Revolution #462, October 24, 2016 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Updates from around the country:

The 2016 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Updated October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Chicago    New York City    Bay Area    Los Angeles    Minnesota

Diverse, Defiant Protests Against Police Murder Nationwide
Revcoms Build Toward Revolution

October 22nd is the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. This year, there was a range of defiant protest expressing outrage among different sections of people over the ongoing and escalating epidemic of police terror.

Resistance to murder by police is essential if the oppressed are not to be ground down, and unable to raise their heads, and instead can play a critical role as emancipators of humanity. And the struggle against police murder has been where the most defiant resistance to the many crimes of this system has been going on. This is a struggle through which many are being led to question the legitimacy of this system.

A Basic Point of Orientation, posted at revcom.us, says:

It is very important that people rise up and refuse to accept the continual murder of people, particularly Black people as well as Latinos, by police—this, and the other outrages and atrocities continually perpetrated by this system (as concentrated in the 5 Stops), cannot go down without people fighting back and rocking back the powers-that-be. But this must be built toward revolution—an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—because there is no solution to these outrages under this system, and as long as we live under this system, this will go on...and on. There is a way that we can make a real revolution —and bring into being a radically different and better society: we have the strategy, program, and leadership for this revolution, in the work of BA and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, even as we are continuing to learn more about it, we need to be spreading the word about this revolution far and wide, and organizing for this revolution, drawing people around and into the Revolution Clubs, on the basis of the statement from the RCP Central Committee.

The Revolution Club, and the revcoms, represented, and were organizing for that.

October 22nd in Chicago

Chicago was ground zero for October 22nd this year. Protesters with a permit to march in the street were viciously attacked by police who tore their “Stolen Lives” banner from them, tackled and brutalized them, and arrested them.

The day kicked off with speeches by Carl Dix, an initiator of October 22nd and representative of the RCP and Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club.

LaToya Howell spoke. She is the mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell who was murdered by Zion, Illinois police. Gloria Pinex spoke. She is the mother of Darius Pinex who was murdered by Chicago police. Mark Clements spoke, he had been tortured by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. And this powerful testimony represented the tip of the iceberg. Just a few of the victims:

In August, Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old unarmed Black youth was shot in the back by Chicago police as he ran away from them. Video showed Paul O’Neal, lying on the ground, dying, surrounded by cops, while they plan how to cover-up the murder.

Late December 26th, Quintonio LeGrier, a Black college student, placed desperate calls to 911 asking for help with a mental health crisis. Bettie Jones, a 51-year-old mother of five who lived downstairs in his building, came to help. A few minutes after Quintonio’s last call to 911, Chicago police arrived on the scene and immediately opened fire, murdering the two unarmed victims as they stood inside the entrance to their building.

Laquan McDonald, 17 years old, was gunned down on a busy street by a Chicago cop just seconds after the cop pulled up and jumped out of the squad car in 2014. Video, later released, showed Laquan was walking away from the cops, hands at his side, when a cop shot him 16 times. This cold-blooded execution of a teenager was followed by a massive cover-up.

Each of these murders has been met with outrage in the streets. The murder of Laquan McDonald unleashed a torrent of protests that continued day-after-day, last year, including thousands of people shutting down the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s most prestigious shopping district, last “Black Friday.”

And as protests have rocked the city, revelations of torture, brutality, and the role of Chicago police in the city’s deadly drug trade have been brought to light.

There have been new revelations of ongoing, systematic torture by police in a city where police commander Jon Burge tortured, and organized the torture, of Black men in Chicago for 20 years or more. In 2015, the Guardian newspaper exposed a secret police torture chamber—Homan Square—in the heart of the overwhelmingly Black West Side, where police secretly detained people as young as 15 years old, beat them, shackled them, refused them access to attorneys. In at least one case a man was found dead after being “interviewed” at Homan Square.

Just this month, forty thousand copies of the pamphlet “Code of Silence,” a publication of The Intercept, have been distributed in Chicago by The Invisible Institute. The pamphlet exposes how police “were major players in the drug trade on the South Side.” And how Chicago officials protected “a massive criminal enterprise within the [Chicago police] department.”

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “answer” to all this? 1000 more police.

All that and much more set the stage for October 22nd in Chicago this year.

The city of Chicago had granted a permit for two lanes of traffic, and protesters had an enlarged copy of the permit—poster sized—to show to police and the media. Still, police on bicycles and with cars repeatedly shoved people as they were stepping into the permitted region of the march. Police tore the Stolen Lives banner from people’s hands, dragged people into the street, tackled them, piled on them, and arrested them.

The Revolution Club was in the lead. And the moment the march stepped into the street, they were viciously attacked by the very pigs that carry out a reign of terror. Police on bicycles and cars attacked and shoved people as they were stepping into the permitted region of the march. Noche Diaz of the Revolution Club, who is part of the Get Into the Revolution National Tour, was among those singled out for attack and arrest. The march continued, marching through downtown Chicago, reaching thousands of people in the face of an intimidating police presence.

Activist De Ray Mckesson re-tweeted a video of the attack on the march to his 580,000 followers and it has been re-tweeted 900 times.

There are critical stakes of the battle to defend those arrested, and spread the message the Revcoms brought into the streets. And to recruit people into the movement for an actual revolution. The Get Into the Revolution National Tour is in Chicago, and is having a rally Saturday, October 29, 1 pm Downtown in Grant Park at the Northeast corner of Michigan & Congress.

The Revcoms were also in the streets on October 22nd in several cities around the country, including in New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

On this page are snapshots and reports from among those we received from around the country.

More From Chicago

From inside the paddy wagon, people were illegally jumped by police, brutalized, and arrested for participating in a permitted march, sent this message:

Demonstrators and the Revolution Club were viciously attacked by the Chicago Police at O22—the national day of protest against police murder and brutality. The March was permitted. Police targeted people, they beat people with batons, threw people to the ground, viciously twisted people and threw them in the paddy wagon. People should vigorously denounce this police riot and should remain in the streets fighting police murder and all the crimes that this system because it’s against humanity. Get with the revolution. Stop Police Murder. Indict and convict killer cops and send them to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. We refuse to be silent in the face of the vicious brutal murder being [carried out by] the police across this country. Revolution is what we need to liberate people around the world.

Later on October 22nd, about 300 people rallied at Millennial Park in Chicago. This was a combination of CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council) and folks who turned out for rapper Vic Mensa’s video release of 16 Shots. The Revolution Club (somewhat diminished in numbers from the earlier arrests, but still powerful) marched up and chanted and got in formation and agitated before the thing officially started, and got attention (positive and negative) and then dived into it with a bunch of folks. The HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution pamphlet got out to nearly everyone—and some people got pretty deeply into what this revolution is about, why you need one, what it means, the strategy, and the mission of the tour.

One group of five young Black friends came from hearing about the protest on rapper Vic Mensa’s twitter feed, watched the Club march in, in style, and watched the mixed reaction as well from forces representing different outlooks on the problem and solution, and different agendas (including ones opposed to revolution). These folks listened to what the Revolution Club was saying, and got into discussion of reform vs revolution, this country’s whole history and why the cops never go to jail, what that means and what it will take to stop, plus broadening out to the 5 stops.

At one point in the back and forth, one of the youth who came to the protest pulled the HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution pamphlet back out of his pocket and began leafing thru it, reading parts. He commented, “You don’t hear many people in favor of communism... I guess that is part of their brainwash.” He was positively intrigued and inclined towards this, not so much communism, but that we were completely unconventional.

Later one of them asked, “What do you think of Black Lives Matter.” The Revcoms said, “As a slogan and rallying cry, absolutely righteous and needed!” They broke down how Black lives have NEVER mattered to America from slavery, Jim Crow, down to today and how essential it is everyone who is in the streets standing up and demanding this now... But they brought out the reality that “You are not going to pass some reforms or laws and get these cops to stop killing...” and the need to overthrow, not vote for the system, and to be getting ready for that now. There were deep discussions with many different knots of people throughout the evening—about reform vs. revolution, the limitations of non-violence, what it will take to get ready for an actual revolution—a lot on the mission of the tour—and some getting into the 6 Points Of Attention of the Revolution Club.

The Revolution Club got into things with clusters of students as well who came out—from University of Illinois, Chicago; and Columbia College. Protesters marched on the sidewalks through busy downtown Chicago till around 9pm.

For the latest on the protest and arrests in Chicago CLICK HERE

Sunsara Taylor (@SunsaraTaylor)

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NYC:

Photo: Special to revcom.us

Just days before October 22, an NYPD Sergeant shot and killed 66 year old Deborah Danner, a Black woman suffering from a schizophrenic episode in the bed room of her own apartment in The Bronx. In the wake of this murder, up to 150 people rallied on October 22nd at the Harlem State Office Building and marched in rain and high winds across 125th Street in Harlem, New York.

After the march, people gathered at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for the Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony to add the names of John Collado, Kadeem Trotter and Jerame Reid, all murdered by police. The day was marked by outrage at the murder of Deborah and a determination that murder by the police must stop. The march included a stop to rally at the 28th NYPD Precinct, the site of civil disobedience to Stop-Stop-and-Frisk five years ago. The front of the precinct was marked off with orange tape with the names of people killed by the police across the country.

The New York Revolution Club challenged and engaged people—to get serious about preparing for an actual revolution to end these horrors, and to dig into Bob Avakian and the strategy and leadership he has forged—and in particular digging into “How We Can WIN—How We Can REALLY MAKE REVOLUTION.” Five people from the Revolution Club, including the speaker, stood on the American flag as they spoke. In the march large sections of the crowd took up the chant, “America was never great. We don’t need to vote, we need to overthrow!”

A wide array of people came to October 22 including 15—20 students from Sarah Lawrence College. There was a sizable Green Party contingent at the march, and vigorous back and forth on the nature and role of this system’s elections. Many people spoke, including family members of people murdered by police.

The mother, aunt and grandmother of Kadeem Trotter spoke powerfully of his murder at the hands of an off duty NY State Supreme Court police officer and the attempts by the NYPD to cover it up. They said that NYPD detectives came to his mother’s house and told them that he had checked himself into the hospital and his heart gave out. His mother learned the truth several days later in a news article. His grandmother said, “I don’t let any of my children do that ‘with liberty and justice for all’ with their hand on their heart. There is not liberty and justice for all.”


Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

Watch coverage of the October 22 protest in NYC on TV news channel NY1 HERE

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Bob Avakian on:
Police murder... and the murderous logic of this system's election game

The above clip is from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

       

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob AvakianEditor’s note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed this:

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

BAsics 2:16

Bay Area, California:

The Revolution Club Bay Area caravaned down International Blvd in East Oakland, starting at Fruitvale Station, the site of the cold blooded murder of Oscar Grant by BART police. We took a "tour" through Oakland, where Richard Linyard was killed by police, where Brownie Polk was killed by police... standing where these lives were stolen, speaking out, and telling the truth about a real alternative to this madness, the need for people to get organized for an actual revolution to put an end to this, and the scientific hope for humanity that can be found in the new communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian.

Photo: Special to revcom.us

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Los Angeles, California:

LA Revolution Club in the house on Oct 22nd!
Photo: Special to revcom.us

Revolution received the following report from revcoms in Los Angeles:

The Revolution Club, LA led a caravan through the sites where Carnell Snell Jr. (CJ), Kenny Watkins, Richard Risher and Daniel Perez were brutally murdered by the LAPD in the recent period. The trucks at the lead were covered with the faces of those who have had their lives stolen by the police, large banners with the slogans: “It’s Time To Get Organized For An ACTUAL Revolution,” “Stop Killing Each Other and Start Fighting the Real Enemy,” and a banner with the theme of the National Revolution Club Organizing Tour: “America Was NEVER Great: Overthrow, Don’t Vote, For This System.”

At the start of the caravan, family members of 18-year old CJ spoke loudly and bitterly against the police who stole the life of their kin and lovingly towards the individual they cherished. One woman was not only mourning CJ, but she was also close friends with Richard and Kenny. At different points, we were joined by several cars, including at the start, people who knew CJ and Kenny Watkins.

As we rolled through the projects where Richard Risher was shot 30 times by pigs, people eagerly grabbed up the pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,” stopping their cars and asking for more than just one to get out to their friends and family. When we distributed the pamphlet to cars driving by and to others coming out of their homes and apartment buildings, we challenged people to get into the revolution and to get into the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian.

Many who were not already outside of their home came out chanting Richard’s name or briefly joining in on some of the chants. When people put their fists up in solidarity, we challenged them to join the caravan right on the spot. One young Black woman took up that challenge and followed us through the projects for a period of time in her car. A grouping of five and six year old girls, observing the photos of people murdered by the police on the truck, cursed at the police and in particular voiced their outrage against the way the pigs murdered Richard. One recalled, “They were kicking and spitting on him.” We distributed the 6 Points Of Attention of the Revolution Club to them. As we left they began putting them up on their neighbors doors.

People from the neighborhood of Daniel Perez took part in the caravan, calling on people to stand up and not be afraid. The atmosphere was defiant and full of rage, but also full of joy, the joy of not only fighting against this particular outrage but most importantly the joy of bringing to people the scientifically grounded pathway out of this nightmare.

Outraged, people at the different sites spoke angrily against what the police did to those they knew and some asked questions as to why this happens all the time. The Revolution Club boldly put forward what’s in the “HOW WE CAN WIN...” pamphlet, that this system cannot be reformed and that it would take a revolution and nothing less to get rid of other outrages this system continues, and can only continue, to spew forth.

After the caravan the club and new people who participated in the action went to the book launch and discussion of THE NEW COMMUNISM by Bob Avakian at the Silver Lake Library where clips of the recent simulcast from the public forum with Cornel West and Carl Dix held in NY on Oct. 8 was shown. After the program the conversations continued informally at a local restaurant late into the night about the different problems facing the revolution and everyone got challenged to dig deep into THE NEW COMMUNISM, along with BAsics.

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Minnesota:

Around 100 people met outside the Minnesota Governor's residence to protest police brutality and remember lives lost in Minnesota at the hands of law enforcement.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue

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O22 Around the Country:

Actions around the country took a range of forms, and involved people coming from an array of perspectives from protests to vigils to bike rides to concerts took place in cities including Cleveland, Santa Cruz, the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Houston, San Diego and cities in South Carolina.

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/o22-alert-chicago-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

October 22, 2016:
Ground Zero Chicago—Brutal Pigs Attack Defiant March Against Pig Brutality

Updated October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

October 22nd is the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. This year, there was a range of defiant protest expressing outrage among different sections of people over the ongoing and escalating epidemic of police terror.

Resistance to murder by police is essential if the oppressed are not to be ground down, and unable to raise their heads, and instead can play a critical role as emancipators of humanity. And the struggle against police murder has been where the most defiant resistance to the many crimes of this system has been going on. This is a struggle through which many are being led to question the legitimacy of this system.

A Basic Point of Orientation, posted at revcom.us, says:

It is very important that people rise up and refuse to accept the continual murder of people, particularly Black people as well as Latinos, by police—this, and the other outrages and atrocities continually perpetrated by this system (as concentrated in the 5 Stops), cannot go down without people fighting back and rocking back the powers-that-be. But this must be built toward revolution—an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—because there is no solution to these outrages under this system, and as long as we live under this system, this will go on...and on. There is a way that we can make a real revolution —and bring into being a radically different and better society: we have the strategy, program, and leadership for this revolution, in the work of BA and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, even as we are continuing to learn more about it, we need to be spreading the word about this revolution far and wide, and organizing for this revolution, drawing people around and into the Revolution Clubs, on the basis of the statement from the RCP Central Committee.

The Revolution Club, and the revcoms, represented, and were organizing for that.

October 22nd in Chicago

Chicago was ground zero for October 22nd this year. Protesters with a permit to march in the street were viciously attacked by police who tore their “Stolen Lives” banner from them, tackled and brutalized them, and arrested them.

The day kicked off with speeches by Carl Dix, an initiator of October 22nd and representative of the RCP and Noche Diaz from the Revolution Club.

LaToya Howell spoke. She is the mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell who was murdered by Zion, Illinois police. Gloria Pinex spoke. She is the mother of Darius Pinex who was murdered by Chicago police. Mark Clements spoke, he had been tortured by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. And this powerful testimony represented the tip of the iceberg. Just a few of the victims:

In August, Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old unarmed Black youth was shot in the back by Chicago police as he ran away from them. Video showed Paul O’Neal, lying on the ground, dying, surrounded by cops, while they plan how to cover-up the murder.

Late December 26th, Quintonio LeGrier, a Black college student, placed desperate calls to 911 asking for help with a mental health crisis. Bettie Jones, a 51-year-old mother of five who lived downstairs in his building, came to help. A few minutes after Quintonio’s last call to 911, Chicago police arrived on the scene and immediately opened fire, murdering the two unarmed victims as they stood inside the entrance to their building.

Laquan McDonald, 17 years old, was gunned down on a busy street by a Chicago cop just seconds after the cop pulled up and jumped out of the squad car in 2014. Video, later released, showed Laquan was walking away from the cops, hands at his side, when a cop shot him 16 times. This cold-blooded execution of a teenager was followed by a massive cover-up.

Each of these murders has been met with outrage in the streets. The murder of Laquan McDonald unleashed a torrent of protests that continued day-after-day, last year, including thousands of people shutting down the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s most prestigious shopping district, last “Black Friday.”

And as protests have rocked the city, revelations of torture, brutality, and the role of Chicago police in the city’s deadly drug trade have been brought to light.

There have been new revelations of ongoing, systematic torture by police in a city where police commander Jon Burge tortured, and organized the torture, of Black men in Chicago for 20 years or more. In 2015, the Guardian newspaper exposed a secret police torture chamber—Homan Square—in the heart of the overwhelmingly Black West Side, where police secretly detained people as young as 15 years old, beat them, shackled them, refused them access to attorneys. In at least one case a man was found dead after being “interviewed” at Homan Square.

Just this month, forty thousand copies of the pamphlet “Code of Silence,” a publication of The Intercept, have been distributed in Chicago by The Invisible Institute. The pamphlet exposes how police “were major players in the drug trade on the South Side.” And how Chicago officials protected “a massive criminal enterprise within the [Chicago police] department.”

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “answer” to all this? 1000 more police.

All that and much more set the stage for October 22nd in Chicago this year.

The city of Chicago had granted a permit for two lanes of traffic, and protesters had an enlarged copy of the permit—poster sized—to show to police and the media. Still, police on bicycles and with cars repeatedly shoved people as they were stepping into the permitted region of the march. Police tore the Stolen Lives banner from people’s hands, dragged people into the street, tackled them, piled on them, and arrested them.

The Revolution Club was in the lead. And the moment the march stepped into the street, they were viciously attacked by the very pigs that carry out a reign of terror. Police on bicycles and cars attacked and shoved people as they were stepping into the permitted region of the march. Noche Diaz of the Revolution Club, who is part of the Get Into the Revolution National Tour, was among those singled out for attack and arrest. The march continued, marching through downtown Chicago, reaching thousands of people in the face of an intimidating police presence.

Activist De Ray Mckesson re-tweeted a video of the attack on the march to his 580,000 followers and it has been re-tweeted 900 times.

There are critical stakes of the battle to defend those arrested, and spread the message the Revcoms brought into the streets. And to recruit people into the movement for an actual revolution. The Get Into the Revolution National Tour is in Chicago, and is having a rally Saturday, October 29, 1 pm Downtown in Grant Park at the Northeast corner of Michigan & Congress.

The Revcoms were also in the streets on October 22nd in several cities around the country, including in New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

On this page are snapshots and reports from among those we received from around the country.

More From Chicago

From inside the paddy wagon, people were illegally jumped by police, brutalized, and arrested for participating in a permitted march, sent this message:

Demonstrators and the Revolution Club were viciously attacked by the Chicago Police at O22—the national day of protest against police murder and brutality. The March was permitted. Police targeted people, they beat people with batons, threw people to the ground, viciously twisted people and threw them in the paddy wagon. People should vigorously denounce this police riot and should remain in the streets fighting police murder and all the crimes that this system because it’s against humanity. Get with the revolution. Stop Police Murder. Indict and convict killer cops and send them to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. We refuse to be silent in the face of the vicious brutal murder being [carried out by] the police across this country. Revolution is what we need to liberate people around the world.

Later on October 22nd, about 300 people rallied at Millennial Park in Chicago. This was a combination of CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council) and folks who turned out for rapper Vic Mensa’s video release of 16 Shots. The Revolution Club (somewhat diminished in numbers from the earlier arrests, but still powerful) marched up and chanted and got in formation and agitated before the thing officially started, and got attention (positive and negative) and then dived into it with a bunch of folks. The HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution pamphlet got out to nearly everyone—and some people got pretty deeply into what this revolution is about, why you need one, what it means, the strategy, and the mission of the tour.

One group of five young Black friends came from hearing about the protest on rapper Vic Mensa’s twitter feed, watched the Club march in, in style, and watched the mixed reaction as well from forces representing different outlooks on the problem and solution, and different agendas (including ones opposed to revolution). These folks listened to what the Revolution Club was saying, and got into discussion of reform vs revolution, this country’s whole history and why the cops never go to jail, what that means and what it will take to stop, plus broadening out to the 5 stops.

At one point in the back and forth, one of the youth who came to the protest pulled the HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution pamphlet back out of his pocket and began leafing thru it, reading parts. He commented, “You don’t hear many people in favor of communism... I guess that is part of their brainwash.” He was positively intrigued and inclined towards this, not so much communism, but that we were completely unconventional.

Later one of them asked, “What do you think of Black Lives Matter.” The Revcoms said, “As a slogan and rallying cry, absolutely righteous and needed!” They broke down how Black lives have NEVER mattered to America from slavery, Jim Crow, down to today and how essential it is everyone who is in the streets standing up and demanding this now... But they brought out the reality that “You are not going to pass some reforms or laws and get these cops to stop killing...” and the need to overthrow, not vote for the system, and to be getting ready for that now. There were deep discussions with many different knots of people throughout the evening—about reform vs. revolution, the limitations of non-violence, what it will take to get ready for an actual revolution—a lot on the mission of the tour—and some getting into the 6 Points Of Attention of the Revolution Club.

The Revolution Club got into things with clusters of students as well who came out—from University of Illinois, Chicago; and Columbia College. Protesters marched on the sidewalks through busy downtown Chicago till around 9pm.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/sunsara-taylor-get-into-the-revolution-tour-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour:

10 Days in Chicago "...a real beginning"

by Sunsara Taylor

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution tour
Read more

“Seriously?” the young woman's eyes grew wide, “You are traveling the whole country... for a year? That's amazing.” She had listened intently as the Revolution Club marched up to the protest against police brutality and got into why only a revolution could put an end to all the outrages and horrors caused by this system—the murder after murder by police, the violence and rape against women, the venomous attacks on immigrants, the wars for empire, and the destruction of the environment. But it was when she heard the scope and sheer audacity of what the Get Into the Revolution Organizing Tour is aiming to do—traveling the entire country and recruiting and organizing thousands of new people into this revolution in order to get ready for the time when millions can be led to overthrow the whole system—that she really tuned in and wanted to learn more. The same point lit up the face of a young brother from the ghetto on the South Side of Chicago. “It’s true,” he responded, “you can't make revolution in one city.”

The Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour has hit the streets of Chicago. Everywhere we go, we are boldly projecting the reality that “America was NEVER great! We need to overthrow—not vote for—this system!” That an actual revolution will put an end to the horrors billions on our planet are forced to live through. And YOU have a role to play in this revolution RIGHT NOW.

Yes, We Mean an Actual Revolution, and We Have a Strategy

A lot of people nod their heads when they hear the word revolution, at least in the neighborhoods of the oppressed and out in the protests against police murder. But, when we get into what we really mean by this—the complete overthrow of this system, the dismantling of its ruling structures and institutions, the defeat of its military and police forces and the construction of a radically new society and revolutionary new state power in transition to a communist world—this is both attractive and sobering. On the one side, many people have a deep sense that a few reforms are not going to bring about the change that is needed. On the other side, it is hard for them to imagine ever having enough strength to defeat this system for real.

It has been crucial, from the very beginning, to make clear that we have a strategy for winning—and to begin bringing this alive from the start. This is why it has been so moving to people to learn that we are not just talking to them at that moment, but traveling and bringing forward the thousands that can influence millions—and be trained to lead millions in the all-out fight for power when the conditions for that ripen.

In the Hardest Streets of Chicago

One afternoon, out in the South Side of Chicago, the Club planned to drive around in a van with a sound-system for an hour or so announcing that the revolutionaries would be out on a busy corner at a certain time. They had barely made it one block through the hood before they saw police fucking with two Black youth. The Club jumped out and posted up, standing in disciplined formation watching and ensuring that the rights of these youth were not illegally violated. The pigs didn't like this attention and backed off.

How We Can Win

How We Can Win

How We Can Win

Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE

The youth were relieved, inspired and intrigued. The revolutionaries challenged them to get into the revolution. The youth made clear that they supported what the revolutionaries were doing, but said bluntly they didn't know what it would mean to join the revolution and, “What do you want us to do, get in your van right now?” The Club posed back that the essence of the question was not whether they get in the van literally that minute, but whether they relate to the revolution. Later we summed up that we should've just said, “Yeah, why the fuck not? What could you possibly be doing right now that is more important than getting into the fight to end not only your own oppression but all oppression?”

Since then, we have taken this sharper approach with several others to good effect, winning them to step in—even if only in beginning ways—right on the spot. Last night, for example, a young man who had been running with us for a little while told us, “I really have to do some deep thinking about whether or not I am going to join the Revolution Club. I don't want to do it unless I am sure.” “That's right,” we replied, “You better think very deeply about this—but you better do it fast and you better make the right decision. Honestly, what could possibly be more important for you to do right now than to do the work necessary to get into the revolution that can end oppression and exploitation for all the seven billion people on the planet?” We stayed silent as the seconds stretched out and he thought. “I can't think of anything,” he finally responded, so we walked down the street and sat down at a McDonald’s. Late in the evening, he remarked, “You've really changed my thinking. Now I'm thinking about the whole world, not just about money and myself.”

Getting back to our first afternoon out in the South Side, in just the next two hours, the Revolution Club had to post up two more times because they kept running into Black people being jacked up by cops. Every time, everyone around felt the power of this revolutionary authority.

Stop Killing Each Other—And Start Fighting the Real Enemy and Making Revolution!

It is noteworthy that almost everyone in the neighborhoods, when they first see us, assume we are out there to “stop the violence.” When the Club finally set up on the corner with their banners and bullhorn, a big group of high school women walked by and swarmed them. “Let us say something, let us say something!” they cried out, grabbing for the mic. When asked what they wanted to say, they exclaimed, “Stop the violence! Stop the violence!”

Bob Avakian, "A better world is possible," from his talk REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. As part of this clip, BA talks about how guards at the Corcoran prison in California forced prisoners to fight like gladiators.

It’s obviously a positive thing that many of the youth in these neighborhoods want to stop the violence. We talked to one group of young friends who have been to five funerals in recent months. But it has taken work to differentiate ourselves from the “stop the violence” movement. We do want our people to stop killing each other and we have to get into this deeply and sharply with people, but we know this can only happen if—and only will serve something greater if—it is part of joining the fight to put an end to this system. The video from Bob Avakian's 2003 speech where he challenges the youth to recognize that they are being played when they are out “regulating their corner” has connected very deeply. Over and over young people have remarked, “He is speaking exactly about us and what we need to do.”

One young guy, as he began to really understand that this is what we were fighting for, told us he thought the biggest thing that would get other youth like him out of the gang mentality was a sense of larger purpose. He was inspired—and thought others could be inspired as well—by being part of something as liberating as revolution.

Agitating, Contending, and Raising People’s Sights

An older guy who had stopped by and been pretty friendly when we first set up had started drinking and this time when he approached us he was highly argumentative. He was angry at white people and “foreigners who don't even speak English.” We posed back, very sharply, “Do you have any idea why people come here from other countries?” We agitated about the wars and domination, the coups and death squads, the exploitation and immiseration that the U.S. and other imperialist powers inflict on other countries and how all this makes their homelands unlivable. Then, people flee their homes desperately and some of them come here, only to be worked almost like slaves in the fields and kitchens and meat-packing and day-labor, many of them without rights, living in the shadows, hunted and then torn from their families by large-scale deportations.

A woman from further away on the corner drew closer, nodding her head vigorously. The drinking fellow stayed confrontational but careened his argument in a different direction, “Exactly!” he insisted, “and this is Native American land anyway!” A young guy from the neighborhood who had come out to stand with the revolutionaries clearly hadn't known all this and was visibly moved by our agitation. Then, he stepped in to redirect the older man's anger. Referring to his last statement about the Native Americans, he said, “You are right, you could make a difference if you went around and told people that.” He had a good style, allowing the older man to save face while struggling to bring out the best in him.

A young woman who had also come out to join up noticed the sign we had with us that said “Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, sex objects or breeders! Women are full human beings.” I asked why she liked it, and she said that women almost never get called by their names and are disrespected a lot. I united with this, but didn't leave it there, building on her points but agitating as well about how in this culture pimping—the brutal enslavement and sale of women—is celebrated and joked about, how everyone knows what it means when men rank women by a number as if their only value is to be demeaned as a sex object, how degrading it is that men get together and brag about what they got away with doing to women's bodies, how women are beaten and insulted, how they are raped and groped, and how they are shamed if they have sex or if they enjoy sex or if they don't want to have a baby.

It was important that she liked the slogan, but it was not enough to leave it at that. The agitation—the content and the conviction in it—had a real impact on her, and again was an expression of our morality and revolutionary authority. When I looked up, I noticed that another woman had drawn close through this from further down the street.

The First Ten Days... Intense and Rich with Lessons

In the ten intense days we have been here in Chicago, we've spoken to an assembly of Black high school students filled with very large numbers who have already spent time incarcerated... We've reached out to hundreds at the Cook County Courthouse who are caught up in the criminal injustice system... We've spent time spreading revolution and engaging in deep discussion with students at University of Chicago... We've been out in the war-torn streets of South Shore and Englewood... We've spoken at an open mic... We've sat down with people and begun working to recruit them into the Revolution Club (discussing the first quote in each chapter of BAsics and the Points of Attention for the Revolution), and much more.

We helped lead a defiant protest in the streets on the October 22nd National Day of Protest to STOP Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. Noche Diaz, one of the members of this National Tour, was brutally arrested along with three others. Not only did we not let this stop us from continuing to march and make our resistance powerfully heard, we have plans to use this outrageous police assault to mobilize even more people to find out about this Tour and join with it, and to insist that all the charges against our people be dropped.

In everything we are doing, we are basing ourselves on the scientific understanding and approach of the pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” We are getting into it with people, mobilizing people to spread it, and organizing people to act on it.

At the same time, it has been necessary—and remains necessary—for everyone who is already part of the Club and the movement for revolution to continue to deepen their scientific understanding of why it is that only a communist revolution can resolve the problems facing humanity. Not just “breaking this down for others,” but firmly grasping ourselves why this system can't be reformed in a fundamental and scientific way. This is gone into very deeply in Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM, as well as in articles like “How This System Works – And Why It Must Be Overthrown,” and needs to be wrestled with much more deeply and in an ongoing way.

Get Into the Revolution Rally October 29

This Saturday, October 29, we will bring together people from around the city to stand with this revolution and to make a big leap forward—from wherever each of them are at—in their level of involvement in, understanding of, and partisanship to this revolution. The rally is on the theme “America was NEVER great! We need to overthrow, not vote for, this system!”

While reaching out to all sections of people, we are putting special attention to bringing forward youth from the hardest streets of Chicago. Rallying them to stop fighting and killing each other, and to instead stand together as they get into and take up the fight against the real enemy, the fight to make a revolution and bring about a whole better world. Going into this, this Thursday night, we are holding a Get Into the Revolution Organizing Event at University of Chicago. We'll have more to say about the campuses soon.

Again, we are just at the beginning stages of this Tour. We are still learning, the shoots of new revolutionary organization and forces we have begun to bring forward are quite small and still quite fragile, and we don't yet know nearly enough about what it will take to sustain them and qualitatively expand them. But we have begun, and it is a real beginning. Expect to hear much more from us in the days and weeks and months to come.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/national-tour-chicago-get-into-the-revolution-now-rally-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

October 20, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

The National Tour is in Chicago

GET INTO THE REVOLUTION NOW!

RALLY Saturday, October 29, 1 pm

Download PDF of this flyer

Downtown in Grant Park at the Northeast Corner of Michigan and Congress (Near the Native American on horse statue. In case of rain, call for location of indoor rally.)

 

On the steps of Cook County Courthouse, October 18, 2016
On the steps of Cook County Courthouse, October 18, 2016. Photo: Special to revcom.us

This system grinds up, oppresses and kills people all over the world. This system locks down generations of Black and Brown youth, brutalizing and incarcerating them and even blowing them away—or else setting them up to fight each other, when they should be fighting the REAL enemy. This system teaches men to disrespect and brutalize women, when the fury of women must be unleashed for revolution. This system wages unjust wars, it destroys the environment, and it persecutes the millions of immigrants who it uproots.

This system has to be OVERTHROWN.

Look at this system’s election and their candidates. They are nothing but gangsters fighting over who will rule the empire. Whoever wins, it will mean nothing for the people but more of the same. Unless and until WE get organized to build our strength, and reach out to others. We need to take advantage of the conflicts between the rulers and get ready for a REAL revolution to overthrow them.

Get into the Revolution Now rally, Chicago, October 29

We need to make revolution to OVERTHROW this system. The Get into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour is in Chicago to recruit YOU into the Revolution. Don’t miss the Revcoms on October 29—people who have a real understanding of WHY we need nothing less than a revolution... what that revolution would do... how we could make such a revolution at the soonest possible moment... and where YOU fit in.

“Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.”
—Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party

AMERICA WAS NEVER GREAT!
OVERTHROW, DON’T VOTE FOR, THIS SYSTEM!
STOP KILLING EACH OTHER! START FIGHTING THE REAL ENEMY!

More info: Chicago Revolution Club,
312-804-9121, email: revclub.chi@gmail.com

 

Tired of trying to be the baddest broke-leg MF’er?
Watch Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution:

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/new-clashes-in-the-battle-at-standing-rock-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

More Than 125 Defiant Protesters Arrested: New Clashes in the Battle at Standing Rock

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Saturday, October 22, more than 300 protesters—people from different Native American tribes and others—faced off defiantly in North Dakota against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline threatens water supplies and tramples on burial grounds considered sacred by Native Americans at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The Morton County sheriffs moved against the protesters, using pepper spray and arresting 83 people. The sheriff’s department charged the protesters with “criminal trespass” and “engaging in a riot.”

A protester wrote: “Sitting at the hospital in Fort Yates because today at the action the police maced, and hit innocent people with their batons. Our fellow youth council members were hit with a baton multiple times because they tried to protect the children. One of us got arrested and another is in the hospital. This is what they are doing to us. Police brutality at its finest people.”

The heroic resisters have faced brutality at the hands of armed oil company thugs as well as official pigs and mass arrests before in this months-long struggle. And the protesters were undaunted by this latest repression. The next day, October 23, hundreds of people blocked Highway 1806. By the end of the weekend, a total of 127 protesters had been arrested. The Censored News blog reports that there is a call for continuing protests in the coming days and for more people to join.

On October 23 the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, said in a statement: "The militarization of local law enforcement and enlistment of multiple law enforcements agencies from neighboring states is needlessly escalating violence and unlawful arrests against peaceful protestors at Standing Rock. We do not condone reports of illegal actions, but believe the majority of peaceful protestors are reacting to strong-arm tactics and abuses by law enforcement.

"Thousands of water protectors have joined the Tribe in solidarity against DAPL, without incident or serious injury. Yet, North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to their nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal."

The DAPL is a 1,200-mile-long pipeline that, when completed, would carry 500,000 barrels of oil a day, extracted through environmentally destructive methods in northwest North Dakota. The burning of that oil would pump more greenhouse gases into the environment, further escalating the global climate crisis. While DAPL hasn’t attracted the same level of international attention as the Keystone XL pipeline, which crosses the U.S.-Canada border, DAPL is on the same scale. The pipeline route cuts through land that is historically and culturally important to the Sioux and other Native people. And leaks from the pipeline where it is designed to cross the Missouri River would threaten the water, health, and livelihood of the people at Standing Rock reservation and millions of others in the region.

On Saturday, October 22, 83 people were arrested as 300 protestors stood their ground to block the attempts to build the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The proposed pipeline would savage the environment and endanger several nearby Native American reservations and lands.

Starting with a few protesters earlier this year, the defiant struggle of the “water defenders,” as many at Standing Rock call themselves, has drawn in hundreds of Native tribes—including ones with longstanding historic conflicts—as well as environmental activists and a wide range of people compelled to take a stand against injustice and oppression. Thousands of people are now part of an encampment near the Standing Rock reservation. Well-known voices, such as Edward Snowden and Susan Sarandon, have come out in support of the anti-DAPL protests, and actor Shailene Woodley was among those arrested at a protest earlier this month. At least 19 city governments have passed resolutions or written letters opposing construction of the pipeline.

The determined actions of the fighters at Standing Rock are posing big questions about the ongoing genocide of indigenous people and the predatory nature of the oil-addicted capitalist-imperialist system. On the other side are not just the capitalists who have billions of dollars invested in the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, but the ruling class as a whole who are all committed to what they call U.S. “energy independence.” Whatever the conflicts among themselves, they are in agreement on the need, based on their imperialist interests, to increase domestic fuel production in order to gain strategic advantage over rival world powers, as part of maintaining their position as top global oppressor and exploiter.

The situation at Standing Rock has been intensifying. On October 9, a federal appeals court denied the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request for an injunction to halt the pipeline construction. The pipeline company immediately restarted the construction, which had been temporarily stopped. On October 10, the police arrested 27 people carrying out a peaceful protest to stop the pipeline crews. Mainstream and Trump-style fascist media (which are barely distinguishable from each other in rural North and South Dakota) have whipped up a climate of violent hatred for “the Indians” among significant numbers of whites in the area, who are armed and openly threatening Native Americans and those they perceive as supporting them.

Adding to the urgency is the approach of the brutally cold Dakota winter, when temperatures often drop below minus 30 degrees, accompanied by ferocious Plains winds and large snow drifts. That will pose serious challenges for the Standing Rock encampment, as well as for those carrying out the pipeline construction.

The just, courageous stand of the protesters at Standing Rock—and the vicious repression they are up against—present a challenge to everyone: Which side are you on? All those who hate injustice and oppression and aspire to a better world need to stand with and support this struggle.

 

For background on the struggle at Standing Rock, see these revcom.us articles:

High Stakes, Intensifying Contradictions at Standing Rock

Native Americans Fight Modern-Day Genocide: Standing Up at Standing Rock

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/special-election-coverage-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/trumps-refusal-to-accept-the-election-results-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Behind Trump's Refusal to Pledge to Accept Election Results

Trump's Fascism, Clinton's Refusal to Call Him Out, and the Illegitimacy of This Whole System

October 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, October 19, at the presidential debate, Donald Trump refused to pledge that he would recognize the results of the election. In the days since, there has been an uproar from the media and many politicians. “This goes against what makes America great,” they say. When they try to explain Trump’s motives for what is, in many ways, an unprecedented statement, they may say that he’s a “narcissist” or that he has the “wrong temperament”—Hillary Clinton at the debate even said that it’s because he’s a sore loser, and compared this to the way he acted when he lost the Emmy award for his TV show.

It’s way deeper than that. And way more significant than they’re letting on.

The Elephants in the Room: Unbridled Racism...

First, let’s look at what they are NOT saying. A lot of Donald Trump’s argument that the election is supposedly rigged boils down to the idea that Black people and immigrants are going to be committing voter fraud. So let’s ask this: Where was the question at the debate, or the statement from Clinton, that called attention to the fact that Trump in the days leading up to the debate had been essentially calling on his supporters to prevent Black people and immigrants from voting by directly confronting them at the polling places? Where was this even mentioned?

Indeed, where during or after this debate was there even mention of the fact that Trump has recently made a point of calling for the re-imprisonment of the Central Park 5—despite the fact that the railroad of these Black and Latinos youths was a notorious racist frame-up in which Trump himself was a major player, and that they have been convincingly exonerated?1

Trump’s whole campaign has normalized open and vitriolic racist attacks against Mexicans and Chicanos, Black people, Muslims, and immigrants way beyond even what Reagan and Bush I did. And by the way, despite Obama and Clinton now wanting to “claim” the mantle of Ronald Reagan, he not only ran an extremely racist campaign but was infamous while he lived for his racist agitation and actions.2

Hillary Clinton’s tepid criticism of Trump at the debate for “going after” different groups of people doesn’t begin to capture the real venom involved at every single one of his rallies, the real terms of it, and the real aims. And now, should Trump persist in this, there is the real possibility of armed white supremacist fascists answering his call to “monitor” the vote in the big cities. (See “Trump Goes Even Further in Openly Rallying White Supremacist Fascists,” update October 20, 2016.)

...And Fascism

Here’s another elephant in the room, just as big as the first one: Trump’s whole campaign has been an openly fascist one, giving vicious and aggressively open expression to the ugliest trends. Where was, and where is, the major politician of either major party who is willing to say that Trump all along has been whipping up an openly fascist movement and analyzing his threat in that light?

Trump calls into question the traditions of U.S. capitalist democracy from a reactionary point of view of making things even more repressive.

And no, the elections are not “rigged” in the sense that Trump means it. Trump implies that if only they were done by the rules, all would be well. Trump is pushing the idea that the system works perfectly, but it’s been broken by corrupt people like the Clintons, and now we need a “strong man” to make the system work. No—this system has never “worked” to do anything but grind down and exploit billions, from the slavery and genocide on which it was founded to its worldwide empire today. The elections themselves are designed to serve the rule of the capitalist-imperialists as a class.

Ask yourself this: if the capitalist-imperialists did NOT control the elections, then how in the world would an ignoramus like Trump get so much free air time and publicity? No other candidate even came close to him on this. How did Trump go on and on, debate after debate, and interview after interview, without being shredded—or even seriously confronted—for his racism, his lies, his views of and attacks on women, his open attacks on the rule of law, and all the rest? What does it say that all the candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties treated him as “legitimate”—when, again, it has been clear all along that he is a brutal fascist?

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump may cultivate the image of someone “who says what he thinks,” but in running this fascist stuff, Trump represents a significant section of the U.S. ruling class. Again, this is reflected both by how every major political player in this system still treats him as legitimate and will not call out his fascism. It is further reflected by the presence of significant ruling class politicians and forces who are in Trump’s camp. This includes people like Rudolf Giuliani with his ties to the police forces and repressive apparatus, Mike Pence with his deep ties to the Christian fascists, Newt Gingrich with his past history as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and key Republican leader, retired general Michael Flynn with his background of high-level military positions, etc.

These forces have for a long time pushed the idea that much greater repression is needed to hold society together. They look around at the fact that for large sections of people the so-called “American Dream”—the idea that each generation would at least be materially better off than their parents—is dying. They see potential in that for disillusionment, questioning, and unrest and they don’t like it—or they want to turn it to reactionary purposes. They see both a necessity and an opportunity to direct the resentment of millions of whites toward Black and Latino people, and toward immigrants of color—and they seize on it. They look at the threats to American domination of the world (which is in fact the basis for that “dream” in the first place), and they see the need for more militarism and more repression to shore up that domination. They look at the way that changes in the economy are undermining “traditional relations,” and they attempt to cohere both men and women around the “traditional family”—and, in Trump’s case, the traditional prerogatives of males to openly and grossly prey upon women—to batter down women’s rights. They look at legal rights that people have fought for, and they see obstacles. In their view, if they need fascism to do all this, so be it.

What “Alternative” to Trump Does Hillary Clinton Actually Offer?

Donald Trump is a non-stop misogynist, a naked racist, a compulsive liar, and yes, on some level a ridiculous, fucking idiot (even as there’s a very deadly fascist logic to all this and a very ugly mass movement behind it). He’s got an ugly past and an uglier present. So in a certain sense, it’s relatively easy to look good in comparison. But what program was Hillary Clinton actually putting forward in “opposition” to Trump? And what’s her history?

Yes, Trump’s a raging jingoist, beating the drum for American military superiority and domination—but how did Clinton expose and counter that? By denouncing Trump for being a lightweight who’s too soft to run the U.S. empire! Mocking him as “Putin’s puppet” because he’s not “tough enough” against Russia. Because he was hosting Celebrity Apprentice while she was in the “Situation Room” overseeing the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Because he’s for “backing down” and conceding Aleppo, and Syria as a whole, to Russia, while she’s ready to escalate the war with a no-fly zone.

Clinton cited 10—apparently former presidents and VP’s—who’ve been responsible for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, who’ve said “they would not trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes or to have his finger on the nuclear button.” But what about Clinton’s fingers? Military officials are now warning that the no-fly zone she’s proposing in Syria could lead to a direct U.S.-Russia confrontation, with the potential to go nuclear. And let’s not forget that it was a “liberal” and very down-to-earth, “sensible” Democratic president—Harry S. Truman—who is the only person in history who actually utilized these weapons of mass incineration. Or that it was another liberal and one with intellectual pretentions—John F. Kennedy—who came closest by far to igniting a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Such is this system’s “lesser evil” and “realistic” alternative to Trump on foreign policy.

Clinton brags about her qualifications. Well, what are those qualifications? Being neck-deep in the first Clinton administration military embargo (“sanctions”) against Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of half a million children.3 Taking the lead in deciding to make war against Libya, which led to thousands of deaths directly and which made the refugee crisis much worse, leading to untold suffering. In other words, she’s arguing her qualifications to be—and promising to be—much more aggressive in using American force and violence all over the world.

What alternative did Hillary Clinton propose in opposition to Trump’s naked, violent anti-immigrant racism and incitement? She agreed on the need for border security. She feels walls should be built in places where that’s “appropriate.” And she went after him for hiring undocumented immigrants and hurting American workers. All this while staying totally silent on the fact that the Obama administration she was part of and still supports deported 2.5 million people—more than any president in U.S. history.

And what about women, where surely there’s no comparison; Hillary Clinton’s program really is fundamentally different than Trump’s ugly misogyny, right? Some of Clinton’s current positions, such as on abortion, are not identical to Trump’s. But a champion who’s “found her voice” for women? As Sunsara Taylor pointed out in Revolution, as Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama are excoriating Trump for abusing women, “To cite just one dimension of this: Even as Michelle Obama was delivering her recent speech, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. backing and U.S.-supplied arms, etc., is bombing and blowing to pieces large numbers of civilians, including many women and girls, in Yemen; and the same Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the U.S., embodies some of the most horrendous oppression of women and girls anywhere in the world.

“And this isn’t all. There is the reality that the system represented by the Obamas, the Clintons, and the Democrats, as well as the Republicans, rests in a fundamental way on a worldwide network of sweatshops, where masses of people, a large number of them women and girls, are viciously exploited.” (See “Women Are Not Bitches, Ho’s, or Punching Bags... Women Are Full Human Beings,“ October 15, 2016).

       

In other words, Hillary Clinton is just as much a representative of the system of capitalism-imperialism as Trump is. What separates them is that she represents a section of the ruling class that believes a different set of “cohering norms” (what people agree to as “legitimate”) is needed to keep the U.S. as top dominator of a rapidly changing world. These include at least the appearance of “inclusivity” and “diversity,” some form of a social safety net, and the claim of adherence to the rule of law (while continuing to further undercut and shred the actual rule of law and legal rights of the people as Obama has done). Clinton and those she represents believe that traditional notions of bipartisanship are essential to holding this monstrous empire together at a time of tremendous stress, strain, and challenge. They think that the GOP/Trump program would destabilize, weaken, and threaten the whole oppressive system.

The Democrats and the “Pyramid of Power”

It’s important to understand that Clinton and the Democrats also appeal to a different social base than the Republicans.

In “The Pyramid of Power And the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down,” BA explains:

Who are the people that they try to appeal to—not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to at the base, on the other side of this pyramid, so to speak? All the people who stand for progressive kinds of things, all the people who are oppressed in this society. For the Democrats, a big part of their role is to keep all those people confined within the bourgeois, the mainstream, electoral process...and to get them back into it when they have drifted away from—or broken out of—that framework. Because those people at the base are always alienated and angry at what happens with the elections, for the reason I was talking about earlier: they are always betrayed by the Democratic Party, which talks about “the little man” and poor people and the people who are discriminated against, and so on. And at times they’ll even use the word oppression. But then they just sell out these people every time—because they don’t represent their interests. They represent the interests of the system and of its ruling class. But they have a certain role of always trying to get people who are oppressed, alienated and angry back into the elections. You know: “Come on in, come on in—it’s not as bad as you think, you can vote, it’s OK.” This is one of the main roles they play. But the thing about them is that they are very afraid of calling into the streets this base of people that they appeal to, to vote for them. The last thing in the world they want to do is to call these masses of people into the streets to protest or to battle against this right-wing force that’s being built up.

This points to a key reason why Clinton and the Democrats do NOT want to directly call out Trump for what he actually is—a fascist—and do NOT want to make a big deal out of his threats to unleash armed racists at the polls. As BA points out, the Democrats fear that doing so would arouse and unleash their social base in confrontation against these fascists, and that then “the genie is out of the bottle.” That is, as people begin to question and resist what they normally accept, the movement for revolution can seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces.

It is very important that every progressive person, everyone wanting to see change, who believes that the Democrats are “our only hope” in this situation, come to grips with this basic point from BAsics 3:11:

These right-wing politicians (generally grouped within the Republican Party) can, will, and do actively mobilize this essentially fascist social base...yet, on the other side, the sections of the ruling class that are more generally represented by the Democratic Party are very reluctant to, and in fact resistant to, mobilizing... the base of people whose votes and support in the bourgeois political arena the Democrats seek to gain. This (Democratic Party) side of the ruling class generally is not desirous of—and in fact recoils at the idea of—calling that base into the streets, mobilizing them either to take on the opposing forces in the ruling class and their social base or in general to struggle for the programs that the Democratic Party itself claims to represent and actually in some measure does seek to implement....

As an amplification of the basic point here, it is important to recognize this: Within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, and with the underlying dynamics of this system, which fundamentally set the terms, and the confines, of “official” and “acceptable” politics, fascism—that is, the imposition of a form of dictatorship which openly relies on violence and terror to maintain the rule and the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system—is one possible resolution of the contradictions that this system is facing—a resolution that could, at a certain point, more or less correspond to the compelling needs of this system and its ruling class—while revolution and real socialism, aiming toward the final goal of communism, throughout the world, is also a possible resolution of these contradictions, but one that would most definitely not be acceptable to the capitalist-imperialist ruling class nor compatible with the imperatives of this system!

Trump, the “Lesser Evil” Clinton, and the Illegitimacy of This Whole System

Donald Trump’s fascism, Hillary Clinton’s refusal to call this out or mobilize serious opposition to it, and the fact that both represent the same oppressive, murderous system, exposes the bankruptcy of the “lesser evil” argument, and the illegitimacy of the whole set-up.

As we argued in “The Deadly Logic of the Lesser Evil”:

As for the argument, “Well, yes, Clinton is not what we really want, she is actually quite bad, but she is ‘the lesser evil,’ and there are realistically only two choices—either Clinton or Trump—so if you don’t go for Clinton you are helping elect Trump,” this actually amounts to nothing more than the argument that, “As long as you accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system, you have to accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system.” Doesn’t the fact that this system has produced someone like Trump as a “legitimate” candidate, heading one of the two major political parties of this system—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the utter illegitimacy of the whole system? And the fact that Clinton and the Democrats will only oppose Trump with arguments that amount to insisting that they are better representatives of this same system, and can do a better job of perpetrating its crimes—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the urgent need to break with the logic and assumptions of this system and rise up against it and those who represent it, including Clinton as well as Trump? (August 1, 2016)

This gets to the very essential point made by Bob Avakian:

“The much-proclaimed democracy under this system is a sham, and worse—it promotes the illusion that it is expressing ‘the will of the people,’ while really involving the people in ‘legitimizing’ the rule of a rapacious and murderous class of capitalist-imperialists, who dominate and shape the electoral process, and political decision-making overall, and whose rule is in reality a dictatorship that fundamentally relies on brutally oppressive force and violence.” (June 6, 2016)

What Must Be Done

This underscores the importance of what we wrote in Revolution only a few days ago and how it has taken on increased urgency with the wildly unpredictable but very possibly convulsive turns events could take up to November 8, and afterwards:

[T]his is no ordinary election. The potential for further and much deeper crisis to erupt in the days to come, and especially around the election itself and its immediate aftermath, looms very large. The already sharp conflicts between sections of the ruling class could deepen and crack further. Such crisis can act as a jolt on people, jarring them out of their normal way of looking at things and leading them to question and resist what they normally accept. We need to come from behind to be ready to seize on whatever does happen to hasten REVOLUTION, preparing and organizing masses of people to 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.

This means confronting the actual situation and fighting to take things as far as possible, including in the current Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour, working to bring into being a revolutionary situation—a situation, as the Party statement How We Can Win says, “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.


1. For background on the Central Park 5 case, see “How Trump Agitated for the Railroad of the—Innocent!—Central Park 5: Donald Chump, the Lynch Mob Master,” May 9, 2016 at revcom.us and “Propaganda Instruments of the Ruling Class... And the Railroad of the Central Park 5,” December 16, 2012, by Bob Avakian, also at revcom.us. [back]

2. In 1980, Ronald Reagan officially kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Neshoba County, at a fairgrounds used as a meeting place by the KKK and where, in 1964, civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were killed. Such symbolism characterized how Reagan appealed to and promoted white supremacy without actually using overt racist language. The tone of George H.W. Bush’s campaign for president was set with the infamous “Willie Horton” ad that showed a Black man who, while on his ninth furlough from a Massachusetts prison, was arrested and charged with rape. Bush’s campaign manager bragged that it wouldn’t be necessary to say Horton was Black, that because of the ad “Every woman in this country” would “know what Willie Horton looks like before this election is over.” [back]

3. For background, see “American Crime Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions on Iraq—‘A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter’,” October 17, 2016. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/bob-avakian-the-reality-behind-the-rhetoric-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

The Reality Behind the Rhetoric of "The Great Tradition of American Democracy"

From Bob Avakian's Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ever since Donald Trump declared that he would not pledge to abide by the outcome of the elections, there has been a storm of criticism. He has been criticized for violating the tradition of peaceful transition of power and abiding by the will of the people—"the tradition that has made America special," we are told.

We have spoken elsewhere as to the real meaning and real problem with Trump's pronouncement. But it's at least equally necessary to address this argument being made against Trump about "American greatness." The following piece by Bob Avakian—an excerpt from Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy—digs very deeply into the reality beneath this kind of argument. The entire work itself provides a deep understanding of why we say that American was never great, why it must be overthrown, and some crucial elements of the kind of revolutionary society that must replace it.

This work by Bob Avakian was first published in 2008.

 

“Competing Elites”—and
Moving Beyond “Elites”

 

Order Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

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Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The concept of “competing elites” is an important element of theories of bourgeois democracy and how it is the best system possible. The basic argument is that the existence of competing elites is crucial in order for people—and, in particular, those who are not part of the “elites”—to exercise initiative by being able to choose among, and thereby being able to influence, these competing elites. For example, Robert A. Dahl, in his book Democracy and Its Critics, speaks to what he calls an “MDP”—standing for Modern Dynamic Pluralist—society and how this best serves what he characterizes with the term “Polyarchy”—which, according to Dahl, involves “a set of political institutions that, taken together, distinguish modern representative democracy from all other political systems, whether non-democratic regimes or earlier democratic systems.” (Robert A. Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics, Yale University Press, 1989, p. 218.)

Dahl argues that:

polyarchy provides a broad array of human rights and liberties that no actually existing real world alternative to it can match. Integral to polyarchy itself is a generous zone of freedom and control that cannot be deeply or persistently invaded without destroying polyarchy itself....Although the institutions of polyarchy do not guarantee the ease and vigor of citizen participation that could exist, in principle, in a small city-state, nor ensure that governments are closely controlled by the citizens or that policies invariably correspond with the desires of a majority of citizens, they make it unlikely in the extreme that a government will long pursue policies that deeply offend a majority of citizens. What is more, those institutions even make it rather uncommon for a government to enforce policies to which a substantial number of citizens object and try to overturn by vigorously using the rights and opportunities available to them. If citizen control over collective decisions is more anemic than the robust control they would exercise if the dream of participatory democracy were ever realized, the capacity of citizens to exercise a veto over the reelection and policies of elected officials is a powerful and frequently exercised means for preventing officials from imposing policies objectionable to many citizens. (Democracy and Its Critics, p. 223)

Well, let’s look at things in the actually existing real world. [Laughter] Let’s take what Dahl has said here, which expresses a fairly common affirmation of what is in reality bourgeois democracy, and see how this measures up to—and what it actually amounts to in—this real world. Let’s begin with the assertion, which Dahl makes emphatically, that in such a society it is “unlikely in the extreme that a government will long pursue policies that deeply offend a majority of citizens” and that “What is more, those institutions even make it rather uncommon for a government to enforce policies to which a substantial number of citizens object and try to overturn by vigorously using the rights and opportunities available to them.”

In regard to this, I cannot help paraphrasing Lenin here, to say that Dahl might wish that there were a law against laughing in public (and for all we know, the Bush regime may yet oblige such a wish). Otherwise, to make reference to significant current events, and specifically to the millions and tens of millions who have tried by “vigorously using the rights and opportunities available to them” to prevent and then bring to an end the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and numerous other policies of the Bush regime which are not only opposed but deeply detested by a very substantial segment of the population in the U.S.—probably a majority—if Dahl’s statement were repeated among such people, it would very likely be drowned out under a tidal wave of bitter laughter.

What does—and does not—happen through elections...
what is—and is not—meaningful political activity

It is not just experience in this immediate period, but experience throughout the history of this country that has illustrated time and again the following essential truths:

1) There is, in the U.S., a ruling class that has interests which are very different from and fundamentally in opposition to those of the masses of citizens.

2) This ruling class in reality exercises a dictatorship—that is, a monopoly of political power backed up by and concentrated in a monopoly of armed power over the rest of society—and those who at any given time are administering that dictatorship will continue to pursue policies they are determined to carry out, even in the face of massive popular opposition, unless and until the larger interests of the ruling class dictate that it modify or even abandon a particular policy—or until that ruling class is overthrown.

3) Elections do not provide an avenue for the realization of the desire of masses of people to see these policies and actions of the government change—although mass political resistance can, under certain circumstances, make an important contribution to forcing changes in government policy, especially if this takes place in a larger context where these policies are running into real trouble and, among other things, are leading to heightened divisions within the ruling class itself.

If we step back a few decades from the present, we can see how the experience around Vietnam provided a concentrated example of all this. As I have pointed out before, there were two elections in relation to Vietnam which involved significant contention and “soul searching” particularly among people strongly opposed to the Vietnam war, and which illustrate the basic point I am making—and debunk the notions that Dahl is putting forward.

First, there was the election in 1964 when the U.S. began to significantly escalate its “involvement” in Vietnam. To inject a personal element into this—but something which touches on a more general phenomenon—this is one of the two elections for president of the United States in which I actually voted. It was the first election in which I was eligible to vote, and after some agonizing I decided to vote for Lyndon Johnson in that 1964 election (I voted for Eldridge Cleaver in 1968, but that was a very different story). At the time of that 1964 election, there was a very intense debate in the “movement” about whether or not to vote—that is, whether or not to vote for Johnson. Johnson was coming out on behalf of civil rights, making concessions to the massive struggle around that, and at the same time, even while as president he was carrying out an escalation of the Vietnam war, he was not openly talking in the crazy and extreme terms that his rival, the Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, was. Goldwater was famous—or some would say infamous—for his statement, at the time of his nomination at the Republican Convention in 1964, that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Of course, Goldwater conceived of liberty and justice in bourgeois and imperialist terms, and he saw the Vietnamese people’s resistance to U.S. domination as a vice—a violation of and interference with imperialist liberty and justice. So Goldwater was talking in extreme terms about Vietnam—bombing the Vietnamese back to the Stone Age, or language similar to that. Many people in the broad movement of that time were arguing that, with all this in mind, you had to vote for Johnson—that it was absolutely essential, in terms of Vietnam as well as other key issues, to vote for Johnson—and I, along with many others, was influenced and finally persuaded by this. So we went and held our noses, as people often do these days, and voted for the Democrat, Lyndon Johnson.

 

Well, after the election was over—during which Johnson had run campaign ads talking about the extreme danger of what Goldwater would do in Vietnam—Johnson himself proceeded to massively escalate the war in Vietnam, both in terms of bombing that country and in terms of beginning the process of sending wave after wave of U.S. troops to Vietnam (which, by the late 1960s, reached the level of 500,000). And, of course, those of us who had been persuaded and cajoled into voting for Johnson felt bitterly betrayed by this. This provided a very profound lesson.

By the time the 1972 elections came around (and I spoke to this somewhat in my memoir),10 once again there was, even within the Revolutionary Union (the forerunner of our Party) as well as more broadly among those opposed to the Vietnam war, a big debate and struggle about whether it was necessary to support the “anti-war candidate,” George McGovern—or, to put it another way, to vote against Nixon. Within the RU itself, arguments were made that it was “our internationalist duty to the Vietnamese people” to vote for McGovern and get Nixon out, because otherwise Nixon would escalate the war in Vietnam again, but McGovern would bring an end to the war.

Well, in the end, I (and the leadership of the RU overall) didn’t go for this. We did examine the question seriously—we didn’t just take a dogmatic approach. I remember being up many nights wrestling with the question: Is this a particular set of circumstances which requires an exception to the general approach of not supporting, not even holding your nose and voting for, bourgeois electoral candidates? But I came to the conclusion—on the basis of a lot of agonizing and of wrangling with others—that, no, it was not “our internationalist duty to the Vietnamese people” to support McGovern, that instead our internationalist duty was better served by continuing to build mass resistance against that war and the overall policies of the government—and, more fundamentally, opposition to the system as a whole—which is what we set out to do.

But there were many who did get drawn into the whole McGovern thing. It might be very interesting for those of you who weren’t around at the time (or were not yet politically conscious and active) to go back and look at films, if they are available, of the 1972 Democratic Convention. There was Jerry Rubin, and many other “movement people,” who were being welcomed into the killing embrace of “mainstream” bourgeois politics, and specifically the Democratic Party—back within those suffocating confines. And, in truth, some of them were feeling a certain sense of relief in believing that, after years of struggling to change things from outside those confines—with all the difficulties, sacrifices, and, yes, real dangers, bound up with that—maybe there could be an avenue for changing things “from within.” But, of course, what happened in reality is that Nixon trounced McGovern in the elections. Through the machinery of bourgeois electoral politics, and the dynamics of bourgeois politics in a more general sense, things were more or less set up that way. Without going into too many particulars here, it is worth noting that McGovern was barely out of the gate campaigning, after the Democratic Convention, when his running mate (vice presidential nominee) Thomas Eagleton was exposed as having been a “mental case,” as it was popularly conceived at the time. Eagleton, it turned out, had at one point sought psychiatric help, and this made him “unfit” to be vice president and next in line as head of state. So they had to replace him with Sargent Shriver (of the Kennedy clan). And more generally, the whole McGovern campaign was a debacle, right from the beginning. Nixon ended up winning almost every state in the presidential election that year.

Many people were demoralized by this—essentially because they had accepted, and confined themselves within, the terms of bourgeois electoral politics. Yet a few months after the 1972 election, Nixon was forced to sign a “peace agreement” on Vietnam. While this took place in the context of larger international factors—including the contention between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (which was then a social-imperialist country: socialist in name but imperialist in fact and in deed), as well as the international role at that time of China, which was then a socialist country but was adopting certain tactical measures, including an “opening to the west,” as part of dealing with the very real threat of attack by the Soviet Union on China—it was, to a significant degree, because of the continuing struggle of the Vietnamese people, and massive opposition within the U.S. itself to U.S. aggression in Vietnam, that Nixon was forced to sign this “peace agreement.”

This agreement led, first, to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam—and an attempt by Nixon to carry out “Vietnamization” (getting the army of the U.S.-dependent South Vietnamese government to more fully fight the war, backed up by U.S. air power)—and then led, only a couple of years later, to the ultimate and very welcomed defeat of U.S. imperialism and its puppet government in South Vietnam. You all have seen the scenes of people scrambling to get on the helicopters leaving the U.S. embassy in 1975, as the National Liberation Front troops (the so-called “Vietcong”) knock down the gate to that embassy.

Now, the important lesson for what we’re talking about here is that in neither case—neither in 1964 nor in 1972—were the decisive changes that occurred brought about by the elections. Quite the contrary. In 1964 people massively voted for someone who supposedly wouldn’t escalate the Vietnam war—and then he escalated that war on a massive scale. In 1972 many people voted against Nixon because he was going to escalate the war further—but he was forced to pull out U.S. troops, and that led to the ultimate defeat of the U.S. and its puppet government in South Vietnam.

In both cases, the compelling pull and the seeming logic that it was crucial to vote for a Democrat—or at least to vote against the Republican—in order to avert real disasters, was not borne out at all in reality. And the reason for that is very basic: Elections are not the actual dynamics through which essential decisions about the policies of the government, and the direction of society, are made—the votes of the people in elections are not the actual forces compelling changes of one kind or another. This is what is dramatically illustrated if you examine—and in particular, if you examine scientifically—these two elections, which in effect bracketed the heavy involvement of the U.S. in Vietnam (the 1964 election toward the beginning, and the 1972 election toward the end, of that involvement).

So, let’s issue a challenge: Let anyone explain how holding your nose and voting for the Democrat (or enthusiastically voting for the Democrat) in either or both of those elections led to, and was responsible for, changes of the one kind or the other—negative changes in 1964, with the escalation by the U.S. of the war in Vietnam, and 8 years later the positive change of U.S. imperialism heading for decisive defeat in its attempt to impose its domination on Vietnam through massive devastation of that country and the slaughter of several million of its people. No, none of this happened through elections, because elections are not the actual basis and the real vehicle through which truly significant changes in society (and the world), of one kind or another, are brought about.

This is obviously extremely relevant now, when there is a widespread hatred, in certain ways unprecedented in its scale and in some senses in its depth, for the whole regime associated with George W. Bush, and yet people have great difficulty rupturing with the notion that the only possible avenue for changing the course of things is to get sucked once again into the dynamics of bourgeois politics—which are set up to serve, and can only serve, the interests of the ruling class, and which have not and do not provide the means and channels through which changes in the interests of the people can be brought about.

In light of all this, we can see the fundamental error reflected in Dahl’s assertion that “the capacity of citizens to exercise a veto over the reelection and policies of elected officials is a powerful and frequently exercised means for preventing officials from imposing policies objectionable to many citizens.” In fact, the means through which that happens is massive upsurge and resistance, in combination with other factors—including resistance, struggle and revolution in other parts of the world, as well as other contradictions that the imperialists are running up against, even short of revolution to overthrow them. That is the basis on which, and the means through which, officials are prevented from continuing to impose policies objectionable to large numbers of people.

Can the people really be nothing more than pawns of elites?

And here we get to the fundamental point: What Dahl upholds as a “good society”—or, as people like him see it, the best possible society—is one in which the role of the masses of people, of the citizens, is reduced to acting as a “check” on the elites who actually make political decisions. This is another expression of the notion that the best possible political system is one in which there is not one supposedly uniform and monolithic elite, but competing elites, and the “freedom” of the masses of people—including the preservation of their human rights and liberties—resides ultimately in their ability to choose among, and perhaps maneuver between, competing elites. The presumption is that, particularly through the medium of elections, this will somehow cause the elites to compete for the people’s support in such a way that somehow the will of the people will be exercised in setting the direction of society, to the degree that is really possible in a modern, complex society.

Well, to more thoroughly refute this, to demonstrate what it amounts to in reality—and to make clear that it is possible to have a radically different and much better kind of society, in which the role of the people is actually to be the decision-makers, through an overall process which takes place in a qualitatively different way and in a whole greater dimension than anything practiced, or even conceived, by the rulers and political theorists of capitalism (and previous forms of society in general)—let’s begin with the following, speaking to the essential nature and role of elections as the ultimate expression of democracy in bourgeois society:

To state it in a single sentence, elections: are controlled by the bourgeoisie; are not the means through which basic decisions are made in any case; and are really for the primary purpose of legitimizing the system and the policies and actions of the ruling class, giving them the mantle of a “popular mandate,” and of channeling, confining, and controlling the political activity of the masses of people. (Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?, p. 68)

To illustrate this further—and to further highlight what is wrong with the notion of influencing competing elites in a way that will benefit the people—let’s turn to a similar argument that was made by Malcolm X. Much as I love Malcolm, it is necessary to point to the limitations of his view of and approach to this—which ultimately flow from the fact that he had not taken up the scientific, materialist and dialectical, viewpoint of communism (although his development was in motion and was cut short by his assassination). In a speech which, back in the day, I listened to over and over again, and which I still enjoy in many ways, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm goes into a whole argument about how Black people shouldn’t be slavishly dependent upon and loyal to the Democrats. With his typical sharpness and biting wit, he speaks of how the Democrats and the Republicans are of the same type—they’re both canines, both of the same family as the dog: one is a wolf and the other is a fox—and they are both against you. But, in the end, what Malcolm proposes is a familiar device: He argues that Black people in particular shouldn’t just be a tail on the Democrats—who simply take Black people for granted and never do anything for them—but instead Black people should form a voting bloc and reward, or punish, those who do, or who don’t, act in ways that benefit Black people.

Malcolm talks about how, at the time Lyndon Johnson became president, after Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson flew back into Washington, D.C., and the first thing he did, when his plane landed, was to look around for his friend Richard Russell. As Malcolm tells it, Johnson “gets off the plane and what does he do? He says, ‘Where’s Dickie?’ Now, who’s Dickie? Why, he’s that old racist, southern segregationist, white supremacist Richard Russell. No, that man is just too tricky, ‘cause his best friend is still old Dickie.” [Laughter]

We shouldn’t trust those Democrats, Malcolm insists. And he goes on to talk about how some people argue that Johnson can handle the southern segregationists because he’s from Texas and he knows them. Well, says Malcolm, if that’s the argument, what about Eastland—a senator who was one of the most overt southern segregationists—he knows the southerners even better. Why don’t we have Eastland for president!

Yes, Malcolm is very sharp in punching holes in this idea of relying on the Democrats—and it’s great to listen to this, even now. But then, ultimately, what does he say? Well, he argues, if Black people form a bloc, then the Republicans will have to come to us, and the Democrats will have to come to us, and we’ll go with whichever one will do more for us.

But what are the actual dynamics when this has been attempted? The Democrats come to you, and you put a bunch of demands on them and you insist: “Now, if you don’t do this, and you don’t do that, and you don’t do the other thing in our interests, why we’ll...we’ll...” [Laughter] You’ll what? You’ll vote for the Republicans?! You see, it’s very true, you’ve got the wolf and the fox, and one of them pretends to be for you and the other one doesn’t even pretend to be for you, as Malcolm explained. But those are your choices, as long as you play by the rules of the game that they have set up. So, what leverage do you really have in this game? If the Democratic Party’s role is to talk, at least sometimes, in terms that make you think that maybe with enough pressure applied to them you can make them adopt some of the things that you believe are really important—and if you try to put pressure on them to actually do that by threatening to vote for the Republicans—well, then, either openly or behind closed doors they will laugh uproariously, because they know you can’t go and vote for the Republicans, who don’t even pretend to be for those things that are important to you.

So, even on those terms and on that level, you have no leverage against them. They have you—you don’t have them—as long as you are looking at things as being concentrated within and finding their only (or their best possible) expression within these, yes, very killing confines of bourgeois elections (and bourgeois politics overall). It is only by breaking out of those confines that you can actually begin to influence things in a significant way—by going up against the whole operation of this machinery, breaking free of it and challenging it in a meaningful way.

The following from Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? helps to provide a concentrated summation of crucial points that are at issue here:

Many will say: how can the political system in a democratic country like the U.S. “serve to maintain the rule of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat” when everyone has the right to choose the political leaders by participating in elections? The answer to this is that elections in such a society, and the “democratic process” as a whole, are a sham—and more than a sham—a cover for and indeed a vehicle through which domination over the exploited and oppressed is carried out by the exploiting, oppressing, ruling class. (Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?, p. 68)

In order to have a deeper and more solid foundation for a correct understanding of this question, and to recognize more fully how apologies for bourgeois democracy, like that of Robert A. Dahl, represent fundamental distortions of reality, it is crucial to turn once again to the question of outlook and method—to the decisive importance of dialectical materialism, and, on the other hand, the striking lack of materialism (and lack of dialectics grounded in materialism) in bourgeois-democratic views and analyses.

One of the most basic truths that dialectical materialism brings to light is that the political and ideological/cultural superstructure in any society—and this definitely includes the U.S.—corresponds, and fundamentally can only correspond, to the character of the economic base of that society—in other words, to the underlying social and, above all, production relations and to the class relations and the forms of exploitation and domination that are rooted in those production relations. In a capitalist society, such as the U.S., the capitalist class predominates in the ownership of the crucial means of production; at the same time, there is a large group of people—the working class, or proletariat—numbering in the millions and millions in the U.S. today, who own no means of production and therefore can live only by working for, and being exploited by, the capitalist class which monopolizes ownership of the means of production; while some others own a small amount of the means of production, and perhaps employ a few people, and so constitute a part of the middle class (or petite bourgeoisie).11 If the superstructure—and in particular the political processes, institutions, policies, and so on—come into any kind of serious conflict with the dynamics of the underlying capitalist economic base and its process of accumulation, then the whole functioning of society will be seriously disrupted and, unless you’re prepared to follow that through to its full conclusion—in other words, to the overthrow of the system—you’ll be forced to recoil from that and to adjust things (to adopt or accept policies) so that the superstructure is once again brought back into conformity with the fundamental nature and functioning of the underlying economic base and the whole process of capitalist accumulation (as it takes place and takes shape not only in the particular country, but today more than ever on an international scale).

Grasping this is crucial in order to understand how and why things happen in society (and the world) the way they do, including how and why politicians act the way they do.

Why, repeatedly, are even people who know better on some level seemingly unable to help themselves and, time after time, vote for politicians who promise one thing and do another, and never really act in the basic interests of the people? This calls to mind the “Charlie Brown with Lucy” experience in the “Peanuts” cartoon: the scene where Lucy is going to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick it, and then at the last minute she pulls the ball away and he kicks wildly without making contact. He keeps falling for it—and she keeps doing it. Many, many people who have gotten involved in mainstream politics in one way or another have had this kind of experience—repeatedly. Remember, during the “traveling road show” of Democratic candidates before the last presidential election, in 2004, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton articulated some of what people wanted to hear, but Time magazine declared early on in the process that, although Sharpton often got the best popular response, he was not a serious candidate. Why was he not a serious candidate, especially if he was getting the best popular response? Well, Sharpton’s hardly a revolutionary, but even the things Sharpton said during that road show (however sincere he may or may not have been) were outside the pale of what the Democratic Party could actually seriously pursue, even in an election, let alone what it could actually do in running the government.

From the beginning, the conscious representatives of the ruling class were very well aware of all this. Sharpton, whatever his individual intentions, performed a function, objectively, of drawing people yet again into the bourgeois electoral framework, in particular people with a lot of progressive inclinations who were (and today still are) very dissatisfied—or even deeply distressed—with the whole direction of things. And Sharpton actually articulated and advocated the “competing elites” orientation. For example, while being interviewed on one of the main news channels, Sharpton explicitly argued that the role of the masses is to influence what the elites do. Nonetheless, he was “not a serious candidate,” nor was Kucinich, because what they were putting forward, as limited as it was in terms of any real change, had nothing to do with what the actual dynamics of the system were bringing forth and required.

So then you ended up with Kerry as the Democratic candidate, and we all know what that was about. It’s the same “Lucy and Charlie Brown” routine, over and over again. Maybe this time they’ll actually hold the football...No, this time they will do what they always do, leaving you feeling the blues again when, yet another time, they do what they do—and not what you are encouraged to imagine they will do. That’s what their role is—that is, it is in line with the actual functioning of the economic base to which these politicians, in an overall and ultimate sense, have to conform and which they have to serve. Through a lot of complexity and struggle, the politics and policies of the campaigns, and of running the government, get worked out among those who represent the capitalist ruling class and the capitalist system, the fundamental dynamics of which shape all this and set its basic terms and limits.12

In relation to all this, it is crucial to grasp that what characterizes the political system in this country—and in bourgeois democracies in general—is a monopoly of political power not by elites detached in some way from the underlying economic base, but a monopoly of political power by a group of people who, yes, occupy an elite position, but most essentially are an expression of definite relations of class domination and, fundamentally, definite exploitative production relations. The political representatives of the mainstream political parties (the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S.) are in an ultimate and all-around sense the expression, in the political-ideological superstructure, of the underlying production relations of capitalism and the dynamics of capitalist accumulation, particularly as this takes shape and operates in this era of highly globalized capitalist imperialism. They are the expression, in the political sphere, of the monopoly of ownership of the means of production by the capitalist class—which, through that control over the economy, also exercises a monopoly of political power, expressed in an ultimate and concentrated way as the monopoly of “legitimate” armed force, the control of the established armed forces and police of the country, along with control of the courts, the bureaucracies and the institutions and processes of government as a whole.

This fundamental reality—that all this is rooted in the underlying production relations and the accumulation process of the capitalist-imperialist system—is the fundamental reason why the “political elites” are not free to act any way they will—any way they themselves might like to—and, in a basic and overall sense, cannot makes decisions based on “mass pressure” that is exerted on them. While, in the face of massive political opposition and resistance—especially as this is manifested outside, and in opposition to, the established political framework and processes—they may be forced, in the short run, to make certain concessions, they will then work to reverse this, in the short run or over time, and in any case they are not free to act in a way that runs contrary to the fundamental class interests they represent, and to the production relations in which those class interests are grounded.

All this, again, is why, to put it simply, they act the way they do—repeatedly. This is why they say one thing and do another. This is why they get you to vote for them and then “sell you out” every time. This is why, for many years, the Democrats have had “no spine,” in opposing what the Bush regime has been insisting on doing. What exists, and is expressed, in the political system is, above all and in essence, a monopoly of political power, not for “un-rooted elites” floating free in the air, but for a class. And when, or to the degree that, the “political elites” actually do “compete,” they do so most fundamentally on the terms of that class and of the system in which that class dominates, and in an effort to win the approval and support of that ruling class (or particular sections of it). It is that ruling class which fundamentally and ultimately—including through struggle within its own ranks—determines what the parameters and limits of “acceptable” politics will be, who the competing candidates will be and what policies they will actually carry out.

It is important to emphasize the aspect of struggle within the ranks of this ruling class because it is necessary to have a living, scientific—dialectical as well as materialist—and not a crude, dogmatic and mechanical understanding of this. As I pointed out in an article that appeared in the newspaper of our Party, Revolution, in 200513 there is not a single “committee of the ruling class” sitting in permanent session and deciding all these things. Particularly in a large and complex imperialist country like the U.S., operating on the principles of bourgeois-democratic rule, things are much more complex than that, and decisions are arrived at through much more complex processes. But, in fundamental terms, it is the interests of the ruling capitalist-imperialist class that determine the character, and the confines, of political decision-making, including the electoral process and the actual functions this serves. Once again, deeply grasping this is crucial in understanding why politicians act the way they do and, in opposition to that, what are the actual means to effect social and political change, even short of revolution—and, ultimately, to make revolution in order to qualitatively and radically change the whole character of society and have that kind of qualitative and radical impact on the world as a whole.

 

10. Bob Avakian, From Ike To Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, Insight Press, Chicago, 2005. [back]

11. Here it might be helpful to refer to the following, which speaks to the essential features of the economic base (the production relations), in general and specifically in capitalist society:

The production relations, in any economic system, consist, first of all, of the system of ownership of the means of production (land and raw materials, machinery and technology in general, and so on). Along with, and essentially corresponding to, this system of ownership, are the relations among people in the process of production (the “division of labor” in society overall) and the system of distribution of the wealth that is produced. To take the example of capitalist society: Ownership of the means of production is dominated by a small group, the capitalist class, while the majority of people own little or no means of production; the “division of labor” in society, the different roles that different groups of people play in the overall process of production, including the profound division between those who carry out intellectual work and those who carry out physical work (the mental/manual contradiction, for short), corresponds to these relations of ownership (and non-ownership) of the means of production; and the distribution of the wealth produced is also in correspondence with this, so that the wealth that is accumulated by capitalists is, in a basic sense, in accordance with the capital they have (the means of production they own or control) and their role as exploiters of the labor power (the ability to work) of others, who own no means of production; while those who are not big capitalists but may own a limited amount of means of production, and/or have accumulated more knowledge and skills, receive a share of the wealth in accordance with that; and those on the bottom of society find their small share in the distribution of social wealth to be determined by the fact that they own no means of production, and have not been able to acquire much beyond basic knowledge and skills. It should not be surprising that these—highly unequal—relations and divisions in society continue to be reproduced, and even tend to be accentuated, through the ongoing functioning of the capitalist system, the ongoing process of capitalist accumulation and the social relations, the politics, and the ideology and culture which are in essential correspondence with and which enforce, and reinforce, the basic nature and functioning of this system. And especially in today’s world, this functioning of the capitalist system takes place not only within particular capitalist countries but above all on a world scale. (Bob Avakian, AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, Chicago, 2008, footnote, p. 163. [back]

12. Although the talk from which this text is drawn, was given in 2006, and therefore it does not speak to the current (2008) presidential campaign/election, the basic principles and analyses discussed here apply to bourgeois elections and politics in general, and the “Obama phenomenon” in this (2008) election is a graphic, and highly concentrated, illustration and confirmation of these principles and analyses. [back]

13. See “There is No ‘They’—But There is a Definite Direction to Things—The Dynamics Within the Ruling Class, and the Challenges for Revolutionaries,” in Revolution, #007, June 26, 2005; see also Bob Avakian, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, RCP Publications, Chicago, 2005, also available at revcom.us. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/hillary-clinton-not-champion-for-women-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Why Hillary Clinton Has Never Been, Is Not Now and Cannot Be a Champion for Women

by Sunsara Taylor

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To all those who listened and cheered because Hillary Clinton finally spoke firmly about abortion during the recent presidential debate against Trump:

1. Why the fuck has it taken her so goddamn long? Hillary has spent decades preaching the defensive mantra that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”The idea that abortion should be “rare” is rooted in the LIE that there is something wrong, shameful, or even “sinful” about abortion. No! Fetuses are NOT babies, abortion is NOT murder, and women are NOT incubators. There is nothing morally wrong with abortion and it should be available as often as necessary, to women who desire one for whatever reason, without shame or apology. What is immoral is forcing women to have children against their will—that is a form of enslaving women. But, for decades, Hillary Clinton—and the Democratic Party as a whole—has conceded the moral high ground to the Christian fascists who would deny women the right to abortion, has preached “respect” for the anti-abortion movement and its enslaving outlook and positions, has capitulated time and again as anti-abortion laws and restrictions are passed and abortion clinics are closed down nationwide, and has added their weight behind the mountains of shame that are piled on women who choose to use abortion by promoting the view that it should be “rare.” One debate in which Hillary speaks firmly about the right to abortion without apologizing or being defensive does not wipe the slate clean, does not make up for decades of damage she has had a direct part in.

2. No matter how different her political positions on abortion—and women, in general—are from Donald Trump and the other varieties of American fascists, she never has and never will firmly stand up against them and wage the fight necessary to defeat them. The record of the Democratic Party over decades has been one of capitulation and defensiveness in the face of relentless legal, ideological, and terroristic assault on abortion rights and abortion providers. Hillary and the Democrats were silent when Dr. George Tiller, a heroic late-term-abortion provider, was assassinated by a Christian fascist gunman in his church seven years ago. They were silent when a clinic in Wyoming was vandalized in 2014 so severely it has been unable to reopen. Hillary was silent on almost every single one of the more than 200 laws passed that closed dozens of abortion clinics between 2011 and 2013.

There is a reason for this silence. The reason is that no matter how sincere their belief in women’s right to abortion may be, they represent and preside over the system of American capitalism-imperialism, and they value and cherish the preservation and stability of that system above all else. They know that the Christian fascist wing of the ruling class and its social base of millions will stop at nothing to completely criminalize all forms of abortion and birth control. They know that defeating this fascist movement will require not merely a few soothing words from a few politicians, but a massive and ferocious struggle in the streets on the part of millions and in the culture and throughout society as a whole. They know that such a struggle would be profoundly destabilizing to their system and empire. It would interpenetrate with—and inspire people to stand up against—the many other outrages and crimes that are baked into this system: the police terror and murder, the drones and wars for empire, the destruction of the environment, and the massive demonization and deportations of immigrants. And they know that such a struggle would be hard to contain and keep within the bounds of this system. Patriarchy and the oppression of women is woven into the very foundation and functioning of capitalism-imperialism, and to really put an end to all of it—the rampant rape throughout society but especially in the military and on the police forces and in the halls of power; the cult of motherhood and shaming of women who step out of the domestic role; the hatred and shame hurled at women who enjoy sex; the revenge and humiliation of women mainstreamed in porn and strip clubs and sexual slavery; and more; as well as all the other crimes of this system—will take ripping this system up from its foundation and building a whole new society and world. It will take an actual revolution.

So, the kind of massive fight among millions in this country to defeat the Christian fascist program is a genie that Hillary and the Democrats, acting as rulers of this system, do NOT want to let out of the bottle. They fear the upheaval this would cause—and the dynamics it can set in motion—even more than the fascism of Trump and others.

3. Need more proof that Hillary Clinton will not and cannot be the champion women need—not even on the question of abortion? Just look at what she did the very next day after the debate. She sat and joked together with Donald Trump—the man who brags about sexually assaulting women in the crudest and most humiliating terms, the man who promised to “punish” women who get abortions, and who used the last debate to spread vicious and shaming lies about abortion to millions around the world—at a Catholic forum. She prayed with Trump in private and told him, “Donald, no matter what happens, we need to work together afterwards.” Then, she and Trump sat together on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Who is this “great unifier” Dolan? Who was this man chosen to bring the two candidates together? Timothy Dolan is so viciously against women being able to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child that he not only opposes all abortion in all circumstances, he personally led the movement of Catholic bishops nationally to break the law and refuse to allow secular women employed in Catholic hospitals and other institutions to get birth control coverage. Seriously. This dinner, cozying up to and seeking common ground with Trump on terms set by this arch-fascist bigot Dolan, speaks louder than one minute of lip service for abortion after 30 years of craven capitulation. Hillary is not, cannot be, and will not be a champion for abortion rights. Stop deluding yourselves.

4. There IS a way to beat back the escalating assault on women’s right to abortion—and, there is a way to break ALL the chains that bind women. This will not happen and cannot happen by voting for the Democrats. But it can happen through building massive political resistance to every assault on abortion—in the culture, in the laws, and in the street harassment and terror. By raising the slogan and fighting for its realization: Abortion on Demand and Without Apology! And, most of all, by linking this to—and strengthening—the movement to overthrow this whole system of capitalism-imperialism at the soonest possible time.

The leader we need to look to is named Bob Avakian (BA). As part of leading the all-round revolution that is necessary to emancipate all of humanity, BA has fought for decades to expose and reveal the vicious immorality of those who would deny the right to abortion, the deep roots of this patriarchy in thousands of years of tradition’s chains, the way all this is woven into and required by the system of capitalism-imperialism, the kind of ferocious struggle required to beat these attacks back and the profoundly liberating contribution that can—and must make—the fight to put an end to slavery and exploitation of every kind in every part of the world through an actual revolution. Bob Avakian and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party, are not afraid of the upheaval it will require to beat back this fascist assault because they have no interest in preserving this system or any of the crimes it carries out against humanity on a global scale and hourly basis. Rather, BA—and the movement for revolution he leads—are fired with the determination to unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution. Determined to lead men to take up this fight out of the deep understanding that it is impossible to break all the chains but one. Determined to bring into being through revolution a world free of exploitation and oppression in every form.

If you are horrified by the open misogyny and cruelty towards women being main-staged and mainstreamed by Trump, don’t settle for the “lesser” yet truly towering evil of the Democrats. Join in resisting these crimes and learning about, getting into, spreading, and becoming part of the actual revolution to bring about a whole different and far better world. Do this today. Here’s where you start: HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/the-nypd-execution-of-deborah-danner-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Chronicle of a Police Murder Foretold:

The NYPD Execution of Deborah Danner & the Sick System Behind It

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Deborah Danner foresaw the possibility that she and others like her could be murdered by the police. But she was unable to prevent it.

Deborah Danner was a 66-year-old Black woman. She was bright, articulate, well-educated—and suffering from schizophrenia. On Tuesday, October 18, she had a breakdown, as she'd had before. She just needed a little bit of understanding and a little bit of help.

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There were people who understood and tried to get her help. A neighbor called 911. Her sister was trying to get her to the hospital.

Then the NYDP arrived. They knew she suffered from mental illness—they'd been called to her Bronx, New York, apartment four times before. And they knew her family was trying to get her treatment. But they didn't give her understanding or help. They gave her two bullets in the chest, killing her. The only thing they came up with was a bullshit excuse for murdering her: this older woman "threatened" two armed cops with a baseball bat.

What does this needless police murder of a mentally ill person say about this entire society and system? What does it say that such murders by police go on over and over and over, decade after decade after decade? And what does it say that this system justifies them time and time again?

"Living with Schizophrenia"

Before her murder, Deborah Danner wrote poignantly in "Living with Schizophrenia" of how this system treats those suffering from mental illnesses:

Those who don't suffer believe the worst of those of us who do. We're treated with suspicion as liars who can't be trusted to control ourselves. We're asked to accept less than [our] natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I've lost several jobs because of stigma—jobs I was succeeding at... The saddest aspect of this sort of marginalization of the mentally ill is the fact that many remain untreated (the incarcerated mentally ill, the homeless mentally ill) and suffer terribly. We are all aware of the plight of the homeless mentally ill; we see them on our city streets on a daily basis—some in crisis and out-of-control, some silently suffering.

Deborah Danner also chronicled the treatment of the mentally ill at the hands of police:

We are all aware of the all too frequent news stories about the mentally ill who come up against law enforcement instead of mental health professionals and end up dead. We should all be aware that these circumstances represent very, very serious problems that need addressing.

Referring to the 1984 NYPD killing of Eleanor Bumpurs, she continues:

Many years ago, here in NY, a very large woman named Gompers [Bumpurs] was killed by police by shotgun because she was perceived as a "threat to the safety" of several grown men who were also police officers. They used deadly force to subdue her because they were not trained sufficiently in how to engage the mentally ill in crisis. This was not an isolated incident.*

30 Years After the Police Murder of Eleanor Bumpurs

We aren't living in the Middle Ages, when humanity had no understanding of the causes of mental illness and breakdowns. We live at a time of unprecedented scientific advance, a time when there is growing understanding of mental illness and real treatments available.

Many family members and caring social work and health care professionals do what they can to desperately help these human beings, who the system has first forsaken and in many cases itself damaged.

But how has this system responded, 30 years after the police murder of Eleanor Bumpurs?

One in five adults reportedly suffers from some form of mental illness in any given year in the U.S., as do millions more children. But there's never been adequate services for the millions of mentally ill people in this society. And now, over the past several decades, as our understanding of mental illness has increased, fewer and fewer resources have been devoted by the government to address this growing and horrible problem. Instead, this system has actually closed down institutions that were supposed to take care of the mentally ill—throwing thousands and thousands of mentally ill people into the streets. And there have been no real efforts to reverse this process.

Going back as far are the 1970s, it was already becoming evident that the closing down and emptying of state mental hospitals was resulting in a big increase in the numbers of mentally ill people ending up in jails and prisons. After 40-plus years, this is even more so the case, where the overall prison population has gone from under 200,000 in 1975 to over two million today—with over 350,000 mentally ill prisoners.

What does it say about this system that there are more mentally ill people in prisons and jails than are being treated?

Or that those charged with "serving and protecting" the people repeatedly murder those in need? That the mentally ill are 16 times more likely to be killed by police than others? That we live in a society where some one in four deadly police encounters involves someone with mental illness?

A system where these killings are part of a broader epidemic of police brutality, terror, and murder targeting especially Black, Brown and Native peoples, like Deborah Danner, because this system can't profitably exploit them so has no future for them.

Who and What Will Stop This Horror and Humanely Address the Issue of Mental Illness?

In the U.S. today, millions of mentally ill people have to suffer in needless ways—left untreated, thrown into the street, put behind bars. In the first six months of 2015 alone, 125 mentally ill people were killed by police. Who and what will stop this horror and humanely address the issue of mental illness? Not this capitalist system. It hasn't, and it can't.

Really addressing the problem of mental illness and meeting this social need would clash directly with the way this system operates—where investments are, and must, be made with the aim of making a profit. This—maximizing profit—is what drives this system, NOT meeting people's needs. And these workings of the capitalist system dictate what the government can and can't do, what it spends money on, and what it doesn't. This is why, even if they wanted to, the rulers of this system can never really address the problem of mental illness. And the era of intensified global competition has required a "leaner and meaner" capitalism and the slashing of all kinds of social services—including in health care.

Revolution—Nothing Less

What will it take to bring into being a society in which people with mental illnesses can live in. caring communities? One in which the state will back up and allocate resources to efforts to enable such people to fully contribute to society? A society in which the Deborah Danners of the world are valued as precious members of society, and treated with love, compassion, and understanding?

It will take an actual revolution—nothing less. A revolution in which millions of people, led by the revcoms, meet and defeat this system's violent forces of repression and seize state power. Then a whole new society can be brought into existence, with a radically different economy based on whole different criteria, with whole different dynamics, a whole different political system, and an entirely different morality. The blueprint and scientific plan for this society exists in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian.

As the statement issued by the New York Revolution Club says:

Over and over and over again, this system and its enforcer pigs murder innocent people. Eric Garner... Philando Castile... Alton Sterling... Keith Lamont Scott... and now Deborah Danner, a woman suffering a psychiatric crisis, who, like too many mentally ill people before her, shot dead by the police, when compassion and help are what's required. Police murder and white supremacy are built into this system. A system which needs to be overthrown at the soonest possible time—and it can be! It's Time To Get Organized for an Actual Revolution.

Get with this revolution now. Here's how.


* Eleanor Bumpurs was four months behind in her monthly rent of $98.65. Housing authorities were trying to evict her. The police went to her apartment, knowing she was mentally ill, and broke down the door. Cops claimed Eleanor Bumpurs was waving a knife, so they shot her two times with a shotgun and killed her. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/the-us-iraqi-assault-on-isis-controlled-mosul-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

The U.S.-Iraqi Assault on ISIS-Controlled Mosul:
A Murderous Clash of Reactionary, Outmoded Forces

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People flee their homes from Mosul, Iraq, October 18October 18, 2016.  Smoke rises as people flee their homes at the beginning of the U.S.-led assault to re-take the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group (ISIS). (AP photo)

On October 16, up to 100,000 Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish fighters, Shi’ite militiamen, and U.S. forces launched a massive military assault on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The city is now controlled by the reactionary jihadist Islamic State, or ISIS, which seized it from the Iraqi government in June 2014.

According to Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and President Obama this is an “Iraqi operation” whose goal is solely to “liberate” the people of Mosul.

Iraqis may make up the bulk of the forces, but this is a U.S.-directed operation being carried out in line with U.S. imperialist interests and objectives. There are some 12 generals and 5,000-6,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, including various “advisors,” Special Forces, and “forward air controllers” who are now on the front lines in Mosul and will be playing a crucial role in the battle. Even more critical is U.S. airpower. The U.S. has carried out 15,803 air attacks against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in the last two years and has been decisive in the Iraqi military’s ability to seize back other cities from ISIS and other Sunni forces, such as Ramadi and Fallujah.

All of these U.S.-led battles have involved mass carnage, destruction, and war crimes. The battle for Mosul promises to be no different. Fighting is now taking place and expected to last weeks if not months. Humanitarian relief organizations warn that the battle for Mosul could destroy much of the city, kill thousands, and create anywhere from 200,000 to a million refugees.

There are already reports that a funeral procession was hit by air strikes, possibly by U.S.-led forces, in the town of Daquq, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Mosul. The mayor there reported that 17 people, mainly women and children, were killed and another 50 wounded. U.S. military officials say they’re investigating.

Mosul & the Hellish Reality of U.S. “Liberation”

Mosul is a city in northern Iraq whose population is now mainly Arabs who follow the Sunni branch of Islam (the other major branch being Shi’ism). But Kurds, Turkamen, Shi’ite Arabs, and other peoples have historic ties to Mosul, a place where many of the country’s ethnic, national, and religious divisions collide. Mosul is also an example of how the 2003 U.S. war and occupation intensified old horrors and spawned new ones.

The U.S. claimed it invaded Iraq to do good in the world, and to liberate the people from the tyrant Saddam Hussein. Hussein was an oppressor, and the Iraqi people desperately needed liberation, but U.S. objectives were just the opposite: to seize a military, political, and economic stranglehold over Iraq, as part of a bigger plan to strengthen U.S. domination over the whole Middle East and the world. A key element of this plan was “draining the swamp”: reshaping Iraq and other societies in the region to transform the social, political, and economic factors driving the growth of anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism. But things didn’t work out as planned in Iraq—or anywhere else. Instead, the U.S. was unable to achieve its goals in Iraq, and its actions created new horrors and instability, including by reinforcing and fueling reactionary Islamic fundamentalism.

Hussein was overthrown and the U.S. installed a new regime dominated by reactionary Shi’ite religious parties and bourgeois Kurdish forces, eager to grab the spoils of war. The U.S. and the new regime targeted and suppressed Iraq’s Sunnis, a base of the Hussein regime. A vicious imperialist occupation, sectarian civil war, and violent ethnic cleansing quickly broke out that has raged—in one form or another—ever since, focused now in Mosul.

This horrific cauldron has led to the deaths of between 600,000 and 1.4 million Iraqis and the displacement of more than four million more. All this greatly strengthened reactionary Islamic fundamentalism—both Shi’a and Sunni—and fueled the emergence of the Sunni-based Islamic State (ISIS) from Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2013.

Mosul has been a microcosm of the multiple traumas inflicted on the Iraqi people since 2003. Journalist Patrick Cockburn points out that if the U.S.-led forces take over Mosul, “it will be the fifth time the city has changed hands in the course of 13 years of war.” (“Mosul braces itself for next bloody chapter having been ravaged by 13 years of war,” The Unz Review, October 19, 2016) All were reactionary: Arab and Kurdish forces who looted the city following Saddam’s fall; the U.S. forces who took over from them; then the widely hated Iraqi government; then in June 2014, ISIS, after the Iraqi military fled in panic, rather than fight.

The ISIS Caliphate—A Medieval Nightmare, No Answer to Imperialism

See also:

The New Communism by Bob AvakianLetter to the Editors:
A point to add on Bob Avakian’s new book

The World Needs THE NEW COMMUNISM

Read more

ORDER INFORMATION HERE
ABOUT THE BOOK HERE
Pre-publication PDF of this major work available HERE.

 

In this situation, and with the absence of a genuine revolutionary communist alternative as a real presence in Iraq, the war crimes of imperialism drove sections of angry people into the arms of the fundamentalist Islamic jihadists. A tragic expression of this was the fact that when ISIS first drove out the hated Iraqi government forces, hundreds of people cheered them.

But within weeks of its takeover of Mosul, by far the largest city under its control, ISIS declared the formation of an Islamic caliphate—a theocracy claiming to embody Islam as practiced by the Prophet Muhammad and his followers in the seventh century—stretching across northern Iraq and Syria, with several million people now under ISIS control. The seizure of Mosul and the formation of the ISIS caliphate planted the pole of reactionary fundamentalist Jihad across the region and the world, attracting thousands of recruits, while shocking the imperialists and the region’s oppressive states and posing a major new challenge for them.

ISIS claimed its Islamic State was the alternative to imperialism, one which would bring true justice and an end to oppression.

 

       

But ISIS rule proved to be yet another version of hell on earth for the estimated 1.2 million people still living in Mosul, one which has nothing to do with the emancipation of humanity. During the seizure of Mosul, ISIS fighters killed some 600 inmates at the Badoush prison—for being Shiites. Christians and Yazidis (an ethnically Kurdish religious community) have been slaughtered, women of these religions raped, abused, captured, and sold as sex slaves. The population has been forced to live under medieval Sharia law, with women enslaved and forced to wear the niqab—a covering with only a small opening to see through. Violations—like missing prayers—can bring whippings, and opposition to ISIS brings summary execution. Irreplaceable historical monuments have been destroyed as “un-Islamic.” And the city has been used as a base area for reactionary jihadist attacks across the region and the world.

The U.S.-Led Assault: War Crimes in the Making

Bob Avakian on the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism: Excerpts from Away With All Gods!

Religious Fundamentalism, Imperialism and "The War on Terror"
Read more

Why Is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today's World
Read more

The people of Mosul—and Iraq—need liberation, but this U.S.-led assault is about replacing one reactionary oppressor with another.

The U.S. rulers claim they no longer have “boots on the ground” in the Middle East and are no longer waging war. Mosul—and much else—exposes these lies. The U.S. is pursuing its imperialist interests in Mosul, as it is everywhere else in Iraq, the region, and the world. Right now those interests mean defeating the ISIS caliphate (even as the imperialists support the Islamic jihadist forces elsewhere, including the Nusra Front in Syria); it means trying to forge a more reliable ally in Iraq; and it means strengthening the U.S. position in the fierce maneuvering now going on between the U.S. and Russia, as well as various reactionary regional powers, for territory and influence now focused in Iraq and Syria. Hillary Clinton welcomed the Mosul assault at her October 19 debate with Trump and called for the U.S. to “continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa,” the ISIS headquarters.

The way this war is being fought reflects those reactionary aims. Obama claims that “humanitarian aid for civilians” is a “top priority.” But this assault is being carried out by reactionary armed forces, relying ultimately on U.S. air power.

“We’ve had, you know, people describe victories by the Iraqi government forces taking Ramadi and Fallujah, Tikrit and other places,” journalist Patrick Cockburn told Democracy Now!, describing past U.S.-led assaults on cities taken over by ISIS or other Sunni forces. “But really what happens is that the forces advance and then call in air strikes. In Ramadi, 70, 80 percent of the city is demolished. Outside Fallujah, there’s another town that only has four buildings left. So it’s very much a U.S.-led operation.” (October 19, 2016)

Every U.S. war and military assault, no matter how “precise” they claim their weapons will be, has involved widespread death, suffering, and destruction—and very often war crimes. Mosul is shaping up to be no different. (U.S. media is already reporting that ISIS is using civilians as “human shields” in Mosul. ISIS is certainly capable of doing this, but this may also be aimed at preparing the ground to blame ISIS for any U.S.-caused civilian deaths.)

And the “liberation” of Mosul may only begin yet another nightmare for the people of that city. The U.S.-led “coalition” surrounding their city and other nearby villages includes reactionary Shi’ite militias which have carried out sectarian and revenge killings and kidnappings in other areas taken from Islamic State control.

A Clash of Reactionary Forces and the Urgent Need to Bring Forward Another Way

The last 13 years of U.S. war and intervention in Iraq, right up to the coming assault on Mosul, highlight the importance of the following analysis by the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.
BAsics 1:28

Bringing Forward Another Way

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

Read the full talk | Download PDF

If you happen to live in the U.S. and you genuinely want to stop war crimes both by the West and reactionary Islamic fundamentalism, then you need to start by opposing the crimes of your government and these latest war moves. The more people have supported—or stayed passive in the face of—U.S. attacks on reactionary jihadists, the more it’s strengthened both these nightmares for humanity. That’s a key lesson of the past 13 years.

The other key lesson is the urgent need to bring forward a revolutionary, emancipatory alternative to both of these nightmares for humanity. That alternative is an actual revolution, a real communist revolution based on Bob Avakian’s leadership and work, as concentrated in his newly published book, THE NEW COMMUNISM. Spreading this pathbreaking work far and wide—including across the regions now roiled by upheaval and war—is a crucial way to build that emancipatory alternative across the globe.

 

 


 

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Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Former Secretary of Education Teaches a Lesson in Reactionary Bullshit

Arne Duncan Says He Can Buy the Youth of Chicago for "Peanuts"—The Revolution Says We Have a Whole World to Win and a New One to Build

October 17, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian: There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness...

Arne Duncan is in the news for his plan to stop the violence among the youth. According to the Chicago Tribune (October 16): “Arne Duncan has been spending time recently at Cook County Jail. The former U.S. education secretary goes on to talk to ‘the shooters,’ he said, to get their input on how to curb the city’s soaring gun violence.... Every time I’m with them I’m telling them, ‘Here’s my grand bargain: We’re going to employ you, we’re going to give you a chance to work and make a legal wage, but you have to stop shooting, you have to walk away from that,’ Duncan said. ‘So what is that price point? What does that take?’ And the consensus is about $12 to $13 an hour. It’s peanuts.”*

Let’s set the record straight. Arne Duncan shouldn’t be visiting “shooters” in jail as if he is some benevolent person trying to do better in the world. People like him who run this system are responsible for the deaths and ruining the lives of millions more people here and around the world than even the worst gang members could ever imagine.

For over a decade, Arne “teach to the test” Duncan has been in charge of schools—first, in Chicago and then, as U.S. secretary of education under Obama until last year. His national program for the schools was “Race to the Top.” Teachers described it as a system to TEST AND PUNISH. Translated, that means force the students to memorize isolated facts and then punish schools and teachers that didn’t do well on the standardized testing. Programs like this gutted the joy out of teaching and learning. It stripped out funding for important extracurricular activity like music, theater, art, and journalism as resources had to be devoted to test preparation. It trampled on critical thinking. He’s now managing partner for a “philanthropic” organization.

Inner-city schools have been designed to fail the masses of Black and Latino youth—funneling them off to prison, onto the mean streets, or into the U.S. military killing machine. And then they turn around and blame the teachers, the community, the youth... blame anybody but this system. They have a few “escape hatches” for a few kids who can make it through, but in the main these schools are graveyards for the potential of our youth. This system has a name, capitalism-imperialism—and it has shown over and over it has no future for our youth.

While gangs have always been part of urban capitalism, the dramatic rise of gangs 40 years ago came when industrial production was pulled out of the inner cities. Capitalism was driven to seek more profitable ways to invest in the rural areas and in the oppressed nations of the world. At the same time, there was wholesale funneling of drugs into the same areas suffering major loss of jobs, including with the connivance and manipulation of the U.S. CIA. The gangs controlled this trade, and a huge wave of violence over who would be on top raged.

Duncan even admits that in these situations it is “a rational choice to work in the illegal economy because that is the only choice they have.” When the rulers, for whatever reason, decided to move against some of the leaders of some of the gangs—and Duncan himself comes very close to admitting this in his interview with the Chicago Tribune—the destruction of the gang hierarchies as well as tearing down public housing virtually guaranteed a wave of anarchic violence, of youths killing each other. What does that tell you about this system? What does that tell you about where the guilt for this terrible mayhem really lies? This is not a small-time player; this is Obama’s guy and his secretary of education until recently.

The real story is that the rulers look at the youth in these areas as “social dynamite.” When the drug trade served them, they controlled it. When they decided to go in a different direction, they cracked down. Throughout, they created massive data bases on the youth, locking them up and locking them down in heavily policed neighborhoods. The gutting of the public schools and the placing of police, metal detectors, extreme punishments for minor mischief, etc. is all part of the same picture—and this, too, is especially intense in Chicago.

So years of overseeing the destruction of young people’s futures makes Arne Duncan really qualified for his new job. And what is this game that he’s hyping in the Chicago Tribune? Some puny ass program to save a very few young men from the meat grinder he was busy feeding them into in the first place. This is like an arsonist setting a house on fire then bringing a few jugs of water to splash on the victims being burned up by it.

Remember this: one-half of all Black young men in Chicago ages 20 to 24 are not working or in school. Duncan’s plan is to get businesses to hire small groups of young men in 15 of the hardest hit neighborhoods. Right now this means jobs for about 25 young men. EVEN if he realizes the full plan, this is a measly 375 jobs. Temporary jobs at that.

These are pitiful efforts to pretend that something is being done about the horrendous situation these youth confront. At the same time, Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who worked with Duncan in the Obama administration, is implementing the main program to deal with the youth in Chicago—1,000 more cops to suppress these youth. (See “Rahm’s Only Answer to Violence Among the People—Ratchet Up State Violence Against the People.”).Yes, the same Rahm Emmanuel who closed more than 50 schools and cut others to the bone, laying off teachers and even forcing parents to fight to keep open a school library.

In an earlier interview Duncan described a 12-year-old, weary of hearing his mother cry because she couldn’t pull together the rent, so he was driven to crime to help out. What kind of system is it that leaves children as young as 12 years old to try to come up with the rent to keep a roof over their family’s heads and food in their bellies? This capitalist-imperialist system that has no way to profitably exploit hundreds of thousands of youth—and this system needs to be done away with as soon as possible.

Even the “liberals” who acknowledge that there are social and economic causes of “crime” on some level urge immediate and harsh punitive measures. This is revealed by Elizabeth Hinton, who points out in her new book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, “In the mid-1970s, Senator Edward Kennedy wrote that even if ‘social policies we initiate in the 1970s will reduce the crime rate in the 1980s... that is too long to wait.’” And then there is Bill (and Hillary) Clinton, who did more to increase mass incarceration than any president in U.S. history, or in the history of the world. They were always claiming there would be some social program later on, but first they had to “bring these youth to heel” (to paraphrase Hillary). So, when Clinton passed the vicious “Omnibus Crime Bill” in 1994, they included some money for midnight basketball!!

Duncan literally says that he can buy some “social peace” for “peanuts.” The revolution does not offer peanuts or dead-end jobs or a life dedicated to addicting people to poison and dying, or going to prison, before you’re 25. The revolution “offers” one thing: the chance to fight with everything you have for a whole different world through revolution, a communist revolution where the ultimate goal is a world where people work and struggle together for the common good. A world where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings... where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.

Right now, the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour is in Chicago, and the likes of Arne Duncan offer the youth of Chicago a stark choice. Which will it be? Scuffling and hustling in the illegal economy, daring death every day... for nothing? Trying to get in on some bullshit never-gonna-happen scheme of the system? Or standing up, fighting against the REAL ENEMY, for something that really counts?

That is the choice. It’s as simple and stark as that.

 


* Everybody who wants an example of the nauseating paternalism and disgusting mercenary outlook and morality of the bourgeoisie should read this article for an excellent teacher by negative example. [back]

 


 

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Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

A Further Point on Arne Duncan's Pitiful and Outrageous Plan for the Youth of Chicago

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Get into the Revolution tour

Read more about the tour here.
Contact the tour at
GetIntoTheRevolution@gmail.com.

From a reader:

Reading “Arne Duncan Says He Can Buy the Youth of Chicago for ‘Peanuts’—The Revolution Says We Have a Whole World to Win and a New One to Build” was maddening, both for his statements and for the whole history of criminalizing and degrading youth that he has been part of.

The article quotes Duncan as saying of the youth he visits in jail “Every time I’m with them I’m telling them, ‘Here’s my grand bargain: We’re going to employ you, we’re going to give you a chance to work and make a legal wage, but you have to stop shooting, you have to walk away from that.”

This is Duncan offering these youth a "slave"—that in exchange for selling their ability to work to someone who can use their labor power to produce profit that is privately owned, returning to them barely enough to live on, and in exchange for being good workers and staying within the proper framework while they are exploited, a few of them will get some small perks, a bit nicer life, a little “respectability” in their neighborhood. All the while the whole capitalist-imperialist system keeps on grinding on, murdering Black people at a record rate (including “respectable” people), dropping bombs on people around the world, generating an environmental emergency that is bringing the world close to the point of no return, exploiting and oppressing billions of people.

It made me think of the life of Nat Turner on the slave plantation. As a boy he was brought into the master’s house, and told as long as he didn’t touch the books for white people and he worked really hard to learn the Bible, and was good and obedient, his life would be transformed.  The whole slave system still existed, Black people were still being lynched and brutalized and raped—and he himself was soon back a field slave. Bringing a very few slaves into the master’s house and giving them a bit of training was part and parcel of reinforcing the slave system itself.

As an adult, Nat Turner traveled beyond the plantation he grew up on and saw the systemic brutality and degradation of the slave system. He learned that he could not just deal with the horrors of the slave system as they affected his family and himself, and he came to the conclusion that he had to take responsibility for fighting to end the whole system, even with great sacrifices.

What Arne Duncan is offering, and is fact insisting is the only way out, is a life of wage slavery in the same system that pulled the industrial production out of the inner cities as part of finding more profitable ways to invest capital, the same system that continually reinforces and intensifies the oppression of Black and other oppressed peoples. It is a system whose driving principle is profit in command, and where the constant competition between those who privately own the wealth of society—the capitalists—means in order to survive they must be better than others like them at investing the wealth profitably.

The Revolution is about building a whole new world, one that is based not on exploitation of billions of people, but is based on the principle of “from each according to his ability to each according to his need,” on ending all exploitation and oppression and revolutionizing the ideas that support them. Humanity is at a point where the basis exists to end the whole system of capitalism-imperialism, and as well, the leadership for the necessary revolutionary struggle exists in Bob Avakian.

As the article says, there is a stark choice. Be a part of the system grinding on, or be part of fighting for something that really counts.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/the-new-communism-launch-interviews-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Engaging Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM:

Voices from the October 8 Book Launch

Part One

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Watch the Launch of THE NEW COMMUNISM from Bob Avakian

Featuring: Cornel West/Carl Dix, Moderated by: Andy Zee

ORDER THE NEW COMMUNISM HERE.

At the book launch in Harlem, October 8:

Carl Dix gave a passionate talk on the new book and Bob Avakian himself. He gave the audience a sense of BA’s work over the decades—the content of that work (as concentrated in THE NEW COMMUNISM), and what motivated him to do that work.

Cornel West, coming from his point of view as a revolutionary Christian, spoke on the integrity and importance of BA’s leadership and its relation to the whole “profound commitment [of Black people] to trying to understand this capitalist civilization in profound decay and pervasive decline.”

(From left) Carl Dix and Cornel West focused particularly on questions of morality and leadership, including getting into the Cultural Revolution within the RCP. Andy Zee (right) moderated.

Sunsara Taylor and Noche Diaz read excerpts from THE NEW COMMUNISM at the book lauch in Harlem October 8

Sunsara Taylor and Noche Diaz read excerpts from THE NEW COMMUNISM.

Revolution conducted interviews with people who attended the October 8 launch of Bob Avakian’s new work, THE NEW COMMUNISM, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York (“THE NEW COMMUNISM by Bob Avakian Launched at Great Program in Harlem), and also with people who attended an event in Berkeley, California, where a broadcast of the book launch was aired. Below is Part 1 of edited excerpts from some of those interviews—Part 2 is available here.

Student from New England college

On how they heard about the event:

...I heard about it just yesterday from my friend who goes to another college. I heard that Cornel West was speaking and I heard it was about the book THE NEW COMMUNISM and I hadn’t heard of Avakian yet, but I realized that it was something that I wanted to do, so I came today. So I’m very new to all this, new to these groups.

On what struck them about the readings from the book:

...With that, I believe I was struck by the recognition that it is so much easier for people of privilege to ignore what’s happening, like saying, “it’s not to my taste, it’s not pleasant,” than the people who are actually facing it. And so this idea of looking at science, looking at things as they actually are... like it’s not like you’re going to choose whether you want to buy this idea or not buy this idea or which one makes you feel the best. To have more accountability for everyone, and make more of a sense of community, like really caring about what’s going on with everyone. And really looking at things rather than trying to ignore them if they’re not easy. With that I also like want to do more to put myself in that situation and read the news more. I think a lot of the time I do ignore the news.

On what they thought of the event overall:

I thought it was really powerful, and one thing that Cornel West said that still is sticking me about how we need this belief in god or whatever kind of god or something, it doesn’t have to be god in particular but the recognition that humans don’t know everything and that you can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future and how that recognition of human fallibility is so important in doing these very radical things, is very, like, changing the structure of everything so much and to dare to do that we need to recognize that we don’t know everything. Yeah, that was really powerful.

On how they see their role in relation to the movement for revolution:

It’s made me realize that I want to prioritize my time more for this sort of thing because we all have to choose how we prioritize our time and if it’s in more of a consumer sense or not, like we have to decide what we do. So it’s not going to be like all of a sudden I’m going to become this really great communist—I’m really not even sure what that means, but it’s OK to be feeling kind of intimidated by everything, but still at the same time, like, challenging myself and actually doing things.

Graduate student at a theological seminary

When you first picked up the book, what struck you the most about it?

Perhaps Bob Avakian’s gift, among many, is his ability to take complex ideas and espouse them in a lucid manner. So having read Marx, having read Lenin, having read a number of these folks, I could see a lot of that work in the background of what Avakian was saying. But I appreciate the way in which he is able to make these concepts lucid and clear for anybody to pick up the book, as well as bringing in his own analysis and taking things further. So for me it’s just the accessibility of the text. Most people can dig into wherever they’re coming at it from. Avakian makes it plain.

How did this particular experience today affect your thinking and how you relate to the movement for revolution?

I think that especially in today’s climate, we have to be unapologetic about our principles and our politics. Unapologetic in those principles and politics that we claim and unapologetic in the way in which we work to bring about the world that we envision. So it’s refreshing to see people come out here and not try to sound “correct” or sound the way most of our pundits on TV and the radio sound. And just come out and just say, hey, I’m about trying to uplift humanity and I’m not going to apologize about that. And this is the way that I see society, this is the system that’s in place that I feel we need to critique and abolish and these are my principles. It’s refreshing to have that kind of unapologetic revolutionary energy emanating from the panelists as well as everyone, I thought, in the place. So I’ll just leave here just further inspired to continue on the path of trying to make the world a better place and stand up for what’s right. I’m gonna continue to support the Party, the way that I have. I think Cornel West is a great analog for me in terms of—we both come from similar backgrounds, as revolutionary Christians and folks who have profound respect for members of the Party. Continue to grow, continue to wrestle, continue to support each other and work together to make the world a better place.

Woman who learned of the event on Cornel West’s Facebook page

The most important thing I got out of the whole experience is that the system doesn’t work. It’s working. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. This whole “the system is broken thing” is wrong... I wish this had gone another two hours, there’s so much to talk about.

Law student

Short, incremental change might make things better but in the long term, we can’t change without fundamental change. During my undergrad, my major was law and society, and we had to write a paper questioning whether law can fix injustice. My topic was mass incarceration, so I got involved with the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement, and I got introduced to BAsics. I’m a law student, so I don’t have a lot of time on my hands but this is something I want to put some time in. I come from the South Bronx... I’ve been questioning whether elections themselves can bring meaningful social change. I was a big Bernie Sanders supporter, I believed in his cause. But now after hearing a lot of the things that were said, I’m wondering if somebody who is elected to the office of presidency could actually do anything within the system we’re living in. The answer is becoming a little bit more clear to me and the answer is no. I’m starting to think revolution might be the answer. I’ve got THE NEW COMMUNISM in my book bag.

Black man from Baltimore

Of the readings today, which ones did you really like, or which ones really struck you?

Leadership. Leadership—I’ve always been interested in leadership is because what usually happens to our dedicated leadership, the sacrifice that they make. So I make a concerted effort to support the leadership. So I thought that the comments at the very end by the guy from Revolution Books, Andy [Zee], were very succinct. People are going to talk shit. They’re going to talk shit about Bob, they’re going to talk shit about the Party. And we ain’t going for it. We will correct them and we will encourage them to join the revolution.

       

Professor at a theological seminary

What was your familiarity with Bob Avakian before this? Had you gotten the book?

I’ve read some of his earlier work. I haven’t read this one yet but I’m really excited to read it and I appreciate his giving a science and strategy to communist revolution because the revolution won’t be televised—it must be organized. And that takes thought, both understanding the structures of neoliberal capitalism, how to dismantle it and how to rebuild an economy that the seven billion people of the world are all stakeholders in and can achieve a level of economic equity, social harmony, and ecological sustainability that is vital to the future of the planet.

What about the discussion between Carl Dix and Cornel West?

I like when Carl Dix talked about the fact that the logic of the capitalist civilization plays itself out in rape culture. And given the fact that yesterday was the release of the Trump tapes where he bragged about trying to sexually assault a married woman—that Trump tape is deeply disturbing and unveils, it makes visible, those who are rendered invisible in our society—women, Blacks and Muslims, who Trump is against because he’s trying, his project is animated by the white masculine... And what I appreciate about Bob Avakian is that he is saying that all people matter, all people are valuable, sacred, and should be treated with economic dignity. When we analyze the injustice of the neoliberal capitalistic system, revolution entails not just interpersonal love but systematic economic reform.

Young man from Queens, New York

I actually came because a friend of mine—we had argument with a bunch of other people on Facebook about the role of voting and it got pretty heated and he said, you know what, how about everyone come up to this event up in Harlem this weekend. So that’s why I’m here. I had no previous knowledge of who Bob Avakian is or anything about this new book. And we came—me and my girlfriend and my friend and his girlfriend, four of us. It was really, really interesting; heard some views that I hadn’t been thinking about in a little while. Not all that I agree with, but I think that that’s the best place that you start to learn, where you start to disagree and start to question. So I got the book and I look forward to reading it.

Was there anything in the readings that stood out for you... anything that surprised you?

Not so much in the readings, but when Brother West mentioned, I guess, criticisms of communism, in the context of some of the actions that Stalin did. And he said, people need to put those decisions and those acts in the context of the time that Stalin was living in and the things that were happening in the world at that time. I think not enough in this particular forum was discussed about the importance of voting in this election and the context around that; the context of what certain alternatives might be if we opt out from voting. And I think that was missing from the discussion.

Well, the context here was the need for revolution, to “overthrow, don’t vote for, this system”—that anything less is going to keep the whole framework of this oppressive system intact.

Well, that is one alternative, but I don’t know if that is going to work... but I’m going to read the book. I’m going to try and learn as much as I can from it. I come from a family of “socialists”—my mom, my aunts are from the West Indies—I remember their discussions about revolution. My mom worked for a radio station in Guyana and was fired for praising some of Castro’s initiatives. These types of conversations, these ways of thinking, aren’t foreign to me. I guess something that’s just thoughts that have been removed from my thought process recently.

That kind of gets me to my last questions—because this program today is certainly re-introducing these questions into your thought process. And I find it really interesting how you ended up here. So how did this experience affect your thinking and how you might relate to this movement for revolution?

I’d like to get into the nuts and bolts of this particular book, to see what this new science of revolution is really about, and the science of communism. I guess when you hear, before hearing the term, “political revolution” in the context of the Sanders campaign, it was more so—OK, I hear that but that’s not real revolution. So I guess, before coming here today, when I heard that word, it was like in one ear and out the other. And now, maybe I have a little bit more to work with.

Student who came with their City College class on civil rights movements

Well, I actually honestly loved Professor Cornel West’s speech and the fact that he said that it’s catastrophic and problematic. It’s problematic and that had a very... there’s different distinctions between that and the fact that he brought in... there’s this thing about the media where they’re portraying these Muslims, especially he talked about Muslims... there’s this portrayal that they’re rebelling and ISIS is doing all this. Not that we’re agreeing with what ISIS is doing, but it also makes you think about, well, why are these people reacting the way they are? Because you think about it—over in Afghanistan and Iraq you have that... Americans are taking over their world over there and no one sees that as such a bad thing and you’re looking at this as, well, they’re the bad people. And you’re creating this animosity over here and where you’re seeing Muslims as terrorism. I think that it’s good that Professor West pointed that out and said that we need to think that it’s the difference between problematic and catastrophic. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it did make a difference to us. It made sense to me about what he said. And I think a lot of people... it’s good that we came out today and heard people speak about this and the new communism and what it could possibly.... Because I’m very much skeptical about will the new communism work. I’m not sure... will it work? ...because we’re so engrossed into this capitalist society that it seems impossible to bring us out from that because it’s been so long. I’m actually excited to order the book.

How they see their role, in relation to the movement for revolution:

[Carl Dix] said that it has to do with a lot of... it’s not only reading it. You actually have to be analytical about it and think critically and being able to participate in that... not just read about it and know it. You want to buy it and taking on that leadership and talking to other people about it. Like you said, it’s not only just being a liberal. So it makes you think—these are not just.... It’s different because you actually have to be participating in these revolutions if you want something to actually...if there’s [going to be] a difference. There’s a lot and I’m trying to let it process into my head. He did say a lot of things that reminisce with me and I have to think about it on my train ride because I have an hour-long train ride to go home.

Latino Student from Berkeley

What did you think of the readings from THE NEW COMMUNSIM?

I liked them a lot. I think they are really eye-opening. It’s easy to speak about revolution without having a plan. Their talks really show how this is not just a whim, it’s really planned, there’s evidence toward this, it’s not just talking, there’s like years and years of study that’s been put forward toward this cause, that we are ready for this, that there is a plan to follow, and that there’s actually, if everything goes according to a plan, it will create actually a better society for people.

...I liked the part about the book on [BA reading] Capital, and how it used this complex language, because many times when I read books that deal with these topics, like government and politics, I feel like they are trying to keep us away from it, so yeah, I actually could identify with it, it’s like they’re not trying to communicate with us, like they are not intending for us to actually understand it. I think if we really want to change the world, we have to take our time and work through the system, actually understand what’s going on with the system, understand what’s wrong, learn what we need to do to change it.

What did you think of what Carl Dix and Cornel West said?

Actually I had to leave during Cornel’s presentation cuz I needed to. But Carl’s presentation, I loved it. I love how he speaks about the story of the Party, I love how he speaks through history, I love how he quoted the BAsics, how he was saying, how Bob Avakian says, just because he’s a white man, if they’re expecting him to be apologetic about getting a position of leadership that they’re gonna be disappointed, because he’s not gonna adopt an apologetic posture. And I think that’s something really important. A group of oppressed people need leadership and we should not apologize because we don’t look like the group. He also said, in the same quote, he doesn’t feel sorry for the people that are being oppressed, he sympathizes with them and feels their pain, but he doesn’t feel sorry because he knows that they are capable of change, and he doesn’t expect anything less from them than change, because he believes... why believe that they are capable of anything less than change? That’s very important. I believe that many times the media portrays victims just like that, like they need our support, they need this and that, and I think that actually like takes away from part of their humanity, of their possibilities for a better future. Like we believe they need help, but believe that they are actually able to provide for themselves, their own help, to make a better government for themselves. This is something really important.

Any comments on what Cornel said before you left?

From what I heard, the thing that I liked the most was when he was talking about how Bob Avakian is not like this god-like entity, he recognizes that he’s just another human being, that he’s just another individual. But after having all these years of studying the revolution, that his voice has evidence to back it up. Like, OK, yeah, we understand that he’s just an individual, but he has 50 years working on this, he has the experience, he has the preparation, so why not hear him, why not understand that he has the capacity to be talking about this?

Well, now you got THE NEW COMMUNISM! What are you going to do as a result of this program?

First I want to read, to finish reading the book. I want to understand his plan. From what I’ve been seeing, I totally agree with the main points. If I end up agreeing with the main points in the book, I will speak about it with my friends, like when we are speaking about politics. I was never really involved in politics before this year. Many of my friends actually are the same, like they are not really involved in politics, like me. I always disagreed with the two-party system because why choose one or the other? People seem to forget that there are more than two candidates because of how the media portrays everything, only focusing on Democrats or Republicans. So I will speak with my friends to convince them that there are other options. You don’t need to vote for one or the other. You can be part of the change.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/22ba-science...one-overall-strategic-approach-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

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 "III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution."

Excerpt from the section:
One Overall Strategic Approach

I want to begin by talking about what is our strategic approach to an actual revolution, an approach which applies particularly to an imperialist country like this, even as it may have some important application more generally. This strategic approach to revolution is one overall strategic approach, with different, distinct but also inter-related, stages. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean that we’re working toward an actual struggle of millions of people to, as that statement says, dismantle this state power, break the hold of this state power over the masses of people, which is enforced through massive violence, and bring into being a different state power and a different system. That’s what this is all aiming toward. And, at any point, in whatever we’re doing, whatever part of a division of labor we might be part of, or whatever particular struggle we’re engaged in—whatever it might be—we should always be proceeding from that orientation, that everything we’re doing has to be building toward that.

That’s different than saying that we’re going for the seizure of power now, which we are not. That’s why I emphasized that these stages are distinct. But they’re also inter-related—they’re part of one overall strategic approach. It’s not like we’re doing political work now, with one strategy, and then, someday in the great distant future, we’ll do something else with a different strategy. There are forms of struggle, there are approaches, and so on, that are appropriate to the particular stage we’re in. But it’s still one overall strategic approach, one overall strategic orientation. Otherwise, it’s not about revolution. Even though these stages are different and distinct, and have their own particularities, they’re still part of one overall strategic approach, and if we wall them off, in some absolute sense, then we’re no longer working for revolution—we’re just puttering around, doing some things now that really are unconnected to what we need to be doing: working for an actual revolution.

And this gets us to “On the Possibility of Revolution,”48 which is another document which is way under-utilized in my definite sense of things: both in terms of whether people study it seriously, and go back to it repeatedly, and whether—in the appropriate ways, and not in inappropriate ways—they popularize what’s there, and discuss and struggle over the content of that with people very broadly. If we’re not doing that, then, once again, what is it we’re doing? With all that we are doing, what do we think we’re doing it for? A lot of work went into “On the Possibility.” Why? Because, for some reason, people felt like working hard? No. Because this is a very difficult contradiction—how to actually go for the seizure of power—and we’re still far from having a fully developed understanding of how to deal with this. But “On the Possibility of Revolution” is a breakthrough that gives us the basic principles and means for going to work on how to do that. It gives us the basic guidelines, the strategic orientation and the foundation to work to further develop our understanding of how to actually fight through to carry out the seizure of power when the conditions have come into being for that. And if this is not what we’re aiming to do—what’s spoken to in a concentrated way in “On the Possibility”—then we’re not really about what we say we’re about. There is an important difference between recognizing that this is not what we’re doing now—going for the seizure of power—on the one hand, and, on the other hand, recognizing that it is what we’re aiming for, and that everything we’re doing is laying the groundwork for this, even while it’s a separate stage of things from what we’re actually doing now.

So, in a real sense, we have to be working back from “On the Possibility of Revolution.” And you can’t work back from something if you’re not deeply grounded in it—that’s sort of elementary, as they say. You have to be deeply grounded in this, in order to be working back from it. You have to be going back to it and posing the question, not is this what I’m doing now?—that would be very mechanical, if that’s the way you proceeded, and in fact would be very harmful—but am I working in such a way that is leading toward that, and not just me individually, but is everything we are doing overall contributing to getting to the point where that’s what can be taken up? Otherwise, once more, we’re not working for revolution. And it’s not just rhetoric, and certainly not hype, to say that without this revolution, all the things that go on in the world, and all the ways the masses suffer, will just keep going on, generation after generation. That’s very true. And it’s very important.

Even now, we have to be doing some strategic thinking, and we have to be proceeding in a certain way, flowing from the necessary strategic orientation. For example, if you read what’s said about “On the Possibility of Revolution” in Part 2 of Birds and Crocodiles, you will see that it’s talking about the problem of “encirclement.” It’s talking about the very acute contradiction, a very pronounced contradiction of this society, that, on the one hand, you have tens of millions of people among whom, if there were a real possibility of revolution, many would immediately leap to it, even without fully understanding what it is. Another way to put that is: people for whom daily life really is a living hell, they desperately need, and feel the need, even if in a sort of unformed sense, for a way out of this. But, on the other hand, you have broad sections of society for whom that is not the daily reality. You have an increasingly apartheid society in America, along lines of nationality, but even in terms of social classes. You have an increasingly enclaved, privileged section of the population which is deliberately gating itself and sealing itself off from the rest of society—yes, especially from Black people and Latinos and other oppressed nationalities, but even from lower sections of the white people in this society. This is a very sharp contradiction—how are you going to make a revolution with that?

What’s being talked about, in terms of “encirclement and suppression,” is that if this revolution jumps off, at a certain point, with people feeling they have no other way out, and they are willing to wage a desperate struggle even against big odds—if that can be limited and contained to just those people who most desperately need it, it is almost certainly going to be crushed, with terrible consequences. So, if that’s the case, we have to realize that this is an acute contradiction that we have to be working on—not some time in the future, we have to be working on it right now, and in an ongoing way. I’m going to talk some about this, but we need to keep working on this problem: How do we transform this situation so that, when the time comes, it’s not going to be the case that they can easily contain this revolution to those sections of the people that they’d, frankly, just as soon kill off anyway, if you want to get right down on the ground with it. If that were the situation we were faced with, well, we’d have to do the best we could, but it’s not the situation we want, and it’s not the situation we need in order to have a real chance at winning—and that is the point, after all.

So we have to be thinking about this now. We can’t be saying, “Well, when some future time comes, maybe people will have to deal with the problem of how not to have that situation where they just come in and cordon off an area and start bombing the shit out of it—end of the revolution.” Just think about that. These people, these imperialists, are absolutely ruthless. There’s a point in “On the Possibility” about the utility of force, meaning that they can’t necessarily use everything they have in their arsenal. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t throw a lot at people. Anybody who thinks they’re not going to try to just absolutely pulverize any attempt at a real revolution is not thinking seriously. We have to both go to work on that problem at a strategic level, even now, and we have to politically work on those contradictions, now and in an ongoing way. We can’t have a lot of people in the middle strata talking, derogatorily and in racist terms, about the inner cities as “Africa this and that”—as if it’s a different country, and one they don’t like—just to cite one sharp example. We can’t have that! I’m going to talk about the roads to transforming that—I’m going to get into that some—but this is an acute contradiction. And if we are not proceeding in a way to have the best possible prospects—not an easy thing, but the best possible chance of winning—then, to go back to that woman in Baltimore, we are giving people a sense of false hope. And that is criminal. That is absolutely criminal. As I have emphasized, there is going to be sacrifice, on all levels—from the basic masses to the leadership of the whole thing—there are going to be tremendous sacrifices. That’s inevitable—that is inevitable, OK? But we cannot proceed in such a way that we’re not taking this seriously, and that we aren’t struggling now, and struggling in an ongoing way, to create the most favorable conditions, as opposed to very unfavorable ones.


48. “On the Possibility of Revolution,” Revolution #102, September 23, 2007. Available at revcom.us and also included in Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation, a Revolution pamphlet, May 1, 2008. [back]

 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/american-crime-case-75-us-support-for-military-coup-in-honduras-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

American Crime

Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras

October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup. Photo: rbreve/flickr Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup. (Photo: rbreve/flickr)

THE CRIME: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military carried out a coup d’etat against the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, a liberal-leaning populist. The coup had crucial backing from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department. The generals and politicians behind the coup brought to power a more openly fascistic and pro-U.S. regime that plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination, state-sponsored political assassinations and terrorism, and intensified violence, poverty, and oppression. These horrors remain in effect to this day, with U.S. backing.

The coup began with the abduction and kidnapping of President Zelaya, and was led by General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez. General Velásquez and three other generals who played key roles in the coup were graduates of the U.S. School of the Americas (SOA).1 Later that day, the Honduran congress elected its speaker, Roberto Micheletti, a member of Zelaya’s own Liberal Party, to head an interim post-coup regime.

The coup was immediately denounced as illegal and illegitimate by other Latin American countries. President Obama and Hillary Clinton each released routine criticisms of what they called “the action.” Neither of them called it a coup, and neither called for Zelaya to be returned to power.

In reality, Obama, Clinton, and the State Department knew days ahead of time that a coup was in the works. And they knew it was not a legal act “in defense of the constitution,” as the junta leaders and opposing politicians would claim. Less than a month after the coup, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras sent a secret cable (later released by WikiLeaks) to Hillary Clinton. It was titled “Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup,” and stated, “There is no doubt” that Zelaya’s removal “constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup.”

Within days of the coup, Secretary Clinton stepped in with a strategy to make sure the coup succeeded and could claim legitimacy: elections would be held without Zelaya being allowed to take part.

This post-coup election was held five months later under military rule, marked by violence and censorship. Although it was boycotted by opposition candidates and by international observers, including the Carter Center and the UN, the Obama administration upheld the election and recognized the outcome even before the polls had closed. Since then, the U.S. military and State Department have worked closely with the post-coup regimes of President Porfirio Lobo, and now with President Juan Orlando  Hernández.

Honduran police break into house and frisk man

Honduran police frisk a man as they break into a home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 2013. (AP photo)

Meanwhile, the lives of the Honduran people have become even more desperate and dangerous. The murder rate in Honduras, already the highest in the world, increased 50 percent between 2008 and 2011. State security forces carried out violence and murder with impunity. Released documents show that high-level police commanders planned, and police carried out, the assassination of the chief of the anti-narcotics unit shortly after the 2009 military coup. Two years later, they then killed his adviser. In October 2011, the 22-year-old son of the rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras was kidnapped and murdered by Honduran national police. The rector, Julieta Castellanos, had been a vocal fighter for police reform, and had called for an end to U.S. aid for the Honduran police and military.

The School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) wrote in 2012 that “state security forces have killed over 300 people, with 34 opposition members disappeared or murdered... at least 22 Honduran journalists have been killed.” The SOAW also wrote that death squads have reemerged since the coup and are responsible for many of these killings.2

“Washington backs them every step of the way as they silence the population into fearful compliance with government initiatives,” SOAW concluded. The Honduran security forces are now seen by the people as the principal source of the country’s violence.

There is now widespread suspicion that the state was involved in the March 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres, the internationally admired environmentalist and a well-known leader of the opposition. The Guardian has revealed that, according to one soldier, “her name appeared on a hit list distributed to US-trained Special Forces units of the Honduran military months before her death.” Cáceres had openly condemned the Hernández regime, and called out Hillary Clinton publicly for her responsibility for the carnage taking place in Honduras today.

       

Central American families, including young children, riding on top of a freight train through Mexico on the way to the U.S. border, July 2014.
Central American families, including young children, riding on top of a freight train through Mexico on the way to the U.S. border, July 2014. (AP photo)

The people of Honduras face escalating state violence, gang violence, and even more desperate economic conditions. Two out of every three Hondurans live below the poverty line, and unemployment is estimated at nearly 30 percent. These conditions have led to the tidal wave of refugees arriving at the U.S. border from Honduras as well as from other Central American countries. Most have been mothers with children, and unaccompanied minors.

THE CRIMINALS:

Hillary Clinton: In the hard-copy version of her memoir, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton admits that she was instrumental in enabling the coup to succeed. She brags about talking to her “counterparts” in Mexico and elsewhere in the region. They “strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.” (emphasis added) After these revelations generated international outrage, this portion of Hard Choices was removed from the paperback edition.

In her memoir, Clinton mocks Zelaya as “a throwback to the caricature of a Central American strongman, with his white cowboy hat, dark black mustache, and fondness for Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro.”(emphasis added) She describes pulling him into a small room during an annual Organization of American States (OAS) meeting right before the coup. The conflict over U.S. opposition to Cuba’s re-entry into the OAS was coming to a head and Clinton warned Zelaya that he could back a U.S. “compromise” and save the OAS, or else be remembered for overseeing its collapse. Zelaya soon came around to the U.S. position.

In a recent, April 2016, interview with the New York Daily News editorial board, Clinton admitted that one reason she and Obama refused to call the 2009 coup a “military coup” was that it would have forced them to cut off aid to Honduras, including tens of millions of dollars for the Honduran military and government. Professor Dana Frank, an expert on human rights and U.S. policy in Honduras, summed up that Clinton wanted to “act like the coup didn’t happen... and defend her actions in installing this terrifically horrific, scary post-coup regime.”

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

Learn more about BA here

President Obama: While initially stating the 2009 coup was not legal and Zelaya remained Honduras’ president, his administration, the State Department and Secretary of State Clinton, were developing plans to prevent Zelaya’s return and provide the cover and backing for the junta to be consolidated. Meanwhile, the State Department was in touch with the U.S. SouthCom commander "to ensure a coordinated U.S. approach" to the coup, as one secret cable stated.

General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, and presidents Porfirio Lobo and Juan Orlando Hernández: These three played crucial roles in authorizing and carrying out the 2009 coup, and in ruling over the Honduran people down to today. The State Department in 2010 described the current president—Juan Orlando Hernández—as someone who “has consistently supported U.S. interests.” Hernández was an enthusiastic supporter of the coup when he was in the Congress and worked to further consolidate it. For example, in 2012 as president of the Congress, he carried out a “technical coup” by deposing four members of the Supreme Court and naming new ones loyal to him the next day. He then illegally named a new attorney general.

THE ALIBI: The coup plotters, and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, justified the coup by claiming that Zelaya was the one who had acted illegally by violating the constitution in calling for a non-binding poll, aimed at initiating constitution reforms, be put on the ballot in the November 2009 election. .

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

The 2009 military coup in Honduras, the first in Latin America since the 1991 end of the Cold War, took place when the Chávez regime in Venezuela was spearheading a growing challenge to U.S. hegemony in its “backyard.” The U.S. rulers were searching for ways to counter Chávez, and Zelaya was seen as a “problem” in these efforts. Zelaya was also viewed as a “weak link,” because his policies within Honduras faced growing opposition among other sections of the Honduran ruling class. While Zelaya was a part of the traditional elite and no “leftist,” his populist appeal to the labor unions and other sections of the lower strata, such as support for a minimum wage, was seen as a threat to the traditional structures of power.

Honduras has been the regional command headquarters and staging area for U.S. counterinsurgency, and the U.S. has a major military presence at its Soto Cano airbase. This made it critical to have a Honduran military and political structure fully in sync with U.S. interests and objectives.

The U.S. is now giving the Honduran government more than $100 million a year in military and other aid, and increasing its close working relationship and overall dominance over the Honduran military and society, and intensifying the already unbearable suffering of the Honduran people.

Some of the key sources used in this American Crime case:

“‘She’s Baldly Lying’: Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Her Role in Honduran Coup,” Democracy Now!, April 13, 2016

“U.S. Counterinsurgency Policing Tactics Ravage Honduras,” Annie Bird; teleSUR, April 12, 2106

“Hopeless in Honduras? The Election and the Future of Tegucigalpa,” Dana Frank, Foreign Affairs, November 22, 2013

“Wikileaks Honduras: State Dept. Busted on Support of Coup,” Robert Naiman, justforeignpolicy.org, November 11, 2010


1. See “American Crime: Case #91: School of the Americas—Training Ground for Mass Murderers and Torturers, 1946-Present.”

2. See “American Crime: Case #79: Ronald Reagan’s Honduras―The Atrocities of “Battalion 316.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/press-conference-calls-out-pigs-at-chicago-city-hall-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Press Conference Calls Out PIGS At Chicago City Hall, Demands Hands Off the Get Into the Revolution National Tour 2016-2017

October 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

October 25: A press conference in front of the Mayor's office at City Hall in Chicago exposed and condemned the vicious attack and four arrests during a permitted march on October 22nd–the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. And the press conference put the city and the Chicago Police Department on notice to keep its hands off the upcoming O29 rally being held by the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour 2016-2017.

 

@Carl_Dix calls all who are sickened by police getting away w murder & our youth kill each other 2 get w revolution

 

 

Noche Diaz spoke, representing the "Get Into the Revolution National Tour 2016-2017" which had helped lead the demonstration.  He called out the blood on the hands of the pigs and the system they enforce.

Noche Diaz

 

@Noche_RC: The blood of our people is on Rahm Emanuel's hands. #RevCom's r organizing 2 end the system he serves.

Noche explained that the application for the permit specifically said there would be no animals in the march, yet there dozens of pigs allowed to be there. 

 

A Pig Latin translator explained the real meaning behind the Chicago police claim to protect the right to freedom of speech and protest.

 

Noche Diaz put the city and the Chicago Police Department on notice to keep its hands off the upcoming O29 rally being held by the tour.  O29 will be held in Grant Park (Congress & Michigan Ave)—a central location chosen so that people from all over the city can come together—especially people from neighborhoods where people have been divided against each other and where violence has been engendered and fomented by THIS SYSTEM —to hear the message of the tour about how to get out of this madness and fight the real enemy.  We need an actual revolution. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/revclub-america-was-never-great-flier-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

October 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us received the following from the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour which they are using to mobilize in Chicago for the rally they are holding this Saturday.  But the approaches and concrete forms of organization and entry-level tasks for new recruits to the revolution can be learned from and replicated by Revolution Clubs around the country.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/five-day-plan-to-build-October-29-rally-as-a-real-advance-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

October 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom.us received the following from the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour which they are using to mobilize in Chicago for the rally they are holding this Saturday.  But the approaches and concrete forms of organization and entry-level tasks for new recruits to the revolution can be learned from and replicated by Revolution Clubs around the country.

Five Day Plan to Build October 29th Rally as a Real Advance in Getting Organized for Revolution—spreading revolution and recruiting new forces in everything we do

(working document, October 25th)

 


The world is a horror for humanity.  Only revolution that overthrows capitalism-imperialism can put an end to this horror.  This system can be beat!  We have the leadership, strategy, and vision to make that real.  Through the Get Into the Revolution Organizing Tour we are bringing forward and organizing the new forces to make this revolution at the soonest possible time.  We are traveling the entire country so that we will have a real chance to win.

This week, we must make a real advance in Chicago—drawing forward those who desperately need this revolution as well as others from different strata and organizing them into this revolution now.

Above all—succeeding in this plan will require being as bold, daring and disdainful about everything represented by the ruling system and its ways of thinking as the mission of total revolution is.  It will require boldly agitating and representing with revolutionary authority for the future we are fighting for and the real-world strategy we have and are acting on now to make it real—including the mission and national scope of this Tour.  It will require introducing people to and broadly popularizing our leader, Bob Avakian.  It will require directly challenging people to get into this now—applying Enriched What Is to Be Done-ism and leading masses of people to greatness.  It will require fierce ideological struggle on the basis of revealing and leading people to grasp the real problem and the real solution.

WHAT DOES SUCCESS ON O29 LOOK LIKE?  WHAT WE MUST AIM FOR:

October 29th must draw forward a significant critical mass of people from the key neighborhoods and campuses we have identified, enough to signal a real qualitative and quantitative advance of this revolution taking root.  A real core of people need to be inducted into the Revolution Club on this day, on the basis of actually having done the work to make this leap into the revolution.  Broader ranks of people need to be present—from among the most oppressed and new people we are meeting, but also reaching back to everyone the Party and Club has worked with in this area to step up and support (folks who went to the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, to Rise Up October, folks we've worked with in other efforts like World Can't Wait and others).  And, the eyes of many more people in each of the key areas of concentration (as well as others more broadly) need to be watching what goes down, so that the impact of this rally impacts far beyond those in attendance.

In the key areas identified, step up the presence and assertion of revolutionary authority:

RECRUITMENT INTO THE CLUB:

Recruitment into the Clubs must get focused attention in the furnace of the next four days—even as we push out even more boldly and even more broadly.  Recruitment involves people stepping up now to join WITH US in the tasks of the revolution detailed above, and going through basic ideological training WITH US.

This ideological training is rooted in: the “Time to Get Organized For an ACTUAL Revolution” statement in full (including, but not limited to, the “Points of Attention”), the “HOW WE CAN WIN” statement, and the first quote of each chapter of BAsics.

New recruits need to carry out assignments to build this revolution and sit down and work their way through these key materials together with their recruiter.

On O29 they will be inducted together with others.  On this day, as well, a new rung of people will be called forward to turn in their applications and begin the process of recruitment.  The need for people to be readying themselves to join the Party in the future needs to be popularized as part of this process.

LOOKING FORWARD

Coming off the 29th, the expanded and strengthened Club needs to go back out into the areas where this rally was built for, making their expanded organization felt and drawing forward yet more forces.

At the same time, a strategic view towards the greater area needs to be developed by the Party and Clubs so that this revolution is expanding and building organization in all the areas that will be necessary with the future struggle for power in mind.  Everyone joining this revolution needs to have this strategic view of the future in mind and be given the vision—and responsibility—in making the necessary advances towards this.  This fits in with giving everyone a sense of the national scope of this tour (and recruiting new people to go on future legs of the tour for training and to contribute).

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/462/U-of-Chicago-Police-Viciously-Assaulted-Arrested-Revolutionaries-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Updated October 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Get this letter to everybody you know:

U of Chicago Police Viciously Assaulted & Arrested Revolutionaries On Campus TODAY, Don't Stand By!

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From Cornel West: "I stand with my brother Noche Diaz and my comrades in Chicago who were arrested and beaten by the Chicago police! They have a right to bear witness for justice and deserve humane treatment!"

From Edward Asner:

Dear President Zimmer,

Are the University of Chicago police now acting as representatives of the city of Chicago?  Freedom of speech, a basis of the United States and customarily universities, broadens that principle even more.  As a former University of Chicago student, I protest the mauling of Noche Diaz and the young girl who was punched.

What's wrong with the University of Chicago President Zimmer?  Has it been Trumpized?  To habitually roust Noche Diaz and others is a crime as you are betraying the ideals of what a university should be.  Drop the charges against Noche Diaz.  Don't cheapen or betray the University of Chicago image!

From Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Ph.D.: "I stand with my friend and fellow New Yorker Noche Diaz who was arrested and beaten by Chicago police! He has a right to free speech and should be treated with respect. Together we can work for an equitable, safe and sustainable world."

From Chuck D: @MrChuckD: @Noche_RC bringing more logic than your candidates


To find out how to support the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour in Chicago with financial, legal, public opinion support, call: (312) 502-7485

For Press inquiries, contact: jessiedavis60@gmail.com


Email the President of the University of Chicago to demand that the Get With The Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour be allowed on campus, that the charges against Noche Diaz be dropped, and that the university take responsibility for any injuries sustained by people bring this message of revolution to the campus.

Robert J. Zimmer
The University of Chicago
5801 South Ellis Ave., Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60637
president@uchicago.edu

Chicago Police Department
51st and Wentworth
(312) 747-8366


Contribute funds for the Get With The Revolution Tour to continue and maximize its reach and effect. Legal fees, travel, materials—all the kinds of ways for this to reach out even further in the face of these attacks. Get in touch with the Tour at: (312) 502-7485 or GetIntoTheRevolution@gmail.com

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Revcom.us received the following from the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour 2016-2017. Find out more about the tour HERE.

Download PDF of this flier HERE.

U of Chicago Police Viciously Assaulted & Arrested Revolutionaries On Campus Wed Oct 26.

Will YOU Stand BY?
Come Hear What they are Determined to Suppress:

Thursday, October 27
6:30 pm at Cox Lounge
Sunsara Taylor & Carl Dix

“America Was NEVER Great! We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote for, This System!”  This was the message being delivered by Noche Diaz, of the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour, moments before he was violently assaulted and arrested by University of Chicago Police as he was peacefully leaving Campus North Residential Commons.  Police assaulted others, sending one young woman to the hospital.

This is now the 2nd attack on this national tour, and on Noche Diaz, in 5 days.  The first attack was on Sat., at the October 22 demonstration against police terror and mass incarceration, where police on the scene actually violated the permit that had been issued earlier in the week for a march in the street, and jumped on people while they were on the sidewalk.  Then today, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was speaking on campus, the Revolution Club was engaging U of C students in discussion and debate and verbally exposing the actual character of John Kerry as a war criminal, citing not only the whole history of the U.S. in that region but the current onslaught against the civilians of Yemen which has been backed to the hilt by the U.S., Chicago police again attacked the club (and yes, the U of C police ARE a branch of the CPD) and in this case, after they had let Noche go and he was walking away, they suddenly reversed course and one of the pigs said, “We were told” to arrest him. 

This is an attempt to suppress the message about the true nature of America, the character of this election, and what actually has to be done—a revolution—and a tour to ORGANIZE PEOPLE around this message.

This police attack on people bringing the message of revolution to campus: was intended to keep this message, this analysis, this solution from students—preventing any critical discourse, consideration, and yes activation towards a whole other way the world could be.

Nobody should tolerate this.  And everybody should engage with this message.  What IS going on in this world—with literally millions of people driven from country to country as refugees, in large part through decades-long actions by this state department that John Kerry represented (and Hillary Clinton represented before him)... where right outside the gates of the campus in the communities of Englewood, South Shore, Woodlawn, and beyond there is the genocidal program against Black people whose spearpoint is mass incarceration and police terror... where an openly fascist (and a blatant and unapologetic misogynist) is running for president and is being treated as a legitimate contender and is being opposed by a war criminal... where the earth itself is burning up... at such a time and place, the University of Chicago administration, their security forces and the Chicago Police Dept. want to keep even the idea of revolution from its students. 

To the students at U of C: the administration, for all its talk about allowing ideas to flourish and contend, wants to suppress you being able to hear about, discuss, and get involved with understanding WHY the terrible problems of this world can NOT be remedied by the very system that caused them... HOW a revolutionary society could actually deal with these... and HOW that revolution could be made.  They want to keep you from the new synthesis of Communism—THE NEW COMMUNISM—that has been developed by Bob Avakian.

If you are ok with all that, if you are okay with not even checking out the possibility of a whole different world, then fine... turn away and revel in your ignorance... and your complicity in the crimes now being carried out in your name.

But if you are outraged by what is happening in the world, if you agonize about the future, then you need to raise your voice and demand that the Get With The Revolution Tour be allowed on campus, that the charges be dropped, and that the university take responsibility for any injuries sustained by people bringing this message of revolution to campus.


GET INTO THE REVOLUTION ORGANIZING TOUR IS TRAVELING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, ORGANIZING TO OVERTHROW THIS SYSTEM AT THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME.

Carl Dix is a courageous freedom fighter from the 1960s who became a revolutionary fighter and a communist.  Dix spent two years in military prison for refusing to fight the unjust Vietnam War.  He became a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and is a follower and advocate of the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian.  Together with Cornel West, Dix co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

Sunsara Taylor is an ardent follower of Bob Avakian, a fighter for his leadership and the new synthesis of communism, and actual revolution.  She writes for Revolution (www.revcom.us) and has led resistance to this system's wars of aggression, against police terror and mass incarceration, and against all forms of enslavement and degradation of women.  Taylor is the key founder of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.

Come out Thursday, 6:30 pm to Cox Lounge.
And go to www.revcom.us to find out more.

For video of the arrest and assault, and to follow the tour: @SunsaraTaylor

Press contact: jessiedavis60@gmail.com


Watch videos from University of Chicago:

.@Noche_RC message as Chicago police arrest him 4 revolutionary speech at @UChicago #revcom http://www.revcom.us .

@Noche_RC arrested at @UChicago by Chicago Police. He was peacefully challenging students to relate to revolution.

Police assaulted @Noche_RC at @UChicago. He's walking peacefully & pigs AGAIN twist arm, shove face.

He's leaving. Pig: "doesnt matter we were told 2 arrest him." Violent suppression of revolutionary speech @UChicago

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/look-whos-talking-about-peaceful-transfer-of-power-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Look Who's Talking About Peaceful Transfer of Power and Respecting Elections

October 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

BA on elections

From a reader

Donald Trump says he will recognize the results of the election if he wins. He is throwing up for grabs one of the basic tenets of U.S. capitalist democracy, in service of a fascist agenda. In response, Hillary Clinton and many voices in the mass media insist that the peaceful transfer of power, based on respecting the results of an election, is one of those things that supposedly make America great.

Reality check! The United States has “respected the results of elections” around the world with invasions, coups, assassination, brutal death squad regimes, and mass murder whenever the results of an election don’t match their interests.

What Happens When An Election Doesn’t Go America’s Way...

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

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

In Tehran, Iran on August 19, 1953, mobs joined by the military took over streets chanting
Case #98 1953: CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression—Made in the U.S.A. In Tehran, Iran on August 19, 1953, mobs joined by the military took over streets chanting “Long live the Shah! Death to Mossadegh!” They ransacked pro-Mossadegh newspapers and attacked his supporters.

Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being hauled to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965.
Case #100 1965 Massacre in Indonesia. Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party being hauled to a Jakarta prison, October 30, 1965. (AP photo)

Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup.
Case #75 Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras. Honduran troops inside the presidential palace during the arrest of the president during the 2009 coup. (Photo: rbreve/flickr)

In Iran, in 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) along with British intelligence launched a military coup overthrowing Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, after he nationalized Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. They put the Shah in power and he ruled as an iron-fisted U.S. puppet for 25 years. When millions rose against the Shah in 1978-79, he shot down thousands with U.S. backing before being ousted. The 1953 coup and what followed ended up helping pave the way for a new Iranian nightmare: the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (See “Case #98: 1953 CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression—Made in the U.S.A.“ in the American Crime series at revcom.us).

In Indonesia, in 1965, the CIA organized and coordinated the mass murder of up to a million communists and others by Indonesian fascists. Bloated corpses clogged and choked the rivers of Indonesia. The objective was to remove the elected government of President Sukarno, who the U.S. saw as too closely associated with the wave of revolutionary nationalist and communist revolution in Asia in the 1960s. The rivers were choked with bodies, and the reign of terror inflicted on the hundreds of millions of people in that country still defines life there today. (See “Case #100: 1965 Massacre in Indonesia“ in the American Crime series at revcom.us).

In Chile, in 1973, the U.S. government orchestrated a coup d’etat that overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende and installed the fascist regime of General Augusto Pinochet. At the time, Chilean revolutionaries spoke of tens of thousands of victims. Today’s Chilean government says 3,000. Some estimates say that 400,000 people were tortured. A whole generation of intellectuals and others who could escape was driven into exile. Many of those murdered during Pinochet’s years in power were “disappeared,” kidnapped by the U.S.-installed regime and never seen again.

And with Hillary Clinton serving as U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. backed a coup in 2009 in Honduras, where the military deposed elected president Manuel Zelaya, a liberal-leaning populist, and installed a more openly fascistic and pro-U.S. regime. That plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination, state-sponsored political assassinations, and terrorism, and intensified violence, poverty, and oppression. These horrors remain in effect to this day, with U.S. backing. (See “Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras“ in the American Crime series.)

Installing and Backing Fascist Regimes Across Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Those four examples just scratch the surface of the history and present-day reality behind declarations of “respect for democratic elections.” That’s a metaphor, but it’s not an exaggeration.

What the U.S. REALLY Brings to the World

And look up these U.S. directed or backed coups that overthrew popular or elected governments: Ecuador, 1960-63; Brazil, 1964; Dominican Republic, 1963; Cuba (repeated attempts to invade, assassinate, and orchestrate “regime change”); Bolivia, 1964; Ghana, 1966; Greece, 1967; Bolivia, 1971; Jamaica, 1976; Chad, 1981; Grenada (by invasion), 1983; Nicaragua, 1981-90 (destabilized an elected government by sponsoring a massive campaign of terrorist attacks); Haiti, 2004.

How does this all square with the claim by the rulers of the U.S. that they are the global champions of democracy? The reality is what Bob Avakian says:

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.
BAsics 1:3

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/pepper-spray-at-standing-rock-cold-shoulder-at-clinton-hq-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Cold Shoulder and NYPD at Clinton HQ...
Pepper Spray at Standing Rock

October 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

@CNN
"We can't forget our humanity": @MarkRuffalo makes a powerful appeal on behalf of #standingrock protesters

Breaking News:  Major Police Assault on Standing Rock Resistance Camp

Thursday, October 27. Today over 100 heavily armed, militarized police launched a major assault apparently aimed at dispersing one of the Standing Rock resistance camps which is located directly in the path where the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is to be constructed.   Video shows Standing Rock resisters courageously standing up to pepper-spraying riot police backed by armored vehicles.

The confrontation is taking place across North Dakota’s Highway 1806, and Democracy Now! (Oct. 27) reports that “Water protectors have set up a blockade of the highway using cars, tires and fire,” and that police are “flanked by multiple mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles (MRAPs), a sound cannon, an armored truck and a bulldozer. There have also been reports from water protectors that the police presence includes multiple snipers.”

At this writing, the state of this critical battle is not yet clear, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement concluding, “We won't step down from this fight. As peoples of this earth, we all need water. This is about our water, our rights, and our dignity as human beings.” 

Everyone needs to express clear, unequivocal, and public support for the fighters at Standing Rock, who are not only defending the lives, water, and humanity of the Standing Rock tribe, but standing up against centuries of genocide against all Native peoples in America, and standing up against the further destruction of the earth’s environment.  Stay tuned to revcom.us for further coverage.

Clinton says “It’s all about the kids” but let’s look at how she treated a delegation of youth from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. They made the long trip to New York City to rally support, and to present a simple letter to Hillary Clinton at her headquarters asking her to support their struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

At the very moment when "the whole world was watching" a new police assault on the water protectors at Standing Rock, broadcast live on CNN, Hillary Clinton's office refused to even accept the letter. Instead the building management called in dozens of pigs who forced the delegation and their supporters out into the street. This cold-blooded would-be leader of the "free world" made a very conscious statement to these youth and everyone who stands with them: a big fuck you.

The DAPL threatens the water supply of the reservation. The construction desecrates burial grounds held sacred by the Native people in the area. The battle to defend the water at Standing Rock has been hit with vicious police brutality -- dogs, clubs, and arrests -- reminiscent of the attacks on protesters in the South during the civil rights era. And in the face of this, the people have stood firm and the battle to stop DAPL has won support from people around the U.S. And around the world.

Hillary Clinton says "America was always great." Always? She is talking about the history of a country built on land stolen from the Native peoples through genocide, among other great crimes. She talks about being all about "the children." But she is aspiring to be commander-in-chief of a system that has created a world of hell for child sweatshop workers in Pakistan, that backs up the bombing of schools and hospitals in Palestine and Yemen, and a country with no future for Native youth in the U.S.A.

So the history of Native Americans and the Standing Rock tribe, broken treaty after broken treaty, what is taking place at Standing Rock right now, and Hillary Clinton’s refusal to even accept a letter from the youth of the tribe point to one thing: America was NEVER great.

Youth from Standing Rock marching through Brooklyn 

Youth from Standing Rock attempting to deliver a letter to Hillary Clinton 

Youth from Standing Rock after attempting to deliver a letter to Hillary Clinton's office in New York City 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/the-new-communism-book-launch-interviews-part-two-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Engaging Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM:

Voices from the October 8 Book Launch

Part Two

October 31, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Watch the Launch of THE NEW COMMUNISM from Bob Avakian

Featuring: Cornel West/Carl Dix, Moderated by: Andy Zee

ORDER THE NEW COMMUNISM HERE.

At the book launch in Harlem, October 8:

Carl Dix gave a passionate talk on the new book and Bob Avakian himself. He gave the audience a sense of BA’s work over the decades—the content of that work (as concentrated in THE NEW COMMUNISM), and what motivated him to do that work.

Cornel West, coming from his point of view as a revolutionary Christian, spoke on the integrity and importance of BA’s leadership and its relation to the whole “profound commitment [of Black people] to trying to understand this capitalist civilization in profound decay and pervasive decline.”

(From left) Carl Dix and Cornel West focused particularly on questions of morality and leadership, including getting into the Cultural Revolution within the RCP. Andy Zee (right) moderated.

Sunsara Taylor and Noche Diaz read excerpts from THE NEW COMMUNISM at the book lauch in Harlem October 8

Sunsara Taylor and Noche Diaz read excerpts from THE NEW COMMUNISM.

Revolution conducted interviews with people who attended the October 8 launch of Bob Avakian’s new work, THE NEW COMMUNISM, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York (“THE NEW COMMUNISM by Bob Avakian Launched at Great Program in Harlem), and also with people who attended an event in Berkeley, California, where a broadcast of the book launch was aired. Below is Part 2 of edited excerpts from some of those interviews. (Please note: This is a revised version of an earlier posting on October 27.) Part 1 was published October 24.

 

Freshman from Southern California

What provoked you to come tonight?

Well, I’ve always been interested in communist ideals, and I’ve always felt that communism is a good way to change and have revolution, especially for things that interest me, like the environment, given that capitalism doesn’t emphasize environmental issues at all, or when it does, quote unquote, it puts a simple bandage over a cut-off arm, which is a gross analogy but it’s true.

What did you think of the readings from the book?

The readings were very impactful and very true, especially how they put it: Liberals will blind themselves, they will purposely blind themselves from seeing the issue, seeing the problem, they will just offer solutions to a small thing, not to the bigger issue, the catastrophe.

Anything else that stood out from the readings that you wanted to comment on?

There was a quote about the environment [in the readings from THE NEW COMMUNISM]. Environmentalists will give this huge description of the catastrophe, but they offer an extraneous solution that doesn’t solve the problem at all.

What are you gonna do as a result of this program? How did this motivate you?

I’m gonna buy the book, read more about it, try to be more influential, and get the word out there more, try to be more active and try to get more people to learn about the revolution and spread the word because it’s something that needs to be known.

A Black man who visits Revolution Books in Harlem

...the one aspect of Avakian that I found intriguing was the kind of optimism for a larger-scale revolutionary mind-set. I think there was a little optimism and a scale to which people have to measure in terms of what their expectations are. So I found that intriguing.

I believe that there’s a sincerity to what Avakian is promoting but I don’t believe the problem is the system as much as the problem is people. In other words, Funkadelics—they had a song out in the 1970s, “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow.” The issue in this country and globally is that people have to change the way they think and how they behave. You can only be subjugated if you allow yourself to. So it’s not so much the system as people have to be able to see themselves as free people and conduct themselves accordingly. And you can dismantle being subjugated.

A former teacher who follows revcom.us

One of the things that was most profound for me in this moment and highlighted right now is the first thing that came up which is the whole business about: Will you be there? How committed are you? It’s something I need to grapple with, that we all need to grapple with to see what that means. To really understand that we actually have to take this seriously and go through all the struggle that it takes to understand the necessity that we’re dealing with to actually create the freedom that we need.

On what they thought of the event:

I thought it was very good. I was just talking to Carl Dix about some of my concerns that had to do with some blurring of ... a combination of some of the strengths and weaknesses of some of the people around progressive movements in general. Particularly references to corporate greed as the problem and things like that which I don’t think is quite right on but it certainly reflects a lot of common perspective that people have who are progressive minded and coming into this movement now, trying to figure out how to make revolution. I think it’s real important to understand that there are people who call themselves socialists or communists, like maybe Bernie Sanders, who really don’t understand what that is and really are not. So the reality is that people might say what they want you to think but if they don’t really get down to what’s really true about it, you could be pulled into supporting them or not really understanding deeply what you need to understand to make a revolution. I think that’s a problem that we all have to be aware of. At the same time, I think we need to figure out—and this is what Carl was trying to help me understand—we have to understand how to unite as broadly as we can with as broad a perspective as possible and work with them over time to bring that in to a more correct understanding as we work with them about how to make revolution.

How they see their role, in relation to the movement for revolution:

There’s no question that there’s a moral responsibility to play a role, but the issue is—as I think it is for everyone but it certainly is for me, I’ll just speak for myself—has to do with understanding the relationships and the environment and commitments and responsibilities that I have and to figure out how to press forward with that and make the most of that so that I can play a role which is foundationally important.

A student at City College

I heard about this being a student at City College. I saw flyers and I follow Dr. West online, so I guess I saw it both online and in person. I live relatively close to here and to the school, so I see this in my community constantly. I know the new communist revolution, the Party, is out in the street more or less the last couple of weeks. So I was intrigued. There’s definitely some celebrity draw. I think Dr. West here today, in particular. This is my second time coming to see Carl Dix speak, though. I’m not well versed in Bob Avakian, but I’m interested enough to come out and see this.

...It was interesting that they were reading the book, but prior to that I had no real exposure—it was all new to me. I wasn’t particularly surprised, though, no. I had minimal to no expectations so I kind of just took it in. But nothing was particularly surprising. ... I thought that was fantastic. They both command the room when they speak, so I think the audience was engaged and I certainly was.

...I think it affects how I think. I think the climate of the country right now, especially given the political fervor that’s happening 30 days leading up to the election, I think it’s important for people to have more broad views and to go engage and find out about movements that are happening both in this country and abroad. What I’m taking away from this is just another perspective, not necessarily something I subscribe to, nor do I have a general direction for anything I subscribe to. I would say I’m open. It seems interesting and on course for a positive change.

...I most appreciated the point that Dr. West spoke to about ideology and people saying they’re one thing but they’re really not, kind of talking the talk when you should be walking the walk. I think that’s probably the most important thing that our system is devoid of right now and we need a more revolutionary, more active participation in our system. So that was the most important thing that I took from their talk.

A singer in a band called The Cornel West Theory

I am the throat, which is vocalist, for a band called The Cornel West Theory. ...Yes, and Dr. West is our seventh ghost member of the band. He’s been kind enough to allow us to use his namesake, and he’s been a collaborator as well as a mentor for the last 12years. So we have three albums that he’s all throughout the albums, speaking on them

On the event/readings/discussion:

I won’t say surprising because the other thing that led me here is the spirit that leads everybody who does work like this into the same sectors and circles. It’s refreshing to know that it’s still going on, but I won’t say shocking surprise, because I would like to believe that I’m a warrior of the light as well. So I’m kind of in the know. As far as the new approach, I think I liked the discussion the best because it’s one thing to hear one individual say how they feel about it, but to get across the patterns of different people’s views was good. And everybody’s here for the same, I guess, root cause, but everyone was different, as an individual and in their approach.

Going to get the book?

Yes, of course.

How they see their role, in relation to the movement for revolution:

...increase the intensity. Continue to connect with people who are like-minded who—again their approach may be different and there will be some disagreements, but that’s part of it. Dr. West talks about a thing called Socratic questioning, which means we have to bump heads a little bit and be willing to kind of—not kind of—but be willing to be totally honest so that we can find a true solution and not just something temporary or something surface.

...Well, me, my particular angle is I’m a musician, so I consider what I do sonic activism. So the same way Bob puts this information in a book, I put mine on a record. So if my record is connecting with people who are reading Bob’s books then there we go, that’s more push for what we all wish to see which is for suffering to end, which is for opportunities to be available to everybody. So that’s what I mean about connecting with like-minded people, being on the ground level, and not just someone who comes and shows up. You know, you eat the free food and get the T-shirt, but after that you’re back to your daily comfort.

       

Someone of the millennial generation, familiar with BA

On what struck them about the readings from the book:

The last thing I’m thinking about is what Cornel said and it’s about the book and that there is no, like... there’s such a mainstreaming and streamlining of revolutionary thoughts and ideas, like that people are thinking about things within the confines and the framework of this system. At the same time, there’s been like Ferguson that’s happening where people are going so sharply up against the system not because they’re trying to be, like, radical or political but because that’s their lives, that’s what they come up against every day and they’re like: Fuck this! We’re sick of this. And so I mean those two kinds of things co-existing, that contradiction co-existing at the same time...

And one theme in the readings that I’d be interested in what you thought about it, was not being a condescending social worker but actually taking the truth to people.

Exactly. I loved that. I think that’s in BAsics, too. And that always struck me because I went through college and everything like that, and they train you to think a certain way. They train you to be the next bourgeois leader and whatever, and so you’re thinking like: social workers, oh yeah, here they are doing their good things, but it can be that kind of like condescending...

Some reflections on what they have grappled with in their engagement with the revolution:

That’s a good question. I think I was just kind of like... at the time I think I was like: there can be a third party candidate that can solve the problem, not realizing that if they were to get into office they just get funneled into the whole system itself and become more like the system that they’re trying to “reform.” I was coming from it that way, like being really angry and upset but not being so engaged with the actual reality....

College student from the Bay Area

I like the language of it all. I feel like with all of this revolutionary type of vocabulary, there can be language that’s a little bit of a buffer to people who are new to it, but really listening to it and dissecting it, it gets more and more interesting. I really appreciate how some of the speakers, I don’t know if it was the speakers themselves or if they were quoting Bob Avakian, but they were talking about how a lot of mainstream politicians pretend to be for the people, and it’s sort of like an oedipal complex that the people have with these politicians in terms of always taking the poison, and it’s always bad. And how the media is so controlled by that, and what so many Americans think is progressive is not progressive. It’s still slavery, It’s still operating within a system of oppression. Yeah, I really liked it.

What are your thoughts on what you want to do, in relation to this revolution, going forward after watching this?

I definitely do wanna go and read more revolutionary materials, more things that I’m sure I can find on the internet, written by Bob Avakian. Cuz like I said, I feel like I’m really, really interested in all of what’s being talked about, but they do still have a very specific vocabulary and way of talking that I feel like I need to do a little bit more research to be able to more fully appreciate it, because I’m not like completely ignorant, I’m able to glean what they’re saying, but it’s like I’m able to glean enough that I can tell that if I educated myself a little bit more, there’s a lot more depth to it. So, that’s my honest answer, I still feel like I’m learning. A lot of people including myself, like the reason why I came to this event, or even why I’m interested in this bookstore and have gone to other events too, is because you don’t have to be exposed to revolutionary rhetoric to have a gut sense that there’s something wrong with the system, and I think there’s a lot of people out there who have that sensation but they don’t have the resources, or they don’t have the connections or opportunities with which they can discern what this gut feeling is, in terms of things not right with the system, with its 9 to 5 life that’s promoted.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/defy-university-of-chicago-ban-on-noche-diaz-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

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Get this letter to everybody you know:

U of Chicago Police Viciously Assaulted & Arrested Revolutionaries On Campus TODAY, Don't Stand By!

Read and get the letter


To find out how to support the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour in Chicago with financial, legal, public opinion support, call: (312) 502-7485 or email GetIntoTheRevolution@gmail.com

For Press inquiries, contact: jessiedavis60@gmail.com

 

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Defy University of Chicago and Chicago Police's Ban on Revolutionary Communist Noche Diaz!

October 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

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The University of Chicago and Chicago police have banned Noche Diaz from campus under threat of arrest.  This is illegitimate and will not be respected.  Noche Diaz will speak on campus Tuesday, November 1, and you must be there—to hear what the University is trying to suppress and to have his back.

3:00 pm Tuesday, November 1
JOIN US AT THE CENTER OF THE UC QUAD
Come Hear Noche Diaz on University of Chicago Campus
Defy the campus and Chicago police ban on who and what ideas you can engage

University of Chicago has made headlines across the country this year for its insistence on free and open speech.  They insisted they would not allow students to “shelter” themselves from any idea.  Yet, on October 26, the University of Chicago and Chicago police violently assaulted and arrested Noche Diaz, a member of the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour, for revolutionary speech inside a campus cafeteria.  A student assaulted Noche and another RevCom, but it was Noche and other RevComs who were attacked, injured, and arrested by police at the request of campus administration.

Not satisfied with sending a young woman to the hospital after police punched and elbowed her in the chest above the heart and in both shoulders... not satisfied with violently arresting Noche Diaz as he was peacefully leaving the building on his own... not satisfied with pressing charges against Noche that carry a full year in jail... the University of Chicago and Chicago police issued Noche Diaz with permanent ban and threat of arrest if he even sets foot back on University of Chicago campus property ever again.

What was Noche Diaz speaking about?  He was calling out the crimes of the system we live under—the ongoing murder by police of Black and Brown people, the U.S.' wars and drone strikes on civilians in the Middle East, the violence and degradation of women, the attacks on immigrants, the destruction of the environment—and he was challenging students to get into THE NEW COMMUNISM that has been brought forward by Bob Avakian, into the revolution that can emancipate all of humanity.  Students need to hear this message!

The ban on Noche Diaz—under threat of arrest—for engaging in peaceful speech on campus is completely illegitimate.  It is a chilling threat to all to “stay in bounds” in their thinking, their scholarship, and their lives; “Think, discuss and act on anything you want,” the message is being sent, “as long as it doesn't challenge the fundamental assumptions of the system of capitalism-imperialism which is ruling over you and billions worldwide through brutal and murderous force.”

Do NOT let this go down!  The University and Chicago police are sending a message designed to chill, intimidate, and silence.  Come hear what Noche Diaz has to say and be part of sending a different message, that we will not let them silence revolutionary voices.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/the-outrageous-and-unacceptable-arrest-of-4-revolutionaries-at-ccny-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

We received the following correspondence from the Revolution Club, NYC., 9PM, Oct. 28:

The Outrageous and Unacceptable Arrest of 4 Revolutionaries at City College of NY (CCNY)

October 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On the heels of the outrageous arrest of Noche Diaz in Chicago...

Today, 4 members of the Revolution Club, NYC were arrested at CCNY, and remain in custody.

Demand their immediate release NOW. Call 347-731-6559 and demand the immediate release of the CCNY 4, the revolutionaries arrested at the college today.

Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE

We are still learning details but what we do know is that these 4 members had gone on to the campus to deliver the message “America was NEVER Great! We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote for, the System”. They were there to distribute the message from the Revolutionary Communist Party: “How We Can Win—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” And they were there to organize people into the revolution.

For this, for acting in the interests of the 7 Billion of humanity, they were arrested by campus police— first taken to the local precinct, and now, 6 hours later, still awaiting arraignment.

THIS IS COMPLETELY OUTRAGEOUS AND UNACCEPTABLE!

These 4 revolutionaries were taking a righteous and much-needed stand in a world that cries out for revolution...and the university decided to shut down ideas and organization that must be part of the discourse on campuses. Nobody should tolerate this.

We call on all those outraged to:

Call the President of CCNY at 212-650-7285 to demand that the Revolution Club and the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour be allowed onto the campus, and all charges against the CCNY 4 be immediately dropped. Leave voicemails!

Some others of us returned to campus and agitated about what happened. In response, 30 students stepped forward and signed the following statement:

I/we demand that all charges get dropped and that revolutionary ideas be allowed on campus. Support the NYC Revolution Club.”

This is just the beginning, and we aim to mobilize many many more students from here and other campuses against these outrageous attacks.

A long-time CCNY professor has sent emails of protest to the university president and other authorities. Others must follow her example.

This fight must broaden out. A clear and powerful response is called for.

On Tuesday at noon, a rally will take place on campus – to continue to do what these heroic revolutionaries were doing on campus – and stand in defense of these revolutionaries, in support of the right of revolutionaries to be on the campus, and for revolutionary ideas to be part of the discourse of university life. What is the administration afraid of?

Stay tuned for more information at revcom.us

Contact the NYC Revolution Club at: nycrevclub@gmail.com

on social media: @NYCRevClub

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/463/boldly-putting-out-how-we-can-win-in-midst-of-protests-vs-police-murder-of-alfred-olango-en.html

Revolution #462 October 24, 2016

Letter from a member of the Revolution Club, L.A.:

Boldly Putting Out "HOW WE CAN WIN" in the Midst of Protests vs. Police Murder of Alfred Olango

October 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old refugee from Uganda, was shot and killed by police on September 27 in El Cajon (a city in San Diego County, California). Family members say he was having a hard time dealing with the death of a close friend and needed medical attention but instead a brutal pig shot him dead. On September 28, I traveled down to El Cajon with 5 Revolution Club members. We stayed over to do follow up with people in San Diego the next day.

Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE

That evening was the largest (as far as I know) protest for Alfred Olango which shut down streets and intersections, I would estimate 500 people (maybe hundreds more). And throughout that day there were people coming and going, groupings and individuals to the site of the murder where a canopy had been set up with candles and pictures of him. When we got there, the freeways were blocked because a smaller march had taken to the streets. We distributed over 1,000 of the pamphlets “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” both at the protest that evening in El Cajon and the next day at San Diego City College.

As part of getting oriented on the drive down to El Cajon, we read the new pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN,” together with the article “Once More, Lying, Murdering Pigs Run Amok: What Time Is It? Time and Past Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution.” I put forward to the Revolution Club a lot of what we’d been struggling over: no “meeting people half way,” no “mass line,” no “populist epistemology.” In other words, we need to lead, we need to start from what people need to know and not from “where they're at” or try to unfold things out of the questions they have. All this was part of fighting to accumulate forces and have an impact for revolution. The Revolution Club was unleashed although the practice was uneven.

Establishing Our Authority

At the site of the murder we established our authority early on. As people began to gather again for another round of protests, a speak-out started. This guy who runs with a Black nationalist group seemed to be in charge, although there were many other forces in the field like members of Black Lives Matter and other political organizations who put forward “identity politics.” The crowd of protesters was mixed, and as it grew bigger, it became even more diverse. Black masses from the area, including people in and around the gangs, young people from different backgrounds (including young white people), people who live in the area and wanted to find out what was happening, students from different nationalities, there were also a few Middle Eastern families and other immigrants (we met a woman from Iraq and some Kurdish youth) that stopped by and took pictures of what was going on. The Revolution Club went up to speak—we lined up next to each other, and I started to do agitation and chants that got taken up by a large section of the crowd.

A lot of what I said in the agitation was taken from the first part of “HOW WE CAN WIN”—that this system cannot be reformed, that we are getting organized to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time, that we have Bob Avakian and the leadership he’s providing and a challenge for people to join the ranks of the revolution now. That America was NEVER great and we need to overthrow and not vote for this system. The chants got taken up by people, including “It’s Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” and “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” And people also liked the “1,2,3,4, Slavery, genocide and war—5,6,7,8, America was NEVER great!” chant.

The Black nationalist guy tried to stop me from talking about BA, and I told him simply that ain’t happening. BA is the leader of the revolution to emancipate all humanity and everyone here has to know that. He backed off and didn’t bring it up again. The next day before we left, I saw him and brought up BA again and he said he used to live in the Bay Area and had looked into the RCP and other groups but took up a Black nationalist program. He said he could not take leadership from a white person. We had a brief but sharp struggle over who BA is (not a white liberal but the architect of a new framework for human emancipation), what he represents, and questions of epistemology and truth.

Getting Out the Pamphlet Broadly

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At all times, there were at least 2 or 3 Revolution Club members broadly getting out the pamphlet, including as the crowd got bigger and as newer people kept arriving. There were a handful of people that took stacks of pamphlets to take back and distribute where they came from. A group of social workers said they would get it out to their co-workers, one older Black man said he would get it out in El Cajon where he lives, a couple of students from different colleges were going to take it to their schools, etc.

We would estimate that several hundred (at least 300) got out in stacks of 50 (the pamphlets come tied together in bunches of 50). Others took smaller stacks. And lots of people in the crowd came up asking for a copy, especially after people heard the agitation which at times was going up against and contending with other class forces and programs. For example, during the confrontation with the riot pigs when many of the protesters were doing a “sit in” in the middle of the street there was a Black woman outraged at what the cops were doing but she kept insisting that “we pay taxes so these cops are supposed to work for us” and other similar sentiments. I spoke to this with BA’s quote about the role of the police as front-line enforcers of this system, and immediately people came up to get the pamphlets and find out about who we were. There were other questions I spoke to during the speak-out, at the march and afterwards—infantile posturing from an older Black man in boots and fatigues, to cite another example. But the starting point was really putting boldly what people need to know—which I took from “HOW WE CAN WIN.”

Briefly during the march: it shut down streets and intersections, although cops were really uptight about the freeways so there were tons of cops blocking them. People along the way chanted and took up our chants. Black Lives Matter had a much louder sound system and would sometimes play hip hop and rap and that would attract some protesters.  However, they were putting forward a weak program, and their attempts at getting white people in the back or white people to form a line to protect Black people from the cops didn’t really stick. Many people there were attracted to the straight-up communist revolutionary authority we were projecting, and many people there were also much broader minded and rejected the narrow shit coming from some “organizers” and “community activists.” One Black woman who’d taken responsibility for the march kept coming up to the Revolution Club to ask and consult on what to do, which was interesting (many people were attracted to the Revolution Club and the force we were projecting). 

Challenging People to Get Into the Revolution

I was on a mission to leave organization behind in San Diego. Everyone I was talking to, I was challenging them to get into the revolution, to join the Revolution Club. We were boldly putting forward what’s in the first part of “HOW WE CAN WIN” (along with the rest of it). We set up several appointments for deeper engagements the following day, but we only ended up meeting with one person, a 17-year-old transgender woman. She goes to San Diego City College, so the Revolution Club went there in the morning and while another Revolution Club member and I were meeting up with her, the rest of the crew posted up with the placards and signs, did agitation and got out more pamphlets to students in between classes (our student friend had suggested a good spot to set up and reach lots of students). We met other students there who also took up small stacks of pamphlets.

       

The woman we were meeting with considered herself a communist and later I learned she is part of a whole interesting Queer scene in San Diego. She talked about how when she was growing up, she worked in the California farm fields where she got hurt and now has to sometimes use a cane to walk. She told stories of being harassed and beat up when she’s dressed as her gender identity and alone on the train or on public transportation. She was attracted to what was in the first part of “HOW WE CAN WIN” (we need to overthrow this system), but as we talked it was clear she does not have a scientific understanding of how the system actually works, which we got into.

When we met at her school she had read the six “Points of Attention for the Revolution” (POA's) and asked about POA #2 where it says, “We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or 'jokes' about people’s gender or sexual orientation.” She said she “jokes” around with her friends who know her and feels comfortable and safe with. The other Revolution Club member referenced Bob Avakian’s talk REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! where BA talks about humor needing to be part of our whole thing (our movement for revolution and the society we’re fighting to bring into being) but then goes sharply at the bullshit misogyny from the “comedian” Tosh who had made a rape “joke” during a performance. There, BA makes the point that rape is never fucken funny.

We showed her the “What If...” clip from REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN, and she said she was going to download BAsics and read THE NEW COMMUNISM online.  She took 50 copies of “HOW WE CAN WIN” pamphlets to pass out to her Black Studies class, and the next time I saw her (several days later when we came back) she said she got them all out and that people had all kinds of questions she couldn’t answer so she told them to go to the revcom.us website and that she was going to work on writing up what these questions were and send them to the website, together with pictures she’d taken of the protests. We told her the rest of the process of joining the Revolution Club (while she continues to run with it), and she wanted to continue this.

Another person we’d set up to meet was a Latino ex-gang member in his 30s who was out there on 9/28 at the protests. At one point, he was carrying the Stolen Lives poster he got from us and had been all up in the face of the pigs. He recognized our “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” shirt and said he had seen our stuff in prison—he had an ankle bracelet and said he was out fighting a case. He took several copies of the pamphlet, and we’d set up to meet the next day but found out that he got taken in by the authorities for being at the protest and allegedly was in violation of some bullshit rules.

I learned a few days later from another protester that this same Latino ex-gang member had been out there marching on 9/28 with a Black guy he almost got in a fight with inside prison but that they put that shit aside to march together against this brutal murder. As an aside, there were a few Latinos and Blacks who were really calling for unity. At some point during the speak-out, I spoke to this from the point of view of what’s needed, what is the problem (this system) and what is the solution (an actual revolution), and challenged people to stop killing each other and to come together in unity to fight the real enemy.

Another person we met was a 19-year-old Black college student. He engaged with the “HOW WE CAN WIN” pamphlet, and after establishing the need to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time he asked “how,” so we read together the section on how to defeat them. As we were reading through this, I talked about the fighting forces being the fish in the sea of the people. He said the fish could not survive without water and said he understood this, the need to build this up now.

Again, we read from “HOW WE CAN WIN” where it speaks to this. He said it would be suicide to get something going now. Later we watched one of the Q&A’s from BA’s Dialogue with Cornel West where someone asks the question about how the people's forces could take on the strength of the forces of the old order, in a future situation. I put the challenge to him on joining the Revolution Club and becoming part of the thousands working on the revolution, and he said he had a lot of questions but took all this very seriously. This was in the middle of shit and our plans for follow-up did not happen (he couldn’t make it). He did take to distribute a small stack of pamphlets as part of his understanding of building up that sea that we'd talked about.

We met up with a Black woman college student who played an important role in the march on 9/28. We met up with her the second time we went to El Cajon several days later. One thing that another Revolution Club member was summing up afterwards on the way back was that our approach was different and she could see the difference, including in how we kept challenging the student that she needed to join the Revolution Club and that it felt like we were actually organizing people into this revolution.

The Club member commented that she saw how in our discussion with the student, we did not start from what her many questions were (we knew coming in she had lots of important questions about “unity” and how to sustain it, etc.) but our starting point was what people need to know—all what’s in “HOW WE CAN WIN” with a strong focus on the first part. At some point we did speak to this question of unity and mainly by wielding the pamphlet where it says that “we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program... according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression.” The student liked that.

At the same time as we struggled over what is the problem and what is the solution, we kept coming back to the need to overthrow this system and how this system actually works, why it cannot be reformed. This was challenging her framework, and she said she’s been thinking that it will take more than what she’s been a part of with the protests. She said she is studying to be a social worker—she cares and wants to do good. She bought BAsics, in part from discussing the “Reform or Revolution” essay. We read together the first 3 quotes from the first 3 chapters in BAsics. She also watched the clip from the BA/Cornel West Dialogue that I mentioned above.

She is broadminded and cares about things we told her, the horrors going on in other parts of the world. We brought out the leadership of Bob Avakian and the “contended question” (the point that people love BA for the same reasons that some hate BA, that he’s about real revolution and emancipating all humanity and nothing less than that) and took the offensive on this, which is something else we noted as different than other times. BA was very much at the heart of what we were talking about and she left wanting to read more from BA and learn more about him. She said she wanted to join the Revolution Club and we told her the process and she said she wants to pursue this.

We spoke to a Black jazz musician who recently moved to San Diego. A Revolution Club member I was with thought we challenged sharply his framework (a Jill Stein [Green Party candidate for president] supporter) after walking him through why this system needs to be overthrown and why it cannot be reformed and how dangerous it is to spread the illusions that anything else short of revolution can do any good. We struggled over populist epistemology because he was arguing that most people aren’t with revolution and maybe Jill Stein can help take things in that direction. He kept getting confronted with reality and he was challenged by this—at one point he looked up at the police drone flying above us and doing surveillance and thought about the repression and what we had been arguing for and said, “I keep thinking that we are not going to be able to legislate our way out of this one.” We kept challenging him to get out of that and get into the revolution. He kept insisting that we had him thinking about shit he hadn’t thought about before. What if an opening for revolution emerges and you haven’t been preparing for this... this was circulating in his brain.

There was an older Black man who works with a group called Stop the Genocide—they have a shirt that shows a number of figures dressed half in KKK outfit and the other half as either a cop or a judge or a gang member or a woman setting someone up to get killed... all people, according to the t-shirt, who are contributing to the deaths of Black people. I showed him one of the Q&A’s from the BA/Cornel West Dialogue, and he ended up buying a copy saying, “There’s too much drama going on right here and this is deep shit that requires my full attention so I need to watch this in the comfort of my home.” He told a heavy story of a Latino gang member he was good friends with and used to roll in the same car together but in jail the Latino dude wouldn’t talk to him because of the prison politics. We talked about this, where it comes from, and how to overcome this as part of people coming together in unity and into the ranks of the revolution.

One quick final story: the second time we traveled to El Cajon we ended up having a scene near the site of where the police murdered Alfred Olango, where most of the people I mentioned here were coming up to the Revolution Club to talk, debate, learn more about and watch clips from Bob Avakian while at the same time others who had gathered there also kept coming up asking for pamphlets and to get into conversations. People were really searching for answers because of deep questions they are agonizing over and being attracted to the radical and revolutionary message and force the Revolution Club was projecting.