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Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
With the dizzying and aggressive pace of the Trump regime’s lies, threats, and vicious assaults on whole groupings of people here and around the world—and on the planet itself, these two points are essential to understand:
One, that this regime is indeed fascist and as such poses a mortal threat and must be defeated. And two, that there are people—millions and tens of millions—who can potentially be mobilized to fight against it and who must be led to step outside the confines of politics-as-usual (including protest-as-usual) to actually OUST this horrendous monstrosity.
In the Name of Humanity We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!
To understand the roots and dynamics of this, get into these two pieces by Bob Avakian:
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
December 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
February 6, 2017: We are reposting this article, originally written in early December, due to its continuing relevance.
Some well-known Black people have gone around saying, “Well, we’ve gone through a lot, we’ll get through Trump”—and some people are echoing this.
Reality check: you have no idea HOW bad Trump is going to be for Black people. Yes, there’s been a reign of terror by police against Black people... yes, there’s been the ugly unending discrimination in every realm of society, from education to health care to housing and jobs... yes, there’s been the constant insult and threat; and now all that is going on steroids.
Just think of what he’s done already: He took out ads calling for the death penalty against the Central Park 5. The Central Park 5 were Black and Latino youths who were unfairly charged with rape, and who were found innocent years later—after serving long, hard years in jail. And what did Trump say, just this year, when asked about this? That he doesn’t care what the evidence said, he says they’re guilty and they should be back in jail. And then there’s whole birther thing he got behind and got in front of—all that was just a way to say that Black people should have NO rights.
Trump’s convention featured the former New York mayor, Adolph Ghouliani, screaming about “law and order” and “blue lives matter,” and this was a major theme of his campaign. Trump even said he wants to do stop-and-frisk in every major city. And he applauds the Philippine ruler Duterte, who murders suspects straight-up in the street, without even a trial—over 2,000 already since this summer. What do you think he’s gonna do now? Why do you think that every racist pig and prison guard and every sick white racist vigilante wanna-be is drooling? You don’t think they’re gonna go crazy? And is there any doubt who they’re gonna go crazy against?
And then there’s Trump’s picks. His attorney general is Sessions from Alabama—who got turned down for a federal judgeship by Republicans back in the 1980s for being too much of an out-there racist. His top advisor is Bannon, who brags that the website he ran was the “platform for the alt-right”—and the alt-right are a bunch of Nazis. There’s Ben Carson in charge of housing, that Tom who opposes all government assistance and says that if Black people are poor it’s their own fault. What do you think is going to happen to the rights to free expression and political resistance, to voting rights, to hate crimes (they’re already going through the roof), to public housing and so on down the line?
And the jobs Trump promises? If they happen at all, they’ll be minimum wage or below (and don’t be surprised when he puts even more people in prison to work for next to nothing).
Yes, there’s been a reign of terror. But this is gonna be a reign of terror ON TOP OF a reign of terror. Here’s a parallel to think about: After the Civil War, there were 11 years of Reconstruction in the South, where the former slaves got democratic rights and some land. Then there was a close, contested election in 1876, and a deal got made where the winner agreed to pull out federal protection. In the next few years, the Ku Klux Klan killed thousands of Black people, stripped people of their rights, and took almost all the land that people had been able to obtain. This kind of slam back and worse could be what goes down.
But there’s a bigger question. Trump’s already made clear he’s going after Muslims, after immigrants, after women, and after gay people with a vengeance... he’s made clear he’s gonna foul the environment on a level never seen before (and it’s already close to disaster)... he’s made clear he’s gonna be a warmonger. The kind of narrowness that comes at things from “what might this do to me” out, as if that’s the only question, is never any good and never justified—no matter where it comes from.
There’s a chance now to stop the horror, to stop it before it starts. Not a cinch, not a guarantee, but a chance—one worth fighting for. And the stakes for anyone who cares about the fate of Black people, as well as the people and planet as a whole, are very, very high.
(To find out more, go to refusefascism.org.)
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This past week and a half has seen an extremely important and very inspiring outpouring of struggle against the Trump-Pence regime’s attempt to ban Muslim immigrants from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Thousands poured out to airports as soon as news of this ban spread, and at least tens of thousands more have demonstrated all week long, from New York City to Starksville, Mississippi, from Utah to LA. Hundreds of lawyers volunteered their services. As we go to press, Trump’s order has been legally stayed for the time being; but what will happen is far from certain.
On Friday, January 27, Trump signed an executive order that imposed a selective ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Passengers in mid-flight or who arrived in the U.S. after the order was signed were “detained,” while authorities moved to send them back to their countries of origin. Permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders) were among those barred from entry, as were refugee families who had been screened for years and finally admitted to the U.S. They had valid visas. Even a five-year-old separated from his mother, a stage 4 breast cancer patient, was barred from entering the U.S. Beyond those detained at U.S. airports, news media identified 90,000 people directly hit by the ban—stranded while visiting their home countries or sent back from airports around the world.
The ban specifically targeted Muslims. Trump’s close adviser, Rudy Giuliani, told FOX “News”: “I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban.’” And then, Giuliani said, Trump “called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’” The ban established preferential treatment for refugees seeking asylum who are identified with “minority religions” in their country of origin. As these are all majority-Muslim countries, that meant Christians. In case there was any doubt about the latter provision’s intent, Trump told Christian Broadcast News that it was intended to give priority to “Christians” seeking asylum over “Muslims.”
Trump's executive order also bars all refugees from around the world from entering the U.S. for 120 days, and bans those from Syria indefinitely. Many of those refugees are from the Middle East and Muslim-majority countries which have been subjected to horrendous U.S. military aggression that has gone on for decades and in fact is still going on as we write, with U.S. troops and allies routinely murdering whole families, and literally millions being forced to flee for their lives. Further, these countries have been bitterly exploited and their economies and societies devastated by U.S. imperialist capital. This in turn has given rise to a relatively numerically small but significant section of people who have taken up fundamentalist Islamic jihadism—a thoroughly reactionary ideology and a brutal movement—and now tens of millions find themselves caught between these two reactionary forces, making life even more unlivable.
Immigrants are deeply woven into the economy and fabric of U.S. society. One in every three people in New York City is an immigrant. Immigrants play a critical role in the U.S. economy, ranging from super-exploited workers in construction, agriculture, and service work to highly educated professionals in medicine (over 25 percent of all doctors in the U.S. are from other countries) and engineers in high-tech.
Part of what was expressed in the movement against the ban is that in many places—technology, academia, medicine and medical research, for example—companies and institutions that rely on people working for them from around the world see Trump’s policies as a real threat to their ability to compete and survive. They are trying to band together against Trump on these policies. There has also been outrage “from below,” among people who work in these professions and communities. Younger people, who have grown up with co-workers and friends from around the world, are furious at seeing them demonized and attacked this way. They are not willing to stand for that.
Sections of the ruling class—mainly but not just the Democrats—have profound fears about the social, political, and economic repercussions of Trump’s slash-and-burn assault on all immigrants and want to tone this down. And they insist that allowing (relatively tiny) numbers of refugees into the U.S. serves to project the U.S. as a global “defender of human rights.”
The Trump regime aims to radically transform the status quo in the world, and in the U.S., and to remake society as fascist. It demonizes and threatens all people of Muslim faith. It vows to drive women back into the position of being subservient appendages of men. It threatens to crush Black and Brown youth. It has declared it will tear apart millions and millions of immigrant families, from Mexico, Latin America, and the world over. It is already moving to forcibly silence all opposition, even from within the ruling class, and brutally crush any resistance from the masses. And it is ready to go to—and perhaps over—the brink of nuclear war and environmental destruction as part of that. Building a base for that requires playing on the fears and deep-seated racism and American chauvinism of sections of people. This immigration ban is one part of that.
As people rose up against this, and as lawyers fought in the courts, the courts in turn stayed the hand of the Trump-Pence regime. And as we post this article, the ban remains halted, temporarily.
From the early days of the movement there has been a contradiction between the anger of the people in the streets and the attempts of the Democratic politicians to jump to the head of this and lead this back into the confines of the system. This is in two senses. First, the Democrats’ political program is to direct people to strengthen the “checks and balances” of the system. They want to keep these demonstrations very moderate—that is why there is such a disconnect between the temper of the crowd and what is projected by these politicians—and they want to direct people’s efforts toward supporting local mayors, pressuring the judiciary, etc.
Second, the Democrats promote the notion of the “true America” as being a haven for immigrants. In fact, as the accompanying article makes clear, America (that is, U.S. capitalism-imperialism) has always exploited and used immigrants, often plunging them into truly horrendous conditions, to build up their system. They hope for, at most, some kind of compromise in which the essential program of the Trump regime will go through, but with some loopholes and softening of some elements of it. (See “A Nation of Immigrants? Give Us A Break! America: “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses, Yearning to Be Free”... So We Can Exploit the Shit Out of Them”)
Meanwhile, the Trump-Pence fascists do not intend to back off of anything. They are attempting to intimidate the judiciary and hammer wavering Republicans into line, and they are threatening mayors of the major cities, even as the so-called sanctuary cities actually do NOT provide anything like sanctuary.
Through talk radio, Breitbart News, FOX News, and other media, they are whipping up their loyal and bigoted minions to support all this. And that’s not to mention Trump’s direct agitation on Twitter. Should they get away with this, the next step could very well be registration of all Muslims and other extraordinary forms of surveillance. Anyone who doubts the real possibility of concentration camps should remember Trump’s remarks during his campaign, when he was asked about policies implemented in World War 2 that registered and then interned first- and second-generation Japanese-Americans in concentration camps for nearly four years. When asked specifically by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, about proclamations that led to the camps, Trump said: “I don’t want to bring it back, George, at all. I don’t like doing it at all. It’s a temporary measure until our representatives—many of whom are grossly incompetent—our representatives can figure out what’s going on.”
What is needed are two things: first, in the immediate struggle, people should continue to intensify what has been and is an extremely important struggle and fight to win. The many different kinds of demonstrations and actions should continue, growing in size, and ranging from the teach-ins and vigils, to defending individuals from illegitimate attempts by law enforcement to round them up and exile them, to forceful mass expressions of anger. Should the courts reverse themselves and find in favor of Trump-Pence, people need to pour into the streets in 10 times the numbers at least, and refuse to leave, shutting down business as usual and challenging the operation of the whole system, and resistance needs to spread into every office and factory and school in this country.
But what we face right now is larger than a series of terrible attacks on different fronts. After all, in just the past two weeks the Trump-Pence regime has launched attacks against a whole spectrum of people and issues—against Mexico and Mexican immigrants, against environmental regulations and struggles to maintain the environment, against Native American peoples, against the public school system, against women and LGBT people (through nominating a reactionary to the Supreme Court)... the list goes on and on. THIS IS A PACKAGE—an attempt, through relentless moves one after the other, to radically re-order society into fascism. If we fight these one at a time, there may be some victories here or there, but the overall trajectory is into horror. Think about it—this regime is not only bolting into place an openly white supremacist America in which those who are not white will have virtually NO rights and many will be confined in prisons or camps, one way or another... this regime is also threatening other countries. After all, the perverted leader of the regime is known to have asked the CIA at briefings “if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?” The greatest danger before us right now is to underestimate the danger that this regime poses across the board, not only in the U.S. but to the entire world and, indeed, to the fate of humanity and the environment.
This leads to the second and even greater need—a movement that says NO! to the whole thing, that demands the immediate OUSTER of this vicious and extraordinarily dangerous fascist regime. The stance embodied in the slogan “In the name of humanity, we REFUSE to accept a fascist America” must spread. The simple demand embodied in the posters and stickers that say “NO!” must be seen everywhere. Word and understanding must be spread of what this regime really embodies and intends. Determination to oust it as soon as possible, in the next months before it has fully dug itself in and eliminated opposition, must grow exponentially. Discussion within this movement over how to do this and, going even deeper, where this regime came from and what must be done to really get past the kind of society in which this is always a threat and in which, even in the “best of times” people are exploited and ground down and oppressed, and the few rights they do have occur in the context in which a) those rights are weak and subject to and conditioned by the real dictatorship of those who rule society, and b) we can find ourselves in a situation in which even those rights can be snatched away.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
A Nation of Immigrants? Give Us a Break!
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
As the Trump-Pence regime carries out a white supremacist, Christian fascist war on immigrants—now especially focused on Muslims, but definitely aiming their fire as well on immigrants from Mexico and all “outsiders”—those on the “other side of the aisle” among the U.S. rulers insist that this is a “nation of immigrants.” The bourgeois liberals of the Democratic Party claim that the “inclusive” message on the Statue of Liberty—“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free”—is what has and should characterize America.
The “alternative facts” of the Trump-Pence fascists about immigrants are lies serving the blatant exercise of dictatorship by the U.S. capitalist-imperialists. But the “nation of immigrants” narrative of the liberal rulers is also a falsehood covering over the real nature and history of this system. Here are a few basic truths about immigrants and the U.S.:
» Along with the genocidal dispossession of Native Americans, the whole foundational wealth of this country was built on generations of “forced immigrants”—millions of Africans who were kidnapped, sold, and sent to the Americas, including to the British colonies that would become the United States. Numbers alone cannot capture the agony and suffering this meant for these human beings, but over two million kidnapped people died horribly just in the voyages from Africa. As works like The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and others show, the coerced labor of the slaves—under threat of torture, rape, and wanton murder—did not just profit the Southern slave owners, but was crucial to the rising capitalist system in this country as a whole. Bob Avakian points to a central reality about this country when he says: “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” (BAsics 1:1)
» Different immigrant groups from oppressed countries have not only been bitterly exploited in the U.S., but also subjected to the extra oppression of white supremacy—treated as the “other” and discriminated against, and at times becoming targets of violent attacks by official law enforcement or racist mobs. The U.S. stole half of Mexico’s land through war and invasion in the 1800s to form what is now the current border. And the exploitation of immigrants from Mexico—forced to look for a livelihood north of the border because the economy of their country has been so fucked up by U.S. domination—has long been a critical part of the U.S. capitalist economy. While shunted into the most dangerous, back-breaking, low-paying work in the fields and factories, Mexican immigrants have also been scapegoated, hunted down, and deported en masse. Between 1954 and 1956, the U.S. government carried out a military-style campaign of round-ups and mass deportations of Mexicans living in this country. This “Operation Wetback”—after the openly racist term for Mexicans—deported 1.3 million Mexicans out of the U.S., tearing apart families and terrorizing and decimating entire communities. (See “American Crime: Case #78: “Operation Wetback”—1954-56.”) More recently, under President Obama, the U.S. deported a record-breaking total of more than 2.5 million immigrants, many to Mexico—leading many to call him “Deporter-in-Chief.”
» Another grouping of immigrants from an oppressed nation were about a quarter of a million Chinese who came to the U.S. in the mid- to late 1800s as indentured servants who had to work under near-slave conditions for years or even decades. Chinese people were the target of the first U.S. law banning immigration of a specific ethnic or national group (1882 Chinese Exclusion Act). This law and other official anti-Chinese moves unleashed a flood of racist vigilante violence, with mobs burning homes, looting shops, branding people with hot irons, and lynching.
» Successive waves of millions of immigrants from Europe—from Ireland, Germany, Poland, Italy, and elsewhere—came to the U.S. throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of the lure for many in the early 1800s was the promise of “free land,” which, of course, was not some unoccupied “free” territory but land stolen—through violent force and broken treaties—from the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants. The labor of these European immigrants was poured into the building up of capitalism in the U.S.—which developed into an imperialist colossus by the end of the 1800s. They were exploited under inhuman and dangerous conditions in the factories, sweatshops, mills, mines, and railroads. One notorious incident, among many, was the 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City that killed 147 garment workers, mostly young immigrant Italian and Jewish women, trapped in a building with the doors locked from the outside. In countless instances, workers—many, if not most, of whom were immigrants—who rose up to do something about their conditions were mowed down by police, troops, and company goons. Just to name two: 30 strikers killed in the 1894 strike by Pullman railroad workers; and 19 killed, mostly women and children, at a camp of striking coal miners in Ludlow, Colorado, in 1914.
» Based on the supremacy of U.S. imperialism around the world, and the ability of the rulers to use some of the spoils from this global domination to buy social stability in their home base, there has been some movement for many among the various immigrant groups into the middle class and beyond. For European immigrants, this involved integration into “white America”—fitting themselves into the dominant white-supremacist relations in this country. And that meant distinguishing themselves from Black people, even if they had at first started at or near the bottom rungs of the working class. As for Mexicans and other non-whites, even those who have “made it” out of the most harshly exploited positions continue to face racist discrimination and oppression as a people in a society shot through with white supremacy.
Whether they’re the fascists and more “traditional” right wingers, or the supposedly “inclusive” bourgeois democrats, the rulers of this capitalist-imperialist system fundamentally see the masses of immigrants as nothing but objects to be mercilessly exploited—and/or blamed as the cause of problems that the system itself has created and then hounded, persecuted, brutalized, and driven out. It’s not in the interests of the great majority of people to side with either of them.
There is actually a vision and plan for a radically different, and profoundly liberating, society—the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This is a plan for a revolutionary socialist society—full of vibrant diversity, critical thinking, creativity, internationalism—that is moving toward communism, a world without one part of society ruling over others, without countries and borders, without all the oppressive relations and ideas that imprison humanity today. This new socialist society will handle the question of borders and immigration in light of that goal. Get into this radical step into the future here.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign with vicious insults and threats against Mexican people, calling those coming across the border “rapists” and “drug dealers.” Now that he is actually president, Trump is making threats to invade Mexico.
Last week Trump and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto held a phone conversation. According to the Associated Press, Trump blustered to Peña Nieto that he “was ready to send U.S. troops to stop ‘bad hombres’ down there unless the Mexican military does more to control them.” The White House described Trump’s comments as “lighthearted.”
Think about this for a minute: Trump, the “commander in chief” of the most powerful military in world history, the man with his “finger on the button” of an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons, is threatening to invade a neighboring country. This is no fucking joke. Trump’s threats against the country and the people of Mexico are saturated with racism, hatred, and the swaggering bravado of a long-time bully. They are also deadly serious.
And yet this was not in any significant way opposed by the leading Democrats or from any other quarter. No demand to put a halt to any actual moves in the works toward carrying out Trump's threats. No demand that this whole fascist regime be held accountable for the gravity of what was said to another sovereign country.
Anyone who knows anything about the history of U.S. military aggression against Mexico knows that Trump’s comments are anything but “lighthearted.”
Invasions of Mexico, domination and exploitation over that country, and the endless torment of the Mexican people have shaped the U.S. Shaped it literally, in the sense that the U.S. stole over half of the country as the “spoils” of its 1846 war against Mexico. While the principal reason for the war was to expand slavery into Texas, it was also to extend U.S. reach to the Pacific Ocean and across what is now the U.S. Southwest.
During the rest of the 19th century, the U.S military repeatedly staged incursions into Mexico, especially along the border. During the Mexican Revolution, a U.S. force invaded northern Mexico, and the U.S. Navy blocked and occupied the port city of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico coast. All of this was also driven by America’s dominant outlook—the widespread racism and contempt towards Mexican people and the sense that the U.S. somehow has a “right” to control and dominate Mexico. That outlook continues, and further underlines the possibility of U.S. invasion once again.
In recent decades, the pretext of “drug wars” has been the main way the U.S. has deepened its involvement with the Mexican military and federal police and with the Mexican government. The U.S. has supplied them with billions of dollars through a pact called the Merida Initiative. Far from stabilizing the situation, U.S. involvement through this “aid” to Mexico has resulted in a horrific increase of drug and police/military related violence: over 200,000 people have been murdered, and 25,000 disappeared in the past decade.
The rulers of the U.S. are acutely aware of the strategic vulnerability to their system, the “two-edged sword,” that comes from sharing a 2,000 mile border with a Third World country, and from the people that they have exploited and oppressed for over a century—on both sides of that border. A very large portion of the 11 million or more undocumented people in the U.S. are from Mexico. They have been “allowed” in—while treated as shit in underpaid, super-exploited jobs in agriculture, construction, and manufacturing—because they are essential to the profitability of much of U.S. capitalist-imperialist production within this country. At the same time, their undocumented status has pushed them into the “shadows,” trying to avoid as much as possible any interaction with the authorities.
The Trump-Pence fascist regime has called for the round-up and deportation of millions of Mexican immigrants, with and without documents. They intend to build a wall across the entire southern border and “make Mexico pay for it.” And now Trump has personally delivered the message that his regime is more than willing to move into Mexico militarily if developments there become a threat to the fascist regime’s plans to make America “first” in the world. This is not the boast of a madman. Trump’s braggadocio expresses the needs, workings, and fears of a system that has long feasted on Mexico and its people. Now the Trump-Pence fascists are in the driver’s seat of this imperialist system, and they seek to bring that domination to entirely new levels of violence, extortion, and exploitation. No insubordination on the part of Mexico will be tolerated.
The Trump-Pence threats and aggression against Mexico, whatever their pretext or justification, must be fiercely resisted and opposed by everyone with any sense of justice. Why the hell should Trump, or any U.S. president, be able to threaten a war of aggression against another country and impose the will of U.S. imperialism over it? The U.S. has NO right to do this!
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Friday, February 3, the Trump-Pence regime threatened a new, very dangerous escalation against Iran. They imposed new economic sanctions against Iran, supposedly because Iran had conducted a “provocative” ballistic missile test that violated UN Security Council Resolutions. Trump and his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn also warned the U.S. would no longer tolerate Iran’s support of “terrorism” and “violent activities” that threatened the U.S. and its allies. “Iran is playing with fire—they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them,” Trump tweeted. “Not me!”
These sanctions and threats came a few days after Trump-Pence banned travel from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries because, they said, immigrants from these countries are dangerous and might commit acts of terrorism.
The fascist Trump regime has seized on Iran’s missile test (which didn’t violate the nuclear agreement the U.S. and Iran signed in 2015* or UN Security Council Resolutions) to adopt a much more confrontational stance toward Iran. They’re doing so to advance their imperialist interests—not to stop “terrorism” or save lives: they see Iran, a reactionary theocracy which is expanding its regional influence, as an increasingly serious obstacle to maintaining U.S. domination and control of the Middle East.
To understand why this is happening now, we have to start with the so-called “war on terror” launched by the U.S. over 15 years ago. This war has actually been a reactionary, unjust war to strengthen U.S. power and dominance, focused on the Middle East. While it has targeted some reactionary Islamic jihadists, this war has never fundamentally been about ending terror—in fact, it’s been carried out through and fueled massive terror.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has been one of the main targets of this “war on terror” from the start. It has not been targeted by the U.S. because it’s an oppressive theocracy (so is Saudi Arabia, one of the U.S.’s closest allies) or because it’s directly carrying out or encouraging terror attacks in the U.S. Rather, the U.S. rulers see the IRI as a major regional rival, which has fueled “radical Islam” globally, provided material and ideological support to anti-U.S. governments and forces, and challenged key U.S. allies in the Middle East—especially Saudi Arabia. However, in many ways this “war on terror” has backfired and created new problems for America’s rulers. The U.S. has not been able to pacify and control Afghanistan. It failed to install a stable, pro-U.S. client regime in Iraq. Its wars and invasions haven’t stabilized the region, they’ve helped destabilized it. They haven’t crushed Islamic jihadism, they’ve fueled it. Instead of weakening Iran, it’s the U.S. grip on the region that’s been weakened, while Iran’s influence has been strengthened—in Iraq, in Lebanon, and now in Syria and Yemen.
Why does the Middle East matter? Because America’s capitalist-imperialist economic system and oppressive social order are based on exploiting millions and millions of people all over the world, and dominating the globe politically, economically, and militarily. And having a stranglehold over the Middle East, a military and trade crossroads with vast petroleum reserves, has been a crucial component of the U.S. rulers’ global empire for seven decades.
When this system and its mouthpieces talk about “U.S. interests” or “our national interests,” this is what they are talking about: the interests of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class in maintaining their system, not the interests of humanity, including the vast majority of people living in the U.S.
Now the Trump-Pence fascists (and others in the ruling class, including in the Democratic Party) feel Obama didn’t act forcefully enough to assert U.S. power in the Middle East during his tenure. So now they are out to bully and bludgeon their way to a new world order of even more vicious U.S. domination, exploitation and oppression, and threatening war to do so. They’re starting in the Middle East, and Iran is one of their main targets (even though Iran and ISIS have been mortal enemies).
Trump’s National Security Adviser Flynn says Iran “engages in and supports violent activities that destabilize the Middle East.” There’s an element of truth here. The IRI is not an “anti-imperialist” force. It opposes the U.S. in various ways—but not in order to fully break with global imperialism and bring into being a world free of the relationships of economic exploitation and political domination which capitalism-imperialism rests on—including the relationship between oppressor nations like the U.S. and oppressed nations like Iran. Rather, Iran’s theocratic capitalist (bourgeoisie) rulers are clashing with the U.S. to both preserve their regime, and to increase their influence and strength—in other words, to get a “better seat at the table” in today’s imperialist-dominated world. To accomplish this, the IRI is fighting and maneuvering on different fronts, including both bankrolling reactionary jihadist forces and using those struggles as bargaining chips, and also allying with oppressive regional regimes like Syria as well as U.S. rivals such as Russia, China, and other countries.
For example, Iran and its allies have supported Syria’s ruler Bashir al Assad in that country’s reactionary civil war/bloodbath, which has exacted a staggering toll of 400,000 to 500,000 dead, nearly 5 million driven from Syria as refugees, and over 6 million displaced within Syria. Half of those affected are children.
But what Flynn doesn’t mention is how the U.S. and its allies have also directly fueled the carnage in Syria, including by supporting obscurantist Islamic jihadist forces. Nor does Flynn mention U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran for regional predominance.
Flynn alluded to this when he condemned Iran because “one of its proxy terrorist groups attacked a Saudi vessel in the Red Sea.” Flynn is referring to an attack reportedly carried out by the Houthi movement in Yemen. Yemen is one of the most impoverished countries on earth and desperately needs revolution and emancipation from all forms of oppression. But that’s not what any of the combatants in the war raging there are about. The Houthis are a reactionary, religiously based movement led by elements of Yemen’s traditional ruling classes. They are now waging war with U.S. ally Saudi Arabia over who will control Yemen’s future. The Houthis are aligned with Iran at least in some ways (the extent of those ties are not fully clear), and the Saudis fear any Houthi victory would further strengthen Iran.
This is why—and Flynn made no mention of this—Saudi Arabia (one of the most oppressive, fundamentalist states on the face of the earth) has waged a massive, two-year terror war against the Houthis and the people of Yemen. Backed by the U.S., Saudi planes have dropped mainly U.S. bombs and have targeted markets, schools, apartment buildings, and even hospitals, causing most of Yemen’s 10,000 war-related civilian casualties. Saudi Arabia has also carried out a land and sea blockade that has deprived Yemen of essential food, water and medicine and pushed it to the edge of famine and a humanitarian crisis many experts say is worse than what has taken place in Syria.
And now the Trump-Pence regime has deployed a U.S. warship to the Red Sea, threatening to escalate and perhaps get directly involved in Saudi Arabia’s barbaric war.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been waging war against Al Qaeda in Yemen, and on Sunday, January 29, in the first attack carried out under Trump-Pence, the Pentagon reported that the U.S. killed 14 al Qaeda fighters. It later came out that 24 civilians had also been massacred in this U.S. attack, including a newborn baby and an 8-year-old American girl (Nawar al-Awlaki, whose father Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Islamist, was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in 2011). During the campaign, Trump threatened to kill the families of suspected “terrorists,” and now Trump labeled this massacre a “success.”
In other words choosing between regional or global rivals, between big powers or smaller powers, will get humanity nowhere. Their moves and counter moves, wars and proxy wars, hang like a guillotine over humanity with the real and growing danger of war—including nuclear war.
People living within the world’s most powerful and dangerous country—the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons and which continues to maintain a huge nuclear arsenal and repeatedly threatens to use them—have a special responsibility to oppose the crimes and threatened crimes of “our” rulers!
The Trump regime’s brazen charges and lies and its sudden threats are designed to send a message to friend and foe alike: these new rulers will stop at nothing in pursuit of their objectives. And Trump-Pence made a point of saying they were taking no options off the table—that means war, even nuclear war.
The whole dynamic this fascist regime is setting in motion with Iran is extremely dangerous, and there is real potential for things to escalate to war.
All this further underscores the urgent need to mobilize millions to OUST Trump-Pence from power, as part of preparing for an actual revolution that can begin to rid the planet of the system that has repeatedly given rise to such fascist forces—and countless other horrors.
* Under an agreement signed in 2015, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to lift most economic sanctions on Iran in return for Iran agreeing to severely restrict its nuclear enrichment and development program. For background, see revcom.us coverage, including U.S.‒Iran Nuclear Deal: Major Move by Reactionary Powers... Nothing Good for Humanity. [back]
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Christian Fascists Driving Towards Goal of Eliminating Abortion Rights, Enslaving Women
Updated February 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On January 27, the governor of Arkansas signed HB1032, a law that makes dilation and evacuation (D&E—the simplest, safest, and most common abortion procedure performed between 14 and 24 weeks of pregnancy) a felony, carrying six years in prison for the physician who performs it.
In addition to threatening abortion providers with long jail terms and with being branded as felons, the law allows the woman, spouse, or parents to sue the physician after the abortion simply for having performed it (i.e., not for malpractice, but for competently and effectively performing an established medical procedure that was requested by the patient.)
Taken together, this means that even for the relatively small number of physicians who perform D&E abortions now, it will take great courage to continue to do so, and doctors will be under great pressure to not do them. And because other possible procedures are much more invasive and physically traumatic, this law means that second-trimester abortion—supposedly protected by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision—will be effectively illegal in Arkansas, if this law goes into effect as scheduled this spring.
This law is a major attack: About one in five abortions in Arkansas in 2015 was by D&E. While it is much safer and better for women to get abortions in the first trimester, many women do not, sometimes because they have to overcome resistance from their family, or their own confusion about this medical procedure, more often because past laws and attacks on abortion rights have made it increasingly difficult to get access to abortion, and more expensive to pay for. Consequently, poor women and women of color, along with rural women and women in abusive relationships, are much more likely to be in need of second-trimester abortions... and are often in a much more disastrous position if they are forced to bear a child against their will.
This law is based on and consciously promotes a deeply unscientific understanding of women’s reproductive process and of abortion. Six pages long, the law never once uses the words “embryo” or “fetus”—the scientific terms for the developing structures that are still just a part of the woman’s body, like any other group of cells, even while they have the potential to become independent human beings (but only after much further development, and after they separate from and leave the woman’s body). Likewise, the bill never uses the medical term “dilation and evacuation,” but instead refers 27 times to the made-up term “dismemberment abortion.”
Human reproduction is not like the depictions in cartoons, where a fully formed, full size, laughing and gurgling baby is bouncing around inside the pregnant woman, planning its big coming out party! During the second trimester, the embryo is between three and twelve inches long; its brain is still in formation; its lungs do not function; it cannot live outside the womb. Yet the bill refers to this fetus—15 times—as a “child,” and has gross descriptions of this “child” being pulled to pieces with forceps during the “dismemberment abortion” (i.e., the D&E), giving the impression that an actual baby is being grotesquely tortured.
Through this, a simple medical procedure that gives women the ability to decide when or if they will take the life altering step of having a child, is presented as a horrific and shameful crime.
But there is more to this bill—an “innovative” passage that take further steps in reducing women to a half-human legal status: The law allows the spouse (if legally married) or the parents (if the woman is a minor) to sue the doctor for “damages,” and to prevent him from performing D&E procedures in the future. Even if the pregnancy resulted from spousal rape, or from parental incest, the perpetrators are still allowed to bring suit against the doctor (although in those cases they cannot sue for damages).
This part of the law means that if a woman decides not to have a child, her spouse or her parents are legally considered to be “injured parties.” This amounts to saying that parents and husbands (even rapists!) can assert “property rights” over “their” women and their biological capacity to produce children. It is legally enshrining the concept that the woman “owes” children to her husband (or parents), and her abortion decision is thus “violating their rights”... to her womb! So, although the law directs the lawsuit be against the doctor and not the woman, the actual message is that women are property of their parents and spouses, and that they have not only a “moral,” but a legal obligation to produce offspring for them.
This logic has been spelled out even more plainly in a proposed bill in neighboring Oklahoma. HB1441 states that no abortion can be performed without the written consent of the father of the fetus. The only exception would be if the pregnancy could be shown to be the result of rape or incest, or if it endangered the woman's life.
The bill's sponsor told The Intercept, "I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions." Addressing women with unwanted pregnancies, he said: "... after you're irresponsible then don't claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body [meaning the fetus], when you're the host and you invited that in."
This bill passed in committee on February 14 by a 5-2 vote and now heads for the House in the Oklahoma legislature.
These are just two of hundreds of increasingly oppressive restrictions on women’s reproductive rights passed in dozens of states in recent years, which have already made abortion virtually impossible to access for tens of millions of women; have increasingly driven home the message that women should return to their “traditional” role as fundamentally “helpmates” to men, who bear and rear their children; and have created conditions where women are more and more forced to do so. Over and over the message (even from liberals like Michelle Obama) is that no matter what a woman’s dreams, capabilities, or potential contributions to society as a whole, her most important role is bearing and raising children!
In one form or another, this view of women’s lives being subordinate to their responsibilities as mothers is being promoted by all sections of the ruling class, and causing great harm. But the unrelenting attacks on reproductive rights, such as the hundreds of state laws just mentioned, are a key spear point of the drive primarily by the Christian fascist section of the ruling class to put a full stop to the striving of women to be equal human beings, fully participating in every sphere of society. For the last few decades these forces have been entrenching themselves in and taking over state legislatures, which now serve as petri dishes for one poisonous bill after another, attacking women as well as Black people, immigrants, refugees, LGBT people, and on and on.
These state level attacks go hand in hand with, and have received new impetus from, the attacks on the national and even international level coming down from the newly installed fascist Trump-Pence regime. There is Trump’s executive order expanding the “gag rule” that cuts off health and social service agencies around the world from U.S. aid if they even mention abortion to their clients; plans to cut funding for Planned Parenthood; and Trump’s public commitment to only appoint judges to the U.S. Supreme Court who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Taken as a whole, this is a multi-pronged campaign to drive women back into conditions of open subjugation not seen for many decades, as a key part of the overall reactionary lockdown of U.S. society. Forced motherhood is a lynchpin of this campaign, and is in essence female enslavement.
This is truly a nightmare in the making for the vast majority of humanity. The fervent drive of this system, with the fascists playing an extreme role, to subjugate women and other oppressed people, should drive home to all people who want to see and live in a world fit for human beings to fiercely resist these attacks, and go from the “defensive” to the “offensive”—fighting to not only defeat and drive out these fascists, but to continue on to a liberating revolution paving the way to a socialist society here, as part of fighting for a communist world.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
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. An updated pre-publication PDF of this major work—now including the appendices—is available here.
This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."
I remember when the coup happened in China in 1976. For those of you who have read my Memoir, you know that one of my “mentors” (if you want to use that phrase) was someone named Leibel Bergman—he was the one who introduced me to communism. Of course, I knew about communism, but he really brought me into a communist orientation. At the same time, he was strongly influenced by revisionism—meaning ideas and programs that are put forward in the name of communism or socialism but actually cut, or revise, the revolutionary heart out of it and keep things within the framework and confines of capitalist relations and capitalist political rule. So he was, on the one hand, a communist who introduced me to communism in a systematic way, but also strongly influenced by revisionism. He’d lived through the period when the Soviet Union was socialist, in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, and into the early 1950s, but then in the mid 1950s the Soviet Union was taken back down the road of capitalist restoration. And then, when the same thing was happening again in China in the late 1970s, that merged with some other weaknesses of Leibel’s, and he just couldn’t deal with the reality of yet another capitalist restoration in what had been a socialist country. I remember when I said to him, “Man, what’s happening in China is a revisionist coup, people who are taking things back to capitalism have seized power there, we gotta come out against this.” He angrily replied, “There you go again, telling everybody what to do—now you think you gotta tell the Chinese people what’s good for them.” And I answered, “Yeah, that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what Mao said. Mao said, ‘If in the future revisionists come to power in China, the communists in the world should unite with the 90 percent of the Chinese people whose interests are against revisionism, and work with them to overthrow the revisionists.’ So that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Another time, when I was arguing with Leibel Bergman about what was happening in China, I made the observation about Zhou Enlai, who was a major leader in China: “Well, it looks to me like he’s thrown in with the revisionists.” And Leibel angrily responded: “Why would Zhou Enlai want to go revisionist?” I said, “It’s not really a matter of what he wants to do, that he wants to go revisionist, it’s a matter of line.” Here’s what happens: You come to these crossroads, one after another, where you face new challenges. Engels made this point: Revolution doesn’t develop in a straight line, it develops through stages; and at every stage, some people get stuck. There are new contradictions that pose themselves, and what was good enough to get you to point A is not good enough any more. You have to make new breakthroughs, new ruptures, new leaps. As I’ve been speaking to, very acute contradictions pose themselves repeatedly along this road, and there are very powerful pulls to come back within the bourgeois realm, to put it that way. I mean, think again about these people in Angola, those who are in power there now. We can’t say that they all started out as corrupt, self-seeking profiteers and looters. No, even though their outlook was an eclectic mishmash—nationalism mixed in with some communist inclinations—and that was a real problem, most of them were sincere revolutionaries of a kind, with a mixed bag of nationalism and communism, which wasn’t good enough. It’s not a matter of not being sincere—you come up against contradictions repeatedly, and if you don’t keep applying yourself more and more deeply to grasp and apply the scientific method of communism in grappling with how you keep on the road leading to where you need to go—if you don’t keep re-grounding yourself in the scientific understanding that this is where we have to go, or these problems will not be solved, what the masses are going through will not be eliminated, so we have to find a scientific way to keep going on this road—if you don’t do that, you will get pulled onto the other road, whether you want to or not. This gets posed very acutely for the top leadership of a party and a broader revolutionary movement, but it gets posed for everybody who’s involved.
So, this is a contradiction we have to recognize—we have to keep fighting even to recognize, let alone to stay on, the road of going to communism. You cannot do it by spontaneity, and going along with whatever is right on the surface at a given time. And, to come back to the situation in Cambodia in the 1970s, you cannot do this the way the Khmer Rouge, the so-called communists in Cambodia, tried to do things. The accusation has been made that they persecuted everybody who wore glasses—in other words, people who were intellectuals—and that accusation is only a slight exaggeration. They did adopt an orientation that everybody who’d had any privilege above the basic masses in the old society should be put at least into the category of highly untrustworthy people, if not into the outright enemy camp. And, as far as I understand things from the study I have done of this, they dealt with a whole bunch of real contradictions all in the wrong ways. For example—nobody talks about this any more, but at the time, if you were living through it, you were definitely aware of this—the U.S. imperialists bombed the shit out of Cambodia. They killed a lot of people, destroyed a lot of things, and installed and backed a brutal puppet dictatorship in Cambodia that persecuted a lot of people, as part of these imperialists’ overall war in Indochina. In fighting this U.S.-backed regime, the Khmer Rouge had their base areas in part of the countryside in Cambodia. When the U.S. stopped the bombing and pulled out its main military forces from Indochina, that regime collapsed and the Khmer Rouge came to power. But then they took real contradictions and grabbed ahold of the wrong ends of them, repeatedly. For example, they took this position: There are some people who lived in the base areas that got bombed and attacked when we were waging the war against the old regime, and the U.S. behind it. Those people in the base areas really had it hard, so those are people we can trust. But the people who didn’t live in the base areas, they’re not very trustworthy. So those people were all put under suspicion.
Well, there was a real contradiction there, which was part of larger contradictions, but that was absolutely the wrong way to deal with it. You’re making potential enemies out of many people who should not be enemies. And things are more contradictory than that. Not everybody, including not all the basic peasants, who lived in the base areas were highly advanced revolutionaries either. It was more complicated than that. So they just made a mess out of these real contradictions.
And they did the same thing in the economy. They basically tried to eliminate, or largely eliminate, right away, any kind of commodity exchanges, because they calculated: If we allow commodity exchanges and money, and some private property, and so on, those things are just going to eat up what we’re trying to do. Instead of the correct approach of Mao, who said: These are real contradictions, but under the dictatorship of the proletariat, these things can only be restricted, you can only restrict bourgeois right, you can’t eliminate all these contradictions, especially not right away—contradictions like those between mental and manual labor, the use of money, the persistence of commodity relations—all those things we can only restrict, Mao said, until we get to a whole different place, not just in China, but in the world as a whole. I talked earlier about what the material basis is for why that is the case, that for some time under socialism you can only restrict these things. So, Mao had the correct way of dealing with these contradictions, but the Khmer Rouge had a really crude way of dealing with it, which was this way of thinking: because these things will tend to give rise to capitalist impulses, we have to stomp them all out. And, as a result of that, they undermined the economy and in that way, too, made enemies out of a lot of people that they shouldn’t have made into enemies.
I don’t have time now, and I don’t want to try here, to go into a more elaborate analysis about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, but there are a lot of important lessons by negative example to learn from this. These are the kinds of contradictions you have to deal with, if you’re gonna be part of leading a revolutionary movement. And in a strategic sense, we can say two things about this: It gives you a terrible and repeated headache; and we should welcome it. Both things are true, because this is what leads to where we need to go—working and struggling through these contradictions in the right way, with the right orientation of for whom and for what, and with the right scientific, dialectical materialist method and approach.
Introduction and Orientation
Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit
Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science
Materialism vs. Idealism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights
Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation
The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—
Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity
Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution
One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Part IV. The Leadership We Need
The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion
Selected List of Works Cited
About the Author
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Curators at one of New York City’s major cultural institutions, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), have taken an unprecedented stand against Trump’s ban on Muslims entering the U.S. by staging a late-night re-hanging of art in its permanent collections. Seven works by some of the most widely known modern artists, such as Picasso and Matisse, were removed from a variety of fifth floor departments to make way for art work of seven artists from several of the Muslim-majority countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban. Alongside each of these works is text on the wall that reads: “This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.”
The seven works include pieces by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, Los Angeles-based Iranian video artist Tala Madani, Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, Iranian draftsman Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Iranian photographer Shirana Shahbazi, and Iranian painter Marcos Grigorian. Also, a sculpture by Siah Armajani, an American artist born in Iran, was placed in a lobby area.
“We want the gallery to be a place of freedom, where people can find a safe haven,” Christophe Cherix, MoMA’s chief curator of drawings and prints told the online arts magazine Hyperallergic. “The idea was to be inclusive and not disruptive. We wanted to have one in each room to create a rhythm. It was more this idea of embracing those works within our tradition, within the narrative of our collection, within our values. Our galleries are also a platform where people can really think about the role of artists from those different countries within our own culture. The collection should also be reactive to what happens around us.”
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Saira Rafiee, an Iranian Ph.D. student and teacher at the CUNY (City University of New York) Graduate Center, landed at Logan Airport in Boston on Saturday, February 4, to cheers from her supporters after being refused re-entry, along with many other foreign-born college students, because of Trump’s travel ban against people from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Iran. Nearly 120 students at CUNY alone have been affected by the ban.
Saira’s return was enabled by the decision of a federal district court judge on Friday that temporarily blocks Trump’s 90-day immigration ban from being enforced nationwide, and also through the strong support of her student and faculty colleagues at CUNY. Saira boarded a plane in Tehran, Iran, last weekend to return to the U.S., after visiting her family during winter break, but was detained in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for nearly 18 hours and then sent back to Tehran. Outraged at her detention, CUNY students, faculty, and others at the university immediately swung into action.
On January 30, CUNY student government leaders and student activists held a rally demanding Saira’s return, chanting “Unify and defy” and “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.” Two days later, the CUNY Graduate Center chapter of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) union also held a rally and then a march. “Hundreds of PSC members responded to the union’s call for messages urging action on Saira’s case, helping to focus public attention on her case,” said Barbara Bowen, PSC president at CUNY.
“That Saira was able to return is thanks to a huge collective effort—together with her own political courage and vision,” Bowen said. “Even while the outcome of her own case was uncertain, Saira insisted that she be seen as one among many; she called on us to elevate the cases of people without unions and with less access to public voice.... The PSC will resist the Trump agenda as it attacks students, unions, workers and the principles on which universities are founded. Thought has no borders.”
CUNY Chancellor James Milliken said the university will refuse to turn over information on foreign students or allow immigration enforcers to enter the campus—except by warrant or court order. This caveat about a warrant or court order is wrong—it opens the door to collaboration with the Trump-Pence fascist regime. If you were in Nazi Germany, should you say you would hand over Jewish people to the Gestapo if they had a court order? You should not! Colleges—and everyone else—should make a clear stand that they will stand in the way of fascists coming after foreign students, refugees, undocumented people, and others, NO MATTER WHAT.
While in Tehran and waiting to learn if she would ever be able to return to her studies and teaching at CUNY, Saira Rafiee made her own thoughts on the Trump immigration ban quite clear: “The sufferings of all of us [being detained] are just one side of this horrendous order. The other side is the struggle against racism and fascism, against assaults on freedom and human dignity, against all the values that even though are far from being realized, are the only things that would make life worth living.... It is time to call things by their true names; this is Islamophobia, racism, fascism. We, the 99% of the world, need to stand united in resisting the authoritarian forces all over the world.”
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
January 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This week, Donald Trump went after the truth. He lied about Mexico and Mexicans. He lied about refugees. He lied about Black people. He lied about things extremely crucial and things unbelievably petty.
But this blizzard of lies had a purpose. This whole method of relentlessly piling on lie after lie is calculated to both raise or reinforce doubts among many as to whether reality is even knowable, and at the same time to inculcate in his core followers the conviction that the phony, upside-down version of the world that Trump creates (and that confirms their ugliest, most backward sentiments and resentments) is actually real and worth fighting and dying for. Many of Trump’s core followers have been trained by years of FOX News. Others not only drink at the poisoned well of FOX but are members of fanatical right-wing Christian fascist congregations and/or watch the Christian Broadcasting Network (which was among the first two new organizations recognized at the first White House press conference) where outlandish and bizarre beliefs, e.g., that “demons” control major American cities, that “god” called down Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 to punish America for gay rights, etc.—are solemnly put forward and believed.
The very pace at which Trump churns out these lies means that before people have even refuted the first one, he’s asserted three more and as president, it’s his assertions and not the refutations that get heard and that stick.
But—there IS such a thing as objective reality; there is a “real world out there” that can be measured, probed, tested, analyzed, and understood. There are ideas about the world and why it is the way it is that can be tested, and which can be determined to be true. There is a process of observation, study, testing of ideas, summing up evidence and discovering the patterns within that and why they happen that contributes to real knowledge. There is a way to find out what is true and what is false—the scientific method. Without such a method to get at and find out the truth—there is no way forward; with such a method, and the truths it reveals about reality and the possible pathways through which it might be changed, humanity’s horizons open up. On that basis, to paraphrase the old slogan, a better world really IS possible.
There are many crucial and critical battles to wage against the monstrous fascist Trump-Pence regime, and the battle for the truth runs through them all. As part of waging this battle... as part of understanding reality... we are both taking on and shredding three of Trump's biggest and most dangerous lies... and calling your attention to works by BA, both longer pieces and shorter quotes, on the struggle for and method of getting at the truth and why it matters, as well as SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, an interview with Ardea Skybreak, a critical work on BA’s new synthesis of communism which gets very deeply into the scientific method for knowing and changing... the world.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Trump's "Alternative Facts" on Mexico (LIES) vs. the TRUTH
January 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Friday, January 27, a scheduled meeting between Donald Trump and Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto collapsed. That same day, Trump tweeted: “Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!”
It would be difficult to pack more lies into 140 characters.
In 1846 the U.S. invaded Mexico and stole—yes, stole—about 55 percent of its territory. The U.S. Southwest from Texas to California and north to states like Nevada and Colorado was once part of Mexico.
The border between the two countries is one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world. The air is prowled by drones and surveillance aircraft; patrol boats scour the waters of the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico; the land crawls with tens of thousands of heavily armed “law enforcement” agents of every conceivable variety, hundreds of vigilantes, and contains several large military bases; the border itself is scarred with barbed wire, razor wire, and yes, walls.
All of it on one side—the U.S. side. All of it aimed at preventing impoverished immigrants seeking work from reaching the U.S. And those who do manage to get inside the U.S. encounter a landscape dotted with concentration camps called “detention centers,” where even children are subjected to what can only be called torture.
A cornerstone of U.S. wealth and global power has been ruthless domination of Mexico. For over a century some of the most profitable and powerful pillars of the U.S. economy—the great agricultural regions of California, the rich mines of the West and Southwest—developed on the backs of Mexicans and their descendants. For several decades now, bitter exploitation of Mexican and Central American immigrants in every corner of this country has been pivotal to the profitable development of U.S. capitalism. Immigrants work in key industries in every state of the country—in low-wage factory and field jobs, or driving a taxi or sweeping floors. All face rampant racist discrimination and insult in every sphere of their lives, and those who are undocumented live in fear every day that they will be fired because of their legal status, or rounded up by the immigration police.
by Bob Avakian
3-part excerpt from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About.
U.S. capitalism-imperialism has sucked almost limitless wealth out of Mexico—its rich and varied agriculture; its oil production; the maquiladoras that line the border and subject young women to extreme, relentless exploitation and abuse. Most of all, it has forced millions of people to leave behind their families, their friends, their communities... and try to make a desperate journey across difficult terrain, past soldiers, border agents, and racists so they can hopefully find work at some shit job in the U.S. Imperialism is literally sucking the calcium out of the bones of farmworkers. If you think that’s exaggeration—learn something about the farmworkers of Guanajuato.
Now Trump is moving to greatly expand the number of people who will be deported, by declaring that virtually anyone picked up for any “offense” is a “criminal.” He says he will punish cities where police don’t go along with a federal mandate that they inquire about and turn over all immigration information they have to immigration authorities, so people can be put in detention and deported. Trump’s spokesman said, “We’re going to create more detention space for illegal immigrants along the southern border to make it easier and cheaper to detain them and return them to their country of origin.”
In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico went into effect. This week Trump tweeted, “I will renegotiate NAFTA. If I can’t make a great deal, we’re going to tear it up.” Trump threatens that this will make “Mexico ... treat the United States fairly with respect.”
Another of Trump’s big lies is that NAFTA has victimized the U.S. and enriched Mexico. But who’s fucking over who here? As Laura Carlsen of the Center for International Policy wrote, “NAFTA has cut a path of destruction through Mexico.” Wages have plummeted, prices and unemployment have risen. One illustration of that—over two million Mexican farmers and their families have been driven from their land because massive imports of heavily subsidized U.S. grain have undercut their ability to make a living.
U.S. capital has poured into Mexico, taking advantage of Mexico’s “cheap labor” (i.e., deeply exploited people) to cut their overall costs of production, while disrupting the development of Mexico’s overall economy. NAFTA has opened Mexico up to even more thorough and devastating imperialist plunder. It has helped impoverish millions of Mexican people and enrich U.S. imperialism.
But this is not enough for a fascist section of the U.S. ruling class coalesced around Trump, who are out to impose even more ruthless exploitation of immigrants in this country and unrestrained domination of Mexico. Trump is out to bring Mexico to its knees. Think about it. Who the hell is Trump or the U.S. to impose its will on the people of the world, and then demand “You better be nice to us”? The U.S. has no right to do this!
Trump demands to renegotiate NAFTA so that it is even more beneficial to the U.S. and squeezes even more out of Mexico’s people. This threat would greatly worsen the conditions of the Mexican people—more unemployment, more children living in poverty, a society already being torn apart by the murders and violence of drug cartels going to new levels of mayhem.
Bob Avakian wrote:
There is nothing sacred to us about the USA, as it is presently constituted, or about the borders of the U.S. as they are presently constituted. Quite the opposite.
The U.S.-Mexico border was created through brutal conquest, and has served domination and exploitation since.
In the hall of mirrors that is Trumpworld, Mexico pushes around spineless America, and the border is a sieve letting in criminals who wreak havoc upon this country. In the real world, the border is a hyper militarized war zone that crushes the lives of countless people hoping for a chance to work. Mexico and its resources have been bled white by a century of U.S. imperialist domination, and millions of its people are suffering—living on the brink of starvation in a land rich in agricultural potential; scuffling for small change in a country that ships so much of its wealth to the U.S.
In this country, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is being beefed up for whole new levels of round-ups of immigrants. People are being forced into the shadows, living with the constant fear that their child, or parent, or loved one, will suddenly disappear. The federal program that lured tens of thousands of young people to turn their personal information in to federal authorities, thinking they would avoid deportation, instead put them on lists that can be handed over to immigration police, and be swept up at any time. If this sounds like what happened in Nazi Germany, that’s because it is. And it’s what these fascists are developing the ability to do here—if they are able to succeed.
What Trump is trying to unleash against Mexican and Central American immigrants, and against the country of Mexico, is not “a pendulum swing to the right.” It is an utterly illegitimate, fascist escalation of repression.
This must not be allowed to happen. It must be vigorously opposed and defeated as part of going up against the entire fascist program of Trump-Pence.
But more than that, we have to repeat the question Bob Avakian has repeatedly raised: why do we even have borders, and the divisions between people they enforce and concentrate? Why can’t we get beyond that into a freely living community of human beings everywhere on this planet? We can—by making REVOLUTION—and a big part of that revolution will be forging the links between the masses of people in Mexico, and their struggle against both imperialist domination and “their own” exploiters and oppressors, and the masses of people in the U.S., in a struggle to get rid of this imperialist system, once and for all.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Trump's "Alternative Facts" (LIES) About Black People vs. the Truth
January 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Last week Trump threatened to send “the Feds” into Chicago to stop what he called “the carnage” of young people killing each other. He started this theme in his inaugural speech when he said a few words about the lack of jobs and the failing schools, and then gave his punch line: “And the crime and gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and right now.”
Trump blames the entire situation in which this system gives Black and Latino youth in the inner cities no shot at a future on them. These youth, according to Trump, are the culprits stealing the lives of people. The police, according to Trump, must not be criticized but must be strengthened and allowed to further run amok in the communities of the oppressed. The prisons, according to Trump and his designated attorney general, must be filled with even more oppressed youth. And sending “the Feds” according to Trump—presumably some combination of the FBI and National Guard, with a declaration of martial law suspending all rights, is the solution.
This entire program of Trump is an upside down inversion of reality. Trump takes one highly distorted aspect of the truth, and he fashions out of it a BIG LIE—one with horrible consequences.
So let’s tell the truth.
Let’s tell some basic truths here. Study after study, book after book, has sifted through mountains of evidence and, using rigorous and basically scientific methods, has shown that the system consciously decided to confine Black and Brown youth to lives of no future, and to criminalize them. Study after study, book after book, again, with extensive documentation and rigorous methods, have shown definitively how the federal government (with the help of racist realtors like Trump) created and reinforced the ghettos of the cities, how the police were allowed to impose terror against the people with absolute impunity, how the federal government in the 1960s—yes, under the Democrats—created the so-called “war on crime” as a way to control and beat down these youth. Study after study, book after book, have shown how the gangs were allowed to flourish by the police even while they were being controlled and messed with, and how the recent increase in violence among the people in Chicago has everything to do with measures taken by the police to disrupt these gangs, and to destroy public housing and then disperse Black people into different neighborhoods. And study after study, book after book, have shown how capitalists have systematically moved factories out of the cities into the suburbs, systematically discriminated in hiring, systematically created unequal schools, and all the rest.
Let’s drill down even further. As Bob Avakian has said, “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” (BAsics 1:1) Again, there has been a mountain of scholarly work and research into the real existing world using source documents and standing up to rigorous criticism, showing the truth of the matter: the centrality of slavery to the great power and wealth of the U.S., and to its dominant position in the world. There has been a tremendous amount of scholarly work showing the terror unleashed against Black people after the Civil War, the murder of literally thousands and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands, in an attempt to crush their resistance and their striving for a better life. (See the 2005 report from Equal Justice Initiative, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”) A tremendous amount of scholarly work showing, again, the terror unleashed against Black people after World War 1, where it’s estimated over a thousand people died from white pogroms (racial or ethnic massacres) against Black people.
Further, a tremendous amount of work, in this case using documents “liberated” from the FBI itself, which were later verified by a Congressional committee, has also been done to show how the federal government spied on, fomented splits, set up and carried out murders of Black leaders and revolutionary, and even non-revolutionary organizations, in the 1960s, as part of preparing for the long counter-revolutionary years beginning in the 1970s, when the prisons expanded by tenfold and the conditions of the masses sharply worsened, while a small sliver among the oppressed were allowed some opportunities, even as they were subject to the relentless and all-sided oppression that went with, and still goes with, being Black, Latino, or Native American in this society.
Trump, this racist who has a whole history of discriminating against, lying about, and going after Black people—going back to his demands that the Central Park 5 be executed and his continuing insistence down to today that they be re-imprisoned, even after they served heavy years for a crime for which they have been legally exonerated, and extending to his insistence that Obama was not born in the U.S.—now says that he is going to “save the day” with some kind of federal force that will... do what? He doesn’t say, but his meaning is clear: sending in pigs of one kind or another to murder, rampage, imprison, spy, and suppress. This ugly clown, who would be pitiful if he were not so utterly vicious and extremely dangerous, has put Black people directly in his sights, and he is preparing the ground with the BIG LIE.
Carnage, Herr Trumpf? Your system has created carnage untold, crimes unequalled in the history of humanity.
The revcoms will tell the truth and take it to the masses. We will stand with and work with all those who want to oppose this Nazi pig and his plans to make the situation a thousand times worse in Chicago. We will challenge—and have been challenging—those youth to whom this system has given no chance, and whom Trump now wants to round up, brutalize, and worse, to be part of fighting the fight that needs to be fought—against this system. And we will build all this as one part of the revolution that needs to happen to get rid of this system, and bring in a society where this oppression and inequality can actually be eliminated and a whole better world brought into being.
These are some of the many published materials that are relevant to what is discussed in this article:
Anatomy of a Lynching: The Killing of Claude Neal, James R. McGovern, LSU Press (October 2013)
The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, Betty L. Medsger, Vintage (October 2014)
“Code of Silence” (a series of articles exposing systematic brutality and corruption in the Chicago police department), The Intercept, Jamie Kalven (October 2016)
COINTELPRO: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom, Nelson Blackstock, Anchor Foundation (September 1988)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond, Crown (March 2016)
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University Press (May 2016)
Gang Leader for a Day, A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, Sudhir Venkatesh Penguin Books (December 2008)
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Harriet A. Washington, Anchor (January 2008)
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, The New Press (January 2012)
On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Alice Goffman, Picador (April 2015)
The Origins of the Urban Crisis, Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, Thomas J. Sugrue, Princeton University Press (1996)
Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, Jonathan Kozol, Broadway Books (July 2012)
Turbo Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy, Edward Luttwak, Harper Perennial (February 2000)
When Affirmative Action Was White, An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, Ira Katznelson, W. W. Norton & Company (August 2006)
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Trump’s “Alternative Facts” on Refugees vs. the Truth
January 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Friday, January 27, President Trump issued an executive order blocking all refugees from around the world from entering the U.S. for 120 days, and banning those from Syria indefinitely. He also suspended any immigration from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Sudan—all Muslim majority countries—for 90 days. (See "Trump's Executive Order Attacking Refugees: 'Extreme Vetting'=Extreme Cruelty and Racism, with a Genocidal Logic")
Trump's order claimed these steps were necessary "to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States." Trump warned that many could be "radical Islamic terrorists" who pose a danger to people in the U.S. He told ABC those being barred from coming into the U.S. were people who "are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems." He declared: “You’re looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don’t want that. They’re ISIS. They’re coming under false pretense. I don’t want that.”
These Trumpian "alternative facts" are naked lies. Refugees are not endangering people in the U.S. It's the U.S. which is endangering tens of millions of people around the world, and is more responsible for the largest global refugee crisis in history than any other country on earth. And now Trump's fascist regime is targeting and vilifying the victims in order to justify radically escalating this global humanitarian atrocity and outrage.
Over the past decade, a tsunami has been building, a tsunami of human beings now numbering some 42,500 every single day on average—forced to flee for their lives from war, terror, persecution, and increasingly environmental devastation, desperately seeking safety and shelter anywhere they can find it. This deluge of displacement has reached a total of over 60 million people. Half of them are children!
What do the overwhelming majority of these refugees—the 12 million Syrians, nearly four million Afghans, some five million Iraqis, and 15 million from Sub-Saharan Africa—have in common? They're escaping regions where imperialism has made life hell, through decade after decade of exploitation and plunder, of backing torture regimes, and now more than 15 years of the so-called "war on terror"—in reality a war of imperialism. This war has taken the lives of millions directly or indirectly. It has fanned the flames of reactionary Islamic jihadist terror, which has created its own nightmares for the people. One major driver of the tidal wave of global refugees: the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, an illegitimate, criminal war based on lies. It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, drove over 4 million from their homes, and turned Iraq into the birthplace of ISIS.
Refugees arrive by dinghy at the Greek island of Lesbos, 2015. AP photo
Droughts caused by global warming and climate change are also increasingly fueling global migration and refugees. The climate crisis is caused overwhelmingly by the United States and other imperialist powers, but its impacts are being felt most immediately and devastatingly in impoverished and oppressed countries, including North Africa and the Middle East. It is estimated that [between] "50 million and 200 million people — mainly subsistence farmers and fishermen — could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change." (New York Times, 5/16/16)
These millions are desperately fleeing horrors that all too many Americans can't (or refuse to) even imagine, for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They're carrying tiny children and whatever belongings they can carry, crossing parched deserts, dangerous borders, deadly combat zones, risking their lives in flimsy rubber rafts on the high seas, all to find shelter and sustenance – not commit acts of terrorism.
Refugees a danger? New York Times columnist Roger Cohen points out, "A Cato Institute study of refugees admitted to the United States between 1975 and 2015 found that the chance of an American being killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion"—in other words far, far, far less than the danger of being killed in an auto-accident or in a mass shooting by some deranged American—or murdered by some mad-dog cop.
These refugees are being demonized and dehumanized by the Trump fascists who are truly the sewer-dwelling scum of the earth. News outlets like Breitbart and InfoWars are spreading "fake news" that immigrants from the Middle East are spreading diseases, raping women, and threatening them with genital mutilation. All this has real parallels with how the Holocaust started—not immediately with concentration camps, but with lies—with the vilification and dehumanization of the Jewish people as vermin, as disease carriers, as anti-German radicals and communists, and more.
The Trump-Pence fascists claim that U.S. borders have been wide open to anyone and everyone—including "Islamic terrorists." Another "alternative fact"/lie. The reality is that U.S. borders have never been wide open, including under Obama, but closed very tightly to the vast majority of humanity fleeing the wars, persecutions, and environmental horrors the U.S. has done the lion's share in creating.
Of 5 million Syrian refugees, the U.S. took a mere 10,000 last year. Of the world's 60 million refugees, most end up in relatively poor countries like Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. According to the New York Times, "One in four refugees now finds shelter in the world's poorest countries, with Ethiopia and Kenya taking many more refugees than, say, Britain and France." Think about this: the world's capitalist powers have become wealthy by dominating and plundering the world's poorest countries. Then when that poverty, war and oppression becomes impossible to survive and people flee for safe haven, those imperialist countries slam the door shut and force other impoverished countries to deal with the crisis.
Saturday night at airports across the U.S. we began to get a glimpse of the leaps in the targeting of whole populations being put in place by Trump-Pence. Suddenly with no warning, people with families in the Middle East were threatened with being divided forever, never being able to visit their relatives, or have their relatives visit the U.S. Students away on break couldn't get back into the U.S. Even those who are green card holders—legal residents of the U.S.—were detained at least temporarily (some 375) if they were traveling from countries targeted by Trump. In other words, anyone from whole swaths of the Middle East who's a Muslim is being targeted as a suspected terrorist—a cloud is cast over the whole population of nine million Muslims living in the U.S. (Many anti-Muslim hate crimes have already been reported across the U.S., the latest, a mosque in Victoria, Texas which had been the target of threats in the past, was burned to the ground on Saturday night.)
All this is part of a broader, more deadly and sinister fascist remaking of the U.S. that Trump-Pence are trying to steamroller through. To take one dimension, Trump's order discriminated against Muslims entering the U.S. and favored Christians. In other words, it imposed what's called a "religious test" for entering the U.S. "The document does not explicitly mention any religion," the New York Times stated in an editorial, "yet it sets a blatantly unconstitutional standard by excluding Muslims while giving government officials the discretion to admit people of other faiths"—in other words Christians.
(Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network that under past presidents, "If you were a Muslim you could come in [to the U.S.], but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible." Yet another lie: "In fact, the United States accepts tens of thousands of Christian refugees," the New York Times reports, "According to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year.")
As revcom.us analyzes, the "religious test" inserted in his executive order is part of a broader fascist program: "Trump and the Christian theocrats in his cabinet of ghouls are out to forcefully impose an explicitly Christian identity on this country, and embed that in U.S. policy." (See "Lives in the Balance...Which Will Win? Trump's First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance")
Trump is painting these refugees as suspected terrorists—until they can prove otherwise—and broadly painting the 200 plus million people living in the countries his executive order targeted, as well as the world's 1.6 billion Muslims as terrorists as well, part of a "radical religion," which his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn calls "a cancer." And Flynn has made a point of targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran—one of the countries named in Trump's executive order.
Ominously, as Trump directs his generals to prepare new military options in the Middle East, his executive order must also be seen as part of preparing the ground for escalating the U.S. slaughter – even genocide – of peoples in the Middle East and beyond in the name of "eradicating radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth."
All this is further fueling and exacerbating the reactionary clash between outmoded imperialism and outmoded Islamic fundamentalism which has caused so much destitution, suffering and death across the region, especially since the U.S. launched its "war on terror" in 2001. In fact, if the aim was to intensify this contradiction, Trump couldn't have done better than his latest actions.
On Saturday, beginning at New York's JFK airport, then quickly mushrooming nationwide to airports in Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Washington, DC, Portland, Newark, Seattle-Tacoma, Boston, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, people righteously disrupted airport business-as-usual to denounce and stop the Muslim and refugee ban. (Breitbart attacked the protests immediately with the blaring, "alternative fact" headline: "Terror-Tied Group CAIR Causing Chaos, Promoting Protests & Lawsuits, as Trump Protects Nation.")
These were very important actions – and showed the broad potential to quickly mobilize many thousands. But Trump's executive order is still in place, his regime is still in power and aggressively defending its actions and fighting forward. So there's a great need for people (especially those who are not Muslims and not from the Middle East) to continue to stand up for those being targeted, to spread this struggle to more people and more places, and to build this as part of a movement of millions saying NO!, and determined to drive the illegitimate Trump-Pence regime from power.
The U.S.'s barbaric, inhumane treatment of those around the world in the greatest need of help, raises the question – what's the alternative? What would be a humane way to deal with the displacement of millions?
Answer: with exactly the opposite goals, methods, culture and morality than that of the Trump-Pence regime – which is an extreme expression of the essential nature of U.S. capitalism-imperialism.
There is no way the United States could ever make up for or repay the masses for the death, destruction, and suffering it has caused them all over the world, including now in particular the countries it has devastated of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Even a genuine revolutionary socialist state could not make full restitution for the centuries of horrors the United States has inflicted on people. But a revolutionary socialist state on the road to communism would work and struggle to overcome the scars that this imperialist monstrosity has left on the world and its people. Such a state would be coming from a whole different standpoint and would move to make huge changes so that such horrors were stopped, and a world brought into being where they could never happen again. Such a revolutionary state would put the world, and the revolutionary emancipation of all humanity first—not "my country." And not holding onto any form of oppression or privileged position vis-a-vis other peoples or countries.
Among many other things, such a state would not intensify the plunder, military conquest, and environmental destruction that are driving the refugee crisis in the world today, but move to end them as part of uprooting the capitalist-imperialist system these horrors spring from. And its immediate orientation, in foreign relations, culture, education, morality and economic decision-making would be to support and assist people around the world fighting oppression, and to build a society which puts humanity first, not America.
This is not a dream—it is real, and realizable, and laid out in tremendous detail in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Revolutionary Communist Party. Today, everyone should join in and strengthen the inspiring resistance now being waged around the country against the Trump-Pence regime's fascist ban; and as we do so, we should also be wrangling over what it would take to truly get beyond a world of such horrors.
American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives!
—Bob Avakian, BAsics 5:7
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Feburary 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a member of the Revolution Club, SF Bay Area:
There is intense controversy all over the country but especially here in the Bay Area in the aftermath of the shutdown of Milo Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagement at UC Berkeley. The morning after the shutdown media reports decried the “violence” of the shutdown and how this was a “dark day for free speech at the home of the free speech movement.” President Trump sent a tweet threat: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view—NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
So quickly several of us from the Revolution Club printed out several hundred copies of the revcom piece “Three Points on the Righteous Shut-Down of Fascist Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley” and made two posters, “Talk to me about the righteous shutdown of the fascist Yiannopoulos ” and “Yiannopoulos is not engaging in ‘free speech.’ He is consciously spearheading the Nazification of the American university,” and headed to the campus.
For over three hours, we kicked off and anchored a swirl of debate with anywhere from 50-100 students at a time. Media outlets that had come to the follow-up reporting listened in as well. Most definitely, the shutting down of the fascist Yiannopoulos was hugely controversial.
There were students in the mix that thought it was righteous that Yiannopoulos was shut down and some of them spoke up. It was really important that we were out there to lead people to see the bigger picture this particular protest was part of. Most students—even those who recognize the profound bigotry, white-supremacy, misogyny, and viciousness of Yiannopoulos—have very little understanding of his links to the highest offices in the land or how his campus tour fits into a whole society-wide assault on critical thinking, real intellectual inquiry, and the search for the truth. In contrast, many students were not coming to terms with the fact that Yiannopoulos is a fascist operative for the Trump regime.
Too many were just seeing Yiannopoulos as just another person engaging in free speech, or just as an asshole and internet troll, and that by shutting him down, it was just feeding the troll. People saying that they hated Yiannopoulos’ misogyny and xenophobia and racism, but still treating him like he was just a social provocateur—too much of all this was separated from the real world, Yiannopoulos’ real track record and the real fascist regime of Trump he is an operative for.
There were people who were against Yiannopoulos, but a number of them said what happened the night before did not discredit him, but instead gave him more attention which is what he wants. Some argued that people should have just ignored him. Or that the protest should have been more “protest as usual” and “people registering their dissent.” That what happened played into the hands of the right-wing forces who could now portray themselves as victims of the intolerant left. I mean people really had the view that people everywhere were going to be turned against the students at UC Berkeley because the media was portraying them as bad.
We struggled with people that: First, it is not the case that if you ignore fascism it will go away—that these fascists are running the government, and we asked how’s ignoring them been working out so far? Second, whether most people agree with a protest (or anything else)—or whether the media is able turn people against something—is not how to determine whether it was right. The Abolitionists were demonized in their day, but they were right even when most (white people) disagreed with them. Third: we argued that it was completely one sided to think that everyone who saw the media reports were going to think Berkeley students were “intolerant.” We argued that tens of millions of people across the country, let alone around the world are already sick at heart and outraged at the Trump regime and will be inspired that people stood up and said no to fascism! I felt the students were largely missing this, not giving people enough credit, including for being able to read “between the lines” of the way things are reported and slandered in the mainstream media.
We challenged the students, “If you were around in Nazi Germany in 1932, and the lecture halls on the university campus were being filled with Hitler Youth—and knowing now what you know about the horrors that followed—would you have not done everything you could to shut down the Nazis? Some students clearly said they would, others really had to pause and consider the comparison and others did not want to or refused to go there. And, yeah, there were a few so stuck in their framework who said that even back in Hitler’s time he should have been allowed to speak.
Some of the students said they were concerned about how the way the media reported things would cause Trump’s fascist followers to be against the students, along with Trump’s threats to withhold millions in federal funding. We told them that even before the fascist Yiannopoulos was shut down, Trump and his regime resented the campuses—resent that it is a place where people think and are encouraged to think critically, more than in the rest of society. The fascist regime of Trump and Pence don’t like that; they feel threatened by it. We asked where were the protests the most intense after Trump’s election victory? The universities! They want to shut that down. They want to get a fascist foothold on the campuses and that is the purpose of Yiannopoulos’ tour in the first place.
We asked the students, how can you just look at Yiannopoulos from the framework of “free speech” when the regime he is an operative for, and Trump, who Yiannopoulos calls “daddy,” is the absolute antithesis of critical thinking and we used the point from the flyer: “Yiannopoulos’ campus tour is part of a larger, rapidly escalating, society-wide fascist assault on critical thinking, science, the ability to discover basic truths about objective reality and to challenge fascist lies. The Trump-Pence regime is relentlessly lying, muzzling government agencies, threatening the media, and firing or threatening government officials who stand up to them. This is because their fascist program is violently at odds with both basic facts about the world and what most people think is just. It is part of preparing their fanatical thugs to mindlessly carry out atrocities in service of their program.”
We told the students, Yiannopoulos and the Trump regime are fascists, they don’t care what you think. They are not about having a dialogue. They don’t want to debate with you about the merits of fascism. What is Trump telling 1,000 people at the State Department who have expressed disagreement with them? “Agree or go.” They want everyone intimidated and cowed. They operate on the principle of “might makes right” and imposing their “alternative facts” on the world. And Yiannopoulos is not dangerous because his ideas are so edgy and powerful, but because of the fascist regime that is behind his ideas and backs his warped ideas.
Some people thought Yiannopoulos should be shut down, but not the way that he was. Windows were broken and there was a fire and this “violence” “... makes the students look bad or turns everyone against the movement.” There is debate and more to get into, but once again I think the real thing was these students resist confronting that this is a fascist regime we are up against. Why do they resist that? Do they really think it can’t happen in the U.S., because of some inviolable principles, some checks and balances, or some senator that is going to ride in on a horse to save the day? These are questions we need to continue to explore.
We challenged the students to look at the violence and havoc already carried out by the Trump regime. The women around the globe suffering a violent assertion of patriarchy by Trump’s global ban on abortion, the tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees trapped in violence because of Trump’s ban, the threats of war that Trump had made in just one day on Mexico and Iran! We asked the students: Were they sleepless at night? Were they in anguish over that and Yiannopoulos’ promotion of that? We asked the students if they knew that Yiannopoulos came out on stage in a cop uniform in one of his recent appearances at a border state university and ran out his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim venom. We asked: What about how Yiannopoulos rails against Black Lives Matter and all the Black people that have already been murdered with impunity during Obama’s presidency and how Trump wants to put all that “law and order” on steroids? Let alone for all the people that have been victims of hate crimes because of the white supremacy, the misogyny, the xenophobia that the Trump regime—and yes, their operative Yiannopoulos—are pumping out and whipping up. What about ALL THAT violence?
There was something really troubling when some of the students accused all the two thousand or more people that were involved in shutting Yiannopoulos down of bringing the “wrath of the right.” Once again, “Let’s just be quiet and maybe those fascists won’t notice us.” It completely misses everything that is in the “Three Points on the Righteous Shut-Down of Fascist Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley” statement and we told the students it is the moral equivalent of blaming the civil rights activists for the brutality they suffered, the Freedom Riders who went South to fight against segregation, it is the equivalent of blaming them for “bringing trouble.”
So here we were standing out on the famed Sproul Plaza, home of the Free Speech Movement having this intense debate. And one student said to us, “This is where the Free Speech Movement started and this is where it died.” And to me it is crazy. The fact of the matter is the Free Speech Movement was a movement against official oppression, the oppression of the state!
In the immediate sense, most of the students did not agree with us. This is how things often start out when thousands of people are newly drawn into political debate—most come with the assumptions society has instilled in them. At the same time, powerful forces are working overtime to put students and others on the defensive for the righteous political resistance they were part of. For these reasons, it was so important that revcom.us spoke to this whole situation in such a timely way and that we were out there broadly engaging, debating, listening, and leading a process of people sorting out what is actually true and what is the bigger picture this particular protest was part of. People did a great thing together in standing up against Milo Yiannopoulos. The powers that be are hitting back. Now, we have to go out even more broadly to build on the real lessons and positive experience and draw even more people forward with even deeper understanding to take things forward from here.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Last night, February 1, thousands of students, professors, and others protested the appearance and organizing rally of Milo Yiannopoulos, a major fascist operative, shutting it down. This was righteous and much more like this is needed.
In response, widespread attacks, distortions, and threats are being issued, including from the Fascist-In-Chief Trump himself, who threatened to cut off all federal funding to UC Berkeley.
These dangerous threats must be vigorously exposed and opposed.
Let’s be clear: Milo Yiannopoulos is not engaging in “free speech.” He is consciously spearheading the Nazification of the American University.
One: In his speeches and writings, Yiannopoulos is not simply voicing opinions—and he is certainly not “courageously challenging political orthodoxy” as he would like people to believe. Rather, he spews forth hateful, crude, unthinking bigotry and low-level insults against marginalized and oppressed people, and he has a documented record of knowingly unleashing campaigns of harassment, stalking, and threats of violence.
Two: Even more fundamentally, Yiannopoulos is a fascist operative with connections to the highest echelons of the Trump-Pence fascist regime. He is a senior editor at Breitbart News, the home of the white supremacist, anti-Semitic, woman-hating “alt-right” movement whose former head, Steve Bannon, is now a powerful driver of Trump’s fascist regime. In his current tour, Yiannopoulos has teamed up with David Horowitz, a man with a decades-long record of attacking and working to get fired progressive and radical-minded professors for their political views and for challenging lies used to justify U.S. empire and its role in the world. An explicit mission of their joint effort is to end sanctuary campuses and target undocumented students.
Three: Yiannopoulos’ campus tour is part of a larger, rapidly escalating, society-wide fascist assault on critical thinking, science, the ability to discover basic truths about objective reality and to challenge fascist lies. The Trump-Pence regime is relentlessly lying, muzzling government agencies, threatening the media, and firing or threatening government officials who stand up to them. This is because their fascist program is violently at odds with both basic facts about the world and what most people think is just. It is part of preparing their fanatical thugs to mindlessly carry out atrocities in service of their program.
In this context, the campuses pose a strategic problem for this fascist regime because they—more than the rest of society—expose students to the broader world, encourage people to think critically, and to explore contrary viewpoints. It is for this reason that fascists like Yiannopoulos and Horowitz have so viciously targeted the universities and why Trump himself jumped in so eagerly to give them backing.
For all these reasons, what happened at UC Berkeley is part of the kind of broad, powerful, and meaningful protest that needs to continue on an unprecedented scale to OUST this regime from power. These protests should be supported and defended by all those who value critical thought, the ability to pursue and debate what is actually true, science and scientific thinking, the space to dissent—and all who oppose this whole fascist direction and reordering of the world with its unparalleled threats to all humanity and the planet itself.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This week 100 prisoners at a Delaware prison rose up in a rebellion ("rebellion" was the word used by the prisoners themselves). This took place in building "C" of Delaware's largest adult prison—the Vaughn Correctional Center. The Department of Corrections immediately locked down all the prisons in the state.
The prisoners seized that portion of the prison at 10:30 Wednesday morning, February 1, and held it until 2:30 Thursday morning, when the prison authorities stormed the facility and took back control.
The prisoners were able to speak with the Wilmington News Journal newspaper with the help of people on the outside. When asked what triggered their rebellion, the prisoners answered: "We're trying to explain the reasons for doing what we're doing. Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he's doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse. We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know. Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget."
A former prisoner who had been in the same section of the prison reportedly told the News Journal that the conditions are poor and inmates have limited access to education programs. And because the prison is so overcrowded, prisoners are not transferred to medium-security buildings even when they have earned that right.
The Vaughn prison houses about 2,500, prisoners—from minimum to maximum security, including people sentenced to death. And people who are simply awaiting trial and who cannot afford bail are imprisoned there as well. Those awaiting trial are locked up for much of the day, according to a lawyer who has represented prisoners at Vaughn. These people have no access to gyms or libraries, and there "gets to be a tremendous pressure on these inmates."
Five people were reported held by the prisoners during the rebellion. Prison authorities report that one of their officers was found dead when they entered the prison. No explanation of the cause of death has been put forward. But the warden told the media that he intends to treat all 100 prisoners as "suspects."
Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, writing in the Jacobin online about the prisoner's rebellion at Vaughn, made this important statement: "The history of prison rebellions in this country shows we should be very cautious when we have to depend on state officials to tell us what happened, or is still happening, in any penal facility experiencing unrest."
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Steve Bannon Is a Lying, Despicable, White-Supremacist Enforcer of Empire... V.I. Lenin Sought the Truth of Society and the World, and Fought For the Emancipation of Humanity
by Raymond Lotta | February 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The Internet is buzzing with a statement attributed to Steve Bannon, the neo-Nazi chief strategist and advisor to Trump. In an interview Bannon allegedly said, "I'm a Leninist... Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too... to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment." Whether Bannon did say this... the fact is, no two human beings could be further apart in their thinking and actions than the fascist Steve Bannon and the revolutionary leader and theorist V.I. Lenin.
- Lenin stood for and led a revolution in Russia in 1917 to put an end to all exploitation and oppression. To overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a liberatory socialist state power and system... to serve the struggle and empower people to bring into being a radically new world, no longer divided into classes. Steve Bannon's lifework is about tightening the chains of capitalist power and oppression—and forging a fascist capitalist state to do so.
- Lenin stood and fought for the equality of nationalities. The Bolshevik Revolution under Lenin's leadership carried out the most far-reaching measures ever seen before in modern history to overcome the oppression of minority nationalities, to put an end to discrimination against Jews, to combat Great-Russian chauvinism (the equivalent of white racism). To build unity among different nationalities on the basis of equality of cultures and languages. Steve Bannon is a racist pig whose Breitbart News spews forth all manner of white-supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant poison.
- Lenin stood and fought for the liberation of women. The Russian revolution immediately and in the 1920s made divorce legal and widely available; legalized abortion; challenged traditional gender roles and religious custom that enslaved women. Steve Bannon is a fucking misogynist pig.
- Lenin was an internationalist who stood and fought for the emancipation of world humanity. The socialist state established under his leadership in 1917 inspired and encouraged revolution throughout the world—including and importantly in the countries and nations oppressed by the imperialist powers. Steve Bannon is an enforcer of the U.S. empire—"America first"—for savage and genocidal domination of the world, for wars for control and plunder of the resources of the world
- Lenin was a scientific thinker who applied the scientific method to understanding and changing the world. He made path-breaking analyses of the actual nature and development of capitalism-imperialism and the role and nature of the state throughout history. He saw that the oppressed and exploited need scientific knowledge and consciousness, and scientifically-based leadership, in order to free themselves from oppression and to avoid being deceived and manipulated by ruling elites. Steve Bannon's lunatic-Christian fascist outlook stands opposed to and attacks critical and scientific thinking (like the reality of global warming)—and generates "fake news," "alternative facts," and massive lies to manipulate and subjugate people.
Steve Bannon and V.I. Lenin are polar opposites.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On the day of Trump’s inauguration, January 20, a serious fascist assault occurred at the University of Washington (UW), where more than 1,000 people attempted to shut down the appearance of fascist Trump mouthpiece Milo Yiannopoulos. Despite attacks by police trying to break up the lines of people locking arms to stop his talk, protesters held firm and most of those who wanted to hear this fascist hatemonger were prevented from getting in.
But one of the people at the protest was shot by a supporter of Yiannopoulos and Trump. This became known only about a week later. The shot person is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and has been working locally with the Neighborhood Action Coalition, which organizes defense of people that Trump-Pence forces are targeting.
In the middle of a tense scene and scuffles between protesters and pro-fascists, this fucker pulled out a gun and shot the man in the chest, critically injuring him. He is going to recover, although he easily may have died. After the shooting, the UW police did nothing to warn people or target the fascists. Later the same evening, the shooter turned himself in to police after his description was circulated through the press. He claimed that he shot in self-defense and that he thought he was being attacked by a “white supremacist.” Outrageously, he was almost immediately released by the police after telling his story, portraying himself as the victim.
His justification for shooting someone is simply unbelievable and just a lie. The person he shot is an anti-fascist, and according to friends was trying to separate people in the scuffles. An eyewitness account is consistent with this, saying he had been trying to stop someone, apparently from the Yiannopoulos side, who was trying to pepper spray people. On top of this, there is absolutely no justification for pulling out a gun and then shooting someone, in a situation where no one was in danger of serious injury until he pulled his gun, and which he was carrying against university rules about carrying weapons on campus. Still, the police let him go.
For days the press basically repeated the shooter’s story. Then it finally came out that the shooter is a Yiannopoulos and Trump supporter, according to his Facebook page. He even texted Yiannopoulos during the protest asking Yiannopoulos to get him another “make America great again” hat because someone had “jacked it” during the protest. While Yiannopoulos didn’t respond, it was reported he heartlessly refused to cancel the speech after hearing about the shooting because if he did, “they [the protesters] will have won.”
Police claim they are still investigating the incident, but now, almost two weeks later, the shooter has not been arrested or charged, and is still running around free. This shooting is a very serious escalation of fascist violence against the millions who hate Trump and Pence and everything they stand for, many of whom have bravely stood up to resist in many ways.
Further, blood is on the hands of the university’s president, Ana Mari Cauce, who refused to cancel Yiannopoulos’ speech on the grounds of “free speech,” then cynically and hypocritically released a statement decrying the violence that occurred after the shooting. What did she expect? Cauce allowed the event to go on despite Yiannopoulos’ history of racist and misogynist hate speech and all the brutality he is part of advocating, so completely evident now after Trump’s first 10 days in office. Thousands had signed a petition demanding Cauce cancel the speech, but she refused. Instead, Cauce allowed hateful, vicious fascists to come together and coalesce, and then one of these fuckers shot someone. Cauce should be ashamed and condemned for her part in allowing all of this to go on.
It is very important that this assault be exposed in its real terms and that people demand the shooter be charged and jailed, while continuing to struggle to resist Trump-Pence and build to the point they are driven out.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Revolution Interview with Chase Iron Eyes
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.
Seventy seven people were arrested last week in a vicious and unjustified government assault upon the Water Protectors defending the Standing Rock Sioux from the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL). Among those arrested was Chase Iron Eyes, who has been charged with "inciting to riot" and faces up to five years in prison.
DAPL threatens the very existence of the Standing Rock Sioux. Government authorities at the federal, state, and local levels—as well as local vigilantes—have launched relentless and utterly illegitimate attacks upon people rightfully and courageously defending their rights, and their water. Now the fascist Trump-Pence regime has given a go-ahead to proceed with construction of DAPL. This political battle, in which the lines between right and wrong, between just and unjust, between defending or attacking the people and the planet itself are so clearly drawn, is likely coming to a head on February 22. All charges against Chase Iron Eyes and others arrested Water Protectors must be dropped!
This interview with Chase Iron Eyes, who is one of the initiators of Refuse Fascism, was done by Carl Dix on behalf of Revolution.
Carl Dix: Hello Chase. So, how you doing?
Chase Iron Eyes: OK.
Carl Dix: Did you end up being held for a couple of days?
Chase Iron Eyes: Yeah, for two days.
Carl Dix: Yes, what I wanted to start with is, look, Trump greenlighted DAPL.
Chase Iron Eyes: Right.
Carl Dix: What are your thoughts about that? What was it that people did, and then what happened on Wednesday, when people took a stand around it? Let's start with that.
Chase Iron Eyes: Yes, well, Trump gave a directive to the Department of the Army, the Army Corps of Engineers, to go ahead and greenlight them to drill under the river. And he's also indicated that he would like to withdraw or dismantle whatever progress has been made on EIS, the Environmental Impact Statement. And it's clear that Trump is representing the interests of the corporate state. Indeed, what was known all along to be fascism, in its truly modern form.
And Standing Rock is going to be one of the epicenters, as every airport was, during the Muslim ban, as probably another Indian reservation will be, when they try to build the wall. There are some Native nations that are going to say, no, you're not going to build a wall here.
And with my arrest—seventy seven people were arrested—and I was charged, me and another woman were charged with inciting a riot, a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. I think it's obviously an effort to neutralize, discredit, and criminalize who they see as a leader in this movement, this NO DAPL movement which is now a significant struggle against the interests of the corporate state, against brutalization and the systemic, long standing violations of constitutional rights, and corporate violence against unarmed American citizens. Against Native nationals. What we're going to witness is, this is going to be the first showdown, the first real showdown, where armed troops are going to be deployed. They'll come in with less lethal troops first, but there will be armed troops there. It's highly, highly militarized. You've been there yourself, when they raided that new camp.
Carl Dix: Yeah
Chase Iron Eyes: This is what the next four years look like. I mean, we are in a state of uncertainty. This is the corporate state, and the fascist state, made real. Made very... I mean, it's no longer in the realm of academia. People can talk about the differences between fascism, and tyranny, and totalitarianism, democracy, and all of that talk. I mean this is happening in real life. There are human beings that are suffering because of the policies of Donald Trump.
Carl Dix: Exactly. I want to go to something else, but before I go—they charged you with inciting to riot. Was there any rioting?
Chase Iron Eyes: There was absolutely no rioting. But what's concerning me is not... North Dakota passed a law—rioting, according to their definition, is encouraging five or more people to riot, or engage in tumultuous or violent behavior with a group of a hundred of more people. So it's not clear, the legal definition of what that law means. We intend to fight it all the way. We know what they're trying to do. They're trying to make an example out of me, so somebody who's considered a leading voice in this fight ... they're going to try very hard to send me back to prison. I mean, I've been in prison before. But they're trying to send me back, right now, and it's weighing heavy on my mind.
But I know that our cause is righteous, and I know that we don't have any time. The whole country is going to have to do this. The whole country is going to have to stand up and take risks. Possibly place their bodies in front of those who would inflict violence, or discrimination, or de-humanization, or violate our constitutional or civil or human rights. This is that time.
Carl Dix: You're hitting some very important points.
Chase Iron Eyes: When we talk about the Founding Fathers, and what they stood up for, "life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness," the "truths that we hold to be self evident," we call them patriots. And now, in 2017, those who are standing up for our precious water resources, our natural resources, our land, the true source of our national security, our wealth. We are the true patriots, yet we are being called "eco-terrorists." We are being called traitors, and the people, the corporations who are extracting our natural resources, our mineral resources, and putting our water security at risk, for their private profit benefit in order to sell these resources to foreign nations which are unfriendly to the United States, they are being called American. They call us unpatriotic, and we have to think very hard and look at what that means for America in 2017.
America is messy. It's controverted. I mean, we have issues. Deep seated issues of genocide, of holocaust, slavery, of dehumanization. And we're having to take a look at... what does that mean for us. A Trump presidency with a Republican controlled Congress, continuing to encroach on those rights that a lot of our people, our demographics, have fought and died for.
You know we're talking about whether it's Black Lives Matter, the feminist movement, the entirety of the peace loving Muslim faith, the immigrants, some of whom are actually original owners of this hemisphere who are declared illegal human beings, who have to put up with a wall... a $23 million wall being put up. I mean, Steve Bannon is on the National Security Council. So we've got... I mean this is just one of the fights.
Carl Dix: He is a stone-cold fascist, You name it and he embraces it.
I know we don't have much time so let's get to two more things. One is you were at one time banned from Facebook. Do you want to talk about that?
Chase Iron Eyes: Yeah. I posted a tweet about the nature of what the Trump presidency represents. And, that it is going to be a war on our rights, on our project and that we have to meet those threats to our very democracy on the battlefield. And what I meant by that is that you know we are in a different time where unarmed revolution and non-violent action—peace and prayers, if you wanna call it that—that's our strength. I am facing five years in prison now. But we have to be smarter than the enemy. The enemy is... the enemy isn't the white man. The enemy is the set of institutions that dehumanizes us, that is big finance, big extractions, and the military industrial complex, the set of colonial forces that separated all human beings from a relationship with their food source, for instance, or with any kind of relationship with the land. As human beings, that is our natural inclination to seek a relationship with our natural universe, and to seek a spiritual liberation. And we... this world is a big... it's just huge, and it's hard to be calm and to seek that liberation. Anybody who's spent time camping or any time outdoors, or if they've ever fasted, there's certain things that are common to a lot of cultures in the world. That's sort of the bigger picture. But rightfully so, we get tied up in these very visceral and brutal injustices that we know stem from racism and white supremacy.
Carl Dix: So your being banned from Facebook... that was only temporary, you're back on now?
Chase Iron Eyes: Yeah, I'm back on now. It took me 16 hours to get back on and an article in BuzzFeed, and they put me back on.
Carl Dix: So a final question for the interview: 77 of you all are facing charges and some of you are facing pretty serious and trumped up charges. A lot of people who get this interview and are gonna be reading this, are very supportive of the Standing Rock struggle. Is there something that you want to call on them to do?
Chase Iron Eyes: Yes, I think we all need to be ready... if you can come to Standing Rock we will welcome you and we will accommodate you. February 22 is the date that the Army Corps set to evacuate forcibly. They didn't use those terms but they are declaring that the camps need to be evacuated on February 22.
February 22nd. So that's gonna be a day of reckoning for everybody there. If you can't come we are going to call for some sort of direct action across the country in support of the people who are on the front line there, who may face an armed state.
Carl Dix: OK, so February 22 is the day, be in Standing Rock, and if you can't get to Standing Rock, be standing with Standing Rock wherever you are.
So I think that's it for the interview.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Check It Out:
February 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
By Andy Zee
I Am Not Your Negro, an Oscar-nominated documentary by Raoul Peck, is a must see. If you think you know the reality of the brutal depth and horror of white supremacy in America, if you think you’ve seen it all and even if you have, you’ve not seen it delivered like this.
Words here can not match the rage and cutting to the brutal heart of racism in America of the eloquence of James Baldwin. Every word of this documentary is Baldwin’s, a Black writer who was a major literary and public intellectual from the 1950s into the 1980s.
Early in the film, we learn of its inspiration and framework in a letter Baldwin wrote to his literary agent in 1979 proposing a new book about the lives, struggles, and assassinations of three men he knew: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Baldwin completed only 30 pages of this manuscript, yet Raoul Peck breathes life into Baldwin’s unapologetic indictment of racism and white supremacy in a film of historical and cultural sweep that shuttles from slavery to Ferguson, Missouri. It is a short course in the ferocity and heroism of the civil rights and Black liberation struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, of the bedrock vicious white supremacy of America, deeply embedded in its culture and politics.
Baldwin wanted to save America from itself—I Am Not Your Negro is both a powerful, proud assertion of his and Black people’s humanity and a scathing condemnation of the inhumanity of racism, even as it is framed by Baldwin’s argument and plea for white America to look in the mirror and cleanse itself of complicity in the horrific oppression of Black people (as well as Native Americans). While there are limitations to this framework in fully comprehending the root of the problem of race in America and its solution, there is much to learn from and be provoked by Baldwin and by Raoul Peck's film.
I Am Not Your Negro ignites the passion and determination to dig deep and to rise up to rid the world of the brutal inhumanity of white supremacy—its legacy, continual horror throughout U.S. history, and its central role at the heart of the fascist regime of Trump and Pence.
Here I won’t say more, but encourage you to see this film, discuss it, and then . . . act accordingly.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Letter from a reader
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Fox would not show the Super Bowl ad that was developed by 84 Lumber, a Pennsylvania building supply company, because it showed a representation of Trump’s huge border wall. 84 Lumber was forced to remove that part before Fox would allow it to be shown.
The full 6 minute ad shows a woman and her daughter making an arduous and difficult trip through Mexico to the U.S. border. Interspersed, workers are shown building something with wood. When the two get to the border there is a huge, tall, impenetrable wall. The daughter takes a torn American Flag out of her backpack and gives it to her mother who is crying. Then they see something—a very large wooden door in the wall. They push on the door and it opens into the U.S. A construction truck is then shown driving down the road and the ad finishes with the message, “The will to succeed is always welcomed here.”
What Fox allowed to be shown was part of the trip through Mexico but they refused to show the part with the wall, the door to get through the wall, and the workers building something. The Fox ad just ends with no conclusion to the journey.
84 Lumber was mentioned more than 80,000 times on Twitter during the game, and there was so much internet traffic trying to watch the full ad that it shut down the company’s website.
In addressing what Fox did, a person for the company that developed that ad said, “Ignoring the border wall and the conversation around immigration that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America just didn’t seem right.”
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Mass incarceration is a defining feature of America. The raw edge of this is the more than two million people behind bars. Then there’s the many millions deeply affected—family, friends, children. The millions now out of prison facing life-ruining discrimination in employment, housing, loans, and more. The millions on parole or probation, tightly controlled by the state. And in all of this, the numbers of Black and Latino people hugely disproportionate to their population. There is no other country on earth that locks up and punishes its people like this.
So what happened when Obama—who some argue had the power to actually do something about mass incarceration—tried to do something about this?
Obama implemented policies aimed at reducing the prison population, like getting rid of some of the harsh minimum sentencing policies implemented during the war on drugs.
In 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would change the law “to eliminate the disparity” between sentences for crack convictions and those for powder cocaine; the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act reduced the disparity in those numbers from a ratio of a 100 to 1 to 18 to 1; then in 2011, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to apply those standards retroactively, which made the cases of 12,000 prisoners eligible for review and possible sentence reduction.
This has led to the shortening of sentences and/or the early release of thousands of prisoners. This year, Obama commuted the sentences of and released more than 800 federal prisoners. And Obama’s DOJ introduced an initiative that could give perhaps 10,000 prisoners a chance for clemency.
Some have applauded Obama for all this, saying this is going in the right direction. But seriously, are people fucking kidding?
This is a thimble full in an ocean of blood—affecting perhaps 20,000, or even 30,000 prisoners in a state and federal prison population of more than 1.5 million.
In 2014 and 2015 the number of state and federal prisoners went down by only ONE PERCENT.
The war on drugs has fed mass incarceration. Obama now says drug addiction should be seen not “through the lens of the criminal justice system” but treated as a medical problem. But meanwhile, in 2012 alone, 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses. And still, about a fifth of the total of 2.2 million people in prison, about 470,000, are behind bars for drug offenses. Which means that even if all prisoners on drug-related charges were released, there would still be something like 1.7 million people in prison/jail.
Consider this: If the current trend of reducing the prison population were to continue—and this is a big IF, with Trump coming into office—it would take 80-90 years (!) to get to where the prison population was in 1980.
There is the MASS part of mass incarceration. Then there’s the utter and horrific brutality and racist nature of prisons and jails in the USA.
Take the August 2014 murder of Rocrast Mack Jr., a 24-year-old Black prisoner in Alabama, who was serving a 20-year sentence for selling $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover officer. Read this next paragraph and remember, this is NOT an aberration. This kind of thing happens ALL the time—and is part of what defines mass incarceration in the USA.
A female prison guard begins hitting Rocrast Mack after she accuses him of looking at her inappropriately. Five other officers arrive on the scene. Mack obeys their orders to get on his knees, but they began to beat him with batons and fists, striking his head, face, and body. He is beaten in the dorm and then in the prison yard until his bloodied body goes limp. Even after Mack seemed to be unconscious, guards continue to hit, kick, and punch him. Then they take him to an office where they slam his head into a wall and close the door. By the time Mack is taken to the hospital he is brain dead.
Report after report has been issued. Evidence collected, testimony taken, showing Black and Latino prisoners face the most and harshest brutality; how mentally ill prisoners are abused; how people are tortured in solitary confinement. Some guards, like at the Rikers Island jail in New York City, have been found guilty of brutalizing prisoners. But this horror show continues.
Bestial brutality—which prison officials call “disciplining inmates”—and racism are built into America’s prisons, top to bottom.
Take the example of New York where Black people make up only 14 percent of the population but almost half of its prisoners. The New York Times studied New York State prisons, reviewing 60,000 disciplinary cases against inmates in 2015, hundreds of pages of internal reports and three years of parole decisions. It found that “racial disparities were embedded in the prison experience in New York.” In most prisons, Blacks and Latinos were disciplined at higher rates than whites—in some cases twice as often. They were also sent to solitary confinement more frequently and for longer durations. (See “The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York State’s Prisons,” New York Times, December 3, 2016.)
There were reports of guards calling Black prisoners porch monkeys, spear chuckers, and worse; guards ripping out dreadlocks. One prisoner said a guard jumped on him and threatened to “serve up some black mashed potatoes with tomato sauce.” Another Black prisoner, beaten by white guards, said, “They took me out there and beat me like I got caught drinking at the whites-only fountain.”
Black prisoners were 65 percent more likely to be sent to solitary confinement—conditions that constitute TORTURE, that can literally drive people insane, many times for no reasons at all:
One prisoner was stopped for taking “a loaf of stale bread” back to his cell; when he refused to “surrender the bread” he was punched in the face and sent to solitary for 166 days. Another prisoner was challenged for “attempting to conceal contraband,” and “the inmate produced a stack of waffles.” The prisoner was accused of grabbing the guard’s arm and given a 180-day lockup. Another prisoner was carrying a bowl of hot water from the microwave for coffee; when he refused an order to put it down, the prisoner and guard got into a shouting match and bumped shoulders; the guard claimed he was punched in the face, which the prisoner denied—and the prisoner got 270 days in isolation. (see NYT article, December 3, 2016.)
How can anything LESS than revolution get rid of this whole nightmare of mass incarceration? This system NEEDS to lock up hundreds of thousands of people, especially poor Black and Latino people, for whom this system has no jobs, no future—and fears as a volatile and potentially revolutionary force in society.
In a new revolutionary society, those prisoners who are freed will be able to be integrated into the new society and contribute in many ways to the continuing revolution, and further transform themselves in the process. As the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America says:
[I]n addition to a significant number of people who were discovered to have been wrongfully prosecuted and imprisoned under the old system, and were therefore immediately released and provided with the means to become actively involved in the new society and its revolutionary transformation, literally millions of men and women—who had been denied a decent life in the old society; who had become involved in criminal activity, owing to their often desperate conditions and in many cases to the influence of the prevailing outlook and values in that old society, which constantly encouraged and in many ways rewarded advancing one’s interests at the expense of and through the domination of others; and who had been written off as subhuman, and confined in subhuman conditions, by the guardians and enforcers of the old order—have regained and reasserted their humanity through active involvement in the new, revolutionary society, with many of them having joined the front ranks of revolution to remake the whole world in the interests of humanity. (see sidebar for longer quote from CNSRA on prisoners)
In THIS society, what would it mean even if a million people were released from prison and jail? It would mean a million people thrown out into a society with no prospects of jobs, treated by the system like pariahs and discriminated from getting all kinds of social services—perhaps being forced into the very same things that got them into prison before.
Under the fascist “law and order” regime of Donald Trump, many more, not fewer, people will most likely go to prison, be murdered and brutalized by cops and prison guards. Trump has called for a return to stop and frisk—to be implemented as a national policy, even though it was found to be unconstitutional. He has appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a known racist who vigorously prosecuted drug cases as Alabama’s U.S. attorney in the 1980s. Trump wants state and local pigs to be unimpeded, in no danger of federal scrutiny, saying, “National attention [to police abuse] does not mean national involvement of the federal government.”
Trump has said, “Lethal injection [for convicted criminals] is too comfortable of a way to go.” Senator Tom Cotton, who some say was on Trump’s list of potential secretary of defense picks, has argued that the problem is “under-incarceration.” Sessions has been active in blocking drug-sentencing reform, saying it would release “violent felons”—echoing Trump who criticized Obama for commuting sentences, saying, “Some of these people are bad dudes... And these are people who are out, they’re walking the streets.”
The sadistic prison guards really are comparable to Nazi concentration camp guards. And just like the pigs howling when even one cop is arrested for wantonly murdering someone, these prison guards scream when any one has even questioned their right to beat and kill prisoners at will. Now under Trump, these animalistic guards will feel like they have a new lease on life to do whatever they want without any scrutiny.
Think about what this will mean for the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who will now face an even worse living hell.
All this is yet another reason to say:
NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Barack Obama was America's first Black president—put in office by a ruling class that badly needed "plastic surgery" internationally and "at home" after the disastrous Bush administration with its blood-soaked and utterly unjustified war on Iraq and everything concentrated in the callous, racist way it handled Hurricane Katrina. He came into office promoting the idea that America had at long last put its "racial problems" behind it, and that it was also now going to be a great friend to the oppressed peoples of the world. We'll get into the actual war crimes and crimes against humanity that he committed at another time. But right now, particularly at a time when there's a lot of "nostalgia" for the Obama years, let's look at what he did about and TO Black people—and let's include Michelle Obama in that as well, for she not only did things in her own right but also played the role of assuring those who would normally be raising questions, that she was "authentic" and "keeping Obama real." And particularly at a time when Obama is doing great damage in disarming people about the biggest threat they face right now, it is extremely important to face the TRUTH about this.
1) After Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, Obama's BULLSHIT message was, "First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law" and "Our police officers put themselves on the line for us every single day." When the pigs in Baltimore murdered Freddie Gray and the youth of Baltimore rose up demanding justice—Obama called them "thugs," while never condemning the murdering cops. Obama's Department of Justice issued Consent Decrees on police departments around the country—which include reports that acknowledged some of the murderous crimes being carried out by the pigs, but then wrapped all this in talk of bullshit reforms. In Ferguson, for example, the Justice Department report showed widespread, pervasive racism—but then wrapped that sliver of truth in a bigger lie, saying that Michael Brown caused his own death! The actual Department of Justice record under Obama was of supporting literally every single act of police violence that has come before the U.S. Supreme Court. For his whole eight years in office, Obama continually defended murdering pigs gunning down Black and Latino youth—and at the same time both attacked, and at other times misled, those fighting against police murder, telling people to work with the cops.1
2) Obama put the blame for the poverty, high prison rates, poor education, and the whole oppressive situation Black and Latino youth face on the people themselves. He preached that the problem is the lack of "personal responsibility"—"absentee fathers“—(often “absentee” due to being thrown into the prison system on a racist basis!), youth with sagging pants, too much TV, and so on. He completely left out the actual reality of how this system has devastated communities of the oppressed; left little "choice" for millions of youth except the underground economy or the military; how Black people are continually discriminated against in housing, health care, education, and jobs, as shown by study after study, making a mockery of the notion of "equality"; how young Black men are targeted with "stop and frisk" racial profiling and outright police murder; and how millions of them are thrown into prisons, many for minor drug violations. In a speech to graduates from Morehouse College he said, "We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices" and now "There's no time for excuses." And who better than Barack Obama, the first Black president, to deliver this message to Black youth for their plight? If George Bush or now, Trump does this—Black people, at least many, would more readily see this as racist. But when the first Black president did it, it was able to get people to swallow this poison. And this is a big part of WHY he was brought forward and supported by the ruling class as president—to promote the LIE that America was "post-racial" and that if Black people were having problems "it was their own fault." 2
3) Obama promoted the notion that Black people should be part of joining the military and going all over the world to kill other oppressed people in the interests of U.S. imperialism. In June, 2015 he made a big deal, posthumously awarding two World War I "heroes" with the Medal of Honor; one to a Jewish son of Russia immigrants and another to one of the all-Black "Harlem Hellfighters" who he said had both gone "unacknowledged and uncelebrated." This was like celebrating the Black "Buffalo Soldiers" who after the Civil War helped the U.S. Army steal the land of and carry out the genocide of the Native Americans. While Michelle Obama made supporting military families and spouses her personal mission, Barack Obama, as the first Black president provided a "role model for Black people"—commander in chief who reaffirmed the policy of indefinite military detentions; who presided over torture in Guantánamo; who oversaw a weekly "kill list" and escalated the use of Predator drones, killing countless innocent civilians. Obama waged war on seven countries and supported Israel TWICE in its genocidal onslaughts against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Decades ago, looking at all that U.S. imperialism did around the world, Malcolm X called "Uncle Sam" a "bloody-jawed wolf"—Obama is just another one of those wolves, and if anyone can't see it, it's because they don't want to see it!3
4) Obama continually attempted to, and too often succeeded in, politically neutering prominent Black intellectuals and artists, as well as other artists and intellectuals with progressive reputations, promoting the illusion that they had "one of their own" in the White House—covering up that no matter who is in the White House he (or she) must serve "the bloody-jawed wolf" of U.S. imperialism, and thereby enlisting them in the crimes against humanity carried out by the very empire which built itself in the first place on slavery and genocide. It is a very sad commentary that very few prominent Black intellectuals or artists besides Cornel West continually and forcefully condemned Obama for his wars of empire and military aggression against other oppressed peoples, as well as the extremely dangerous effect he was having on the struggle against the oppression of Black people as a people.4
5) After a cold-blooded white supremacist massacred nine people in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina... because they were Black... after they had opened their doors to him... Obama went to South Carolina and delivered what was supposed to be a eulogy for the Black people who had been slaughtered. And right there, at the funeral, in front of the loved ones of those who had been killed, he actually had the nerve to say that this murder was part of "God's plan"—and that the main thing people needed to learn from this horrible thing was the "power of forgiving"—when in fact if anything, what the so-called "power of forgiving" has taught the people over and over and over again, is that it has enabled nothing but the people learning to and being forced to live with oppression. As for the ridiculous notion of this being part of "God's plan," then why not chalk up ALL the horrors of the Middle Passage, centuries of slavery that make the mind and heart ache and boil to even think of them, the decades of lynching, and now the hell of mass incarceration and criminalization in every sphere—why not chalk ALL that up to "God's plan" rather than the workings of U.S. capitalism-imperialism, its institutions of white supremacy, and the horrible way that they have conditioned all too many white people to act? Because everyone except someone like Ben Carson would recognize what a lie that was, that's why!! And by the way, as long as we're on the topic of (the nonexistent) "God"—why would anyone worship a god with a "plan" that fiendish and cruel??!?5
6) When Obama ran for president in 2008, he threw Jeremiah Wright not only under the bus but off the goddamn bridge for saying a little bit of the truth about America. Wright had given sermons where he had said things like: "[The United States] Government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth was they believe all White men were created equal" and "The Government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq being a threat to the United States' peace. And guess what else? If they don't find them some Weapons of Mass Destruction, they gonna do just like the LAPD and plant them some Weapons of Mass Destruction. Governments lie..." Obama gave an entire well-publicized speech trashing Wright, who had been his minister in Chicago, saying Wright had "a view that sees white racism as endemic," and that his thinking was "divisive" and draws people away from the problems of "two wars, a terrorist threat, a failing economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change." In this way, in a phrase, Obama covered over how there is systematic oppression of Black people and an entrenched system of white supremacy running through every institution of America and at the very core of the country. This kind of "cover-up" continued throughout his presidency.6
7) Obama did some high-profile things, like visiting prisons and releasing some prisoners to give the impression he was actually doing something about the horror of mass incarceration in the USA—which is an international scandal where America is known for its "addiction" to imprisoning Black and Latino men and women under the guise of the "war on drugs"—part of what amounts to a slow genocide that can become very fast at any time. Obama implemented some policies aimed at reducing the prison population like getting rid of some of harsh minimum sentencing policies that led to the shortening of sentences and/or the early release of thousands of prisoners. Obama commuted the sentences of over 1,000 prisoners. But this is thimble-full in an ocean of blood—in a prison system where over 2 million people are behind bars. And consider this: If the trend set by Obama of reducing the prison population were to continue—and this is a big IF, now with Trump in office—it would take 80-90 years (!) to get to where the prison population was in 1980. The fact that Obama did anything at all was consistent with the whole point and purpose of his presidency—to give a "fresh progressive face" to America after the horror of the Iraq War and the open torture of the Bush regime along with the scandal of its massive prison system that had tarnished America's reputation—and its ability to dominate—around the world. And the fact that this was bullshit cosmetics, designed to fool the inattentive, was ALSO consistent.7
8) In the face of a horrible situation where masses of youth are killing each other in Chicago and other cities, as well as rampant random (or "white-on-white") slaughter more generally in America, Obama has covered over the real reason this is happening—refusing to point the finger at what and who really is causing this. Once again he, along with Michelle Obama, has led the way in preaching that the problem is "gun control" when the shooters are white, and gun control plus a lack of "personal responsibility" when they are Black or Latino—when in fact, the problem is that these youth have been left with no future, that they have been trained in and acting on the very dog-eat-dog outlook of this system as it translates into their circumstances, and that the only way out of this is the radical overturning of this system and a whole new economic and political system and, in the case of the “mass shooters” phenomenon, that this sick and twisted society is unique in the sheer amount of people that it evidently conditions and drives to carry out such monstrous things.8
9) Black people were especially hard hit by the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. Predatory subprime loans, which had much higher interest rates, affected people of all nationalities, but the banks deliberately targeted Black and Latino people in particular. It came out in court that loan officers at Wells Fargo referred to these subprime loans as "ghetto loans," and referred to Black customers as "mud people." Foreclosures severely affected Black and Latino communities at much higher rates than whites. According to a 2008 report this led to "the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history—between $164 billion and $213 billion for loans taken during the past eight years." (State of the Dream 2008: Foreclosed) Across the nation, more than 240,000 Black people lost homes they had owned. But Obama did NOTHING to aid Black people who were devastated by the crash of 2008. The programs Obama introduced intended to help some of these homeowners are now widely considered failures. (See: "Obama Failed to Mitigate America's Foreclosure Crisis"9)
10) Perhaps worst of all, Obama became the "normalizer-in-chief"—paving the way for the fascist Donald Trump. He literally told people, "it's gonna be alright," reiterating over and over again that it was of utmost importance to have a "peaceful transition of power"—which in effect meant telling people to ACCEPT FASCISM. He did absolutely nothing to sound an alarm about the real and urgent danger looming over the world or to rally people to resist this. He did the opposite. He said, "I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition"—which meant paving the way for this fascist to come into office without massive opposition, especially from Black people and other oppressed peoples.10
In fact, it is this normalization that gives us the best clue as to WHY Obama so deeply put the knife into the backs of Black people. Remember when Obama came out after Trump won, a few days later and said: "We are now all rooting for his [Trump's] success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy... [W]e have to remember that we're actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We're patriots first...." So he TOLD us straight up why he did this—that he is on the same team as Trump!!!
Think about that. Are YOU on the "same team" as Trump? Here's someone who's going to take the masses of Black people into a far lower circle of hell. Are YOU on that team? Is that what YOU are fighting for? Well, he's told you that HE is on the same team.
Shit is way too serious now to harbor any illusions, to cover over any of the hard edges of what the masses face. This Trump is going to speed up what has already been a slow genocide. And if he gets away with it—and this Party is determined he will not, and we want to unite with everyone else who wants to stand up against this foul fascist pig and his regime of monsters—but if he does, history will rightly condemn Barack Obama as his number one accomplice.
1. From revcom.us: Obama Addresses Police Forum: Cosmetic Changes, Increased Repression; Five Lies in Obama's Speech After Darren Wilson Went Free; Obama's "Let Legal System Work" = Let Murdering Police Walk; Post Racial My Ass! ON THE ARREST OF HENRY LOUIS GATES IN HIS OWN HOME! By Carl Dix [back]
2. From revcom.us: Straight Talk About Obama and the Oppression of Black People; Six Ways That Obama Has Been Worse Than Bush; Youtube of Obama Speech at Morehouse College [back]
4. From Bob Avkian: BA on Obama: Let's Be Real Here: As Bad As Bush Was, In Many Ways Obama Is Worse... [back]
5. From Bob Avakian: THE
NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an
actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real
emancipation, by Bob Avakian. (online) page 131
From revcom.us: Of Liberation and Love: Why Obama Embraced Forgiveness—and Why We Should NOT [back]
Wright controversy," on Wikipedia
From revcom.us: The Morning After the Elections: The Promise of Change... and the Change We Need [back]
7. From revcom.us: What Will It Take to Really Get Rid of Mass Incarceration? [back]
8. Chicago Tribune:
emotional Obama flexes his executive muscle on gun
From the Revolution Club, Chicago: A CALL FROM CHICAGO COME TOGETHER—TRUCE—TO STOP THE TRUMP-PENCE REGIME [back]
9. From revcom.us:
Mortgage Crisis: Nightmare of the "American Dream" for Black and
From Nathalie Baptiste: Them That's Got Shall Get: Two years after we last investigated the foreclosure crisis in the most affluent black county in America, things aren't exactly looking up—except, maybe, for the banks by Nathalie Baptiste
From Mother Jones: The Great Eviction: Black America and the Toll of the Foreclosure Crisis
From the Atlantic: Obama Failed to Mitigate America's Foreclosure Crisis [back]
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a member of the Revolution Club, NYC:
February 7—This afternoon, several hundred students from high schools and middle schools across New York City as well as in New Jersey walked out of school to oppose fascist Trump's illegitimate Muslim ban. Folks from the NYC Revolution Club met up with students from Beacon High School who called for the walkout. On the way to the rally in lower Manhattan, Rev Club members made announcements to people on the subway platform as well as in the subway cars that these students were heroes for standing up against this Muslim ban and that people should support them and join them at Foley Square. Many people who heard the announcements were viscerally moved and applauded.
At Foley Square, hundreds poured in constantly over the course of the hour rally. There was an incredible diversity of youth from all over, with some large groups coming from more widely known progressive schools like Beacon High School and Bard High School, as well as smaller groups from schools who haven’t been known for being politically active. They came with creative home-made signs, many with artistic renderings of the orange monster Trump. Students chanted "America is on fire! Donald J. Trump is a racist fuckin liar!", "No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA", "No ban, no registry, fuck white supremacy!" There was a speak-out where mainly the student organizers addressed the crowd.
Through the course of the day we got into things deeper with many students. There was a broad sentiment among them that Muslims and immigrants were “their people” and that it was not OK to be silent as these sections of people are being targeted by Trump. We asked students what the "scene" has been like on their campuses since the inauguration and in the context of all the protests and social unrest. Some students described how their teachers have been encouraging conversations regarding Trump. But when we talked about the fascist character of this regime, the students did not have much sense of this—and across the board, they said teachers were not saying that.
One student, after some discussion on what fascism actually is, responded that if that is what we are actually facing, then people would have to go beyond protests as usual and what their teachers wanted to confine things to. We brought up the UC Berkeley protest that shut down the fascist Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos—how righteous that was and how the fascist offensive on the campuses must be met with fierce and determined resistance. This student had not heard about this nor did she actually know who Milo Yiannopoulos was, but she was horrified that this fascist was being given a platform to speak to students. We talked about the difference it could make if the “NO” to fascism signs got out everywhere, and how this was part of calling forward the millions to resist the Trump-Pence regime. We put to her and her classmates that they had a responsibility to get out the NO. They were very excited to get going on this and were grappling with how this is part of transforming things from protests as usual to mass refusal of fascism.
Another grouping of students from LaGuardia High School and Beacon High had just heard the news of the confirmation of Betsy DeVos—who aims to wreck public education and impose Christian fascism on schools—as Trump’s Secretary of Education. This sent waves of anger through the students. Brooklyn Preparatory students joined the discussion, and when someone described fascism as "open terrorism from the state itself—it poisons the very soul of a society," one young Black woman spoke emotionally about the horrors the U.S. is carrying out against the people in North Africa and the Middle East. A Club member shared with the students a palm card bearing two quotes from Bob Avakian: "Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First!" (BAsics 5:8) and "American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives" (BAsics 5:7). They took the cards and passed them around their circles, and also took some Refuse Fascism materials with them into the crowd.
These students are being trained in their schools and by the larger society that the way to bring about change ultimately comes down to appealing to the ruling class. Many are being told to call their senators and to get ready to vote in 2020. We walked through with some students that the interests of the ruling class—whether the Trump-Pence regime and other Republicans or the Democrats—are not the same as the interests of the people. We talked about how this is a fascist regime, and you do not work with fascists. If the people in Germany had confronted the fascist character of Hitler and the Nazis and acted on that right away, they could have potentially prevented the horror that the Nazis carried out. The thinking of these students was being challenged and changing on the spot in relation to some of these points, but of course there is a lot more work to do.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
Updated February 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Wednesday, February 8, 200 immigrant rights supporters rushed to the U.S. Immigration office in Phoenix, Arizona as word went out that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had just arrested a 36-year-old mother of two children and were going to deport her. Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the immigrant who was arrested, has been living, working, and raising a family in this country since coming here with her parents when she was 14.
Donald Trump has issued three executive orders radically escalating the war on immigrants: the ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees from seven countries; one threatening sanctuary jurisdictions; and a third that orders government agencies “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States.” In the context of a campaign filled with vicious lies and threats against immigrants, that opens the door to deportation of any and every undocumented immigrant in this country. In that light, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, Garcia de Rayos’ lawyer, described what this arrest represents: “We are living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants.”
For hours the protesters blocked enforcement vans from leaving the U.S. Immigration office in Phoenix. A group sat down in front of the van Guadalupe was in, while one protester wrapped his arm around the axle inside the tire well. At 10 p.m., as people chanted “Power to the people, no one is illegal,” police arrested seven demonstrators. Sometime after that the van left, but no one was told, not even her family, whether Guadalupe was sent to a detention facility or taken to the border and deported. In fact, she was immediately deported. The fact that there was no legitimate purpose to single out Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos for arrest and deportation at this time sends an ominous message among immigrants that from now on, no one is safe. Her daughter, in tears, said: “To me this is an injustice. She has always worked to give us a good education.”
Guadalupe was arrested on Wednesday when she went to the immigration office to check in with ICE officials, the same way she had been doing, every six months, since 2009. In 2008 she was arrested in one of the work-site raids carried out by former Maricopa County Sheriff, the pig Joe Arpaio. Those raids have since been challenged in the courts as being unconstitutional. Garcia de Rayos entered a guilty plea for “identity theft” because she had been working with false papers. People in this country without papers, trying to feed themselves and their families, often must use phony IDs to get work. Despite her conviction, for eight years she had been allowed to live in Arizona, as long as she reported every six months to ICE. This time, in the wake of Trump’s order, Guadalupe was arrested and deported.
One young protester said, “Lupita was a victim of Arpaio’s raids, and now she’s a victim of Trump’s deportation machine.”
Trump launched his presidential campaign by declaring he is an “America First,” anti-immigrant bigot. He has worked overtime to criminalize immigrants from Mexico, calling them “rapists,” “criminals,” and “drug dealers.” Trump has repeatedly made clear his intention to have everyone in this country without documents deported. And he has called for three million undocumented immigrants to be deported this year.
His new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is just as rabid a xenophobic bigot as Trump. In his statement when sworn in, he made it clear that in his eyes, there is no place at all in this country for undocumented immigrants, and there will be no path to citizenship—regardless of how many years of brutal exploitation, degradation, and fear they have endured or the magnitude of the contributions they have made. He said, “We need a lawful system of immigration. One that serves the interests of the people of the United States... We admit a million people a year plus, lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down wages of working Americans.” Sessions wasted no time getting the deportation machine in gear—he met with law enforcement officials involved with immigration roundups even before he was approved by the Senate.
Obama earned himself the title “Deporter-in-Chief” from immigration activists after he topped the two million mark for deportations during his presidency—the highest number of deportations under any administration in the history of this country. Trump’s fascist regime now threatens to bring horror on top of horror. His executive order calls for a dramatic increase in Border Patrol agents and an increase in the number of immigrant detention centers. In order to fill their “quotas,” immigration agents are already targeting people for deportable “crimes” as minor as a traffic infraction—or the eight-year-old victimless “crime” committed by Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos who was only trying to get work to support herself and others.
Further, as we wrote about Trump’s executive order on immigrants:
Trump is not just targeting people with criminal convictions. Also in his sights are people who “have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved” (emphasis added), and people who “In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security,” and people engaged in “fraud or willful misrepresentation....” In other words, anyone who has committed the “crime” of being an immigrant working at some crap job in this country. Anyone picked up while they’re waiting for a bus or coming out of a subway station speaking Spanish. Anyone who some racist cop thinks looks “suspicious,” or maybe just “looks Latino,” and gets hauled to jail. Anyone languishing in a county jail month after month, never charged with anything. Anyone who overstayed a student visa, or made a minor mistake on a visa application. (From “Trump Criminalizes Millions of Immigrants and Threatens ‘Sanctuary Cities’”)
The coming to power of the Trump-Pence fascists has already struck fear in immigrant communities around the country: Men and women dreading the possibility of being arrested at work, their children left to come home to find out their parents have been taken away and deported. And children terrified that they will come home and find their parents have been taken away. These kinds of conversations are taking place among five-year-old children in elementary schools. A spokesperson for Puente Arizona, the immigrant rights group that rallied supporters to rush to the Phoenix immigration station, said he anticipates that other undocumented immigrants who have been released on supervision like Guadalupe will stop checking in with ICE and go into hiding.
The plans of this fascist regime are inhumane and criminal, and must be resisted. The response of those who stopped the ICE buses in Phoenix is righteous—and everyone revolted by the Trump-Pence fascist regime has to be prepared to join them.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a reader:
On Thursday February 9, the fascist Trump-Pence regime unleashed federal immigration police—”ICE,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement—in the Los Angeles area, rounding up at least 100 people, including 60 Mexicans. Beyond targeting these individuals, this raid was meant to terrorize the over 1 million immigrants living without papers in Los Angeles and Orange counties and at least 10 million more across the U.S who are undocumented who are in the crosshairs of this regime which is moving quickly to bolt down and implement their fascist agenda.
In the February 9 raids, ICE grabbed people out of homes and work places in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Downey and San Bernardino. Immigration rights organizations said those detained were either people facing deportation orders but with no criminal background or family members of those being sought by ICE who were home during the raids and told officials they lacked documentation.
The Immigrant rights group CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in LA) received many calls from people as the raids were occurring and called a press conference to denounce what ICE was doing. Faith-based organizations such as CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice), several student groups, legal organizations such as the National Lawyers Guild and political organizations including Refuse Fascism LA and the ANSWER coalition quickly contacted their members and supporters. A couple of hundred people raced down to the Federal Building (where there is an ICE “Processing Center”) to rally and block the driveway that ICE buses use to go in and out. The protest grew in size, and then people marched to and blocked the nearby entrance to the 101 Freeway. “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!” and “Shut Down ICE” were some of the chants. There was live coverage of the protest in both Spanish and English media.
The Southern California ICE raids are part of a bigger fascist offensive. On the same day, a mother of two, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years, was deported from Arizona to Mexico, despite protests from her community and pleas from her children. (See “First Deportation Under Trump’s Fascist Order on Immigrants: We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants.’”) On Friday, February 10, the Washington Post reported that ICE also carried out raids in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago; North Carolina; South Carolina; and New York, “netting hundreds of people.”
It is very important that people and organizations quickly stepped out to oppose these ICE raids under the fascist Trump-Pence regime. It is horrific to contemplate the damage already being done to human beings with families being torn apart and under siege—and all that Trump-Pence and their regime have planned, now and soon, for millions of other immigrants, undocumented and documented. Many, many more people must step forward now to oppose these outrages, hit the streets, and put their bodies on the line in the name of humanity.
All of this greatly underscores the urgency, right now, to bring forward and unleash millions and tens of millions of people in an urgent fight to drive this illegitimate and fascist regime from power.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Late Tuesday, January 31, the newly elected Social Democratic Party (a bourgeois or capitalist party) in Romania, a country of 20 million in Southeastern Europe, abruptly rammed through an emergency decree in the dead of night. The decree, which didn’t have to be approved by Parliament, removed criminal penalties on government officials who take bribes or engage in other forms of corruption—as long as the take is less than $47,000. Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democrats, is facing corruption charges and could directly benefit from the law. Romanian courts and judicial bodies have backed some anti-corruption reforms in recent years and immediately challenged the law.
Then something unexpected happened.
The next day 20,000 people took to the streets in the capital, Bucharest. The day after, Wednesday, the numbers grew 10 fold, to 250,000 across Romania, with half protesting in the capital. The government attempted to halt the spread of this mass upheaval by forcing a number of officials to resign and, on February 4, by rescinding the new law. No matter, the next day a half-million people were in the streets, across Romania, 250,000 in Bucharest alone, equivalent to 8 million demonstrating on a single day in the U.S. And these protests haven’t stopped at this writing.
“Thieves, thieves, thieves!” Protesters have shouted. (New York Times, February 2, 2017) “We came to protest against these immoral and mafia-type government methods.” (Democracy Now!, February 1, 2017)
The issue of corruption strikes deeply in Romania, where it is pervasive, and a flashpoint for the many abuses facing the masses in this oppressive and impoverished country. (Romania is one of the poorest countries in the European Union and horse drawn carts are still a frequent sight in Romania’s countryside.)
Protesters interviewed by the New York Times spoke of “constant, everyday bribery—at hospitals, schools and public institutions... Many were infuriated by the government’s decree, which would have directly benefitted some prominent politicians....” (February 10). Doctors told of colleagues forcing patients to give them bribes just to get treatment; patients talked of going to hospitals and having to bribe doormen, nurses, assistants, residents, and doctors. One professor said he’d been under pressure from colleagues to accept bribes to pass failing students, and punished for refusing to do so. “I’ve had to pay bribes in order to get normal things done that should have required no payment,” one Romanian told the New York Times, “like getting power back after it was cut for nonpayment.” When a 2015 nightclub fire in Bucharest killed 64 people, many blamed corruption. It triggered protests and Romania’s prime minister was forced to face corruption charges, the first sitting Romanian prime minister to do so.
Romania’s protests seem to be deepening. Many reportedly have the sense that this new decree is an attack on the rule of law and peoples’ rights. There’s a growing sense of the illegitimacy of the current government and things are in real flux. “We are keeping our positions strong, and we want our government to resign,” one protester said. “Because we cannot trust this government, because they’re crouching in the middle of the night, passing laws for corrupt politicians. We cannot trust this government anymore. So, the only thing that can satisfy us right now is the resignation of the prime minister and the government itself.” (Democracy Now!, February 6, 2017)
These protests are very significant. They show how quickly hundreds of thousands (or millions!) can be propelled into mass political action, and how quickly that in turn can change the whole political landscape—including having the potential to force governments to fall. And Romania’s mass uprising is running counter to the rise of Trump-like, fascist populism across Eastern and Central Europe, including in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Given the urgency of driving the fascist Trump-Pence regime from power, there is much to learn from and be inspired by in the example of the people of Romania.
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
For 70 years, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has released its yearly “Doomsday Clock,” indicating how close the world is to devastation from nuclear war and other threats. The scientists mark the danger in how close the clock is to midnight. At the end of January, the clock was moved forward 30 seconds, to two and one-half minutes to midnight. This is the closest to midnight the clock has been set since 1953 when the U.S. and the Soviet Union both tested their first thermonuclear weapons. A primary factor in the Bulletin moving the clock to say that humanity faces great danger to its existence was Donald Trump becoming president.
In a January 26 New York Times op-ed, Lawrence Krauss, the Bulletin’s chairman of the board of sponsors, and David Titley, a former chairman of the Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change, wrote, “In 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come to grips with humanity’s most pressing threats: nuclear weapons and climate change. Making matters worse, the United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts. Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter....
“[Trump] has made ill-considered comments about expanding and even deploying the American nuclear arsenal. He has expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus on global warming. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or reject expert advice related to international security. And his nominees to head the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and the Budget have disputed or questioned climate change.” (“Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances Toward Midnight”)
After his election, Trump tweeted that the United States should “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear weapons capability and told reporters, “Let it be an arms race because we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” During a September presidential debate, talking about a first-strike nuclear attack, Trump said, “We have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table.” He has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and reportedly asked foreign policy advisors, “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them?”
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On January 29, in the pre-dawn darkness, Navy Seal Team 6 Special Forces and commandos from the United Arab Emirates were helicoptered into central Yemen, the small impoverished country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. They landed near a tiny farming village in the Yakla district of al-Bayda province. Plans for the attack were drawn up under President Obama, and now was launched by the Trump-Pence regime. It was reportedly the regime’s first military operation.
The U.S. military had “visited” this village before. In 2013, under Obama, a U.S. drone struck a wedding party there, killing 12 civilians.
On January 29, with U.S. drones flying overhead, 50 soldiers and their military dogs walked toward the village, supposedly on a mission to capture a “high value” member of Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula and gather intelligence. The killing began when Sheikh Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab’s 11-year-old son heard something and looked outside to see what it was. He was shot dead instantly. “No one thought that marines would descend on our homes to kill us, kill our children and kill our women,” al Dahab told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), which detailed what happened during this surprise U.S. assault.
Two tribal leaders and an 80-year-old also came out to find out what was happening. They, too, were executed. The Seals surrounded one of the several small brick homes that make up this village and opened fire indiscriminately, even gunning down those trying to escape. “The villagers say the 38-year-old mother of seven, Fatim Saleh al Ameri was fatally shot by special operators while trying to flee with her two-year-old son Mohammed. ‘We pulled him out from his mother’s lap. He was covered in her blood,’ said 11-year-old Basil Ahmed Abad al Zouba, whose 17-year-old brother was killed.” (BIJ)
Villagers began returning fire. Soon U.S. helicopter gunships arrived and shot at everything, including homes and people fleeing, BIJ reports. A missile hit Fahad Ali al Ameri’s home; his three-month-old daughter was killed in her crib. Members of the reactionary jihadist Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula had been camped nearby and joined the battle, which raged for another two hours.
When the fighting ended, 25 Yemeni civilians were dead. Nine were children—from three months to 13 years old. Fourteen Al Qaeda members were reportedly killed along with one Navy Seal.
Among the dead, in what investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald described as “a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism,” were:
Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, a subsistence farmer who was too old to work himself. He’d survived the 2013 wedding party massacre which had killed his eldest son. On January 29 he was killed “alongside his 25-year-old daughter Fatima and 38-year-old son Mohammed. Three of Mohammed’s four children also died—Aisha, 4, Khadija, 7, and Hussein, 5,” BIJ reports. “A further nine members of the extended family were killed.”
Another innocent victim, whose relatives had been executed by the U.S., was eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki. Her father, the Islamist Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was assassinated by an Obama-approved U.S. drone strike in 2011—and her 16-year-old half-brother, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also an American citizen, was executed by another U.S. drone two weeks after his father. Nawar was hiding inside when a bullet struck her in the neck. With no medical assistance possible given the U.S. assault, she bled out and died two hours later.
“It is true they were targeting [al-Qaida] but why did they have to kill children and women and elderly people?” Zabnallah Saif al-Ameri told BIJ. “If such slaughter happened in their country, there would be a lot of shouting about human rights. When our children are killed, they are quiet.”
Trump and his fascist minions immediately declared the Yemen slaughter “absolutely a success.” Why? Because, according to Trump’s press spokesman Sean Spicer, it “prevented future loss of life here in America.” Trump, who promised to kill the families of suspected “terrorists” during his campaign, issued a statement mourning the loss of life... of one American, a Seal Team 6 mass killer: “Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism.”
No one with a heart and a conscience should accept the sick, putrid logic of justifying mass murder for empire in the name of saving American lives—whether the crime is done by more “mainstream” Republicans or by Democrats like Obama or fascists like Trump.
Where does that logic lead? To justifying the hundreds of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen since 2002 which have likely killed well over 1,000 people, including civilians... to U.S. backing (under Obama and Trump) for Saudi Arabia’s barbaric terror-bombing campaign targeting markets, schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods—a bombing campaign that has caused most of Yemen’s 10,000 war-related civilian casualties... and to U.S. support for the Saudis’ land and sea blockade aimed at starving Yemenis into submission, a blockade which has already put more than 12 million people on the brink of starvation.
This is the logic of carrying out genocide and burning down the world to save America—in reality, to attempt to “save” American imperialism.
No one with a shred of concern for humanity should want any of this to succeed. Wishing for America to succeed is wishing for a murdering empire of global enslavement and oppression that threatens the planet and future of humanity to “succeed.”
No. We should welcome our rulers’ failures and defeats, because the actions they are carrying out are for imperialism and are totally unjust, totally immoral, and totally illegitimate. The failures and defeats of the rulers can weaken their hold on power and domination over the masses, and make it more difficult for them to carry out further crimes. And they heighten the possibilities for an actual communist revolution that could replace this criminal, outmoded system with something radically different and far better.
(For a deeper discussion of the centrality of internationalism and revolutionary defeatism, readers should dig into “Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism,” “Internationalism and an International Dimension,” and “Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way,” pp. 264-277 in Bob Avakian’s THE NEW COMMUNISM.)
As part of preparing the ground for a real revolution, there’s an urgent need for much more mass opposition (or “vehement opposition,” as Glenn Greenwald says, writing for The Intercept), to U.S. crimes around the world—crimes that the Trump-Pence regime is now threatening and preparing to escalate as a key part of its fascist agenda. Many thousands are rightly outraged by Trump’s lying, his deportations, his Muslim and refugee bans, his attacks on the press, and more. A question for you: Why shouldn’t you be equally outraged by, and protest just as vigorously, Trump’s crimes and abuses directed at the millions and potentially billions of people living outside U.S. borders?
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a reader:
Cheers to Seattle Symphony for their recent concert, “Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the Seven”! The “Seven” refers to the seven predominately Muslim countries that Trump’s regime put a travel ban on, along with banning all new refugee arrivals in the U.S. The concert featured beautiful orchestral and chamber music from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. It played to an enthusiastic live audience but was also seen by hundreds of thousands online, and it continues to be available on YouTube. The response shows the widespread desire and potential to understand and stand with people in the targeted nations and across national boundaries. In this, the concert was a significant “in your face” to the heartless cruelty of the Trump-Pence fascist ban.
The concert was put together in less than a week, with the musicians themselves being the driving force. Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods said the concert came out of considerations of the role of arts organizations in civil discourse and big conversations affecting communities of people. Woods said, “All of us are just much more ignorant about these incredible musical traditions from that part of the world than we should be, so to hear this extraordinary music from Syria and the extraordinary music from Iran and Iraq, I mean, apart from everything else, people went away not only with their hearts filled, but just challenged to think—what incredible cultures these are. It took all of us by surprise, the emotion in the room. To me it was this is what happens when you take art out to meet the community where they are.”
Mikhail Shmidt—first violinist of the symphony and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union—said at the end of the concert, “Our mission is to unleash the power of music, bring people together and to lift the human spirit, and I feel tonight every word of that statement rings true so much. And it’s a very special night for all of us on stage and I hope for you too.”
Check out the video on YouTube!
Revolution #477 February 6, 2017
February 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Chicago is infamous for the true horror of young Black people killing each other. And now Chicago is ground zero for Trump’s overall offensive against Black people.
There’s no mystery why these heartbreaking murders go on. A whole section of youth, numbering in the millions, are told by the system they’re worth nothing in 1,000 ways. Living in torn-up communities with no future. Given no way to be somebody outside of the street life and the code of revenge. The latest link in a chain stretching back 400 years.
Now comes Trump. The stone-cold racist claims he will “fix” the problem. He promises jobs. In reality, his agents will dole out a few jobs... to buy people as his enforcers. Trump will pull more Black people into the oppressor army to kill off other oppressed people. Trump and Pence will basically destroy the public schools and send the students to schools that train them as Christian fundamentalist robots, unable to think critically or resist.
But the sharp edge of Trump’s program is “sending in the feds to restore law and order.” In reality, this means that the masses of Black people will have no rights whatsoever. The police will be unleashed to kill even more people and crush all resistance. The fascist regime will fill the prisons even fuller, far fuller. The regime will use its lackeys to spy on, confuse, divide and crush those who say NO.
That is their plan. And there’s a reason for this plan.
For centuries, Black people have caught the hardest hell in America. But they have also been a powerful force that called America out and fought it, that created something way different right in the belly of this ugly beast. When Black people stand up against this system, they inspire others to open their eyes and also stand up, and it begins to call the whole thing into question.
We’ve seen it these past few years in the struggle against the murder of Black and Latino people by the police. Try as he might for the system he served, Obama could not cool that out. So Trump whipped up a racist reaction as part of his “Make America White Again” campaign and rode it to power. Trump now aims to once and for all wipe out the struggle of Black people against their oppression as a people, and what’s been forged through that. Worse still: to divide and degrade people, and turn them against each other in ways not yet seen. And if it comes to that, mass roundups, camps and worse.
When Trump says “Make America Great Again” he means fascism. Reinstating open white supremacy within America. But also: running amok all over the world, madly risking catastrophic nuclear war. Forcibly slamming women “back into their place.” Persecuting Muslims and immigrants, and gay and trans people. Fascism means taking away legal and political rights altogether, and putting dissenters into prison or worse.
Bob Avakian, (BA), the leader of the revolution, has charted a different plan: REVOLUTION. BA says:
There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.
We have the method and strategy to understand the world and see the revolution through to victory. BA has authored a Constitution for a new socialist society—a society that will be far better than this, on the road to a truly communist world without exploitation and any kind of oppression. There’s organization in the Revolutionary Communist Party that is the backbone of this.
Right now, the revolution must join with all different kinds of people of many viewpoints to drive out the Trump-Pence fascist regime, before it’s too late. We fight this now, urgently, as part of getting ready for revolution.
There’s a way for you to be part of this revolution, to make this real. Here’s what you need to do now:
Check out and join the Revolution Club. Go to its offices. Get copies of this statement to get out into every community, all over. And get out the stickers that say “NO!” to the fascist Trump-Pence regime, everywhere.
Live by the Revolution Club Points of Attention on this broadsheet. Win over others to do the same.
Get organized to unite to defend the people, against the real enemies. If there are problems and conflicts among the people, come together to solve them non-antagonistically, without bloodshed.
Win people to support the revolution with funds, and other kinds of support.
The Revolution Club upholds, lives by and fights for the following principles:
1 We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.
2 We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or “jokes” about people’s gender or sexual orientation.
3 We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures and languages. We do not tolerate insults, “jokes” or derogatory names about a person’s race, nationality, or language.
4 We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity—nor of our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.
5 We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.
6 We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.