Revolution #492, May 22, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Why Relying on the Political Process Is Not Just Insufficient But Dangerous...
And Why the Whole Trump/Pence Regime Has Got to Go:

On the Appointment of the Special Counsel to Investigate the Trump Campaign

May 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Justice Department has named a special counsel to investigate possible ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. The appointment has been met with a sense of expectation by millions of people outraged by the reactionary policies of the Trump/Pence regime—and a sense of relief by some of the powers that be. The special counsel, former head of the FBI Robert Mueller, has been portrayed in the media and by Democratic and Republican politicians as someone “above the fray” who will go where the evidence leads—and not bend to partisan pressure.

The media and politicians are telling people to trust in institutions they say will uncover wrongdoing and crimes. And this can lead people to pin hopes on the special counsel to rein in the Trump/Pence regime.

But the reality of the situation is much more serious—and what is needed in order to get rid of Trump and this fascist regime of horrors is something of a whole other order: a movement of people in their millions to drive out this regime.

Trump Doubles Down and Messages His Base to Get Ready to Fight

Trump has reacted to talk of congressional investigations and the appointment of the special counsel with vitriol, contempt, and fascist resolve that the ship will not go down. He has accused his foes of waging a witch hunt to bring down a presidency that was elected fair and square and that from day one has incurred the wrath of “out of touch elites.”

In his commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy, Trump told the cadets: in the face of adversity “you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight.” He is telling his supporters to get ready for a fight to the end. This is the orientation that has guided this fascist movement for decades. And now that it is in power, it is the orientation of holding on and carrying forward to implement its agenda and to remove roadblocks to doing so. As Vice President Mike Pence declared when the new fascist cabinet was filled: “Now is our time.”

Just four months in power, and the regime’s fascist program has already done enormous harm and poses dire threats to humanity and the planet: the terrorization and heartless arrest and deportation of immigrants; gag orders on health and family-planning workers in other countries receiving funds from the U.S. that prevent them from providing women with information about abortion; suppression of climate-change research and a fossil-fuel frenzy energy policy.

And the Trump/Pence regime has made it abundantly clear that it will not be bound by legal precedent, constitutional constraints, or procedural norms. The recent firing of FBI director James Comey—the incident that set off the current political firestorm—is an illustration.

The Special Counsel Doesn’t Begin to Solve the Real Problem: Fascism Is in Power

If we come to grips with the actual—the fascist—nature of this regime, we can begin to see how and why the Mueller investigation does not begin to solve the problem (and for all its “special-ness,” Trump still retains the legal authority and power to fire the special counsel).

Even if the Mueller investigation began pointing to criminal wrongdoing... even if other congressional investigations further opened the question of impeachment... even if the Democrats began mobilizing for deeper and wider examination of the regime—the brute fact remains: this regime is determined to implement its fascist program.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and a close and early supporter of Trump, expressed the sense of mission of this regime when he said, “There is no next election. This is our last chance to save this great country.” It is a sentiment echoed by others in Trump’s cabal.

Again, these fascists are pressing ahead. But they have not fully consolidated power. So there is a window to act against this regime. But that could shut quickly.

The regime could rapidly move against “enemies” and suppress resistance, suspend the rule of law, and impose even more draconian law. It could manufacture an “incident” that provides a pretext to “crack down.” The Nazis did this in 1933. A fire destroyed the Reichstag (like the Capitol building in the U.S.). The Nazis blamed the communists but likely set the fire themselves and used the incident to tighten their grip on power.

The Trump/Pence regime is not above doing something like this. Or it could make a precipitous move towards war, impose “emergency measures” in the name of “security”—and introduce them as temporary, then reinstitute and extend them, and basically gut and/or eliminate formal democratic rights.

Every day this regime remains in power, it causes more harm. And the longer it stays in power and institutionalizes its rule—the more it will be able to attack and erode civil liberties and voting rights, pass new laws, strengthen its capacity to carry out repression, and undermine people’s ability to protest and resist.

This regime must be driven from power before it is too late.

Trump/Pence: They and the Whole Regime Must Go

The probe by Mueller will focus on the 2016 presidential campaign, both Russian meddling and any possible collusion with Russia by Trump operatives. Trump could conceivably be targeted and implicated. But the special counsel investigation will not take on the ruling fascist regime assembled since the election as a whole.

If Trump were to go, that could be a good thing—but not if the rest of the regime is left intact. This is not what humanity needs. It is not what we should be fighting for. We are facing a coherent fascist cabal.

Is Mike Pence better for his “governing experience”? No, we don’t need a more competent fascist. And Pence is more than just a henchman who knows the ways and halls of power. As addressed in correspondence from Andy Zee, Pence now politically leads a powerful Christian fascist movement permeating U.S. society.

Who is worse, Trump or Pence? Both are worse! And there’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a critical part of the fascist cabal who is aiming to rewrite law and step up the legal-police-penal onslaught against Black and Latino people and immigrants. There’s Betsy DeVos, a devout Christian fascist with plans to wreck and Christianize the educational system. There are other operatives too. This project, and its agenda, has been decades in the making. It has backing at the highest echelons of society; it is in different ways connected to a broad, mass social base for fascism; and is tied in with fascist networks within the military. (See Bob Avakian, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era.)

The fascist cabal, now in power, is working relentlessly towards the fascist transformation of U.S. society. This regime must be stopped, and we have limited time to do it.

       

For the Sake of Humanity, We Must Drive Out This Whole Regime

People are being told that their concerns about the Trump regime will be solved by the special counsel and investigation—and to let it do its work.

What in fact is needed is much harder... but actually much more realistic. What is required of those who cannot stomach the hatred spewed by this regime—its xenophobia, its racism, its misogyny, its disregard for truth and fact—and where it is taking society—is to get off the sidelines and get on to the stage of changing history. To resist the crimes and outrages of this regime and organize and mobilize towards acting in our millions to drive out a regime that is moving to establish a fascist order and that has its fingers on nuclear weapons.

As for the Democrats. They have their differences with the Republicans. They will mobilize some opposition. But they will not do what is fundamentally needed, which is to bring people in their millions into the streets to get rid of this regime. Why won’t the Democrats mobilize their broad base of support into the streets to confront this regime and its supporters—to drive out this regime? Because mobilizing progressive people and those who have been oppressed by the system carries the risk of destabilizing society and unraveling the system—and this is something they will not allow. They won’t allow it because the Democratic Party is a party of the ruling class.

When Barack Obama told Donald Trump and America after Trump’s victory that the contest between the two parties was like an “intramural scrimmage,” that “we’re all on the same team”—he was revealing something very basic. The Democratic Party is more concerned with maintaining the capitalist-imperialist system and the rule of the capitalist-imperialist class than with the interests of the people. (For analysis, see Bob Avakian, “The Pyramid of Power and the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down.”)

In this current political crisis, the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism takes on heightened urgency:

We must 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.

If this happens, then the whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is driven from office.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/learn-to-accept-the-awful-no-andy-zee-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Learn to Accept the Awful? NO!

by Andy Zee | May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To learn more about the roots of the Christian Fascist movement get into this piece by Bob Avakian:

The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer

Bill Maher, host of HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher, has been in a fury for several shows against everyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because it is their fault that Donald Trump is president. On the May 19 broadcast a heated exchange erupted with Cornel West, who Maher lambasted for not supporting Hillary Clinton. Maher was emphatically arguing that Clinton would have been far better on the issue of police murdering Black people than Trump, as well as on every other issue. Cornel West said “better than Trump” is a low bar, but West’s arguments for not supporting Clinton is not my point here, although I must say that Cornel West was standing by his principles, whereas Maher advocates doing what is expedient, whatever the cost to humanity.

After Maher made this argument, David Frum, the conservative but anti-Trump editor of The Atlantic said: “[I]f you have any hope, better hope that Mike Pence becomes president as rapidly as possible...” Bill Maher excitedly replied: “I could not agree more. Mike Pence is well within the parameters of awful that we have come see as the normal. I’ve seen Mike Pence before... he’s the typical hypocritical Christian....”

Everything about this statement is wrong and dangerous starting with seeing Mike Pence as normal, except perhaps if you have come to accept actual fascism as normal. The problem is, to do this you have to ignore what fascism actually means to real people’s lives, and a person with any decency at all should never normalize fascism.

Mike Pence is a Christian fascist. He is now vice president of a regime that is in the throes of consolidating fascism. Fascism is not just an insult, but an accurate description of a regime that is an even more openly and brutal qualitative change from the “normal” exploitive and oppressive workings of the system, and the normal repressive apparatus that enforces that exploitation and oppression, including, mass incarceration and the police murder of Black and Latino people (if you want to get into it Bill Maher).

Fascism is a more blatant form of terroristic dictatorship—subverting the separation of powers, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, and, as the Refuse Fascism Call to Action states: “fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.”

Right now, there is much talk of Trump being removed from office and Mike Pence becoming president in the wake of Trump’s firing of FBI chief Comey and then openly bragging about obstructing an investigation of his campaign and government—which was a fascist move by essentially declaring that HE and his regime, including Mike Pence who continues to defend and advance Trump’s words and agenda, are above the law, and thereby essentially are the law.

Who is Mike Pence?

Mike Pence has been a major political force within, and now is the political leader of a Christian fascist movement that has been permeating U.S. society, political/government institutions, and especially its armed forces and police forces. Mike Pence assembled a cabal of Christian fascists in the Trump cabinet. They are moving ahead to destroy women’s very lives and much more.

You can not say Trump is a crazy and not Pence, and be truthful; Mike Pence will not even eat a meal with a woman if his wife is not present. I believe this is likely certifiably lunacy even for many who lived in the Middle Ages. More, there is not a single thing that Trump has done without Pence being a part of it and standing with Trump.

To David Frum and Bill Maher: MIKE PENCE MIGHT BE MORE DANGEROUS THAN DONALD TRUMP PRECISELY BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WILL ACCOMMODATE AND CONCILIATE WITH HIM AND WITH FASCISM, IF IT JUST LOSES ITS GROTESQUE FACE IN DONALD TRUMP.

NO! Trump and Pence must both go... along with the whole cabal they have assembled.

Frum and Maher both put forward that people should support Trump being removed from office and Pence becoming president as soon as possible, and then they could vote him out if they so wish in 2020.

The problem is, if we wait for the workings of the just appointed special counsel to possibly indict Trump... if we wait for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, there are two problems: (1) As indicated above, Pence could be president and as such will continue to lead in the consolidation of a fascist America and many people, such as Frum and Maher, are currently saying they are willing to accommodate to that—with no regard for what that will mean for the lives of millions of people, including the half of humanity that is female. And (2), and even more dangerous, the Trump/Pence fascist regime could consciously or even inadvertently provoke an international crisis or war, or create or confront a domestic incident or crisis that allows them to declare an emergency and rapidly enact measures that prohibit dissent and which could further unleash their rabid fascist base and paralyze those who oppose them. And, then it would be “too late.”

No Bill Maher, if you accommodate a “quieter,” more polite fascist who can speak in sentences but who nonetheless heads up a fascist regime; it is not wise, practical, or “adult”; it is complicity and collaboration.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/vice-president-mike-pence-dangerous-holy-warrior-waiting-in-the-wings-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence: The Dangerous Holy Warrior Waiting in the Wings

May 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It’s by no means a sure thing that Donald Trump will be forced from office. But if that does happen—and if it happens through the “orderly workings of the system” rather than through mass upheaval that drives the whole regime from power—then Vice President Mike Pence will become president.

Trump has been way out there as the fascist face of the regime. By comparison, Pence has been low key and comes across as at least less volatile than Trump. But Pence has been the main pillar and behind-the-scenes operative, down with Trump every step of the way, from slashing health care to barring Syrian refugees to threatening war against North Korea. Like Trump, Pence backs police suppression of Black and Brown communities through “Stop-and-Frisk” and a stepped-up militarized “War on Drugs,” and he once proposed a law to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents.

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... the whole world, ultimately... on the basis of “God’s plan” (as interpreted by them, of course).

Bluntly, Pence is the Christian version of the Taliban in Afghanistan, imposing a religious fundamentalist order.

The Christian Fascist Outlook

Pence, an evangelical Christian, often says that “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” In other words, it’s not that his religious views “influence” his political views, but that his political views are an application of his religious views.

But he’s not just talking about where his own views come from; Pence argues that U.S. law and society should be based on “the word of God.”

In 2006, Pence spoke in Congress supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Pence said: “I come to the well today to defend that institution that forms the backbone of our society: traditional marriage,” and that the main reason why this had to be defended is because it was “ordained by God [and] instituted among men.” He then added that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

So first, Pence is arguing that either we implement that which “God” has “ordained,” or society will collapse! Think of the implications of this, in light of the many horrific things that the “God” of the Bible has ordained—the killing of homosexuals, of women who are not virgins when married, of the babies of rival nations... and on and on.

Second, this is an argument for the enslavement and subordination of women (as well as the persecution of LGBT people), because “traditional marriage” and the “traditional values” that Pence upholds mean that women’s main role and purpose in life is to bear and raise children (see below). In Pence’s view, the failure of women to submit to (and men to enforce) this role will lead to “societal collapse.”

In total, this view of society organized on the basis of Christian law, and this religiously conceived vision of traditional marriage, and traditional roles for women, men, and children that go with this—and seeing this as the foundation and the model for society as a whole—are the bedrock of Pence’s nightmarish social vision and policy.

Mike Pence’s Christian Fascist Program

There are many dimensions to this—in this article we are focusing primarily on Pence’s views regarding women, the family, and LGBT people.

Pence believes that government policy should discourage women with children from working. In a 1997 letter to the Indianapolis Star, he said that moms working leads to kids with “good language and cognitive skills but stunted emotional growth” and that we need a “national debate” about “who should be raising the next generation of Americans,” (hint, he means women) and should develop tax policies that facilitate this.

Pence is an opponent of educating young people about birth control. In 2002, he harshly criticized then-Secretary of State Colin Powell for saying young people should protect themselves from STDs by using condoms—Pence said this was “a sad day,” argued that young people should be trained in “abstinence” instead, and (falsely) claimed that condoms are “very poor protection” against STDs.

Pence is a rabid opponent of abortion rights. Pence says Roe v. Wade should be “consigned to the ash heap of history.” As governor of Indiana, he signed eight anti-abortion bills—including bills that required burial of aborted or miscarried fetuses (thus treating this tissue as legal persons), mandated one-on-one sessions for women seeking abortions to be told that a fertilized egg is a human being, and banned abortions motivated by a diagnosis of severe fetal abnormality. In Congress, Pence co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment that defined the fertilized egg as a legal person, which would lay the basis for charging abortion providers, women who take “the day after” pill, or even women who miscarry, as murderers (as actually happens to hundreds of women annually in El Salvador, with a similar legal principle).

But Pence hasn’t waited for the passage of such a bill—while he was governor of Indiana, Purvi Patel, a young woman who had miscarried, was arrested at the hospital, accused of medically inducing the miscarriage, charged with both “feticide” and neglect of a newborn, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. She served almost two years before courts overturned some (but not all) of the charges and released her for time served.

Pence is a fanatical opponent of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care to women in the U.S., because it provides abortion and birth control to women. He fights to cut off all federal funding, including covering Medicare and Medicaid payments of women treated there. Pence said: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not to be in the business of providing abortions.”!

Pence is a fervent opponent of LGBT rights. He said that court decisions protecting same-sex marriage are “ominous,” and a 2007 law to prevent workplace discrimination of gays “wages war on freedom and religion in the workplace.” He signed a law in Indiana to legalize religious-based discrimination against gays. In his 2000 campaign for Congress, he proposed federal funding for “those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” a mealymouthed reference to so-called “conversion therapy,” the barbaric and unscientific practice of trying to persuade, bully, or sometimes torture gay youths into “choosing” a different sexual orientation.

Pence believes that “across the wider world, the Christian faith is under siege.” On May 11, he spoke at a conference hosted by Franklin Graham, a notorious Islamophobe, and pledged that “America will stand by followers of Christ.” Afterwards, Graham noted that Christians are also persecuted in the U.S. at the hands of “the gay-lesbian agenda,” and that it was good to know that Trump/Pence are about “defeating the enemies of the Cross.”

What It Means for Christian Fascism to Take Command of All of Society

The Christian fascists already held a lot of power and influence around the U.S. before Trump/Pence came to power, and have been attacking women, LGBT people, Muslims, and critical thinking all along. But they were not able to implement anything like their full vision of a society organized on a Christian theocratic basis—they were constrained by the courts, by other ruling class forces who didn’t agree with their program, and by the opposition and resistance of the masses.

With control of the executive—as well as Congress, the majority of state governments, and the Supreme Court—these obstacles can be violently swept aside, and what has so far been a checkerboard of oppressive laws and practices in certain areas and an increasingly reactionary atmosphere nationally, could be very rapidly transformed into the “law of the land,” and enforced with all the violence at the hands of the U.S. state.

This is already starting with Trump at the helm. Even though Trump himself is not driven by a religious vision, he has fully united with the Christian fascists who actually make up a large part of his administration, particularly his cabinet. If Trump is replaced by Pence, we can expect the regime to move to greatly intensify its drive to carry out the Christian fascist vision and program.

       

 

 


 

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Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Trump's Global Attack on Abortion = Denial of Health Care for Millions

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A major feature of the fascist Trump/Pence regime is greatly accelerated attacks on women, especially the assault on abortion. One major step in this was Trump’s move, right after taking office, to not only reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which had been canceled by Obama, but to expand it. The Global Gag Rule is an anti-abortion policy affecting women all over the world. Now, Trump’s more dangerous version of the Gag Rule has been officially packaged into a policy, introduced on May 15, called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” (PLGHA).

The Global Gag Rule, first put into effect by President Reagan in 1984, banned U.S. funds to foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” (emphasis added). This draconian rule meant groups receiving U.S. funds couldn’t even speak about abortion—which is why this policy is called the Global Gag Rule.

When the Global Gag Rule was first introduced, there was already a ban on U.S. funding of abortions—which still exists. But the Gag Rule imposed U.S. control over how NGOs use funds from sources other than the U.S. This has forced public health and family planning organizations that depend on U.S. funds to make a choice: stop performing or even advocating for abortion, which is crucial for women’s health and their lives overall—or continue this vital service but lose crucial funding for other important medical services. The Gag Rule previously applied to NGOs seeking funds from two sources: the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the primary agency responsible for civilian foreign aid; and the U.S. State Department (since 2003). And some programs, like those dealing with HIV/AIDS, had been exempted.

Now, the Trump/Pence regime’s PLGHA extends the Gag Rule to NGOs getting aid from all U.S. government departments and agencies—with no exceptions. In the past the Gag Rule withheld about $600 million a year. Now, the PLGHA, affecting all global health assistance, will mean $8.8 billion withheld annually—and this applies to far more NGOs. These include NGOs doing HIV/AIDS prevention (accounting for $6 billion of the cuts), malaria treatment, Zika response, and child health programs—in addition to reproductive health and family planning programs.

It is predicted that many critical health care centers around the world will now be forced to close. And the denial of family planning services will mean even more women dying after taking desperate measures like drinking battery acid or using wire coat hangers to end a pregnancy.

The Trump/Pence regime’s Global Gag Rule on steroids serves as a rallying cry for the Christian fascists who have been fighting for decades to abolish the right to abortion and reinforce patriarchal control, here and around the world, pushing their Dark Ages morality. The Christian fascists say this is about “protecting life,” but this is a lie. Fetuses are NOT babies. Women are NOT incubators. Denying the right to abortion consigns women to the status of slaves. Tony Perkins, head of the Christian fascist Family Research Council, hailed the new PLGHA, saying, “Today, President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise.... President Trump is keeping faith with the almost 60 percent of Trump voters who supported him and Vice President Pence based on their endorsement of the Republican Party’s platform on life and religious liberty.”

These Christian fascist ghouls are celebrating a policy that will mean stepped-up death and horrendous suffering for countless millions of people all around the world: Women whose lives will be ruined by unwanted pregnancies and who will die from unsafe abortions; people unable to get medicine for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other deadly diseases; babies and children denied life-saving health care. Unsafe abortions already account for about 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide; an estimated 68,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortion and 97 percent of unsafe abortions are in Third World countries. Now even more women will die.

Trump’s bringing back of a ramped-up version of an anti-abortion policy canceled by the previous Democratic administration is not some kind of “swing of the pendulum.” Moving with even more speed and viciousness toward abolition of abortion is a major component of the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist re-ordering of society and political rule. The regime’s new, vicious attack on women’s right to abortion, the super-charged Global Gag Rule, will cause great harm to millions and millions of people of all ages around the world. It must be denounced and fought as part of the whole struggle to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/reality-check-on-trumps-middle-east-trip-imperialist-godfather-hails-barbaric-violence-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Reality Check on Trump's Middle East Trip:
Imperialist-Godfather Hails Barbaric Violence, Calls For More

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Like a Mafia-godfather, Trump called together some of the most murderous, barbaric, tyrants on earth for his speech on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.* Trump praised them—then demanded that they step up, “take on the burden,” and ruthlessly take care of “Islamic extremists” and “terrorists.”

Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism are reactionary, oppressive forces, which have committed terrible crimes against the people. But Trump’s problem isn’t that they’re reactionary and oppressive. His problem is that they’re getting in the way of America’s own reactionary, oppressive stranglehold on the Middle East.

So he offered the junior butchers assembled in Riyadh billions in arms, and carte blanche support for whatever terrors or tortures they carried out against these forces or other opponents. “DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH,” Trump bellowed.

For the head-chopping fundamentalist kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Trump pledged $110 billion more in arms, and explicit backing to escalate its genocidal war in Yemen which has already created one of the most massive, hellish humanitarian crises in the world.

Trump began hammering into place new military alliances—”strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones”—and concluded with a bellicose call for military encirclement and aggression against Iran, which he claimed “has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”

Millions in the Middle East have already suffered and died at the hands of the U.S. Now Trump is doubling down on the staggering violence U.S. imperialism and its allies are carrying out across the region and preparing for even greater violence and aggression to come.

This isn’t “reaching out” to Muslims, or dialing back his “Make America Great Again” racism, xenophobia and war-mongering. This is threatening the lives of millions and millions in the region, and pouring gasoline on the reactionary clash between imperialism and fundamentalist Islamic jihadism.

~~~~~~~~~

Stay tuned to Revcom.us for further coverage of Trump’s speech and his trip abroad.

 


* This mafia ball was hosted by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, whose reactionary war in Yemen has been carried out through the war crimes of targeting hospitals, schools, markets, and apartment buildings, and killing or wounding thousands of civilians. Meanwhile Salman has overseen a vicious crackdown on all forms of dissent within his Kingdom, that’s featured widespread torture and executing 47 people on one day, January 2, 2016, alone—most of whom were beheaded.

Among the other 40-plus guests of honor was Egypt’s military dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In 2013, Gen. El-Sisi took power in a coup d’etat, massacring 100s of anti-coup protesters and rounding up at least 40,000 people, many who were severely tortured. Since then Egyptian police have been “abducting, torturing and forcibly disappearing people in an effort to intimidate opponents and wipe out peaceful dissent,” according to Amnesty International, in which “hundreds of students, political activists and protesters, including children as young as 14, vanish without trace at the hands of the state...Many are held for months at a time and often kept blindfolded and handcuffed for the entire period.” [back

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/health-care-in-the-hands-of-fascists-if-they-cant-afford-it-they-shouldnt-have-it-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Health Care in the Hands of Fascists:
“If They Can’t Afford It, They Shouldn’t Have It.”

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At the beginning of May, the U.S. House of Representatives, with a strong push by Trump, passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—their replacement for Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), which went into effect in 2010. The replacement of the wordAffordablewith the wordAmericanis entirely appropriate. If the AHCA bill becomes law, it will cut $880 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years—a quarter of the Medicaid budget. Estimates are that 14 million people will lose their health care by 2026.

The Senate is now taking up its version of the health bill, where significant changes will likely be made before there is a final law. But the basic framework is in place with the House bill, so let’s call it what it is. What these ghouls are doing, in the most chilling and grotesque way, is deciding who will live and who will die. Deciding who will have their medical care taken away, and delivering death sentences to unknown numbers of people no longer able to afford health coverage. This is going to disproportionately impact Black, Latino, Native American and other oppressed people, and it is also going to threaten the lives of much broader sections of the poor of all nationalities; those sick with pre-existing conditions, women, and the growing population of older adults.

Disastrous for Women

This bill is disastrous for women. It denies the use of any federal funds at all to go to any services provided by Planned Parenthood (half of their 2.5 million patients rely on Medicaid), doing the greatest harm to Black and Latina women. And in 105 counties, especially rural counties, Planned Parenthood is the only clinic that offers a full range of reproductive health services. That means denying women basic health services like life-saving cervical and breast cancer screenings and access to birth control. This bill could allow insurance companies to define things like treatment for sexual assault, domestic violence, postpartum depression, pregnancy, and Caesarean sections as pre-existing conditions—making women who have these “pre-existing conditions” face higher premiums. And it endangers all abortion coverage—by barring federal subsidies to any insurance plans that offer abortion.

“If They Can’t Afford It, They Shouldn’t Have It.”

One liberal congressman recently told the story of a constituent who, when told that “Obamacare” would provide medical coverage to some people who couldn’t afford it, said that was not a good thing. And that constituent went on: “If they can’t afford it, they shouldn’t have it.” What better way to capture the ugly, reactionary logic at the core of capitalism—that something so basic to humanity as health care is a commodity, which those who can afford it “deserve” to have and those who can’t, don’t. What kind of system and what kind of society breeds this kind of mentality!

And who are the “they” that this asshole and others like him are saying “shouldn’t have it”? Clearly, they’re talking about immigrants, Black and Latino people, Native Americans, and other oppressed nationalities in this country. The reality is that there are all kinds of government subsidies that disproportionately go to white people—and the higher up the economic scale, the better the employer-paid health insurance and the greater the government benefits from things like tax breaks, with the most generous benefits going to those who least need them. (See “Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In America,” Chris Ladd, Forbes, March 13, 2017.)

“Make America Great Again” Health Care

The logic and direction of the new American Health Care Act that the House has passed and Trump has welcomed is completely in line with what the Trump/Pence regime means when they say “Make America Great Again.” A cornerstone of the ideology of these fascists, and the program rapidly being put in place, is the contention that a major cause of America’s “decline” is that—in response to the uprisings of the 1960s, especially the revolutionary movements of Black and other oppressed people—the government has increasingly interfered with the “natural” workings of the cutthroat “survival of the fittest” capitalist-imperialist system by creating and enforcing a “welfare state.” For them, it’s the imagined “government handouts” going to those darker-complexioned “freeloaders” that is to blame for the deteriorating conditions confronting large sections of lower middle class and poor whites. In fact, it is the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system, and the consequences of its global scramble for profits, that is the cause. This is a country that has racist white supremacy and anti-immigrant xenophobia deeply woven into its history and present-day reality.

To fully recognize the magnitude of the crime of turning the Trump/Republican health care bill into law, look at the savage inequalities that already exist today in the access to desperately needed medical treatment of the people at the bottom of this society. (See “Inequality and the health-care system in the USA,” Samuel L. Himmelstein, MD, The Lancet, April 8, 2017.) For the 27 million uninsured, this means no routine medical visits, tests, treatments, and medications because of cost; neglecting chronic conditions; and waiting till it’s an emergency before going for help. It means people with serious psychiatric disorders unable to get care. And on top of that, for Black people and other oppressed people, all of this is magnified through the lens of all-encompassing racism within the medical field. Together with the lack of a healthy diet and the stresses that come from everyday survival in the inner cities, this becomes genocidal in its implications for the oppressed.

Today in this country, the life expectancy of the wealthiest Americans is 10-15 years greater than for the poorest. At the time the ACA was being debated, there were 45,000 needless deaths each year in the U.S. because people did not have adequate health care. The Trump/Pence regime and its fascist cohorts in Congress are fully aware that their “Make America Great Again” hell-care law will mean death for many—with the poor and oppressed targeted at the top of their list. We cannot allow this to happen!

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/491/ba-religion-patriarchy-male-supremacy-and-sexual-repression-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

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

Religion, Patriarchy, Male Supremacy and Sexual Repression

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

May 19, 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.

 

One of the most important aspects of the role of religion as a shackle on humanity—and here again I am examining particularly the role of the world’s three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—is the way in which this represents a concentrated expression, and reinforcement, of patriarchy and male supremacy.  To put it simply, all of these religions are patriarchal religions.  Each one of them pictures a god that is a powerful male authority figure: The Father, the Lord, Señor—in whatever language this is expressed. These are religions in which patriarchal relations, in the real world, are projected into an other-worldly realm—to then be, in turn, reimposed on this world—and in which patriarchy, and the reinforcement of patriarchy, is an integral and essential part of the belief system and of the behavior that this belief system is intended to enforce, as part of the broader network of oppressive and exploitative relations that characterize the societies in which these religions arose and the succeeding societies in which these religions have been perpetuated by the ruling classes.

The ways in which these religions promote a strong father figure, and absolute male authority, can be seen not only in how they portray the god which people are commanded to worship and obey—and this, of course, is all the more the case in the fundamentalist versions of these religions—but is found in the heart of the scriptures of all these religions.  Christianity once again provides a clear illustration of this.

In a way you could say that the essential message of the Christian religion is put forward in John 3:16. Now, some of you may be familiar with this—those of you who know the Bible, and/or others of you who just watch sporting events, especially football games, where often, when they kick the extra point after a touchdown, there is some fool sitting behind the goalpost with a crazy wig on his head, holding up a sign saying “John 3:16.” [Laughter]

So let’s talk about John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (or in the classical English rendition: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life”). Let’s dig more deeply into this—what it is actually putting forward and what it is actually promoting.  Let’s go back to Genesis: once again, the myth of the fall of mankind, the treacherous role of woman in this, and the view of the nature and the fate of humanity that is put forward in Genesis (see in particular chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis).  It would not have been necessary, according to the Bible, for God to make this great sacrifice (of giving his “only begotten son”) if it weren’t for the fact that human beings messed up in the Garden of Eden, and in particular that Eve seduced man—Adam—into doing the wrong thing and going against God’s will.  So, built into, or underlying, this very verse (John 3:16) that tells us how loving God is to humanity, is the notion that humanity is all screwed up—that it is the very nature of humanity to do things wrong and to commit sin—that mankind has a “fallen” nature, which, on its own, humanity can never change or get away from.  That’s the first point to keep in mind here.

But, then, there is a second thing—think about it: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.”  Why a son? And anyway, the idea is absurd. [Laughter] If you believe in God, God could have as many sons as he wanted. [Laughter] So what’s the point of “only begotten Son?” Well, for human beings who live in a patriarchal society, giving up your son is one of the greatest sacrifices you can make, because in such a male-dominated society men count for more than women.  So, who cares about daughters? You can give them up to be raped—and that’s there in the Bible, too, for example in the story of how Lot offered up his daughters in this way (and remember that Lot is looked upon so favorably by God that Lot is spared when God destroys Sodom—see Genesis, chapter 19). But a son, that’s a very different matter.

To bring out the point even more sharply, try thinking of the Bible saying: “For God so loved the world, that he gave up his only begotten daughter.” It doesn’t ring true, does it? [Laughter] It doesn’t fit with the Bible—because the Bible was written by human beings living in a patriarchal society who are reflecting that society in what they write and projecting an imaginary god into the heavens who makes this great sacrifice of giving up his “only begotten son,” which is the greatest sacrifice that these human beings can think of. 

This takes us back to the role of women and the fall of man. This is not only a pivotal and seminal story in the Bible’s history of mankind and mankind’s relation with God, but it is picked up and carried forward by Paul in the New Testament. For example, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul repeats the notion of a curse on women, because of what Eve did in the Garden of Eden; but, says Paul, women can be saved by bearing children for their husbands and generally by having the “modest” qualities appropriate to women, including that they are obedient to their husbands and subordinate to men in general:

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

So, right there, we see two things that are essential components of Christianity and the “Judeo-Christian tradition”: women are to be submissive in relation to men, and women’s essential role is to bear children.  Think of the terrible influence of that, and all the oppression and pain it has contributed to, through the centuries and down to today.

Now let’s return to the origin myth regarding Jesus and a point that was spoken to earlier in connection with this. When you read the Bible and you get to the first part of the New Testament, in Matthew, it starts off with something very few people can follow: the “begats.” [Laughter] And so-and-so begat so-and-so, who begat so-and-so, who begat so-and-so…down through 14 generations; and then so-and-so begat so-and-so, who begat so-and-so, who begat so-and-so…down through another 14 generations; this passes through David and then on, through more generations, down to Joseph, Jesus’s father. Now, if you actually look at history and compare the historical record with what is said here in the Bible, there are discrepancies: the schema that involves repeated reference to 14 generations doesn’t correspond to what you can actually learn from history about the succession of patriarchs that is being referred to here.

But these “begats” are, once again, in the service of reinforcing male domination and patriarchy.  The whole thing in Matthew is an attempt to trace Jesus’s roots from Abraham—a patriarch of the ancient Jewish people, according to the Bible—through King David to Joseph, the father of Jesus, even though Joseph’s “seed” had absolutely nothing to do with it. Think about this: A crucial part of the Christian mythology is that Jesus was born—of what? A virgin, Mary. So what the hell did Joseph have to do with it? [Laughter] The point is that this is a history of patriarchs—an attempt to put Jesus squarely within the tradition of patriarchs and patriarchal kings and rulers of the Jewish people in ancient times.19

Even though Mary is Jesus’s blessed mother, her genealogy does not count. Why? Because she’s a woman. Her role is to be the loving, long-suffering mother of Jesus (and, especially in the Roman Catholic version of Christianity, to be a kind of “intercessor” for people in their supplications to God). But when it comes to tracing the lineage from the ancient patriarchs of the Jewish people down to Jesus, and to prove his right to be the Messiah, Mary doesn’t figure into it at all. Joseph does figure in, even though, according to the Bible, he had no part, biologically, in all this.20

For many people who have lived in a society in which patriarchy and male domination and the consequent oppression of women is an integral and indispensable part—a part without which the society in that form could not exist—one of the attractions of these religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) and of the fundamentalist versions of these religions in particular, in this period, is as a forceful reassertion of that patriarchy.  Why is there a felt need for this? Because patriarchy is being undermined in various ways. Not eliminated. Not transformed in a qualitative sense. But being undermined in various ways by the very functioning of the society. Even in countries where there are still very open and powerful patriarchal traditions, customs and conventions, the uprooting of people, and the changes that accompany this, tend to undermine aspects of the patriarchy. People are leaving—or being forced out of—the countryside in huge numbers and landing in the urban areas, often in the shantytown slums; families are moving from Pakistan to London, from Egypt or Turkey to Germany, from Algeria to France—and being confronted by a very different culture. The point is not to apologize for or to extol bourgeois society and its forms of the oppression of women; but, in some significant aspects, this is very different in these “modern” imperialist countries than it is in the countries where feudal relations and traditions, or remnants of them, continue to exert a significant influence, and where, along with that, patriarchal domination is more overt and more entrenched in a traditional form. That’s important to emphasize: in a traditional form. So, in these new circumstances, fathers who have had absolute authority within the family, suddenly find that their daughters are harder to control. And supervising the behavior of daughters is one of the main roles of the father in these patriarchal family relations (although the father is generally assisted in this by his wife, or often his mother—the mother-in-law of his wife—will play a significant role as an enforcer of this).21

In some ways this is similar to what happens when people in rural areas in the imperialist countries get MTV and the Internet. All of a sudden the kids don’t want to act any more in the ways that have been traditionally expected of them—or at least some of them don’t—and this gives rise to a lot of clashes within the family, even in an “advanced modern country.” Well, imagine people moving from Algeria to France—it’s a whole different culture and very different forms of oppressive social relations. It is not that in these imperialist countries the social relations are not oppressive, but in significant ways they are in a very different form, one which envisions and embodies a different role for women and a different way in which they are oppressed and degraded.

All this is very complex because, to a significant degree, the ways in which women are oppressed in a country like France, or the U.S., appears, especially to people coming from a traditionalist framework, to involve “an excess of freedom.” Women are not regulated in all the same ways and not required to wear traditional clothing in the same way, nor to act in the same “modest” manner. In reality, this “freedom” for women is part of a different web of oppressive relations, which often assumes extreme expression in its own way. There is pornography, soft or hard core, everywhere you turn. Advertising, to a very great extent, is based on the use of the female body to sell commodities—and the female body itself is, in very extensive and very degrading ways, treated as a commodity.

So the opposite poles once again tend to reinforce each other. Even people who aren’t steeped in traditional religious convention look at a lot of this exploitative decadence and justifiably say: “This is terrible. I don’t want my kids exposed to this.” And, especially if you are coming from a traditional patriarchal framework, you not only recoil at all this, you are inclined to all the more forcefully assert patriarchal authority.

Even if people in Third World countries don’t leave their homelands altogether and emigrate to an imperialist country—even when, instead, they migrate to the urban areas within their own country—these urban areas in Third World countries are very different, in significant ways, from the countryside. The way of life in the shantytowns is very different, including in its volatility, from what the situation was in the rural villages. In these circumstances there can be a powerful attraction to a form of religion which forcefully asserts traditional patriarchal authority and reinforces that patriarchal authority with a seeming supernatural power behind it.

And then, more generally, in a world that appears to be full of uncertainty and the unexpected, and seems threatening in many ways—economically, but not just economically (all of a sudden, in the U.S., you have September 11th, for example)—there is a strong tendency for people, proceeding from within an established patriarchal framework to begin with, to feel the inclination to gravitate to a powerful father figure who will protect them. This is something that, in the U.S., George W. Bush and those around him consciously play on: “I’m a war time president,” Bush continually repeats, with the implication: “I’m the big daddy, the big strong father figure who can keep you safe—if you just get in line with me.” And, at the same time, a religious fundamentalist outlook is promoted to reinforce this.

So that is another way in which a form of patriarchy is asserted, amidst uncertainty, volatility and the feeling that there are constant, even if often vague, dangers. This feeling is not simply spontaneous—it is promoted and reinforced every time you turn around. If you turn on the news, anywhere in the U.S., what do you see? Crime, crime, crime. From this you would think that you are about to be jumped on by somebody every time you go out your front door—even though the probability of actually encountering crime, directly and personally, is very minimal if you are in the middle strata in a country like the U.S. But the constant barrage of “news” about crime, reinforced by “entertainment” which very extensively revolves around this same theme, adds to this general feeling of alarm. And, in a society which is steeped in a tradition, thousands of years old, of powerful patriarchal authority, what is a way to feel that you can get some security? Relying, once again, on a big powerful father figure, wielding big weapons, who will protect you—who is gonna get those “bad guys” out there before they can get you.

But just presenting such a powerful father figure in a human form is not enough for many people. So there is an aggressive assertion of an even more extreme and absolutist form of this father figure, in the image of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God—for whom, lo and behold, the powerful head of state is a representative and for whom he speaks and acts.

Another major dimension of the way in which patriarchy is being threatened, and in which people feel it being threatened, is the whole gay question. In the U.S. right now this is rather acutely posed. It is not that something like gay marriage in itself is going to undermine and destroy patriarchy. So long as things remain within the confines of a system built on exploitation and oppression, patriarchal relations will assert themselves within gay marriage as well—and this is already the case in many gay relationships, even where they do not have the formal sanction of official marriage. But, at this juncture, the assertion of the right to marriage for gays and lesbians does, in some significant ways, pose a serious challenge to traditional patriarchy.

While Christian fundamentalists, from the U.S. President on down, repeatedly insist the Bible ordains that marriage must be only between a man and a woman, it is not at all the case that the Bible consistently presents things this way. In fact, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and his successor Brigham Young, as well as Mormon fundamentalists today, have plenty of evidence for their claim that polygamy (a marriage in which one person has multiple spouses) and more specifically polygyny (where a man has more than one wife) is justified in many places in the Bible.

If you look at First and Second Chronicles, which discuss all the supposed great kings (as well as the bad kings) of Israel and Judah, you will see that the greatest king of all, David, had more than one wife, and besides that he had hundreds of concubines. Now, let’s be clear: David is not condemned for this in the Bible. In fact, all this is presented as part of his majesty and glorious nature that is upheld and extolled in the Bible. And looking once more at the “begats” that I spoke of earlier (which in Matthew trace the genealogy of Jesus), these “begats” go from Abraham to David and from David down to Jesus—and once again the point of all these “begats” is to establish that the line of Jesus descends from David, which, according to the ancient Jewish scriptures (the Old Testament of the Christian Bible), was a necessary requirement for the Messiah. So David is hardly a negative figure in the Bible—on the contrary, he is highly exalted. Solomon, David’s son and also an exalted figure in the Bible, had hundreds of wives and concubines as well. Abraham, too, had more than one wife—and, when Abraham’s wife was apparently barren, he “went in to” his wife’s servant in order to have a child. As we see in Genesis 29 and 30, another prominent Biblical patriarch, Jacob, also “went in to” his wife’s servant in similar circumstances; and Jacob had more than one wife at the same time. In Deuteronomy 21, along with setting forth how, in war, if “you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry,” you may do so, there is a whole discussion of what should happen “If a man has two wives, one of them loved and the other disliked, and if both the loved and the disliked have borne him sons.” (See Deuteronomy 21:11-15 and 16-17.)

But, as we have seen, the Christian Fascist fundamentalists do not really strictly adhere to Biblical literalism—they, too, practice “salad bar Christianity” when it serves their purposes. And they misrepresent what is said in the Bible when that serves their purposes. Now, in their opposition to gay marriage and the ways in which they see it as a threat to patriarchy, they have fashioned this saying: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Well, the fact is that God didn’t create either Adam and Steve or Adam and Eve. [Laughter] Human beings came into existence as part of the overall process of natural evolution, stretching back over billions of years in the history of life on the planet earth. And in the history of human beings, they have had different kinds of societies, and many different sexual relations and practices, both exploitative and non-exploitative, depending ultimately on the basic character of the society. A study of human society throughout history reveals a very great diversity of sexual relations, both heterosexual and same-sex. In the ancient Greek society of Plato and Aristotle, which was definitely patriarchal, a man—a real “man’s man”—had sexual relations with other men and boys all the time. My point is not to promote the notion of a “man’s man,” or any kind of “manhood,” in the sense of male supremacy and domination. What we need is for people—female as well as male—to assert and give expression to their humanity, and moreover to become emancipators of humanity, struggling to finally abolish all relations of domination, oppression and exploitation. My point is precisely to emphasize that there is nothing about heterosexual or about same-sex relations, which, in and of itself, is either positive or negative, or in some way more or less “natural.” And neither heterosexual nor same-sex relations, as such, constitute either an embodiment of, or a negation of, patriarchy. Rather, the essential question is what is the content of any intimate and sexual relation: does it embody and promote affection, mutual respect and equality between the partners—and contribute to the realization of equality between men and women—or does it constitute and further contribute to the degradation of people and the oppression of women in particular? But in a society in which patriarchy has been an essential and defining element, even breaking out of the more traditional forms of patriarchy—including by raising the demand for formal equality for same-sex relations—at particular junctures, such as the present one, can pose a serious challenge to traditional, oppressive relations, even while many of the individuals involved are simply trying to form traditional marriages. That’s one of the ironies and complexities of this situation.

And the fact is that opposition to gay marriage is not simply an election gimmick to get more Republicans elected. Yes, some Republican Party functionaries have used this issue in that way. But what is involved is much more profound than that and has much bigger implications. The real objective of the Christian Fascists around the issue of gay marriage, and their condemnation of homosexuality in general, is to enforce “traditional morality” and all the relations of oppression embodied in and enforced by that traditional morality—including patriarchy and the oppression of women, the subordinate position of women in society, and their essential role, as the Bible presents it, as breeders of children within the confines of male-dominated marriage relations, sanctioned not only by the church, but also by the state.

This is all very deeply rooted, but in a real sense today it is being challenged at every turn. Not yet in a way that is going to lead to its abolition, but in a way that does undermine some of the forms in which it has traditionally existed. And the Christian Fascist offensive around this is a forceful and absolutist reassertion of these oppressive relations.

This has also found sharp expression in the contention around the raising of children: what should be the relationship in the family between children and parents? In this regard as well, there is a forceful reassertion of patriarchy. Among the religious fundamentalists in the U.S., there is a definite current that insists that one of the main reasons for (and one of main manifestations of) the fact that, in their view, the country is going to hell is that, for several decades now, parents have not been able to beat their children so freely. After all, what does the Bible advocate? There is that familiar saying from the Bible, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” (or, as it actually says in Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from your children; if you beat them with the rod, they will not die. If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol”—or, in the more classical English version: “Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”) This is what a lot of these Christian fundamentalist leaders are actively promoting.

Here I have to say that, as much as I love Richard Pryor, I have never enjoyed his routines that seemed, in the final analysis, to uphold the beating of children to keep them in line. This was treated in a somewhat contradictory manner in the routines that he did where this was the subject, but it does seem that there was always a certain element of drawing the lesson that, “after all, when my grandmother beat me with a switch, this did have the effect of keeping me from getting completely out of line.” In any case, sentiments like this are echoed even among people who are in many ways advanced politically and revolutionary-minded; even among such people, one will sometimes hear the complaint: “Things are all messed up now because you can’t beat your kids anymore, can’t get out that switch like grandma did and beat the kids back into line, so they do right.” And it should be said that even though, as in the case of Richard Pryor, it sometimes might have been grandma who was wielding the switch, this was still done as part of an overall assertion of relations marked by patriarchal domination—relations in which a strong father figure would be the ultimate authority in disciplining the children and, with regard to daughters in particular, would ensure that they remained virgins so that their value as property, to be realized at the time of marriage, would not be diminished or spoiled. This is thoroughly embedded in the Christian tradition, every bit as much as the Islamic traditions which lead to the horror of “honor killings,” where family members, and brothers in particular, are sent out to kill their sisters if it becomes known that they are no longer virgins before marriage—even if this occurs as a result of rape. While not, in itself, as extreme an expression of this, beating children (“sparing not the rod in order not to spoil the child”) is part of the same overall package of oppressive patriarchal relations.

Let us be clear: female children, and children in general, should not be seen and treated as the property of their parents, and their father in particular. That is not the world we are aiming for, not a world worth living in. This is the way it has been for thousands of years, and this has been embodied in and promoted by religious scripture and tradition, but this is not how we want the world to be, and not how it needs to be. Yes, children need discipline. But they don’t need to be beaten with a switch or a rod in order to be disciplined, and to have a sense of purpose. They need to be led—inspired, and yes, at times, taken firmly in hand—as part of an overall vision and goal of bringing into being a radically different and much better world. And, as they become older and more conscious of this objective, and capable of acting consciously to contribute to it, they can increasingly become a part of that process. But even before they are capable of being consciously a part of this, the principles that apply to bringing such a world into being should apply, in a fundamental sense, in relating to children—your own and others. Children are conscious human beings, even as their consciousness is in a process of development. They can be and need to be reasoned with—and yes, at times, they have to be told, “that’s the way it is, and you just have to do it this way, because the ability to understand this, and why it has to be this way, is beyond you right now.”

Now, at the same time, it is not hard to see why many people gravitate toward “spare the rod, spoil the child”—toward the logic that if you don’t beat kids to keep them in line, they will turn out badly—because there are all kinds of things pulling kids in terrible directions. And, especially among sections of “the middle class,” particularly in a country like the U.S., there is a whole approach of indulgence toward children—which may have less selfish motivations in some cases but in fact is often bound up with, and in the final analysis is another expression of, treating children as a commodity, who have to be pampered and indulged as part of giving them every opportunity and advantage in the race to achieve a privileged position in society, in the context of the overall parasitism that is part of living in a powerful imperialist country. Here I am talking about phenomena such as parents who start playing symphonies for a new-born child (or even for a fetus during pregnancy), especially if this is done with the idea that in this way the child, from an early age, will have a better chance to develop as a “talent,” or a “genius”—will be able to go to the best music academy or the most prestigious university, and be launched into a lucrative career. Often permissiveness on the part of parents is bound up with—and seeks to be in the service of—that.22

Somewhat as a reaction to this kind of permissiveness—but more in response to the kind of madness that too many of the youth in the inner cities get caught up in—a lot of people in the oppressed communities look around and see the kids acting the fool and doing all kinds of crazy things, and they are drawn to the conclusion that something strong has got to be done to get these kids to act right. This becomes another factor reinforcing the role of the church and religion. What are two prominent alternatives that are available to the most oppressed in the U.S. right now? Well, there are the gangs on the one hand, with all the madness and mayhem that this involves; or the church, on the other hand, with its assertion of traditional, oppressive and, yes, patriarchal values, relations, codes and customs. For the youth in particular: when you get tired of the gangs, then go to the church; if you get sick of the church, then go back to the gangs. Neither of these offers a way forward for the masses of people, a way out of the oppressive conditions that are driving many to a lot of madness in the first place.

Here again, is another sharp manifestation of the need to “break through the middle.” Just as, on another level, Jihad and McWorld/McCrusade cannot be allowed to stand as the only two alternatives, here too there is an urgent need to bring forward a radically different alternative, on the basis of the communist world outlook and the communist program and objectives. It is necessary to be boldly saying to people: “We don’t need the church, we don’t need the switch, we don’t need the rod and, no, we don’t need the gangs and the drugs—we need revolution.”

Yes, this is a hard road. But what are people dying and killing each other over now? What is that serving? What is that reinforcing? Where is that leading people? What good is that doing for anyone—except those who rule over the masses of people and who couldn’t be happier than to see them killing each other over nothing worthwhile? And what good does it do for the masses of people to go down on their knees to some oppressive and patriarchal authority, which is invested with the aura and awe of supposed supernatural power, and which acts as a shackle helping to reinforce conditions of enslavement and powerlessness?

 


19. It is noteworthy that in Islam, Abraham is also greatly revered as a patriarch.[back]

20. As pointed out above, in Luke, chapter 3, verses 23 to 38, there is a different version of this genealogy: the lineage, or family line, of Jesus and his ancestors is different than what is presented in Matthew, chapter 1, verses 1 through 17. In The Jesus Dynasty, James D. Tabor argues that in Luke the lineage of Jesus is, after a certain point, actually traced through Mary. But, frankly, Tabor’s argument here seems somewhat tortured and contrived. Pivotal in his reasoning is that Luke says that Jesus had a grandfather named Heli; and, continues Tabor’s argument, Matthew tells us that the father of Joseph—and the grandfather of Jesus on Joseph’s side—was named Jacob; therefore, Tabor concludes, Heli must have been the father of Mary. But, first of all, there are many discrepancies, not just this one, between how Matthew presents the genealogy of Jesus and how this is done in Luke. Thus, when Tabor asks, “So who was Heli?” and then immediately answers, “The most obvious solution is that he was Mary’s father,” he is drawing a conclusion that is not at all obvious and making a leap that is not justified.  (See The Jesus Dynasty, Chapter 2, “A Son of David?”—especially p. 52; and compare Matthew 1:1-17 with Luke 3:23-38.) Further, Tabor acknowledges that Mary is not mentioned in Luke’s account of Jesus’s genealogy because “Luke abides by convention and includes only males in his list.” (p. 52) Thus, even if one were to allow for Tabor’s conclusions regarding the role of Mary in Luke’s account—which, again, is more than a little problematical—it is clear that in Luke, as much as in Matthew, it is a patriarchal version of that genealogy that comes through.[back

21. Later in this discussion, I will return to the question of how this is codified in religious scriptures.[back

22. While I disagree with him on a number of things these days, I do have a certain point of unity with George Carlin when he talks about excessive permissiveness toward children. He does a routine, which begins with this back-and-forth (all voiced by Carlin himself): “I want to say something about the way people are raising their kids.” “He’s not going to say something bad about kids, is he?” “Yes, he is.” Now, some of this is tied up with a sort of narrow, “working class revengism” toward yuppies, which Carlin frequently gives voice to. But there are points that he is making that are valid about excessive permissiveness—which, again, is often wrapped up with views of commodity exchange as applied to relations involving children and their parents.[back

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Revolution Club Rallies on Chicago South Side:

SETTING DIFFERENT TERMS

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 20, on a late afternoon on the south side of Chicago, over a dozen Revolution Club members marched in formation—in tight formation. This set the tone for the next hour—an hour of speeches and culture when the sights and sounds of revolution would be what was happening on a busy, and contested, corner in South Shore.

By the time the hour was up, approximately 40 people were listening intently, and still others lined the sidewalks across the street—not “officially” part of it, but staying where they were and taking in what was being said... and what was being modeled on that street. Families of the victims of police murder... activists in the struggle against the oppression of Black people... a prominent actor...as well as everyday people from around the way all turned out to listen and to show support.

What they heard was a challenge—a challenge to how all too many young people are living right now... and a challenge to get into the revolution and live differently. Emcees from the stage laid out the Points of Attention of the Revolution Club and read the statement that called on people to put aside beefs to hear the message of the day. Joey Johnson spoke powerfully on what the families of the victims of police murder had endured and how they had fought back, calling out the names of some of those killed.

Joe Veale stopped people in their tracks with a deep personal story on the need to break with revenge and get with revolution. You could hear a pin drop at that busy intersection. Revenge is a huge question among the people in Chicago, because among the oppressed it seems that almost everyone has lost someone to the violence among the people and the code is that “you must retaliate.” One person testified afterward how important it was to hear Joe speak to that, that it helped him to deal with something right then in his own life. Then a Revolution Club member spoke about what it means to wear the Revolution tee-shirt—the politics and morality you are representing when you do—and challenged people to take it up... and by the end of the day there were new people in that shirt. The noted Chicago artist Maggie Brown read and sang the moving and insightful poem “Children of Children” by her late father, Oscar Brown Jr.

Carl Dix then took the stage, speaking for the Revolutionary Communist Party. Carl opened by laying out the painful reality of Chicago: summer is coming, but instead of looking forward to a time where kids can be playing, parents dread it, for fear their children will be shot—and they hold them inside.

“It is heartbreaking,” he said, “the way that so many of our young people are caught up in killing each other.” Then he made a vow: “This has got to stop and the revolution declares that it’s gonna stop it this summer by giving our young people something that is worth living for and fighting for.”

He went into why people get into the mentality of retaliation and he laid out what people need to get out of it. He talked about what the revolution would do to wipe out the oppression of today, and how it would be fought. And he talked about the leadership of Bob Avakian—the work he has done, the leadership he has provided, for a whole new stage of communist revolution.

Dix spoke further to what people raise in response to the challenge of revolution.

“Some of y’all say to us these people here ain’t gonna do nothing. They too far gone. Well, Bob Avakian has looked at that question and here is what he has to say about it: He says: ‘Those the system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression and emancipate all of humanity.’ He’s talking about you, and he’s talking about you, and people like you all across Chicago, people like you all across the country, people who have been caught up in the violence out here, caught up in dealing drugs, who have been living in communities that are surrounded by all of this. You can get out of that, you can get out of the system’s way of thinking that has you stuck in that. You can become part of the backbone of a revolution that is emancipating all of humanity.... the Party is here to train you, to guide you and get you ready to do that, make it possible for you to be part of and to play your role in that revolution.”

Throughout the speech, the Club posted up strong and faced the audience, sending a message that this was their message. Friend, foe and undecided all took note.

One of the emcees sent people off with her own powerful message: “Before everybody splits up, there’s something extremely important to what Carl was talking about, actually changing what this summer is about. And what this summer is to most people’s minds out here. A summer where he spoke of people thinking it would be a bloodbath, carnage, and what we are trying to do, actually making this a summer of emancipation for all of humanity. Now everyone needs to think here if they can not only join but support the revolution. To spread word of it, to let people know what you heard today. To go to the website that’s on the bottom of all these tee-shirts, revcom.us. To follow what is happening, to understand all of the dynamics, the changes in this crazy fascist-led system, to learn and get into Bob Avakian. And most of all, find out how to join the Revolution Club and be a part, and begin the process of joining. This can be the first day of the rest of your lives. And you can make it the first day of other people’s lives too by funding this revolution because people dropped everything to come to the front lines here in Chicago to really make this happen, and this situation where everybody knows the city but not for anything good. So step with us to get into the New Communism.”

That night, over two dozen people—people who came to the rally and some who had got there late and missed it—crowded into the organizing center, watching videos of Bob Avakian, buying and wearing their new Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts, and wrangling into the night.

This was a beginning. A step, with a lot that remains to be figured out and solved and transformed, and far from the leap that even in the immediate period urgently needs to be and can be made. But it is a step—an important one—toward making that leap.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/why-knowing-whats-true-has-everything-to-do-with-getting-beyond-this-world-of-horrors-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this announcement from The Bob Avakian Institute

Science and Revolution

Why Knowing What’s True Has Everything to Do With Getting Beyond This World of Horrors

A Presentation and Exchange on the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian

 

Monday, June 5, 2017
3:00 to 5:00 pm
The Black Forum, Haines 153, UCLA

Bob Avakian is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism. This new synthesis is a continuation of, but also a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, previous communist theory. Essential to this new communism is its emphasis on applying a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach to understanding the dynamics of society and to charting pathways for its revolutionary transformation.

This work is needed more urgently than ever. The regime in power aims to consolidate a fascist America, and is aiming to silence and quash critical thinking and dissent, replacing “alternative facts” for truth, as part of enforcing ever greater suffering on the masses of humanity—while the world capitalist-imperialist system plunders and devastates the planet, threatening its very existence.

Join us for a discussion of what the breakthroughs in the New Communism have to do with getting beyond a world where “might makes right.”

Presenter:
Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books, NYC, speaking on behalf of The Bob Avakian Institute

Discussants:
Andrew Apter, Professor of Anthropology and History, UCLA
Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Professor of History, UCLA



Join co-sponsors The Bob Avakian Institute, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, Academic Advancement Program and Reynaldo F. Macias (Dept. of Chicana/o Studies) for this vibrant discussion about understanding and radically changing the world.

For humanity to advance beyond a state in which “might makes right”—and where things ultimately come down to raw power relations—will require, as a fundamental element in this advance, an approach to understanding things (an epistemology) which recognizes that reality and truth are objective and do not vary in accordance with, nor depend on, different “narratives” and how much “authority” an idea (or “narrative”) may have behind it, or how much power and force can be wielded on behalf of any particular idea or “narrative,” at any given point.

Bob Avakian, BAsics, 4:10

The Bob Avakian Institute is a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Its mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience.

Attendees are invited to read excerpts from Avakian’s work in preparation, which can be found at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org or picked up at the AAP or Bunche Center Offices.

For more information and to RSVP:

TheBobAvakianInstitute.org
info@TheBobAvakianInstitute.org
facebook.com/UCLAAAP

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/trump-green-lights-police-violence-targets-protest-against-police-murder-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Trump Green Lights Escalating Police Violence and Targets Protest Against Police Murder and Terror

May 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On May 15, Donald Trump spoke at the annual gathering of police to commemorate those killed in the line of duty (Annual National Peace Officers’ memorial service) in Washington, DC. Trump gave a chilling, fascist green light to an escalation of police terror and murder to a whole new level.

For decades, under both Republicans and Democrats, police have dogged, insulted, harassed, beaten, even tortured or murdered millions of people—mainly Black, Brown and Native people. This has been one of this system’s most outrageous crimes.

While Barack Obama overall and overwhelmingly supported America’s murdering pigs, he also sometimes talked of “mistakes” or “problems” with some police practices that needed attention and reform. Trump, however, made no mention of any wrongdoing—let alone the enormous crimes—by police. Instead, he portrayed these armed enforcers of an oppressive, enslaving system as “brave, but gentle souls.”

According to Trump, pigs who wantonly murdered Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Terence Crutcher, and hundreds more in 2016 alone are “heroes” who became cops “because they cared so deeply for the innocent and helpless and forgotten.” He condemned “attacks on our police” as “a stain on the very fabric of our society.”

Going further, Trump claimed that police were under increasing violent assault, which he blamed on the protests and denunciations of their wanton murders. “We are living through an era in which our police have been subject to unfair defamation and vilification ... and even worse, hostility and violence.... We must also end the reckless words of incitement that give rise to danger and give rise to violence.”

This is Trump’s “alternative fact” reality at its most racist and murderous. To begin with, it’s a lie that violence against police is escalating—the number of police killed in the line of duty in 2016 was lower than the average of the previous 10 years. The number of cops killed by gunfire—63—pales in comparison with the number of people killed by police the same year: 1,092.[*] Of those, 169 were unarmed, many others were non-threatening, and those killed were disproportionately Black, Brown, or Native American. So who’s waging war on whom?

Trump in effect threatened to criminalize those who condemn, or even criticize, the police or who refuse to collaborate with them. Later in the speech to the police gathering, he demanded: “The attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now”—implying he meant both direct physical attacks and any form of protest, resistance, or criticism.

Trump made clear he was determined to strengthen the police while attacking their opponents, promising he’d always stand with them, give them more “resources,” and enact new measures and laws to “prosecute violent crimes against law enforcement.” And he targeted Baltimore and Chicago in particular, in the name of stopping the killing among the oppressed, threatening, “My administration is determined—totally determined—to restore law and order and justice for all Americans, and we’re going to do it quickly.”

Such glorification of the police, and the demonization of any who oppose them, is a core ideological and political part of the Trump/Pence fascist program. It’s a part of radically reshaping laws and social norms to give even more free rein to the system’s armed enforcers while condemning, repressing, and even outlawing protest against them.

This is extremely dangerous, and the beginning steps in a much larger, potentially genocidal, fascist program. This must be stopped!

 

[*] According to “The Counted” feature at theguardian.com [back

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/trump-pence-regimes-fascist-terror-against-immigrants-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

This Must Be Stopped: Trump/Pence Regime's Fascist Terror Against Immigrants

May 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Today, in this country—over 400 people will be ripped away from their lives, families, and jobs by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). People getting ready for work. People taking their kids to school. People relaxing at home. People “doing the right thing” and reporting to authorities like they’re supposed to. The Trump/Pence regime was inaugurated on January 20—and this is what has been happening every day under their rule.

A few of the many incidents since the inauguration: Five men arrested in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when they reported for routine immigration hearings... A young woman in Mississippi arrested after she spoke at a press conference to denounce the unjust arrests of her parents... an ICE raid in Portland, Oregon, that swept away a youth at his home after he showed agents his work permit... 26 men in Ft. Worth, Texas, busted by ICE when they reported for community service.

One of Trump’s first acts as president was to issue an executive order prioritizing “the removal of immigrants in the country illegally,” regardless of supposed criminal records. This puts 11 million people in the middle of the government’s bull’s eye. Beyond that—tens of millions who live under the constant fear that their parents, their siblings, their dear friends, their schoolmates and co-workers, could be snatched away at any moment. The result so far: as the Washington Post reports, “the biggest increase [of arrested immigrants] by far is among immigrants with no criminal records.”

The Trump Era, the Fascist Era

During the Obama years, 2.7 million people were deported, and he was rightly called the “deporter in chief.” The Trump/Pence regime is on a pace to eclipse that despicable record. Last week, an ICE report indicated that 41,300 people were arrested for deportation between January 22 and April 29. This is a rise of almost 40 percent from the year before. The New York Times noted that these figures are “one of the first clear indications that the president’s hard-line [anti-immigrant] policies are being carried out on a grand scale.”

But it’s not just the numbers of people being arrested that makes this sustained, escalating assault fascist. Trump’s measures are deliberately and consciously aimed at terrorizing all immigrants, and many citizens and legal residents—anyone that any ICE agent claims may be “illegal.” Tens of millions of people whose language, accent, clothing, or any damn thing a cop thinks “suspect.” Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, made this clear last month: “This is a new era. This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch-and-release practices of old, are over.” No one is off limits in Trump’s America. Last week a federal immigration officer went to an elementary school in New York asking questions about a fourth grader!

This is fascist repression. It is laying the groundwork for possible ethnic cleansing. It is a linchpin of the entire fascist program of Trump and Pence. Tens of thousands arrested, millions threatened directly, tens of millions more terrorized by the escalating clampdown. Made to live under a constant state of terror that at any moment they or their loved ones could be snatched away, forever. An immigration lawyer in Texas said that there are couples who have quit jobs, and make sure they never leave their home together, so if one gets arrested another is still there with the kids... for now. There are people like Silvia Avelar-Flores, a 31-year-old mother of three, picked up by ICE while shopping with her eight-year-old daughter in a Salt Lake City suburb. Or Leandro Arriaga, in the U.S. for 16 years making a living by remodeling homes, arrested in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when he went to an immigration office to begin a process of legalization. People who are here one day, gone the next.

Today, everyone in this country confronts a challenge: Are you going to stand by and find a way to accommodate yourself to these atrocities happening in our midst? Are you going to accept their deceitful justifications? Or are you going to enter into determined political struggle to put an end to this? The attacks on immigrants must be stopped, this entire fascist agenda must be defeated, this fascist regime must be driven from power.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/fascistic-laws-to-protect-fascist-speakers-on-campus-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Fascistic Laws to Protect Fascist Speakers on Campuses

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In recent months, a number of extreme reactionary “intellectuals” have been invited to speak at university and college campuses. This includes Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Charles Murray—people who promote the most racist, reactionary, Nazi-like views. Students and others have protested these events, demanding they be canceled, disrupting the speakers, and in some cases shutting them down. At UC Berkeley, hundreds of ready-to-brawl “alt-right” white supremacists, neo-Nazis, bikers, and militia types showed up to attack protesters.

These protests have been a good thing—exposing these reactionaries and taking a firm stand that their poison is NOT WELCOME on campus. Ann Coulter advocates public floggings of Black youth and says the U.S. should spy on all Arabs and televise torture. Charles Murray argues Black, Latino, and Native American people are innately inferior in intelligence. And Milos Yiannopoulos was a senior editor at Breitbart News, home of Steve Bannon’s white supremacist, anti-Semitic, woman-hating “alt-right” movement.

These protests have created huge controversy about “free speech” on campuses, and many states have passed or are considering legislation regarding campus protests. Several states are considering measures that, in the name of “free speech,” in effect protect reactionary speakers on campus and limit and punish protesters. Many of these bills—like those being considered in Wisconsin, California, and North Carolina—are based on a model written by the Goldwater Institute, a reactionary think tank. This model bill imposes penalties on those who interfere with speakers; requires public universities to remain “neutral” on political issues; and prevents them from disinviting speakers. Bills being considered in Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, and Michigan that follow the Goldwater model require public colleges and universities to suspend or expel students who twice infringe the “free speech rights” of others.

Christina Berchini, a professor of teacher education at the University of Wisconsin, said about the proposed state bill that includes a requirement that public universities stay “neutral”: “I teach about white supremacy. How, exactly, does one handle such topics in a neutral way?” In fact, it ISN’T neutral for schools to be “neutral” about fascists speaking on campus. Inviting and/or allowing these fascists to speak on campus IS taking a side, letting them spew and promote their poison.

Protesters Say NO! to Pence at Western Pennsylvania Christian College

Protesters Say NO! to Pence at Western Pennsylvania Christian College

May 20—When Mike Pence gave the commencement speech at the conservative evangelical Christian school Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, about 220 people marched in protest in the town surrounding the campus. The action was organized by Slippery Rock Huddle, women from the nearby Slippery Rock University, and focused on the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on the environment, LGBT rights, and health care. Protesters came from other small towns in the area and from Pittsburgh and elsewhere. People chanted “No ban, no wall, immigrants are welcome here” and other chants, and had signs like “Refuse Lies, Resist Greed, Resist Corruption” as well as “NO!” signs from Refuse Fascism.

A young man who was part of the protest said, “I wake up in the morning thinking there are things with this regime to be afraid of, like a full nuclear attack. [Trump] is a fascist and uses force when he has to. I am from here, and I am excited to see this many people protesting Pence.” In an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times the day before the commencement, a Grove City College student said there was opposition on the campus to inviting Pence because that “will serve as an endorsement” of Trump, and that “alumni and students flooded administrators’ inboxes with emails protesting the decision.”

For students and others trying to get at the truth, debate and the principle that the most ardent advocates of ideas should be heard is very important. But this cannot be treated as an “absolute.” In a world divided into antagonistic classes with profound relations of oppression and exploitation, there is not an “even playing field.” The ideas of the reactionaries like Coulter have backing from hundreds of years of oppressive tradition—and from the fascist regime now in power in Washington. All kinds of platforms are available to those spouting such oppressive shit. In contrast, it is the students and others protesting the fascists who need to have their right to speak protected.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates the protection of the rights of the people to speak and assemble free from government suppression—not the right of those backed by and tied to the government to be “protected” from protest. But the issue here is NOT “free speech.” The real issue is FASCISM—and the right and responsibility of the people to resist and drive fascists out of power in this country before it is too late.

Trump has incited violence against protesters and he and his fascist cabal are now trying to demolish the right of people to speak against and resist the crimes of this fascist regime. The venom from people like Coulter, Yiannopoulos, and Murray is an extreme expression of the views the fascist Trump/Pence regime is trying to impose on all of society. And these reactionary ideas serve to concretely reinforce and encourage harmful social policies.

It is good people are protesting and trying to shut down reactionaries speaking on campuses. And there are big stakes here. The right of people to stand up against fascism is under attack. And if the fascists succeed in enforcing such fascistic repression on campuses, it will contribute to their consolidating fascism and suppressing opposition nationwide.

There must be determined struggle against any attempts to suppress protests against reactionaries on campus, and this fight needs to be part of DRIVING OUT the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/fascist-trolls-will-not-stop-fight-against-trump-pence-regime-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org

NO! Fascist Trolls Will Not Stop the Fight Against the Trump/Pence Regime

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

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

No! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a FAscist America - refusefascism.org
RefuseFascism.org

It has come to our attention that a network of “alt-right” fascists have, in the most cowardly and thuggish way, unleashed a campaign to dig into and publish everything they can find about the personal lives of the thousands of individuals who courageously and righteously signed the Call to Action issued by Refuse Fascism: “NO! In the Name of Humanity – We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!”

This is a fascist campaign aimed at intimidating, silencing, and even unleashing harm against those who have the courage to stand up and say NO! The comments on the fascists' listserves are vile and reactionary; let the words of one reveal their mindset and intentions: “McCarthy was right all along. We need to bring in a new era of overwatch and accountability for professors and civil-servants. We must begin the ideological purge, and restore balance and objectivity to academia.” This campaign directly serves a fascist regime in power. These words, from the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, are borne out every day: “Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive 'traditional values.' In Trump’s election campaign he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power... What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.” [emphasis added]

The danger this poses is not to us alone, it is to all of humanity. Refusing fascism means struggling to mobilize people to drive out the Trump/Pence Regime. It means resisting the attacks of the Regime and the attacks from those who defend the regime. We will not betray the righteous stand people took by signing the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. We will not let fascists intimidate anyone or any group from standing up and representing for a just cause. For these reasons, we must not – and will NOT – be intimidated.

We draw inspiration from the more than one million people who, upon hearing that police might be tracking Standing Rock protesters via Facebook, changed their own Facebook location (“checked in”) to Standing Rock thereby making it impossible to single out the protesters. We draw inspiration as well from the more than 10,000 professors and others who, when their colleagues were placed on a McCarthyite Professor Watchlist, added their names to that Watchlist in solidarity.

In this same spirit, we will respond to this attack by exposing to the world the nature and danger posed by these fascist cowards, by defeating their attempts to destroy people's lives, and by bringing forward even more people to stand up against the fascist regime to say: NO! We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

As it says in the Call to Action, “Let it not be said that we did not move heaven and earth to drive out this regime. This must be a moment in history when millions stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to resist and say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/notre-dame-students-walk-out-on-pence-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Notre Dame Students Walk Out on Fascist Holy Warrior Mike Pence

May 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

As soon as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence opened his mouth to start his  commencement address at Notre Dame University on May 21, at least 100 graduating students stood up and began walking out in protest.

The students’ action was a significant and bold public protest against this Christian fascist warrior who has devoted his political career to crusading against rights for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and oppressed people everywhere (see “Vice President Mike Pence: The Dangerous Holy Warrior Waiting in the Wings”). The walk-out was widely covered in the national and international press and on social media.

Students organized in advance, knowing that this would be a unique opportunity to let the world know there is principled opposition to the anti-abortion theocracy that Pence has been working to bring into being in the U.S. The student group WeStaNDFor said it was calling for the protest because “The participation and degree-conferring of VP Pence stand as an endorsement of policies and actions which directly contradict Catholic social teachings and values and target vulnerable members of the University’s community.” The student group has sponsored previous protests on the Notre Dame campus against the appearance of racist theorist Charles Murray, in support of immigrant communities under attack, and against exclusion of Syrian refugees by the Trump-Pence regime.

At the commencement ceremony, before Pence’s speech, valedictorian Caleb Joshua Pine called on people to “stand against the scapegoating of Muslims.’’ He also voiced his opposition to the plan for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Because the graduates walked out, they did not receive their degrees or participate in the traditional concluding ceremony. Instead they held their own outside the stadium with supportive faculty and family members. One of the organizers said, “At the conclusion of the ceremony in the stadium, the dean of each college recommends...that graduates of that college be given degrees from University of Notre Dame. I think with your character, with the actions you took today, with the solidarity you’ve shown with one another, you’ve recommended yourselves, I direct you to turn your tassels and celebrate your own graduation.”

A Black woman graduate said the walk-out happened “because we stand with marginalized communities. Because there’s a difference between engaging in dialogue and engaging with voices that are willing and ready to completely stomp you out. It’s one thing to be silent about conversation; it’s another thing to be silent about fascism... It’s another thing to see that someone’s politics literally endanger other people’s lives.”

The deadly brutality underlying Pence’s words was blatantly expressed when, after praising the accomplishments of the graduating class, Pence trumpeted that “most impressive of all,” 38 of the graduates were going on to join the U.S. military. In other words, to become part of the U.S. death machine that destroys so many lives and whole nations around the world. Pence went on to uphold the anti-abortion, anti-women stance of the Catholic university, saying, “I’m so proud that the University of Notre Dame has stood without apology for the sanctity of human life.” In reality, the anti-abortion fanaticism of Pence and the Christian fascists have nothing to do with protecting life—denying women the right to choose when and whether to not give birth is to force them into slavery, and this is part of a whole vicious agenda of enforcing patriarchy and reactionary “family values.”

Pence also spent a good part of his speech trying to turn reality upside down on the very hot issue of campus “free speech.” The fascists have been stung lately by student protests across the country against fascist operatives, especially at the University of California, Berkeley (see The Battle for Berkeley, Why it’s Right, and Righteous, to Drive Fascists Off Campus, Out of Berkeley... and Out of Power!). Pence was fully aware of the walk-out that had been planned against his speech at Notre Dame, and he did not directly mention it. But he tried to portray himself and his fellow fascist leaders and agitators as victims of suppression, talking about “the noxious wave that seems to be rushing over much of academia. While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness, all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech... This should not and must not be met with silence.”

The courageous students who stood up and walked out on Pence have not been intimidated or fooled by such double-talk. Their example of active protest right up against the Trump-Pence fascist regime should be emulated, spread, and defended far and wide.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

Protest at the Notre Dame Campus Gate: “Drive Out the fascists, before it’s too late, Dump Trump, Dump Pence, the world can’t wait”

From a reader:

While over 100 graduating students turned their backs and walked out of the Notre Dame Stadium to protest Mike Pence’s presence as commencement speaker, there was a spirited protest of a couple of hundred people at the main gate to the Notre Dame campus.

Protesters indicted the Trump/Pence regime on many issues and found creative ways to express themselves. A sharp focus was the attacks on women and LGBT people. Pence has an ugly and vicious history of this as Indiana governor. A woman wore a coat hanger on her head symbolizing the impact of making abortion illegal or inaccessible.

A group of “Handmaids” attired in red robes and white bonnets—evoking the current TV series based on the novel The Handmaids Tale that evokes a future fascist society where biblical law and patriarchal values are brutally enforcedwere highly visible, processing throughout the protest area saying things like, “God be with you.” One “Handmaid” was quoted in the press saying: “If Mike Pence gets his way, this is what our world will be like, where women are just going to be used to reproduce and not have a choice what they do with their bodies.”

Homemade posters included a breadth of anger. “Refugees In—Racists Out!”; No Human Being is Illegal!”; “Warning: Electric Fence Pence”; “Protect Women’s rights, LGBT rights, Black rights, Brown rights, religious rights, Stop Pence/Trump.” Many signs protested the attack on health care. Another focus was Trump/Pence’s moves to radically change the form of governance—“The Only Wall We Need is Between Church and State” and “Stand up for the Constitution.” “In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse a Fascist America” picket signs were visible throughout the crowd. The Notre Dame gate is on a busy street, and many cars honked support for the protest.

Protesters included many people from the immediately surrounding area, as well as people who traveled from farther-away Indiana towns and Chicago. The protest was organized by South Bend Equity, a local Indivisible chapter along with other organizations.

The Chicago Revolution Club marched in and helped focus up the understanding and anger, including focusing up how all this is fascism and connected this to the crimes of the system.

A high point of the demonstration was when some of the graduating Notre Dame students who had walked out joined and addressed the protesters. A Revolution Club member emphasized the role of students in fighting the fascist regime and how their spirit needs to spread.

Refuse Fascism banners were very visible, especially, “Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.” Refuse Fascism activists reported that people grabbed up the NO! posters quickly as they arrived, and a crew of youth held one of the banners across the street throughout the protest. Refuse Fascism spoke to the crowd about why the Trump/Pence regime is fascist, and Pence’s role at the head of fascist forces in the regime and society, and why this is a pivotal moment of both danger and urgent need to organize thousands to mobilize millions to drive out the whole regime before it’s too late. Chants that spoke to this were taken up broadly, for example, “Drive Out the fascists, before it’s too late, Dump Trump, Dump Pence, the world can’t wait.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/refusefascism-calls-for-mass-defiance-of-fascist-trolls-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Received from Refuse Fascism:

RefuseFascism.org Calls for Mass Defiance of Fascist Trolls

May 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

NO!
RefuseFascism.org Calls for Mass Defiance of Fascist Trolls
In the Name of Humanity – We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

No! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a FAscist America - refusefascism.org
RefuseFascism.org

May 23  Networks of “alt-right” fascists have unleashed a campaign to dig up and publish everything they can find about the personal lives on the internet of the thousands of individuals who signed the Refuse Fascism Call to Action: “NO! In the Name of Humanity – We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! DRIVE OUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME!”  RefuseFascism.org’s Call has been published in the New York Times and the Washington Post with prominent signatories, and the first and last names of 4,600 signatories are listed with the Call on RefuseFascism’s website.

The website BuzzFeed published an article on this right-wing trolling on Sunday May 21. RefuseFascism.org immediately issued a statement.

Every person of conscience who believes in the right of people to stand up and petition for what they believe to be right and true without harassment or intimidation needs to condemn this outrageous trolling ... and to stand up to these fascists by SIGNING and SPREADING the RefuseFascism Call to Action.

This alt-right campaign is aimed at intimidating, silencing, and even unleashing harm against those who have the courage to stand up and say NO!  The comments on the fascists’ listserves are vile,anti-Semitic, racist and reactionary.  Let the words of one of these fascists reveal their mindset and reactionary aims:

“McCarthy was right all along. We need to bring in a new era of overwatch and accountability for professors and civil-servants. We must begin the ideological purge, and restore balance and objectivity to academia.”

Their campaign directly serves Trump/Pence fascist regime. These words, from the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, are borne out every day:

“Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values.’ In Trump’s election campaign he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power... What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.” [emphasis added]

This attack on the signers of Refusefascism.org’s Call to Action is part of a dangerous wave of mobilization of the Trump/Pence base: a KKK-style torch-light rally in Virginia against the removal of a Confederate statue; a Mississippi state representative called for lynching those who took down the Confederate statues; hundreds of fascist thugs went to Berkeley to assault anti-Trump protesters; Breitbart, Hannity and other fascists launched a campaign to intimidate CUNY School of Public Health into dis-inviting Linda Sarsour from giving a commencement address.

This is all part of consolidating fascism. The danger posed is not to one or even all of the organizations and movements, it is a threat to humanity. Refusing fascism means driving out the Trump/Pence Regime. It means resisting the attacks of the regime and the attacks from those thugs who would defend the regime. Refusefascism.org will not betray the righteous stand that people took in signing the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. Anyone harassed by these fascists must be defended by the people. We will NOT be intimidated. The signatory list will stay on line. As an act of defiance against this cowardly fascist attack, RefuseFascism.org calls on people to sign and circulate the Call to Action and double the number of signatories.

We draw inspiration from the more than 10,000 professors and others who, when their colleagues were placed on a McCarthyite Professor Watchlist after the election of Trump, added their names to that Watchlist in solidarity.

As it says in the RefuseFascism Call to Action, “...This must be a moment in history when millions stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to resist and say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.


 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/fascist-trolls-step-up-their-ground-game-they-must-be-defied-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Fascist Trolls Step Up their Ground Game—
They Must be DEFIED!

by Sunsara Taylor


May 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“It's time, gentlemen. The left will fall apart if we destroy their organizing capability. Destroy the campus indoctrination opportunities, and we will deliver a severe blow to their brainwashing. McCarthy was right all along. We need to bring in a new era of overwatch and accountability for professors and civil-servants. We must begin the ideological purge, and restore balance and objectivity to academia.”—from the fascists now “doxxing” Refuse Fascism signers.

An organized movement of fascist trolls is systematically “doxxing”—looking up and publishing the home addresses and many other personal details of—thousands of people who courageously added their names to the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism which declares: “NO! In the Name of Humanity—We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!”

This attack is a cowardly and craven violation of people's privacy and threat against their right to stand up for what they believe to be true and right free of harassment and intimidation. This attack should disgust and motivate every person of decency and conscience. Not only should everyone who signed this statement be defended if they come under attack, thousands more must be rallied to step forward, sign the Call to Action, and join in driving out the fascist Trump/Pence Regime.

A Hideous Glimpse of a Fascist Future

The Refuse Fascism Call to Action begins: “The Trump/Pence Regime is a Fascist Regime. Not insult or exaggeration, this is what it is. For the future of humanity and the planet, we, the people, must drive this regime out.” A version of this Call was published as a full-page ad in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and Refuse Fascism has been important in leading people very broadly to recognize the fascist nature of the Trump/Pence Regime, and in rallying many thousands to stand up to and join the fight to drive them from power. This is very important—and clearly the fascists were stung.

Reading the comments in the chatrooms of fascist trolls is like bathing in raw sewage. Grotesque white supremacy, racist epithets and Nazi cartoons of Jews permeate. Misogyny—graphic threats of sexual violence, posting and reposting a photo of a woman being punched hard in the face—oozes through it all. The language of violence, of extermination, of racial purification resounds. They invoke the fascist head of Turkey who summarily imprisoned, tortured, and disappeared tens of thousands: “Erdogan got it right when he sacked 21,000 teachers who were fomenting dissent in the hearts and minds of the Turkish youth.” They uphold the notorious anti-communist Senator Joseph McCarthy, who launched vicious witch-hunts that destroyed thousands of lives. They proudly extol the fascists of Mussolini in Italy. They call for “Anyone in law enforcement with access to NCIC [National Crime Information Center]” among them to illegally abuse this access to “find out what state [the signers] live in and get their address, what kind of car they drive, vehicle registration number, DOB, and in some cases, their SSN.”

It’s a window into the hate-filled, violence-craving fascists who have been whipped up and consciously unleashed by the Trump/Pence Regime—and to the future they are fighting for. These fascists are out for blood, and will not stop until they have destroyed all opposition—or, until they are defeated.

Not a “Fringe Movement”—Foot-Soldiers to a Fascist Regime

This is not some lunatic “fringe” movement and it will not go away if it is ignored. These people have been summoned and unleashed by the Trump/Pence fascist cabal now occupying the White House, dominating the “Justice” Department, being packed onto the courts, controlling Congress and almost all the state houses.

In his campaign, Trump didn't merely “dog-whistle” to these modern-day Brown Shirts1, he stood before the watching world and sneered about those who protested at his rallies, “I'd like to punch him in the face!” Trump openly longed for the days when protesters were “carried out on stretchers.” Trump declared undying loyalty to his crowds as they chanted “Lock Her Up! and thumped chests bearing t-shirts proclaiming towards Hillary—really towards all women—“Trump that Bitch!” Everyone not deluding themselves or others knows that “Make America Great Again” has always meant “Make America WHITE Again.” And every day since being elected, the Trump/Pence Regime has wielded the power of the state to carry this forward: threatening the press, attacking the courts, demonizing and attempting to ban Muslims, ramping up deportations of immigrants, issuing the murderous, anti-abortion global gag order, launching witch-hunts against scientists, threatening nuclear war, introducing a sadistic budget, and more.

Mounting Frustration—Even Rage—From Trump's Social Base

But the Regime has also run into obstacles. Starting the day after the inauguration with the Women's March, millions of people have taken to the streets in repeated waves of protest involving students, scientists, immigrants, environmentalists, and more. There have been statements and concerts and professional athletes snubbing White House invitations. The courts—even as they are being threatened and remade by the Regime's appointments—have pushed back, twice blocking his Muslim Ban. The media—even as it normalizes the Regime—still dares to expose some of its lies and crimes. Powerful figures within the FBI refused to treat Trump as “above the law” and now several investigations are underway against the Regime's doings.

None of this has stopped the Regime, but these obstacles have fueled a palpable frustration—even rage—that is bubbling up from Trump and from his fascist social base. Things aren't advancing as quickly or as smoothly as they want. Many feel very deeply that Trump is their “last chance” and they don't intend to let this chance slip away. This is the context for what can only be described as a dramatic escalation of storm-trooper tactics to terrorize and knock down any obstacle in their path.

A Dramatic Escalation in Shock-Troop Tactics

In recent weeks, the level of fascist threats and violence has been ratcheted up. A KKK-style torch-light rally was held in Virginia against the removal of a Confederate statue. A Mississippi state representative publicly stated that people who remove Confederate statues “should be LYNCHED.” The neighborhoods of a Jewish leader and a Muslim leader were blanketed with threatening flyers. Hundreds of fascist militia-types converged on downtown Berkeley, outraged that Ann Coulter's speaking event at UC Berkeley had been canceled.

All this—and much more that could be listed —is exactly the kind of thing Refuse Fascism warned against in its statement, saying (in part): “Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive 'traditional values.' In Trump’s election campaign he encouraged and fed on the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. In his inaugural address he pledged allegiance only to this movement. What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.

Defy Fascist Intimidation—Drive the Fascists from Power

The current wave of fascist attacks is aimed at silencing anyone who would stand up against the Trump/Pence fascist regime. It is part of consolidating fascism—and going forward to destroy the lives of millions of Muslims, women, immigrants, refugees, LGBT people, Black people and others who are not white, people around the world threatened by U.S. war and nuclear weapons, and threatens the planet itself.

This must not be allowed!

Defying and defeating the growing wave of fascist attacks on the people is not a distraction from the fight against fascism, it is integral to it. No movement against injustice has ever advanced without having to defy intimidation and attempts to crush it —and, through doing so, growing stronger. This is the lesson of the Freedom Riders who, when the first waves were beaten and arrested, sent wave after wave of other young people after them until the jails of Mississippi were full, the whole world was watching, and they began to break the back of Jim Crow. A more recent example is when more than 10,000 professors and others responded to a McCarthyite Professor's Watchlist launched after Trump's election by publicly adding their own names to the list.

Every person of conscience must have the back of anyone who comes under attack. People need to condemn and defy this intimidation and join the movement to stand up to and drive out this fascist regime and all the ugliness it is unleashing by adding their names to the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. Read and spread the statement from Refuse Fascism, responding to this outrageous doxxing attack. Join Refuse Fascism in manifesting the power of NO! on signs, stickers in windows, on bumper stickers, on t-shirts and spreading the unifying demand: NO! In the Name of Humanity—We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime. Join Refuse Fascism in meeting each new outrage committed by the Regime with greater and greater resistance. Most of all, join Refuse Fascism in ORGANIZING: working with 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. Volunteer here.

This is what humanity and future generations need from us. Everyone—coming from a great diversity of political perspectives—should join in. As it says in the closing words of the Call to Action: “Let it not be said that we did not move heaven and earth to drive out this regime. This must be a moment in history when millions stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to resist and say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.”

__________

1. Brown Shirts were a brutal paramilitary wing of the Nazis which played a significant role in Hitler's rise to power. [back]

 

 

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/students-were-right-middlebury-college-is-wrong-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

The Students Were RIGHT, Middlebury College is WRONG!
Charles Murray and His Ilk Should Absolutely Be Shut Down and Driven from Campuses

by Sunsara Taylor

May 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday, May 23, Middlebury College announced that it is sanctioning 67 students who participated in shutting down and driving the proven racist Charles Murray off their campus earlier this year. This punishment is wrong and must be condemned. Not only is this punishment wrong towards the students, it sets a very dangerous and chilling precedent against future student protests at a time when vigorous protest and resistance is more needed than ever. The students did the right thing. This punishment should not stand.

The Students' Right to Free Speech Is Being Violated, NOT that of Charles Murray

In the wake of the students' righteous shutdown of Charles Murray, there was a tidal wave of condemnations not just from reactionaries but also from many progressives who should've known better. Almost all claimed that Murray's right to "free speech" had been violated by the students. This flips reality on its head.

The First Amendment protects the people from government suppression of their right to speak and to assemble in protest. The students were not trying to pass any laws preventing Murray from speaking or to put him in prison. They do not have state power. In contrast, Murray is backed by powerful institutions. The American Enterprise Institute, where Murray works and whose student arm sponsored his event, has an annual budget of $46 million; its alumni include Antonin Scalia, Dick Cheney, and Newt Gingrich. Murray is hardly wanting for public platforms or the ability to get his views heard.

The students, however, have no such powerful institutional backing. They also—by challenging white supremacy and the psuedo-science that tries to justify it—are going up against widely-promoted racist ideas that have saturated this country since its founding in slavery. They used their voices, their bodies, and their sense of moral responsibility to condemn white supremacy and bigotry, giving voice to views that have frequently been maligned and suppressed. It is they who were exercising their right to speak and who are now being wrongly punished for exercising this right.

A Rising Tide of White Supremacy

Charles Murray peddles dangerous, thoroughly-debunked, intellectually dressed-up white supremacy. His most famous book, The Bell Curve, claims that Black people are inherently less intelligent than whites. Despite being chock-full of inaccuracies and anti-scientific methods, this book was widely promoted, legitimized, and used in the 1990s as a key justification for government slashing of policies and services, destroying millions of lives.

Murray's re-emergence today cannot be separated from the rising tide of white supremacy sweeping the country under Trump. A KKK-style torchlight march, chanting Nazi slogans, was held in Virginia against the removal of a Confederate statue. In Mississippi, a state representative wrote on his Facebook page that people who remove Confederate statues "should be LYNCHED." Jeff Sessions, head of the "Justice" Department, has reinstituted mandatory minimum sentencing against non-violent "criminals." These mandatory minimums are part of what caused the genocidal spike in mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, accurately named the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Standing up against and shutting down proponents of racism like Murray is not about suppressing speech, it is about standing up to white supremacy and the raw assertion of the state and the mob to enforce that white supremacy. It is righteous and it is needed more and more each day.

Ideas That Have Been Proven Wrong and Harmful Should NOT Be Endlessly Engaged

It is a very important principle that ideas—especially ideas that are new, poorly known, or which challenge established orthodoxies and/or ruling institutions—should be heard and put forward by their most ardent advocates. It is also important that ideas be taken on in the realm of ideas and answered with substance. However, this principle is not—nor can it be—absolute. Not every idea can be endlessly debated (there is not endless time or resources to do this), and attempting to do so actually stands in the way of advancing knowledge overall.

       

Does anyone really think, for example, that the idea of a flat earth should continue to be debated in science? What about Holocaust denial? Climate change denial? Obviously not! When ideas have been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked, it is time to close the debate and move on. Further, when debunked ideas cause tremendous social harm but continue to be promoted by powerful institutions whose interests those debunked ideas serve, it is right for people who lack that kind of power to put themselves on the line and shut them down. This applies to the thoroughly and repeatedly debunked, racist ideas of Charles Murray.

The Fight for the Campuses—Key in the Fight for the Future

The punishment of students at Middlebury is part of a growing clampdown on students, academics, and intellectual discourse that challenges the fascist direction this country is dragged in, now by the Trump/Pence Regime in power.

Powerful institutions are funneling millions of dollars into backing fascists like Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz, and others to spew their poison, normalize their bigotry, and whip up foot-soldiers on campuses nationwide. McCarthyite Professor Watchlists have been drawn up against professors who challenge white supremacy, patriarchy, and the ruling-class narrative of "American Greatness." And, students who stand up against this are being increasingly demonized and punished. Right now, several states are considering legislation that would legally mandate the punishment—including, in some cases, expulsion—of students who dare to disrupt a campus speaker. Just a week ago, Vice President Mike Pence made condemning disruptive student protests a central theme while giving the commencement address at Notre Dame.

The fascists are targeting the campuses precisely because they rely on the assertion of reactionary myths—LIES—which they do not want challenged. They fear critical thinking. And they fear the role that students have often played in challenging injustice and oppression—from the Freedom Rides to the fight against the Vietnam War to the waves of protests following Trump's election to the righteous shut-downs of Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos, and others in recent months. These fascists see the pacification of the campuses as a key step in consolidating fascism in America.

All this underscores even more profoundly the righteousness of what the students at Middlebury did and the illegitimacy and dangerous precedent of them being punished. The Middlebury protesters should be upheld, defended, and their righteous spirit should be spread. As white supremacy rides high and the fascist Trump/Pence Regime moves fast to remake the laws, attack the press, and knock down any who would stand up against them, many, many more people from all walks of life need to join in raising their voices and putting their bodies, their careers, and their reputations on the line to drive fascists off their campuses, out of their towns, and out of the White House.



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/mississippi-legislator-calls-for-lynching-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

In Trump’s America: The Open Revival of KKK-Style Terror

Mississippi Legislator Calls for Lynching Opponents of Confederate Monuments

May 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For 150 years the South has been awash in Confederate flags and scarred by hundreds of monuments to so-called “heroes” of the Confederacy—people who led a bloody war to maintain and expand the enslavement of Black people. These flags and monuments were and are a means not just to celebrate one of the most monstrous “causes” in human history, but to assert dominance over and terrorize Black people today. They are instruments of white supremacy.

In recent years, thousands of people have been struggling to take these hateful symbols down. Now, in defense of these symbols—and of the modern-day leader and representative of all that, Donald Trump—reactionaries are reviving a legacy of threats and terror.

On May 20, Mississippi State Representative Karl Oliver posted on Facebook that anyone wanting to “destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY… should be LYNCHED!” (Emphasis in original)

A few days later Oliver “apologized” for his “choice of words.” But he knew exactly what he was saying—for almost a century, lynching was the cutting edge of the terror directed at Black people in the South, sowing the fear that forced people to accept daily insult and discrimination, and to labor from dawn to dusk in fields only to end up in debt. And lynching was no secret

At least 3,959 Black people were lynched by whites in the South—576 in Mississippi alone—between 1877 and 1950. In 1937, right in Oliver’s district, two Black men were tied to a tree and burned to death before a mob of 500; the next day the local paper ran gruesome photos. In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was beaten, tortured, and drowned by a group of white men who were acquitted by an all-white jury and then went about bragging that they did it. That was in Money, Mississippi, also in Oliver’s district.

Oliver knows what it means to invoke lynching, just like the two other Mississippi state legislators, and the Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer who rushed to “like” Oliver’s post before it was taken down.

And this is not just some backwater Mississippi thing.

These are just a few examples of the vigilante threats and violence, including murder, that are on the rise in the era of Trump. Trump didn’t invent these people—they are the product of the whole U.S. history of white supremacy, which has been essential to the wealth and power of this country. But from the beginning of his campaign, Trump has embraced and relied on them, encouraging violence at his rallies, refusing to seriously denounce the Klansmen and Nazis who enthusiastically supported him, appointing white supremacist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and “ethno-nationalist” Steve Bannon as his chief strategic advisor.

Trump has signaled to the vilest forces in U.S. society that he is their man, and this is their time. And now, especially as the Trump/Pence regime faces opposition from many sides, these violent racist reactionaries are stepping out even more in an effort to defend their leaders and symbols, leaders and symbols of savage oppression. The time is now to mobilize millions of people to drive out this fascist regime.

All this is evidence enough, not just of the horror of Trump’s Amerikkka, but of how this whole system, from its very roots in slavery down to the present moment, has always abetted and encouraged, and has built into its very fabric the most horrific oppression of Black people. And evidence as well of the need for this system to be gone, which only the people can do through a total emancipatory revolution to wipe out the oppression of Black people as an integral part of the emancipation of all of humanity.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/ba-bible-belt-is-the-lynching-belt-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

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

The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt:
Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America

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

May 27, 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.

 

 

For a number of years now, I have been thinking about—and pondering the implications of—the fact that what’s called the “Bible Belt” in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt. Those parts of the country where fundamentalist religion has been historically and most powerfully rooted, and is so even today, are also the places where historically the most brutal oppression has been carried out and has been justified, over and over again, in the name of Christianity. In America, with its whole history of oppression of Black people—beginning with slavery and continuing in various forms down to the present—upholding tradition and traditional morality, and insisting on unthinking obedience to authority, is bound to go hand in hand with white supremacy, as well as male supremacy.

The questions arise in this connection: Is this just an accidental association—between the Bible Belt and the Lynching Belt—or is this something more deeply rooted and causally connected? And, if the latter, what are the historical and material roots of this connection between the Bible Belt and the Lynching Belt, between Christian fundamentalism and white supremacy in the history of the U.S.?

One of the key events and turning points in relation to all this took place in the aftermath of the Civil War, with the reversal and betrayal of Reconstruction in the southern U.S. To briefly review this crucial period: For a decade after the Civil War, from 1867 to 1877, the federal troops that had conquered the South, remained in the South to enforce changes that were being brought about through amendments to the Constitution and government policy in general. And there was, for a very short-lived period of time, not equality but real advances for the masses of former slaves, and even for some poor people among the whites. This included what was then a decisive dimension: the acquiring of land. Not all the land that was promised to the former slaves who fought on the Union side in the Civil War (the famous 40 acres and a mule that you see referred to in Spike Lee movies), but some land was acquired by the former slaves, as well as some poor white farmers. And, although still under the domination of the bourgeoisie and within the structure of bourgeois relations, there were a number of important rights that were extended to the former slaves that obviously had not existed under slavery—including the right to vote. As a result of this, there were also a number of Black elected officials during this very brief period in the southern states.23

But then, the bourgeoisie centered in the North, having consolidated its control of the country, including the South, economically as well as politically, needed to expand further to the west, and it sent the army that had fought the Civil War (and had remained in the South for a decade after the Civil War) to the west, to carry out the final phases of the conquest and genocide against the native peoples, the theft of their land, and the driving of those who were left onto reservations, which were in effect concentration camps.24 Pulling these federal army troops out of the South signaled the end of Reconstruction and returned the masses of Black people in particular to a situation of being viciously exploited and terrorized by old and new plantation owners and the Ku Klux Klan, which was started by former Confederate officers and soldiers seeking revenge for the defeat in the Civil War and a restoration of the “southern way of life.”

Along with this came the development, among white southerners, of a certain strain of Christianity, and in particular Christian fundamentalism, that viewed the southern U.S.—and more specifically the whites in the South—as a people who, like the ancient Israelites, had been favored by their God but then had lost favor with and had been chastised by Him. Their chastisement, in the eyes of these white southerners, was not because of slavery, but rather because they had not been strong enough in defense of their way of life—which in fact was based on slavery. And now, in their view, there was going to be a restoration of this people, as there was in past times when God had returned his favor to the ancient people of Israel.

And what went along with this, not just in the South but in the U.S. as a whole, was that increasingly the history of the Civil War was rewritten, and the role of Black people in the Civil War was basically washed out of historical accounts of this war (this is something that David Brion Davis speaks to in his book, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World). Even the basic reality of what the war was fought over was to a large degree blotted out, obscured, and distorted. Though the Civil War involved a complex of factors and motivations (people on the northern side were not fighting only out of moral conviction, though there were many people motivated to fight on a moral basis against slavery, and many who were inspired, for example, by the rebellion, even though unsuccessful, that was led by John Brown against the slave system shortly before the start of the Civil War), the essence and decisive point of the conflict was—and it became increasingly clear that it was—the question of slavery. On the side of the North, whose victory led to the abolition of slavery, what was essentially involved was the fact that the interests of the rising bourgeoisie (centered in the North) were coming into more profound and acute antagonism with the slave system and the slaveowners in the South. This heightening antagonism between these two modes of production, these two different systems of exploitation—capitalist and slaveowning—was at the root of this conflict; and the reality, which became increasingly clear, was that the bourgeoisie, and its mode of production, could not prevail without finally abolishing slavery. Still, notwithstanding the contradictory nature of the bourgeois side in this conflict (which, among other things, was manifested in the halting and partial way in which Lincoln approached the abolition of slavery), there is no doubt that the central and pivotal issue in the Civil War was slavery.

But, again, especially after the reversal of Reconstruction, there began to be a rewriting of this. “The War Between the States” was how it was increasingly referred to. And then you began to have re-enactments of key engagements in that war which were sanitized versions of what it was all about: people—overwhelmingly white people—would dress up in gray uniforms and blue uniforms (representing the South and the North) and re-enact key battles (this still goes on). This even found expression in the realm of sports. When I was a kid, and for some time after that, there was the annual Blue-Gray football game, an all-star contest pitting college seniors from the South against others from the North. The Civil War became ritualized, and reduced to almost a non-antagonistic conflict within the family, even while there was deeply harbored resentment among the un-reconstructed southern segregationists who looked back longingly to the “glory” of the Confederacy and slavery days. Actually, it was more among the people—that is, the white people—in the North that the sense of antagonism had largely faded.

This rewriting of history—and cultural expressions of this rewriting—were linked with a fundamentalist Christianity which had its roots in the South but was spread—and increasingly these days is being very actively spread—to other parts of the country, not only in rural areas but also within the suburbs and exurbs. And, in what is a terrible and outrageous irony, this same religious fundamentalism is being spread in the inner cities as well, promoted among Black people in particular by patriarchal-minded and reactionary preachers.

In the way that the Civil War has come to be presented as a national tragedy, there is great irony as well: In reality, the Civil War, on a far greater scale than the American War of Independence, had a genuinely liberating content, on the part of the North. Even though this was led by the bourgeoisie and was ultimately contained within the confines of bourgeois relations, the Civil War is the last war on the part of the U.S. capitalist class that can legitimately be considered just, and even glorious. And it’s the only war that they are ashamed of. [Laughter] This is why we repeatedly hear of the terrible tragedy of “brother killing brother.” Well, I don’t believe it was seen that way by the slaves—I don’t think the 200,000 former slaves who, once they were permitted to do so, fought heroically in the Union Army, thought that they were killing their “brothers” when they were fighting the Confederate Army. And I don’t know if a lot of the white troops in the northern army who went to battle singing in praise of John Brown thought they were killing “brothers.” I believe they thought they were carrying on a righteous fight to end a terrible evil.

But, as seen through the eyes of the ruling bourgeoisie today—and in the way it has molded, or sought to mold, public opinion—the Civil War was a terrible national tragedy. And the truth is that it was fought at terrible cost. The 600,000 who died in that war represent the equivalent of something like 6 million people, in relation to today’s U.S. population. But, despite the very real cost, the people who fought it at the time—actually on both sides, but here I’m focusing on the people who were on the liberating side of the war, on the side opposed to slavery—they believed that they were fighting a righteous war, a just war. And that was profoundly true—but it has been rewritten.

In relation not only to the Civil War but to the larger phenomenon of religion and white supremacy in America—and why it is that the Bible Belt is also the Lynching Belt—there is important analysis in Kevin Phillips’ book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. In Chapter 4, “Radicalized Religion: As American as Apple Pie,” Phillips makes this observation: “The South...long ago passed New England as the region most caught up in manifest destiny and covenanted relationship with God.” (American Theocracy, p.125)

What Phillips is speaking to is the fact that, going back to the origins of the country, in New England there was a strong current among the settlers of seeing the establishment of their new home in America as expressive of a special relationship with God, and a carrying out of His will. But over the period since then, that has largely receded into the background in New England, while it has become much more powerfully felt and asserted on the part of southerners—that is to say, once again, white southerners (or a large number of them). And those southerners fervently believe that this applies both to the U.S. as a whole but also, more particularly and specially, to the southern U.S. Thus, referring with the term “American exceptionalism” to the notion that America occupies a special destiny and a special place in God’s plan and is marked by a special goodness, Phillips continues: “It [the South] has become the banner region of American exceptionalism, with no small admixture of southern...exceptionalism.” (p. 125) In other words, in the eyes of religious fundamentalists who are rooted in the South and the traditions of the South, since America in general and the South in particular is characterized by this special exceptionalism, when the U.S. ventures into the world and does what might otherwise be regarded as evil, it is on the contrary good, because America has a special goodness inherent in it and what it does is, by definition...good—it is favored in a special way in the eyes of, and has the support of, God.

Phillips reviews how, in the aftermath of the Civil War,  although the South was defeated and the slave system was abolished, after the reversal of Reconstruction the South “rose again” in terms of political power and influence within the country as a whole. In connection with all this, Phillips points out, a religious mythology arose, and took root widely among white people in the South, that the (white) South had a special covenant with God and was the object of a special design by God to restore it to its proper place, righting the terrible wrong that had been done through the Civil War. Phillips makes the very relevant and telling comparison between southern whites in the U.S. and white settlers (Afrikaners) in South Africa, as well as Protestants in Northern Ireland and the Zionists who founded and rule the state of Israel. When I read this, it immediately resonated with me, because I had been repeatedly struck by the fact that, in listening to a Northern Irish Protestant, an Afrikaner, or an Israeli spokesman (or Israeli settler in the West Bank), they all seemed, and in certain ways even sounded, remarkably similar, not only in terms of the kinds of arguments they would make, but in their whole posture and attitude. Phillips points out that all these groups, including fundamentalist southern whites, see themselves as people being restored to their rightful, and righteous, relation with God—re-establishing a broken covenant and exercising a special, divinely-established destiny.25

As Phillips sums up: “The reason for spotlighting history’s relative handful of covenanting cultures is the biblical attitudes their people invariably share: religious intensity, insecure history, and willingness to sign up with an Old Testament god of war for protection.” (American Theocracy, p. 128) This insightful observation on Phillips’ part applies to the South of the U.S.—to southern whites in particular—and applies as well to those more broadly in the U.S. who are drawn to a literalist, fundamentalist Christian Fascism. And Phillips goes on to emphasize that the importance of this in today’s world has “less to do with Ulster [Northern Ireland Protestants] and South Africa and more to do with the United States and particularly the South. Israelis and, to an extent, Scripture-reading Americans are on their ways to being the last peoples of the covenant.” (p. 128) Phillips makes the chilling point that this outlook and the corresponding values are gaining currency and force among growing numbers of people all over the U.S.—and once more, in a bitter irony, this includes some among those who are most directly oppressed by white supremacy.

As this worldview has increasingly spread beyond the traditional Bible Belt in the U.S., and as this gains increasing weight within the ruling class of the U.S., it poses the prospect of a move to impose, through force and violence, in the U.S. and on a world scale, all that is called to mind by the slave whip and the lynch rope. And today (employing again a formulation from Phillips) this is embodied as, and comes with, the destructive power of “the preemptive righteousness of a biblical nation become a high-technology, gospel-spreading superpower.” (American Theocracy, p. 103)26

One of the things that David Brion Davis speaks to in Inhuman Bondage (and this is something I also pointed out in Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?) is that, along with arguments by Aristotle justifying slavery, one of the main things cited by the apologists and defenders of slavery in the southern U.S. was the Bible. More specifically, the story of how Noah’s son Ham incurred the wrath of God—so that God cast Ham into Africa and put a curse on the descendants of Ham, beginning with his son, Canaan—was repeatedly invoked to give a religious sanctification to the massive enslavement of people of African origin in the American South.27

For all the reasons that I’ve been speaking to (and which the statements I have cited from Kevin Phillips shine a light on), unavoidably bound up with religious fundamentalism in the U.S., given the whole history of this country, is a definite and pronounced component of white supremacy. And this is objectively true, even though not every individual caught up in this religious fundamentalism is conscious of this fact.

And, again, one of the bitter and acute ironies in all this is the spread of this religious fundamentalism—to a large degree with the battering ram of the forceful reassertion of absolutist patriarchal authority—among those who are most directly the victims of white supremacy. To the degree that this takes hold among them, it will have the effect of binding them more firmly into a whole process which will not only greatly intensify their oppression, but which has genocidal implications, particularly in a situation in which already huge numbers of inner city youth—a large percentage of Black youth and many Latino youth as well—are already in prison or ensnared in the “criminal justice system” in one form or another.

Before turning more directly to these genocidal implications, it is worthwhile looking at another dimension in which, in the history of this country, white supremacy has been mutually reinforcing with the promotion of religion. In the book When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, in the course of analyzing the way in which the New Deal and the policies effected through the GI Bill, the Federal Housing Authority, the Veterans Administration, and so on, served to actually reinforce and promote white supremacy and a widening of the gap between whites and Blacks in the U.S.,28 Ira Katznelson discusses specifically how this affected colleges and universities. He examines how government funds went in greater proportion to universities from which Black people were, in the early years after World War 2, still almost entirely excluded, and the disparity in government support, financially and otherwise, for Black universities compared to universities that largely, or entirely, excluded Black people. One thing he touches on, as part of this overall analysis, is the historically restricted curriculum of these traditionally Black colleges. With their limited resources and funding—but also partly under the influence of the whole tradition associated with Booker T. Washington—their curriculum was largely limited to, and emphasized, three things: trades, teaching, and theology. (See Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2005—Chapter 5, “White Veterans Only,” especially part III, pp. 129–34.)

In other words, there was a much greater emphasis on religion in the traditionally Black colleges than there was in other universities, from which Blacks were largely excluded for many years continuing after World War 2. Katznelson’s focus here is particularly on the period right after World War 2, but the differences he discusses cast a larger and longer shadow and have broader application and implications and effects, extending down to today. The promotion of theology in the traditionally Black colleges reinforced the role that historically had been played by the Black church, which was a highly and acutely contradictory role.

From the time of slavery, Christianity has been promoted among Black people in the U.S. by the powers-that-be. The various peoples in Africa from which the slaves were taken practiced a number of different religions, and along with forcing them to adopt a new culture and customs—down to the level of requiring them to take on new names (as dramatized, for example, in the televised special series Roots)—the slaveowners generally imposed Christianity in place of the slaves’ traditional religions.29

At the same time, as is not surprising among an oppressed people, beginning in slave times Black people have sought to take parts of this new religion, introduced to them under the yoke of the slavemaster, and use it as a means of fighting back against oppression. So, for example, the Old Testament story of the Israelites enslaved in Egypt and of Moses leading the people out of bondage—the theme of “let my people go,” expressed in gospel songs and in other ways—became a powerful part of the Black religious tradition and culture. But the role of the Black church has always involved a certain kind of dual role, and the role of Black clergy has always been a contradictory one, at times acutely so. It has involved negotiating with the slavemasters (and the white supremacist authorities who have exercised power after slavery was ended) to try to bring about some improvement in the conditions of the people—but always doing so on a basis that would keep things from getting out of hand in a way that would fundamentally threaten the interests of the oppressors; always waging the struggle, or seeking to confine struggle that breaks out, within a form that wouldn’t fundamentally challenge the oppressive relations. Time and again, especially when tension would mount and the anger of the masses would threaten to boil over, the preachers would go to the oppressors and say, in effect: “If you don’t give me something to go back to the people with, I won’t have any way to keep things from exploding.”

Martin Luther King played this role—and explicitly so. In the midst of the massive urban rebellions of the 1960s, King repeatedly took the stand: If you don’t give me something, I’m not going to be able to contain the anger of the masses any more. And when it came down to it, when the anger of the masses did erupt out of the confines that were acceptable to the powers-that-be, King joined in the chorus calling for the government to send in the army to forcibly put down mass urban rebellion. This is the stand King took in the context of the extremely powerful urban rebellion in Detroit, in the summer of 1967; and it must be said that when the army was sent into Detroit, violence did not then stop but was increasingly characterized by violence on the part of the army (together with the police and other agencies of the state) directed against the masses of Black people, many of whom were murdered in cold blood by the army and police. This is a matter of history.

Even if we allow that King did this because of sincere commitment to pacifism, a strategic opposition to violent struggle on the part of the oppressed and a feeling that Black people would only harm their own interests by engaging in violent uprisings, it must be said that this reasoning is fundamentally wrong and is objectively in line with the interests of the oppressors. In fact, King’s role in relation to these rebellions, and overall, was consistent with his expressed view that equality and justice for Black people must, and could only, be achieved within the confines of the capitalist system, and on the terms of this system, when in reality this system has always embodied, in its very foundation, and continually reinforces, inequality and oppression, in the most murderous forms, for the masses of Black people, and only sweeping aside this system through revolution can put an end to this.30

This is the role that this whole stratum of Black preachers has played historically, even while they have been portrayed as the leaders of the struggle. In truth, their role has been much more contradictory—and often much more acutely contradictory—than that.31

In relation to all this, two things stand out very clearly today: One, it is necessary to be very clear that this ideology—the theology of Christianity, and of religion in general, and the overall worldview that it expresses—cannot lead the way to real and complete liberation, and on its own it will always end up seeking to confine things within the limits set by the existing system. To put it in basic terms, to the degree that they are willing to stand with the oppressed in the fight against oppression and injustice, religious clergy and others with this outlook can and must be united with, but the outlook and the political orientation that they represent cannot lead the struggle, or it will not go where it needs to go in order to bring about emancipation from oppression and exploitation. And secondly, there is at this time a whole stratum or section of Black preachers which is openly going along with and promoting the Christian fascist program, to a large degree on the basis of aggressively asserting patriarchy in particular. And that can only lead to disaster: it cannot be united with and has to be very vigorously exposed, called out for what it is, and relentlessly struggled against.32

 

 


23. The U.S. is a weird country—the oppressive relations in this country have taken some peculiar forms. I remember doing some research into this a number of years ago, and discovering that if you were determined to be 1/16th African, you were counted as Black in some of these calculations in the South. And so, on the basis of this definition, there was one person (I still remember his name: P.B.S. Pinchback) who became Lieutenant Governor in a southern state during the period of Reconstruction; he held the highest political office in the South of any person of African origin (defined in this way), until quite recently. But even with certain peculiarities to this, it is a reflection of changes that were brought about as a result of the Civil War and the very brief period of Reconstruction. [back]

24. These federal troops were also used against strikes carried out by what was then an overwhelmingly white labor movement. [back]

25. Here there is a notable irony, with regard to the Zionist rulers of Israel in particular: while many of them are actually secular, they nonetheless base their claim to the land of Palestine on religious-scriptural grounds. As a joke, which used to circulate in Israel itself, puts it: “Most Israelis don’t believe in God—but they do know He promised them the state of Israel!” [back]

26. Along with the important analysis and insights in Kevin Phillips’ book, American Theocracy, as well as in Inhuman Bondage by David Brion Davis, observations that are very relevant to this question are found in The Baptizing of America, by Rabbi James Rudin, as well as in a talk, in May, 2005, by African-American theologian Dr. Hubert Locke, “Reflections on the Pacific School of Religion’s Response to the Religious Right.” [back]

27. In more recent times, once again we have seen arguments seeking to justify and reinforce white supremacy being treated very respectably in the bourgeois media and other “mainstream” institutions. This was the case with The Bell Curve, for example—a book that was published and was promoted very aggressively in the 1990s. In setting out to justify oppressive relations in general—and, more specifically, white supremacy—this book did not rely so much on religious scripture for justification, but based its arguments on pseudo-scientific rationalization for what it alleged were the innate inferiority and superiority of various groups. It explicitly argued that there is a genetically-based inferiority of people of African origin, particularly with regard to intellectual capacities. This was raised to oppose programs such as affirmative action, but also more generally to justify unequal and oppressive relations and to reinforce the ideology of white chauvinism (racism) that goes along with the way in which white supremacy is built into the whole history and foundation, and the dominant institutions and structures, of U.S. society. However, increasingly in these times in the U.S. we see religious fundamentalism being brought forward as a unifying ideological basis for the most openly reactionary viewpoints and political programs, including white supremacy as well as male supremacy. [back]

28. An analysis of the role and effect of the New Deal and related programs in reinforcing white supremacy and inequality is also found in WorkingToward Whiteness, How America’s Immigrants Became White, The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs, by David R. Roediger, Basic Books, 2005. [back]

29. Despite some definite limitations, some useful background in this regard is found in Religions Of Africa: A Pilgrimage Into Traditional Religions, by Noel Q. King, Harper & Row Publishers, 1970; and The Religions Of The Oppressed: A Study of Modern Messianic Cults, by Vittorio Lanternari [Translated from the Italian by Lisa Sergio], Alfred A. Knopf, 1963. [back]

30. See Cold Truth, Liberating Truth: How This System Has Always Oppressed Black People, and How All Oppression Can Finally Be Ended, available at revcom.us/coldtruth, where the following statement by Martin Luther King is cited, which makes very clear his outlook and orientation and the unity between the objective he put forward of pursuing (the illusion of) achieving equality within this system and his insistence on what the character of the struggle must be:

“The American racial revolution has been a revolution to ‘get in’ rather than to overthrow. We want a share in the American economy, the housing market, the educational system and the social opportunities. This goal itself indicates that a social change in America must be nonviolent.” (Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here, p. 130, cited in Cold Truth, Liberating Truth, Part 7, “Any Other Way Is Confusion and Illusion”) [back]

31. You can see these contradictions portrayed, for example, in a movie that came out in the ’60s, Nothing But a Man. This movie was not widely distributed, but it is a very interesting and overall a very positive movie, even with its limitations, which are reflected to some degree in the title. It is the story of a Black railroad worker in the South who, because his job provides more mobility for him, and he has some experience with unions, doesn’t want to put up with all the overt racist crap that Black people were subjected to in the South at that time. At one point he meets, falls in love with and marries the daughter of a preacher, and he comes into very sharp conflict with the preacher because of his whole attitude of refusing to put up with all this—and his contempt for Black people, including this preacher, who do put up with or compromise with the whole racist set-up. The movie very well portrays the kind of conciliating role of the preacher—negotiating to get a few concessions and at the same time struggling to keep the people in line, so that they don’t anger the Man and upset the whole arrangement. This movie captures a lot of the acutely contradictory role, historically, of this stratum of Black preachers and the theology they have purveyed. Contrary to the mythology that’s promoted by the ruling class, as well as by many of these preachers—that they’ve always been out in front, leading the struggle—the reality is once again much more contradictory: While some Black clergy have played a positive role and made real contributions to the struggle, there has also been a significant aspect in which many of them have sought to contain the struggle within limits that are more acceptable to the ruling class—particularly in circumstances when the struggle has powerfully strained against, and at times broken through, the limits they seek to impose on it in order to maintain this arrangement with the ruling class whereby the preachers can get certain concessions in return for keeping the masses in line and preventing them from getting all out of bounds. [back]

32. As an aside here, dealing with a secondary but not insignificant part of the picture, it is worth thinking about why is there an unusually large representation of white people from the South not only in the U.S. military overall but more specifically in the officer corps. Now, as for the “grunts,” that can be explained to a significant degree by the fact that there actually are a significant number of white people in the South whose options are limited. But there is also the whole macho and militaristic ethos that has historically gone along with the influence of religious fundamentalism and generally conservative culture and values—it is not accidental, or incidental, for example, that “patriot” and “patriarchy” are words with the same root. And, specifically with regard to the large numbers of white southerners in the officer corps of the U.S. armed forces, along with this macho and militaristic ethos, there is the whole history of the southern aristocracy, beginning with the slave system but then continuing after literal slavery was abolished (and replaced with a system of sharecropping and plantation exploitation, in what was essentially a feudal form, for a period of about 100 years after the Civil War). This whole aristocratic tradition in the South was consciously carried over and copied from Europe, and if you look at a country like England, with its aristocracy, there is the tradition where one son inherits the family’s property, another joins the clergy, and yet another son goes into the military. And there are not only ideological but also practical factors that play into that. With a system where wealth is based on land ownership, to the degree that you are not able to more intensively exploit people on the land, then there is a limit to how much wealth you can accumulate; and if you keep dividing up the land, you will end up in a situation where the family wealth will actually begin to be used up. But, if you send one son into the clergy and another into the military, there will not be so many to divide the land among (and less basis for rivalry and antagonism among the sons). To a significant degree, this was historically part of the culture of the southern U.S.—that is, of the rich white land-owning aristocratic strata in the South—and this is quite possibly one of the factors that has contributed to there being so many white southerners not only in the U.S. military overall but specifically in its officer corps. And, in turn, given the historical particularities of the South, as spoken to above, this presence of a large number of white southerners is a factor contributing to a more favorable environment for the spread of religious fundamentalism—Christian Fascism—within the U.S. military, including its top ranks. [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Support the Hunger Strike of California Folsom Prisoners

Updated June 12, 2017 | Originally posted May 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update:

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network issued a statement on June 1 in support of the Folsom prisoners’ hunger strike. The strike began on May 25, reportedly with 59 prisoners of different races/nationalities participating. The statement said in part that “Samidoun expresses its strongest support for the strikers and their demands, and for the struggle in the United States against racist oppression and mass incarceration. We salute those fighting for their lives and human dignity in a prison system based on racism, injustice and exploitation.”

There were protests on June 4 by prisoners’ family members and activists in front of Folsom prison and at Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles to draw attention to and broader support for the strike. Prison officials had spread misinformation that the strike had ended as of June 1, but family members said it was still in effect as of June 4 and that some strikers were determined to continuing even as two of the main organizers had been transferred to other facilities.

The hunger strikers issued their 9 demands upon initiation of the strike as follows:

Adequate access to courts and legal assistance; meaningful education, self-help courses and rehabilitative programs; possession of TVs; exercise equipment and meaningful exercise in the yard; end cruelty, noise and sleep deprivation of welfare checks; keep original proper packaging for commissary and canteen; non-disciplinary status to qualifying prisoners; adequate and appropriate clothing and shoes; food bowls and cups.

A family member said on June 4 that with the Trump/Pence regime (and their attorney general, Jeff Sessions), “People need to start waking up. Folsom is just a small part of what’s going on all over this country. We need to demand change. This is an emergency.” She shared that she lives in daily fear of getting a phone call that her husband has been murdered in prison. Another family member described the dehumanizing and dangerous denial of medical care to her husband and said that her husband “is a different person” than when he went into prison, having developed empathy for others. She noted, “People change [only] if they are given the resources to transition back into society instead of how they are set up to fail” by the current prison system.

~~~~~~~~~~

Courageous prisoners of B4 Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at the Folsom State Prison in California began a hunger strike on May 25. A Statement from Prisoners released through their relatives said this protest is “in response to ongoing mistreatment, dehumanization and unbearable living conditions.” These conditions include not being given bowls so prisoners are forced to eat food out of ziplock bags instead, not being given cups so prisoners have to drink water out of old milk cartons, no cleaning supplies for toilets or cells, no rehab or education programs, no TVs or any property, and mail withheld up to a month or longer with no reason provided.

The statement calling for support said in part:

Hunger strikes are a last resort, a measure taken by those who truly have no other way out. They often come with high risks and heavy costs to prisoners. Incarcerated people commonly face disciplinary actions, retaliation by prison officials, abuse and further denial of their basic human rights during hunger strikes—simply for exercising their free will and resisting their mistreatment.

California prisoners had braved several hunger strikes before. The authorities had promised some improvements in conditions in exchange for an end to the struggle. The first hunger strike began in July 2011 and demanded an end to long term solitary confinement. It was initiated and led by prisoners in California’s notorious Pelican Bay Segregated Housing Unit (SHU). During that first strike, there were reportedly at one point 6,600 prisoners participating; the second later in 2011 was said to have drawn in 12,000; and the third in 2013 reportedly drew in 30,000—each strike grew statewide.

The statement asks the painful yet indicting question:

Why must California prisoners continue to sacrifice health and life, involve lawyers and courts, in order to be treated like human beings?

This question hits at the deep injustices and outrages faced by prisoners in California and elsewhere: prisoners brutalized, dehumanized, and caged up in this country of mass incarceration—and it demands an answer.

Support the Folsom prison hunger strikers--info here.



       

 

 


 

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Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

Another Outrage in Chicago:
Spectator Charged With Contempt of Court for Snapping His Fingers

May 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bail was set at $40,000 for a man charged with contempt of court after he snapped his fingers in support of a Chicago judge’s decision not to drop the charge of first-degree murder on the pig who murdered Laquan McDonald.

For readers not familiar with this case: in October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago pig Jason Van Dyke, seconds after Van Dyke arrived on the scene. Other pigs then confiscated a video from a business at the scene that showed what had really happened, beginning a year long coverup. This case was made famous by Vic Mensa’s song “16 Shots” and by an outpouring of several months of protests in Chicago starting in November of 2015 when the video, which went viral, of the murder was finally released 13 months after the murder occurred.

This is the first time in 35 years that an on-duty pig in Chicago has been charged with murder. On May 25, spectators packed the courtroom for a hearing in this case. No forms of protest were allowed in court. After being searched and walked through metal detectors to enter the courthouse, people had to do this again to enter the courtroom. Revolution Club members even had to cover their BA SPEAKS—REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS! T-shirts to enter.

At the hearing, Van Dyke’s attorney filed a motion to get the first-degree murder charge dropped, arguing, “On October 20, 2014 when this shooting took place, this was business as usual.” The attorney went on to say that Laquan McDonald was walking away from the police holding a knife, and that “The legislators who created this law told police officers, in this situation you can shoot ‘em. Not only can you shoot ’em, it’s your duty to shoot ’em. You have to prevent the escape of this dangerous armed individual.”

The judge has been running this courtroom with an iron fist, and that fist came down hard on a school teacher who snapped his fingers when the judge ruled against Van Dyke’s attorney’s motion to drop the murder charges. The judge called the teacher up to the bench to explain his actions. When the teacher turned toward pig Van Dyke and answered, “To see a racist murderer on trial, a racist killer,” he was immediately jailed, and bail was set at $40,000.

The defiant outpourings of protest after the release of the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald shook the city. Further protests followed, including several nights last summer where youths took to the streets in South Shore after the police murder of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal. Protests in response to the murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, involved mass arrests, and at least one person still faces multiple felony charges. Two people, including a member of the Revolution Club, are still facing felony charges from arrests around Mike Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. The release of the Justice Department’s scathing report on the Chicago Police Department, in January of this year, stung those in power. They are cracking down and fighting to keep struggle contained. The judge’s outrageous ruling against the teacher is part of this assault and must be opposed.



       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/492/fascist-texas-governor-jokes-about-shooting-reporters-en.html

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017

From a Reader

Fascist Texas Governor "Jokes" About Shooting Reporters—Taking the Lead from Trump

May 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Just saw this a while ago. Greg Abbott, the fascist governor of Texas, made a joke about shooting reporters—NOT FUNNY! According to HuffingtonPost, “...A Texas Tribune reporter snapped a photo of Abbott showing off his target sheet on Friday, after which the governor ‘jokingly’ pointed to the bullet holes and threatened the media. ‘I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,’ Abbott said, according to reporter Patrick Svitek...”

This is right on the heels of Greg Gianforte, who was just elected congressman in Montana, even while he faces an assault charge for body slamming Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, who asked him a simple question about the Trumpcare bill a few days ago.

Of course, these people take their lead from Trump, who has attacked the press and called them “enemies of the people” and such as well as encouraging his fascist social base to attack people who disagree with them whether via doxxing them, beating them up or other methods.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/465/other-voices-on-trump-resistance-en.html#vcurrie

Revolution #492 May 22, 2017


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