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Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
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 the section titled "I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science."
Also akin to this is what I call a “consumerist” approach to ideas. It’s not an approach of saying, “Do ideas actually correspond to reality?”—but, rather, “Do I like them?” It’s like you’re shopping for shoes or going to a movie. “Do I like this, or do I not like this?” I read a report where a copy of the film of the Dialogue with Cornel West was sent to someone who’s an intellectual, and they wrote back and said, “Well, you know, there’s a little too much passion in this for my taste.” I mean, we could spend the rest of our time here (and a long time beyond) talking about what’s wrong with that. First of all, it was pointed out to this person: This is not really a matter of taste—people are talking about what’s happening to real people in the real world. And it was also pointed out: Your taste, by the way, can change, it can change based on what you understand. This is something we really have to struggle with people about, because you run into this all the time. Here again is epistemology and morality. People find a way to dismiss things that make them uncomfortable, by acting like a consumer. And we have to challenge not only the particularity of what’s wrong with the way they respond to a specific thing, but the whole methodology and the whole approach. We have to tell them: “Look, I’m sorry, but that’s not an acceptable way to go through the world, that’s not an acceptable way to approach life, to decide whether something’s to your taste or not. And, frankly, it’s rather parasitic, too. You have the privilege to sit there and decide on a basis like that. People who are being shot down in the street, or people whose kids are starving, don’t have the luxury of deciding on that basis. They may have all kinds of wrong ideas, but they don’t have the luxury of deciding whether basic things about reality are to their taste or not.”
Now it’s not that we should jack people up—“you petit bourgeois asshole,” or whatever—but we should be struggling with people. This is not an acceptable way to approach life and to approach ideas. Is it true, or not true? If it’s true, it should be to your taste—or, if it’s not to your taste, you should change it. If there’s something about reality that you find distasteful, then you should go about changing that reality—and we’ll argue with you, too, about whether you should find it distasteful or not, if we don’t agree. But that’s the question: Is it true or not, and then what do you do about it? We have to struggle with people, straight up, that this is the way you have to approach the world.
“Who are you to say that this is the way we have to approach the world?” Well, we can struggle about that, too. It’s like what’s said in Birds and Crocodiles [Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon29]: “Who are you to say?” is the wrong question here. It’s not “who are we?”—the question is what is the reality. What is the way to understand and engage with reality and change reality? That’s the question, not who are you or who are we.
29. Bob Avakian, Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon. From a talk given in 2010. Available as an eBook from insight-press.com. Also available at revcom.us.
Introduction and Orientation
Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit
Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science
Materialism vs. Idealism
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
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 and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
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”
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion
Selected List of Works Cited
About the Author
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
We had to vote for Obama and the Democrats, we were told, to put a stop to the great harm that was being done by George W. Bush and the Republicans. But did voting for Obama, and having Obama as president, prevent the fascism that has increasingly characterized the Republican Party from reaching a dangerously new level with the Trump candidacy? Obviously not. But why not? Because Obama and the Democrats, as well as Trump and the Republicans, are products and representatives of the same system of capitalism-imperialism, and that system has its fundamental dynamics and ways it has to function, which mean that anyone who rises to the top of that system must continually commit crimes against humanity.
Funneling good sentiments and intentions into voting for Democrats, time after time—accepting and “validating” the logic and assumptions of this system, rather than opposing the whole system and its endless crimes, presided over by both Democrats and Republicans—has made people complicit with these crimes and has contributed to the situation we are in, where an overt, undisguised fascist candidacy, embodied in Trump, is contending seriously to assume the leadership of this system, and it is now being insisted that only voting for Clinton, who is guilty of many despicable and monstrous crimes against humanity herself, can stop Trump and what he represents. As for the argument, “Well, yes, Clinton is not what we really want, she is actually quite bad, but she is ‘the lesser evil,’ and there are realistically only two choices—either Clinton or Trump—so if you don’t go for Clinton you are helping elect Trump,” this actually amounts to nothing more than the argument that, “As long as you accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system, you have to accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system.” Doesn’t the fact that this system has produced someone like Trump as a “legitimate” candidate, heading one of the two major political parties of this system—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the utter illegitimacy of the whole system? And the fact that Clinton and the Democrats will only oppose Trump with arguments that amount to insisting that they are better representatives of this same system, and can do a better job of perpetrating its crimes—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the urgent need to break with the logic and assumptions of this system and rise up against it and those who represent it, including Clinton as well as Trump?
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
July 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Wednesday, July 20, in the face of the toxic chauvinism and reactionary ideas of all stripes coming out of the Republican National Convention, and surrounded by scores of cops and a whole zoo’s worth of fascist lunatics, some of them openly brandishing weapons, something fresh and positive happened. Joey Johnson, backed up by members of the Revolution Club, set aflame the American flag.
The Revolution Club had announced earlier Joey’s intent to do this as the only fitting response to the madness going on inside the convention hall. In response, hundreds of cops and reactionaries gathered to stop it.
They did not succeed. Suddenly, the Revolution Club seemed to materialize out of nowhere, a large circle—a safe space—formed, and Joey got up in the middle to speak:
”1, 2, 3, 4—Slavery, Genocide, and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great! We’re here today to stand with people of the world! We’re taking a stand against this imperialist Republican National Convention. Donald Trump is an open fascist. Hillary Clinton is a proven war criminal. We’re not following either one of their leaders. Donald Trump’s message of ‘America first’ is a fascist message of control over people of the world to wage unending war, to exploit people all over the planet. America No. 1? America first? It always has been first: at genocide, at slavery, at exploitation, of destruction of the environment, of torture, of coup d’etats, of invasions. We’re standing here with the people of the world today... Donald Trump says America first...”
Suddenly, the flag went up in flames.
And just as suddenly, a mob of police assaulted the protective perimeter of Revolution Club members, attempting to extinguish the flames with water and spraying chemical flame retardant in people’s eyes. Half a dozen of these pigs piled on top of Joey, and then brought him to the ground in a chokehold.
At least 17 people were arrested, including Johnson and 15 other members of the Revolution Club. They were charged with multiple misdemeanors and two with outrageous felonies. The pigs quickly called a press conference to claim that Joey had burned himself and they were trying to save him—a lie that has now been exposed, but formed the pretext for the whole attack.
Even as this outrageous assault went on, Revolution Club members defiantly chanted “1, 2, 3, 4—Slavery, Genocide, and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great!” and “What’s the problem? The whole damn system! What’s the solution? Revolution! Who’s our leader? Bob Avakian!” People held up posters—”Overthrow, Don’t Vote For, This System!” and images of Bob Avakian. After their comrades had been seized, the remaining members of the Revolution Club and others regrouped and continued to march, agitating about the need for revolution.
The police then proceeded to hold 15 of the comrades for more than the legally allowable 24 hours until late the next day, claiming all sorts of excuses, and kept two more until the day after. Note that the Cleveland pigs had claimed the ability to handle thousands of arrests a day, and had tons of personnel there doing nothing until 11 pm that night, and even promised the National Lawyers Guild that they would release people by 1 pm the next day—and then continued to do nothing and held them till that evening! Further, the authorities put people in solitary for singing, withheld medicines from people, and did not feed one woman the whole time she was in there. The outrageous and openly repressive character of this was described in an article in The Nation (see “Why Are People Arrested at the RNC Still in Jail?“). Despite this and through all this, spirits were high, with people continuing to chant and sing almost the entire time, and then they marched out with heads high into the night when they were finally released. When Revolution Club members rallied Friday in the projects, people had heard all about it and were highly supportive.
Joey Johnson (wearing torn shirt), Revolution Club members, and other flag-burning defendants, just released from jail, rallied in front of the Justice Center, with supporters and Revcoms, who had marched from Public Square chanting "burn that flag!" Photo: Special to revcom.us
This fight is far from over. The defendants have vowed to fight the charges, and a great deal is at stake.
First, burning the flag at the Republican National Convention was extremely timely and necessary. The speeches and chants at this convention, reaching a peak with Trump’s speech on Thursday night, were nothing if not Hitlerian. Yet here he is, treated by the media and by the Democrats themselves, as a legitimate candidate. To treat Trump as legitimate, to give him billions of dollars’ worth of free publicity and allow him to set the terms of debate, means that this system itself is ILlegitimate. Yet where were the political forces ready to say how extreme this was and put something on the line to sound the alarm? The Revolution Club stepped up to fill this need.
Second, the assault on and arrest of Joey Johnson and the Revolution Club members, as well as a bystander, were themselves evidence of the repression that is here and bound to intensify if it is not resisted. The right to burn a flag in protest is a right ironically won by Johnson himself, from a conviction and one-year sentence stemming from the 1984 Republican National Convention. Well, if you can’t burn the flag in protest at THIS Republican convention, and in a setting where the locked arms of supporters gathered around prevented any possible accident, then this right is meaningless. And if in suppressing this right, as the police did, brutality is used and people are denied rights and put in preventive detention until nearly the end of the convention, this is all the more outrageous. These injustices and this repression have to be brought to light, fought, and defeated.
Third, and ultimately most important, Joey and the Revolution Club were there in Cleveland fighting for a whole different future. Everywhere they went, they distributed the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA, “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” clearly posing the need for revolution; the problems humanity faces and the solution to those problems; the leadership for that revolution in Bob Avakian; and what people need to do now to make that happen. Everywhere they went—including in the Public Square of Cleveland that Wednesday—they modeled a conscious and disciplined force, a force made courageous by their understanding of what was needed and the morality that grounds the Club (which is also put forth in the RCP Central Committee Message they distributed). Everywhere they went, they put forward the stand: America Was NEVER Great, We Need to Overthrow This System. Everywhere they went—including last Wednesday as the flag went up in flames—they fought for the stand put forth by BA: “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.”
These revolutionaries must be defended. We’ll be covering this fight and giving readers ways to support this. (To contribute urgently needed funds for the bail and legal expenses for Joey and the Cleveland 17 and to support the work of the Revolution Club at the Republican National Convention and at the Democratic National Convention protests this week, click here.)
DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST JOEY JOHNSON AND THERNC16!
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On July 27, Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that she was dropping all remaining charges against the pigs that murdered Freddie Gray. Four of them had already been tried without any convictions. Now they will all walk free.
Look, you know this was unjust when the prosecutor herself tells you that police sabotaged the case against Freddie Gray. That “lead detectives ... were completely uncooperative and started a counter-investigation to disprove the state’s case by not executing search warrants pertaining to text messages among officers involved in the case.” That police “[created] videos to disprove the state’s case.” And that as things are set up under the current “criminal justice system, we could try this case, a hundred times, and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result.”
And that is not even half the story. The whole system—politicians, police, judge, and yes prosecution—all worked to sabotage this case. (See “A Prosecutor’s Revelations... a SYSTEM of IN-Justice“ at revcom.us.)
Think about what it took to even get these murdering pigs charged in the first place. The world saw Freddie Gray bent like a pretzel—for nothing—on video. His screams of pain could be heard a block away in the projects. He got brutalized on one of those police van “rough rides” that any Black person in Baltimore knows about.
Despite all that, it took an uprising to even get the prosecutor to charge police with killing Freddie Gray. It took youths refusing to back down in the face of pigs taunting and beating them. It took going beyond the bounds of respectable protest. It took setting aside deadly gang beefs and standing united against police terror. It took college students—including white students and students from elite universities—standing with the oppressed demanding justice.
And then look at how the system responded: Barack Obama called the youth thugs—while saying nothing of the kind about the police who murdered Freddie Gray. The powers that be orchestrated a spike in violent crime among the people. Youths were hunted down and arrested for being part of the uprising. The same system that couldn’t find any of the pigs who murdered Freddie Gray guilty of anything,convicted and sentenced a 20-year-old Black youth, Donta Betts, to 15 years in prison for damaging property in response to police provoking and attacking youths after they murdered Freddie Gray. At Donta Betts’ sentencing hearing, the prosecution demanded a harsh sentence because they said he displayed “sheer hate and contempt” for the police.
To add insult to injury, the murdering pigs are getting big back-pay settlements for the time they were off work.
The fact that justice has NOT been done in the Freddie Gray murder is yet more evidence that when police murder Black and Latino and Native American youths, they are doing their job as enforcers for this system of exploitation and oppression. If that wasn’t the case, then why would the whole system go to such extremes to let police walk when they are caught red-handed murdering someone—as they were in the case of Freddie Gray?
And it is a whole system in on that—politicians, ruling class media, police, prosecutors, and courts... and the feds too.
Protesters show determined resistance to the murder of Freddie Gray by Baltimore police. Baltimore, MD, April 28, 2015. AP photo
The obscenity and injustice of letting these murdering police walk has intensified the ongoing state of outrage among millions. Writing in the New York Times, in a column titled “Incandescent With Rage,” Charles Blow posed:
“Yet another black man’s body broken without anyone’s being called to account, another soul lingering on the other side of the grave without justice on this side of the living. No officer has been convicted in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and dozens more. Indeed, according to Mapping Police Violence, ‘only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved.’”
And Blow asked:
“What are we to make of this? What are we to take from it?”
Those are serious and important questions, questions that millions are confronted with. There is a video clip of Bob Avakian (BA) speaking at his dialogue with Cornel West that anyone serious about serious answers to these questions needs to start with: “Police murder... and the murderous logic of this system’s election game.”
Watch it now:
In this short clip, BA poses: if murdering Michael Brown—and we can add the names of so many more youths—isn’t the police doing their job, then why do the police tell you they can’t do their job if they can’t keep shooting down youths in cold blood? And why do they do this over and over and over, and get away with it. If this is not “doing their job,” why are they never punished?
And BA goes on to point to the underlying factor—that this system has millions of people in the inner cities that it cannot even exploit anymore. They are locked down in ghettos, driven to desperate attempts at survival, locked up in jail... and shot down by police by a system that has no use for them.
A SYSTEM like that will not and cannot end police terror and murder of Black and Brown people. And if we’re really being honest, and not backing away from where the evidence leads because the conclusion makes us uncomfortable, then it is clear that the way out of this mess does not lie within the system that produced these outrages.
Everybody’s not talking about revolution right now. But many people are. There is a broad sense among many people that there has to be a better way the world is organized. But an ACTUAL revolution—that actually is a way out of this madness—requires a scientific understanding of the problem, the solution, and a strategy that can win.
As we wrote recently: BA has developed the scientific understanding and approach to make the kind of revolution that can emancipate humanity. He has learned deeply from previous revolutions, as well as from many different spheres. He has forged a strategy for how a revolution could be prepared for and won, as well as a concrete vision for the new society that is on the road to real liberation. At the same time, he has kept his connection to and acted as a true champion of the oppressed, from those who catch the hardest hell in this country’s ghettoes and barrios, to the majority of the seven billion around the world. He has never given up, and today he leads a party which is actively preparing for a real revolution, one aimed not at reforming but overthrowing this system.
In that light, rebellions like the one that happened after Freddie Gray was murdered by police are not just necessary to have a chance for justice, they open the door to the kind of REAL change people need.
A Black woman who was in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the police murdered Alton Sterling there, talked to Revolution about what she felt, and learned through that. What happened in Baton Rouge was an outpouring of protest from the oppressed, not an uprising on the level of what happened in Baltimore. But her insights shed light on what changes when people stand up:
“There were a thousand people out there. Everybody was rattling. It was the first time that I ever saw that many people, Black people, together standing up. It was empowering. I grew up being told Black people couldn’t come together without there being trouble. That we were not capable of doing that. It was mind blowing, freeing... I was in awe. I was impressed. I was proud. I was proud to be a part—it was like—the first time—I’m a proud Black woman but it was the first time I was actually proud—does that make sense?—to be a part of the African-American community. The first time I ever felt like we were together. It was amazing.”
And think about these comments, by the same woman, quoted earlier, after she watched part of Bob Avakian’s video REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
“Yes, with the youth! Our most vital, untapped resource for this revolution! They are young, they are angry, they know that it’s wrong, they have no fear of anything. They’re not afraid of nothing and nobody. But just to have them like that is not going to serve a purpose for the whole movement, the whole revolution. We need to take that anger, take that fury and we can bring it together and harness it like a beam of light. That’s what I mean by focusing it. They have a movement, a revolution behind them, and a purpose, it’ll do some good.”
As people like her get into REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and challenge others to get with that leadership... think about what impact that force could have in accelerating things towards, and preparing for a real chance at, an ACTUAL revolution.
When people stand up, and rise up, against the outrages of this system—including police murder—their actions could—with a stronger revolutionary force in their midst—bring into even sharper focus how illegitimate the use of violence by the system, against the people, is. And the presence of a stronger revolutionary force in the midst of protests and rebellions could project, and bring to life, that there is a strategy for revolution at the soonest possible moment, and a serious movement for that.
So, right now, when the ruling class of this country is caught up in a swirl of conflicts and contradictions, when they have no real answers that address the interests and needs of humanity, how do we act? What role does resistance to the crimes of this system, like the police murder of Freddie Gray and so many others, play in getting us free of this system? And how does that get transformed into something that can really break out of the mess we are trapped in today?
The answer is concentrated in this important point of orientation that is up at revcom.us—for those who see the need for revolution, and for everyone who refuses to accept this world as it is:
"It is very important that people rise up and refuse to accept the continual murder of people, particularly Black people as well as Latinos, by police—this, and the other outrages and atrocities continually perpetrated by this system (as concentrated in the 5 Stops), cannot go down without people fighting back and rocking back the powers-that-be. But this must be built toward revolution—an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—because there is no solution to these outrages under this system, and as long as we live under this system, this will go on...and on. There is a way that we can make a real revolution—and bring into being a radically different and better society: we have the strategy, program, and leadership for this revolution, in the work of BA and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, even as we are continuing to learn more about it, we need to be spreading the word about this revolution far and wide, and organizing for this revolution, drawing people around and into the Revolution Clubs, on the basis of the statement from the RCP Central Committee."
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
July 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Give the Democratic Party its due. In four days they took you on a seamless—if bumpy—ride from “Feel the Bern...” and “It’s all about the children...” and “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party”... to frothing-at-the-mouth “USA! USA!” A declaration of endless war to maintain the American empire, to enforce this world of grinding exploitation and oppression of billions—and especially exploitation and oppression of the children of the world. They gave you a pageant to present Hillary Clinton as the best commander-in-chief for that empire.
On Wednesday—Day 3—you had the hyper-patriotic pro-war ranting of former CIA Director Leon Panetta. During his speech, Democratic Party officials literally shut off the lights to black out “No more war” protests by some Bernie Sanders supporters in sections of the hall.
Read the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America online
Then, leading right up to Hillary Clinton’s speech, you had a remarkable appearance by recently retired Marine General John Allen. He declared: “With [Hillary Clinton] as our commander-in-chief, America will continue to lead in this volatile world... Our armed forces will be stronger. They will have the finest weapons and equipment. They will have the support of the American people, and the American military will continue to be THE shining example of America at our very best.”
Allen is a former commander of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He played a key role in wars that have been defined by torture chambers like Abu Ghraib, terror in the form of “night raids” and random murder of innocent civilians, rape of women, bombs and drone strikes that keep millions of people living in a state of constant fear. These are wars for empire, “justified” by lies about “your safety,” about “bringing democracy.”
It is very important that here, too, as with Panetta the night before, people on the floor chanted against this militaristic madness, only to be continually drowned out with the NAZI-style “USA, USA” chants and whited out by most of the media. These “USA” chants, by the way, used to be virtually copyrighted by open reactionaries but, in a big sign of the times, now fit right in with the 2016 version of the Democratic Party.
In fact, this whole evening led Van Jones, the self-styled representative of the “left wing” of the Democratic Party on CNN, to happily proclaim that the Democrats were “owning patriotism, owning veterans and owning faith”—as if that was something good and positive! Jones also tried to console the still-angry former Bernie Sanders followers with worthless reassurances that since Hillary Clinton’s speech “included” the demands of movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, that showed progress. In fact, contrary to Jones’s bullshit, her speech did NOT do this—but even if it had, so the fuck what? Lip service is bullshit when the day before her speech all charges were dropped in the case of the murder by Baltimore police of Freddie Gray—just the latest in a long line of cases of NO JUSTICE.
But back to this ranting former general. The fact that Hillary Clinton picked him to give the speech setting up her acceptance speech speaks volumes about not just campaign tactics, but what she is preparing the “base” of the Democratic Party for. Allen is on the bloody leading edge of ratcheting up the hellish cycle of war and terror between Western imperialism and fundamentalist Islamic Jihad. In March of last year, Allen testified before Congress that “There’s no exit strategy for this” war—and he didn’t mean that as a bad thing. One Democratic Party congressman recently said of Allen: “Once we get entrenched in the manner that the General is describing, we will literally never get out.”
All this literally set the stage for Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. In the most important part of her speech, Clinton insisted that she is the best-equipped candidate to be commander-in-chief of the army of an empire facing crises around the world.
Speaking of a military that has murdered millions—some 200,000 innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II... some three million in Indochina... over a million in Iraq—Hillary Clinton declared, “Our military is a national treasure.”
Clinton belittled Trump as someone who “is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” Stop for a moment and ask yourself this: Why would anyone who had any concern for the future of humanity want to argue they were the BEST equipped to have their finger on the U.S. nuclear arsenal that could wipe out human life??—to hold the world hostage to that kind of destruction? And what does it mean if you start thinking about the world in terms of who should have the power to do that?
Clinton insisted she would be a stronger commander-in-chief than Trump: “America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out. Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power. That’s the kind of commander-in-chief I pledge to be.” For those familiar with The Godfather movies, this is merely an argument that she should be cast as the cool murderer Michael and not the violent but ultimately foolish hothead Sonny.
Hillary Clinton can back that up with her record as a world-class war criminal within the Bill Clinton administrations and as secretary of state for Obama. She is as rabid a cheerleader for Israel’s genocidal attacks on the Palestinians as there is in the U.S. ruling class. The “allies” she brags about lining up are a gallery of the most oppressive regimes on the planet.
She played a singular role in pushing for the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya that effectively overthrew the regime of Muammar Gaddafi that got in the way of the U.S. and the West. The result: Libya is in utter shambles, torn apart by reactionary warlords and is a breeding ground for ISIS. Some 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes since the U.S. and its NATO allies overthrew Gaddafi. (see “No—It’s NOT OUR EMPIRE! A Revolutionary Response to Hillary Clinton’s Anti-Trump Speech“)
This is not because Hillary Clinton is necessarily particularly vicious as an individual. She may be just as loving as her slick video tribute made her out to be and her daughter claims she is—or she may not—but the hard truth is that this empire requires that those who rise within it be as ruthless in their job as Hillary Clinton has proven herself to be. This is a worldwide system of exploitation and it requires huge and deadly military force to enforce that plunder and parasitism and all the oppressive social relations that go with it.
There is a moment of truth here. The ruling class has given you a “choice” in this election between a fascist lunatic and a past, present, and future world-class war criminal. Choosing from those “alternatives” is unconscionable, and will end in complicity with the crimes that either of these monsters will commit.
The very fact that these are the choices being put forward by this system as legitimate tells you a great deal about how this whole system is IL-legitimate. This is not a system that we should be working to reform or tweak or move a tiny centimeter this way or that. We need to set our sights on human emancipation, all over this planet, and that requires getting rid of this system.
No, there is not a shortcut to a society on the road to human emancipation. There is no painless way to get there, no way to wield the instruments given you by this ruling class to lead to liberation—not when they possess the bottom-line monopoly on force. They use those instruments of real dictatorship now for even relatively peaceful demonstrations against police brutality or Occupy or any number of things, and they would ratchet that up exponentially, as they have in the past, in the face of any real challenge.
There is no shortcut... but there IS a path. There is a real leader, Bob Avakian, who has qualitatively further forged a scientific analysis of why this society is the way it is, and who’s hammered out a real vision and very viable model for how a society on the road to human emancipation would actually work. This is a leader who has spent decades of his life working on how ALL people all around the world could emancipate themselves as part of emancipating humanity... a leader of tremendous principle who tells people the truth... he has developed incredibly advanced theory while never losing a deep understanding of and connection to the conditions of those who catch the most hell in our society... a leader who has proven through sacrifice, determination and dedication that he won’t betray the interests of the oppressed and has taken responsibility to advance the understanding needed to make an ACTUAL revolution and bring into being a whole different society.
If you have not checked out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, you don’t know what is ACTUALLY possible. If you haven’t looked into our “Statement on Strategy” and “On the Possibility of Revolution,” you have no idea how the strengths of the enemy could be transformed into weaknesses... and how thousands could influence millions today in preparation for leading them when crisis deepens and the all-out struggle for power comes on the agenda...preparing for, and bringing closer, the time for an ACTUAL revolution. If you haven’t got into this, you actually don’t know what could really be done. And if you haven’t seen this leader for yourself, on video—in dialogue with Cornel West, or in his speech Revolution—Nothing Less! or the Revolution Talk—you are missing out on something that could not just change your life, but answer the most agonizing questions before us about who we are, who we should follow and what kind of world is possible and should be fought for.
Both these conventions made clear that whoever wins, they really have nothing to offer beyond a future of war and repression and of worshipping the enforcers of that, a future of ever-worsening inequalities all over the planet, a future of horrors and ecological disasters. Doesn’t this situation demand you seriously grapple with this leadership and what he’s brought forward?
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Thousands of youths and others are righteously rising up against one gruesome videotaped police murder after another and America's virulent, endemic persecution of Black and other oppressed peoples. On July 11, in the wake of the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the July 7 shooting of police in Dallas, Dallas Police Chief David Brown told anti-police terror and Black Lives Matter protesters:
Don't be a part of the problem. We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about.
Now this call to work with, even join the police, has been echoed from the ruling system's highest levels. At the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton told "disillusioned and afraid" Black youths to join the police to build a future "where nobody is afraid to walk outside." Two days later, in accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton hailed those who had followed Brown's advice and applied to become cops, because this is will make America "better and stronger."
Protesters part of the problem? The police part of the solution? What world are these people talking about!?
Here's the reality: The problem is that this system is carrying out a slow genocide against Black people, through epidemic and voluminously documented levels of mass incarceration, terror, and murder by police, and daily racism, abuse, and deprivation. The cops are the front-line enforcers of all these horrors. They use constant spirit-breaking harassment and humiliating abuse, casual brutality, and outright murder to do that enforcement.
Is it going to change things if more people—Black people in particular—work with or become cops? Reality has already shown the answer: a resounding NO!
Today 20 out of 68 police chiefs in major U.S. cities are Black. Chief Brown is one. Has having Black police, Black chiefs of police, or even a Black commander in chief stopped police murder and terror? No! There are five times more people in prison now than during the 1970s (when Black cops and police chiefs were rare), and the police are still shooting down more than 1,000 people a year, disproportionately unarmed Black and Brown people.
Take Baltimore, where 53 percent of the police force is Black, and many top police and government officials are Black. Did having a mainly Black police force stop police murder? No, Freddie Gray was murdered by the Baltimore police, including by torturing him with a "rough ride" in a police van. Okay, but did the "good" Black cops denounce the murder? No—they carried it out! Half the pigs who murdered Freddie Gray were Black. Did Black cops testify against those in their ranks who murdered Freddie Gray? No, not one. After Freddie Gray was murdered, all the killer cops, Black and white, got their stories together, lied together when they went to court, were backed up by the entire police force, and were then let off scot free. (See "All Charges Dropped Against Pigs Who Murdered Freddie Gray—A Prosecutor's Revelations... a SYSTEM of IN-Justice.")
What about Chicago, where police have long been notorious for torture and executions? Today, one in four Chicago cops are Black, and Chicago pigs are still notorious for brutal torture and outright executions.
Has having a Black police chief stopped police brutality and murder in Dallas? Ask Hilari Younger, who told the New York Times, "The police look for every little reason to stop you." Ask Collette Flanagan, whose unarmed son Clinton Allen was murdered by Dallas police in 2013. Then the cop who murdered Clinton Allen was backed up and exonerated by Chief David Brown and his department.
Why hasn't integrating the police changed anything? Because, as Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, has analyzed, the job of the police is to protect and serve America's capitalist system of exploitation and oppression—not the people.
White supremacy was built into the foundations of American capitalism, and it's been a cornerstone of that system ever since. From slavery to Jim Crow to today, the position of Black people in this society has always been determined by the needs and workings of U.S. capitalism-imperialism at any given point in its history. That's why two massive upheavals—the Civil War, which ended slavery, and the Black Liberation struggle of the 1960s—couldn't uproot white supremacy. Today, when capitalism no longer has a way to profitably exploit millions of Black and other oppressed nationality masses, white supremacy is being enforced through the new Jim Crow: mass incarceration; locking people down in concentration camp-like conditions in ghettos, barrios, and rotting out rural areas; and police surveillance, harassment, abuse, brutality, and murder.
The brutal, murderous role of the police in all this isn't changed by the race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation of the police force carrying it out. So if you become a cop, you wouldn't change the police force. You'll become what they are—a pig! You won't be part of the solution, you'll be part of the problem, no matter what your intentions were when you signed up.
This call for Black people and opponents of racism to join the police is a moronic and insulting lie that "shifted the burden of dismantling oppression from the shoulders of the oppressors to the shoulders of the oppressed," as liberal New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote of Bill Clinton's call.
It's sick, but not surprising that Brown and the Clintons, with their long history of supporting, shackling, and murdering Black people, would try to smear protest as part of the problem... because protest and resistance are a key part of the solution—overthrowing the whole rotten, racist system they represent. Resistance to the system's crimes should be stepped up and spread—and more and more connected with preparing to make an actual revolution at the soonest possible moment. This—not joining with the murderers—is the only way the horrors of mass incarceration, murder, and terror by police will be ended, and a much better world be brought into being.
So, fuck Chief David Brown, President Bill Clinton, and wannabe President Hillary Clinton!
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
by Alan Goodman | August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In the face of an epidemic of police murder of African-American people, Latinos, and Native Americans in the United States today, people ranging from the Clintons to some activists argue that the way to mitigate or even end this is for Black people to join the police forces.
This has been tried before. Shortly after Hitler and the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, they set up the Judenrat. These were Jewish councils run by "community leaders" who collaborated with and served the Nazis. They supervised the Jewish Ghetto Police. The Judenrat and Jewish Ghetto Police played a central role in sending six million Jews to death camps.
It is instructive to break down how that actually happened, and draw lessons for today.
Jews being loaded onto trains in Poland, destined for the Treblinka death camp.
The genocide of the Jews didn't come out of nowhere. For hundreds of years, anti-Semitism—ignorant hatred of Jews—served as an essential tool of ruling exploiters in Europe. This was particularly vicious in Eastern Europe, where the desperation and anger of the masses was periodically and systematically channeled into "pogroms"—bloody racist riots against Jews.
Hitler took anti-Semitism to an extreme and ultimately genocidal level. But that didn't happen all at once. In the first years of the Hitler regime, Jews were demonized in the media as subhuman. They were blamed for crime and disorder. Laws were passed requiring Jews to wear yellow six-pointed stars. They were banned from many professions. They were forced to work for literally starvation wages in sweatshops, often making uniforms and blankets for Nazi troops. Their communities, deprived of basic resources needed to keep people alive and healthy, were declared "unsafe" and off limits to the rest of society.
Conditions for Jews got worse in horrific ways after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was essentially defeated—at the cost of tens of millions of lives—in 1943. The Jewish ghettos became departure points for trains that carried millions of Jews to camps where they were worked, and starved, to death. (For a developed exploration of the factors behind the Holocaust, see "Revolution Responds to Question on Nature of Holocaust," at revcom.us.)
There were Jewish people who resisted the Judenrat. But there were also forces in the Jewish community who insisted these councils were a good thing. Based mainly among, and reflecting the position of more privileged Jews, defenders of the Judenrat argued that having "people from the community" administer and police the ghettos would work to reduce the violent terror visited on the Jewish population. They even openly argued that collaborating with the Nazis in shipping unemployable people, people on welfare, and troublemakers to the death camps would spare everyone else that fate.
In the book Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The "Final Solution" in History, Arno J. Mayer notes that when it came to sorting out whom to send to the death camps, "Rather than make the cruel selections themselves, the SS [Hitler's police] fiendishly and confidently left it to the local Judenrat to fill their prescribed quotas."
It's important to note that at the same time that they kicked down doors and dragged people out of their homes and sent them to death camps, the Jewish Ghetto Police took on the "normal" police functions in the ghettos. They directed traffic, enforced sanitation rules, and arrested people who committed common crimes. They even took up food and clothing drives for starving and freezing people in the ghettos. They lived in and were part of the community they "served." And they were formally accountable to the Judenrat. In the parlance of today, they were "accountable to elected officials," "community based," and "community controlled." And according to at least one historian, some "did indeed believe that joining the ranks of the Jewish police gave them an opportunity to serve the community."
But whatever the motivations of any individual Jewish police, to whatever degree their duties included what were perceived as legitimate police functions, and however much they were "community based," they operated under, and within the framework of the German capitalist-imperialist ruling class which, in that era, took the form of Hitler and the Nazis. And their essential role was enforcing the enslavement of Jews and shipping them off to death camps.
One of the top Jewish police commanders in Poland, Józef Szeryński, was born Jewish but adopted Nazi anti-Semitic ideology. The Nazis insisted on treating him as a Jew, but took advantage of his rabid anti-Semitism and prevailed upon the Judenrat to put him in charge of the Jewish police in Warsaw. Under Szeryński's command, the Jewish Ghetto Police carried out beatings and raids, and participated in searches and arrests of those who resisted. In waves, they rounded up 250,000 Jews—men, women, children, and infants—packed them into trains, and sent them to the Treblinka death camp.
In the end, after all the other Jews had been killed off, and they had served their purpose, the Judenrat officials and the Jewish Ghetto Police themselves were rounded up by the Nazis and sent to the gas chambers. But only after they had played an indispensable role in carrying out genocide.
Is it a stretch to learn from this experience today, and apply it to the situation in the United States? Parallels to the period leading up to the Nazi genocide are not exact—parallels never are. History doesn't repeat itself. But the experience of the Jewish Ghetto Police has profound significance right now in the United States at a time when there is an ongoing slow genocide—concentrated in mass incarceration and police terror—that could become fast genocide against Black and sections of Latino people. (See "There Is a Genocide Going On in AmeriKKKa—And It Must Be Stopped!" at revcom.us.)
In Hitler's Europe, genocide was not prevented, or mitigated by the incorporation of the Judenrat and the Jewish Ghetto Police into the machinery of the Nazi regime. Instead, these Jewish police greased the skids for the Holocaust by putting a "Jewish face" on the machinery of death, and by utilizing their ties, knowledge of, and influence in the ghettos to justify and enforce the genocidal Nazi agenda.
Sources and background reading:
"Revolution Responds to Question on Nature of Holocaust" (revcom.us)
Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The "Final Solution" in History, by Arno Mayer
"The Jewish Order Police: Holocaust Ghettos," a project of the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")
In that light, and in that spirit, "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.
THE CRIME: From the late 1960s well into the 1980s, documents show that the U.S. secretly organized, financed, and directed a campaign of political repression, torture, disappearances, and assassinations code-named Operation Condor.
From the late 1960s well into the 1980s, documents show that the U.S. secretly organized, financed, and directed a campaign of political repression, torture, disappearances, and assassinations code-named Operation Condor. Above, Mariana Zaffaroni Islas, front left, standing next to her grandmother, holds a picture of her mother during a protest in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2009. Mariana's mother and father were kidnapped and murdered by the military in Argentina during the U.S.-backed military dictatorship there. Then, as a newborn, Mariana was given to an Argentinian military family to be raised. She was protesting the 1986 law which prevents members of the military to be judged for crimes committed during Uruguay's 1973-1984 U.S.-backed dictatorship. The law has yet to be fully overturned. Photo: AP
Starting in 1975, this multinational U.S.-led conspiracy was implemented by pro-U.S. right-wing military dictatorships in the Southern Cone of Latin America—Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil (later joined by Ecuador and Peru). Operation Condor coordinated the intelligence operations between these countries; organized cross-border operations to detain and “disappear” dissidents and political opponents forced into exile; and, in its most secret “Phase III,” provided for the formation of special teams of assassins from member countries to travel anywhere in the world to carry out assassinations of “subversive enemies.”
In 1974, the CIA helped train and organize DINA, Chile’s secret police. DINA and its Argentine counterpart, SIDE, played leading roles in Operation Condor, along with the Colombian paramilitary Triple A—Alianza Americana Anticomunista.
They targeted dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerillas, as well as former presidents and major politicians of opposition parties driven into exile following military coups. “Death flights” were widely used: military pilots took victims by plane or helicopter out to sea, dropping them to their deaths. In hundreds of cases, babies and children of parents kidnapped and murdered were given to military families and their allies.
The reach of Operation Condor was not limited to Latin America. In 1976, Orlando Letelier, Chile’s former defense and foreign minister under President Salvador Allende, was killed along with his American colleague, Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in Washington, DC. The order for his assassination came directly from Augusto Pinochet, the military dictator who took power following the CIA-orchestrated coup that overthrew and killed Allende.
Some estimates put the total number murdered as a result of Operation Condor at 60,000 or more.
The U.S. CIA and Military. The U.S. military and the CIA played crucial roles in the first meetings held to form Operation Condor. In the 1960s and early 1970s, under presidents Nixon and Ford, plans were developed among international security officials at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Panama to work collectively in service of the U.S. strategy of exterminating the populist, revolutionary, and communist movements that the U.S. believed were sympathetic to the Soviet Union.
Manuel Contreras, the chief of DINA, Chile’s secret police, was a paid CIA “asset” from 1974 to 1977 (a year after Orlando Letelier was murdered in Washington), and was known as “Condor One,” the leading organizer and proponent of Operation Condor.
The U.S. Southern Command, (SOUTHCOM) the U.S. Special Forces, and the Army School of the Americas (SOA) were all involved in helping run Operation Condor. A 1976 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report wrote that a Condor assassination unit was “structured much like a U.S. Special Forces Team.”
U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visits with Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in 1976. Pinochet led the Chilean military to overthrow the elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973, a coup fully backed by the CIA. Thousands of Chileans were executed, tortured and "disappeared" under this regime. Declassified records show that Kissinger was briefed on Condor and its “murder operations” on August 5, 1976. Photo: Archivo General Histórico del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, República de Chile
Henry Kissinger. From 1968 to 1976, Kissinger was national security advisor and then secretary of state under presidents Nixon and Ford. Kissinger brought high-level backing for Operation Condor to the CIA, the dictatorships of the Southern Cone, and directly for the crimes being committed. Declassified records show that Kissinger was briefed on Condor and its “murder operations” on August 5, 1976. Kissinger has been summoned but has failed to appear in courts in France, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay for his knowledge and possible role in numerous assassinations under Operation Condor.
U.S.-Backed Dictatorship in Argentina. A court in Argentina convicted the country’s former dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, and 14 other former military officials of criminal association in the kidnapping, torture, and disappearance of 100 people, political refugees from neighboring countries. Jorge Videla, the general who ruled Argentina during most of the genocidal “Dirty War,” faced charges as well but died before the trial ended.
Other U.S.-Backed Dictatorships. In the decades following this period, the existence and crimes of Operation Condor have been forced into the light of day when courts in some of the other countries involved as well as international courts have put many of the dictators, heads of the military and death squads on trial for assassinations and mass murders. In one case, evidence brought by family members of victims of Operation Condor proved Chile’s Pinochet was responsible for 2,279 murders, and more than 30,000 tortured for political reasons.
THE ALIBI: In the face of anti-U.S. armed guerilla movements in a number of countries and massive popular opposition to reactionary U.S.-backed military juntas, the U.S. and its Latin American allies claimed they were fighting a continent-wide international “terrorist” conspiracy to foment revolution, aided by a pro-Soviet Cuba. They claimed they had no choice but to take “counter-terror” and “counter-subversive” measures to “eliminate Marxist terrorist activities.” They also claimed, as one Argentine general put it, that since “infiltration penetrates all levels of national life,” they were justified in targeting all manner of political opponents: trade unionists, relatives of activists, social activists such as the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, nuns, university professors, etc.
THE ACTUAL MOTIVE: To maintain U.S. imperialist domination of Latin America and counter-moves by the then-imperialist Soviet Union to extend its influence.
Dominating and exploiting Latin America—called the U.S.’s “backyard” by the U.S. rulers—has been crucial to the rise of the U.S. as a global imperialist power. By the 1960s, U.S. control was challenged by a global wave of national liberation struggles and an intensifying Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union, which had become an imperialist power following the defeat of socialism in the 1950s. The revolution in Cuba in 1959, the failed U.S. attempt to trigger a coup at the “Bay of Pigs” in 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis with the Soviets in 1962—underlined these strategic threats to their domination of their “backyard,” as they saw it, coming from the Soviet Union.
In the context of these challenges, Operation Condor played an essential role. It was designed to eradicate communist or imperialist Soviet influence and ideas, and to suppress active or potential movements against pro-U.S. governments.
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From members of the Revolution Club, LA:
Late Monday night, July 25, Los Angeles Police Department pigs murdered 18-year-old Richard Risher in Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts. Right away the LAPD worked overtime to justify this murder with accounts in the media getting repeated over and over that there was a “running gun battle” that left a cop with minor injuries and one “suspect” dead. While we don’t know all the details of what actually happened, we do know that friends were hanging out together when police came at them and people ran from the police. We know that Richard was unarmed when he was shot. We know the police shot him while he was running away. We know he stumbled after being shot and they kept shooting. And we know that after he fell to the ground the police officers went to his dying body and kicked him and spit on him. Then the LAPD occupying army blocked off the area where they had just murdered him and sealed off the entire neighborhood. They left his body there overnight while they worked to cover up their crime. And at the same time, more police came in and ran into the homes of people living in the area, forcing whole families to stand out on the street while they ran through their homes, supposedly searching for a “shooter.”
Revolution Club with friends and family of Richard Risher, marching in the streets of Watts, July 26. Photo: Special to revcom.us
On Tuesday, the Revolution Club went to Nickerson Gardens to stand with people being terrorized by police and to provide leadership to strengthen the ability of people to stand up and not let the police get away with this crime and organize people to do what is the only answer to this madness: overthrow this system at the soonest possible time to bring into being a new and better society. People were in a lot of pain. Not only had they just had Richard violently stolen from them at the hands of police, a dear friend of Richard’s overdosed after Richard was killed and by Tuesday night had died in the hospital. A crew of teenage women, loved ones of Richard, began to gather where he was killed, trading funny stories. Then someone started passing around a video of the police kicking Richard on the ground. His cousin fell to the ground, crushed by her pain and tears. One of the other young women began to yell out the names of all the friends and loved ones she had lost, screaming out and sobbing uncontrollably.
In another part of the projects, others began to gather to remember Richard. We and the young women went over to join them. Many were youths from the neighborhood caught up in the gangs, some were older guys. We went through getting out the RCP Central Committee Message, “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” and talking to people about what that means, especially “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.”
There was a lot of struggle over what’s it really going to take to stop police terror once and for all and is that really possible. More than a few people were aware of the trials of the cops who had been indicted for killing Black people, like the cops responsible for the murder of Freddie Gray. They were saying the fact that none of these cops were getting convicted and instead are being let off the hook shows that protesting and uprisings like in Baltimore make no difference. We talked with people about how police getting away with murder shows the nature of the police as enforcers of a whole system that has never treated Black people as anything other than something to make profit off of and then throws people away when they can’t do that anymore. We put forward the need for an actual revolution and that the RCP is organizing now to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. We told people we have a leader, Bob Avakian, who has answers to how we could fight and win, and how we could lead a whole new society. We struggled with people to see that when they stand up against the crimes of this system and refuse to put up with oppression, it is part of people strengthening their ability to fight this system. We talked about how it is possible for millions to rise up and tear this system down, but people will never be able to do that if they don’t learn how to fight back, if they just keep getting crushed down.
One of the other big questions we encountered as soon as we started engaging people is that people will never be able to fight to fundamentally change things, because they can’t come together, they can’t unite. They were speaking specifically about Black people and in particular what is happening in that area, with people from different gangs fighting and killing each other. In the recent period, several people have died in this kind of violence. One young guy we talked to said straight out, “I don’t think all Black lives matter—the lives of those people over there don’t matter to me at all”—pointing towards the “rival” neighborhood. Others were very torn up about this kind of thinking, at one and the same time caught up in some of it themselves, but also really wanting things to be different and not seeing how that could ever be possible.
Clip from REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN
We had a lot of discussion with many different people about this—that first day after Richard’s murder and in the days since then. We worked to very scientifically get into with people how this system is also to blame for the violence among the people, and how in coming to see that, people can find their unity in fighting the real enemy, getting rid of this system, and bringing into being a whole new society where nobody has to go through this kind of pain anymore.
One of the deepest examples of this was when we came back the next night and brought the “moving movie theater” truck with us and put on video clips from Bob Avakian for people to watch. We showed the clip “What if...”—from BA’s Dialogue with Cornel West—to two Black women in their 20s. At the end of it one of the women said that’s a lot of “what if’s” and was questioning whether it was really possible to achieve that whole vision. She was challenged with what BA says in that clip that achieving a radically different world is not just a dream but something for which there is a definite basis in reality and it is up to us together with people just like us all over the world to make it into a reality.
Then we got deeper into problem and solution with her, in particular a back and forth on how capitalism actually works, and the basis for the world to be radically different. She talked about trying to get out of poverty and a desperate living situation and how you can’t really do that even though you are trying very hard. As we went back and forth, she at one point described what was going on in her thinking as being like chewing gum, you start off with this little piece of gum, and then you blow a bubble and it expands way out, but then it only goes so far and pops back to just being a little piece of gum. She said her thoughts kept expanding out all over the place but then kept being drawn back in. It was a great analogy for how people’s thinking gets limited by not being able to see beyond the limits of capitalism, which is what we told her. She remembered learning about capitalism in school and we talked about what it actually is.
She and her friend both then began to talk about how we would never be able to get rid of this system and get to a different kind of world because people can’t unite. They themselves were torn by not being sure they could forgive people in another neighborhood for their loved ones that have been killed by them. We put on the clip from BA, “A better world is possible,” from his 2003 Revolution talk. They responded vocally and viscerally as they watched it, in a lot of agreement with what was being said. But after watching it, they still said they didn’t think other people could take up that understanding. We challenged them to see that who is responsible for the deaths of their loved ones is not “those people over there” but actually this capitalist-imperialist system and that this system is also responsible for the same pain that “those over there” are going through. And we posed to them that if you see how this system has set it up this way, then you could see the basis to come together to fight the real enemy and bring into being something new and better for humanity. After some back and forth, one of the women said maybe she could come to see this but that others could not, that others were just too deep into it.
We broadened out the discussion to not just what is happening to people right there in that neighborhood, or just what is happening to Black people, but how this system works and what it does to people all over the world, including the degradation of women here and all over the world. The more we talked, and consistently put to them the challenge for them to join the Revolution Club and be part of carrying out the strategy for revolution, they got more and more interested in the Club, with questions like how to be part of it, what does the Club do, and asking some of the various Club members how they got involved. At some point they came back to the possibility of people from the projects marching with Richard’s family to the police station that killed him. They were concerned about walking through rival neighborhoods, but suggested if people wore the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt, or even if everybody just wore black, it would be clear that they weren’t marching for gang reasons, they were representing something else.
The two women left with a DVD of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and a stack of the RCP Central Committee’s Message to distribute door-to-door near where they live. They said they would watch the film right away and joked that they would make their young relatives come sit down and watch it with them. First they said they would trick them into it by telling them they were showing popular kids’ movies, but as they went through titles of movies, one of the women said, “We’ll tell them it’s Transformers,” and then thought about it and said, “Hey, actually it is!” And then she went on to joke that she would tell them the movie was The Day After Tomorrow.
Get with the Revolution Club HERE
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The night of July 28, 18-year-old Paul O’Neal was executed on the streets by Chicago cops.
What was Paul O’Neal’s “crime” that warranted an instantaneous death sentence? Police admit that no gun was found at the scene. O’Neal was shot in the back because he drove away from a traffic stop.
The Chicago Police Department admits that this shooting violates its own regulations, which prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles if no weapons are being used against them. The medical examiner’s report ruled this a homicide and revealed that O’Neal had been shot in the back.
In an already tense situation—where the CPD faces continuing protest against the epidemic of police murder, including the outrageous murder of Laquan McDonald and the scandal about the police cover-up, the CPD had to do something to try and put a lid on people’s anger. The CPD “relieved” the three cops involved in the shooting of their “police powers” and assigned them to administrative positions, pending an investigation. This is now being billed as part of the effort to “build trust between the community and the police.” But this is bullshit! These killer pigs need to be indicted, convicted, and sent to jail!
The Chicago pigs changed their stated policy on the use of deadly force with regard to moving vehicles in February 2015, after Antwon Golatte was shot multiple times by Chicago cops when he drove off after they tried to stop him. But as we can see, this policy doesn’t stop the pigs from shooting and killing people who very understandably may fear for their life when stopped by the cops, and drive away. How many “routine traffic stops” of Black people end up with a dead Black person?
July 19, 2015: Samuel DuBose is pulled over by a University of Cincinnati cop for a missing license plate; the cop pulls out a gun, sticks it inside the car window and shoots DuBose point blank in the head. The cops says DuBose tried to run him over with his car, a video shows this to be a complete lie. April 4, 2015: Walter Scott is pulled over by a cop in North Charleston, South Carolina, supposedly for a broken taillight. When Scott runs away the cop kills him, shooting him several times in the back. July 6, 2016: Philando Castile in Minnesota is supposedly stopped for a broken taillight, notifies the cops that he’s licensed to carry a handgun and is reaching for his wallet; a cop shoots him dead. The list, which now includes Paul O’Neal, could go on and on and on....
Protesting Murder and Terror by the Police Is Absolutely Righteous and Necessary!
STOP MURDER AND TERROR BY POLICE NOW!!
We Need Revolution
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
The Revolution Club:
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
It's the middle of summer—and these past two months have seen the Revolution Club projecting and organizing for an actual revolution at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia... at protests against police terror and murder in Baton Rouge and Baltimore... and in other cities and situations. On this page are photos and captions about some of what the Revolution Club has been doing so far this summer.
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.
Listen to audio of the Message, recorded by members of the Revolution Club
Listen to audio of the Message in Spanish
As the eyes of the world were on the fascist Republican National Convention (RNC), Revolution Club volunteers from around the country came to Cleveland to project revolution and fight for a completely different future from what was represented by Trump (and by proven war criminal Hillary Clinton and the Democrats). They were strong, determined, and defiant in the face of massive police mobilization, arrests, and brutality at the hands of the pigs, and Nazi and Christian fundamentalist fanatics. They went into the neighborhoods of the oppressed, led people into the streets, and went fearlessly into the thick of the RNC fascist shit show with the message: "America was NEVER great—we need to OVERTHROW this system!" Above: Revolution Club marching in Cleveland, July 18. Photo: Special to revcom.us
The Revolution Club stands for two basic principles: Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism, and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. Photo: Revolution Club in the streets in South Central L.A. on June 27 to answer the call to say HELL, NO! to the outrageous verdicts exonerating the pigs who murdered Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Photo: Special to revcom.us
The Revolution Club on July 7 in New York City, in a march demanding justice for Alton Sterling (murdered by pigs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Philando Castile (murdered by pigs in St. Paul, Minnesota). Photo: Special to revcom.us
After the horrific massacre on June 12 of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by a gunman claiming allegiance to ISIS, the U.S. capitalist-imperialist rulers tried to direct the fear, anguish, and righteous anger of the people into support for repressive anti-immigrant, pro-U.S. empire shit. In this situation, the Revolution Club went into many corners of society, including people newly stirred into political life, with the Message from the RCP Central Committee—to plant a pole of a radically different future... digging beneath the surface of things to get to the common source of the many, seemingly disconnected, outrages of this system. Above: Getting out the Message at Pride in San Francisco, June 26. Photo: Special to revcom.us
The Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, "Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution," begins: "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 Revolution Club got this Message out broadly in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention and in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention (DNC). They went deep into the neighborhoods of the oppressed and among the protests involving different forces. Above: People getting into the Message during the DNC in Philadelphia, July 25. Photo: Special to revcom.us
July 20—in the face of the bared fangs of fascism at the Republican National Convention, and surrounded by a horde of cops and fascist lunatics, Joey Johnson, backed up by members of the Revolution Club, set aflame the U.S. flag. This electrifying protest went straight up against the rulers' attempts to condition people to "choose" between fascists claiming they want to "make America great again" and the "oh-so-reasonable" war criminals of the Democratic Party who say America is "already great." As Joey declared just before burning the flag: "1, 2, 3, 4—Slavery, Genocide, and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great! We're here today to stand with people of the world! We're taking a stand against this imperialist Republican National Convention. Donald Trump is an open fascist. Hillary Clinton is a proven war criminal. We're not following either one of their leaders. Donald Trump's message of 'America first' is a fascist message of control over people of the world to wage unending war, to exploit people all over the planet. America No. 1? America first? It always has been first: at genocide, at slavery, at exploitation, of destruction of the environment, of torture, of coup d'etats, of invasions. We're standing here with the people of the world today." Photo: Special to revcom.us
When Joey Johnson burned the U.S. flag, the pigs quickly struck back. A mob of pigs assaulted the ring of Revolution Club members around Joey, sprayed people with chemical flame retardant, and piled on top of Joey, putting him in a chokehold. Joey and 16 others were arrested, and they face serious and outrageous charges. They were kept in jail for hours and denied food and medical treatment—illegal preventative detention to keep them off the streets during the final day of the RNC. After being held in jail for more than 24 hours, Joey and others held a rally outside the jail and immediately led people back into the fray, marching through streets while Trump was being crowned as the fascist candidate. Photo: Special to revcom.us
Revolution Club burning the U.S. flag in Los Angeles. Photo: Special to revcom.us
Carl Dix (left), of the Revolutionary Communist Party, with some Revolution Club members in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 8. The pig murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, followed by the pig murder of Philando Castile in Minnesota the very next day, along with all the other continuing murders by police and the exonerations of the killer pigs—point to the reality that this system will not and cannot stop the horror of terror by police and the savage oppression of Black people. As people righteously got into the streets to demand justice, Carl Dix and members of the Revolution Club were in Baton Rouge to bring the message that the RCP is organizing for an actual revolution at the soonest possible time, and as a crucial part of that, joining with and encouraging people to continue to fight the power. Photo: Special to revcom.us
In Cleveland during the RNC, the Revolution Club went into the housing projects, connecting people with the Message from the RCP Central Committee and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA). They showed video clips of BA speaking and got down deeply with people about what the real problem and solution is, the leadership that exists for an actual revolution, organizing for revolution right now... and the people's role in all this. Above: Cleveland, July 18. Photo: Special to revcom.us
The week after the Republican National Convention, the Revolution Club was in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. They fought for the understanding that Trump vs. Clinton is nothing but criminal choices of a criminal system. They called out to people: We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote For, This System! On the last day of the DNC, Joey Johnson and the Revolution Club once again burned the American flag that stands for the U.S. empire and the countless crimes it has committed and continues to carry out around the world. Photo: Special to revcom.us
As their Mission Statement says: "The Revolution Club digs into and spreads the work of BA [Bob Avakian], and defends his leadership." A Revolution Club member, with a copy of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, connecting people with BA and his leadership. Photo: Special to revcom.us
Revolution Club members marching in Baltimore. The exoneration of the Baltimore pigs who murdered Freddie Gray is yet another example of how the role of the police is not to serve the people but to serve the system that viciously exploits and oppresses the people. When people rise up against the outrages like police terror, their actions could—with a stronger revolutionary force in the midst—bring into sharper relief the illegitimacy of the whole system and bring to life for people that there is a strategy, movement, and leadership for an actual revolution at the soonest possible time. Photo: Special to revcom.us
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
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?
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.
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The political fire-storm that erupted after Hillary Clinton supporters Khizr and Ghazala Khan attacked Donald Trump at the DNC continues to burn and dominate the news.
The Khans, Pakistani-American Muslims, invoked the death of their U.S. Army captain son to denounce Trump for attacking Muslims instead of recognizing their sacrifices for America and for refusing to sacrifice himself. Trump retaliated with a thinly-veiled attack on the Khans for being Muslims: only Mr. Khan spoke at the convention Trump said, because Mrs. Khan “had nothing to say. She probably—maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
The political and media feeding frenzy escalated from there, with ruling class figures including President Obama joining in, basically demanding everybody take one side or the other.
But what are the two sides people are being told to choose between?
The Khan’s son was a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, after the U.S. had invaded and occupied the country. Under international law, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a war crime in its conception—and its execution! First, the U.S. knowingly invaded a country that had not attacked it and posed no imminent threat—a war crime. (Before the war, the rulers fabricated the lies that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and had weapons of mass destruction.) Second, in invading and occupying Iraq, the U.S. carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity including directly killing thousands of civilians, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands more, and carrying out torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.
First, NOBODY’S “service” in such a criminal war should be honored! In an interview with the New York Times, Khizr Khan described raising questions about the Iraq war to his son, who was about to be deployed. His son replied: “Look, that’s not my concern and that’s not my pay grade.” This—ignorance or “I was just doing my job”—is NOT a defense for crimes—a principle clearly enunciated by the U.S. judges at the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis following World War 2. In other words, what’s being wildly promoted and celebrated in this “controversy” is blind obedience to an evil cause!!
Second, the Democrats and ruling class as a whole are going to town around this controversy to solidify the terms of debate against Trump and in the election overall: who is going to most aggressively, uncritically and unapologetically support U.S. intervention around the world and the military that carries it out. This is also the theme behind the Democrats’ and rulers’ whole brouhaha against Trump over his alleged ties or softness toward Russia.
So if you’re gonna be against Trump and be for Hillary, you should be clear that the Democrats and the powers-that-be are making very clear to you that this is what you are signing on to.
Note: the Democrats have NOT hit Trump over his fascistic law-and-order ranting—not even mentioned! They haven’t hit him over his racist attacks on Black people—not a word! Nor for his attacks on immigrants—mentioned on occasion, but overall swallowed up by Khan furor. Not for his calls for torture or his attacks on the rule of law—neither even mentioned! Instead, Trump is being hammered on “national security”—i.e., the violent pursuit of U.S. global domination!
Third, for Trump’s part, his attacks on the Khans further his racist, fascist agenda of targeting all Muslims. That truly has to be opposed and fought against, but on what terms? Not on the terms of who is the most loyal American, but on the terms that such targeting of whole populations is utterly unjust and reactionary, and it forms part of a larger fascist agenda—none of which can be tolerated! The great contribution of immigrants is NOT as loyal cannon fodder serving the U.S. empire, but because many bring knowledge and understanding of what this country actually does all over the world, and conveying that is a very important and valuable contribution to opposing America’s lies, chauvinism, and crimes.
So step back and think about the terms of debate being set and how people are being trained to think by the Democrats and much of system in the Khan vs. Trump feeding frenzy. And think about the implications.
What if someone who’s a Muslim refuses to fight in the next war that Hillary Clinton decides to fight? Is such a person deserving of support? Would Muhammad Ali be deserving of support today if he were to refuse to kill for U.S. imperialism on the legal basis of his religion?
People need to reject the whole America No. 1! Stop thinking like Americans and start thinking about humanity!
Revolution #450 August 1, 2016
August 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Photo: Korryn Gaines/Facebook
What kind of a system murders people—especially Black and Brown people—over and over again in situations that could and should be resolved without shooting someone dead?
On Monday, August 1, a team of Baltimore County cops came to 23-year-old Korryn Gaines' apartment in suburban Baltimore to serve her and her boyfriend with petty warrants. Her boyfriend fled the apartment and was arrested for an assault charge, but Korryn and her 5-year- old son Kodi remained in the apartment and refused to answer the door. Armed cops kicked it open, and a standoff began. Seven hours later heavily armed pigs murdered Korryn, the ninth Black woman killed by police this year, and wounded Kodi.
Korryn recorded chilling video on Facebook as it was happening, which was widely viewed, until the police got Facebook to shut down her Facebook and Instagram accounts in the middle of the standoff. Police have tried to justify their execution because Korryn displayed a legally registered shotgun, which they claim she threatened them with. (Relatives of Korryn dispute this.) In any case, these heavily armed pigs had illegally entered her apartment, without her permission, and she loudly and firmly told them to leave. She was sitting on the floor, with Kodi in the same room.
There were plenty of ways the pigs could have handled this incident without killing her and wounding her son! But as this system keeps making it clear over and over—when an incident involves the lives of Black and Latino people, they simply shoot to kill.
Any system which can't handle situations like this differently is an illegitimate system, and the violence it uses to maintain its rule is utterly illegitimate as well!