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Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
An actual revolution does not mean trying to make some changes within this system—it means overthrowing this system and bringing into being a radically different and far better system.This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot be reformed. There is no way, under this system, to put an end to the brutality and murder by police, the wars and destruction of people and the environment, the exploitation, oppression and degradation of millions and billions of people, including the half of humanity that is female, here and throughout the world—all of which is rooted in profound contradictions built into the basic functioning, relations, and structures of this system. Only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.
To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions. We need to build this revolution among those who most desperately need a radical change, but among others as well who refuse to live in a world where this system spews forth endless horrors, and this is continually “justified” and even glorified as “greatness.”
We need to be on a mission to spread the word, to let people know that we have the leadership, the science, the strategy and program, and the basis for organizing people for an actual, emancipating revolution. We have Bob Avakian (BA) the leader of this revolution and the architect of a new framework for revolution, the new synthesis of communism. We have the Party led by BA, the Revolutionary Communist Party, with this new synthesis as its scientific basis to build for revolution. We have the Revolution Clubs, where people can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way, as they learn more about the revolution and advance toward joining the Party. We have the website of the Party, revcom.us, and its newspaper Revolution, which sharply expose the crimes of this system, scientifically analyze why it cannot be reformed, and give guidance and direction for people to work in a unified way for revolution. We have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by BA and adopted by the Party’s Central Committee, which provides a sweeping and concrete vision and “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society. People in the inner cities, and in the prisons, students, scholars, artists, lawyers and other professionals, youth in the suburbs and rural areas—people in all parts of society—need to know about this and seriously take it up.
Those who catch the worst hell under this system, and those who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system, need to join up with this revolution. Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution. We have seen the potential for this in the protests that have taken place against police brutality and murder, and other ways in which large numbers of people have gone up against the established authorities and the political “rules of the game.” But this needs to be transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization. The organized forces and the leadership of this revolution must become the “authority” that growing numbers of people look to and follow—not the lying politicians and media of this oppressive system—not those who front for the oppressors and preach about “reconciliation” with this system—not those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution. While many people will do positive things in opposing the crimes of this system, we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people—according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.
While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, Prepare the Vanguard for Revolution—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Fight, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.
All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation: Where the system and its ruling powers are in a serious crisis, and the violence they use to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate. Where the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution. Where millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government that will be based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. That is the time to go all-out to win. That is what we need to be actively working for and preparing for now.
“On the Possibility of Revolution” is a very important statement from the Party, which is posted on revcom.us. It sets forth the foundation—the strategic conception and doctrine—for how to fight with a real chance of winning, once a revolutionary people in the millions, and the necessary conditions for revolution, have been brought into being. Now is not yet the time to wage this kind of fight—to try to do so now would only lead to a devastating defeat—but ongoing work is being done to further develop this strategic conception and doctrine with the future in mind, and the following are some of the main things the revolutionary forces would need to do when the conditions to go all-out to make revolution had been brought into being.
All this depends on winning millions to revolution in the period that leads up to the ripening of a revolutionary situation. The chance to defeat them, when the time comes—the chance to be rid of this system and to bring something far better into being—has everything to do with what we do now. Everyone who hungers for a radically different world, free of exploitation and oppression and all the needless suffering caused by this system, needs to work now with a fired determination to make this happen, so we will have a real chance to win.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 6, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Imagine the Difference It Could Make!
Get into BA, and get into the campaign to raise the funds to Get BA Everywhere.
A pathbreaking new book from Bob Avakian is available now: THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
As described on the book’s cover:
FOR ANYONE WHO CARES ABOUT THE STATE OF THE WORLD and the condition of humanity and agonizes over whether fundamental change is really possible, this landmark work provides a sweeping and comprehensive orientation, foundation, and guide to making the most radical of revolutions: a communist revolution aimed at emancipating humanity—getting beyond all forms of oppression and exploitation on a world scale.
THE AUTHOR, BOB AVAKIAN, IS THE ARCHITECT OF A NEW SYNTHESIS OF COMMUNISM. This new synthesis is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. Avakian has written this book in such a way as to make even complex theory accessible to a broad audience. In this book, he draws on his decades of work advancing the science of communism and his experience as a revolutionary communist leader, including leading the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, as its Chairman since its founding in 1975.
THIS IS A PATHBREAKING WORK, one that scientifically analyzes the system of capitalism-imperialism and its unresolvable contradictions; confronts the challenges facing the movement for revolution; and forges a way forward to making an actual revolution in this country, as part of contributing to communist revolution internationally.
This work is being released at a time of unspeakable and unnecessary suffering from one corner of the globe to the other—millions driven from their homes by unjust wars and environmental destruction, rampant violence and hatred against women, relentless murder and brutality against Black and Brown people by police in the U.S., vicious attacks on immigrants, and much more. It comes as well at a time of tremendous upheaval, with powerful resistance breaking out and people taking bold stands, and with many more being shaken into political life—and deeply disgusted—not only by the fascism of Trump but also the war crimes and lies of Clinton and the Democrats.
All this heightens the importance, and the basis, for this book and Bob Avakian (BA) to be taken out and engaged very, very broadly. If you are questioning—or rising up against—the crimes of this system... If you are an intellectual or artist, a scientist or religious person... If you are locked down in prison or trapped on the hard streets seeking a way to fight and to understand the world and how to change it... If you are from the new generation of students and budding intellectuals who this system is working to train as administrators of its system, but who need to—and can—become leaders and fighters for a world free of exploitation and oppression... Get into—and help spread—this book.
This fall must be a time when THE NEW COMMUNISM gets out very widely and Bob Avakian is engaged as never before.
A major book launch event for THE NEW COMMUNISM has just been announced for Saturday, October 8, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, featuring Cornel West and Carl Dix. Cornel West stands out among intellectuals for his principle, as well as his work, and stands out as well for having engaged BA, including in the historic Dialogue on Revolution and Religion, and Carl Dix is a longtime follower of Bob Avakian and a revolutionary leader in his own right. Andy Zee, the spokesperson for Revolution Books NYC, will moderate the event, which is sponsored by New York Revolution Books, The Bob Avakian Institute, Revolution Books Educational Fund, and Insight Press. The event, together with a special fundraising reception to follow at Revolution Books, again featuring Cornel West and Carl Dix, will raise funds for the further promotion of THE NEW COMMUNISM.
This is an opportunity for hundreds to gather in one place to hear readings from and discussion of this new book, to raise funds, and to make a big splash about the book and its author in the realm of public opinion very broadly.
As BA himself has put it:
There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.
We encourage readers to write in with their thoughts on THE NEW COMMUNISM, their experiences taking it out, and their ideas for making this work and its author a really big deal throughout society (send to email@example.com). Together, let’s dive into this pathbreaking book and help make a leap projecting it, and its author, Bob Avakian, into all corners of society.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
Letter to the Editors: A point to add on Bob Avakian's new book
September 12, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
To the editors:
I wanted to add one point to last week’s exciting coverage at www.revcom.us of the upcoming publication of Bob Avakian’s THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation and the plans laid out to take the BA Everywhere campaign to a much higher level. And that point is internationalism.
First, the book itself is an event with international ramifications. BA has taken communism—which is a science encompassing the entire world, a political movement that must take root in every corner of the globe, and the goal of a world community of peoples, beyond borders and countries—to another level. To be a communist in the world today is to be a follower of Bob Avakian—anything short of that, let alone opposed to it, just isn’t communism. This is not just something for the movement in the U.S.—and the May 1 statements this year from revolutionary communist organizations in other countries, as well as polemics and articles from still other groups and individuals, make that very clear (see end of the letter for titles and links).
Second, one of the key elements of the new synthesis of communism is a breakthrough that BA has made in the theory of internationalism. BA has taken much further and qualitatively deepened our understanding of the extremely complex but nonetheless interconnected process through which the world develops in this era of imperialism, and the revolution against imperialism. On that basis, he has broken with significant errors made in previous communist revolutions and laid the basis for a real leap in HOW our movement, worldwide, fights both today as we hasten and prepare to make revolution and in the future, when we are leading new socialist societies after state power has been seized. This is precious—it opens the way for all of humanity to get beyond the horrors of today. And BA has personally and politically always put the whole world first—another thing that comes through in this new book. (See “The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method, and Approach, and Core Elements—An Outline,” by Bob Avakian, Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Summer 2015)
All this leads me to my conclusion: that a huge effort should be made this fall to get word of THE NEW COMMUNISM out into immigrant communities, to expatriate or visiting intellectuals and artists, and to international students. In the communities, on the campuses and at cultural programs and seminars—word must spread, and the ways be found to engage people with this work... and with BA's new synthesis overall. There would always be the need for an advance like this to get out to all of humanity—but does this not cry out with even greater urgency today, in a world wracked with needless, excruciating suffering but where the only REAL way out is not even known about in the vast majority of the planet? The lack of engagement with this, or even knowledge of it, has had tremendously negative consequences for whole regions of the world—this is something we must urgently work to change.
Check out these statements, polemics, and articles:
“The New Synthesis of Communism and the Residues of the Past,” by the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR), Mexico
“This Is an Emergency May Day Call! No Time to Waste! A Radically Different World Is Possible! Only If We Take Up the New Synthesis of Communism!” from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)—May Day 2016
“Urgently needed: Take up the new synthesis of communism of Bob Avakian, the new framework required for a new stage of revolution!“ Declaration of Grupo Comunista Revolucionario de Colombia, May 1, 2016
Revolution #458 September 26, 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 "II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism: A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation."
Next, I want to speak briefly to this question, or contradiction, of abundance and revolution in the transition to communism. This is discussed toward the end of Part 1 of Birds and Crocodiles. And I made the point in REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!42 that, if you just look at the world as a whole, there’s plenty enough technology to meet all the material—and, yes, the cultural—needs of people throughout the world. But we live in a very lopsided world, with massive impoverishment of people all over the world, especially in the Third World. We live in a world dominated by a capitalist-imperialist system and by exploiting classes. And therefore it’s not the case that the material potential to meet the needs of the people can be realized under the present relations that dominate the use of the material conditions of life in today’s world.
So, you can look at the world and say it’s absolutely outrageous that any children are starving in Africa, or anywhere else, or that people are going hungry right down the block, or that people don’t have decent health care, or that they’re forced to eat food that’s not healthy because they can’t afford food that would be more healthy, or they don’t even have access to the knowledge to be able to determine what would be more healthy—all those kinds of things—it’s absolutely outrageous, it’s absolutely unnecessary. But it’s not so simple as saying, “OK, let’s just wish all the reactionary forces in the world out of the way, and then we’ll take all this stuff and do the right thing with it.” In order to make use of this potential, and to further increase the potential, you have to have a revolution to overthrow the existing ruling classes and the existing systems, and their economic relations and social relations, so that you can actually marshal and utilize the resources that are there in a way that increasingly meets the needs of the people and provides for future generations, while dealing with the environment in a way that’s not just plundering it and making the potential of human life more and more imperiled. So this, again, shows that there’s an acute contradiction between the material abundance that objectively is there, and the need for revolution to be able to get to that abundance, and also to increase it, in a way where it can be utilized for the needs of the people—both material needs and broader cultural, social, and intellectual needs, and so on.
You need abundance not just to meet people’s needs in a general sense, but you also need sufficient abundance to be able to overcome relations that either are exploitative and oppressive or contain the seeds of exploitation and oppression. For example, take the division of labor in society. In today’s world, most people are not working in the intellectual realm, they’re not working with ideas. They’re doing backbreaking physical labor, if they can find work at all. In order to get beyond that, you not only have to go to work on that contradiction, but you also have to, at the same time, create enough abundance in society, and ultimately in the world as a whole, so that in order to produce and reproduce the material requirements of human life, and to expand the basis for doing this, people only need to work a very few hours of the day doing that. If everybody, or most people in the world, have to spend most of their waking hours doing physical labor, they are not going to be able to have the circumstances or to develop the abilities to be able to engage in all kinds of different realms, like dealing with the politics of society, engaging in culture and intellectual endeavor, and so on, even on a basic level. Among other things, they’re just gonna be too damned tired to do it. Plus, they’re not going to have the time and the resources. So, even in order to overcome these kinds of oppressive divisions, between people who’ve had the ability to acquire skills in the intellectual realm and the cultural realm, and people who have to do all the physical labor almost all day long, you not only have to work on transforming that contradiction but you also have to, at the same time, increase the abundance of society, and the means for creating more abundance, so that people only have to work a few hours a day carrying out physical labor, and they have many more hours in the day to learn how to do many other things. If you don’t do that, you can’t overcome these oppressive relations.
And this—I will resist using the word “complex” again (although I guess I just did), but this is another one of those contradictions, or a number of interconnecting contradictions on different levels, that we have to be grappling with. We have to understand that we do live in a very lopsided world. I’m going to come back to this more fully later: I was reading this book on Africa called The Looting Machine43—which has its limitations, but it does do a lot of exposure. It speaks to these grotesque conditions where a handful of rulers in many African countries are in league with—the author just refers to this as corporations and so on, but these local rulers in Africa are in league with foreign capital and imperialism. This handful of corrupt, self-serving ruling elites is amassing literally billions of dollars, in countries which have tremendous material wealth (gold, oil, and other valuable raw materials). Africa is one of the richest continents, if not the richest, in the entire world—materially, in terms of these kinds of raw materials. But the masses of people are living in these absolutely desperate miserable conditions. This is a kind of microcosm, a smaller-scale picture, of the world as a whole. And you really acutely come up against the fact that only by overthrowing the existing system—and going on to overthrow and transform all these relations that are captured in that formulation of the “4 Alls”—only in this way can you, in a real sense, get to that potential to meet the needs of the people and utilize it in a way that really does meet the needs of the people, while also dealing correctly with the very urgent situation with the environment.
This is something we need to really grapple with and, at the same time, we need to do exposure around this—hard-hitting exposure of this lopsidedness in the world and how it’s enforced by this existing system. We need to bring out to people, in a compelling way: Look, if you really understand this, if you really see the world as it is, this is another thing that cries out for the radical transformation of the world. But that radical transformation can only happen with a revolution. It’s not just a matter of redistribution of the wealth as it now exists, within the system that now exists. You see, sometimes you get these populists—I notice that Bernie Sanders is running for president, and he’s running out all this social-democratic economism. He says you have the super rich and they have too much money, there’s tremendous income inequality, and we need some redistribution. Well, it’s not a matter of redistributing what exists; it’s a matter of transforming the basic relations in society, and fundamentally in the world as a whole. First of all, within this system there are real limits to how much you could redistribute wealth without undermining the whole system. Because it’s not just these greedy people, or these too-powerful corporations, and so on. It’s important to understand, when you talk about corporations, billionaires and so on, corporations that control billions and billions of dollars (like Carl Sagan said about stars: BILLIONS AND BILLIONS... but anyway), it’s not like they’re just sitting on a pile of money. Their money is invested in all kinds of things, and they are in competition with other capitalists who also control billions and billions of dollars. They are all compelled to outdo each other, or they’ll be driven under, as I was talking about earlier. If you tax them too heavily, to redistribute some of the wealth, you’re actually going to put them at a disadvantage in competition on a worldwide level, and the economic system is going to come unraveled, or go into very deep crisis. So, even in that sense, there’s a limit to how much you could redistribute the wealth.
But even more fundamentally, it’s not a matter of redistributing what exists—it’s a matter of transforming the world as a whole. Let’s say you took all the existing wealth and you redistributed it more or less equally among everybody in the world. Well, pretty soon you’d have the world right back the way it is—the way it is now would come right back, because you haven’t transformed any of those things that correspond to the “4 Alls.” You haven’t transformed the economic relations and the economic system; you haven’t transformed the social relations; you haven’t transformed the class relations; you haven’t transformed the thinking of the people. Again, we’re dealing with a basic point of materialism, dialectical materialism. If human society is going to function, and human beings are going to survive and reproduce, society has to interact with nature, with the rest of natural reality, in one way or another. We’re back to: through which mode of production will all this be done? With this capitalist-imperialist mode of production, even if you took all that wealth and re-divided it, very quickly you’d have the same situation back, as long as you left all those things that are represented by the “4 Alls” intact and operating as they do now. This is what people don’t understand spontaneously. A lot of people can gravitate toward, “Some folks have too much money, let’s take some of it away from them and give it to people in need.” Sometimes that may come from a good place, be a positive sentiment. But if you don’t understand the deeper dynamics here, the actual contradictions you’re dealing with, and the fact that systems operate according to certain fundamental principles that are rooted in their actual contradictions, you’re not going to understand the way out of this horrible mess that humanity is in as a result of the system we live under.
42. BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live. Film of a talk given in 2012. For more on this film and to order the DVD set, go to revcom.us. [back]
43. Tom Burgis, The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth (PublicAffairs, 2015). [back]
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 #458 September 26, 2016
Updated September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
“I love it when he talks about my people being all people…. My people across the board—I don’t care who they are…. he always puts the struggle against white supremacy at the center…. Second, the centrality of the issue of gender, the vicious forms of patriarchy inseparable from that white supremacy. Third, empire—invasions, dominations…. And the fourth, the planet—not just global warming. It’s ecological catastrophe that is impinging every day primarily owing to corporate greed and the elites who are in the driver’s seat of a capitalist civilization that cuts across national boundaries—that’s what you find in this text. And last but not least, the concern about our precious immigrant brothers and sisters and the vicious scapegoating that’s going on, the deportations under neo-liberal presidents, no matter what color they are. The attempt to [not] lose sight of their humanity. How do you bring these together in such a way that you have a united front? And that’s in part what he’s calling for, and I as a revolutionary Christian in the name of Jesus will be part of that united front, even given the disagreements that we might have. That’s why I like this text. That’s why it’s important.”
Dr. Cornel West speaking about THE NEW COMMUNISM at the launch for the book.
With america in the midst of a profound sickness evidenced by the continuing slaughter of black people by police recently—it is necessary that a literature be in existence that challenges our assumptions and lets us begin to understand that there is a way out of this suicidal madness. However we eventually get out of this mess it will take a profusion of ideas by fearless thinkers—and Bob Avakian is that.
What I found initially interesting about Avakian was that as someone who was around the black panthers, and while recognizing some of the failures of past counterculture movements, he has continued to push forward and create a dynamic synthesis and literature in a scientific way that gives us a basis to critique the roots and structures here that hold us in chains. He never lost the faith.
During a recent event at Revolution Books in Harlem a patron presented reservations about a revolution, citing Malcolm X and that it would be bloody. This is an issue that Bob Avakian, as always, meets head on without equivocation in his latest book The New Communism. “You don’t make a revolution without tremendous sacrifice,” Avakian writes. This is a reality, he continued, “...you have to go through to get to a better world.” In this book, Avakian honestly and perceptively handles a number of questions about the difficulties of bringing about a total change in an oppressive system. It is a valuable addition to his corpus of work; a splendid exegesis of revolutionary potential.
Herb Boyd, author of the forthcoming Black Detroit—A People's Struggle for Self-Determination (Amistad Press, 2017)
THE NEW COMMUNISM is exciting! Hundreds of pages, decades of research, a method and approach to understanding and confronting reality, and a strategy to actually make a revolution in the 21st century. This is monumental; for the billions of people who catch the worst hell under this system, and for everyone wondering why the world is the way it is and how it could be radically different, Bob Avakian’s work is unrivaled! To get to a new and radically better society on the path to a world free of exploitation and oppression will take nothing short of a Revolution, not an easy task however you slice it. But, in BA’s work and leadership, readers and revolutionaries can discover the scientific method and approach that has been lacking in previous socialist movements, as well as an understanding of how revolutions are made, and ways to move forward today to fight the power and transform the people. Viva BA!
A young woman from West Africa
Having gone and listened to a live, public Bob Avakian speech, as I have, is to be exposed to one of the most provocative, serious and controversial social thinkers of our time. He's an American original who should be heard, debated and critiqued for these dramatic and troubling times.
James Vrettos, professor, John Jay College, NYC
This is a book of “big ideas” in an era where so few have the intellectual courage and the epistemological backbone to analyze social phenomena in their totality and in their mutual penetration... let alone while announcing one’s intentions to lead an actual revolution. The strategy and method of that revolution is drawn from precisely the book’s intricate analysis, which is full of suggestive provocations and sharp indictment of the capitalist system and prevailing culture.
A grad student in sociology
The world has been crying out for The New Communism!
The conditions of the masses of the world are intolerable, they have been awakening to political life and yearning for revolution.
It has been decades since the loss of the last socialist states and we would not be able to have a deep understanding of the reasons that led to the defeat of socialism by the defenders of the old order had it not been for the tireless investigation of BA that has led to the development of The New Communism.
The New Communism is what revolutionaries across the world have been needing to be able to break with the traditional ways of thinking of what true communism and a true revolutionary line based on a higher scientific understanding is, to be able to lead masses of people to emancipation. As Mao said: “The correctness and incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything” and this is what has been lacking in the revolutionary communist movement.
The New Communism, the correctness of the ideological and political line, along with other factors could have put the 1979 Revolution in Iran on a different path; it could have had taken the struggle in Peru to a different level and put Nepal on the map as the next socialist state.
The New Communism is the true meaning of internationalism, it is communism with a true global perspective, The Whole World Comes First, the angle from which communist revolutions need to be led within local boundaries.
The New Communism is as important to today’s world as Marx, Lenin and Mao’s work was to previous revolutionary struggles.
It needs to be taken broadly out to the masses of the world. Without The New Communism, there will not be a radically different socialist economic system; a radically different political system, the dictatorship of the proletariat; and a transition to communism, and the masses of people will suffer endlessly.
Internationalist supporter of BA's new synthesis of communism originally from Iran
Not very long ago I had an opportunity to read parts of and discuss a new book by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
His latest book, called THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
As one who saw the movement of the 60’s and 70’s fall short, where there were so much to push one in the direction of a revolution—police beating and murdering Blacks, Natives, Latinos and others in the poor community across AmeriKKKa.... I never understood why there wasn’t a revolution then. Nor did I know what a revolution was, nor what it involved.
This new book by Bob Avakian reads more like a blueprint for the RCP and Revolution Clubs to build a better bridge to understanding even more about the science within a revolutionary movement, and how to seize and maintain control once a change is made!
With this system waging war in every country and even within its own borders! It is time for those being oppressed to utilize this new approach and break away from this stranglehold before we too are choked to death!
In this new, powerful book by BA he discusses the works of Lenin, Marx and Mao and modernizes their works better than anyone else ever has!
He scientifically breaks each one open and gives the reader the knowledge that with this new scientific approach a revolution is not only possible, but capable of being won, and a road to communistic society is foreseeable.
Former prisoner and
Revolution Club member
BA's new book gave me a better understanding of what political line actually means. And what it means to be a leader—an actual leader for the revolution that is yet to come. And that we actually need a science in order to make this leadership happen. Also it showed me that there can be a better society than capitalism. And that made me appreciate it more because as a Black man growing up in this society it was always very, very tough for me. The book gave me a way to understand that we need to make a new society and hope. I am eager to share this book with everybody.
A Revolution Club member
...I particularly enjoyed how BA stated the new constitution is constructed in such a way that you have to repeatedly win the masses of people to stay on the socialist road and ultimately communism. The very last sentence is an in-depth dialogue in its own right, continually winning people over to take up all manner of contradictions, including ones that the dogs put in your way to turn people against you.
I was likewise struck by the way BA issued the challenge that more people should be grappling with the new constitution to show what kind of society we’re fighting for of course. But also to convey how heavy all this is.
Excerpt from Letter from a California prisoner, on reading a pre-publication copy of THE NEW COMMUNISM
Bob Avakian has made trenchant observations and brought insightful analyses to a host of problems confronting contemporary society. He is genuinely concerned about the plight of the masses and has given much critical thought regarding proposed solutions for their uplift.
Norm R. Allen, Jr., author and founder of African Americans for Humanism
Why is the world the way it is?
Is there a way to change it?
Isn’t communism a nightmare?
What is socialism?
What kind of world could we build?
From questions of morality to questions of what is reality, from the science and its role in changing the world. The more crucial questions for human emancipation are not just explored but deeply developed in this book in a very profound way. Have you ever felt in the Matrix as Neo when he took the red pill? Have you ever felt the veil of illusions, ignorance and lies fed to you by this system get dissipated? Revealing, challenging, bold, and very accessible. That is what this book is about, Bob Avakian challenges the ways you think about yourself, and the world, it exposes what ways of thinking represent what interests, it challenges you to take action in the road to emancipate the whole world, not just a group of people, an area or a country, but all of it. And it gives you a way to do so. This is the science, the strategy and the leadership humanity needs for bringing into being a whole new world. It all is in here and is a challenge from beginning to end.
A young woman from Latin America
The first work I read of Bob Avakian takes you to another place; In understanding, Challenging and critically changing this world. From a time I was cynically hardening to a thoroughly US American system, To have this body of work wrench and ground me in reality is beyond amazing. Confronting Topics, Vocabulary and theories I’m continually understanding better, is exciting. To know that The 7 billion around the planet can get to a world without exploitation and oppression ... As BA has said, Why strive for anything less? This needs to be in every hand and mouth; beyond coast and coast; from suburbia to the projects and high rises and even further into those who the system has no place literally on the fringes of society. THE NEW COMMUNISM, Damn, Now THAT’s a book to read.
A young Black woman
Bob Avakian is a fearless revolutionary fighter for the poor and oppressed people throughout the world. From what I see of him throughout my years in the struggle, Avakian has dedicated his life to addressing everything that stands in the way of people getting free, and this book is a product of all that work. Anybody who looks at the world and sees police getting away with murder or people driven from their homes in countries around the world by wars and wonders what, if anything, can be done to stop things like this from happening again and again needs to read The New Communism.
Nicholas Heyward, father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr.—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 1994
Before I was released from prison, I had the opportunity to read BA’s latest work, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, and A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation. This talk which he gave the summer of 2015 touched on a lot of significant points in a very concise manner, while at the same time reinforced key contradictions that we must become better at. The more we strive to reorient people towards approaching the problem and solution from a scientific approach, the better we will be overall in creating a material force—a movement for revolution—that will be capable of carrying out a real revolution in this imperialist country, and once successful, expanding that material basis on an international scale. Because in the last analysis, communism is about fundamentally transforming the whole world and being emancipators of all of humanity not just the proletarians and basic masses within the borders of the United States.
Excerpt from Letter from an ex-prisoner, on reading a pre-publication copy of THE NEW COMMUNISM
Dear Revolution: I am really excited about the publishing of the latest major work by Bob Avakian, "The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation", in the form of a book, with an apt new title, The New Communism. I believe this to be an historic event at an historic moment, with world wide ramifications for the future of humanity.
At a time when people in this society are standing up against and resisting oppression and taking a firm stand against police brutality, the timing could not be more opportune. Also, there is a great upheaval in the world, and the Imperialists are having to deal with ever sharpening unresolvable contradictions. This has the potential for sudden jolts in the system of capitalism imperialism.
Besides, the suffering in the third world, (including the South Asian subcontinent, the area I migrated from); the death and destruction caused by wars for empire; the human suffering of displaced persons/refugees; the constant degradation of the environment with catastrophic possibilities, are all crying out for communism.
Since the restoration of capitalism in China in 1976, after the death of Mao, the first wave of communist revolutions practically came to an end. In the new era, Bob Avakian, coming out of the upsurge of the 60's, emerged as a new revolutionary leader, who took over the responsibility of deeply analyzing the whole previous revolutionary experience, studying both their short comings and great achievements, with the aim of finding what led to the reversal of communism in China, and how to move forward from there on.
His painstaking work of several decades culminated in " The New Synthesis". As Ardea Skybreak has rightly said in her interview:".... Bob Avakian's work in this period is actually ushering in a new stage of communism". BA's work has taken the science of communism to another level, and in addition to making significant leaps in many aspects of revolutionary theory, and important ruptures, he has also made crucial breakthroughs and resolved crucial contradictions, putting the science of communism on a far more firm foundation. He has raised Internationalism to a new dimension, completely breaking with narrow nationalism, national chauvinism, identity politics and the like. This is reflected throughout his works: "... the whole world comes first", "...American lives are not more important than other peoples lives", "...emancipation of humanity" and so on. Today, in the era of the second wave of communist revolutions, BA's New Synthesis is the only correct revolutionary theory that can lead to a successful revolution. His breakthroughs and path breaking contributions, put him at a par with the founders of communism, Marx and other great communist leaders, Lenin and Mao.
In the global situation that prevails today, anyone who cares about humanity and its future, has got to get connected with BA, engage with him and spread his vision world wide, so that people can be armed with "The New Communism", to prepare and organize for communist revolution, to deliver humanity from the clutches of Capitalism-Imperialism; end all forms of oppression and exploitation, and build a socialist society, on the march to achieving the final goal of communism world wide.
An internationalist supporter of the new synthesis from South Asia
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Saturday, October 8th, a major book launch will take place at the Schomburg Center in Harlem for Bob Avakian's pathbreaking new work, THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation. This event will feature readings from the book and thought-provoking commentary and discussion from Cornel West and Carl Dix. Afterwards, everyone is invited to join these speakers for a fundraising after-party at Revolution Books to celebrate, raise funds, and forge revolutionary community.
This book and event is for everyone who cares about the state of the world and the conditions of humanity and agonizes over whether fundamental change is really possible.
Here's 3 reasons you should get your ticket and book today:
Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—and we see this vividly in the world today. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, even the most heroic uprisings will remain confined and channeled back into the very system that is the source of this madness and the oppression will grind on. In THE NEW COMMUNISM, Bob Avakian provides this necessary scientific theory for an actual revolution on the road to real emancipation. Bob Avakian is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation and THE NEW COMMUNISM is sure to challenge stereotypes and conventional thinking.
THE NEW COMMUNISM is a master work and a master-class, drawn from a major presentation BA gave to a conference of revolutionaries. In it, BA brings to bear his many decades as a fearless revolutionary leader and speaks directly, with science and passion, to the most pressing questions of our time. Among other things, he lays bare the scientific approach and the kind of morality necessary to bring about emancipation for all seven billion people on our planet. Through the readings and commentary, this event will give you a vivid sense of this leader and the significance of his work. How could you not want to hear this?
Cornel West, a revolutionary Christian, stands out among intellectuals for his principle and his work, for standing with “the least among us” and for having engaged Bob Avakian, including in the historic Dialogue on Revolution and Religion. Carl Dix is a longtime follower of Bob Avakian and a revolutionary leader in his own right. Andy Zee is the spokesperson for Revolution Books. Together these courageous and radical voices will share their experience with, knowledge of, and deep respect for Bob Avakian and the morality of what his life continues to be about with a diverse audience.
Again, how could you not want to be there?
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
We received this leaflet:
Chicago Revolution Club at Black Friday protest, November 2015.
It has been 22 months since Iggy and Alfredo were brutalized and arrested for protesting the decisions not to bring charges against the police who murdered Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NY. This was before police in Baltimore murdered Freddie Gray and then got off. Before Cleveland police murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice and got off. Before police in Baton Rouge murdered Alton Sterling. Before police in Minnesota killed Philando Castile. Before police in Tulsa killed Terence Crutcher. Before police in Charlotte killed Keith Lamont Scott and before police across the country killed thousands more!!
Yet who is being prosecuted and faces felony charges and many years in prison? The police who committed these crimes? The prosecutors who aid and abet them in getting off? The agencies and people in authority who cover up the police crimes? No. It’s the protesters who face felonies.
David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes were absolutely right to be out in the streets protesting that day. If it were not for people like them taking to the streets all across the country, many people would not have been awakened to the horror of police murders.
It is a complete travesty that Iggy and Alfredo continue to face these charges at all. Iggy and Alfredo were at a noisy, peaceful protest. In fact it was they who were brutalized by the police. To add insult to injury they have been forced to go to court over and over as the prosecution drags their feet in releasing the discovery sought by the defense. And who is going to preside over this railroad? An op-ed by Nicole Gonzalez VanCleve in the New York Times pointed out, “the rottenness is not confined to the Police Department. Racist practices extend far into the criminal courts, indeed they are the very foundation of the cases that enter into the court system. The hands of many judges and prosecutors are just as dirty as the bigots in blue.” (NY Times, “Chicago’s Racist Cops and Racist Courts” by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, 4-14-2016).
Now is the time to go on the offensive and for everyone to demand that ALL charges against Iggy and Alfredo and ALL the protesters be dropped and that the CPD stop targeting key activists! A political and legal battle needs to be waged to make this happen and all people of conscience need to get involved in this. We cannot let the brave protesters be railroaded on bogus charges.
Iggy works with the Revolution Club of Chicago and has been very visible in protests to stop police murder. He has been targeted by the police for retribution. The Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the Revolution Club of Chicago and others were the targets of police spying during the same time period when Iggy was arrested.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
DEMAND the CHARGES BE DROPPED against David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes. Contact the State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, 69 W Washington, Suite 3200, Chicago, IL 60602; firstname.lastname@example.org 312-603-1880
PACK THE COURTROOM NEXT HEARING
Wednesday, September 28, 2600 S California Ave, Room 206 at 9 am
PUBLICIZE THE CASE, GET INVOLVED. CONTACT: Revolution Club Chicago, email@example.com 312-804-9121
DONATE TO THE DEFENSE. For information on how to donate email firstname.lastname@example.org
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
September 25—Over the last 10 days, again, police executions snuffed out three precious Black lives, and gut-punched millions and millions across the U.S. On Wednesday, September 14, it was 5-foot, 100-pound, 13-year-old Tyre King in Columbus, Ohio, murdered by police for having a toy gun. Then on Friday, September 16, it was 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his car stalled, video showing him unarmed, unthreatening, hands in the air, doing all the “right things”—and still shot down like a dog. Then, on Tuesday the 20th, it was 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, as he waited quietly in his car for his son to get back from school, his wife there screaming at the pigs that he was unarmed and unthreatening—still cut down within seconds, stripped of his pants, left on the pavement. All victims of naked, outright, state-sponsored MURDER.
At this writing, for six straight nights and days, people in Charlotte have been standing up against Keith Lamont Scott’s murder by police. Against rubber bullets and tear gas; against non-stop justifications by police and officials for the murder and their refusal to release video evidence; against demands they stay home; against charges they’re the violent ones.
Now the Charlotte police have been forced to release some of their video footage, footage which underscores just how needless Scott’s death was. Ask yourself, if people had not risen up and if, in particular, they had not righteously defended themselves against the violent police assault on Wednesday night, and if Rakeyia Scott hadn’t courageously videotaped the police operation against her husband and then released it to the world, does anyone really think that the murder of Keith Lamont Scott in particular and the issue of the police murder of Black and Latino people would have hit society as hard as it did, becoming the number one topic of debate, and entering into the whole presidential campaign?
Millions have taken notice and thousands have taken actions in cities and towns from Atlanta, Georgia, to Portland, Oregon... from those on the meanest streets to those on college campuses to those of prominence. They’ve marched, sat in, died in, shut shit down, and “took a knee” against Keith Scott’s murder and that of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa. All this is intertwined with an emerging movement of refusing to stand for the national anthem, and campus resistance and shutdowns against racist venom and a “toxic climate” overall. It comes after two years of fierce resistance against police murder and terror, and profound questioning among millions of all strata in society that’s going on. The oppression of Black people, an explosive fault line at the very heart of the USA from its founding till today, is profoundly roiling society.
This “moment” includes many white people joining this upsurge, responding to the bold and daring resistance by breaking with silent complicity and standing up, including even at “Ole Miss”—once famous for white students rioting against the admission of the first Black student in 1962! (See: "Police Murders, Uprising in Charlotte, Spark Protests Across the U.S.") These are very important glimmers of how we can begin to overcome the rulers’ vilification and encirclement of Black and other oppressed peoples today, and the enormous potential for the much greater and more positive repolarization of society that would need to go into making a revolution—if we work on it! Yes, the polarization of society—how the sides line up—is spontaneously very bad; but this can change through struggle.
People ask: Why do the police keep murdering Black and Brown people, over and over? Because police murder and the oppression of Black and Latino people is built into the system of capitalism-imperialism. That’s not just rhetoric: Bob Avakian has done the work, over 40 years, to scientifically show how and why this is so (See: "Bob Avakian on the Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression") and to work through how a new socialist society could forge the road to overcoming this, and all, oppression and exploitation.
Resisting police terror and this system’s many other crimes is urgently needed, on an even greater scale. We certainly need to be out there agitating in ways that sharply call out the crimes of this system, uniting people broadly to act against them, and going on the offensive, against all those who counsel patience, reconciliation, or sticking to the system’s channels! But ABOVE ALL AND MOST OF ALL, we must bring to people the truth that these struggles must become part of and build toward an actual revolution. Why? Again, because there’s a system at work here.
People need to know this: The horrific outrages like police murder and the oppression of Black people and the whole genocidal program that’s a part of—and the other horrors from environmental devastation, to unending international slaughter in service of U.S. empire, to the subjugation and degradation of the female half of humanity—are all built into that system of capitalism-imperialism. Because of this, no matter how many people protest or how courageously they resist, as long as that system remains in place these outrages will go on and on—and often escalate horrifically. These nightmares are unnecessary, but the only way they’ll end is through a revolution that overthrows the system causing them. This revolution is necessary, and it’s possible. And most important, “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.” (From “A Basic Point of Orientation”)
We need—right now—to be organizing people INTO the revolution. This means going to the website www.revcom.us. Go there to get into BA’s work and leadership, concentrated in his pathbreaking new book THE NEW COMMUNISM, and readily accessible in his many works, videos, audios, and quotes. And go there to learn about how major events in society are linked together and linked to revolution, how we can make the revolution we need at the soonest possible time, and what we must do now to push this process as far as we can.
It means seriously digging into and wrestling with the crucial new messages from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA: “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” and “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution”—and spreading them to others.
It means connecting with the revolution and becoming part of the organized forces for revolution by joining the Revolution Clubs. Be part of the process of changing everything: get organized into the revolution.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
NOTE: This is compiled from early reports. Updates will continue to be posted to this page when available.
Above: Atlanta. Credit: Twitter/@AUCShutItDown
Above: Portland Oregon. Credit: YouTube.
Above: Elon University, North Carolina. Credit: @chris8video.
Above: Sit in at Ole Miss. Credit: Twitter/@NewsWatch_UM
Across the U.S. on Friday, many hundreds came out for protests against the police murders of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. Protests have been taking place all week. These are a few of the actions which took place today.
Between 500 and 1,000 came out in Atlanta for a #MidNightInAmerica march organized by the NAACP that ended with a sit-in at the Atlanta Police Department. “The reality of the situation is that tomorrow, you could all be marching in my name,” one organizer declared. Chants included, “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail.”
In Portland, Oregon, 100’s marched downtown, through a shopping mall and into City Hall, blocking traffic and chanting “No justice, no peace. No racist police,” “Black lives matter,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Dozens gathered In Hartford Connecticut to protest the police murders. “Not one more,” they declared.
At Elon University in North Carolina, “Not a word was uttered as hundreds of students and university employees marched across campus, dressed in black, protest signs in hand,” reported the Times-News, “Other students walking and riding their bikes across campus stopped in their tracks, some holding up their phones and others simply observing the display of solidarity.”
In the Charlotte area, students at Mallard Creek High, Hopewell High, Olympic High, Vance High and Charlotte’s Northwest School of the Arts each held protests, some drawing hundreds of students.
At “Ole Miss,” the University of Mississippi, students held a sit-in in the main administration building to protest a racist social media post and racist culture overall.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Video footage released over the past several days of the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, has exposed the police claim that Scott represented an “imminent deadly threat” as a lie, and show that he was MURDERED. One is the video courageously filmed by Rakeyia Scott, his widow, the others are some of the body- and dash-cam footage police were forced to release on September 24, after days of stonewalling, by a national wave of protest and outrage.
Right after Scott was shot down on Tuesday, September 20, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Police Chief Kerr Putney claimed it was a justified homicide. They said police saw Keith Lamont Scott sitting inside a car (smoking marijuana and holding a gun, they now claim). They said he got out of the car with a gun, and then got back in. They approached the car and told him to get out. He did—brandishing a gun, they claimed. Police yelled at him to drop it, but he didn’t. Police claimed Scott posed “an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”
The Scott family and their attorneys were able to see police video footage before it was released. Afterward the family’s lawyer, Justin Bamberg, said the video showed Scott leaving his car “in a very calm, non-aggressive manner” when the police ordered him to. When he was shot, “Mr. Scott’s hands were by his side and he was slowly walking backwards.” Bamberg said “it is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands.”
Now that the police have been forced to release some of their video footage people can and should watch it for themselves: it shows police blowing Scott away 5-6 seconds after he gets out of his car and backs away from police with his arms at his side! This was a fucking execution!!
Anyone who has not watched these videos should do so right now.
Rakeyia Scott’s video
Police body-cam and dash-cam videos
Charlotte police claim they found a gun near Scott’s body with his fingerprints and DNA on it. However, lawyers for the Scott family have “brought attention to an object that they said could be seen on the ground near Mr. Scott after he was shot” in the Rakeyia Scott video, the New York Times reports (September 24). “They said the object seemed to appear in the video after the camera panned away briefly, in a place where no object was previously visible.” This has raised questions about this discrepancy and where this “object” or gun came from.
Even if Keith Scott had a gun, that in no way justifies his execution. In North Carolina it’s legal to openly carry a handgun. The New York Times (September 22, p. A23) published a picture of a white man, driving through downtown Charlotte during one of the protests, arm hanging out his driver’s-side window, openly holding a pistol. This didn’t raise an eyebrow! So we’re left to conclude that if a Black person has a gun, is near a gun, or police claim he had a gun, it’s a death sentence! The reality is that Black people have no rights, including the Second Amendment, which this system is bound to respect.
Police are still refusing to release all their video footage, arguing they need to “protect the integrity of the investigation.” And the North Carolina legislature has even passed a bill, which will take effect October 1, declaring police videos are not public property and cannot be released to the public without court orders.
First, since when have this system’s “investigations” of the police had any “integrity?” Overwhelmingly, murdering cops go un-indicted and unpunished. When these killers are fired, indicted, or in very rare cases jailed (and rarer still given jail time commensurate with their crimes), it’s almost always been the product of mass protest and societal outrage, not the normal workings of the system. And the system’s “investigations” certainly haven’t ended police murder and terror.
Second, Chief Putney admitted his real concern wasn’t his “investigation,” but the reaction of the people: “If I were to put it [the video] out indiscriminately, and it doesn’t give you good context, it can inflame the situation and make it even worse,” he said. “It will exacerbate the backlash. It will increase the distrust...” (New York Times, September 24)
And he’s right to be worried. The release of Rakeyia Scott’s video and some of the police video has sickened and enraged many, many thousands (at this writing each has been viewed over a half-million times), not pacified them.
The basic truth is that this system can’t do without murdering pigs and time and time again it goes through every contortion possible to protect police who murder, and to chill out, derail, and defang the righteous protests that erupt.
Any cover-up of the truth must not be allowed to go down. All the police videos of the Keith Lamont Scott killing must be released—NOW! The cops who killed him must be arrested and charged with murder!
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
Once More, Lying, Murdering Pigs Run Amok
September 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Tulsa... Charlotte... Columbus... How long?
People have tried all the “solutions” this system says work: a Black president. Campaigning for candidates. More police training. The “Department of Justice.” White House conferences. Body cameras. Lawsuits. Community policing.
None have stopped police murder after murder after murder. They won’t work. They can't work. Because police murder is built into this system.
If you didn't believe that when you saw it in Ferguson and Staten Island, the system has showed you again and again and again. When they murdered Freddie Gray in Baltimore...Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge...Philando Castile in Minneapolis-St. Paul...and now Tyre King, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, and countless others all over this goddamn country.
What do we do?
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..., 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...
—from “A Basic Point of Orientation”
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Chicago is known around the world for two things. One, for its murdering, lying, racist, cover-up-plotting, defendant-torturing pigs. Witness the video of Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times in cold blood by a Chicago cop, and the attempts by the pigs involved, the “police review” board, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the police department, the state’s attorney, and every level of the so-called justice system to cover it up. Two, the city is known as the murder capital of America. So far this year, there have been over 3,100 shootings and over 500 murders concentrated in the poorest, most destitute communities.
On September 22, Emanuel presented his vicious new blueprint to address the second thing (“gun violence”) while trying to chill out the outrage over the first (police murder) and draw people into collaborating with the police. His program overwhelmingly rests on hiring 1,000 more cops to boost the total police to over 13,000—beefing up the very police force that killed Laquan McDonald and many more people, and that daily terrorizes, degrades, and suppresses the people whose lives are already made a living hell by this white supremacist system. All this while nothing has changed since the McDonald murder video was released. His murderer has been charged but is walking around free. None of the other cops have been charged. Only a month ago the police murdered Paul O’Neal and videos showed the cover-up in progress minutes after he was shot. More police terror—this is the only answer of this system.
Emanuel wants to use the fact that people are very upset that every day people are killed in gang-related shootings to pull people back into having faith in the system and actively strengthening their reactionary genocidal program against the youth. His speech issued a deadly call for the “Chicago community” to come together as “partners” with the police. NO WAY! There can be no partnership between the enforcers of oppression and the people they oppress; it would only mean joining the brutalizing system in cracking down on the people and intensifying their oppression. The police are the enemy of the people. Their role, as Bob Avakian has said, “is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in.”
This plan is not neutral, it is very harmful. It identifies all 7,000 of the 8th, 9th and 10th grade boys from 20 of most impoverished neighborhoods and puts them into a program that keeps track of their “progress.” This has Orwellian Big Brother and even potentially genocidal implications, tracking the names and vital information of every single male youth and a record of their school attendance and ranking, arrests, and imprisonment. A handful of youths might get some opportunity to find a way into college or a job, while the vast majority are ground up in the meat grinder and with this program put even more directly under the thumb of a state that has nothing for them but more and more oppression and worse.
Emanuel did reveal one true thing in his speech: “I see kids who have a look in their eyes of hopelessness.” While admitting that there are many neighborhoods with desperate poverty, no jobs, no stores, nothing for the youth, he did not blame the structural racism that has locked them out and locked them down. He did not blame the blind workings of the capitalist system, which has moved the jobs that Black people used to depend on out of the city or automated them out of existence. He did not blame the conscious policies—including his own policies of slashing schools and social services, and destroying public housing—that have reinforced this oppression and often made worse pre-existing conflicts among different “sets.” He did not talk about the whole legacy of this rotten system and its history, including the vicious segregationist past and present of Chicago in which Black people were murdered en masse in 1919 for daring to use a “white beach” and in which even up to a few decades ago Black people were attacked by mobs for daring to move into “white neighborhoods.”
So, in fact, it is this system of capitalism-imperialism that is the cause of generations of youth who are born into a situation where their hopeless future is determined before they are born. The workings of this system force Black and Latino people into ghettos and barrios where the conditions of life are desperate. These conditions push many into crime to survive, and the system forces people into competition with each other and “models”“ the dog-eat-dog morality that serves that. Then the police come in as an occupying army, brutalizing and murdering the people, sending huge numbers off to prison, or setting them up to fight and kill each other. These are the “choices” that this system presents to the youth to choose from.
No, Emanuel, we will not let you try to turn it around and put the blame on the youth and their supposed lack of training in “character” and “morals” and “making good choices.” This shit about “character” and “morals” is coming from the very mayor who has enforced the racist policies that have taken the hope from these kids! What is Rahm Emanuel’s “character” in shutting down 50 schools and half of the community mental health centers a couple years ago, and a month ago laying off 1,000 teachers, school counselors, and nurses? The character of ruthless hatchet man for the system enforcing poverty and hopelessness! What are the morals of this mayor who knew about the police murder of Laquan McDonald, covered it up for over a year, and then when the court ordered the video to be released, threatened dozens of ministers and community activists that if they didn’t stop the people from rising up in their neighborhoods he would cut off the funding to their food and social programs? A shameless liar and sneak. And what kind of role model was Emanuel himself in his role of chief of staff of the Obama administration with its wars, its drone strikes, its support of Israeli criminal attacks on Palestine, etc.? A model war criminal.
Do the youth need better models? Do they need to break with the madness of fighting and dying in mayhem against each other, instead of organizing for an actual revolution against the system that has set them up like this? Yes, absolutely—and we, the vanguard, are working on that problem right now, challenging people to NOT fall into the system’s traps and to aim their anger at the source of the problem and get organized into the revolution. (See “Defiance and Protest Since Police Murder of Paul O’Neal.”)
This is a communist revolution to emancipate all of humanity and it takes up a liberating morality that serves that goal. (See “Points of Attention for the Revolution.”) As Bob Avakian says in BAsics, the youth that have gotten caught up in terrible things today are capable of GREAT things, and “it is the responsibility of those who are the vanguard to lead the masses to realize this potential.” With leadership and a lot of struggle for them to realize their revolutionary potential, they can stop fighting each other and start fighting the system. Their anger and daring and defiance need to be channeled into getting organized for an ACTUAL revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. We can aim for no less. There is the leadership for a revolution in Bob Avakian, and the party he leads—the Revolutionary Communist Party. There is a serious strategy for revolution—see HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution.” Get your hands on these messages now at www.revcom.us. Read them, and get them out everywhere.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
To all those fronting for the system who, when people rise up to defend themselves against the murderous violence of the police, always say “violence isn’t the answer”:
Fuck you! Why don’t you tell that to the murdering pigs!? Why don’t you tell that to the U.S. Marines?! Why don’t you tell that to your air force that just murdered 83 Syrians—and your military who’s inflicted so much violence on the whole Middle East that it’s been the main driver of 65 million refugees fleeing their homes in fear!? We’ll tell you why—because for this system, reactionary murderous violence IS the answer, the only answer they’ve got to the horrors inflicted on humanity!
Up against all your violence and repression, the masses most definitely have the right to defend themselves! And while it is not the whole “answer”—which is a revolution to get rid of this system of exploitation which that violence enforces, and a whole new world without exploitation and oppression—righteously standing up against the violent suppression carried out by the powers-that-be is very definitely a part of the answer.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
Terence Crutcher Executed For Having Stalled Car While Black
September 20, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Look at the video of the police executing Terence Crutcher. Look at how they walk him over to his car with his hands up and make him assume the position with his hands on his car. And look at how they tase him and gun him down for nothing.
And it’s even worse than it looks. Terence wasn’t involved in any criminal activity. His car stalled on the road. There was no reason to treat him as anything other than a motorist who needed help, but these pigs saw him as a dangerous suspect. A pig in a helicopter hovering above the scene said he looked like “a bad dude.” And as someone they had a license to murder. The pig who fired the kill shot was on her radio saying she wasn’t getting cooperation from Terence even tho’ the video shows him walking with his hands up back to his car. And a police spokesperson gave their official statement to the press which was full of lies to try to justify this murder. She claimed Terence refused to cooperate with officers and reached into his car as why they had to gun him down.
Look at this video and tell me why anyone should believe anything the pigs say about why they brutalize and murder people. Or why we should listen when the authorities tell us to wait for the investigation to be concluded; or rely on the Justice Department to get justice.
Tell me why we should listen when Obama tells us about all the progress Black people have made in this country. Back in the day, white people in the South used to hurry to not miss it when the KKK had announced they were going to lynch a Black person. Look at those pigs in the video racing onto the road and drawing their guns so they could get in on this modern day lynching. All that’s changed is the color of the uniforms worn by those carrying out the lynchings.
This must be STOPPED! What will it take to do that? This is a presidential election season, and I can guarantee you that whoever ends up in the White House, this system will keep unleashing its police to brutalize and murder Black people. Body cameras on police? We’ve seen videos of police killing people – Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Gilbert Flores and many others, and still police kill people again and again; and the system exonerates them when their murderous deeds get dragged into the light of day. These pigs in Tulsa knew their actions were being recorded, and they still murdered Terence.
It’s going to take revolution to end this horror once and for all. We have to get rid of the system that needs to have its front line enforcers out there enforcing terror on people that it has no future for. No future except engaging in some hustle to try to survive, incarceration, fighting and killing each other or being murdered by the cops. We should live in a world where those entrusted with public security would sooner lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. It’ll take revolution, nothing less, to bring that kind of world into being.
And we in the RCP are organizing for an actual revolution right now. In Bob Avakian (BA) we have a leader who knows how to make revolution and has developed a vision of the kind of world we could create thru making revolution. If you want to see this and all the other horrors this system enforces on people around the world and in this country ended once and for all, you need to become part of this revolution.
You need to read BA’s book, THE NEW COMMUNISM, and other works by him, you need to run with the Revolution Club, spreading the word that we have the leadership, the science, the strategy and program, and the basis for organizing people for an actual revolution, and in Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, for Revolution, mobilizing people to fight back whenever the system perpetrates atrocities on the people.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
October 3, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This past July, Donald Chump came to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland with his fascist message of law and order, white supremacy, “build the wall” scapegoating of immigrants, disgusting misogyny, and naked “USA #1” chauvinism. He said he would “make America great again.” But this did NOT go down without a fight. On July 20, the Revolution Club went right up to the gates of their RNC Nazi rally, linked arms in a circle, and then Joey Johnson stood in the middle and announced, “America Number 1? America first? It always has been first: at genocide... at slavery... at exploitation... of destruction of the environment... of torture... of coup d’états... of invasions. We’re standing here with the people of the world today.” Then he lit that bloody red, white, and blue rag on fire. This bold action, and the message behind it, was picked up by national and international media and broadcast to the world: There is a force right here in the belly of the beast with a whole different message: America Was NEVER Great! We Need to OVERTHROW the system!
At a time of deepening divisions and cracks in their system, of growing eruptions against the ongoing epidemic of police murder, this was NOT what the ruling class wanted interrupting the “legitimacy” of their election charade. Despite the fact that burning the U.S. flag is constitutionally protected “freedom of speech” (thanks to the landmark Supreme Court decision Texas v. Johnson), and despite the fact that the same Johnson who fought to win that right is the one who burned the flag this time, this did not stop the pigs from breaking their own laws to brutally assault and arrest Joey Johnson and 15 other members of the Revolution Club! Even before Joey lit the flag, the pigs were attacking the Revolution Club’s protective circle to try to prevent the flag from burning and silence our message. They failed!
But they did succeed at something...
In all this, what did the rulers of this system reveal? That the essence of this society is not a “democracy,” but a thoroughly rotten capitalist-imperialist dictatorship, run by a ruling class that sets the terms and limits of the debate (a fascist monster vs. an imperialist war criminal!), deciding who is a “legitimate” candidate and what is a legitimate issue. And they can talk about “freedom and democracy” all they want, but if they see it in their interests to break their own rules—whether it’s rights that don’t apply to Black people and murder laws that don’t apply to cops, or international war crimes laws that the U.S. breaks with impunity—they will.
But they are NOT all-powerful. They have already been stung by our bold action. And there is a powerful basis to make this illegal and outrageous attack against us boomerang back against them, further exposing the illegitimacy of their system and advancing the movement for revolution. We had a right to do what we did at the RNC... and it was right! The flag burning burst through the suffocating, disgusting atmosphere in Cleveland, and news of it reached tens of millions of people. Since then, others coming from their own perspectives have taken up their own forms of protest. Millions are openly questioning America’s special “greatness” and refusing to salute its symbols. Righteous struggle against police murder of Black people has exploded once again. People have tried all the reform solutions—they don’t work, and they can’t work, because police murder is built into this system.
Now is the time to go on the offensive with this RNC 16 case and let the world know that we are the mighty REVCOMS who burned their fucking flag at the RNC. We are organizing to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. Our leader is Bob Avakian, the architect of the new synthesis of communism and the most radical and scientific thinker and leader on the planet, who has a strategy for how we can WIN a revolution to bring this monster down once and for all and build up a whole new liberated society.
We are going to meet the counter-revolutionary assaults on the RNC 16 with more revolution. We are going to fight this system in the political arena and in the legal arena. There is lot at stake here, both in terms of this particular case, but also as a test for what we will be facing in the coming storms. We need to defeat these charges, expose their system, and accumulate forces for revolution in the process! We can’t allow them to get away with draining our energies, and resources, playing by their rules and trapped in their criminal INjustice system.
We are putting THEM on trial! Inside and outside the courtroom.
We are putting the system on trial for the towering crimes U.S. imperialism has committed and continues to perpetrate against the people of the world and masses of oppressed people in this country. We are putting them on trial for violating their own laws, undermining Texas v. Johnson, in order to politically suppress and repress the RNC 16 because of our righteous message, and thereby having a “chilling effect” on people’s freedom to express themselves by burning the flag. We are exposing that the so-called “democracy” in this country is democracy for the capitalist-imperialists who exercise dictatorship over the masses.
The RNC 16—the people including Joey Johnson who burned the flag at the Republican National Convention—converged in Cleveland for a People’s Tribunal at the courthouse on Thursday, September 29. We indicted the various pigs and pig agencies responsible; they were subpoenaed and arrived at the court in their full pig regalia... Homeland Security pig, Secret Service pig, FBI pig, Alex Jones Infowar pig, Cleveland Police Chief pig Calvin Williams, Cleveland prosecutor pig Timothy McGinty, and others. They were placed in a pig pen and called up to testify one by one. We prosecuted them using their own words and actions. When all they could do was oink, a pig Latin translator was provided. Joey Johnson gave the closing arguments. The jury listened to all the evidence and then gave their verdict... guilty! And then the RNC 16 once again burned the American rag. We announced our plans to SUE ALL OF THEM FOR THEIR ILLEGAL ACTS AGAINST THE RNC 16!
If you know something about the history and reality of this country, that America never was great, and you support the Revolution Club delivering this message powerfully and dramatically right in front of the RNC... if you think revolution and Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism need to be heard and known—and not silenced or suppressed by the powers that be... if police murder after murder after murder of Black and Brown people makes you sick and you’re feeling like Colin Kaepernick... if you think people should have the right to burn the flag and you don’t want to let them undercut Texas v. Johnson... if you think it was right to burn the flag... JOIN US in demanding: DROP THE CHARGES ON JOEY JOHNSON AND THE RNC 16!
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
When Joey Johnson and another of the RNC 16 were arrested for burning the flag outside the Republican National Convention on July 20, they were charged with aggravated arson, aggravated disorderly conduct, inciting violence, failure to disperse, and resisting arrest. These two are now only charged with misdemeanor assault against these two "victims." Who are these two “victims”?
Well, sometime after the RNC 16 were assaulted and arrested by the police, apparently two people showed up and claimed they were “victims” of an assault and got burned by the flag that Joey had torched. These are the same two who, on the night of July 20, appeared in a YouTube video titled “2016 Republican National Convention—Joe Biggs Burned By Commies At Flag Burning.” In the video, the two people claiming they were the “victims” identify themselves as reporters for Infowars, a right-wing Trump-supporting website, bragging and braying that they assaulted Joey Johnson, including punching, kicking, and tearing off Joey’s shirt. So here you have these two operatives of a pro-Trump outfit admitting that they set out to attack Joey Johnson with the explicit intent of preventing him from burning the flag, which is all illegal on their part. Knowing this, the prosecutors brought charges not against these reactionaries but against the revolutionaries involved in what is supposed to be legally protected speech and who were themselves assaulted by these fascistic operatives!
Alex Jones has a radio show and website (infowars.com) and is widely described as a “right- wing conspiracy theorist.” Just an example of the many conspiracy claims he makes is that the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was “staged” and no one was killed.
Where was Alex Jones during the Republican National Convention? He had “special guest” credentials to attend the RNC and praised Trump’s acceptance speech. Trump appeared on Jones’ radio show in December 2015 and praised Jones for his “amazing” reputation, promising him that “I will not let you down.” Jones has also had Roger Stone, a close Trump adviser, on his show numerous times. Stone formed a pro-Trump activist group called “Stop the Steal” going into the RNC to ensure Trump’s nomination.
So here you have Alex Jones, an operative for the Trump campaign, on the night of July 20 interviewing two other Trump operatives who admitted they assaulted Joey Johnson—yet they are named by the prosecution as the “victims” that Joey Johnson and the other RNC defendant are charged with assaulting! Yes, there is a conspiracy—the conspiracy of the powers that be to try to assault and attack the mighty mighty revcoms on July 20 in an attempt to criminalize the constitutionally protected political act of flag burning and those who declared “America Was NEVER Great! We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote For, This System!”
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
We received the following from one of the RNC 16, who are facing serious charges from an outrageous police attack on a protest outside the Republican National Convention in July when Joey Johnson, supported by the Revolution Club, burned the U.S. flag.
What a scene today at Cleveland State University! A few of us went to the plaza right outside the student center, put a U.S. rag—I mean flag—on the ground, and then one of us sat on it while the other two passed out the message from the RCP Central Committee, "Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution," and cards about Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM. We had the graphic from revcom.us about Colin Kaepernick: "Sit with Colin—No respect for that genocidal rag"—and an enlargement of the cover of Revolution newspaper with the image of Joey Johnson burning the flag at the Republican National Convention, with the message "America Was NEVER Great! We Need to OVERTHROW This System!"
As soon as we started agitating on the bullhorn, a crowd gathered around. Then the crowd grew. Pretty soon it was a full-on mass debate—sometimes breaking up into many small debates and sometimes coming back together—100-200 students at the height and hundreds more over the course of the day. This went on for like four hours!
There were A LOT of right-wing students, overwhelmingly white. Many were organized Trump supporters, feeling very bold and shameless about putting forward their racist, fascist bullshit. Some of them would just stand around acting like arrogant frat boys smiling and making snarky comments about communism. Sometimes they would start chanting "USA, USA!" or "Build a wall!" We would respond with "1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide, and war; 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great!" Others would tell us we should leave America if we don't like it. How original! No thanks, we'd rather organize to overthrow it. Some would tell us how disrespectful we were being of the flag. Good! We're trying to be as disrespectful as we can of this bloody symbol of oppression! "If you live here, you should show some respect." By that logic, if you lived in Nazi Germany you'd be saluting the swastika! Some would tell us about the thousands that "died for the flag," and then we would tell them about the tens of millions that died because of that flag, and loudly read Bob Avakian's quote from BAsics about what the soldiers in the U.S. military are actually killing and sometimes dying for (hint: it's not freedom and democracy!).
Blatant racism kept bubbling to the surface. Someone said, "Most of the killings by police were justified." Another said, "Why are you still complaining about slavery. I didn't own any slaves." "There's no such thing as white privilege." "There were only 400,000 slaves in the U.S." "The nation [it's a continent, fool] of Africa had more slaves than the U.S." "Racism is over, you have a Black president!" etc... you get the idea. As Mark Twain said, to get along in America, you need the perfect combination of ignorance and arrogance!
Partly in agreement with what the Revolution Club was saying, and partly in response to the outrageous bullshit being put forward by the people opposing us, many dozens of students, especially Black students, came forward through the course of the day to stand on the flag and/or argue with these fools. There was a spirit of defiance and truth telling about the oppression of Black people that could not be contained. When a pro-Trump student yelled out that the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte was justified because he had a gun, a bunch of people took him on: "What video did you see?! Oh, that's right, you just believe the police's word." "You guys wanna talk about terrorism... the police are the biggest terrorists!"
Cleveland State (Photo: Twitter/@YoNuby)
At one point, a Black student "leader" started agitating to the crowd that this white boy (one of us is white and two are Black) started all this commotion and that their revolution doesn't have to do with Black people, and people should just calm down. This did not work! People were not in a mood to calm down, and many people were open to hearing about the revolution and its leader, Bob Avakian. A number of people would say, "I think we need a revolution, but I don't know about communism." Well let's talk about what communism is, and why we need it instead of this capitalist-imperialist system. And let's talk about how Bob Avakian has developed a new communism, including a strategy for how to WIN an actual revolution.
A group of anarchists/libertarian socialists kept vacillating between going after the pro-Trump people and going after us, sometimes making petty proprietary complaints about how we are not students and shouldn't "co-opt" the struggle (ironically, all afternoon they hung around the commotion that we started with our bold action), and sometimes raising their more substantive opposition to the need for leadership, vanguard parties, and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Even though they didn't raise these differences in a spirit of genuine dialogue, I used it as an opportunity to speak to the crowd about what's actually involved in a real revolution to defeat and dismantle the most brutal and oppressive state the world has ever seen, to set up a new socialist society with a new economy and a political system that 1) no longer parasitically exploits the rest of the world, but instead puts the interests of humanity and the world revolution first, 2) protects the precious ecosystems of the planet instead of plundering them, 3) actually meets the needs of the people instead of the profit of a few, and backs up the masses of people in the revolutionary transformation of society, while protecting the rights of individuals.
Making a revolution and advancing to a communist world, beyond all the economic, social, and ideological chains of this system, is complex! The idea that the masses will do it spontaneously, without leadership, is ridiculous, and no one should take anyone who puts forward that idea seriously. In this light, the crucial importance of Bob Avakian's leadership—the person who has greatly deepened our understanding of the goal, the method, the obstacles and pathways in this complex process, and is actively leading a movement now to make the revolution that humanity so desperately needs—stands out even more.
These conversations went on all afternoon, and a number of people said they would link up with the RNC 16 (the 16 Revolution Club members facing charges for burning the flag at the Republican National Convention) this coming week when we go back on the offensive to put the whole damn system on trial for the crimes against humanity they have perpetrated here and around the world, and for the illegal and outrageous attack on the Revolution Club in a (failed) attempt to silence our revolutionary message.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
From a member of the Revolution Club, New York City
September 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Two members of the Revolution Club were trying to reconnect with students and faculty met throughout the past year to organize them into the revolution. We were making our way through campus and heard yelling from a distance. As we neared we realized this was someone we knew. We listened in and realized this student was reading the names of people killed at the hands of the police from the Guardian website. His voice was hoarse but he continued with a lot of conviction, certitude, and anger. We noticed a few Black students stood by watching and listening; at a certain point some of them approached him and thanked him for his action. We asked him what provoked him to do this: he said that morning he saw the video of Terence Crutcher killed at the hands of the police in Tulsa, showed us the video, and said he needed to act. It was not an organized action; he just needed to vent and he choose the steps of Low Library. We asked if we could join him; and he said by all means. We just happened to have an American flag and a banner that reads, "We need to overthrow, not vote for this system" because of the times we're living (the contention with Kaepernick's kneeling for the anthem and the milieu of the elections). So we laid the American rag on the floor and held up our banner as we stood on the American flag. Within minutes a crowd formed.
There were all types of positions; the terms of which are captured in BAsics 5:20 where after putting forward the need for a radically different culture and morality, BA concludes by saying: “... we see now a situation that is too much like that described in the poem by William Butler Yeats: “The worst are full of passionate intensity”—and absolutist certainty, we might add—while “the best lack all conviction.” This has to be radically taken on and radically changed.”
So we had to reshape this reality. We did some brief agitation of why we were standing there uniting with the student (referred to above); did some brief agitation on the crimes of this system; and we called on others (students) to take on the argument of those offended by us stepping on the American rag. One student who studies Middle East policies united with our agitation of the crimes of this system and added (in sum) that human nature is shaped by the nature of the ruling system. In other words, the question isn't good or bad soldier/officer—the problem is woven into the nature of this system. This began to set different terms. Others began to crowd around but still the more vocal supporters of the American rag (including anti-communists) continued to try and dominate the terms of debate.
At a certain point the administration came by in force (half a dozen) and asked the two members of the Revolution Club if we were students. We said (speaking to the crowd of students) no, but you need us here!!! Because we are bringing the real source of the problem confronting the seven billion people and the very existence of the planet itself—which is this capitalist-imperialist system. And the only way out of that is with an actual revolution; that's why we're promoting the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA)... the architect of a whole new synthesis of communism, which includes a strategy for an actual revolution. A handful of students were intently listening in. So then we posed to the students listening in: if you think there should be active ferment on this campus about the problems confronting humanity and the possibility of radically changing the world then you need to stand with us. Don't be fooled into thinking the possibilities of change are locked within just reforming this system or doing some good in a messed up world. And then we asked for people to raise their hands if they wanted us to stay on campus (since the administration was trying to remove us from campus). One young woman raised her hand and we asked her to step forward. She was really shy and couldn't speak loudly on why she stood with us but she held up the banner we were holding and said, "I think you need to be here." There were a lot of intermediate students but one young woman asked about our strategy for making revolution (since she was a pacifist) and as soon as we opened up "Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution, Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA" hands went up with people grabbing for the message. We talked about Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM and the October 8th book launch; and we referred people to www.revcom.us to read "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution." This opened up all sorts of debate. In the main, people said, "I don't agree with you but I think you need to be on this campus" with a small handful of students saying, "I'm seriously considering joining."
As the title of our summation says: this was a very unusual day on the campus but we also learned a tremendous amount of the potential of jumping into a very fraught atmosphere (given the sharpening up of contradictions of this illegitimate system) and the urgency of re-polarizing for an actual revolution. We were able to compel the administration to back off and we stayed on campus, and we're trying to concretely follow up with the students met; even as we're working with those we already know to try to develop a concrete form of revolutionary organization (like a reading group/book club on THE NEW COMMUNISM). And as the student who wants to take initiative for forming a group on campus said: this can't be a group on to itself this has to be an organization that's part of impacting and interacting with the larger society (like the October 8th book-launch being a concrete expression of that dynamic)... More to come!
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
September 26—Hundreds of people took the battle for justice for Keith Lamont Scott and against police murdering people to Bank of America Stadium this afternoon for the NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings. People were wearing “Am I Next?” shirts and chanting “Black lives matter,” “If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace,” and “Release the tapes.” The latter refers to the ongoing refusal on the part of the murdering police to release all the video of Keith Scott’s murder they have, and also sentiment that people are systematically lied to. Before the game, the media carried photos of Cam Newton, the Panthers’ quarterback, warming up before the game wearing a shirt with a quote from Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Protest in the streets outside the stadium where the Carolina Panthers NFL team was playing, September 26. Photo: Jon Cornwell
Outside the stadium, hundreds of police—some with paint guns—encircled the protesters to isolate them from the fans going into the game. Nonetheless, here and there a handful of fans with their Panthers jerseys joined the protest. In one incident, a belligerent white racist fan tried to attack the protest and the National Guard protected him. The National Guard was deployed throughout the area—specifically guarding and enforcing the system’s agencies of violent repression.
Visible in the VIP seating atop the stadium, fans could be seen looking not at the playing field but out to the protest. Beyond the organized protest, a number of people from the community as well as activists gathered with signs on corners demanding an end to police killing Black people.
Protesters marched through the area, surrounded by police who blocked streets to isolate and intimidate people, and the protest blocked intersections as well. At one point, the protest passed the location of where Justin Carr, a Black protester, was shot and killed on Wednesday night under circumstances that are not at all clear, despite police insistence he was killed by someone else in the protest. That Wednesday night protest was viciously attacked by the police, who shot people with rubber bullets inflicting serious injuries, and arrested dozens of people.
At that point, the crowd stopped and there was moving salute to the sacrifice Justin Carr made in the struggle.
Within the crowd there were different views about what’s the problem and what’s the solution. There was definitely a section of the crowd who felt protest as it has been going on is not making the point, and looking for ways to make a more powerful statement. In the mix, a couple revcoms recruited people to start up the chant “What’s the problem? The whole damn system! What’s the solution? Revolution!” This got taken up by various people in the street.
After the game ended, marchers headed for the Charlotte Government Building. And as evening came, youth who wait ’til later to get into the streets started to come out.
Throughout the day—especially as the day wound down—we got into very serious discussions with people of the flyer Tulsa... Charlotte... Columbus... How long? Once More, Lying, Murdering Pigs Run Amok. What Time Is It? Time and Past Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution, both with activists who had been in the protest, and youth who were beginning to congregate on street corners in the expectation there would be more struggle after nightfall. We walked through with people, step-by-step, how that flyer poses what is going on, why revolution is the only solution, and what we need to do right now to make that happen at the soonest possible time. And there was serious receptivity.
During the day, and in days leading up to today, we had a number of discussions of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution with people we’ve met. We need to walk through this with people point by point. And we were organizing more of those while we were out today. When we get with people, we’ll also get into BA: A Contended Question, and we will leave people with posters to study and get up. We are telling people about the launch of Bob Avakian’s pathbreaking book, THE NEW COMMUNISM in NYC on October 8, and the ways they could stay connected and become part of the organized forces of the revolution.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
There is an important legal case in Chicago that, if allowed to stand, could set a very dangerous precedent nationally for not only violating due process, but for allowing the police, prosecutors, and the courts to use bogus legal charges and exorbitant bail as repressive instruments against protests and other legally protected forms of exercising First Amendment rights, and more fundamentally, against movements of resistance and revolution. This political act of repression cannot be allowed to set a precedent—everyone who stands for justice must be part of defeating it.
Nationwide, police continue day after day to murder and terrorize Black and Latino people, enforcing the system’s genocidal program, and they are almost never punished. But people who protest this police terror are brutalized and arrested, and there is a growing pattern of heavy charges being put on protesters for the “crime” of demanding that police murder stop. In Chicago a very visible young activist against police murder, Ja’mal Green, is facing nine felony counts for leading a peaceful protest July 9 against the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the Taste of Chicago, a major event downtown. Fellow protesters say the police version of events is completely untrue and that they just grabbed Ja’mal unprovoked. A video shows him standing on a barricade when a cop grabs him by the leg and pulls him to the ground.
Then even more outrageously, Ja’mal’s bail was set at $350,000, after prosecutors cited a Facebook post Ja’mal wrote after the Dallas police shootings. Even though the post clearly stated, “I’m not promoting it, but I’m not denouncing it either,” the prosecution argued that Ja’mal’s post illustrated a clear “anti-police platform.” Over Ja’mal’s lawyer’s objections that the posts were protected speech, the judge let the prosecutor’s arguments continue and said the posts “concerned” her and that Ja’mal was “not peaceful.” While she denied the post would influence her decision on bail, the judge then proceeded to set it at $350,000. Ja’mal’s lawyer called this out for what it is: “punitive” and “outrageous.”
Whatever one thinks of what Ja’mal said on his Facebook post or how he said it, this is speech protected by the Constitution, and it is a clear violation of his First Amendment rights to set his bail based on something he wrote on social media. Ja'mal’s attorney said, “That is the kind of bond you would set for a violent crime, not for a protest.”
Many prominent people spoke out on Ja’mal’s behalf, citing his contributions to the community, but the judge refused to lower the draconian bond. Broad support raised the funds for bond within a week and Ja’mal was released, but the judge put him on 24/7 house arrest with the stipulation that he must stay off social media. After more public outcry, these conditions were rescinded, and Ja’mal has continued to be outspoken about police terror, including as the public spokesperson for the family of Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old murdered by the CPD in South Shore (see “Chicago Police Videos of Paul O’Neal Killing Released: Black Teenager Was Unarmed—‘It was cold-blooded murder’”) soon after Ja’mal was released from jail.
Ja’mal was a determined activist throughout the weeks-long protests last November through January against the police murder of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times in cold blood by a Chicago cop. The authorities are terrified of the situation in Chicago since the McDonald videos were released in November. The ugly truth about the cold-blooded murder and the exposure of the cover-up to protect the murdering cop by all levels of the police department, the so-called Independent Police Review Board, the state’s attorney’s office, the City Law department, and the mayor set off a legitimacy crisis.
The deeply entrenched racist, brutal nature of the Chicago Police Department led by Obama’s own former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was exposed nationally and internationally for all to see, and they have been trying to stuff the outrage back in the bottle ever since through repression of the protests and by promising “investigations” and illusory reforms. But the relentless police murders around the country, including the CPD murder of Paul O’Neal and the resistance of the people in response, have repeatedly ripped the scab off the raw wounds of outrage. Protests continue to break out. In the face of this, the police intensified the attacks on Ja’mal and some of the other outspoken young activists, not just at the protests themselves, but monitoring their social media as well. It is worth noting that just after midnight on July 9, over 18 hours before Ja’mal was arrested at the protest, a Chicago police blog, Second City Cop, posted a jpg of the same Facebook post that the prosecutor used to depict Ja’mal as dangerous, and coupled it with a taunt to the police chief to do something about Ja’mal.
Eighteen other protesters were also arrested at the July 9 protest, and many of them had their phones confiscated for more than 10 days “for investigation.” Another protester, Louis, was charged with a felony and his bail set at $100,000, and 17 others received lesser charges. Jared, an activist well-known to protesters and police alike, was initially arrested on minor charges and released on his own recognizance. Then weeks later, he was arrested by police as he left his misdemeanor court hearing, and his charge was raised to a felony for supposedly spitting on a cop. On September 10, yet another of the activists against police murder, a 17-year-old, was arrested and charged with a felony “threatening a public official” for repeatedly challenging an alderman (captured on video) by saying, “What are you doing about our kids getting gunned down?” at a public park dedication.
Retaliatory arrests of protesters, as well as individuals, just for criticizing or recording police, in violation of their constitutional rights, is part of a national phenomenon. Even the U.S. Department of Justice report on Baltimore policing released in August had to comment on this:
The people of Baltimore have a constitutional right to observe and verbally criticize the police. “Since the day the ink dried on the Bill of Rights, the right of an American citizen to criticize public officials and policies is the central meaning of the First Amendment.” McCurdy v. Montgomery County, 240 F.3d 512, 520 (6th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). We found that BPD officers routinely infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the people of Baltimore City, typically in one of three ways. First, we found that BPD unlawfully stops and arrests individuals for speech they perceive to be disrespectful or insolent. Second, we found that officers retaliate against individuals for protected speech through the use of excessive force. Third, we have concerns that BPD improperly interferes with individuals who record police activity....
For example, an officer in downtown Baltimore in 2011 “felt ... that it was reasonable” to order a young African-American man to leave the area because he “had no respect for law enforcement” and was “making idle threats towards a uniformed officer.” As the young man walked away accompanied by a friend, the two made additional comments mocking the officers and the BPD; 15 minutes later, the officer again spotted the two men in the same area and placed both under arrest for failure to obey. “The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principle characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.” City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 462–63 (1987).... By ordering the young men to leave, and then arresting them for their comments, the officer violated their First Amendment right to peacefully and verbally criticize or oppose law enforcement officers without actively interfering with the officers’ lawful performance of their duties.
We cannot allow the police and the prosecutors and courts to get away with this blatant retaliation against Ja’mal or any of the protesters. The U.S. rulers, enforcing exploitation in the U.S. and worldwide with endless wars and unparalleled violence in the name of “democracy,” must not be allowed to increase draconian repression to crush righteous movements of resistance and revolution. This railroad must not be allowed to stand, and everyone with a conscience should work to stop it.
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Ghouls like Rudy Giuliani are foaming at the mouth, attacking protests against police murders of Black people, including how “black-on-black violence is the real problem.” Fuck you, Giuliani. You glory in the fact that this system you represent has set Black people up to fight and kill each other. That monstrous system has killed many millions more Black people than has any Black individual or group of Black people. And you yourself, as NYC mayor, unleashed a reign of terror against the city’s Black and Latino communities that murdered Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Anthony Baez, Anthony Rosario, Hilton Vega, and hundreds of others. Any real system of justice would put you on trial, you racist, fascist asshole!
Revolution Club delivers people's arrest warrant for Rudy Giuliani at the Republican National Convention, July 2016. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)
Revolution #458 September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution.
Lee Francis is a civics teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. On September 19, as part of a lesson on the First Amendment, he stepped on the U.S. flag—which became a huge incident in the media. As part of the lesson, he mentioned the 1989 Texas v. Johnson Supreme Court case that established that burning a U.S. flag in political protest is protected speech.
When Gregory “Joey” Johnson—the defendant in that Supreme Court flag-burning case—heard about Lee Francis, Johnson immediately contacted him. In Cleveland this July, Joey Johnson with the support of the Revolution Club burned the flag outside the Republican National Convention—saying in response to Trump’s “Make America great again” poison that “America was NEVER great” and that “It’s always BEEN first: at genocide, at slavery, exploitation, destruction of the environment, torture, coup d’états, invasions... we’re standing here with the people of the world today.” Joey Johnson and others were brutally assaulted by the police and arrested for this legal political protest. There is a campaign now to demand that the charges be dropped against Joey Johnson and the RNC 16.
The following is Joey Johnson’s interview for www.revcom.us with Lee Francis, edited for publication.
Joey Johnson: Hi, Lee, How are you?
Lee Francis: I’m fine.
JJ: Could you describe what you did?
LF: I was teaching a lesson leading into the American Revolution and, the long story short, I took out the flag as kind of a teaching tool. We were talking about Texas v. Johnson, about some of the founding documents that would lead to the American Revolution and would lead to the documents that would be the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and to the Constitution. So we’re teaching about those things, and I pulled out the flag. And I placed it on the ground, and I just stepped on it somewhat gratuitously. And immediately two students stood up and walked out of the room, and the second student comes over to take the flag as he leaves.
JJ: And about how many students were in the class?
LF: There was a total of about 26 students in class.
JJ: And what was the response of the rest of them, the other 24? (laughs)
LF: Actually a very positive response. We actually continued the discussion after the two students left and I had a very good discussion with them tying it to a lot of issues that we’re facing today as far as freedom of speech and some limitations on that. I received emails, and Facebook notes, and letters from students who had even been interviewed and they said, we stand by him and we understand what the lesson was.
JJ: So you said the response from the class overall was positive—they didn’t have the kneejerk rejection of it that these two students did.
LF: That’s correct.
JJ: What inspired you to take this particular approach?
LF: It was really something that was really more spontaneous. Students didn’t know that there were other forms of speech outside of what could be written or what could be spoken. And so, harkening back to the [Texas v. Johnson] case where the flag was in flames, I said you could even step on the flag, and this is an example of symbolic speech, freedom of expression. And so it wasn’t something that I sat down and spent a week planning to do, or saying now I’m gonna use this particular flag, and do it this particular way. It was a very spontaneous teachable moment that I noticed my kids, for the majority, comprehended and understood and appreciated.
It really was something that was a spur of the moment, spontaneous teaching moment that was politically charged and definitely was not meant to be offensive to anyone. And it’s unfortunate that a lot of the military community find that the act was offensive. But what really my intent was, was to give a teachable demonstration, a visual demonstration, of what other kinds of speech, as Americans, we are afforded. And in that regard, it is ironic that I had been labeled a “terrorist” and called “unAmerican.” Someone had gone as far as to say that I was a “pedophile” because I had “harassed” children. And so it wasn’t anything that was politically charged, or anything that was really thought out beyond that moment of teaching.
JJ: All of that is really outrageous. They’ve brought you up on disciplinary charges, suspended you from school at this point, right?
LF: Absolutely. I am suspended with pay and that can extend up to 90 days. [Editor’s note: Toward the end of their conversation, Lee Francis received a phone call informing him that he would be suspended for 10 days without pay.] The ironic thing is that the district attorney, who I spoke to, denied filing charges and has said I was well within my rights to do what I did, so my question is why the suspension? I am not sure what ground the suspension falls upon... I’m not sure what grounds termination falls upon. I don’t know the justification for any of this. And based on what I have read in my notice of suspension, and even in the meeting that I’ve had with several folks involved in the central office, no one is actually able to clearly define what I did wrong. And so I am questioning the grounds for suspension and all of these things as they come.
JJ: I really wanted to reach out to you as soon as I heard about this. There was an article, a press account that said you were pivoting off the decision in Texas v. Johnson, my Supreme Court case, which was a victory that was hard fought for. And what’s happened to you is just more evidence of it being frequently violated, even though there’s a Supreme Court decision. In my case it says there’s a right for people to do what’s called symbolic speech, and that is to burn the American flag in protest, or to step on it for that matter, or to do things with it artistically that provoke people’s thinking in terms of the content of the symbolism. But there’s still in over 40 states criminal statutes against “flag desecration” or use of the flag in protest. I just think it’s completely outrageous what happened with you, for somebody demonstrating a right that has been upheld by the Supreme Court, for giving a living civics lesson, you know, and they want to punish you like this. I think it would be important for you to talk about what you had mentioned before—the death threats and other intimidation and what’s been going on around that.
LF: Absolutely. I actually started receiving threats as soon as I found out that the photo and the post went viral. [Editor’s note: One of the students who walked out of class had taken a picture and posted it on social media.] I was out of school. This was probably late Monday evening that I realized that there was an issue. I received death threats from those in the military that are currently serving in the military. I have received death threats from all over the country—from Nevada, Boston, Alabama, Louisiana, every state you can imagine, I received death threats. Just last night, I received a death threat that had my address and my phone number, my contact information. The newspaper has printed some of the death threats that I’ve received. And it’s unfortunate that that’s the way people feel that they can get their point across. It’s very unfortunate that not only myself has received death threats, but my students have received death threats. Others in the school system have received death threats and that’s unfortunate. That’s very inappropriate. Because this was never intended to offend or disrespect anyone.
I have most respect for our men and women in the military. I come from a very long line of military family. I find it a bit ironic that we can celebrate 9/11 and the chorus/refrain “never forget.” But when we talk about the issues of Native Americans, or that Blacks are facing in the country at the hands of the police, or the women that are being raped on a daily basis and their rapists are walking free, the song changes to “when are you going to get over it”—we have a child molester in Fayetteville and he’s walking around—these are the larger issues out there that really need to be brought to the forefront. The flag as it is, is a piece of fabric. The larger issues are the issues of racism, are the issues that are tearing at the fabric of this country.
JJ: What’s the reality of what that cloth, that symbol, is flying over? Myself, I think people in the military need to be told the truth just like everybody else. What the U.S. has been doing in the Middle East is not a glorious cause. It’s been a war for empire. There’s millions of lives that have been shattered in a whole arc of countries from Afghanistan to Tunisia, from Somalia to Syria. It’s over empire. And people’s lives don’t mean anything, including all those people who have died for the empire, you know. Soldiers need to be told the truth about what they’ve been fighting and dying for. I just think that’s important.
What you’ve done has provoked an enormous conversation not just in Fayetteville. I very much feel it’s linked up with what’s happened in Charlotte over the last several nights, the uprising of the people there against yet once again another blatant police murder of a Black man, of Brother Scott. It’s just outrageous, man, that they’re trying to subject you to this kind of harassment and terror, and intimidation. I am really glad you are not succumbing to it and not being cowed by it, intimidated by it, but standing up and taking this back out to society and arguing and having a big societal conversation and debate and struggle over it.
LF: It does get to the fact that there are larger issues. I never intended to be on this stage. When I did that lesson, I was expecting to have a good discussion and come back the next day and talk about something else. But now that I’m here, I think it would be irresponsible of me not to really talk about, and to bring back to the forefront of our lives that the issue is much bigger than the piece of cloth. And with all due respect to that symbol, and for how people see it, we have to realize that we have to value human life, and we don’t. Innocent children are being shot and killed by police, and women are being raped and told to get over it.... There was an incident I believe at University of Chapel Hill where a football player was accused of raping a young lady, and she has been trying to get justice for months. And they have quietly pushed her aside. It’s very unfortunate that these are issues that people refuse to talk about.
JJ: I think it would be interesting if you talked about how you started out as a Young
Republican, going to an all-white school.
LF: Yeah, you know it’s funny, this young man [Editor’s note: Lee is referring to the student who took the photo of the flag lesson and posted it], this rabble-rouser, has been hailed now as a patriot... and everyone is saying that this is the kind of role model we need... I was in an all-white school. I was a member of student government; I was president of the Republican organization for two years. But I didn’t know anything. It was a way for me to fit in. It was a way for me to make friends. It was a way for me not to be singled out as one of the Black kids in an all-white school. So it was interesting that I had this perspective, but it wasn’t until I got to college, to graduate school, that I really started reading things by Althusser, Foucault, bell hooks, and Judith Butler that are really talking about a different issue and my paradigm shifted.
JJ: Is there anything that you want to say about what you want people to do to support you?
LF: Continue spreading the message. Get on Facebook and talk about these issues that are affecting people—not just talk about the flag, but that are really affecting people, that are changing lives, that are destroying lives, as we’ve seen in Charlotte, as we see in Tulsa. We need to stand up and make sure that our voices are being heard. If a presidential candidate can walk out on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose a vote we shouldn’t just sit down and be okay with that. We got to stand up and not be afraid to stay there and not back down. First Amendment, must defend it.