Revolution #491, May 15, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

The Firing of James Comey: The Dangers, the Openings, the Need to Act

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Trump is an extremely ominous development. It is a major escalation and strategic maneuver by the Trump/Pence regime to further consolidate and institutionalize fascist rule in America.

To review salient events of the last week: the arbitrary removal of Comey; the slipstream of shifting and contradictory explanations by Trump mouthpieces and Trump; and the revelation that Trump demanded Comey’s full and complete “loyalty” to him—which, by extension, would be the standard for any future FBI director.

Truly Ominous

In firing Comey, Trump is not simply seeking to block investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election in favor of Trump, along with possible collusion by people close to Trump. He is flouting and shredding norms established in the wake of the 1972-1973 Watergate scandal and resignation of then-President Richard Nixon—who had fired a special prosecutor investigating criminal activity on the part of the Nixon election campaign, including a subsequent cover-up.

More ominously, Trump is seeking to bring a key element of the repressive apparatus of the state, the FBI, under the air-tight control and deployment of the regime. To remove the slightest independence the FBI might have and to be able to wield the FBI to target, harass, and suppress any and all enemies of the regime’s designation. This is part of the direction and momentum of fascism. The FBI is no friend—it is a monstrous enemy—of the people. But Trump’s maneuver poses real dangers to the people. (See the sidebar featuring an excerpt from Bob Avakian on why the imposition of a fascist program on society requires going after and replacing the norms and institutions of bourgeois democracy, especially those that pose obstacles, like the press, the judiciary, and other sections of the ruling class.)

Meanwhile, the regime is moving viciously forward to implement its fascist program. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed federal prosecutors to go for the harshest, “most serious” charges in drug cases, including marijuana. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been stepping up raids and “disappearances” of immigrants (into detention centers and deportation). Trump has created a new “election oversight” commission, headed by his vice president, Mike Pence, and Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and a notorious anti-immigrant/voter-suppression advocate.

An Opening to Push On, a Moment of Flux

The events of the last week have touched off shock and outrage among broad sections of society. Here is former CBS anchor Dan Rather: “I have seen weeks of far greater darkness, of war, and death, and economic despair... But I have never seen a week where a president of our nation has behaved with such cavalier disregard for the norms and institutions of our democracy.” Commentators have spoken of an approaching “constitutional crisis.”

Indeed, there are signs of sharpening differences at the top of society, differences that could accelerate towards such a crisis. The Democrats are raising calls for an independent counselor/prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and possible collusion. A few Republicans have broken ranks and expressed differences with Trump over the firing. Trump is doubling down. This is a fraught moment.

It is a situation of flux... including in people’s thinking.

While there have been protests and outpourings in response to the Comey firing, these were not commensurate with what is needed. Democrats are attempting to channel real outrage and concern into the demand for a special prosecutor. This demand doesn’t fundamentally address the underlying problem of rolling fascism. Further, the Democrats are packaging the call for a special prosecutor with all manner of anti-Russian hysteria—and Putin is no more and no less imperialist than the Democrat and Republican rulers of the U.S.

Even though these are largely the terms of opposition right now, there is the turmoil at the top... there is the flux at the bottom of society... and there is no saying what potentially could come out of this situation if people do what is actually needed.

What is needed: As the Call to Action of Refuse Fascism states, to “ORGANIZE: working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate—Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power. This is what is needed, nothing less.”

There is a real moment now to make a leap towards this objective, to tap into mounting anxiety and to give it organized expression.

The Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism issued a statement in response to the Comey firing, updated on May 15. In part it says, “What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual and demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action needs to get before hundreds of thousands of people now. The Refuse Fascism ‘NO!’ already seen in protests around the country needs now to be everywhere—including everywhere in the face of the fascists and those Democrats who accommodate them.

“Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Reach out to organizations. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.”

This can take different, impactful forms: people going into the streets; expressions of defiance in the arts and performance; and other creative and defiant manifestations. But all of this has to be sounding the alarm and proceeding along the orientation of uniting people around urgently working towards the single mission and objective to drive out this fascist regime—and to seize on every opening, like this moment, to advance towards that.

People should connect with Refuse Fascism, follow it in the social media and on its website, and join and act with it in spreading the “NO!” Not a day can be lost to make big leaps towards what is needed.

 

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Sordid History and Great Crimes of the FBI

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In his statement on firing FBI Director James Comey, Trump wrote that “the FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.” But what is the actual history and role of this “cherished and respected” institution that Trump is now seeking to wrest under his control?

The FBI—the Federal Bureau of Investigation—is the U.S. government’s main nationwide police force and domestic spying agency. It employs nearly 35,000 people and has a proposed budget of $9.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2017.

Established in 1908, the FBI has been a key tool of violent suppression and control for the U.S. rulers to maintain their capitalist-imperialist system. The FBI has played a part—often the central part—in many of the most notorious and bloody attacks on people fighting against different forms of exploitation, oppression, and injustice under this system. Here are just a few examples.

* Starting in 1939 and continuing through World War 2, the FBI played a central role in compiling dossiers on and then rounding up 120,000 people of Japanese descent, who were sent to concentration (“internment”) camps.

* During the late 1940s and into the ’50s, the FBI played a key role in the anti-communist witch hunts and blacklists led by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). They targeted members and supporters of the Communist Party USA, as well as other radicals and intellectuals. Many of those targeted by McCarthy, HUAC, and the FBI lost their jobs and were socially ostracized; some were imprisoned and, in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed. Before, during, and after this period, the FBI spied on and kept extensive dossiers on prominent artists, writers, and intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Chaplin, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, James Baldwin, and many others.

* During the 1950s and into the ’60s, the FBI worked to weaken and suppress the gathering struggle of Black people for civil rights. When 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally lynched in Mississippi in 1955, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover called it an “alleged murder” and spent more energy investigating communists protesting this lynching than the lynching itself.

Later, the FBI attempted to discredit Martin Luther King Jr. by spying on and harassing him, spreading malicious rumors, and taking other “countermeasures.” They even sent him an “anonymous” letter threatening to reveal details about his private life and suggesting that he kill himself in order to avoid scandal. In fact, given the FBI’s vast spying apparatus and conscious policy of fomenting splits and violent conflicts between groups, it is very likely that, at a minimum, the FBI was well aware of the plans to assassinate MLK (and Malcolm X before him in 1965). When MLK was assassinated in 1968, 12 or 14 government agents were packed into a firehouse less than 150 feet away, among other suspicious circumstances.

* In the course of the 1960s and early ’70s, the FBI—working closely with the “red squads” of local police departments—conducted a massive secret campaign against political opposition through its COINTELPRO (short for Counterintelligence Program) operations. The program targeted groups and individuals who were resisting the U.S. government’s many crimes in this country and around the world. It especially targeted those who opposed the oppression of Black people. A major focus of COINTELPRO was harassing, railroading, and outright murdering leaders in the Black Liberation movement, and one of its main targets was the Black Panther Party. This included collaborating with the Chicago police in the 1969 assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. The FBI planted informants in the Chicago Black Panther chapter, including one who became Hampton’s bodyguard. The FBI even wrote a fake “anonymous” letter to the leader of the Black P. Stone Nation street organization to lie that the Panthers were trying to kill him, hoping to incite them to attack Hampton.

* In 1973, hundreds of Native Americans and supporters occupied the village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to demand an end to the violent U.S. government suppression against the American Indian Movement (AIM) and others on the reservation. The FBI was among the heavily armed federal forces that surrounded Wounded Knee, and the courageous fighters held off the government forces for 73 days. After the siege, the FBI and the U.S. government unleashed a barrage of vicious attacks against the people of Pine Ridge. After two FBI agents were killed during a raid on an AIM camp in 1975, the FBI was deeply involved in the framing, persecution, and imprisonment of Native American leader Leonard Peltier, who remains a political prisoner to this day.

* FBI surveillance files from 1975 included minute-by-minute surveillance of Bob Avakian (BA) and others in the Revolutionary Union, the forerunner of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and a photo of his house. In a 1971 note to his subordinates, the FBI director at the time said about BA, “This is the kind of extremists I want to go after HARD and with innovation.” One particular FBI agent drew up a diagram of BA’s house—a diagram similar to the type supplied by an FBI informant to the Chicago police to enable them to carry out the 1969 murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Much of this is documented in BA’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond.

       

* The FBI’s role in suppressing opposition continues on many fronts right up to today. The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) have secretly collected massive amounts of phone and internet data on millions of people in the U.S. and are seeking to expand their spying. In 2016, then-FBI head James Comey condemned the videotaping of police murders by citizen journalists, claiming it prevented the police from doing their jobs.

The point here isn’t, “Who cares, let Trump have the FBI.” The point is that, with all that the FBI has been and is about, Trump’s firing of Comey must be opposed as part of demanding that the whole regime be driven out because his attempt to bring the FBI fully under his thumb represents a leap toward consolidating the fascist regime’s hold on power. If they succeed, that would greatly escalate this system’s horrors and crimes against people, even beyond these past outrages.

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Trump/Pence Clampdown Intensifies:

Ten Days of Vicious Moves Against the Rights and Lives of Black People, Immigrants, and Protesters

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This past week, Trump and his administration have been embroiled in the controversy that has erupted in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. But the Trump/Pence regime is forging ahead with fascist moves—in particular, measures to surround and suppress Black and Latino people, immigrants, and other oppressed people. Among the moves in just the last 10 days under the fascist Trump/Pence regime:

1.      Enforcing Draconian War on Drugs Policies

On May 11, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country—directing them to pursue the most serious charges possible against people arrested for drug crimes and to reinstall the practice of mandatory minimum sentences. This means more people will go to prison and get much longer sentences. Sessions’ memo explicitly reverses a 2013 memo issued by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, which told prosecutors to omit, in some cases, information about drug quantities, in order to not trigger long mandatory sentences and encourage shorter sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. The Holder memo also said defendants not part of large-scale drug trafficking organizations qualified for lesser charges and less prison time. Sessions’ memo will now trigger mandatory minimum sentences, typically tied to the quantity of drugs involved. It will implement the most draconian policies of the war on drugs—which have subjected people convicted of nonviolent, lower-level drug crimes to unfairly harsh sentences. For decades, such policies have been a huge factor feeding mass incarceration, disproportionately affecting Black and Latino people.

Now even more Black and Latino people, especially the youth condemned to America’s dungeons, will have their lives ruined and thrown away—spending years or decades behind bars, even for very minor drug offenses like possessing small amounts of weed. And this will continue to reverberate throughout Black and Latino communities—with families losing fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. This is a genocidal program.

2.      Moving to Take Away Voting Rights From Black and Brown People

Trump created a new commission on May 11 to investigate supposed voter fraud. Its real purpose: to promote voter suppression and validate Trump’s lie that three million people voted illegally in the 2016 election. Trump appointed Mike Pence, his Christian fascist vice president, and Kris Kobach, a notorious voting rights suppressor, to head the commission.

Efforts to suppress voting rights have historically targeted poor people and Black and other minority nationalities. Studies show that voter ID laws, requiring proof of citizenship, disproportionately affect Black and Latino people, who are more likely to be unable to get officially approved IDs or face other difficulties acquiring such documents. One study found that strict ID laws doubled the turnout gap between whites and Latinos in the general elections, and almost doubled the white-Black turnout gap in primary elections. State laws denying voting rights to those with criminal convictions have also disenfranchised millions of people and led to a situation where 13 percent of Black men have lost their right to vote.

Kobach is now poised as point man for the Trump/Pence regime’s move to suppress voting rights even more vigorously. Last year, a circuit court of appeals found Kobach had engaged in “mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right” by blocking 18,000 voter applicants from registering in Kansas, where he is secretary of state. Kobach is a big proponent of voter ID laws. In Kansas, African-Americans, who are six percent of the voting pool, are 18 percent of those lacking documents like birth certificates or passports. In 2010, when Kobach was a law professor, he drafted Arizona’s notoriously racist “show me your papers” law (since overturned in part as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court). This measure, targeting immigrants and Latinos, gave cops the power to demand proof of citizenship from anyone cops suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

The whole electoral process serves to draw people into the killing confines of this capitalist-imperialist system, and allows the rulers to claim they represent the “will of the people” as they carry out brutal exploitation and oppression here and around the world. But everybody should have the democratic right to vote, and it is an outrage that this right, which Black people and others fought and died for, is being denied.

3.      Clamping Down on Immigrants

On May 7, the Christian fascist governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed SB4, a viciously anti-immigrant law banning sanctuary cities, cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Trump had issued an executive order, now in the courts, threatening to cut federal funds from sanctuary cities. SB4 is the first law to make it mandatory for state police agencies to obey demands by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that a person jailed or detained for any reason be held until federal authorities check the person’s immigration status. The Texas law will mean more parents suddenly picked up and deported, their children not even knowing what happened to their mothers and fathers. Around the country, immigrants live with constant fear that they could be picked up at any time or place and be deported. In Towson, Maryland, ICE agents detained people coming out of the courthouse, including one immigrant who had just gone to pay a ticket for driving on a suspended license and was taken into custody.

       

4.      Criminalizing Peaceful Protest

Oklahoma took repressive measures against political protest to a new level, imposing draconian punishments on protesters convicted of minor infractions of the law. This is part of a wave of state laws criminalizing peaceful protest like marches, sit-ins, and encampments. Two new Oklahoma laws are in large part a vicious response to protests by Native Americans and others at Standing Rock and elsewhere for Native rights and around the environment. Nonpolitical trespass in Oklahoma had been a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $250 fine; damaging or stealing property during trespass was punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. A new law makes trespassing while protesting at a so-called “critical infrastructure facility” (like a gas or oil facility) a felony, carrying up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. If property is damaged or facility operations are “impeded,” protesters can get up to 10 years in jail and a $100,000 fine. Organizations “found to be a conspirator” with protesters—a group calling a protest where civil disobedience or trespassing occurs—now face fines up to $1,000,000! A second bill (not yet a law) would subject anyone who “compensates” a protester (perhaps even by providing housing for someone later arrested) with civil liability (i.e., they could be sued for recovery of any damage the protester allegedly caused).

5.      Putting a Stamp of Approval on Police Murder of Alton Sterling

Last July, Baton Rouge cops murdered Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, for the “crime” of selling DVDs outside a store. On May 3, the Department of Justice announced they will bring no federal charges against the killer cops, because the “law requires that the reasonableness of an officer’s use of force on an arrestee be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with added perspective of hindsight.” In other words, this wanton murder meets the standard of legal action by “reasonable” police. Hundreds of unarmed people, disproportionately Black and Brown, are killed by the cops every year, and the murdering police are almost always let off free. Now, the U.S. is led by a fascist regime that has declared 100 percent backing for cops and made clear they will not put even minimal limits on local police.

6.      Attacking Black Colleges and Universities

In a spending bill signed on May 5, Trump raised the possibility that federal funding will be blocked for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other programs such as Native American housing block grants. Trump suggested such funding is unconstitutional because it allocates benefits “on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender.” Tucked away in the last paragraph of the bill, the White House announced it would treat a program that helps HBCUs get low-cost construction loans “in a manner consistent with the [constitutional] requirement to afford equal protection of the laws.” One reflection of discrimination and inequalities in education today is the fact that HBCUs have, on average, one-eighth of the endowment that white schools do. The U.S. Department of Education currently provides federally backed loans to HBCUs for the construction of buildings and other facilities. Now Trump has issued an open threat to deny such funding on the totally bullshit argument that these programs “discriminate” against white people.

*****

If you turned on the news this past week, you might think the only thing happening is Trump’s firing of James Comey and the regime’s stark rejection of the rule of law—which IS an outrage. The media talks about the White House supposedly being “distracted” and in “disarray” with the controversy and infighting surrounding the Comey firing. But what is actually happening is the bolting into place of fascist measure after measure, on both the federal and state levels, as the Trump/Pence regime continues to aggressively push forward with its fascist onslaught.

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence: The Christian Fascist "Alternative" to the Fascist Donald Trump

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

As the crisis sparked by Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey deepens, the possibility of forcing Trump from power is now openly discussed, both by forces in the capitalist-imperialist ruling class and among the masses of people. That could be a good thing, but there is an urgent need right now for growing numbers—ultimately millions—of people to take to the streets and insist that Trump and the whole Trump/Pence regime must go, and stay in the streets until that happens! Otherwise, the Democratic Party, and the “orderly processes” of congressional hearings, FBI investigations, and court hearings will sideline and suffocate the masses and will at best lead to Trump himself being impeached or resigning, leaving the rest of the regime intact, and Vice President Mike Pence at the helm to lead a Christian fascist reboot.

While Trump functions as the leader and front man of a whole regime, Pence has been the main pillar and behind-the-scenes operative. Pence is down with Trump every step of the way, hailing his executive orders, working with Congress to rip health care from millions, repeating Trump’s crazy lies in a calmer manner. Pence proposed a law to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents; he backs police suppression of Black and Brown communities through “Stop-and-Frisk” and a stepped-up militarized “War on Drugs”; he denounces protesters against police murder and defends cops as “the best of us.” As warlike as Trump, he boasts that they will “name the enemy” and then “marshal the resources of our nation and our allies to hunt them down and destroy them.”

But Pence is not just a Trump wannabe—he is a leader of a powerful Christian fascist movement that is backed by a major section of the U.S. ruling class and aims for nothing less than a Christian theocratic society ruled by biblical law and morality. These forces believe that the problems U.S. imperialism confronts in the world stem from America getting off of “God’s path,” and that restoring America to “greatness” means reorganizing the government, schools, courts... everything... on the basis of “God’s plan” (as interpreted by them, of course).

In fact, there is no god, and even if there were, the idea of basing the political order of a society on the cruel and bloodthirsty God of the Bible would be horrific. This is shown by the actual program that Pence and the whole Christian fascist movement support. First, their program is steeped in medieval patriarchy, seeing women’s role as fundamentally bearing and rearing children. Pence has such a narrow view of women as either “mothers” or “whores” that he will not eat a meal with a woman other than his wife! More significantly, Pence is a strong opponent of abortion rights, pledging that “We’ll see Roe v. Wade [i.e., legal abortion] confined to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

This opposition is at bottom about enforced motherhood,which is a form of female enslavement. This is why Pence and his movement oppose all birth control, and want to shut down Planned Parenthood, the main provider of birth control and sex education for millions of women. Pence once claimed (falsely!) that condoms offer “very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted disease.”

The Christian fascists hold to the biblical condemnation of all non-heterosexual sexual expression or identity. Pence opposes same-sex marriage and civil union, and as Indiana governor, he gained national prominence by signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed people, companies, and institutions to discriminate against gays if their “religious principles” called for that.

These Christian fascists also use the Bible to justify the cruelty of mass incarceration and the death penalty, both of which have been used and are being used against Black and Latino people. As Bob Avakian convincingly shows in “The Truth About the Right-Wing Conspiracy...” the “logic of the logic” of their program could lead to full-out genocide against Black people in the U.S. They believe in and promote the idea that a war between the Christian countries and majority-Muslim ones is inevitable, and they tar every Muslim within the U.S. with the brush of their mirror opposites, the Islamic fundamentalist jihadists. All this, they teach their fanatical followers, can be found in biblical “prophecy.”

The Christian fascists have been building their strength for decades. Their network of churches, schools, and media indoctrinates millions in their reactionary and anti-scientific outlook. They’ve taken over hundreds of local and state school boards, working to replace the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution with the religious nonsense of creationism and “intelligent design.” They control governorships and legislatures. They have strong influence in the U.S. military, particularly in the officer corps. A prominent Christian fascist, Erik Prince (brother of education secretary Betsy DeVos), founded Blackwater, a private mercenary army that committed war crimes from Iraq to New Orleans.

Pence himself played a key role in filling the regime’s cabinet with like-minded theocrats who are now wielding their power to further advance Christian fascism. Fundamentalists who think the “day after” pill is murder, that homosexuality is an “abomination,” and that trans people are “crazy” are in charge of public health education; a woman who wants to gut public schools and put kids in Christian academies to train them as unthinking fanatics is in charge of the education department... and on it goes.

The essential point is this—Pence heads a highly organized and very strong fascist current within the regime that is entrenched in the upper echelons of power and connected to a broad mass base, financial base, and military base. If Trump goes but this cabal remains in place, they are well positioned to regroup, remobilize, and carry forward—with a somewhat different tone and playbook, no doubt—the basic fascist transformation of U.S. society begun under Trump’s leadership, but now with a Christian fascist reboot.

This might well satisfy many of the bourgeois forces whose main problem with Trump is not that he’s a fascist, but that he’s a volatile and unstable fascist. But that is not what humanity needs, nor what we should be fighting for. This is why it is necessary for millions of people to get off the sidelines and into the streets, determined to stay there until every remnant of this fascist regime is driven from power.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

The Bible, Taken Literally, Is a Horror

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

All this is why, with profound reason and justification, it must be said that the Bible, taken literally, is a horror. And the fundamental question demands to be posed: Is what the Bible portrays about people and their relations—how those relations ought to be, how, according to the decrees of God, they have to be—is that really the kind of world we want?

From what has been shown so far, and what will be gone into further in the course of this book, it becomes unmistakably clear that the following are some of the extremely oppressive relations and beliefs that are upheld—and not just upheld, but advocated, commanded and celebrated—in the Bible:

Slavery and other forms of ruthless exploitation.

The domination and degradation of women by men, including the so-called right of male conquerors to carry off women, especially virgins, as prizes of war, rape them, and make them concubines—sex slaves—of the conquerors.

The killing of women who are not virgins when they get married.

The execution of women alleged to be witches.

The condemnation of homosexuality as not just a sin, but an abomination deserving of death.

The right, and indeed the duty, as commanded by God, to plunder and slaughter people—including the babies and infants of people—following other religions.

The slaughter of people of the one true faith who displease that God.

Killing of children who rebel against their parents.

Belief in superstition and fear, and fear-inspiring ignorance, such as demon possession and exorcism.

The cruel notion that disease is caused by sinfulness.

The condemnation to eternal damnation and unbearable suffering in hell for all those who do not accept “the one true God”—and, in the case of Christianity, Jesus as the son of God who was crucified but then raised from the dead.

All of this, along with many other atrocities and outrages, is upheld and promoted in the Bible. If you believe in the Bible—and especially if you believe and insist that it is the divinely-dictated, or divinely-inspired word of God and all of it must be taken literally—then all of these atrocities and outrages are things that you must say are right and good because the Bible says they are right and good. And that is precisely the case with the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who can be very accurately characterized as Christian Fascists.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

Christian Fascism and Genocide

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

May 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.

 

In this connection it is important to examine the genocidal implications that are part and parcel of the Christian Fascist outlook and program. This, again, is one of the great ironies and injuries of the promotion of this religious fundamentalism among the masses of oppressed people who are already the most direct victims of white supremacy. In “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy…and Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” I pointed out that a leading Christian Fascist, Pat Robertson—and he is not alone in this—advocates a legal system based on the Old Testament of the Bible. And what does that call for? It calls for things like public floggings and the shaming of people who commit minor offenses, and with regard to people who commit more serious offenses, it insists upon the death penalty—not just for what are now considered capital crimes, such as murder, but also acts which, in the eyes of people like Robertson, would turn the society against God and destroy the fabric of society. As I pointed out in “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy”:

it is necessary to place this in the context of American society today, in which, through conscious government policy as well as the "normal operation" of the laws of capitalist accumulation and competition, whole sections of people are being consigned to the ranks of "unemployables," people for whom the only viable alternative within this system may be participation in the underground economy. With this in mind, we cannot avoid recognizing that the logic of Robertson's call for applying "the biblical model" for crime and punishment involves an unmistakable suggestion of a "final solution" against the masses of people in the inner cities as well as preparation for the use of extreme repression, and even execution, to punish a broad array of activities which today are treated as minor offenses or as no crime at all. (“The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy” was first published in the fall of 1998 in the Revolutionary Worker [now Revolution] and was reprinted in the October 17, 2004 issue [no. 1255]. It is available at revcom.us. For the arguments by Pat Robertson on applying “the biblical model for crime and punishment” that is referred to here, see Pat Robertson, Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, Bantam Books, 1987 edition, pp. 198-99.)

As has been pointed out several times, among those things for which the Bible insists people must be put to death are homosexuality and adultery and—particularly for women—sex before marriage. And if you think of all the people who are currently caught up in the penal system in the U.S.—with over 2 million in prison at this time and many more on parole and probation—particularly youth from the inner cities, and then you add to that a certain logic that says, “why should we spend all this money housing these people in prisons,” you can very easily see the genocidal implications of a Christian Fascist “Biblical” approach to crime and punishment.

This is not hyperbole. People like Robertson are very serious about what they’re seeking to do. What did they say after 9-11? Jerry Falwell insisted that this was brought on by liberals, the ACLU, idol-worshippers and secularists, people upholding the right to abortion, homosexuals and others of like mind. This, Falwell claimed, brought down the wrath of God on America. And Pat Robertson jumped in, to express strong agreement with this. 33.

These people, and others like them, firmly and fanatically believe that the unadulterated assertion of their fundamentalist outlook, backed up by the force of law and the state, is essential in order to achieve and maintain their vision of what America is and should be, and what it needs to do as it goes out into the world to carry out the grand design of God and to realize the special destiny of an exceptional people whom God has chosen to rule the whole world—once they have gotten right with God.


Footnote

33. On September 13, 2001 Jerry Falwell appeared on The 700 Club, hosted by Pat Robertson, and here is a part of the exchange between Falwell and Robertson:

Jerry Falwell: The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this [terrorist attack].

Pat Robertson: Well, yes.

Jerry Falwell: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools.  The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

Pat Robertson: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system. (A press release from People for the American Way, dated September 17, 2001 provided a transcript of this discussion between Falwell and Robertson on The 700 Club, September 13, 2001, and this appeared on “Common Dreams progressive newswire,” September 14, 2007.)

Coming under pressure from various quarters, Falwell issued an “apology” shortly after this. But this was the kind of “apology” in which someone “giveth with the left hand, while he taketh away with the right”: In “apologizing” Falwell continued to make the same arguments about how America had become vulnerable to terrorist attack because God had been angered by the kinds of things Falwell spoke about in the statement for which he was supposedly “apologizing.” (See CNN.com/U.S., September 14, 2001. Stories regarding this were also posted on the New York Times and the Washington Post websites [www.nytimes.com and www.washingtonpost.com], September 14, 2001.) [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/Refuse-Fascism-protest-firing-of-comey-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

The Firing of FBI Director James Comey Unfolds...
An Escalation towards Fascism
Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime

From the Refuse Fascism Advisory Board

Updated May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

We are at a pivotal moment. The sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 9 shocked the country and the world. Editorials in major papers and magazines, commentators on TV, and prominent political figures called it a constitutional crisis. The NY Daily News front page shouted: “Coup de Trump.” Rolling Stone wrote: “the creeping sense of terror you’re feeling in the wake of the president firing James Comey is entirely appropriate.” This is, as Refuse Fascism wrote, “an ominous and dangerous escalation of the Trump/Pence Regime’s moves to consolidate fascism.” Subsequent utterances and actions from the Trump/Pence Regime and their supporters have only deepened the danger and the alarm.

The question posed to every person concerned about the future, and to Refuse Fascism as an organization whose mission is to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power as the only way to meet our responsibility to humanity to refuse fascism, is this: Will we do everything now to lead masses of people who are alarmed and outraged to act with determination to take to the streets to demand that this regime be ousted from power? Will Trump’s despotic firing of James Comey, who was leading the FBI investigation of whether or not Trump’s election campaign committed a crime or an impeachable offense—a firing that is a stark rejection of the rule of law, be a crack in the wall through which the outrage of masses of people pours forth?

Millions of people who have been angered by and even protested the Trump/Pence Regime have just received a huge jolt—a shock of the lengths the regime will go to. This regime is fascist. They have shown again and again and now very acutely that, as Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action states: the Trump/Pence Regime “fully intends to shred political and social norms with catastrophic consequence,” and that, “Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed.”

This is the time to act. If not now, when? The case must be put before masses of people to move beyond upset and anger, to break out of channeling their desire for change into pleading with those in power or looking to elections two or more years in the future. This is a time for RefuseFascism.org to lead masses of people to act with audaciousness to demand that Trump and Pence, and their whole illegitimate regime, be ousted from power.

There can be no compromising with a fascist regime. They will not listen to reason or the rule of law. Trump summarily firing Comey reveals that if the law or institutions or anyone in a powerful position stands in their way, these fascists will knock them down. Trump, Pence, Sessions, the whole regime has told you that this is what they intend to do. And, they just did it again—in spades. If these fascists are not driven from power, they will rewrite law, get rid of their enemies, prohibit dissent, and remake society in ways beyond what people imagine possible.

Waiting things out, banking on a special prosecutor, or that the 2018 midterm elections will deal with the grave danger that is the Trump/Pence Regime will have disastrous consequences for humanity.

What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual and demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action needs to get before hundreds of thousands of people now. The Refuse Fascism “NO!” already seen in protests around the country needs now to be everywhere—including everywhere in the face of the fascists and those Democrats who accommodate them.

Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Reach out to organizations. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.

At a protest in front of Trump Tower in NYC the night after Trump fired Comey, a man in the crowd called out that people should protest against Trump: “every day until he’s gone.” We are taking up his call in many different ways—out in the streets, in town halls, and in the halls of power, make it known that masses of people are gathering, determined that Trump and Pence Must Go. This is the only way that this fascist regime can be stopped. Driving these fascists out will require millions of people taking to the streets day after day, and night after night, demanding it. Every act of resistance today must be aimed at creating the conditions for and organizing for that single unifying objective.

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America

DRIVE OUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME!!!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/from-refuse-fascism-to-all-those-who-recognize-the-danger-of-the-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

From Refuse Fascism

To all who recognize the danger of the Trump/Pence Regime

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To all who recognize the danger of the Trump/Pence Regime:

Last week, after learning that Trump had fired James Comey as director of the FBI, Refuse Fascism issued a statement (updated on May 15) where we identified this as a “pivotal moment.” Pivotal in the further consolidation of fascism by the Trump/Pence Regime—signaling to the world that this regime will disregard the rule of law as freely as they disregard the truth and that they will roll over anyone not loyal to Trump and his regime.

We also said that this was pivotal for the people, posing the question: Will we do everything now to lead masses of people who are alarmed and outraged to act with determination to take to the streets to demand that this regime be ousted from power?

Our statement puts before all that: “What matters right now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual and demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action needs to get before hundreds of thousands of people now. The Refuse Fascism ‘NO!’ already seen in protests around the country needs now to be everywhere—including everywhere right up in the face of the fascists and those Democrats who accommodate the regime.”

We united with the spirit of a person who joined our protest and shouted out that people should be out against Trump: “every day until he’s gone.” This stand is still on the mark. Even as this need not mean that every day Refuse Fascism should continue to call and hold the same protest. Every day, we need to be finding the ways to organize and unite with more and more people, every day spreading the Refuse Fascism Call to Action in the tens and hundreds of thousands, online and on paper. Every day planning creative actions that happen with more and more frequency so that soon they are every day and everywhere with growing numbers and power leading up to the time, as the Call to Action says: “when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate—Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.”

We recommend that everyone learn from the spirit and experience of Act Up as put forth in an article on Huff Post by Michelangelo Signorile where he writes: “I’m calling for what ACT UP, the life-saving AIDS activist group with which I was involved, did in the ’80s and ’90s when our lives were at stake, when our people were dying all around us, and when the government allowed the deaths because it believed nobody cared about dying and dead queers. You don’t need a large crowd, but you do need an idea that grips people, puts the target on notice, displays passion, makes a spectacle, and says, ‘No more business as usual.’”

With that orientation, we are proposing the following:

[1] Spread the Refuse Fascism Call to Action (as well as the NO! signs and banners) to every outbreak of resistance, and to every gathering where people are discussing what to do to stop the horrors of the Trump/Pence Regime.

[2] Get together in Refuse Fascism chapters or with friends and colleagues and plan a creative action that disturbs the air, rouses the people, and puts the regime and all who are accommodating and conciliating with it on notice that we are going to fight to stop this fascist regime and drive it out.

[3] NO! Days: Pick one day a week where everyone Refuse Fascism has been in contact with goes out everywhere—on public transport, at bus stops, campuses, hospitals, workplaces, and display the NO!—in big ways, and with masses of people wearing the NO! These NO! Days can become days when people start to gather and march together growing in strength.

[4] Anytime there are congressional town halls—Refuse Fascism needs to be there sharply calling out those who support the regime, and/or those who abet it with hand-wringing and go-slow plans to let the normal workings of the system take their course—which will be too damn late!

[5] Unite with other organizations to plan larger and larger protests. For one example, go out to religious, community, and political groups who have been active against mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, and police brutality and propose taking action against the Trump/Pence Regime’s attorney general Jeff Sessions’ call for enforcing maximum prison sentences, and propose protests under the broad slogan of Trump and Pence Must Go.

[6] Make plans to be at college commencements. Recruit students to spend their summer working with Refuse Fascism! Summer RF tours are being planned.

[7] Raise funds. Raise funds. Raise funds. Hold a fundraising party and watch the National Teach-In videos and the Battle for Berkeley video. Driving out a regime will take huge sums of money. Everyone can be a part of the fight to save humanity and the planet by contributing to driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime.

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/carl-dix-on-sessions-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Sessions Reinstitutes Mandatory Minimum Sentencing as Part of a Renewed War on Drugs

by Carl Dix

May 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 10, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo instructing federal prosecutors to “... charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” To make sure the meaning of this policy change was clear, the memo goes on to say: “the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimums.” In other words, hit people with the most serious charge you can and give them the longest sentence possible.

This will mean intensifying the mass incarceration in this country, which imprisons more people than any other country in the world. And this will hit Black and Latino people hardest. Mass incarceration of Black and Latino youth is itself a notorious crime that calls into question the whole legitimacy of the system. It came about in the first place because this capitalist-imperialist system had no future for the masses of Black youth. Beginning with Nixon and going through decades of both Democratic and Republican administrations, the capitalist-imperialist rulers penned Black people up, locked them down by millions, and even killed them off. All this was justified thru criminalizing Black people and drawing on and reinforcing white supremacy and racism.

This was met with resistance all along. With the publication of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and the outpourings that began after the murder of Trayvon Martin and intensified after the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, things took off. People came into the streets against this terror and incarceration in a major way, exposing the injustice of this setup to the eyes of the world and calling into question the legitimacy of the whole system. The rulers were forced to make a show of backing up. In his second term, Obama pushed reforms like body cameras for police and policies that led to a slight decline in the prison population overall and a slightly more significant one in the federal system.

These small reforms failed to quell the mass resistance, and at the same time they were too much for a section of the imperialists. In this context, Trump came forward mobilizing a whole section of white people around a fascist program which included “ethnic cleansing” of immigrants and a revenge-filled program against Black people and other people of color in the name of law and order, aiming to seriously intensify the utterly illegitimate repression visited against them. A program with real genocidal implications.

Trump is seizing on the horror of Black people killing each other to make Chicago ground zero for an offensive aiming to wipe out the struggle of Black people. Threatening to send the feds to Chicago to “fix” the violence and barricading whole neighborhoods on the South Side of the city. Planning to launch Stop and Frisk as a nationwide policing plan. Gutting public education and funneling people into schools that indoctrinate them into being Christian fundamentalist robots.

Sessions’ tough on crime memorandum, along with his earlier moves to reverse the phasing out of use of private prisons to incarcerate federal prisoners and to review DOJ consent decrees with local police departments that had been exposed to be carrying out discriminatory police practices and using excessive force, are also steps in this program.

Trump and Sessions have already declared that they are taking the gloves off the cops who have been caught on video again and again brutalizing and murdering people. Now they are reinstituting maximum charges and mandatory minimums. This is extremely ominous and must be understood as initial steps in a much larger, and again potentially genocidal, fascist program.

If you thought Trump wasn’t a problem for Black people, or was just “more of the same,” you better wake the fuck up, look reality square in the face. And if you were somebody who stood up and took to the streets against the horror of police terror and mass incarceration, or somebody who sympathized with those who did that, now is the time to realize that this struggle must be revived.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/490/refuse-fascism-comey-protests-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Get in the streets - stop the regime before they fully consolidate power!

Protests Against Escalation of Fascism Demand: Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!

Updated May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director Comey, the Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism released a statement saying, “The question we pose to you, to ourselves as an organization whose purpose is to lead people to Refuse Fascism in the name of humanity, is this: will this be a pivotal moment in which we do act with determination to do all we can to move people—who are right now alarmed and outraged—to take to the streets to demand that this regime be driven from power?And they called on people to protest every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven out.

There have been beginning protests. And there is an urgent need for the protests to spread and grow. As Refuse Fascism has said, “What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing our outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual, demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. Now is a Moment to Act. Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.”

We call on revcom.us/Revolution readers to send in timely protest reports/photos/videos to revolution.reports@yahoo.com. Protests are continuing; the following are some brief reports and pictures we have received:

Los Angeles: Refuse Fascism, together with members of the Revolution Club, has been out every day and night in the streets since the Trump/Pence fascist regime fired FBI Director James Comey. People have been going out distributing flyers, calling on people to get in the streets to oppose the further consolidation of fascism in the U.S. Teams have gone out to busy Metro trains, a busy Art Walk in downtown LA, a high school in Hollywood and other places with crowds of people. Refuse Fascism has also gone to protests called for by other groups, including Indivisible, and also to individuals who are outraged and in shock of what is currently happening here.

These demonstrations have not been large but they’ve been significant. Media, including numerous international photojournalists, have been documenting the Refuse Fascism actions. Some other groups in Southern California have acted as well, most prominently 200 demonstrators spelling out the word “RESIST!” at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.

On Saturday, May 13, Refuse Fascism protested for the third straight night in Hollywood. In addition to Refuse Fascism activists, a number of democratic minded people who sense the Comey firing is a turning point came out, including several who were at an earlier gathering in downtown LA demanding a special prosecutor to investigate Trump. There were also activists with the Hollywood/Silver Lake Resistance Posse and a street theater group doing a silent protest on Russian involvement in U.S. elections.

Things got confrontational real quick when an organized group of about 30 pro-Trump fascist storm troopers came to intimidate and threaten violence, spewing out all kinds of white supremacist, misogynist, xenophobic garbage. Refuse Fascism protesters stood firm, with chants and clear-cut agitation among hundreds, even thousands, of people. A range of people stepped forward in the midst of this confrontation. Some had been supportive of Refuse Fascism’s message but had been off to the side until that point, or had been passing by. These people took up “NO! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime” posters in the face of the fascists, spread the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism to others on the spot, and took up the chants demanding that the regime must go.

Cleveland: To reach out to a different crowd than the more progressive section of people we’ve gone out to in the last two days, some of us from Refuse Fascism went to a Cleveland Indians baseball game to take out our message to thousands of fans, overwhelmingly white people from the city and the suburbs. We got out 300 flyers, stickers, and about 25 people signed up for Refuse Fascism and some gave thumbs up and fists in the air. Of course, there were some Trump supporters yelling at us and the security and police tried to limit us from reaching people going to the game. When the game was going on we went to Public Square (the center of downtown) to reach a mix of people, including Black people, youth, and others. At points during the day, some sharp exchanges with pro-Trump people created a scene where other people could listen and see how serious we are about the need to drive out this fascist regime.

Berkeley: On Saturday, May 13, a “People’s vs. Donald Trump” street theater trial was held on the UC Berkeley campus. A whiteboard was set up, and people were called on to write up charges against Trump for crimes against humanity and the planet: demonization & persecution of immigrants, undermining the separation of church & state, subverting the separation of powers, escalating the destruction of the environment, to name a few.

Houston: Small numbers of people have been protesting at the Galleria, an upscale shopping area, for several days. There has been a lot of debate among people around two themes. One is an assumption among many that Trump is going to be impeached anyway because of his firing of Comey. Two, the U.S. political structure is strong enough to withstand even full-blown fascism. While small in numbers, it seems the very presence of people demanding that the Trump/Pence regime be driven out of power has alarmed the Galleria owners, who have now put up “no protest” signs, which they haven’t done since the upsurge of protests against police brutality.

Earlier Protests

Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director Comey was met with protests next day in different cities around the country by a range of groups, including around 300 people in front of the White House. Refuse Fascism in New York City led about 100 people in a protest at the Trump Tower in Manhattan (see below), and there were other Refuse Fascism protests in several cities. The Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism released a statement saying, “The question we pose to you, to ourselves as an organization whose purpose is to lead people to Refuse Fascism in the name of humanity, is this: will this be a pivotal moment in which we do act with determination to do all we can to move people—who are right now alarmed and outraged—to take to the streets to demand that this regime be driven from power?” And they called on people to protest every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven out.

Protests are continuing, and here are some brief reports and pictures we have received:

Los Angeles: Refuse Fascism hit the streets of LA on Wednesday and Thursday, spreading the word on social media and calling on people who are outraged to get in the streets and stay in the streets until the fascists are driven out. On Wednesday 30 people, including representatives of different organizations, came to the Federal Building in downtown LA before marching to a busy freeway overpass and doing a banner drop. It also got important press coverage, including from Spanish TV news. On Thursday over a dozen people rallied in front of the Trump star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. People from all parts of the world and all over the U.S stopped to take pictures of the Trump star surrounded by NO! posters and signs, many disturbed about the fascist Trump/Pence regime, and some joining the protest or hooking up with Refuse Fascism. An amateur rapper duo walking by were supportive and donated to Refuse Fascism. Everyone was called on to come back every night until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from power.

Hawaii: About 25 people joined a protest against the firing of FBI Director Comey Thursday at the Federal Building in Honolulu. The protest was called by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i, in solidarity with the call sent out by Refuse Fascism.

Cleveland: On Thursday around 15 people from Refuse Fascism and Indivisible answered the call to act given the firing of James Comey and Trump/Pence regime's moves to further consolidate fascism. People marched through a cultural area of the city. People on the streets were glad we were out calling for "Trump and Pence Must Go!" Some signed on to become part of Refuse Fascism. Two women working at a Starbucks brought out coffee for everyone and joined up. In the spirit of "every day until he is gone," plans were made to be out on Friday and Saturday.

San Francisco Bay Area: On Wednesday, about 25 people rallied in front of the Federal Building in downtown Oakland, including a couple of people from the Berkeley Indivisible group and someone who drove quite a ways to get there, and some that joined on the spot. There were quite a few supportive honks from the passing cars, and a lot of support from the workers coming out of the Federal Building. On Thursday, about 20 people gathered at 5 pm at 14th and Broadway. At a certain point it was actually quite a scene, with a cacophony of cars honking, and about six or seven people joining on the spot. One Black woman took the bullhorn and spoke passionately about how Trump is destroying the democracy that protects different marginalized groups. A young white woman got really emotional on the bullhorn, starting with “fuck Trump,” and talking about how he’s hateful and divisive. Two young people came from an animal rights center. One woman came at the end, saying she saw the demonstration on TV news. At the end we made plans to be in San Francisco at Castro and Market the next day.

Boston: Around 75 people rallied outside the statehouse in Boston on May 10 in a Stand for Truth rally that had initially been called for June but was moved up in response to the firing of Comey. A number of those present grabbed up “NO!” posters and the Refuse Fascism Call to Action and liked the theme "In the Name of Humanity."

100 Angry Protesters at Trump Tower With Plans to Return

May 10, 2017—On a few hours notice, about 100 people turned out at Trump Tower in NYC on Wednesday, May 10 to express their outrage at the illegitimate firing by Trump of FBI Director James Comey.  The crowd was angry, diverse, and involved an important breadth of professionals, activists from different movements, students and youth, and parents with their kids.

Sunsara Taylor started things off by calling out the illegitimacy and danger of Trump's firing of Comey, how this is not only an obstruction of justice and a violation of established norms, but also a major escalation in the consolidation of fascism in this country.  She insisted that it was up to the masses of people, everyone who had done the right thing to show up at this protest, as well as millions more that we have to reach out to and mobilize, to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence Regime and she called on people to get organized with Refuse Fascism on the spot.

Others from the crowd voiced their deepest fears, their visceral outrage, and their heartfelt determination to do everything they can to stop the Trump/Pence Regime.  One man described being just seven years old when Richard Nixon was forced to resign and spoke of believing that things had gotten better.  That today his son is seven years old, and things are even worse than during Nixon.  He said Trump stands as an embodiment against every single belief and value he has ever held dear – against truthfulness and integrity, against concern for the planet and for other people.

A young man stepped forward with his 4½ year old daughter.  In a small but beautifully earnest voice she led the crowd in two verses of “We Shall Overcome.”  Another man got up and said, “I'm not very good at standing in front of a crowd, so I'll just list what I am against.”  The crowd cheered more and more loudly as he went through his list: racism, bigotry, sexism, lying, imperialism, ignorance, and more.  A woman from the organization Rise and Resist at one point led the crowd to repeat after her, “Twitter and Facebook are NOT a protest! Take to the streets!”  Someone else warned the crowd that Trump would be looking for any kind of “terrorist incident” in order to seize even greater power, drawing the analogy to the Reichstag Fire (the burning of the parliament building) during Nazi Germany that Hitler seized on as the pretext to undermine the rule of law and vastly consolidate his power.

About midway through the protest, an organizer asked who thought everyone should come back on Saturday to protest again and with bigger numbers.  Someone from the crowd shouted out, “What about tomorrow?”  Someone else answered, “Every day until he's gone!”  Within moments, the whole crowd was chanting it, “Every day until he's gone! Every day until he's gone!”

The main sign being held among the crowd was the Refuse Fascism NO! sign, calling out the fascist Trump/Pence Regime, but there was also a spattering of very creative handmade signs.  One teenager stood next to her mother with a sign created to look like an email demanding that Congress impeach Trump, with an alert added on that “This is NOT SPAM.”  Another cited legal codes and definitions of obstruction of justice.  Others depicted connections between Trump and Russia.

At the high point of the protest, and as part of leading people to get organized to go forward, two young organizers spoke from Refuse Fascism.  Both emphasized the fascist nature of the regime and the limited window in which to act to drive out the regime, calling on people to get organized and come to the mass organizing meeting after the rally.  One did powerful exposure on the vicious assaults on women, Muslims, immigrants, environment, people around the world, science, LGBTQ people and more.  The other built on this while also emphasizing that the Trump/Pence Regime is illegitimate not mainly because of potential ties to Russia, but because they are fascist.

After a bit more than an hour, everyone was invited to come down to the Refuse Fascism mass meeting to make plans for going forward.  A core of freshly energized new people accompanied the veteran organizers of Refuse Fascism downtown for their meeting and together they made plans to step things up and push hard to make good on the mood and desire expressed in, “Every day until he's gone.”  After making plans to be back at Trump Tower the next several days in growing protests – reaching out to many other organized forces to join – the bulk of the people at the meeting took off in a march through Greenwich VIllage in downtown New York City.

 

       

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/488/teach-in-fascism-in-america-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Teach-In: Fascism in America

April 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fascism in America
Could It Happen Here?
Is It Happening Here?
What Is the Danger that the Trump/Pence Government Poses?

April 27, 2017, United Methodist Church in the Village

Sponsored by RefuseFascism.org

 

 

Speakers:

Humanity faces an extreme emergency with Trump’s rise to power. This nationally live-streamed Teach-In aims to deeply explore, from different perspectives, the essential nature of the Trump/Pence Government, the relevance of the history of fascism, the threat it poses to humanity and the planet itself, and the dangers of normalization.

 

This event is being made into a quality video for distribution, donate and learn more at RefuseFascism.org

info@refusefascism.org / 917-407-1286
Twitter: @refusefascism / Facebook, Instagram: refusefascism
Media Sponsor: WBAI Radio, New York

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/150online/fitch_speech-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Guest column

The Change They Believe In

Speech for Harlem Tenants Association, November 14, 2008

By Robert Fitch

Former President Barack Obama rose to political prominence in Chicago, and now he’s making it a centerpiece of his post-presidency efforts. He has said he will focus on, among other things, fostering “civic engagement.” Chicago is a city that concentrates many of the hellish nightmares facing Black people in America today, which are being driven deeper by the Trump/Pence regime (which Obama refuses to criticize, saying he and Trump are on the “same team”). A speech by Robert Fitch, co-founder of the Berkeley Vietnam Day Committee and author of Solidarity for Sale, given at the Harlem Tenants Association in 2008, illuminates much about Obama’s program and approach, and what his efforts now will actually be about. Fitch speaks to how Obama’s politics, policies and actions as a so-called “community organizer” and as a ruling class politician had done great harm to Black and poor people, even before Obama became president This speech was originally posted at revcom.us in December 2008. We urge all our readers to dig into Fitch’s insightful piece. (Also see a more recent article on revcom.us: “BARACK (AND MICHELLE) OBAMA, OF ALL PEOPLE, DID MORE HARM TO BLACK PEOPLE DURING THE LAST EIGHT YEARS.”)

 

Nellie asks us to foretell what an Obama Administration is going to do for cities, housing and neighborhoods. Of course we can't really know what's going to happen in the future. We can only know what's already happened. So it's an exercise that reminds me a little of Johnny Carson's old late night TV routine with his sidekick Ed McMahon. Carson played Karnak the Magnificent. McMahon would give him an answer. And Karnak, wearing a giant turban, and holding an envelope to his forehead, would guess the question inside the envelope. Ed would give an answer like. "A B C D E F G." Karnak would reply with the question: "Earlier versions of Preparation H."

What's President-elect Obama's prescription for urban pains? I'm going to put on my urban turban and try to play Karnak. It's a difficult role not only because the future is hard to predict; but because Obama himself is not easy to read. In my lifetime, we haven't had a politician with his gifts: his writing talent; his eloquence; his charisma; his mastery of public policy; his ability to run a national campaign against formidable rivals. Obama projects so brilliant an aura that it's almost blinding. He's become the bearer of pride for forty-five million African Americans who want to be judged by the content of their character. He's the prophet of hope; the apostle of change and the organizer of "Yes We Can."

All this makes Obama's actual politics very hard to put in any critical perspective. By actual politics I mean above all, the principal interests he represents; his authentic political philosophy. Where he fits on the Left-Right political spectrum. Obama resists being identified with either the Right or the Left. Even when he talks about his mom's liberalism, it's with a certain irony. "A lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for the New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism." Obama is a partisan of the Third Way. In Europe, the Third Way means you're neither socialist nor capitalist. In the U.S. it means you're neither for liberalism nor conservatism. The Third Way is expressed very well in Obama's 2004 convention speech.

"Well, I say...tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.

"There's not a black America and white America...there's the United States of America.

"The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too.

"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."

Are traditional political vocations now obsolete? The Left stands for the interests of those who have to work for a living; for the tenants and the poor. For the victims of discrimination. The Right in America stands for the interests of the employers and the investing class. For those who own the land, the houses, the banks and the hedge funds. For Joe the plumber who was really Joe the plumbing contractor. And for those who see themselves as the victims of affirmative action.

In a way, though, the Left and the Right have more in common with each other than they do with the advocates of the Third Way. The Left and the Right argue that different interests matter. The Third Way says they don't. According to them, the oppressed and the oppressors, the lions and the lambs should set down together and celebrate their unity in one great post-partisan, multi-cultural 4th of July picnic. One of Obama's most repeated mantras resonates here: "a common good and a higher interest," he says. "That's the change I'm looking for."

Where in the world most of us reside do we find that higher interest? I don't know except perhaps in the higher interest rates that kicked in with variable rate mortgages.

What is the common good that tenants and landlords share? Not a lot I can think of. Maybe that the building doesn't burn down? But some of you remember the '70s when landlords burned down their buildings in poor neighborhoods to cash in on the insurance.

The haves and the have-nots have different and opposing interests—landlords want to get rid of rent stabilization; tenants have an interest in keeping it. Workers want to save their jobs; bosses want to save their capital, which means cutting workers. In pursuing their opposing interests, the have-nots are forced take up the weapons of the weak—demonstrations, direct action; filling the jails with conscientious objectors; taking personal risks. Who benefits when one side gives up without a struggle? The Have's or the Have nots? Frederick Douglass reminds us: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did. It never will."

When the Third Way advocates insist that we share a common good; when they refuse to recognize that the interests of the oppressed and the interests of the oppressors don't exist on the same moral plane; when they counsel us to stop being partisans of those interests—they're not being non or post partisan; they're siding with the powers that be.

In the same way, Obama's notion of change claims to transcend the politics of interest while it steers sharply to the right. What kind of change does America need? Above all, America needs a change of heart: her people need to give up selfishness; all Americans rich and poor, white and black; the hod carrier and the hedge fund operator must give up self-interest; stop always asking "what's in it for me?"

In a word, with his emphasis on change coming from people giving up group egoism and together pursuing the common good, while practicing old fashioned virtues, Senator Obama is a communitarian. In The Audacity of Hope he invokes the legacy of Ronald Reagan who, Obama believes, recognized America's need to rediscover the traditional values of the American community: hard work, patriotism, personal responsibility, optimism and faith.

Communitarianism flows from belief that we all share a common good. What's needed to achieve the common good, communitarians insist, is sacrifice. But some parts of the community have to show the way in giving up their selfish, anti-communitarian habits. For communitarians, the first responders must be the poor. For black communitarians like Bill Cosby and Barack Obama it's chiefly the black poor.

Obama insists that the key to change is not resistance to oppression; not a battle against the exploitation of workers; or against institutional racism, or the domination of unaccountable financial elites; or the interests promoting gentrification.

These all fade away compared to the need for community self-help, strengthening the community by building strong families; by the need to convince the African American poor to pull up their socks. And stop engaging in anti-social behavior. Speaking recently to a group of black legislators, Obama said, "In Chicago, sometimes when I talk to the black chambers of commerce, I say, 'You know what would be a good economic development plan for our community would be if we made sure folks weren't throwing their garbage out of their cars.'"1

In fact, as Obama knows very well, for most of the last two decades in Chicago there's been in place a very specific economic development plan. The plan was to make the South Side like the North Side. Which is the same kind of project as making the land north of Central Park like the land south of Central Park. The North Side is the area north of the Loop—Chicago's midtown central business district—where rich white people live; they root for the Cubs. Their neighborhood is called the Gold Coast.

For almost a hundred years in Chicago blacks have lived on the South Side close to Chicago's factories and slaughter houses. And Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. The area where they lived was called the Black Belt or Bronzeville—and it's the largest concentration of African American people in the U.S.—nearly 600,000 people—about twice the size of Harlem.

In the 1950s, big swaths of urban renewal were ripped through the black belt, demolishing private housing on the south east side. The argument then was that the old low rise private housing was old and unsuitable. Black people needed to be housed in new, high-rise public housing which the city built just east of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The Administration of the Chicago Housing Authority was widely acclaimed as the most corrupt, racist and incompetent in America. Gradually only the poorest of the poor lived there. And in the 1980s, the argument began to be made that the public housing needed to be demolished and the people moved back into private housing.  

For a while, the election of the city's first black Mayor, Harold Washington, blocked the demolition. But Washington died of a heart attack while in office, and after a brief interregnum, the Mayor's office was filled in 1989 by Richard M. Daley—whose father had carried out the first urban renewal. Daley was his father's son in many ways. By 1993, with subsidies from the Clinton Administration's HOPE VI program, the public housing units began to be destroyed. And by 2000 he'd put in place something called The Plan for Transformation. It targeted tens of thousands of remaining units. With this proviso: That African Americans had to get 50% of the action—white developers had to have black partners; there had to be black contractors. And Daley chose African Americans—as his top administrators and planners for the clearances, demolition and re-settlement. African Americans were prominent in developing and rehabbing the new housing for the refugees from the demolished projects—who were re-settled in communities to the south like Englewood, Roseland and Harvey. Altogether the Plan for Transformation involved the largest demolition of public housing in American history, affecting about 45,000 people—in neighborhoods where eight of the 20 poorest census tracts in the U.S. were located. 2

But what does this all have to do with Obama? Just this: the area demolished included the communities that Obama represented as a state senator; and the top black administrators, developers and planners were people like Valerie Jarrett—who served as a member of the Chicago Planning Commission. And Martin Nesbitt who became head of the CHA. Nesbitt serves as Obama campaign finance treasurer; Jarrett as co-chair of the Transition Team. The other co-chair is William Daley, the Mayor's brother and the Midwest chair of JP Morgan Chase—an institution deeply involved in the transformation of inner-city neighborhoods through its support for—what financial institutions call "neighborhood revitalization" and neighborhood activists call gentrification.

If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we'll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condo's and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs.

Obama's political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins. But it's more than just Chicago FIRE. Also within Obama's inner core of support are allies from the non-profit sector: the liberal foundations, the elite universities, the non-profit community developers and the real estate reverends who produce market rate housing with tax breaks from the city and who have been known to shout from the pulpit "give us this day our Daley, Richard Daley bread."3

Aggregate them and what emerges is a constellation of interests around Obama that I call "Friendly FIRE." Fire power disguised by the camouflage of community uplift; augmented by the authority of academia; greased by billions in foundation grants; and wired to conventional FIRE by the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995.

And yet friendly FIRE is just as deadly as the conventional FIRE that comes from bankers and developers that we're used to ducking from. It's the whole condominium of interests whose advancement depends on the elimination of poor blacks from the community and their replacement by white people and—at least temporarily—by the black middle class—who've gotten subprime mortgages—in a kind of redlining in reverse.

This "friendly FIRE" analysis stands in opposition to the two main themes of the McCain attack ads. Either they try to frighten people into believing that Obama is a dangerous leftist who hangs with Bill Ayers the former Weatherperson; or they assert he's a creature of the corrupt Chicago machine.

There are a few slivers of meat floating in this beggar's broth of charges. Yes, Obama worked with Ayers, but not the Ayers who blew up buildings; but the Ayers who was able to bring down $50 million from the Walter Annenberg foundation, leveraging it to create an $120 million non-profit organization with Obama as its head. Annenberg was a billionaire friend of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Why would he give mega-millions to a terrorist? Perhaps because he liked Ayers new politics. Ayers' initiative grew out of the backlash against the 1985 Chicago teachers' strike; his plan promoted "the community" as a third force in education politics between the union and the city administration. Friendly FIRE wants the same kind of education reform as FIRE: the forces that brought about welfare reform have now moved onto education reform and for the same reason: crippling the power of the union will reduce teachers' salaries, which will cut real estate taxes which will raise land values.

Is Obama a minion of Richie Daley? It's true that Obama has never denounced Daley. He actually endorsed him for Mayor in 2007. Even after federal convictions of Daley's top aides. After the minority hiring scandals. And after the Hired Truck scandal which showed that the Daley machine shared its favors with The Outfit.

But the Daley dynasty has expanded far beyond wiseguy industries. The Mayor's brother, William Daley, who served on Obama's transition team, also serves now as a top executive of J.P. Morgan Chase. He heads the Midwest region. And chairs J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, the core of friendly FIRE. Here's an excerpt from a recent report:

It's also true that key Black members of the Obama inner circle are Daley Administration alumnae—but they've moved up—now they're part of Chicago FIRE. Like Martin Nesbitt. Obama is Nesbitt's son's godfather. He's the African American chairman of the CHA. But his principal occupation is the vice presidency of the Pritzker Realty group. Although they're not well known outside of Chicago, the Pritzkers rank among the richest families in the U.S. There are ten Pritzkers among the Forbes 400: Thomas is the richest at 2.3 billion. Anthony and J.B. are next at $2.2 billion; Penny in fourth, at $2.1 billion—Daniel, James, Gigi, John, Karen, and Linda weigh in with $1.9 billion.

Penny is finance chair of the Obama campaign. Martin is the treasurer.

Penny Pritzker herself has had a rocky career as a commercial banker. In 1991, she founded something called the Superior Bank of Chicago which pioneered in sub-prime lending to minorities. Superior was an early casualty of the sub-prime meltdown, though, crashing in 2001 when it was seized by the FDIC. Depositors filed a civil suit against Penny charging that Superior was a racketeering organization. The government charged that Superior paid out hundreds of millions of dividends to the Pritzkers and another family while the bank was essentially broke. There was a complex settlement in which the Pritzkers were forced to pay hundreds of millions in penalties; but the agreement contained provisions that may enable the Pritzkers to earn hundreds of millions. Notwithstanding the Superior bank disaster, Penny is being touted as Obama's next Secretary of Commerce.

Valerie Jarrett is another black real estate executive. Described as "the other side of Barack's brain,"5 she also served as finance chair during his successful 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. Jarrett was Daley's deputy chief of staff – that was her job when she hired Michelle Obama. Eventually Daley made her the head of city planning. But Jarrett doesn't work for Daley anymore. She's CEO of David Levin's Habitat—one of the largest property managers in Chicago—and the court-appointed overseer of CHA projects.6 Habitat also managed Grove Parc, the scandal-ridden project in Englewood that left Section 8 tenants, mostly refugees from demolished public housing projects, without heat in the winter but inundated with rats. Grove Parc was developed by Tony Rezko, who's white. And his long-time partner Allison Davis, who's black.

Let's look at Rezko and then Davis. It was Rezko's ability to exploit relationships with influential blacks—including Muhammad Ali—that enabled him to become one of Chicago's preeminent cockroach capitalists. Altogether, Rezko wound up developing over 1,000 apartments with state and city money. There was more to the Obama-Rezko relationship than the empty lot in Kenwood. Rezko raised over $250,000 for Obama's state senate campaign. While Obama was a state senator he wrote letters in support of Rezko's applications for development funds. But Obama ignored the plight of Rezko's tenants who complained to Obama's office.7

Rezko's Grove Parc partner, Allison Davis, was a witness in the Rezko trial, he's pretty radioactive too. But you could see why Rezko wanted to hook up with him. Davis was the senior partner in Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a small, black law firm, where Obama worked for nearly a decade. As the editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama could have worked anywhere. Why did he choose the Davis firm?

Davis had been a noted civil rights attorney and a progressive critic of the first Daley machine. But in 1980 Davis got a call from the Ford Foundation's poorly known, but immensely influential, affiliate LISC—the Local Initiatives Support Corporation—that had just been founded. LISC, whose present chair is Citigroup's Robert Rubin, connects small, mainly minority community non-profits with big foundation grants and especially with bank loans and tax credit-driven equity. LISC wanted to co-opt Davis in their ghetto redevelopment program. He agreed and the Davis firm came to specialize in handling legal work for non-profit community development firms. Eventually Davis left the firm to go into partnership with Tony Rezko.  

Meanwhile, Obama did legal work for the Rezko-Davis partnership. And for Community Development Organizations like Woodlawn Organization. In 1994, the LA Times reports, Obama appeared in Cook County court on behalf of Woodlawn Preservation & Investment Corp., defending it against a suit by the city, which alleged that the company failed to provide heat for low-income tenants on the South Side during the winter.8 There were several cases of this type, but as the Times observes, Obama doesn't mention them in Dreams from My Father.9

In the 1960s, under the leadership of Arthur M. Brazier, Bishop of the Apostolic Church of God, Woodlawn gained a reputation as Chicago's outstanding Saul Alinsky-style community organization. Mainly, TWO [The Woodlawn Organization] battled the University of Chicago's urban renewal program. But gradually, Brazier's political direction changed. Now TWO is partnering with UC in efforts to gentrify Woodlawn. When Barack Obama left Jeremiah Wright's church, he switched to Brazier's Apostolic Church of God.

Brazier is typical of a much larger group—real estate reverends—who play the Community Development game and in the process have acquired huge real estate portfolios. But it's really a national phenomenon. Here in New York we have Rev. Calvin Butts whose church has a subsidiary, the Abyssinian Development Corp. In partnership with LISC, the ADC now boasts a portfolio of $500 million in Harlem property alone. Rev. Floyd Flake of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens has a sizeable portfolio of commercial property too.

Chicago's disciples of development include Wilbur Daniel. He's the Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood who really did exclaim "Give us this day our Daley bread," meaning free land and free capital for real estate development. Daniel's prayers were answered in 2001, when with Daley's help, Antioch was chosen to be the lead church in Fannie Mae's $55 billion House Chicago plan for the redevelopment of the South Side.

How has Obama earned the support and allegiance of friendly FIRE? Where does he stand on the Plan for Transformation? Generally speaking, he's been careful not to leave too many footprints. If you google Obama and public housing, nothing comes up. But in 1995, a year before he ran successfully for state senate seat from South Side, in Dreams from My Father he wrote about his encounters with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama says he was impressed by Wright's emphasis on the unity of the black community. But he's a little skeptical of too broad a unity; of achieving unity without conflict. He says, "Would the interest in maintaining such unity allow Reverend Wright to take a forceful stand on the latest proposals to reform public housing?" (Here he's referring to Clinton's Hope VI—that provided matching federal money for the demolition of public housing. And the corresponding local initiatives, which culminated in the Plan for Transformation.) "And if men like Reverend Wright failed to take a stand, if churches like Trinity refused to engage with real power and risk genuine conflict, then what chance would there be in holding the larger community intact?"10

I have to stop now and put Karnak's envelope to my forehead. What we see is that the Chicago core of the Obama coalition is made up of blacks who've moved up by moving poor blacks out of the community. And very wealthy whites who've advanced their community development agenda by hiring blacks. Will this be the pattern for the future in an Obama administration? I can't read the envelope. But I do believe that if we want to disrupt the pattern of the past we have to make some distinctions: between the change they believe in and the change we believe in; between our interests and theirs; between a notion of community that scapegoats the poor and one that respects their human rights—one of which is not to be the object of ethnic cleaning. Between Hope VI and genuine human hope.

 

Footnotes:

1. Perry Bacon Jr.,"Obama Reaches Out with Tough Love," Washington Post, May 3, 2007, p. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/02/AR2007050202813_pf.html [back]

2. Pam Belluck, "End of a Ghetto, A special report: Razing the Slums to Rescue the Residents." New York Times, September 6, 1998. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07E0D7173EF935A3575AC0A96E958260 [back]

3. John Kass, "The New Mayor Daley," Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. August 25, 1996. [back]

4. http://www.jpmorganchase.com/cm/cs?pagename=Chase/Href&urlname=jpmc/community [back]

5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-sweet/valerie-jarrett-steps-up-_b_65350.html [back]

6. Jarrett's father was Robert Taylor, head of CHA, after whom a dozen of the now demolished projects were named. [back]

7. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article [back]

8. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/06/nation/na-obamalegal6 [back]

9. Ibid. [back]

10. Dreams, p.286 [back]

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Letter from a Prisoner:

On Reading Bob Avakian’s Memoir

May 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter from a prisoner.

 

I’m watching the news and they are breaking the story that Trump has launched 50 Tomahawk missiles in the direction of Syria. I know [print] issues of Revolution have been cut back due to so much going on around the world at such a fast pace, so information can be found on the website, but I’m hoping to get something with the parties position on this stance soon.

The last time I wrote I was in transition moving from the S.H.U. to general population. Instead of sending me to XXXXX they decided to place me on this lock up unit here at the same facility. It’s better than the S.H.U. so it’s all good. I’ll be reviewed in 90 days to find out what’s next. I just received commissary today, I didn’t have any stamps. About two weeks ago I received a copy of Science of Evolution [by Ardea Skybreak] and I’m reading that now. I’ve read Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy as well as From Ike to Mao and Beyond [Bob Avakian’s memoir]. Oh-my-fuck’n Goodness! Bob Avakian is the mutha fuck’n Man! Dude is so solid and if I ever find out some bullshit about him it would break my heart. Dude has been in the struggle for a long time and he has maintained his principles through out the whole entire show. About a year ago I was in a conversation with this Black Nationalist (or whatever he was) and he made a comment about B.A. acting as if he was Chairman Mao. That would be equivalent to saying that Ardea Skybreak thinks that she is Charles Darwin or somebody, you feel me? Clearly the guy was “DH” type of shit (DH was spoke of in the book). B.A. kinda touched on it when he mentioned an interview he gave and the person said something about him having a “cult like personality”, you feel me? Yeah, B.A. is definitely a Maoist and his New Synthesis of Revolutionary Communism makes him Marx-Lenin-and Mao “Reincarnated”, ha, ha, ha. From Ike to Mao and Beyond put me up on a lot of information. Even the small things, like when he spoke about the relationship during his qualitative leaps from becoming a Radical—then a Revolutionary—and finally a Communist. Just that statement alone opened up my mind even more about how everything develops in stages. And he stayed on track and done things in a very principled way the entire time. He’s not a snitch, he has not sold out nor did he talk ill of others when he had every opportunity to do so all through out the book. He could have easily spoke about Huey Newton and I definitely wanted to hear more about it when he ran into him over in China. Send me that book. I can’t remember the name of it, but he sited it in the book when he spoke about Huey P. Newton. I need a copy of that Red Book by Chairman Mao too. I pretty much need every book that he mentioned in From Ike to Mao, I’ll write down the names and sent them later. Ok, this prison no longer allow us to receive greeting cards, any type of colored paper or colored envelopes. The last letter I got from P.R.L.F. [Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund] had a blue piece of paper included with it. I believe it had some points that were being raised about why y’all have been more on the internet and how we need to let y’all know if any changes are being made in our situation. No more blue paper, ok. I’m in The Science of Evolution right now, but I’m gonna need something ASAP. Especially get at me about this Syria shit and what Trump punk ass just did. I need more shit on theory like B.A. was saying in From Ike to Mao. Ha, Ha, Ha________

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Letter from a Prisoner:

On the section “Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward” from Bob Avakian’s Memoir

May 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter from a prisoner.

 

20 January 2011

To RCP Publications

...I am a prisoner, currently being held in California’s XXX State Prison. I’ve just recently become a reader of Revolution newspaper and I wanted to let you know that I have never come across a more powerful message than the one found in your paper. I receive a few radical publications but most put forth idealized notions of the masses and don’t recognize the need for capable, disciplined leadership with a consistent revolutionary line. I’ve been reading a variety of radical books and pamphlets over the years and though I’ve come to share a hatred for this system I’ve been frustrated by their unrealistic, or lack of, strategies for carrying out a revolution that will put an end to all the horrors of capitalism. There are a lot of questions that I needed answered concerning the RCP’s ideology but thanks to the PRLF most of them have been answered. During the last few weeks I’ve read not only a handful of issues of Revolution, but also the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), the RCP’s own constitution, Bob Avakian’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, a series of excerpts compiled in a pamphlet entitled The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and the RCP’s Manifesto. The words of Bob Avakian have resonated with me more than anything I’ve ever read. I understand why he has to continually be presented as a great resource for people. I’ve enjoyed reading the excerpts that have been published in Revolution though I was disappointed when I noticed that in the last two issues you stopped running excerpts from Bob Avakian’s memoir. There was one section that motivated me more than any other in the book and I was hoping you would print it. The section I’m referring to is called “Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward” and it’s found on pages 440-442. I’ve been successful in getting a small handful of prisoners interested in reading the paper, but unfortunately half of them don’t have much interest in reading books yet. This section that I mentioned says a lot, in very few words, that can help overcome defeatism, which is something that plagues so many of the people that I try to reach in here. Though I’m not as eloquent as Bob Avakian, I could always explain the basic argument made in this section and spread it to those around me willing to listen, but I think it would be good to print that section of the memoir in the paper so that this particular analogy between the possibility and the need to find a cure for cancer and the possibility and the need to overthrow this system and create a new one, can be spread more widely both within and outside the prison system. I’m one of three prisoners, that I’m aware of, that receive Revolution on this yard. We’re in different parts of the yard but all three of us come across the same defeatist attitudes, even when we’re able to convince others that the present economic system is our common enemy. The answers are usually the same, “Yeah, but we can’t do anything about it.” I believe this section of the memoir that I’m speaking of does a lot to combat that kind of thinking in a very effective way. Prisoners can really understand it when it’s put in these terms....

 

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

 

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Oklahoma Republican Proposes Nazi Plan to Round Up 82,000 Non-English Speaking Schoolkids

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The fascist horror show is intensifying to new, even more vicious levels. In Oklahoma, Mike Ritze, a Republican representative, proposed a plan to reduce the state’s deficit by rounding up the state’s 82,000 non-English-speaking school children and turning them over to ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency). He said, “Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens—and do we really have to educate noncitizens?” This is literally out of Hitler’s Nazi playbook.

Ritze’s proposal was widely opposed, including by some other Republican politicians who—revealing their equally sick morality—said his plan would not save enough money. But the fact that such a proposal—labeling children whose first language is not English as being unworthy of consideration as human beings—could even be seriously raised reveals how “legitimatized” such fascist mentality has already become. The very act of proposing such a plan to prey on vulnerable children is a form of terrorizing a whole community—a crime against humanity.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1982 decision, Plyler v. Doe, that states cannot constitutionally deny education to any student based on immigration status. But in Trump’s America, where the ideal is to “make America white again,” the green light has been given to dehumanize and criminalize immigrants as part of an extreme remaking of society. Trump has been whipping up a xenophobic hysteria against all immigrants and Muslims. There is now a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court. And the head of the Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, is a rabidly anti-immigrant white supremacist.

It’s good that Ritze’s proposal was met by immediate outrage by many. The ACLU called it “disgustingly inhumane” and said, “A government that threatens to turn children over to law enforcement to avoid educating them should alarm and outrage all Oklahomans.” Even the Republican state superintendent of schools called it “utterly shameful.” On Ritze’s Facebook page, where he touts the fact that he is an ordained Southern Baptist deacon, one person posted a comment saying, “You have some nerve posting pics of your grandson while also suggesting your state round up lots of defenseless children. And for what? Oh yes, to close the budget gap you created. Very Christian of you.”

We say NO! Never again! These vicious monsters must be stopped now. The Trump/Pence fascist regime must be driven out before they can consolidate a true nightmare for humanity.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/watching-how-to-survive-a-plague-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Watching How to Survive a Plague:

Learning from the Passion, Fury, and Relentless Struggle of ACT UP

May 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

from a member of the New York City Steering Committee of Refuse Fascism

The New York City chapter hosted a movie night last night to show the film, How to Survive a Plague, a documentary about the AIDS epidemic and the activist group ACT UP-AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, followed by a discussion about the lessons we draw from their actions and how we can apply them to the crisis we are facing now, with a fascist regime in the White House. The movie focuses on both the bold activism of ACT UP and the deep scientific understanding of the disease and lack of treatment that was killing hundreds of thousands, then millions.

These sudden deaths were initially concentrated among gay men in New York, and even as the epidemic was spreading at an extremely alarming pace, treatment research was stagnant. The U.S. government, in large part due to widespread homophobia, was in no rush to test or approve safe drugs to treat AIDS. Hospitals were flooded, and amongst the fear, a sentiment of blame arose, as some explicit bigots asserted that gay men were dying because they had transgressed the anti-gay rules of most Christian churches, while many internalized this hatred and looked the other way while many died from this disease, and bodies were put in garbage bags. Most people involved in ACT UP were affected very deeply and immediately by AIDS, whether they themselves were sick or their friends and loved ones were. They acted with a sharp sense of urgency, with the understanding that this was a plague.

In the midst of this, they protested en masse at the National Institutes of Health, climbed on buildings to drop banners, draped a massive condom over the house of Jesse Helms, an outrageously homophobic senator who spoke out against AIDS treatment. They used creativity, humor, and drama to confront the horrors they were facing, and to break out of “protest as usual.” ACT UP was supportive of the massive quilt ceremony that took place in Washington honoring the victims of AIDS, but they recognized that there was no “beauty” in the crisis. They then organized a march to the White House, where they threw the ashes of their dead loved ones over the fence. The emotional power of this action cannot be overstated; their outrage and pain were channeled in a striking and confrontational way.

Another important element of the work of ACT UP was the extensive scientific learning and research they conducted themselves, in order to grasp exactly what they were facing and educate others, and with the goal of having their work actually acknowledged by the NIH and other major institutions that had the funding to search for a cure but were not taking any significant steps toward it. We discussed why their activism and scientific work were not in opposition to each other but rather closely intertwined. Prominent scientists from these government agencies read ACT UP’s treatment plan pamphlet and finally allowed them to attend meetings, but would they really ever have listened if the group hadn’t been shutting down business as usual? They demanded to be acknowledged, to be heard.

We posed several questions for discussion, people shared their own personal stories of how the AIDS epidemic affected them, and we explored how we should be acting now in the face of fascism. Where did the collective certitude of ACT UP come from? What made them so willing to lay in the streets, get brutalized and arrested by police, and stand up to powerful, oppressive institutions like the government and the Catholic Church?

While the visceral and immediate effects of AIDS moved many people on the frontlines of resistance to act, the strength and effectiveness of their actions were not inevitable. During our discussion, several pointed out that the masses of people dying so quickly instilled this sense of urgency, which is true, but the reality was that millions were not flooding the streets in anger, demanding change. ACT UP was a relatively small group at first, concentrated mostly in New York City. With the boldness of their actions, many had told them they were being too extreme. But they garnered the attention of millions of people by waking them up, not allowing anyone to look away, and shocking them into action. People were shocked, but also inspired, by their actions, and ACT UP grew and gained real influence. In our movement to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime, we can draw lessons from the ways they moved decisively and effectively.

As we have learned in the outreach we’ve done on the streets, on campuses, and throughout the country on our national organizing tour, there are many out there who approach us as they had approached ACT UP, arguing that our analysis of the regime as fascist is “too extreme.” We concluded, though, that maybe we should be acting in even more extreme manifestations of our anger toward the misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and outright hatred embodied in the Trump/Pence administration. Right now, there isn’t continuous, massive resistance. We don’t have the thousands of leaders we need to drive this regime from power. Yet, as one person in our discussion pointed out, ACT UP did not determine what they would do based on popular opinion at the time; they did what was right based on the truth. The truth is, the rhetoric and policies of the Trump/Pence regime have genocidal implications. They are taking major steps to consolidate fascism in America and to enact their white supremacist vision. With the firing of James Comey and the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences by KKK-supporter/Attorney General Jeff Sessions, fear is prevalent and growing throughout society.

During the height of the AIDS crisis, there was pain, anguish, and serious anger, but there was also widespread fear. Many died in isolation, shame, and silence. We cannot allow this to happen now; we need to set the terms. Right now, there are not nearly as many flooding the streets as there need to be, but it would be a mistake to think that we don’t have an audience. By sounding the alarm, we can move many more people to act. There is a relationship we can form between education and fierce action, between deep knowledge of the problem and resistance. As we cause commotion and shock, we will also welcome people broadly to join with us and to channel their fear and outrage into mass resistance, focused toward driving out the Trump/Pence Regime.

In response to the opposition toward condom use in the midst of a deadly epidemic, ACT UP staged a die-in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where activists fell to the ground while others screamed, “Why are you killing us?” Openly and actively opposing the Catholic Church in this bold way was controversial and unprecedented, but it had an outsized impact. It is time for us now to do things we’ve never done before because the stakes are too high to look the other way.

The emotionally heavy yet inspiring movie and our subsequent discussion led to a lively brainstorming session, followed by concrete planning for actions inspired by the fearlessness of ACT UP. We are working on brand new ideas, like visually impactful street theater and dance in the subways, in town hall meetings, and in symbolic locations. Stay tuned to find out more about upcoming NYC actions! And join our organizing meetings, Wednesdays at 6:30 pm at the LGBT Center, to contribute your own creative ideas and work with us toward driving the Trump/Pence regime out of power!

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/interview-organizer-BCU-student-protest-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Interview with an Organizer of the Student Protest vs. DeVos at Bethune-Cookman University: “It was amazing!”

May 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution had an opportunity to speak with Dominik Whitehead, a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) class of 2010, and one of the main organizers of the protest by this year’s graduating class of the appearance of the Trump/Pence regime’s education secretary Betsy DeVos at the campus. DeVos had been invited to receive an honorary doctoral degree and give the commencement address. B-CU is one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Dominik Whitehead posted a petition online opposing her appearance, which said in part:

In February, DeVos made an unsettling statement inferring that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), of which Bethune-Cookman is one, are the “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

Betsy DeVos doesn’t understand that HBCUs were created in response to the exclusion of African Americans from mainstream institutions. Secretary DeVos has no understanding of the importance, contributions, and significance of HBCUs.

Revolution: Describe what took place on graduation day at B-CU:

The protest began outside before the graduation ceremony. People were there from the NAACP, the Dream Defenders, the local Democratic Executive Committee, alumni, and other progressive organizations, holding anti-DeVos signs.

Inside, it was absolutely amazing! She came to the podium twice. First to receive an honorary degree; people booed until she sat down. When she came up the second time, and began her talk, it was absolutely amazing! The students booing and turning their backs when she spoke. Myself and others who supported the students from the audience, we chanted, we yelled, we cheered for them. We held our fists up in the air! All the way through, until she finished that speech.

It was also amazing how the students acted collectively, as a class. I was in the balcony, directly behind them. Most of the audience was not standing, but they did participate with chants, like:

“I love my HBCU, I love my B-CU.”

“Protect the legacy!”

You could hear the shouts from the audience. “She doesn’t care about education!” And someone else yelled, “Why privatize education?”

There was a point where she compared her work in education to the work of Mary McLeod Bethune. There was a huge “boo” from the crowd. [Mary McLeod Bethune, whose parents were former slaves, has been described as a prominent educator, political leader, and social visionary who fought for Black women and for civil rights. She founded one of the schools that merged to become Bethune-Cookman University.—Revolution]

What DeVos did was everything I thought. It was more monologue, not dialogue. Mary McLeod Bethune’s last will and testament to the school talked about the struggle against social injustices, racial injustice, things happening in today’s society.

The Trump administration over the last 100 days—people are not stupid; the students are not stupid, they’re very smart, they’re intelligent. They know the things she’s done, what this administration has done. And they felt it was just a tone-deaf monologue. She was referencing things she was not doing. But graduation is not the place for that. It’s not time or place for that... She should go on a tour, not tell us what she was going to do. She should have listened to the students, and the administration.

Revolution: How did you first find out she was invited; and what did you do?

How did we first find out? There was a rumor. I said this can’t be true. Other sources confirmed it. Once it was leaked to the press, the first thing I did was write a petition. [The petition went up on the internet and eventually had more than 50,000 signatures.—Revolution] On Monday, a week before graduation, the administration put out a press release confirming she would be speaking. I started the petition, but at this point I knew we had to do more than a petition. So I started reaching out to organizations; to classmates. We had to have a movement. But I never thought it would reach this level.

I went to Daytona and onto the campus after talking to two other alumni who were already there on the ground. Local and state democrats got involved. The state NAACP chapter was hands on, working to get out the story. The Florida Teachers Union got involved, and they got us more resources, both state and local media. [There was also a provocative hashtag: #BackstoBetsy.—Revolution]

No B-CU student organizations were involved. They were afraid; they didn’t want to get expelled. There were verbal threats. So there were no student organizations, no Greek organizations. But the members of the organizations and other students, including the graduating seniors, took it up.

Revolution: What did people think of the University administration’s decision to invite her?

It was absolutely ridiculous. It shows how disconnected from students they are. When the university president came out of that meeting with President Trump it just looked like a photo op. [At the end of February Trump met with the heads of most of the HBCUs.—Revolution] It was a slap in the face of Black people, of our history, of the students. On this day, graduation day, the day that you’ll remember for the rest of your life—what were they thinking?

Revolution: How do you see the Trump administration?

She is part of everything the Trump administration has shown since coming into office. They believe in charter schools and private schools. I’m a product of the public school system. Look at what the charter schools have done to public education—the privatization of public education. The charter schools are taking money out of public schools. These charters make money for three or four years, and then they close. What it means is that somewhere public schools are not being funded. Inviting her to the graduation was insulting. DeVos has shown she is disconnected from the experience and everyday reality of the HBCUs.

With the Trump administration it’s been like every week, before and after the election, he’s disrespected one group after another. I was at the Women’s March, the Science March. I went to the Women’s March in Key West with about 700-800 others. There have been protests with African Americans, immigrants, women. The actions they do, how they go about this; it is unprecedented. There have never been protests like this. Every week. And this has everything to do with the current administration.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/chicago-scenes-from-revolutionary-organizing-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

May 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Chicago: Scenes from Revolutionary Organizing

Today, Chicago is most famous for one thing: young Black and Latino people murdering each other. Trump made this a campaign theme, and he threatens to “send in the feds”—intensifying the police state that already brutalizes and murders youth and enforces the conditions that give birth to gang violence. His education secretary, DeVos, aims to gut the public schools even harder. She wants to confine Black and Latino children in Christian fundamentalist schools that will turn them into unthinking robots. And this will be the spear point of a whole fascist offensive against people of color. An intensifying genocide.

In April, answering a call for volunteers, people joined with the Party for a plan to radically turn this around. In short, to make Chicago famous for something else: a city where the youth who are being targeted get organized to overthrow the system that targets them. A city where youth caught up in the gang life break with it and become emancipators of humanity.

This means mobilizing youth and others against the oppression coming down but even more, right now, it means struggling with what these youth are caught up in, with how they are seeing the world and their role in that world. The Revolution Club opened a storefront organizing center this spring in one of the neighborhoods where youth are caught up in this. Shortly after it opened, 7 people were killed in 24 hours in this neighborhood—which Carl Dix spoke to in his statement, “Black People Killing Each Other in Chicago, Carl Dix Says: Get Out of This Insanity and Get Into the Revolution.” This gives a sense of what urgently cries out to be done—and that this club is there on the front lines, fighting to do it.

The club has taken on the questions that they've run into through polemics—and then boiled the polemics down to stickers.

What follows are some scenes from the first few weeks of organizing.

Meeting the Leader of the Revolution

One of the first things the Revolution Club did was organize a showing of the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, a Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian, in a storefront the club had opened in April. Over 40 people packed into the organizing center to hear the dialogue between Bob Avakian (BA) and Cornel West, 15 or so from the surrounding neighborhood and others from around the city—on the basis of really a few days of organizing. One of the older volunteers wrote the following report:

At all points during the Dialogue,* people were really engaged with the film, often audibly engaged with it. There were 3 women in the middle of the audience who were constantly talking back to the screen, in a good way, shouting encouragement and props to both speakers. While I think at least 2 of them were religious, they really ate up BA’s tearing at the Bible and the whole religious argument that people need god to be good. The Usain Bolt section really got into people’s hearts and took them with it all the way up to its conclusion.

The section where he talked about us needing to live in a world where the horrors of today are gone, going through them one by one had people cheering. People were also way into the sections where he took on women’s oppression, the need for people to respond to the looming Ferguson verdict and James Brown.

There were also several people, including the 3 women I mentioned earlier, who really liked his agitation re the Democrats and American savagery overall. One of these women was also audibly moved when he talked about the hell imperialism brings down on workers in Bangladesh. The same people who were moved by BA were also moved by Cornel West, including in sections of his speech where he was strongly putting forward his own views.

Briefly on the Q&A, 2 places where people were audibly moved were when BA responded to the question of why are we still fighting for justice after so many decades and we need help to deal with the way they swept up our children in raids in the projects and the question of what do you say to young people who feel they’ve done such horrible things they can’t be redeemed. It seemed that people got that here was a revolutionary leader who was determined to lead in developing what’s needed to get ready and in position to lead people all out in going for revolution with a real chance to win and determined to struggle with people to be able to be part of this revolution. And has scientifically-founded faith that people can do this, but not as they are.

It is really the case that people who were there for substantial parts of the Dialogue did meet the leader of the revolution and almost all of them developed a real respect for him. At least 3 people got the DVD of the Dialogue and a younger person there bought The New Communism.

A week and a half later, the film still reverberates. One woman came by the next day talking about the need to get the youth into science and how the film had given her the most energy she’s had in months; a few days later she brought a friend over to find out about this. People have come into the organizing center, and there have been long talks in and out of the center between club members and some of the people who came. Some have drawn closer to the club; and some have marched with and agitated with it in the hood. Leading with BA—putting this revolutionary leader and what he’s about in front of people and letting them interact with him—is the key to breaking open this situation and opening up people’s thinking. This has to happen all over the city this summer.

* To get the references in this account, go here and watch the Dialogue. [back]

Watch the film HERE

Read more         Listen here

Bob Avakian Through the Years - 1969, 1979, 2003.

$20,000 is needed immediately to support the work being done in Chicago.

Please share the campaign on social media. Ask 5 people you know to contribute ($10 to $500 ... it all helps). DONATE GENEROUSLY NOW. 

A Day in the Hood: Coming Alive Then Running Into Borderlines

From a volunteer:

The Revolution Club went out to a neighborhood to organize people into the movement for revolution. The plan was to march through as a visible disciplined revolutionary force and call on people to get out of the harmful shit that this system has got them caught up in and get with the movement for revolution. As we were getting ready to march, a couple of youth were walking by so a couple of Rev Club members went over to talk to them. We told them we were communists and that we were organizing now for an actual overthrow of this whole system. One responded, “Oh, against the government? Hell, yeah.” They spoke bitterness about the fucked up conditions in Chicago and the need for something to be done.

We came back to the point that what we need is an actual revolution because those conditions they were talking about and the problems that go hand in hand with those conditions are created by a system that needs to be and can be gotten rid of, not just in Chicago but all over the world. Our only chance at changing this for the better depends on us understanding what’s at the root of these problems. Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, has developed the understanding of that system, a strategy to overthrow it, and a program for what should replace it embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

We pulled out a phone to show them the “BA Through the Years” video so they can catch a glimpse of the kind of leadership that exists. They laughed at the way BA went at how people get caught up in the idea that they are “regulating the corner” or thinking that this is “our hood” when the reality is that they don’t own or control shit. We told them because of the work this leader has done through the course of several decades, we have a thoroughly scientific method that allows us to get at the root of what’s going on and figure out the ways to change it all. What’s needed is for them to step into this, to put on a shirt and march with us, to join the Revolution Club, this is where people learn the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed and learn how to apply it to the problems of the revolution.

They had raised before that a lot of people won’t change or don’t want to hear this, so we told them coming into this is the way that things will change. People are caught up in a lot of shit because they don’t see any other way the world could be, but when they see people like them getting with the movement for an actual revolution, if they see them stepping into this and marching with the Revolution Club then that begins to change things on a level of significance that is much greater that what goes on in these few blocks and goes beyond what happens just in Chicago.

Other Revolution Club members had begun to talk to other people who were passing by and at one point decided to bring everyone together to engage with each other. This was right when the two youth we were originally talking to were about to read the six Points of Attention for the Revolution. This turned into a scene where people took turns reading each point out loud and talked about what they thought of the points.

After they read all the points out loud, one of the Revolution Club members asked them which points stood out to them. One person said Point 3, his friend said Points 1 and 4, and then the two other guys who had been brought over both said Point 2, and were kind of excited that they both thought that was important. When asked why, one person said that the disrespect and the different forms the oppression of women takes was wrong, the next guy spoke of the need for equality for gay and differently gendered people. The third person who answered then rethought what he said first and also spoke to point 2 before going on to speak to what was important in Points 1 and 4.

We posed the challenge again to step into this movement and march with the Revolution Club right then and there and spoke to the impact that this could have once again. As people were dividing out around this challenge and it looked like nobody would march, the pigs stopped to fuck with one of the masses. The Revolution Club went over to post up and make sure that the pigs didn’t go and just wantonly brutalize one of the people like they’re known to do.

The pigs left and we got in line to march and one of the guys we were just talking to fell into our ranks. He seemed unsure and began to fall behind when we started marching, but a Revolution Club member let him know that he’s right behind him and that he should march right next to the person on his side.

We marched together, chanting and in formation for a couple of blocks when all of a sudden, the person who had just joined us stepped out and apologized to a club member and explained that he couldn’t cross over to where we were going to march. That area was controlled by a different set—he feared getting shot if he went there.

The fact that people who want to step up and be about fighting for a whole new world that moves beyond all the fucked up shit that goes on in the world, feel trapped in a small piece of ground is both heartbreaking and infuriating. This also points to and poses a challenge to revolutionaries, just one more reminder that the world desperately needs change and that it is our responsibility to lead that transformation—and doing it right now.

Back and Forth: “I Get This—But Other People Won’t Take It Up”

From a volunteer:

A person working out of a local shop stepped out one day as revolutionaries were out at an intersection in Chicago fighting to bring people into the movement for revolution. He’d seen us out there before and was curious about what we were doing. We told him we were revolutionary communists and that we were out to build a movement for an actual revolution, that people had uprooted their lives and came from different parts of the country because a fascist regime has seized the reins of power and is poised to take the oppression of Black people to horrific new levels, zeroing in on Chicago.

When we met this guy we were building for a film showing of Revolution and Religion... to help introduce the leadership of BA to the masses, and after watching the trailer he said he wanted to pay for a ticket, not for himself but for us to give to anybody that we ran into who seriously wanted to go. He himself couldn’t make it, he argued, but he wanted to support what we were doing.

We see this kind of support as positive and significant but more is needed. This support from afar is a lot of how people want to relate to the revolution so we wanted to dig up what was standing in the way of people stepping into this movement. Some of the contradictions he raised were that people are afraid of a showdown with the repressive forces of the state, the youth are caught up in a lot of bad shit and it’s hard to get them stop, or even get a hearing.

We’ve been doing work nearby so we’ve continued to drop in on this shop, and this guy has taken some things up and thrown in some to build things while continuing to not fully commit to join the Revolution Club. We went through the six Points of Attention for the Revolution with him and he bought a shirt. He called on someone going through the shop to "stand with people" and come out to an upcoming event where an important message from the revolution is going to be given, and he bought The New Communism.

Recently, while in the shop, while we were having some struggle about whether or not we could even get a hearing from people caught up in all this shit that Chicago is too known for, he pointed out someone there who is in the life and called him over. He told us that this was one of those "knuckleheads" that you can’t talk to. He called the guy over and pointed to a flyer on the wall and asked him, "What do you think about this?" The response was, "Revolution? I don’t know and I don’t care nothing about that shit." The guy we were talking to then gestured to us as if saying, "Go ahead."

We took this on by making the point that this is about getting free and asked if that wasn’t something he wanted to do. There was a whole back and forth through which it was revealed that both of them felt the same way about the shit going on, "It would be good, but it’s so hard to get people to come together." The person we were working with seemed more optimistic after this exchange, in which he threw in at one point by clarifying that we were talking about freeing all people not just Black people, and agreed to help set up some meetings with other people.

Demonstrating at District 7: We Won’t Be Backed Down

The Revolution Club and supporters protested in front of the Englewood District 7 police station against the outrageous arrests of two Revolution Club members last month. This protest was in response to the arrests of two Revolution Club members at the Peace Walk led by the Catholic Church. At District 7—otherwise known as a nest of abusers, repressors, and murderers—we delivered a message: we will not be backed off the mission of organizing into the revolution the youth this system has no future for, and every time the police and other enforcers of this system try to suppress this movement, we are going to call forward more forces for revolution and get stronger in the face of it. In addition to the statement given by one of the Revolution Club leaders who had been arrested, two ministers spoke, expressing their appreciation for and support of the Revolution Club, and speaking out against the history of brutality and murder by this police district.

We marched a few blocks down to a busy intersection, gathering on the corner to bring this message to the people and leading a “speak-out” where people who had come to support got on the mic as well as some who had just been passing by. Different people said we need a revolution, with different ideas of what that means. One person said, “We will need a revolution in order to fight the superior forces of this system that are keeping us at a lack and a standstill.” Another began by talking about the dilapidated neighborhoods of the South Side and the unfairness of this. He said we need a change, a revolution, and went on to broaden out to the whole history of this country, the enslavement of Africans, the slaughter of Native Americans, followed by Jim Crow, and now people being mass incarcerated. He ended saying it’s time for a change.

When the protest was over, some people came to the Revolution Club office to hang out together and to talk about how to organize for the upcoming May 20th march and rally in South Shore, with a message being delivered by Carl Dix, “What you should—and should not—live and die for.” At first people were in different groupings talking about different things, and then we brought people together to all talk with each other, which was a key element of bringing forward something new. One big controversy: leadership, why do you need it and what kind do you need. Someone brought up Occupy and said they couldn't get anywhere because they didn't have leadership. We got into the importance of leadership, the role of BA and the leadership he's provided, and the need for people to get into this—but summed up later we could have actually done better by putting the chapter on leadership in BAsics before people and discussing key quotes from there. There's plenty of ways to let people encounter BA and have that, uncut, set the terms.

When we came all together to talk in a bigger group, a man in his 20s spoke movingly about how he sees the club and his role in all this. He said he has seen the Revolution Club not just on the South Side but at demonstrations in other parts of the city and he feels like the Revolution Club represents the way forward. He said he kept hearing people talk about the six Points of Attention for the Revolution and wanted to know what those are. Someone handed him a copy and asked him if he wanted to read it out loud. He did and read through all six, sometimes pausing to think and briefly respond to what he was reading. At the end, he said the most striking to him were Points 2 and 3. On Point 2 he felt strongly that women are being oppressed all over the world and the need to fight to end this oppression. On Point 3 he was struck by the vision of a world without borders, which he described as artificial barriers meant to keep people in and keep people out. The power of these points as representing a whole different way came out; the room listened raptly, and some seemed to hear them in a new way. He said he wanted to think about all of these points more, but spoke powerfully about the attraction he felt toward the revolution. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/may-17-2017-message-from-the-revolution-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

May 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 17, 2017

MESSAGE FROM THE REVOLUTION

Heavy things are coming down on the people, and about to get much worse.  Trump plans to use the conflicts among the people in Chicago to bring down the hammer like never before in our lifetimes.  Trump and Pence are moving in a genocidal direction against Black people, as part of their whole fascist offensive.  They could move as early as this summer.

But too many of our youth are caught up in the craziness of killing each other.  Not able to cross the street into another neighborhood.  The oppressed fighting among themselves, instead of against the oppressor.  Doing to each other what the system wants us to do.

But there’s a whole other way.  We are working for a revolution at the soonest possible time.  A revolution to overthrow this whole system which has caused this horror and much more.  A revolution to seize power and to emancipate all humanity.

This Saturday, May 20, from 5 to 6 pm, one of the leaders of the revolution, Carl Dix, will deliver an urgent message at 71st and Jeffery:

WHAT YOU SHOULD – AND SHOULD NOT – LIVE AND DIE FOR

This will be a message of revolution: what it’s about and the world we are fighting for.  This message will be about unity...against the REAL enemy.  This message will tell you about the leadership we have for this revolution, to see it all the way through: Bob Avakian, and the Revolutionary Communist Party.  This message will tell you your role in this revolution, right now.

The police will try to suppress this.  They have already harassed and arrested people in the revolution on the south side.  We have mobilized people to fight this and will keep fighting it.  These pigs will also try to make use of the conflicts among the people – conflicts caused by the system that they “serve and protect.” 

IMPORTANT: People need to be able to hear this message.  We should not give the pigs an excuse to come in and bust this up.  We should put our beefs aside while the revolution gets out its message to everyone who wants to hear it.  And the police must not be allowed to incite or foment anything during that period.  We all have a role to play in making sure that this message is allowed to be heard.

The stand of revolution is clear – and set forth in the 6th Point of Attention:

“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.”

5 pm, this Saturday, 71st and Jeffery

 

 

The Revolution Club in Chicago
Phone: 312-804-9121 • Facebook.com/RevClubChi • Email: revclub.chi@gmail.com
Address: 1857 E. 71st St. (71st & Bennett) • Open 3pm-7pm every day except Monday
For more information go to www.revcom.us

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/take-down-the-confederate-monuments-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Take Down the Confederate Monuments—and Shut Down the White-Supremacist Fascists!

May 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Around 100 racists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the night of Saturday, May 13. They railed against the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee—who led a war to defend and expand the enslavement of Black people—from a public park. The crowd carried torches that evoked a KKK lynch mob, and chanted “We [white people] will not be replaced” and “Blood and Soil” (a slogan from the Nazi German regime that carried out the genocidal slaughter of six million Jews and millions of other people in the mid-20th century).

 

Saturday, May 13, racists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia
Saturday, May 13, racists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in front of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The crowd carried torches that evoked a KKK lynch mob, and chanted “We [white people] will not be replaced” and “Blood and Soil” (a slogan from the Nazi German regime that carried out the genocidal slaughter of six million Jews and millions of other people in the mid-20th century). Photo: AP

 

The neo-Nazi “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer played a prominent role. Spencer is a big Trump supporter—last November he led a celebration in Washington, DC of Trump’s election with people chanting “Hail Trump” and giving the Nazi salute. In Charlottesville, Spencer said: “We will not be replaced from this world. Whites have a future. We have a future of power, of beauty, of expression.” He spoke of the “common brotherhood” of white people “from Portugal to Siberia, and… North America.”

Similar mobs have been mobilized in other places to defend Confederate symbols, including recent actions in Pikeville, Kentucky, and New Orleans, where the racists, according to news accounts, came armed and/or dressed “ready for battle.” (It is also important that in every case, significant numbers of anti-racist forces mobilized to challenge and denounce these actions.)

This violence-tinged defense of slave owners and genocidal regimes of the past is not just about “history”—it is BLATANT terrorism being directed specifically against Black people, and more broadly against all the groups being targeted by the Trump/Pence regime: immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and anyone who stands with them. And notice that Trump, Pence, and their whole crew have been dead silent about this terrorism!

There are four things that need to be made clear on this question:

1.     It would be a very good thing if, instead of removing these monuments in the middle of the night as was done in New Orleans, there were public ceremonies at which the masses of people were able to speak about the history of slavery and its effects down to today—and if people move to tear down the statues and other monuments to those who speak for slavery, they should be defended. The debate and controversy that this stirs up should then be used to deeply educate people about the true history of the U.S., so that growing numbers—including white people—come to hate and despise everything these monuments stand for.

2.     The fact that this is not happening right now—and on top of that, reactionary racists are actually trying to STOP these statues from being removed, and bringing torches and coming “ready for battle” when they do—shows that even the basic question of slavery being wrong, with all the implications that has for the humanity, treatment, and even right to live of Black people, is far from settled in these times. In fact, this is treated as some kind of legitimate topic for “discussion” in the media, and when the city of Charlottesville tried to sell the Lee statue, a judge delayed that for six months.

3.     Neither Trump nor Pence—nor, needless to say, notorious white supremacist and Attorney General Jeff Sessions—has uttered a word to condemn this or to rein in these mobs. This points both to their need to encourage and unleash a violent fascist movement to enforce their whole program and to the fact that this fascist program includes a strong genocidal component directed at Black people in particular and virulent assaults against Latinos, immigrants, Muslims, and others.

4.     Cast away illusions—prepare for struggle! The emboldening and unleashing of organized reactionary mobs has been and is an integral feature of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. These are shock troops being built up to attack and suppress the masses, to counter the regime’s ruling class opponents, and potentially to carry out genocidal attacks on Black people. This makes clear that this regime, and the reactionary social forces that are cohered around it, are not going away without an all-out struggle. Spencer and the rest of the KKK/Nazi monsters cannot be tolerated—they need to be shut down wherever they appear, as one key component of millions rising up to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/pig-who-murdered-terence-crutcher-walks-free-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Pig Who Murdered Terence Crutcher Walks Free
Enough Is Enough!

May 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Last night another murdering pig walked free, video evidence be damned. This time it was the cop who murdered Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed Black man, last September in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Righteous protests broke out in Tulsa right away—and more are needed.

On September 16, Terence was driving in north Tulsa Oklahoma when his car stalled. He got out, apparently to get help. Then the police came. 

Videos show what happened next. Terence is slowly walking to his car with his hands up, away from the police. A cop in a helicopter above can be heard saying, “He’s got his hands up there for her now” and “this guy’s still walking and following commands.” In other words, Terence is clearly not threatening anyone. Terence reaches his car, puts his raised hands on the side of his SUV. By then four cops are about 10 feet away, guns drawn. Terence barely moved, if at all, yet within seconds one cop tased him, and then another—Betty Jo Shelby—shot him dead.   

Terence Crutcher didn’t do a goddamn thing to justify being shot down. He was murdered. But the system only charged the murdering pig, Shelby, with manslaughter. She claimed she feared for her life, that she was afraid Terence was moving like he was reaching for a gun inside his car.

But there was no gun and no evidence of threatening moves. (According to the New York Times, “Prosecutors also argued that Officer Shelby fired several seconds before the gesture the defense cited as the basis for her fear.”)

The truth behind the murder was blurted out by another pig in the helicopter above seconds before Terence was murdered. He didn’t know anything about Terence other than he was Black, but he said, “That looks like a bad dude.” Bad dude!? In other words, to the police every Black person is a suspected criminal and a danger, and someone the police “had a license to murder,” as Carl Dix put it at the time.

Why Do Police Keep Murdering Unarmed Black People...And Getting Away With It? 

Why do police keep murdering unarmed Black people, and getting away with it – year after year, decade after decade? Because this whole system was founded and is based on the extreme exploitation and violent subjugation of Black people – from outright slavery,  to Jim Crow, to the “New Jim Crow” today.  

The U.S. legal system has always been set up and shaped to justify the violent subjugation that has kept Black people exploited and oppressed. Today police murder is justified by defining the legal standard for using deadly force as whether or not the cop “reasonably believed that such force was necessary,” according to the Department of Justice itself. This is giving pigs a get out of jail free card: it means the cops can claim they “believed” their lives were in danger or any other excuse to justify murder, no matter how obviously sick and absurd the video evidence shows their justifications to be, as in Terence Crutcher’s case. 

Some 400 unarmed people – disproportionately Black and Brown – are killed by police every year. Yet in the last decade, when roughly 4,000 unarmed people were killed by police, only 9 killer cops were convicted of manslaughter. 

This will never change until the system that police murder is rooted in is itself uprooted – by a revolution which aims to abolish and totally uproot white supremacy and the oppression of Black people as part of emancipating all humanity. 

       

Trump/Pence Fascist Regime—Doubling-Down on Police Murder

Now the system has doubled-down by putting a fascist, Donald Trump, in power who says the murdering police are the victims. The pigs have supposedly “been subject to unfair demonization and vilification,” because thousands upon thousands have condemned and protested their wanton murder of unarmed people. 

Trump and his regime have made clear they oppose any criticism of these murdering pigs – or any legal or political restraints on them. Watch the video of Terence Crutcher being shot down and think about the monstrous, genocidal implications of Trump’s green-light to terrorizing, murdering cops.

This must not be allowed to go down. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/fighting-for-another-future-and-forging-a-future-people-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

From the Revolution Club NYC

Fighting for Another Future, and Forging A Future People:
'I woke up to the true America today... but I didn't wake up alone'

May 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolution Club had been out on day 3 of protesting in front of Trump Tower with Refuse Fascism, responding to the escalation of moves to consolidate a fascist America with the firing of FBI Director James Comey. At the end of this day 3 we invited people we had been marching with to Revolution Books for our monthly scheduled open mic “Future People.”

We hold this every month, where people are invited to come together to create, share and express different forms of art including singing, poetry, rap, guitar playing, ukulele playing, readings, tap dancing, and more. All this, shared on a stage where the six Points of Attention (POA) for the Revolution set a foundation, and are promoted as both the basis for coming together in this space to contribute to a culture of radical revolt against this revolting culture, and also representing an alternate authority for what to live and fight for in the larger world.

About 20 people gathered at Revolution Books for the Club's open mic. It was a mix of all kinds of people, mostly young but older as well, all nationalities and from different strata. Students, professionals, people from the neighborhoods, Refuse Fascism volunteers and the Revolution Club. Some were supporters of the store or the club, and some we had just met by being out in the world fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution.

Several of the pieces (Including songs, poems, and readings) were dealing with the contradiction of just trying to be a Black person in this society, both speaking to the brutality and open oppression of this system that comes down on Black people, and also having to go up against the stereotypes and view of how Black people are “supposed to be.” There were pieces on fascism and Trump, with one featured song that had been sung out in front of Trump Tower at the marches with the refrain “I don't support your wall. I don't support your ban. And if you ain't a fan say FUCK THE ORANGE MAN!” There was a poem about veganism. There were two beautiful pieces in Spanish, one of them was from a member of the Club in the style of Canción protesta, with a message to the persecuted to gather the strength to say !Basta Ya!/Enough and stop fascism. The other Spanish piece was a moving song about a longing to see the world change its colors. Another Revolution Club member did a poem expressing disdain with the many ways this system traps up especially the most oppressed with ideas of chasing stardom and the American dream, instead of how we all get free. Another young man who started getting closer to the Club recently read a poem he had written there about waking up to the true America, and confronting its towering crimes, which ended with the lines “I woke up to the true America today... but I didn't wake up alone.” Raymond Lotta gave a message from the bookstore and included a story about going out with Refuse Fascism the night before to a performance at Town Hall where actors performed selected transcripts from the confirmation hearings of key Trump appointees, and how we were welcomed and invited in by the theatre to watch, and some actors were proud to hear we had come, and it turned out that the show included, in it, reenactments of what Refuse Fascism, members of the Revolution Club, and others had done to interrupt the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions!

This whole night was MC'd by several Club members who would intersperse announcements about why and how to get involved with the Club, what the Club had been doing in the world including working with Refuse Fascism to drive out this fascist regime, telling people about the Revolution Club in Chicago going to work on a key problem of the revolution, getting people out of fighting and killing each other and into the revolution. Bringing up and breaking down the importance of the POAs, directing people to revcom.us both generally and specifically to the prisoner's letter about digging the POAs. And letting people know that the leadership of Bob Avakian and The New Communism is what is at the heart of all this, and how people could learn more about that in the store and with the Club, including setting up with some people an informal reading and discussion of the introduction to The New Communism.

This was a whole day of struggle, in the streets and on the stage. Up against the way the world is, and reaching for a whole other way the world could be.



       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/make-berkeley-a-fascist-free-zone-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Make Berkeley a Fascist Free Zone!

May 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Refuse Fascism organizer in the Bay Area, first posted at RefuseFascism.org

The following is the speech I gave the Berkeley City Council on May 16. I got three minutes of time during the public comment period and was able to give about two thirds of it. We also distributed about 200 copies of it:

Make Berkeley a Fascist Free Zone!

Over the last few months, Berkeley has been targeted by a series of intellectual operatives for the Trump regime, Milo Yiannopoulos, who likes to pose with “white power” hand signs and was banned from Twitter for inciting racist and misogynist campaigns of harassment; David Horowitz who says Black people should be grateful for slavery; and most recently Ann Coulter who says immigration is leading to white genocide. And along with that, twice in April, hundreds of ready-to-brawl “alt-right” white supremacists, neo-Nazis, bikers and militia have rallied across the street from here. When Sunsara Taylor came to speak at Cal a week and a half ago on: Why it is right, and righteous, to drive fascists off campus, out of Berkeley, and out of power, a number of “alt right” people came to disrupt the event, and just two days ago at Revolution Books in Berkeley, 5 members of the “Proud Boys” white supremacist organization came to deface the store and disrupt an event.

Wake up Berkeley! There is a fascist regime in the white house, and pro-Trump fascist thugs are targeting Berkeley exactly because of its radical legacy, multiculturalism and progressive values. If they can make Berkeley bow down, it will greatly strengthen their ability to make the whole country accept new norms and bend to their will.

A few days ago in Charlottesville Virginia, in an act of KKK style intimidation, a bunch of these same “alt right” types held a torchlight rally to protest the dismantling of a Confederate statue. The next day, hundreds of people rallied to oppose this and the mayor said, in an interview in the New York Times today, “We have to speak out against this immediately. We have to repudiate it.”

What is Berkeley going to do in the face of this same fascist assault? Ignoring them won’t make them go away. In fact Milo Yiannopoulos is planning to be back at UC Berkeley in the Fall. These people are claiming the mantle of the free speech movement and claiming their free speech rights are being suppressed. This is nonsense. First of all, the Free Speech Movement was NOT about the “right” of fascists and racists to say whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want. It was about the right of students to be part of the fight against racism, to be part of the civil rights struggles at that time. And far from being persecuted or suppressed by the state for their ideas, the ideas of fascists like Milo and Ann Coulter are being imposed by the most powerful state in the history of humanity. Every day, the Trump/Pence regime is slamming ahead to implement precisely the kind of genocidal racism, women-hating cruelty, war-mongering ambitions, planet-destroying lies, and anti-immigrant ethnic-cleansing these “intellectual” hit-people promote. For them to claim “free speech” is truly laughable, while they support a fascist president that relentlessly attacks the press, and any judges that rule against his Muslim ban, that called for locking up and even assassinating his political opponent and incited violence against protesters at his rallies, and most recently that literally fired the head of the FBI that was investigating him. If Trump and his followers are not stopped, there will be no free speech allowed, no criticism or questioning of the fascist dictator.

Berkeley HAS to take a stand against this. Fascism is in power, and growing in the streets. We have to do what the German people did not do when fascism was on the rise in the early 1930s. And how can “sanctuary city” really mean anything if white supremacists can run amok, and the people and institutions are silent? We are working on a resolution for the Berkeley city council to take a stand, and like the mayor of Charlottesville said, to repudiate the fascist targeting of Berkeley. And we invite everyone here to be part of the campaign to create a fascist free Berkeley. In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!

A number of people applauded after I spoke and a bunch asked for flyers afterwards. There was a large crowd that was there for a resolution to withdraw the city of Berkeley from a militaristic police training program called Urban Shield. So it was a friendly crowd.

After I spoke, an assistant to one of the council members followed me out and was very enthusiastic about working on a resolution. She is also in discussion with other council members and organizations about a big concert and a march, which she described as being in response to the targeting of Berkeley by these forces, and she wanted to involve us and liked the idea of an anti-Trump/anti-fascist march and concert. She thinks it’s B.S. that people like Milo and Ann Coulter are invoking “free speech,” because, as she put it, free speech doesn’t entitle you to a platform. Also, she thinks it’s important for a resolution to explicitly support people protesting fascism.

I also talked to a number of other very interested people. One Cal grad student, who didn’t come to the Sunsara Taylor event but watched half online and really liked it, raised the question of what would be an enforcement mechanism of a fascist-free Berkeley resolution, and whether the state would be involved (because he didn’t think it should). A Cal staffer that heard my speech and said he agreed, because what these fascists are spewing is “hate speech, which impacts people psychologically and emotionally, even if not physically. He also heard about the controversy around the Sunsara event, but didn’t go. I talked to a Cal student who was part of the Milo protest who was initially expressing her concern that protests be non-violent, but then when I presented the larger picture and stakes, challenged her false equation of the anti-fascists with the fascists, including in relation to the violence question, but also challenged her to act (non-violently) to stop fascism, she really agreed. A middle aged Berkeley guy who has seen Refuse Fascism at protests a number of times, read through the whole flyer on the spot, and said he’s been agonizing about what to do to actually prevent these fascists from coming to Berkeley. We talked about what it means to politically defeat them and for Berkeley to really become Berkeley again, and the interrelation between the battle for Berkeley and the fight to drive out the regime in power, which he said he found illuminating. He’s interested in getting involved with Refuse Fascism.

We are now working to finalize a draft of this resolution and get it to a number of people. We have to work with people in a collective way (to draw forward and represent the will of the best of Berkeley), but also make sure the statement maintains the core stance against the fascist targeting of Berkeley. And we are aiming to take this battle not just to the city council, but to all of Berkeley, and the whole society. The resolution is one vehicle to do that, which could very well become a major national flashpoint of the fight to stop the fascist remaking of this society.

 

       

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/446/promesa-imperialist-vultures-descend-on-puerto-rico-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

PROMESA: Imperialist Vultures Descend on Puerto Rico

Updated May 19, 2017 (originally published July 4, 2016) | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 19, 2017: This week, Oscar López Rivera, Puerto Rican nationalist and one of the leaders of the FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional), an organization dedicated to fighting for independence of Puerto Rico from U.S. imperialism, was released from prison after more than 35 years as a political prisoner. A major controversy has erupted after organizers of the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, scheduled to be held on June 11, announced they were honoring him as a “National Freedom Hero” and having him march at the head of the parade. In light of this, we are reposting this revcom.us article that was originally published last July when President Obama signed a bill called “PROMESA” that he and other officials claimed was going to help ease the enormous economic and social crisis that the U.S. has inflicted on Puerto Rico. In fact, in the year since then the crisis has only deepened. The official poverty rate is about 45%. People are being hit with deadly cuts in health care—with hospitals and other facilities closing and crucial care denied. At the end of April, Puerto Rico officially filed for bankruptcy because of its staggering debt of over $120 billion, and this is going to lead to more cuts that will further devastate the lives of the people. One of the immediate measures taken was the closing of 179 schools affecting 25,000 children.

 

In 2010, students at the University of Puerto Rico blocked the main entrance to the Rio Piedras campus as part of a 2-day strike to protest budget cuts, a proposal to increase university fees and changes to the academic program.
In 2010, students at the University of Puerto Rico blocked the main entrance to the Río Piedras campus as part of a 2-day strike to protest budget cuts, a proposal to increase university fees and changes to the academic program. (AP photo)

On June 30, President Obama signed a bill called the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act or “PROMESA” (Spanish for “promise”). Obama and other leaders of the U.S. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, claim PROMESA will help ease the enormous crisis that U.S. imperialism has inflicted on Puerto Rico. In particular, it was intended to immediately address a looming debt payment of $2 billion (out of $72 billion total debt) the government of Puerto Rico was scheduled to make on July 1. U.S. and Puerto Rican officials had long known that Puerto Rico would be unable to make this payment. PROMESA also puts forward a framework for further payments on this debt.

Obama presented PROMESA as a benevolent, if difficult, measure that would benefit Puerto Rico and its people. In fact, it will do nothing of that sort. It will provide a more favorable environment for extracting billions of dollars more for the enrichment of a handful of capitalists. PROMESA is the latest chapter in the almost 120-year history of U.S. imperialist domination of Puerto Rico—during which the U.S. has viciously oppressed the Puerto Rican people, denying them the most basic rights of national self-determination. The U.S. rulers have wrenched enormous profits from the country’s natural resources, and relentlessly exploited the people who live there. (See “A History of Super-Exploitation and Vicious Domination: Bloodsucking, Blackmail, and Bullshit: The U.S. Forces Puerto Rico to the Wall” at www.revcom.us for more on the history and background of the current crisis.) And now, PROMESA will inflict further calamitous suffering on the people of Puerto Rico while basically reimposing outright colonial control.

PROMESA establishes an “oversight board” (called a “junta” in Spanish by people in Puerto Rico) of seven members selected by the U.S. The board will negotiate, not eliminate, Puerto Rico’s debt payments with its creditors. In short, this junta is basically a collection agency for the capitalist banks and financial institutions who are owed money by the Puerto Rican government. The board can impose conditions of harsh cutbacks on the people as part of rescheduling the debt. PROMESA mandates a reduction in the minimum wage for younger workers, removal of overtime pay, further privatization and cutbacks in many social functions and services, reductions in pensions, and other “austerity” measures.

The “Promise” and the Reality

Since seizing control of the island at the end of the 1800s, U.S. imperialism has plundered Puerto Rico’s bountiful agriculture and turned it into a sprawling sugar plantation. It has compelled people driven from the countryside to work at less than minimum wage in sweatshops and vast “home industries.” It has enforced conditions in which most children and about half the adult population live in deep poverty. Its domination has repeatedly forced huge sections of people to leave the island, in massive waves of immigration, to seek a way to survive.

Having sucked Puerto Rico dry, U.S. capitalism-imperialism now seeks to sift through the remnants of the destruction it has inflicted on this beautiful island for further profit. The consequences for the people of Puerto Rico will be devastation on top of devastation. Health care has already been severely cut. Hospitals routinely delay life-and-death treatments such as chemotherapy because of lack of funding. Hospitals and other facilities have been closing, doctors and other professionals forced to leave the country because they aren’t paid. Puerto Rico has already had hundreds of cases of infection with the Zika virus, and its health system is collapsing in the midst of peak mosquito season. All this will intensify under PROMESA.

There have already been severe cutbacks in education. Schools across the island have closed; funding for higher and technical education has been cut back sharply. Now with PROMESA, a report from Centro Para Una Nueva Economía (Center for a New Economy) says that, among other developments, “A default in July could also endanger the beginning of the new school year in August.”

In every dimension of society, the crisis inflicted on Puerto Rico will intensify. This is an expression both of the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system and of the conscious decisions taken by its political leadership, Obama and other politicians twisting a knife deeper into Puerto Rico and its people. This is the reality behind their “PROMESA.”

As we wrote recently, “This nightmare of exploitation and oppression will finally end when the imperialist chains that shackle Puerto Rico are shattered through revolutionary struggle. There is a proud history of resistance of the Puerto Rican people on the island and in this country. One of the high points in this struggle was the courageous and bold struggles in the 1960s by the Young Lords Party within the U.S. This fighting spirit and struggle needs to be revived, and taken much further into a fight for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism.

“Right now is one of those rare times when the media and politicians in the U.S. are actually talking about Puerto Rico and the real truth about Puerto Rico and the possibilities for great advance in overcoming oppression in today’s situation must be made known as widely as possible in all society. On this scientific basis, support for the struggle of the Puerto Rican people to break the imperialist chains must be built as a part of building the movement for revolution and with the seizure of power the hold of the U.S. on Puerto Rico will be broken.”

See also: A History of Super-Exploitation and Vicious Domination: Bloodsucking, Blackmail, and Bullshit: The U.S. Forces Puerto Rico to the Wall

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/northwestern-protest-shuts-down-ICE-agent-on-campus-en.html

Revolution #491 May 15, 2017

Northwestern University Students Shut Down ICE Agent on Campus

May 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday, May 16, an official with the Trump/Pence regime’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was shut down by righteous student protesters at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The ICE agent had been invited to speak at a sociology class to “answer questions so that [students] know what’s going on,” in the words of the professor teaching the class. According to The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper, the protesters walked into Harris Hall, where the class was being held, chanting “Fuck ICE” and holding banners saying “No More Deportations.” Campus administrators tried to stop them, but the protesters marched into the classroom, and they asked the teacher “why she invited the ICE representative and if she had considered the possible effect the visit may have on undocumented students or students who know someone who has been detained by the federal agency.”

The ICE official was forced to leave, and the class was cancelled. An official from the Justice Department—headed by the white supremacist Attorney General Sessions—had also been scheduled to speak. The university president and provost released a statement the next day attacking the protest, saying, “The behavior of our students in this protest was disrespectful, inappropriate and contrary to the values of the University.”

This is a shameful, unacceptable position on the part of the university. One of the protest organizers, April Navarro of MEChA de Northwestern, had a sharp answer when she told The Daily Northwestern, “We’re not interested in having those types of conversations that would be like, ‘Oh, let’s listen to their side of it’ because that’s making them passive rule-followers rather than active proponents of violence. We’re not engaging in those kinds of things; it legitimizes ICE’s violence, it makes Northwestern complicit in this. There’s an unequal power balance that happens when you deal with state apparatuses.”

ICE, and the Trump/Pence regime as a whole, is carrying out a fascist campaign of terror against millions of undocumented immigrants—labeling them as “criminals” that need to be hunted down, thrown into detention camps without any rights, and deported across the border. Families are being torn apart as children see their parents dragged away. This is NOT a time for students and others to politely listen to spokespeople for this regime and other fascist speakers, but to wage fierce and determined protest against them. What the students at Northwestern did was entirely just and necessary—and everyone on the campus, and outside the campus, should support them and oppose any attempt by the university to punish them.