancipate all of humanity. In doing this, Will was working on people... he was working on what they thought and how they thought. And Will had a big heart for people. He didn’t suffer a lot of foolishness from them. He’d be working on somebody and bringing them forward, and they’d be breaking out and talking down on women, objectifying the sisters, and Will would be, “Nah, nah, you don’t do that. You can’t do that. Nah sister, you don’t accept that. That is not the way it’s gotta go.” Men and women together, equal and proud, fighting to free themselves and all of humanity. Will was onto that. [Applause]

And he was bringing out to people, this isn’t just for us here. It’s not just for Black people. It’s not even just for people in this country. We’re talking about emancipating all of humanity. So when things are happening halfway around the world, that’s not something that’s apart from our struggle. We have to actually be paying attention to that, looking at the development, figuring out what we can learn from that in order to bring forward the struggle to emancipate all of us. Will was on a mission to do that as part of breaking through on this important strategic question of bringing those from the bottom of society into the revolution, and his commitment to this gigantic task, his overall scientific approach to it not only in going out to and struggling with people, which he was tireless in doing, but thinking about it, working with the science of communism as developed by Bob Avakian, applying the Party’s line to it, and struggling in the Party for the right way to solve it. These are things about Will that it is important to know, and they are also things about Will that will be sorely missed.

Now Will had strong opinions. He could be stubborn at times, but he would also listen. You know I learned that, OK, Will don’t agree with me. I gotta make a good case. And if I could make a good case and point out to him that “You looking at this wrong, brother,” he would change up, and he would be like, OK, alright, but it wouldn’t just be “OK, I agree with you now.” It would be OK, now how are we gonna go to work with this? How are we gonna spread this? How are we gonna transform things with this? Because Will wasn’t just in for a talk shop. He was into making revolution and transforming the world.

You could see in the way he went all out with things. Like, when we were doing the premier of the DVD of the talk by Bob Avakian, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! We were premiering it at the Magic Johnson Theater. And at first, we wasn’t getting it. We wasn’t really taking to people why they needed to be in the house, why they needed to see this, why they needed to connect with this revolutionary leader. And we had to struggle over that, but when we struggled over it, Will was like “yeah, this is why” and he was taking it out to people. And the same when we were doing the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West over at Riverside Church. Will was like the force of nature that people have talked about. He was out there spreading the word and he wasn’t just accepting a little bit. ’Cause when talking about the Dialogue, and somebody be like “OK, I think I’ll come. I wanna hear Cornel West.” Will would say, “Yeah, you should be there, you should hear Cornel West, but do you know Bob Avakian? Do you know about this revolutionary leader and the way that he’s forged to get out of this. You need to hear him too. And you need to engage him, and you need to check him out because you strike me as somebody who wants to get free, who needs to get free and knows it.” That’s how Will went at stuff.

We’re going to miss Will and I’m gonna miss Will. Because I talked about some of those hot spots Will was in, well, I was in some of them with him. I was down there in Atlanta at the height of the child murders. Some of you all might not remember this, some of you all might not even know it ’cause I see some of you weren’t even born yet. It was like every week another Black child would disappear and turn up dead. And at first, the authorities were like, “Nah, it ain’t really happening. You must be mistaken.” Then when there was so much of it and it was so widely known that they couldn’t deny it anymore, they be like the problem here is that these Black parents aren’t raising their children very well. Literally they said or maybe implied that maybe these Black parents were killing their own children. They ran that stuff out. And I was there with Will, we were at a meeting, with hundreds of people there, where all this bullshit was being run out, people were being confused. Some of the parents were there. Some of the people in the audience were yelling at the parents. Will stepped into that situation and he cut through the bullshit. He situated those dozens of Black children disappearing and being murdered in the context of the history of savage oppression of Black people. The way in which this system carried out these attacks again and again on Black people. He situated it there for people and brought it to people, it’s the system that’s the problem here, not poor parenting, not a lack of personal responsibility or bad life choices, and galvanized people to their rage against this system. And there happened to be representatives of the system up front at that meeting who had to get up and run out the back door because of the rage that those hundreds of Black people directed in their direction. That’s the way that Will could cut through it.

I was also with him in some situations when we weren’t able to convince people that what we were saying was right at the time. Like the night when Obama got elected in 2008, Will and I were up in Harlem in front of the State Office Building. Hundreds and hundreds of people were up there, celebrating Obama’s victory. We went up in the middle of it and we said, look you’re being deceived and you’re deceiving yourselves if they think something fundamentally different has happened and better has happened with this system. That’s the reality. All that had really happened was that now a Black person was gonna be presiding over the U.S. empire while it continued to carry out attacks on people around the world and in this country. And that this was going to keep going on unless and until there was revolution and this system was gotten rid of.

That was one tough audience that night. [Laughter] People told us, they said, “I hear that you’re for revolution, we have made our revolution by electing Obama and that he’s gonna take care of these problems.” Now, they were wrong. But that night we couldn’t get people to open their eyes to that reality. But Will was relentless in bringing that truth out to people, whether anybody there wanted to hear it or not. He kept bringing this truth to people throughout the Obama years, fighting for people to see that it’s the system that is the problem.

Will’s was good at agitating. I learned a lot from him about that. He would tell me you gotta observe the people you’re agitating to, seeing who was responding and when you see somebody responding, then you take a challenge to them. You say, “Hey brother, you know what I’m saying is right. Come on up here and stand with us,” or “Sister, I know you’re hearing what I’m saying, come on and get with this. You know this is right.” It was important to learn from him. But there’s a basic thing you needed to learn. It’s not just that Will knew the art and skill of agitating. There was something more important than that to it. Will had an unshakable confidence in the ability of the masses to throw off the deception and self deception the system has so many of them mired in. This wasn’t just some religious-like faith in the goodness of people. But an understanding of the actual potential of those who had been locked out and locked down to transform themselves and transform the world through revolution.

Will consistently studied and worked to apply an essay from the end of BAsics, this book of essays and quotations by Bob Avakian, titled “The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses, and the Responsibility of the Vanguard.” I’m gonna share with you the first two paragraphs of this to give you an idea of something that really motivated Will in going about his work.

One of the things that I see, something that I haven’t lost sight of, is this: I see all the strength of the ruling class, but I also see all the way through all this shit, all the contradictions in society—I actually see a force in this society that, if it were developed into a revolutionary people, actually could have a go at it, could have a real chance of making a revolution, or being the backbone force of a revolution, when the conditions were ripe. I see a force of millions and millions and millions—youth and others—for whom this system is a horror: It isn’t going to take some cataclysmic crisis for this system to be fucking over them. The ruling class, ironically, sees them too. It is those who once had but have lost—or those who never had—a revolutionary perspective...it is they who can’t see this.

So what I’m working on is all the things that are in between that revolutionary potential and its actual realization. How does this force of masses at the base of society get joined by people from other strata, how does it get allies broadly, how does it get “friendly neutrality” among many in the middle strata—how does all this get developed into a revolutionary people that can become a powerful fighting force when the conditions emerge to fight all out for the seizure of power? How does all that happen not in a passive sense, but how do we work on bringing this revolutionary people into being, even if most of the changes in society and the world are not owing to our initiative but to larger objective factors? I actually believe there is such a revolutionary force in potential—I actually believe this, I see this potential—I believe that there is a force there that, if somehow (and the bourgeoisie knows this too) if somehow the bourgeoisie got into a real, deep crisis....

Will saw that too, and that’s what he lived his life working on, to fulfill our responsibility to realize that potential of the masses, and his relentlessness and his dedication to doing that is something that will be sorely missed.

Will leaves some big shoes to fill, and those of us who knew and loved him and worked with him, as well as people who are only just now learning about Will, and are only just now learning about him and his life, have to take up the challenge to fill those shoes. We need to learn from his life in taking up this challenge. Because there were some things that Will knew. Will knew that we have what we need to enlist masses in the fight to emancipate all of humanity. We have the leadership of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward and is continuing to develop. With this understanding we can work at knowing reality as deeply as possible and on that basis transforming it in the only way it can be transformed in the interests of humanity—through making revolution and bringing into being a totally different and far better society that is in transition to a classless communist world. In this way, we can end all the horrors this system inflicts on people here in this country and around the world. This is the challenge we face, and I urge everyone grieving over Will’s passing and celebrating his life to join in rising to meet this challenge.

Will Reese, Bobby Hill, presente!

 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Dr. Tomer Mark

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I first met Bobby in January 2012—he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma at Columbia University-New York Presbyterian hospital the prior month after a medical workup was done for anemia. He had been referred to me by a hematology fellow at Columbia who had thought the case deserved a second look.

For those unfamiliar with the disease, multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells—the cells that produce all of the antibodies we have circulating within us. Antibodies are proteins that we create to help fight infections. In multiple myeloma, the antibodies are produced to such a degree that illness develops. Persons with myeloma suffer from bone fractures due to invasion of bone-weakening plasma cells, kidney failure due to the excessive antibodies clogging up our blood filtration system like hair in a drain, anemia due to bone marrow infiltration by the cancer, and a highly increased risk of infection. You would think that infections would be decreased if antibody levels are high, but in truth the antibody made by myeloma cells is dysfunctional and only serves to crowd out other healthy useful antibodies.

Needless to say, Bobby was a fighter and certainly beat the odds for a very tough disease when he passed away this past February, about four years after his initial diagnosis. Along the way, he went through an astonishing seven lines of chemotherapy treatment and persevered through many harrowing trials involving his health. As one of his lines of therapy, he participated in a clinical trial of a new antibody therapy for myeloma, thus making a true contribution to myeloma research. The antibody was eventually approved by the FDA and is quickly becoming standard of care for our patients. He actively participated in his health care and chemotherapy decisions, which surely contributed to his better than expected survival. In the last year of his life, however, his health deteriorated greatly. He had lost about 20% of his body weight, had been in the hospital numerous times for infection and to control myeloma relapses, and had been left very weak. Despite the decline in his health, Bobby remained ultimately independent and committed to his work.

It was his work calling out injustice in our society and as a community organizer that shaped our relationship. Being of liberal political leanings myself and following news stories was not enough preparation for the force of nature that was Bobby Hill. Coming to clinic each time with a copy of Revolution, I learned as much about the world as Bobby learned about myeloma.

Bobby and I had a relationship that extended beyond the norm for a doctor and patient. Bobby and I often spent as much time during clinic visits talking about the latest incidents of police brutality, restriction of reproductive rights for women, and general income inequality, as we did talking about multiple myeloma. Sometimes, we got so lost in our discussions that we only switched the topic to his myeloma once we had realized that our visit time was almost over. He opened up to me about his life as a community activist; I admired how he gave up many personal comforts for the sake of a greater good and a vision of a more ideal human society.

I learned a great deal about the human psyche, history, and politics from Bobby. He opened my eyes to issues affecting real people that made mainstream media generated content seem as insipid as a Keeping up with the Kardashians episode. In turn, I opened up to him about my personal life and travails as an academic physician in a huge hospital system. True to his chosen profession, he listened to me talk about my life and offered insight that enriched my views about the world and medicine in general.

Although at the time Bobby succumbed, he had very advanced myeloma with a very taxed immune system, his passing struck me (and the other staff at the myeloma center) like a physical blow to the chest, knocking the wind out of me. Although it’s never easy or trivial, one gets familiar with death as an oncologist. His passing was different—it saddened me like the death of a close friend, which, upon reflection, I realized he was to me.

I will miss Bobby—he will always have a place in my heart and memory as a transcendent personality, revolutionary, intellect, and humanist. He will never be forgotten.

Tomer Mark, MD, MS

 

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Comrade Will Reese—
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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Noche, member of the Revolution Club NYC

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

My heart was broken and still is at the loss of Will. He is someone I really deeply loved. He was a mentor to me and role model, he was like my brother, taught me a lot, he was a comrade, we fought together on the line... and he was also my closest friend.

This may sound a little conceited, because I recognize that even though he touched every part of my life, he touched a lot of people’s lives.

I met Will about eight or nine years ago, when he came to New York to lead an important part of the Party’s work. At the time I met him, I was someone who had been drawn to the revolution because of Bob Avakian and the work he was doing, but I was in and out of the movement at the time because I was put off by what characterized a lot of the work the movement was caught up in at the time, and I was also real weighed down by just trying to get by and survive in this world, especially after I dropped out of high school and went to work to try to help keep myself and my family above water. I didn’t understand all of why or what was going on at the time, but when Will came through, things were different. We weren’t just trying to figure out what to protest next—although we definitely did that [laughs]—we were trying to figure out how to bring revolution to people. Me and him started working closely together doing this here in Harlem, especially around a major screening of Bob Avakian’s talk, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About  at the Schomburg Center, which is not far from here, just up the block from the new Revolution Books. Will was fighting to model and to lead us in seeing to it that we didn’t treat revolution and communism—which is actually overthrowing this oppressive system and emancipating ourselves and all humanity—as just “our thing” or just something for people to get into once they’ve spent forever trying to race down every dead end path. We worked to bring this to the places, and to the people, who needed it the most.

Will Reese, October 2010Will stirs the crowd with an impassioned fundraising pitch at the dialogue between Carl Dix and Cornel West titled "In the Age of Obama, Part II... Police Terror, Incarceration, No Jobs, Mis-education: What Future For Our Youth?" Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

I learned a lot working closely with Will. I learned about revolutionary theory, about history, about different parts of the world I didn’t know about, about music and culture... I was learning how to live a different way, while learning how to fight for a different world. See, when I started off, I had a lot of hatred for oppression—my oppression and the oppression of people like me. And I was eager to learn all about oppression of all the people everywhere and how to end it. He struggled with me because I used to see this just politically and to be somewhat narrow. You know, “Back then.”

He tried to get me into jazz [laughter in audience], but I could be hard-headed sometimes, “back then.” I’d tell him, “No man, I don’t get this, it’s not my thing, man. I’m just not really a music person.” We would talk about the history of jazz, how it came out of the oppression of Black people. And I could appreciate that historically, but he really insisted with me, “No, man. You really gotta listen.” He’d sit me down and play some for me. He showed me a documentary which had a lot of live recordings of John Coltrane, and for his birthday one time we went out to Saint Nick’s Pub, which is up the street from here, or at least used to be—it’s probably gone now—and listened to some live jazz for his birthday

Similarly, I remember he showed me a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by the Hawaiian singer Iz. “Oh, man... I don’t know if I can get into some corny Wizard of Oz shit.” “No, no, no, man. You got to listen.” He was right. No matter how many times I’d heard that tune before, I’d never really listened to it. And plus there was a somberness to Iz’s version that still sits with me today. I didn’t get it all into what he was doing right away, but I remember thinking of Will, and I still do, when I catch myself in the shower humming out loud the tune to Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” and thinking to myself “somewhere over the rainbow, there’s a wonderful world... “

Me and him got real close even though we came up a little different. He was raised in a Black family in the South, in Virginia, under Jim Crow, and I was a Puerto Rican kid coming up in the South Bronx under the New Jim Crow. He was one of those ’60s people who came alive when people were challenging injustice all over the world. And his life, how he lived it, was a testament that not everybody gives up, not everybody sells out, and NO, the point is not to just “hold the fort” hoping against hope. This brother was restless—he didn’t just hold onto the ’60s as some romantic past, he drew lessons from it and he shared those lessons so that this time around we’d go further. This was something that we both loved about BA, Bob Avakian, and we’d wrestle with the work Avakian was doing to draw the deepest lessons of all oppressed people fighting to get free, and how to advance the revolution to total emancipation.

I remember some time ago when the Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, released some letters that had gone back and forth between the Party here and the party in Nepal. There had been an inspiring revolutionary struggle being waged there, but just as it seemed to be approaching the possibility of victory, it was betrayed. This was heartbreaking for both of us, but it was no accident. People there, communists, just “holding on” to the best of what was known maybe 40 years ago, couldn’t solve the problems of the revolution today, and when new challenges emerged they threw out even what was learned so long ago. I remember when me and Will stayed up all night when those letters came out, talking about what was in these letters, trying to break down what had happened, how was the world revolution going to advance in today’s conditions. All night, talking about Nepal, a little country most people hadn’t heard of, which on one level seemed to have nothing to do with what we were doing out here in Harlem. But in a deeper way it had everything to do with what we were doing out here in Harlem.

One of the things Will understood very clearly was that those who are most oppressed under this system, those who are cast off and locked out of working with ideas, those who are beaten down, warped and scarred by living under this system, CAN take up the science of communism, they CAN learn to understand why they’re in the situation they’re in, and what to do about it. He knew it would take struggle, and leadership, but no one could tell Will that oppressed people couldn’t be conscious fighters to end all oppression. And he demanded this of people [applause], including myself. He fought for me to lift up my head every time this world dragged me down. And even when I would disappear, he’d go out to the Bronx looking for me. He never gave up on me. I remember one time when shit was really falling apart, he came and found me in the street sitting against a light pole with my head in my hands just shaking my head. He came up to me and said “Hey, man. What’s going on?” I told him how everything was fucked up in my life. He said to me, “Oh, that’s why you’re sitting there like this. I understand... slavery’s a motherfucker. Give me a call when you’re done here, I’ll be around.”

 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Ruby, Will's wife

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Thanks so much for coming. I wish that he could be here. Anyway, I wanted to tell you something about Will. Unfortunately, one thing you might know about him, whenever he wrote something really important, stay up all night, he’d lose it on his computer. [Laughter] He would stay up all night and then when he was supposed to take it with him or whatever he was doing, it would disappear. And he would always be really calm, but then he would panic. Then I would be really calm and say, “Well if you saved it, if you saved it, it’s there.” Then he would say, “I didn’t save it.” So it wasn’t there.

This morning, I was making the changes on my speech, I saved it, but it wasn’t there. I’m going to try this—I mean, I have a first draft. And I know what happened, so I should be able to do this.

One thing I want to tell you now, we, many people met him for the first time when he came from Hawai’i to DC to Stop the Railroad of Bob Avakian. I did that, too. I think there were 200 volunteers, and I’m not going into that right now, we can talk about it at the reception if you like. But something he did there, everyone knew him because he really touched people, as everyone has been saying. So this is an example of him that I never forgot. We’d get all these red flags and we would go down to the slums. And buildings were burned out and boarded up. And on the corner of 14th and U [Streets] there would always be this really large group of heroin addicts, and people milling around, like dozens of people. We used to go down there with all of our red flags, a whole bunch of us, and it would become like, you know, go from a place of desperation to sort of like a celebration. And people would take up the red flags and the newspaper and they would join in with us and it was quite remarkable.

Painting by Will ReesePainting by Will Reese. (Special to Revolution/revcom.us)

But Will... you can see he was a painter, an artist [referring to some of Will’s paintings that were on display], and he painted this really large picture of a Black man with his arms up in the air, breaking shackles with his wrists in a really powerful pose and he hung it up on the wall across from all these drug addicts. And all the people... it was like right in front of them. And then he gave them one of his speeches about you gotta join with us, we can do this. And he challenged people, don’t let them take this down. And it was up there, I know for the day, but the police did finally take it down. Anyway, I just thought... it really showed him.

And, then in the ’90s is when we got together, ’cause we had both ended up in the LA region. And we went out for coffee ’cause we knew each other. We were talking some about the region of the country where he grew up. It turned out that my mom is from about 80 miles away in Whitesburg, Kentucky. And he’s from where Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia come together in southwest Virginia. So we were like wow, this is really something. We’re from the same region of the country. I wasn’t from there, but I went there a lot in the summer. It is a place that haunts you. It was a place that we always wished... we always thought about how much that place needs a revolution because people there are so oppressed.

My mom, where she was from was a coal mining region, where a lot of the white people live in desperate rural poverty. I happened to mention that my grandfather was from Wise, Virginia. He said, “Oh, I know that place. We played football there. And we beat their team.” I said, “What was it like being a Black person growing up in this area?” And he said, “When we used to go to Wise, the white kids used to throw trash at the Black athletes. That’s why I was so glad we had beat them.” We got deeper into it.

He mentioned how his grandfather had known a 20-year-old man, someone he knew who had been lynched for talking to a white woman, or something like that. A few years later, I came to know that one of his distant cousins was actually decapitated by his white friends. I said, “His white friends, how did that happen?” He said, “Well, they were drinking, and things like that often happen in little towns around there.” Recently, I came across something that struck me. Before my mother was born, in Whitesburg, Kentucky, there was a Black man who was put in jail there. This was in about 1927. He was accused of murdering a man from Virginia. So a thousand white people from Whitesburg went and stormed the jail, and dragged out the Black man and took him over to Pound Gap, Virginia, and lynched him. And about a thousand people came from Virginia to participate. And so, we were both of us really driven to overcome these huge divides between people. We really had that in common. So we talked about those things when we first met.

Another thing we talked about was that... I told him, because he was really listening to me, and actually I had told most people: I had been the victim of a lot of the kind of violence and horror that is the experience of all too many women in this country and in this world, and really no woman escapes. The most violent things had happened to me when I was 21. At the time we were having coffee, I was 42 and he was 50. So it had been a long time. But I had gone on. I had just said to myself, I am gonna put this behind me and live my life. That’s what the common thinking is. Just keep going, and be brave. It was sort of like trying to swim through a river with a lot of dead bodies. You get out there, and you get out there, and then the dead bodies come floating to the surface, and you start bumping into them and they grab onto you. I was living in southern California with all the sunshine and flowers. I found myself thinking I had seen dead women in the bushes and under the underpasses—and there’s a lot of underpasses in southern California. I didn’t know why I was always telling people about what had happened to me. I couldn’t feel it. It was just something I would talk about. Really what I was doing was looking for a way to make sense of it all. And to find out how do you survive these things? I believed in a bright future. I knew that there didn’t have to be patriarchy, and hatred for women, and rape, and domestic violence in the world. After these crushing kinds of experiences, that’s what I was looking for was someone who could help me do that. He really listened to me. I think part of it is because he was somebody who had been through a lot and he had to bring together fragments himself.

Also, I sort of had thought that what you did, I looked at a revolutionary as someone really brave, someone with a lot of soldierly courage, like a freedom fighter. Part of what he understood was that people had a lot of great emotional complexity, or texture, as we used to refer to it. To get to a world without oppression you have to fight through all of that. And understand the complexity of human beings. He told me that I was like a person who had been dropped off in the middle of the ocean, and I was swimming to shore. And I can say he really saved my life, that’s what I think. Probably literally but also enabling me to change. He never gave up on me. He always told me I would make it back to shore. And I think I have.

 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Jerry, one of Will's brothers

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Just to start out, I am not the youngest brother, I have one younger than me. There’s six of us—Reese is the youngest brother. Talking to Lynn this week and she asked about would one of us have comments, and my oldest brother said, “well” and I said, “well”... Even since I got here there’s some things that came back to me... and I hear what you’re talking about, and most of you—even Lynn does not know—some of the things that made Bobby who he was.

There’s a picture back here of him speaking at his seventh grade graduation, graduation in a segregated school—it was called the Glade Spring Colored School—and the theme was “Know Thyself,” and I think Bobby spent his life doing that, defining and redefining who he was. And then, I hear a lot about the Revolutionary Communist Party, and if you knew Bobby as we all knew him, as Will, or knew what his name was the week before, but we knew it was Bobby. [Laughter] So if somebody said this is “Ted,” we went along with it, this was “Ted.” [Laughter] If you know Bobby’s background, and... us as a family, I think you’ll see how he was who he was.

[Our] mother and father were born in southwestern part of Virginia. Probably about three percent people of color in that county to this day. My father was a revolutionary, a different type of revolutionary. My mother was a member of a Pentecostal church. My father at one point was a Baptist deacon, so there was a lot of “Thou shall not, thou shall not, thou shall not.” But my father, a vision that he had—my father’s father was a sharecropper and he had told my father—for my father, always important was education and owning your home, and his father had told him that he would never as a Black man be able to own his... My father said he wanted to own a brick home, that was his goal, and his father told him he couldn’t do that. So my father was a revolutionary and a visionary, and built houses for low income families—probably about 15 to 20 houses—made very little profit. And we’re talking about in the ’60s and ’70s, where he had to have white friends purchase land that he would not have been able to purchase as a Black gentleman, a revolutionary. My mother, who is 84, is not with us today. She didn’t come up. I think emotionally, I don’t think she could do this again, another memorial. But even at 84, she volunteers at a soup kitchen, and visits the sick, and works with Habitat for Humanity, another revolutionary.

When we were small, we went to grade school, high school, and there was no question college was next, because my father—being the revolutionary that he was, back in that time, said that YOU were going to college. He worked job after job after job: his main job when he was working was at a plant. He did cement work, remodeling homes. We saw him from time to time. There was four of us in college at one time. Four of us were in college at one time, as my father insisted that you go to college. You always leave things better than you found them. I think that’s what Bobby’s life was—you leave things better than you found them. That was all of our goals in life. My brother and I were both student administrators, worked with a lot of marginalized kids, worked with education equity, social injustices—always leave things better than you found them. My sister has worked in the past as a teacher assistant with special needs students. My other sister just recently retired from the postal service as a lawyer. After retirement, one of her goals is to work with abused women. She’d like to do volunteer work with abused women. Revolutionaries. Different kinds of revolutionaries, not necessarily system, but people changing people, people’s outlook, people’s perspective.

The other one [character of my father] was hard work. My father, I mean everything had to be... if you washed the car it had to be done, if you mowed the yard it just had to be. I think Bobby’s drive—I think if you want to do something it had to be done... it had to be done right. I’ve got that drive. And then the youngest brother, he right now, he still works a full time job. Of his own ambition and initiative as a photographer, he has a photography studio and he pretty much did on his own. For the Hill family, growing up in southwest Virginia—our mother and father are from never moved away. They were revolutionaries. Because back in that day, even the thought of Blacks owning property and houses was “no go.” And my father, a lot of times he lost money building houses and providing them from HUD, low loans for people to get homes. So that’s how Bobby came up revolutionary, growing up, the things that he saw. He worked part time, and volunteered with groups, he mentored a lot of kids. One of them he was taking to a football game when he and I were in college. I had one of the boys and Bobby was in the football game and we were walking through campus and these kids were never exposed to a campus or college life. And we were walking through campus and the little boy was so impressed... It was Emory where the college is. There was no town, it was just the college. And the little boy said, “I’ve never been this deep in Emory.” [Laughter] So that was exposure... If nobody in the family was in college, you don’t go on a college campus.

He introduced a lot of kids at the time to jazz music. He taught them how to play chess. I think to think critically, to look beyond the environments for what you are thinking, was a stretch for lots of those kids, but that’s what he did.

And then I was asked about a few stories, I just jotted some things down so I would remember. And one of them was the red hair story. When Bobby was born, through genetics or whatever, he had a blue eye and a brown eye, and he had red hair. So we don’t know... And this lady in the neighborhood we called (and everybody called) Aunt Lily, said to Bobby one day, “So how did you get that red hair?” And he said, “It rained and it rusted.... That’s how it got red.” [Laughter]

Bobby was always... I thought he would have been a scientist, ’cause when he was small he would mix things and again, exploration to see... He would mix things up and it would explode. He was always mixing and doing the scientist thing. Another one was a story about he was walking along a path or something, and he saw something on the ground and he said it looked like a snake. And he told my mother “And I touched it and it was.” “It looked like a snake,” and I’m going the other way, but he had to find out and it was.

One of the stories, not a fond memory, when I was at the integrated schools and I was in seventh grade, or going into seventh grade, and they were having the seventh grade dance. And Mom used to get Bobby to cut our hair. I mean this is the night of the dance, and he was cutting my hair and he messed it up royally. And I cried. And I said cut it all off. And he did. So I went bald-headed to seventh-grade dance.

Integrating the roller rink. I don’t remember the first one. My sister would have been, I guess, in first grade, in integrated schools. And there were some people from Georgia who worked as Vista [volunteers] that she had met over in Virginia. And they were gonna go skating. And they wouldn’t let her in, they wouldn’t let them in. And the reasons they wouldn’t let them in was because of my six-year-old sister. And I remember them coming back to the house that night and Ann, who was the sister, I asked her, “Do you know the reason you couldn’t go skating?” And she said yes, she did. Of course Bobby and some of the professors from Emory and Henry College sort of spearheaded this. And I remember the night that we went to integrate the roller rink. The police were there. None of us could skate. So we went.

Bobby was always an introspective type, and I remember... again in southwest Virginia, very small minority population. I remember one time, a cookout or something, in the street, or probably it was a road—it was a main one, not with sidewalks and streetlights, but it was one where people have to pass your house. And we were having watermelon. And Bobby insisted that we not eat the watermelon in the front yard. He did not want us to do that.

I didn’t remember this until the memorial in Virginia. One of his classmates told it, actually it was a distant cousin. Where they live, a bulldozer went through someone else’s property. So Bobby speaks to one of the daughters, and he says, “Did they get permission to bring the bulldozers through your property?” She said, “No.” And he said, “Well, that’s disrespectful.” And so Dennis and Bobby and some of the cousins had a protest. They were probably 12-13. And a bulldozer passed through and this was a county where nobody cares if the cows come through your property. That was disrespect. They did not get permission to bring the bulldozer through your property, the girl who told the story said, and the protest was over as soon as the mothers found out. It didn’t last long.

She also told... I had forgotten about this... we had an uncle named Uncle Monte (Monroe was his name). We had a big tree at that time. Bobby would get up in that tree, and I don’t know if he was contemplating or meditating or what he was doing. And he would draw. We saw the artwork he was doing. He would sit in the tree and think. He used to do walks in the field, and that was his introspective time to think. I was never quite that deep. He was deep.

A football story was at Dennison—it would have been high school. Bobby runs downfield and the ball hits him in the head. The ball hadn’t touched the ground, and guess what, that is a15-yard penalty. So they pushed the team back 15 yards. And they punt again. Bobby runs down the field, and the ball hits him in the head a second time. Now we’re talking 30 yards. They punt a third time, and Bobby runs down the field again, and the ball hits Bobby again, 45-yard penalty, and the last time he fell to his knees and just... But the odds of that happening three times, and a 45-yard penalty...

That was some of the stories. Oh, the barbershop.—I wasn’t there, but Lois was the one integrating the barbershop came with some of them facing a gun. The barbershop hadn’t been integrated, and Bobby was always looking for something to stir. So they went to the barbershop with, I think it was Monroe, Preston, and I think it was Calvin, and they integrated the barbershop facing the barrel of a gun.

I get up and I think, I need to get my tires rotated, I need to do laundry, and buy groceries and do laundry. And Bobby’s was, what about my protest today?

For summation, I think that Bobby came from a family of revolutionaries. And as my father taught, leave things better than you found them. And he did.

 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Comrade Will Reese—A Celebration and Commemoration, May 14, 2016

Message from Bob Avakian to Conclude Commemoration of Will Reese

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

[Andy Zee speaking] Thank you Carl.

I just want to turn your attention to the program you received and on the back cover it says that donations in memory of Will Reese can be made to The Bob Avakian Institute or Revolution Books. These are the two things that Will believed deeply in as you’ve heard tonight.

I have been asked to, and it’s my honor, to convey that Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has sent his heartfelt condolences to Will’s family, to his friends, and to his comrades. And he has sent this flower arrangement expressing these sentiments.

And BA appreciated and wanted to underscore the letter that he learned that Will was working on just before he died, which Carl also spoke of, calling on many new people to step up, to step forward, and step into the revolution. The letter went on with Will urging all of you who are already involved in different ways with the great cause of the emancipation of humanity, to deepen your commitment, deepen your understanding, and make even greater contributions to the revolution. And this is something Will consistently fought to do.

And in the context of this message, the leadership of the RCP has decided that Will Reese/Bobby Hill’s name will be entered into a special roster of remembrance and honor that was begun in 2009, with the designation “Perseverance, and Inspiration.” This designation is the title of the final chapter of Bob Avakian’s memoir, From Ike to Mao And Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. So we will inscribe Will’s name in that roster.

I want to conclude the formal part of this program by reading from the end of Bob Avakian’s memoir. But before I read, I want to invite up Sophia Loren Coffee. Sophia is known in these streets of Harlem and many of the people you’ve met tonight are wearing Sophia’s earrings. When I finish reading, Sophia is going to sing “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” by the great Nina Simone.

So Avakian writes at the end of his memoir:

When I look at all this, I think again of my friend who decided to dedicate his life to ending cancer—and of the even greater need to put an end to the system of capitalism-imperialism and all the suffering and oppression this system embodies and enforces throughout the world. You see that there isn’t anything more important that your life could be about, and whatever you end up contributing during the course of your lifetime is the most important and the most uplifting thing that you could possibly do. And yes, there are moments of great disappointment, but also moments of great joy as part of this. There is the joy that comes from seeing the ways in which people break free of constraints and rise up and begin to see the world as it really is and take up more consciously the struggle to change it. There is the joy of knowing that you are part of this whole process and contributing what you can to it. There is the joy of the camaraderie of being together with others in this struggle and knowing that it is something worthwhile, that it is not something petty and narrow that you are involved in but something uplifting. There is the joy of looking to the future and envisioning the goal that you are struggling for and seeing people come to even a beginning understanding of what that could mean, not just for themselves but for society, for humanity as a whole.

 

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Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

What Makes Sex "Good"?—And Why Porn Is NOT

by Sunsara Taylor | May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Break All the Chains!

Break ALL the Chains!
Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition | Full Work

As communist revolutionaries, we are fighting for a world in which all relations between people are based on mutual respect, mutual equality, and mutual flourishing. This includes the way that people of different nationalities, genders, and sexualities relate to each other throughout society and the world. And this includes the way that people relate in their intimate and romantic lives, as well as in their friendships and family relations. Liberating all these relations from thousands of years of oppressive traditions requires an actual revolution—overthrowing the system of capitalism-imperialism that rules over us and enforces these oppressive relations, and going on to build a radically new economy and culture in the new revolutionary society. Our goal is a world where people are no longer divided into masters and slaves, oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited—not in the way the society is organized, not in the culture, and not in the bedroom.

So, what exactly does this mean in terms of sex?

In the view of communists, good sex is about connecting intimately with someone else’s full humanity—it is not about owning or dehumanizing someone else. Good sex—like any other form of intimacy—must be based on mutual respect, genuine caring, and equality between people. Good sex includes physical pleasure and closeness, but also can be part of communicating and sharing affection as well as love, joy as well as sorrow, comfort as well as vulnerability, and a great deal more. Good sex is based on people recognizing—and deriving pleasure from—connecting with and exploring each other’s full humanity and it is as potentially varied and rich as the people involved.

All this is in direct contrast to the kind of sex—and of intimate relations—that are promoted in society today, especially through pornography. Pornography is, in fact, a perfect concentration of the putrid, vicious, and woman-hating culture of capitalism.

Pornography is not “just sex.” It is the sexualized degradation of women. Porn reduces women to sexual objects to be used, abused, hurt, and humiliated by men for sexual pleasure. Women are tricked, punched, kicked, gagged, choked, and insulted—and then shown to “love” this abuse. Millions and millions of men are trained through this not to see women as full human beings—and to find the torture and dehumanization of women sexually “titillating.” All this fuels and reinforces a world where millions and millions of women are raped, beaten, sold into sexual slavery, harassed, and stalked from one corner of the globe to the other.

Further, pornography expresses an impoverished view of sex—it is a reflection of a callous, woman-hating, and viciously inhumane world. While the physical positions, “races,” ages, and levels of violence may vary, the sex in porn is always the same. It portrays “I-own-you” sex. Overwhelmingly this is men dehumanizing and degrading women, but it also gets mirrored in gay porn and other porn. This is a truly impoverished view of sex and intimacy. It is a reflection in the intimate sphere of the larger relations in the world today where the U.S. invades and viciously exploits countries in the Third World, where men brutalize and dominate women, where human beings are treated like commodities, and where people are pitted against each other in a desperate scramble to get ahead—or just to survive. Porn reflects—and contributes to—not only the brutal enslavement of women, but also the widespread social isolation, human callousness, and hollow use-or-be-used culture that destroys so many lives under this system. Porn not only never portrays any of the humanity and richness that can be shared through genuinely good sex as described above, porn actually works to coarsen people and make it more difficult for them to connect in this way.

What does this mean now?

On the Strategy for Revolution
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While fully liberating all relations between people from thousands of years of oppressive relations requires making an actual revolution, this will not happen if we just sit around and wait. Right now, we need to be carrying out the strategy for revolution—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution. This must include not only rejecting, but fighting to END pornography and patriarchy and all forms of enslavement and degradation of women. And this must include forging a culture that is in revolt against the current revolting culture—in our communities of resistance and revolution, and in our intimate relations.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/take-the-revolution-to-the-july-conventions-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Take the Revolution to the July Conventions

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This year’s elections have revealed potential cracks in the ways in which this system commands the political consent, and passivity, of the people it rules. There is widespread dissatisfaction and unrest, taking different forms... there is resistance to the fascist Trump... and within the Democratic Party and those it considers its “base,” there is turmoil, a seeking for answers and real concern about what kind of future we face. People are right up against the question pinpointed by Bob Avakian: the impossibility of “free elections” in a system divided into classes.

Revolution Club at Rise Up October

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Revolutionaries must be there—and take it somewhere else: to a movement preparing for a REAL revolution. No answers—nothing but a dead end and worse—will ever be found in the framework of elections in this society.

In July, revolutionary communists will be at the Republican convention in Cleveland and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. They will put forward and fight for the real way out of this madness, projecting revolution and the leadership of Bob Avakian into society and joining with people to fight the power on many different fronts as they do. They will organize those who are seeking a way out into revolution. And they will boldly project this slogan into society:

OVERTHROW, DON’T VOTE FOR, THIS SYSTEM!

Be part of this. Get in touch with the Revolution Club, or write to revcom.us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/438/textbook-definition-what-is-a-pig-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Textbook Definition: What Is a Pig?...

Updated August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Scroll down for earlier entries.

July 20, 2016. Charles Kinsey, a behavior therapist was bringing back a young autistic man who had wandered away from his group home. Cops arrive, point their guns at Kinsey and order him to lie on his back with his hands up. Kinsey complies. The autistic man is sitting next to him and Kinsey shouts, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” and, “There is no need for firearms.” The pigs shoot Kinsey—who is still on his back and hands in the air—in the leg, then rush over and handcuff both Kinsey and the young autistic man. What kind of sick, depraved racist shoots a Black man who lies down on his back, puts his hands up in the air and makes it very clear that he is a professional, caring for an autistic young man?

July 28, 2016. 18-year-old Paul O’Neal is shot in the back by Chicago cops after he drives away from a traffic stop. Police admit no gun was found at the scene and that the shooting violates their own regulations—that prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles if no weapons are being used against police.

What kind of murderous group armed by the U.S. government stops Black people all the time for “routine traffic stops,” and then ends up killing them in cold blood, many times, shooting them in the back?


 

 


July 25, 2016. People were hanging out together in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts. LAPD came on the scene and people began to run away. The cops shot and killed 18-year-old Richard Risher who was unarmed and running away. Risher stumbled after he was shot, the police kept shooting, and then they came over and kicked and spit on Risher as he lay dying. After this, the police sealed off the entire neighborhood and forced whole families to stand out in the street while they went through their homes, supposedly searching for a “shooter.”

What kind of monsters with badges and guns—chase a young man who is unarmed, shoot at him, then when he falls down, keep shooting and then as he’s dying come over and kick and spit on him?

What kind? Here’s an excerpt of how the Black Panther Party once defined a pig:

What is a pig? A low natured beast that has no regard for law, justice, or the rights of people:..a foul, depraved traducer, usually found masquerading as the victim of an unprovoked attack.

...And What Should They Do?

Here’s what Bob Avakian said in 2002, responding to the murder by police of the unarmed and unconscious young woman Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California:

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

BAsics 2:16

 

 


Earlier entries:

June 2016. At least 14 Oakland cops are under investigation for having sex with an 18-year-old woman; three of them allegedly had sex with her when she was 17. The woman, the daughter of police dispatchers, says she had sex with the officers in exchange for money and protection. Some of the cops sent obscene, sexually explicit photos to the woman’s phone. Other police departments are also implicated: The woman says she got “referrals” from cops for other pigs from nearby cities as well as from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. There is evidence the Oakland police chief knew this was happening but looked the other way.

What kind of sick pack of animals use their position of force and power to prey on a young woman—passing her around and abusing her in what amounts to long-term serial gang rape?

Squeals and Oinks from NYPD Commissioner Bratton in New York City and the State Government of Louisiana:

On May 25, after yet another NYPD cop was caught on video brutalizing someone in Harlem and pointing his gun at and then punching and arresting the videographer(!), NYC head pig Bill Bratton said: "When you interfere with a police officer making a lawful arrest, you with your cameras attempt to really get into it ... then you are creating circumstances that are dangerous for the public and dangerous for the police officers.... This has become a very serious—I would almost describe it as an epidemic in this country."

What kind of depraved individual would preside over an institution whose members are repeatedly exposed brutalizing and murdering Black and Brown people with impunity and immunity and then say those who videotape this brutality and murder are the problem—and even the reason people get beaten and killed?

The Louisiana state government just passed and signed into law legislation that puts police on the list of those protected under state hate crime laws supposedly designed to protect victims of acts of conscious prejudice because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. Those who back the Louisiana law claim law enforcement nationwide is under attack.

Reality: The FBI documents 41 on-duty police were killed in 2015, one of the lowest numbers in decades. For the same year, the Guardian newspaper documented at least 1,000 people killed by police in the U.S. nationwide, nearly 100 unarmed. The police who commit these murders are routinely defended and even praised as heroes.

What kind of vile governing body presiding over what kind of sick system would unleash and defend racist murdering pigs, then make up a lie and pass legislation that claims the police are the victims?

Good riddance to rotten pork. Police Chief Greg Suhr, pictured above, was driven from office this week by mass outrage and struggle in San Francisco. Suhr had risen through porcine ranks by personally supervising the April 6, 1996 murder of Mark Garcia.

 

Racist vigilante George Zimmerman is auctioning off the gun he used to murder Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says proceeds from the sale will be used to “fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers.” Last year Zimmerman tweeted “Cops lives matter, black slime doesnt [sic].”

What kind of sick motherfucker tries to sell the weapon he used to murder an unarmed young Black man, portrays the epidemic of police terror and murder against Black people as “violence against law enforcement officers,” openly dehumanizes Black people and brays that their lives do not matter?

Steve Loomis is the head of the Cleveland Police Union. He represented the cops who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun—in a playground. Now he’s demanding Tamir’s family use money from their wrongful death lawsuit settlement to “educate” youth about how to play with toy guns.

What kind of a heartless motherfucker has the gall to back child murderers, blame the totally innocent child for his own death, and then demand his heartbroken parents pay up or be blamed when police murder other kids with toy guns?

 

 

Tom Angel, the No. 2 cop in Burbank, California, and then the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s chief of staff, was hired to reform departments riddled with police brutality, racism, and sexual harassment. All that time he was emailing racist, degrading “jokes” mocking Black people, Latinos, Muslims, women, and homeless people: “I took my Biology exam last Friday, I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”

What kind of sick, depraved animal pretends to be cleaning out racism and sexism but all the while spreading vile racist, chauvinist, sexist contempt for the people, unleashing his minions to wreck mayhem on those his department claims to “serve and protect”?

San Francisco cops Jason Lai, Curtis Liu, and Keith Ybarreta sent racist texts calling people of color “barbarians,” “cockroaches,” and “a pack of wild animals on the loose,” and containing dehumanizing anti-woman and anti-gay insults. A few: “I hate that beaner, but I think that nig is worse.” “Indian people are disgusting.” “Burn down walgreens and kill the bums.”

What kind of vile scumbags heap contempt and abuse—even wish for death—on those over whom they hold the power of life and death?

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/439/organizing-for-the-revolution-getting-out-the-proclamation-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/six-ways-they-try-to-bamboozle-you-about-the-gpcr-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Six Ways They Try to Bamboozle You About the Cultural Revolution in China and One Big Reason You Need to Dig Deeper and Get the Truth

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

May 2016 marks 50 years since Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in China. This was a breakthrough in dealing with a world historic problem of communist revolution—how to prevent counterrevolution under socialism, even by those who claim to be socialist. For 10 years the Cultural Revolution involved hundreds of millions in a struggle to prevent the restoration of capitalism. Then in 1976, after Mao died, a reactionary coup brought back the capitalist system that has been oppressing the Chinese people ever since. Fifty years later, the Cultural Revolution still infuriates, and threatens, the representatives of the old order, and in the last week there were renewed efforts to paint this period as an unmitigated horror show. Here’s some of what they’re saying—and how they’re trying to get you to think:

1. They run—and in fact the New York Times solicited—endless first-hand stories from people about how they or their families purportedly suffered during the Cultural Revolution, and give big reviews to books claiming to tell even more of these accounts. OK, then, where are the stories and books from those who joined with and fought on the side of Mao during the Cultural Revolution and still uphold it? And yes these people DO exist and DO want to tell their stories. (See books by Dong Ping Han and Mobo Gao; interview with Wang Zheng.) As Bob Avakian has pointed out, you might as well judge the Civil War by reading sad journals from Confederate generals, or slave owners who lost their plantations. Beyond that, there’s a bigger problem involved in resting everything on memoirs and (usually unverified) first-hand accounts, which can only ever tell part of the story and cannot in themselves shed light on the larger social forces and political dynamics in play. (See “What’s Wrong with ‘History by Memoir’?“ and a response.)

2. As long as we’re on the subject of “first-hand” stories, where are the requests from the New York Times for “first-hand stories” from people from Vietnam, or Laos, or Iraq, or Indonesia, or El Salvador to talk about how THEY suffered from what the U.S. did to them? Literally four million people died in Indochina directly from U.S. invasion and bombing, and this still goes on today with unexploded cluster bombs blowing up and killing little children who pick them up. Yet very few, if any, such books and stories find publishers or audiences, or if they do, it is nothing on the scale of the almost industrial production of the books that are reviewed in the Times and other publications week after week, and especially now. And why do you suppose that is?

3. We’re told, “Mao was a madman who killed millions in an insane lust for power.” Putting aside the fact that most of the numbers about “victims” of the Cultural Revolution are inflated and unsubstantiated, again as BA has pointed out, this is like saying Lincoln was a “mass murderer who killed 700,000 people in the Civil War”—without ever saying what was actually being fought over in the Civil War: the existence of slavery in the U.S.! Similarly, the Cultural Revolution was over whether China would remain on the socialist road or revert to capitalism—and unfortunately, the wrong side won!

4. We’re told, “Even the Chinese Communist Party today says that the Cultural Revolution was a terrible mistake.” Yes, very interesting: now that China has become the country Mao warned against—a cesspool of brutal exploitation and oppression with a culture of naked me-first-ism mixed with reactionary nationalism—they warn against the very initiative, the Cultural Revolution, Mao undertook to prevent that. Why would that be surprising? And why do you suppose that both the Chinese Communist Party and the U.S. imperialist rulers agree on this? Could it be that both preside over exploiting, oppressive capitalist societies, societies in the process of destroying the planet with no way out of that, and they both don’t want people to believe any other radical alternative exists—namely socialism and communism? Remember: The same people telling you this capitalist system of war, inequality, massive starvation, and environmental destruction is the “best of all possible worlds” are the same ones lying to you about the Cultural Revolution.

5. “Yes, but if everybody says this is true, it must be true.” Brilliant! Prevent anyone with an opposed point of view from speaking on this, repeat the same lies over and over, if possible more outlandishly each time, and then say that “everyone knows this is true.” Hey, guess what? Back before the 1960s, “everybody” in America—at least nearly every white scholar and person—“knew” that Reconstruction, the brief period right after the Civil War when Black people had some democratic rights, had been a “disaster.” It was only as a result of the battles of millions of people in the ’60s and the way that people were moved to dig into the real truth about this country, and the dogged work of a new generation of scholars, that the truth about Reconstruction began to be fully brought out: that this was actually a positive period whose main fault was that it did not go far enough in endowing Black people with political rights and power.

6. Apparently, from the way the Cultural Revolution is being covered, we are to believe that “the world was doing great back then, America was the champion of freedom, and people all over just wanted the ‘democracy’ that America had.” Well, what else was going on when one-quarter of humanity in the Cultural Revolution were building a socialist society aimed at getting rid of class society and doing away with oppression throughout the world? Aside from the USA’s genocidal wars in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina, its orchestration of brutal military coups in Indonesia and Chile that resulted in the murders of perhaps over a million people between them, its invasion of the Dominican Republic, and other international atrocities, Black people were waging a tremendous struggle just to be treated like human beings, to be given basic civil rights. Women were dying of back-alley abortions, denied the basic right to control when and if they had a baby and fighting back against these and other abuses. From Palestine to southern Africa to Latin America, from India to Detroit and Mississippi and Paris, people were rising up all over the world, and many of them were looking to China and Mao for inspiration and political guidance. This was fine and liberating, and none of this is imaginable in the same way without that inspiration.

And the One Big Reason to Dig For the Truth...

Knowing the TRUTH about the Cultural Revolution in China has everything to do with knowing about and being able to fight for a whole different, liberating world. And you can’t know the truth without getting deeply into Bob Avakian—what he’s brought forward about why this revolution was fought, what Mao was trying to do in leading it, what was pathbreaking and farseeing in this monumental and unprecedented struggle, and what were the shortcomings and mistakes and things we need to change and do better on, and advance much further beyond... There’s a lot to get into here, and a way to get into it. The best places to start are here and here.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/52-arrested-for-blocking-oil-refinery-in-anacortes-washington-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

52 Arrested for Blocking Oil Refinery in Washington State

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One thousand people came to Anacortes from Portland, and from the states of Oregon, Washington and Montana. Students who had been fighting for their colleges to divest from fossil fuels, and others who shared a deep desire to save the planet joined the colorful protest led by indigenous people from around the area, marching past two refineries.
(Above: AP | Below: Special to Revolution/www.revcom.us.)

On May 15, 52 people were arrested after blocking oil-train tracks into the Shell and Tesoro refineries in Anacortes Washington, part of worldwide actions to Break Free from Fossil Fuels to combat global warming. People also blocked oil-train tracks in Albany, New York, and more than 40 people were arrested after trying to block British Petroleum's Whiting Refinery near Chicago. And from May 3-15, there were actions on six continents, including large marches in the Philippines and actions in Ogoniland in Nigeria, where people have fought for decades against deadly oil spills and contamination of their land and waters. Major fossil fuel projects were temporarily shut down or disrupted including in Australia, Brazil, and Germany as well as the actions in the U.S.

People came to Anacortes from all over the region—from Portland and elsewhere in Oregon, from around the state of Washington, and carloads from Montana. There were numbers of students who had been fighting for their colleges to divest from fossil fuels. Among many there was a deeply felt desire to save the planet. Revolutionary communists were in the mix, joining in resistance, connecting people with Bob Avakian, with revcom.us, and getting into discussions.

Weekend actions in Anacortes featured a colorful protest of 1,000, led by indigenous people from around the area who marched past the two refineries near March Point. A speaker from the Swinomish tribe pointed out that this land was unceded—stolen from the native people—and that where once the people took food from the sea, now the waters were too polluted to harvest. Various tribes came together, and in speeches and ceremonies invited people to learn about their cultures, and spoke strongly of the need for resistance and determination to protect the waters and sea life. A highlight was the arrival of a large and beautiful native canoe as part of welcoming people. A theme brought out by several of the native people was that we are all one people, worldwide.

State of Emergency - The Plunder of Our Planet, the Environmental Catastrophy, and the Real Revolutionary Solution

Right-click here to download
Pamphlet (PDF)

Brightly colored protest kayaks—famous worldwide from the protests blockading a Shell drilling rig bound for Arctic waters—were in the waters around the rig during the day and at night.

And beginning Friday night, May 13, about 150 people swarmed a section of railroad track that brings oil into the refineries, including highly explosive Bakken shale oil from the Midwest. They chained vehicles to the tracks, and erected structures, flags, banners, and tents on the tracks—all visible from the adjacent highway. Early in the morning on Sunday the 15th, protesters were awakened by heavily armed riot police with guns drawn surrounding them. It was at this point that 52 people refused to leave the tracks and were arrested. The blockade had an inspiring effect on the protesters, and became a big topic of discussion among local people around Anacortes, as well as in both national and international press.

These actions took place at a time when climate scientists declared a climate emergency earlier this year due to temperatures that are smashing records and threaten already to go beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius—set as the aspirational goal of the Paris climate talks, beyond which lays larger-scale catastrophe. Carbon emissions have grown steadily, with April 2016 as the 12th straight hottest month on record.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/sending-central-american-mothers-and-children-back-to-hell-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Obama to Central American Children:
Go Straight to Hell!

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 12, the Obama administration’s Homeland Security “enforcers,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), made public that it has directed its field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests targeting for immediate deportation Central American mothers and children who have been denied the right to asylum—despite their legitimate fear for their lives if forced to return to the conditions of extreme violence and economic crisis that made them risk the perilous journey to get here. This “surge” will also target children who arrived at the border all alone who have since turned 18—those whose lives are most at risk if forced to return.

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

Clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003.
Learn more about Bob Avakian here.

Across the country a new terror now faces thousands of refugees—Homeland Security police—searching them out, knocking on doors, armed men storming into homes and dragging women and children out in handcuffs, putting them on planes and sending them back to the very countries they fled to survive. When this campaign was first tested over a single weekend at the start of the year, in three Southern states, 121 people were rounded up. These raids will likely capture thousands, while millions will be terrorized.

The depravity and utter hypocrisy of what the rulers of this country are carrying out with these raids is obscene.

Denying Legitimate Asylum Claims, Knowing It Can Be a Death Sentence

It is not a crime according to international law for refugees to come to the border seeking asylum. Yet when they approach the U.S. Border Patrol, these women and children are treated as criminals—handcuffed and hustled off to detention camps so inhumane they have caused an international scandal, and held there for months.

When represented by an attorney, the great majority (over 80 percent) of the Central American women and children who began arriving by the tens of thousands in 2014 have had their asylum claims granted. But for these refugees there is no “right” to an attorney, so many have their cases heard with inadequate or no legal representation at all. Now a senior Justice Department official has argued that children are capable of representing themselves as well, so their hearings can be held without an attorney to represent them. And it is also widely known that legitimate asylum claims are often denied to people who never received notification that their hearing was taking place.

Above: Immigrant children, who were stopped while trying to cross the border, seen here sleeping on the floor of a holding cell in Brownsville, Texas, June 2014. Photo: AP

At the same time, the Obama administration is carrying out this “surge” knowing full well that the consequences of denying asylum to many of these refugees will be a death sentence. The Guardian reported in November 2015 that at least 83 people had been murdered since 2014 after being forced to return to the countries they fled—and immigration experts say this is only the tip of the iceberg.

For these bloodless ghouls, the deaths are more than collateral damage; they are a part of the message these raids are intended to deliver. ICE officials have stated they are trying to publicize to people throughout the region who hope to find a way out of the inferno by getting to this country, “Don’t even try—you cannot succeed.” “Even if you survive the desperate journey, this country will only send you back.”

This is how the self-proclaimed great defender of human rights “solves the refugee crisis”! It is without exaggeration, as we wrote in January, “like some monster forcing people back into a burning building. And in this case, it is the same monster—U.S. imperialism—that set the building on fire.”

The Bloody Hand of the U.S. in Central America Has Created This “Refugee Crisis”

“The same monster—U.S. imperialism—has set the building on fire.” The crimes of this system, committed over decades of political, military, and economic domination, have created the present desperate conditions in countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and led to the growing humanitarian crisis on the border. During the 1980s, genocidal campaigns were funded, waged, and led directly by the U.S. and their flunky governments that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, aimed at crushing rebellions influenced by the U.S.’s imperialist rival, the Soviet Union. Their economies were devastated by the “free trade” agreement imposed a decade ago, and gangs have filled the economic void, creating vast areas run by gangs and police under their influence. These countries now have world-record levels of murder and violence.

Again, as we wrote in January:

Everyone of any nationality and in whatever situation should stand with them. It is time and past time for growing numbers of people in this country to defend and welcome these refugees, to fiercely condemn, oppose and resist the criminal barbarity of forcing children to their deaths, and to do all this as part of preparing to get rid of this monstrous system that can only heap more and more suffering on people here and around the world.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/awtwns-obama-legacy-and-hiroshima-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

From A World to Win News Service

Obama's "Legacy" and Hiroshima

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 16, 2016. A World to Win News Service. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Hiroshima, Japan, on May 27. He will not apologize for the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In a tweet explaining Obama’s views, his advisor Ben Rhodes wrote, “He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II... The U.S. will be eternally proud of our civilian leaders [this means U.S. president Harry Truman, who ordered the bombing] and the men of our armed forces who served in World War II. Their cause was just. The President’s time in Hiroshima will also reaffirm America’s longstanding commitment—and the President’s own commitment—to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Everything in this statement is a shameful and shameless lie.

First, no cause can justify something like nuclear bombings. In this case, the U.S. murdered more than 200,000 people with two single acts lasting a few minutes each. The United States is the first and only country ever to use nuclear weapons.

Second, the U.S. cause in that world war was not just, as the following article from AWTWNS 03 August 2015 explains.

Third, Obama, who once called Truman his role model, is pursuing anything but peace. He declared the U.S. combat role in Iraq and Afghanistan over, and yet now he is sending thousands of fresh combat troops to Iraq, Syria and Yemen, with no end in sight for the occupation of Afghanistan.

Fourth, as for a world without nuclear weapons, Obama is the author of a programme to refurbish the U.S.’s stock of such weapons, while at the same time authorizing anti-missile systems ringing Russia that could hinder its ability to retaliate in the event of an American first strike, making that a more attractive option for the West’s masters of war in their dangerous competition with their Russian rivals.

Finally, why is the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcoming Obama, who is basically coming to spit on the graves of the U.S.’s victims? Japan also committed terrible war crimes in World War II, especially in Korea, China, and elsewhere in Asia. Abe has deliberately never fully renounced the imperial ambitions that led to horrendous massacres of civilians. The immediate purpose of Obama’s meeting with Abe is to confront China, a no longer socialist country now emerging as a reactionary power and menace to the American domination of Asia, under which Japan has prospered as its junior partner.

There is little in this visit, or the conduct of these two men, that does not reek of the justification of past wars for empire and preparations for more.

From A World to Win News Service:

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The world’s worst war crime and the countries willing to do it again

Abridged version of an August 3, 2015 article by A World to Win News Service.

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

Children fleeing firestorm in Hiroshima
Survivors fleeing the firestorm after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 1945.

The patient's skin is burned in a pattern corresponding to the dark portions of a kimono.
The patient's skin is burned in a pattern corresponding to the dark portions of a kimono worn at the time of the bombing.

“That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast—silence—hell on earth.

“The eyes of young girls watching the parachute melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyes and internal organs burst from their bodies. Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.” (From the 6 August 2007 memorial statement by Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, in a plea to rid the world of all nuclear weapons)

“A woman who covered her eyes from the flash lowered her hands to find the skin of her face had melted into her palms... Hundreds of field workers and others staggered by, moaning and crying. Some were missing body parts, and others were so badly burned that even though they were naked, Yoshida couldn’t tell if they were men or women. He saw one person whose eyeballs hung down from his face, the sockets empty.” (From Nagasaki, Life After Nuclear War, by Susan Southard, Viking, 2015)

On August 6, 1945, an American bomber dropped a nuclear device over a hospital in Hiroshima, a Japanese city with little military significance. The bomb was attached to a parachute and set to go off high in the air to maximize the number of people who would be exposed to lethal radiation. About 140,000 city residents were killed or so badly injured they died within a few months.

When informed about the blast he had ordered, U.S. President Harry Truman gleefully exclaimed, “This is the greatest thing in history.” To show just how “great” the atomic bomb was, three days later, on 9 August, the U.S. dropped another one, destroying the city of Nagasaki and killing another 70,000 people.

Many years of suffering from cancer and other ills caused by radiation poisoning lay ahead for the survivors and their children. Susan Southard’s new book, based on interviews with survivors over the last decade, recounts how some were so monstrously disfigured that children would run away from them. The fact that about 192,000 victims are still alive shows that this is not ancient history.

The U.S. unleashed the nuclear era in the closing days of the Second World War. Germany had already surrendered. Japan’s economy had been destroyed and its capital fire-bombed into ashes; its military had been dealt decisive defeats. Many historians believe that Japan would have surrendered without the atomic bombing. The purpose of the bombing was not just to make sure that the U.S. and its allies won the war, but even more, to make sure that the U.S. and the U.S. alone would benefit from Japan’s surrender.

The U.S. was determined not to let the Soviet Union prevent it from stepping into Japan’s shoes as the top colonial power in Asia. The USSR was still a socialist country then, although a decade later it would take a different path. It had been allied with the U.S. during the war against Germany and Japan, but even before the war was over the U.S. was baring its teeth to the USSR and setting out to dominate much of the world.

The USSR is no more, but the U.S. and other countries still threaten the world with nuclear holocaust. The U.S., UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel hold thousands of nuclear warheads and the missiles, aircraft and submarines to use them.

When Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he promised he would seek nuclear disarmament. The committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize the following year cited the agreement for a “nuclear-free world” he signed with Russia. (If Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for this, so did Russian president Vladimir Putin.)

Yet the treaty sought no such thing. It permitted the two sides to each retain 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons deployed and ready to go, not counting those in storage. Many are vastly more powerful than the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The thousands of tactical nuclear weapons not covered by the treaty are, in some ways, even more dangerous than the strategic ones, because their use is envisioned in ordinary official military doctrine, and once a nuclear exchange begins, no one can say how it will end. A nuclear world war is not now on the horizon, as it was at several points during the height of U.S.-Soviet contention for world domination in the 1960s through the 1980s, but still, the only reason to have nukes is to be able to use them.

Although the arms race between the U.S. and Russia today is no longer about an ever-accumulating stockpile of nuclear bombs, Omaba has launched a trillion-dollar campaign to modernize his country’s atomic bomb-making facilities, produce new or refurbished missiles, submarines and bombers to use them, and update existing warheads. Russia is reported to be updating its nuclear delivery vehicles. Similar efforts are being carried out by the UK (the modernisation of its nuclear arsenal and a new fleet of Trident ballistic missile submarines) and France (new air to ground nuclear-tipped missiles). Rather than working to consign nuclear weapons to the past, these programmes are meant to ensure their usability far into the future.

When asked to explain Obama’s apparent turn-around, an advisor pointed to “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.” (New York Times, September 21, 2014). This is a perfect example of the Cold War posture when each of the two imperialist superpowers was ready to risk destroying the world rather than lose the contest to run it. The implicit threat to use nuclear weapons to “protect” Ukraine—in other words, to keep Russia from challenging U.S. geo-political interests—is completely insane from the viewpoint of the interests of the population of Ukraine and the world.

As for combating Islamist terrorism, the current pretext for U.S. and European military intervention in the Middle East, if terrorism is defined as the killing of innocent civilians for a political purpose, then there has seldom been a terrorist act more horrendous in its consequences or on a bigger scale than the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/439/reality-check-message-to-would-be-holy-warriors-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Reality check:
Message To Would-Be Holy Warriors:

May 20, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

If you blow your sorry ass up killing innocent people, you ain't doing nothing but fighting to bring into being another system of oppression.  And you ain't going nowhere but into dust and oblivion. 

Fuck that.  But if you want to get into something really worth living and dying for... then get into and be part of fighting to bring about a REAL revolution, a COMMUNIST revolution.

 


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/check-it-out-genius-created-by-stephen-hawking-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Check It Out

Genius, created by Stephen Hawking

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Science is not something that should only be done by an elite, or by people who have gone to graduate school or gotten Ph.D. degrees or something like that. I firmly believe—and I can provide evidence of this—that people who are not even trained in basic literacy can actually function as scientists. You know, you can train people in scientific methods, in even just a weekend you can start to do that. If you want to get people doing science in the natural world, you can spend a weekend doing some good science in a rain forest or in a desert, and I guarantee you it will be real scientific work, real scientific investigation. And I don’t care if you don’t even have a sixth-grade education. If you are a healthy human being, you can take up and apply scientific methods, whether to the problems of nature or of human society. And one of the things I’m very concerned about is that we promote scientific understanding and scientific methods very, very broadly, so that everyone can learn to use these methods, and it’s not just the province of a few or a province of the elites.

—From 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

This important understanding from Ardea Skybreak—that everyone can learn to use scientific methods—is beautifully brought alive in a fascinating new mini-series called Genius, on PBS and created by the renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

In each episode of this six-part series, Hawking works with a different group of three volunteers—ordinary people who are not trained intellectuals or scientists—and puts before them the challenge of answering some of the biggest questions in science.

What is so interesting about the show is how he poses the big questions and then puts in the hands of the volunteers the tools to answer them—and through this method he leads them and enables them (and the audience) to discover some of the most important truths that scientists have uncovered about how the universe actually works. He takes people beneath the surface understanding of how things appear and helps them to understand the essence of how things actually are.

With each episode he poses a big question that’s out there in the popular culture: Can We Travel in Time? Are We Alone in the Universe? He first asks the volunteers what their answer is to the question, and all they are able to do is give their conjectures and hunches. Then he provides the volunteers with the framework to begin to systematically answer these questions and to walk through and demonstrate in concrete form some of the processes that scientists have used to actually make the dramatic leaps in theory and understanding that form the basis of humanity’s scientific knowledge.

For example, in Episode 1, on the question of Can We Travel in Time? Hawking sends the volunteers on a journey to discover what time actually is. He sends them on a walking trip and then asks them to map out that trip on a three-dimensional grid so they can conceptualize how they are moving through space and time. Then he asks them to think about what they have actually demonstrated with their grid. They debate among themselves and one of them concludes: “Now with this you can see that you can’t separate space and time, even though we don’t typically look at it that way. It’s spacetime. It’s no longer a separation, now we have a spacetime map.... I won’t look at it the same way anymore because I’m where I am and I’m also when I am.”

Hawking goes on to say that this is the intellectual leap that Einstein made—that there is a single fabric of spacetime. This breakthrough in understanding is one of the foundations of modern physics, and proceeding from this framework he walks the volunteers through further experiments and demonstrations through which they can examine in the real world how to answer the question of whether it’s possible to travel through time. You have to watch the show to find out the answer.

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

Each episode is an exciting journey for the volunteers—and the viewers—and is designed to give you the basis to make the theoretical leaps in understanding that are at the heart of science. The collective process of wrangling over what they have experienced and learned with each experiment or demonstration and the thrill of discovery when they actually make those leaps in their understanding are what give the show its authenticity and spirit. As one volunteer put it: “This journey enabled me to go deeper, to come to realizations that I didn’t have before.”

“We all have questions, big questions. It’s part of what it means to be human.” These words are from Stephen Hawking’s introduction to the show, and through the show he demonstrates this important point: that with leadership and scientific method, everyone can actually come to think about reality in a scientific way.

The show can be viewed online at pbs.org or through On Demand from your cable provider.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/going-out-to-the-neighborhood-with-proclamation-from-party-en.html

Revolution #440 May 23, 2016

Going Out to the Neighborhood with the Message from the Party

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is taken from a report on the initial efforts of some people who are getting out the broadsheet, “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution.” This focuses on plans going into this past weekend.

READ THE MESSAGE NOW: Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution: Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Front page issue 439

  Listen to audio of the Message, recorded by members of the Revolution Club

Some of the people in the Revolution Club were meeting last weekend to figure out how to represent for the message when the club goes out to the neighborhood this Saturday [May 21]. We thought it would be two or three people doing the planning, but everyone who could, wanted to come.

We took turns reading the message aloud. It was a good scene—discussing how to represent and convey the content and have the form be consistent with it. One person had everyone up and practicing and another was teaching people how to step in unison, etc., using BAsics the way [Mao’s] Red Book was used, making a banner with the title of the message. The group also went through the protocols for how to post up to defend the masses against illegitimate and illegal violence done under color of authority and adapted it for this outing. People with experience demonstrated how this is done and figured out who should do this if the need arises.

We also brought up the revcom.us website on the computer screen and went over what was there for the issue featuring the 50th anniversary of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China (this was before the message was on the site). One club member has her dj setup in her basement and this is where we were meeting, so everyone trooped down there and did a collective reading of the message. It took several takes and she was going to have to do some editing (should be done now) so it could be sent into revcom and also be used out on the street. We had dinner together and then some of us hung out discussing and debating religion. Another club member said he has read four chapters so far of the Evolution book [by Ardea Skybreak] and was really enjoying it... he had read and copied by hand parts of it in prison.

There is one area which is densely populated where we are going out this Saturday. The poster of the message has been appearing up on walls in this neighborhood. But even though this area is densely populated, a lot of times the streets are empty because of the violence among the masses right now.

Nevertheless, the broadsheet of the message seems to be appearing on parked cars and sometimes you see multiple copies on the front doors/gates of apartment complexes. At one place someone spotted an older woman who they thought was taking down the multiple copies taped on the gate. But it turned out that she was taking them inside to the main door and taping them—one facing out and one facing toward the inside of the door and then taped extra copies onto the door for people to take and took one herself. Posters seem to be going up at bus stops, with posters taped up and then on tacks so that people can take one. There is also someone downtown who is going to a bus that runs express and giving little stacks to the commuters going home at the end of the day. People who work in these high-rises have also been taking them in, and there is a small shop in the area serving as a depot where people can get more.

There is a stop-the-violence event planned for this Saturday. Various churches and groups signed up to occupy the corners and many family members of people killed in the violence among the people are laying down in the street to dramatize their loss. We are hoping that some posters will be appearing along the route ahead of time, and then people will go out and get the message out among the people.