Revolution #503, August 7, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Join the movement that is protesting
day after day and night after night and not stopping,
until our DEMAND is met:

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

November 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

ENDORSE THIS CALL

 

A Nightmare:

Immigrants living in terror—their next step could mean detention, deportation, being torn from children and loved ones.

A Nightmare:

Muslims and refugees demonized, banned and cast out.

A Nightmare:

Millions—children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the poor—denied healthcare, food assistance, the very right to live. 

A Nightmare:

Women objectified, degraded, and denied the basic right to control their own reproduction with fundamentalist Christian fascism increasingly being made law.

A Nightmare:

LGBTQ people stigmatized, ostracized, and denied civil rights recently won.

A Nightmare:

Black and Latino people openly threatened by the President, with maximum sentencing, stop-and-frisk going national, intensified police brutality and murder of our youth with no holds barred. 

A Nightmare:

People all over the world facing bombings, occupations, war and the threat of nuclear war with Donald Trump’s “America First” finger on the nuclear trigger.

A Nightmare:

The truth bludgeoned—lies and more lies—critical thinking being destroyed in education and public discourse.

A Nightmare:

The whole planet in peril from a regime that denies global warming and shreds all environmental protections.

A Nightmare:

A regime step-by-step discarding basic democratic rights, targeting group after group, and suppressing dissent and resistance. A regime unleashing the violence of white supremacists, anti-Semites and fascist thugs. This is fascism—a qualitative change in how society is governed. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.
 

 

THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END.  Millions feel this and ache with the question of how to stop this unrelenting horror.  The stakes are nothing less than the future of humanity and the planet itself.

Who will end this nightmare?  We will. Only the determined struggle of millions of people acting together with courage and conviction can drive this regime from power.

JOIN US—Take to the streets and public squares across the country, beginning a movement of protests that continue day after day and night after night. A movement working to grow from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions.  A movement determined to not stop until our demand is met:

THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. 

Our determination to persist and not back down will compel the whole world to take note. Every force and faction in the power structure would be forced to respond to our demand. The cracks and divisions among the powers evident today will sharpen and widen. As we draw more and more people forward to stand up, all of this could lead to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.

Spread the word and organize. Be a part of making history. Don’t let it be said that you stood aside when there was still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us in taking to the streets and the public squares day after day and night after night. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, demonstrating that:

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

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

RefuseFascism.org

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protest. 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

On November 4, 2017, We Begin:

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

by Andy Zee

August 5, 2017 Refuse Fascism National Meeting

August 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Refuse Fascism is publishing the written notes for a presentation that Andy Zee, a member of the Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism, made to a national meeting of leaders of Refuse Fascism. After discussion, the meeting affirmed the decision to issue the Call for November 4 and developed plans for Regional Conferences on August 19 to build and organize for November 4. Andy Zee began by reading the Call for November 4, which we are reprinting below. His speech follows.

 

 

On November 4, 2017, We Begin,
This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

 “This Nightmare Must End” captures how millions of people feel right now. This feeling is at times inchoate and, at others, it enrages. It disturbs sleep, dominates conversation. For immigrants and Muslims it is terror that is lived—a foreboding pervading every aspect of life. Where you never know if this is the day you will be snatched from family and the life you have made—perhaps to be returned to a place you don’t know where you may face persecution or even death.

 Millions of people agonize over every move of the regime and they worry about the specter of worse to come. They feel trapped in the kind of nightmare from which you desperately need an escape—desperately hoping to wake up so as to put the terror behind you. Adding “This Nightmare Must End” to our demand speaks very broadly to how people feel.

 People feel that somehow this must end and yearn for a way out. Refuse Fascism is the hope and the way to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power.

 What people don’t know, and need to know, is that THEY ARE THE WAY OUT OF THE NIGHTMARE, if they join together and act outside all the normal avenues that they expect society and government to provide for redress of their concerns—outside the ways that they would normally think of to act themselves for remedy. Waiting for investigations, waiting for the Democrats to act, thinking that Trump will implode, hoping for 2018 Congressional elections, even protesting each abuse—as righteous and part of people raising their heads as such protest is, these are all acting within the normal frameworks that people have grown accustomed to thinking and acting within for change in policy and direction. But change, even under “normal” times, rarely comes without ferocious struggle if it is not change in the interests of at least some of those in power. BUT EVEN MORE, THERE IS NOTHING NORMAL ABOUT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME. FASCISM IS NOT NORMAL.

 Refuse Fascism is up against what society is up against. Fascism is not the normal way that this country has been ruled. While more and more people are coming to see the qualitative change that the Trump/Pence Regime is bringing, we have a society-wide struggle to wage with people to recognize and come to grips with the reality that with the election of Trump there is a fascist qualitative change in the social, political, and cultural norms of how this society is governed and ruled. The abnormality of Trump consistently gets focused on his narcissistic psychology and/or his financial and other misdeeds, and what is not confronted is the radical tearing up of the norms of society and in its place new fascist norms being cemented into place.

 Again, there is a break with what have been the norms we confront, and to deal with this there must be a break with the “normal” ways people seek change from government. The normal forms of petition and protest DO NOT APPLY with Trump—even as they have been difficult enough under the normal functioning of this system.

 So we constantly hear the talking heads on cable news, or commentators on social media critiquing and mocking Trump’s outrageous tweets and utterances, his disregard for the truth, his overall buffoonery and his flaunting of the norms of society. And they not only gloss over the full scale and scope of his program and almost never mention its fascist character, but they also consistently “advise” the regime on how to govern “normally.” THE PROBLEM is Trump glories in breaking the norms—and that is why he was elected by a social base that has been riled up for decades behind a racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant program. They believe Trump’s outsider outrageousness and his flaunting of the norms shows that he can and will deliver. The program of the Democrats and their media mouthpieces is restoring the norms. So people who hate and oppose the regime are being led to look to all the ways I mentioned before: elections, hearings, investigations, and protest as usual to “make their voices heard,” as if we are dealing with a normal regime. We are not.

 We need to learn from those times in the history of this country, and from around the world, when people stepped outside the normal channels to struggle for their demand. Just this past winter tens, and then hundreds, of thousands of people took to the streets in the capital of South Korea—eventually every day and night—to demand the ouster of the president. After almost four months, they succeeded.

 We should recognize, and hold firmly to, our demand that the whole REGIME must go. This is a tremendous strength of Refuse Fascism. No one else, no other organization, has raised this demand. Yet, many are paralyzed at the thought of Trump being removed and ending up with Mike Pence. Their repulsion at Pence is warranted.

Pence is now the political leader of a theocratic Christian fundamentalism—that we should more accurately call Christian fascism. Decades in the making, the roots of this are gone into extensively in The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer and The Coming Civil War, both by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and architect of the new synthesis of communism.

 This past week, two Catholic Vatican scholars close to Pope Francis warned U.S. Catholics that the Christian evangelicalism of the Trump/Pence Regime is “not too far apart” from the kind of Islamic fundamentalism that is tearing up the Mideast. The Trump/Pence Regime is saturated with and dependent on this Christian fascist social base, and already they have made huge strides in implementing their agenda, with catastrophic impact on the lives of women and LGBTQ people as well as on medicine, healthcare, and public education. Impact that will disproportionately hurt communities of oppressed nationalities.

 Christian fascism runs through this regime, from Steve Bannon’s world apocalyptic view of a war for Western (read white) Judeo-Christian civilization on through the Trump cabinet with Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and that vicious nut job now on the Supreme Court—Neil Gorsuch. This is a REGIME—that word matters—it is an amalgam of all the strains of fascism that have run through America’s history which have become forged over the last decades and now, in the context of the huge problems this country and system faces, has come to power. It may have shocked all or some of these fascists movements that Donald Trump is the vehicle that they are riding, but they have recognized it, and now it is so. Bannon and the Nazi Rudy Giuliani have said: THIS is our last chance (even as they have left unsaid, but made clear) to consolidate fascism.

 In our July 15 message, we posed: “Could it happen here? The Answer: Yes... It is an American Fascism—Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism—a fascism wrapped in the Bible taken literally and the American flag, saturated with racism, misogyny, and xenophobia.” And, in answering yes, we said: “It is happening and the responsibility falls to all of us to stop it before it chokes off air in society.” The point is: this is not just another normal swing of the pendulum—it is a REGIME bringing about a Fascist America.

 ONLY REFUSE FASCISM has a PLAN for DRIVING OUT THE WHOLE REGIME, and THIS MATTERS AND IS OUR STRONG SUIT.

 That REFUSE FASCISM identifies and demands that the whole regime must go is a great strength and should be a magnet for people to get with the vision for November 4. Our two slogans, “This Nightmare Must End, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!” concentrate a lot of understanding of the situation that we face and the road forward—they need to be everywhere and everywhere struggled over.

 Our plan requires thinking and acting, as they say, outside the box. We are calling on people to put a lot on the line—taking to the streets and the public squares day after day and night after night and not stopping. For this to happen more and more people need to understand in a basic way the situation—again, the necessity—that humanity faces with fascism coming to power in the most powerful country in the world. We need to deeply get this too, because if we want others to be strong, we must be no less.

 The seven panels of indictments we have developed are a tremendous tool—that bring people the brutal reality of what this regime has actually done; what they have said they are going to do; and what their regime has unleashed in the states and in their vigilante fascist groups. We have not fully appreciated the role that these panels can play in mobilizing the people. After reading the panels, people have told us: “I didn’t really know.” The SCALE AND THE SCOPE of what the TRUMP/PENCE FASCIST REGIME HAS DONE IN SIX MONTHS IS BREATHTAKING.

 The panels have three key dimensions: [1] Education—getting people the facts, the reality (the scale and scope of fascist remaking of society); [2] They are a tool for politically provocative actions—wielding the panels and the research concentrated in them to hound the enemy: the regime, Congress, administrators from agencies such as ICE, the Border Patrol, and more; or, to go out and shake up and wake up those who normalize fascism and distract the people from the real deal going down and steer people away from the fact that there is an organization and a way to fight this—this includes media like CNN and MSNBC, as well as Democrats and social democrats among others; and [3] These panels are a tremendous organizing tool. People can download the panels in different sizes and get them out in their city or neighborhood. We can’t be everywhere, but the panels can be. People want to form a group for November 4? Hold a discussion on each of the panels in light of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action and the November 4th Call, and take the display out to the people.

 I will come back to plans at the end of this presentation, but what overall will be decisive in bringing forward masses of people is using this sharp agitation—the exposure of what this fascist regime has done—in politically provocative actions: like the protest outside and inside Trump's recent rally in Youngstown, Ohio; the disruption and protest during the Ann Coulter Politicon panel; or the 100 hours of around-the-clock protest exposing Fox News. In the 1980s and ’90s ACT-UP did a lot of research on AIDS, and they had the goods on the government and what it was not doing to deal with AIDS. But they didn’t just sit on this information—they took creative, disruptive, even shocking actions, and that became a critical form of ACTIVE education that was, at the same time, a form of struggle. What the Trump/Pence Regime has done and is about should shock the conscience, but for all the reasons of “normalization” that I have been talking about, part of what we must do is act in ways that put the “shock the conscience” quality of this fascism in front of people where it can’t be ignored.

 November 4, 2017, we begin. Why have we set this date? Because without the kind of mass determined opposition of millions of people being in the streets day after day night after night, there is little chance of the whole regime being removed before they are able to cement into place a fascist re-ordering of society. By setting the date, we focus our attention and that of the whole society on the form of political protest that is required.

 We have recognized that there are two windows that are still open that make it possible to do what we are calling for. First is that the Trump/Pence Regime has not, as yet, been able to fully institute fascism. They have made significant progress, they have plans in the works, but there is still an opening. As we and others have pointed out, it would only take one serious international or domestic incident for that window to suddenly slam shut with the regime taking “emergency” measures. And even without such an incident, things can reach a point through executive measures and laws that the regime pushes through, where the window closes in that way—with the result that fascism is consolidated.

 This morning Jeff Greenfield, a long-time political commentator, was on CNN, and he argued against the prevailing discourse that Trump is “off track, not able to accomplish anything.” Greenfield said that while we, speaking of the news media and people following the media, have been caught up in the daily onslaught of outrageousness from the Trump White House, the regime has been making significant real progress in advancing their program. He pointed especially to outsourcing the appointment of federal judges to the Federalist Society, which is resulting in appointments to the federal courts of judges in the mold of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who will radically reshape law in a reactionary direction for decades.

 There is a second window that we have pointed to in that there are still millions and millions of people who are not adjusted to or resigned to the Trump/Pence Regime. There is still willingness of masses of people to protest. While protests have not reached the numbers of the Women’s March, and there is a lot of normalization that has taken place, there remain millions of people who are alert. And if they saw and understood that there is a program to really remove this regime, and people acting on it, they could be moved to act.

 With the actions on July 15, we put on the political map that there is a national movement dedicated to fighting for the demand that the whole Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!—and that organization is Refuse Fascism. The demonstrations were relatively small, hundreds in key cities, yet people came forward in the face of threats and the presence of organized fascists. In LA, when the fascists began chanting “USA! USA!” they were answered with chants of “Humanity First! Humanity First!” We should grasp the potential and the significance of that. We should not fail to appreciate and build on the embryo of July 15.

 Yet we do not have the numbers or enough leaders right now for what is needed to begin on November 4. We can get them in the next two and half months. This proposal is made in full recognition of the huge leap in our work, and for the millions of people who want the nightmare to end.

 First, we must understand that the kind of struggle that we are calling for on November 4th is absolutely essential. Waiting till next year could well be too late. There is freedom in really understanding this. To just keep on keeping on with what we and other forces have been doing will very likely lead to real catastrophe. Understanding that hard truth opens up and compels us, together with many other people, to find and fight for the ways and means to meet that necessity that is objectively posed and underscored by setting a date to begin. The principle here is that really understanding the necessity we face opens up the potential to find and act on new freedom to transform that necessity.

 We should clearly understand that we are not organizing for November 4 in a situation where nothing else is happening but us and the Trump/Pence Regime. Quite the opposite. Every social force in society is in the mix in one way or another. The process of organizing and leading towards November 4 will be the back and forth, the interrelationship between what the Trump/Pence Regime does, what other fascist forces do, how the Democrats and even some Republicans conciliate with and also object to and oppose the regime, what other social forces do—the analyses they put forth and the struggles they initiate, as well as actions and events in the world from other governments, and even natural disasters (recall Katrina1); AND, all of this in relation to what Refuse Fascism puts forth and does. We will have to lead through a contentious mix of forces and events consistently putting forth our position as concentrated in the two Calls (the Call for November 4 and Refuse Fascism’s founding statement) and leading struggle as part of organizing to make a real beginning on November 4. By calling for November 4, we will actually be in a far stronger position, should masses of people come out in response to a breaking event in large numbers, to advance the date to earlier, if conditions emerge that make that possible.

 There is another important dimension to comprehend about why only the people through mass struggle in the ways that Refuse Fascism is calling for could lead to removing the whole regime and a positive outcome.

 I want to read two paragraphs that appear on the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party, REVCOM.US:

 The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent. We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.

 This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers-that-be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.

 From my point of view, what is concentrated in these two paragraphs is extremely important and helpful to understanding the dynamics at play in the situation we face and the plan we have put forward—even as it is not necessary for people in Refuse Fascism to share this analysis of the system and its ruling class that is concentrated in these paragraphs.

 There are two points I want to underscore here. The first paragraph concentrates the reason why the people must take independent action outside the normal confines of two-party politics. The Democrats will not and cannot provide an answer that is in the interests of humanity to this fascism because they are part of the same system which has created the conditions that gave rise to and foster this fascism. As we saw when Trump launched missiles at Syria, the Democrats applauded, showing that when it comes to fundamental interests of their empire, they share with the fascist section of the ruling class a belligerent grotesque American chauvinism. Listen to the praises of the Democrats for the Generals John Kelly and Mad Dog Mattis. When Trump in his State of the Union address sang the praises of one of the Navy SEALs from the January raid in Yemen, CNN commentator Van Jones gushed that in that moment, Donald Trump "became President."

 Second, as the new Refuse Fascism Call for November 4 says: “The cracks and divisions among the powers already evident today will sharpen and widen. As we draw more and more people forward to stand up, all of this could lead to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.” In other words, the infighting among the rulers—between the Democrats and the Republicans, and things like the Mueller investigation—all provide openings for the struggle from below. Without that struggle from below, these cracks at the top will either amount to nothing, or will resolve in ways that could be bad for the people—such as with Pence put in power with all factions of the ruling class firmly uniting behind him and the fascist program intact.

 Before moving to our immediate plans, I want to underscore again that a key obstacle that we must overcome is people today having little experience with truly mass struggle that steps outside the bounds of the normal political processes, including protest as usual. Our actions and our organizing between now and then must make this different way of doing things come alive for masses of people.

 In the July 15th Refuse Fascism speech, after putting forth the vision of the kind of struggle that we are calling for on November 4, we said:

 This is both unprecedented, and at the same time, there are models and experience to learn from. Nixon and his Vice President, Spiro Agnew were both driven from power.

 More recently in South Korea millions filled the streets night after night, at first starting just on the weekends, and they eventually drove their President from power. The Ukraine, Tahrir Square in Egypt—people in their millions protested day after day night after night creating a political crisis for those in power to remove despised leaders. There were shortcomings for sure, and there are differences, but never, NEVER, underestimate the power of the people when we struggle righteously in the interests of humanity.

 WE CAN DO THIS. The people are there. The anger is there. If we act creatively with determination, confronting the regime and their representatives and institutions and always doing so in ways that puts the truth to the lies of what they represent. Making people feel through what we do that immigrants, Muslims, women, Blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ, people all over the world are full human beings, showing through word and deed that we will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime ... that they must GO! And that they, and we, are the ones to make it happen.

 Before moving to briefly putting out the plans, I want to reiterate that while we should aim for mobilizing millions and put that before people, and if they all came out on November 4 that would be great, but the process is more likely to be, and what we must concretely achieve through our organizing, is that at least several thousand people in each of several key cities begin on November 4, and that through a process, this quickly becomes a platform from which to rapidly call forward and draw forward more and more people. There will be a back-and-forth struggle in the media, among the people, and with the authorities. Through this there will be a dynamic where through ebbs and flows as well as attempts to slander and suppress what we are doing, more and more people can be drawn forward. Where thousands become tens and then hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions.

 After discussion of the proposal and Call for November 4, 2017, we will discuss the upcoming Regional Conferences on August 19 and develop plans to organize and build for November 4.

 I will close with the last lines of the Call for November 4, which echoes the mission statement of Refuse Fascism, the Call to Action:

 On November 4, 2017, we will stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!


1. Hurricane Katrina was a major hurricane in 2005. In addition to being a devastating natural disaster, Katrina became a significant political and social crisis due to the criminal response of George W. Bush and his administration that dramatically magnified the death, the suffering, the vicious and racist repression and the widespread displacement of those hardest hit, especially larger numbers of Black people. [back]

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. An updated pre-publication PDF of this major work—now including the appendices—is available here.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively

So, with everything I’ve said about the contradictoriness of this Party, there is, in fact, a great need to strengthen this Party, quantitatively and qualitatively—with growing numbers of people, and with people who come into this Party and join the fight to further rupture it onto the revolutionary road, and have it more thoroughly be on the revolutionary road. There’s a need for that—I’m gonna say it straight up—there is a very real and great need for that. There’s a need to wield BAsics as a “handbook” of revolution, communist revolution, in a consistent way. There’s a need to use the film of the Dialogue with Cornel West and REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! There’s a need to consistently use the website revcom.us, not simply as some sort of “guide” for communists alone, or as a place where you can find interesting information, but as a crucial means to influence and provide leadership for broad masses of people, as well as the Party and the ranks of the revolutionary movement at any given time. The website is being developed with that purpose in mind—to build the revolutionary movement, and to continually draw forward new people toward and into that movement, aiming for an actual revolution and a radically different world. That’s what is said about the website when you look on the website itself. And there is the importance of the print newspaper for those people, prisoners and some others, who don’t have access to the internet—who can’t access the website, as such—but can get the newspaper, even if it’s interfered with a lot. The Ardea Skybreak Interview, as well as the Outline on the new synthesis of communism, and Demarcations66—these are also important resources to go back to repeatedly, for people to really develop as communists, and to popularize and utilize broadly.

I think many of us, if not all of us, have had this experience: One of the ways you most learn, and develop as a communist, is by seeing the contention of opposing lines. A lot of times, things aren’t clear to you—what are these differences about? Then you see them sharply posed in polemics, and you recognize what the issues are, what the contention is all about, and why this matters. This is something Lenin brought out in What Is To Be Done? 67 He recalled a discussion he had with a representative of the economist trend in Russia (the economist trend argued that the way to build the socialist movement was to concentrate on leading the trade union struggle and other everyday struggles of the working class, and somehow out of that you could move toward socialism). Lenin polemicized strongly against that economist trend—making very clear why it was wrong and how it would never lead to a revolution that would go on the road of socialism. In opposition to that, as I spoke to earlier, he insisted that communists have to be tribunes of the people—going among all sections of the people, exposing the system in broad terms, and bringing forward the need for communist revolution. He argued compellingly that the proletarians are never going to come to a position of seeing the need for revolution and communism if this is approached from within the narrow sphere of their own experience and their own immediate struggle. So these were very clearly opposed views—Lenin’s, on the one hand, and the economist trend, on the other. Yet, in that essay (What Is To Be Done?), Lenin recounted how he was talking with this economist and they seemed to be agreeing on everything—but, at a certain point in their discussion, a question came up over which they found themselves in sharp disagreement, and then they realized that they didn’t agree on anything! And this is not a unique experience. You know how it goes—it all sounds good—everybody’s for the same things. But then, at a certain point, it becomes clear, if things are posed sharply, that people do not agree, and are not for the same things, at all.

Now, sometimes disputes are not really about anything important. Especially among various opportunist trends, like the Trotskyites, their disputes are meaningless, or worse, because it’s all idealism, it’s all a contestation of ideas in their head which don’t really deal with or correctly reflect the real world. Therefore, there’s a constant tendency among them to split and split and split, because if the test of your ideas is not the real world, then you can always find something to disagree over—and, believe me, intellectuals are very good at doing that, especially if they don’t get back to the actual reality. Now, let me emphasize again, I’m not anti-intellectual, but I do recognize the contradictions that exist in the world, including among the intellectuals. In fact, I count myself as an intellectual, and, as I have emphasized, the masses need revolutionary and communist intellectuals. But, if you’re divorced from the real world, if your ideas are not in correspondence with the real world, and if the real world is not the ultimate test of your ideas, you can always find things to disagree about that you can never resolve, and therefore you split and split again. Well, those kinds of polemics and splits are useless, and worse.

But struggles and polemics that are waged over substantive things that have to do with the real world are very important, because you discover whether people actually agree, or whether they’re really talking about completely different things and completely different means for arriving at them, and you can see more clearly what difference this makes in terms of changing—or not changing—the world. This happens over and over again. This is why Demarcations is so important. The different polemics against Ajith are very important. Ajith wrote a whole long thing, about 100 pages, with the title Against Avakianism.68 Well, a number of different people, including communists from different countries, wrote substantial answers to that, and much of this has been published in Demarcations. It’s very important to get into these things: What is being said by way of opposing the new synthesis of communism? What is correct in opposition to that attack on the new synthesis? And why is this new synthesis correct? We shouldn’t act as if we are what people accuse us of being. People say we’re a cult. Well, if you don’t have any substance underneath what you’re talking about, that’s what you’re going to be. You go around talking about this new synthesis, and so on, but what if somebody asks: “Well, what is this new synthesis?” “Oh, well, that’s a different story—I don’t know what it is, I just know I’m supposed to talk about it.” That, to say the least, is not very convincing; that is not going to get us where we need to go.

So, things like Demarcations, the Ardea Skybreak Interview, the Outline on the new synthesis of communism—these are very important and substantial things that people should go back to repeatedly. I happen to enjoy reading polemics, because I like to see the lines sharply posed, and opposed. But even if at first it’s difficult, you have to fight your way through these things, because it really is a matter of life and death, ultimately. It really does have everything to do with whether the masses are actually going to get out of this nightmare or not.

At the same time—this is another important point to emphasize, and it is emphasized in the Interview with Ardea Skybreak: While we want, and we need, to struggle to win people to be communists, this is not “all or nothing, all at once,” and it shouldn’t be approached that way. The point is made in that Interview: There is a place for everyone who can’t stand this world as it is and wants to work for a radically different world—there’s a place, and there needs to be a place, to be a part of and contribute to this movement for revolution, while you are learning more about it. As it is put in that Interview: You don’t have to go from zero to 60 right away, and we shouldn’t insist that people do that. We shouldn’t be putting those demands on people, and we shouldn’t be running them around, keeping them busy all the time, while never engaging in any discussion and struggle with them over what this is all about—which, unfortunately, is all too common a tendency. It’s not that there aren’t many pressing things—as Mao said, so many deeds do cry out to be done. We have far too few forces and there’s so much we need to do. But it’s not the correct approach, and you won’t solve the problem and make breakthroughs, if you just run people around and run them into the ground, or expect them to be 24/7 revolutionaries the first week that they’re getting involved. There has to be a process, and we have to lead people through this process—which, yes, involves struggle, sometimes very sharp struggle, but it has to make allowance for the fact that it is a process, and that people need to work their way through contradictions. We have to lead them in this process of working through contradictions, and not expect them to zoom forward at breakneck speed, in a straight line—and we definitely should not just fill them up with busy work, without any time to really get into what this is all about. That’s one of the reasons why people will not stick around—if you just get them to do, do, do, do, do, and you never go into the deeper questions of what this is about, why there’s a basis for this, and how we’re proceeding strategically, and why therefore we shouldn’t get thrown off by temporary twists and turns, or ebbs and flows in the struggle, because we have a deeper grounding and a deeper understanding of what the basis is for all this, and here’s how we’re going to work on this. If you don’t take the time to go into that, and struggle with people over that, people are going to continually fall away, because you’re putting incessant demands on them, and they’re running up against obstacles and they don’t understand the larger—and, yes, complex—process, so they expect things to go forward in a straight line, and they don’t have a basis for dealing with it when that doesn’t happen.

We have to have the right combination, the right synthesis. We used to have that formulation of struggling all day against the powers-that-be, and talking about big things all night. Maybe today, as some people have suggested, it might be the opposite: maybe the night’s when the resistance (the “fight the power”) goes on, in the main, and it’s during the day that you talk about big things of theory, and strategy, and so on. But even there, there has to be some rhythm and pacing, in the sense that you have to allow for people to go through a process, even while you’re struggling with them to keep going forward in that process, but not expecting them to just come zooming along, zero to 60, in a straight line.

So, that point in the Interview with Ardea Skybreak—and, again, the whole Interview—is a really important resource for Party members, and those close to the Party at any given time, but also for people who are newly coming around, and even people in society much more broadly who don’t even know anything about communism—and what they do “know” is all wrong. That’s also why the special issue of Revolution on communism, its history, and how this relates to the future of humanity, the special issue with the Interview with Raymond Lotta (“You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future”) is so important. It’s very important to be steeped in that, and to popularize and use it broadly with people.

 


66. As indicated on its website, Demarcations: A Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic “seeks to set forth, defend, and further advance the theoretical framework for the beginning of a new stage of communist revolution in the contemporary world.” This journal promotes the perspectives of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. It is available at demarcations-journal.org and also revcom.us. [back]

67. V.I. Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, 1902. [back]

68. In July 2013, Ajith, the Secretary of what was then the CPI (M-L) Naxalbari, a Maoist party in India, published a polemic entitled “Against Avakianism.” It appeared in Naxalbari, the theoretical journal of that party. [back]

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/what-this-world-needs-right-now-genuine-communists-followers-of-ba-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

“What does this world right now need more than anything? COMMUNISTS! Genuine communists that are followers of Bob Avakian!”

August 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Reading the excerpt, it made me think back to a discussion I had with some comrades, members of the Revolution Club. We were talking about how big the world is, and how people’s outlooks make them feel like just everything in front of them is all that matters. One person from the Revolution Club, talked about this video, Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. She pulled it up on her phone and played it for us. THAT BLEW MY MIND!

In the video it makes the point that one person is very small compared to the world, and even more so, the universe. When I was younger I was scared to think of the planet being so big, and I refused to think of the universe, because it was so big and scary. Back then, to me, the definition of what was beyond the sky, was god and heaven. But now thinking about all of this is actually very liberating, and thinking back to the video, it paints a picture and makes the point that people tend to see the problems that are right in front of them and thinking so narrowly. That’s exactly how I used to think. It was hard to even picture anything beyond my neighborhood anything that was right in front of me. I have a really small family, so I only thought of them and of my closest friends. When I would watch the news, I remember feeling helpless, seeing all these horrible things happening in my own neighborhood and not being able to do anything about it. I cared, but I always acted as if I didn’t.

I think back to that period in my life and can’t help but think about the millions, who are told over and over, that they can’t do shit! That feel the exact helplessness I felt when I watched the pigs stopping people in the neighborhood. When I heard about women being abused and beaten by their partners! I felt outraged and helpless! I HATE THAT FEELING! Up to this day I still hate that feeling. In a way it was very liberating to know THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN AND MUST DO! But by itself, it’s useless! What I mean by that is the feeling itself isn’t going to solve anything, it required me to get scientific about understanding the world and how to work to change it and getting to work on that. I never want to feel that helplessness again! Not that I wanna feel “saved” or like some “savior” but there is a fucking answer to this shit—understanding where it comes from and how to stop it! Knowing and understanding that there is a whole different way the world can be! Seeing the potential of others, the same way that the revolutionaries saw the potential in me and fought for me to dedicate myself to this! Not by shaming me but by actually helping me through the process of understanding some very difficult shit.

I am a high school dropout. When I first came around, I didn’t understand half of what the revolutionaries talked about. I always thought: “I will just do the street work and the protests and let other people tell me what to do.” There was a lot of struggle around that, which now I see very clearly. I would think, “Just let it go and let me continue to help on the side.” When we would get into theory, I would get frustrated. I got to the point of calling myself stupid and actually thought I was unable to learn this very complex work. Today, I know that’s a bunch of crap! I was giving up without trying my hardest, because my whole life I was told I was stupid and wasn’t gonna make it to shit! And I believed it so much, I ended up telling myself that.

Once I understood why it mattered to get into the science, I did. All bullshit aside, I asked all the questions that were coming through my mind, I put myself to get into Bob Avakian’s work, and not in a “personal responsibility” type of way, but I actually thought about this question: What does this world right now need more than anything? COMMUNISTS! Genuine communists that are followers of Bob Avakian! Because I knew it mattered, we don’t need more social workers, telling us that everything will be okay and they will help us. What is needed is people who are taking up this New Synthesis of Communism, applying the method, understanding the world, and leading people to themselves break out of these fucked up ways the system got us in, to become communists. How are we going to make revolution if just a few people do the work in the realm of theory while others blindly follow? Because that’s what it would have come down to. And objectively, how are we going to deal with contradictions we face in making revolution, if only a few are dealing with it? It’s impossible! We are never going to make revolution that way, or run a different society that way!

I always think about this point: What is it going to take for people to really appreciate and “form a wall” around BA, really able to protect and defend his ability to keep leading in the face of repression and attacks? It’s going to take people digging into and engaging with the New Synthesis of Communism. I’m saying that to say we don’t want blind followers, we want and need conscious emancipators of humanity. And that’s what I am and have dedicated my life to.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/response-to-prisoners-letter-in-chicago-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Response on the Streets of Chicago to Prisoner's Letter

“Damn, that touched my heart”

August 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolution Club in Chicago has been using a prisoner’s letter that was posted on revcom.us recently. (From a prisoner to the Brothers and Sisters of the Street Organizations of America: “I read The BAsics… It’s time for us to focus that fearlessness towards a BETTER WORLD”) We’ve been struggling with people to get out of fighting and killing each other and get with the movement for revolution and into BA. This letter is coming from someone who was caught up in that same madness and speaks directly to people who are still caught all up in it.

We decided that we had to make good use of this letter so we made posters and very deliberately put them up on poles right where some of these youth hang out. We’ve also gone right up to these youth and some older cats to challenge them with what’s in this letter. Just about everybody we’ve used it on in one-on-one discussions has been locked up themselves and are, or have been, part of “the life.”  There have been different responses worth recounting but rather than go on and on doing that, I’d like people to know about one young guy’s reaction.

We walked up to a group of youth who like others in this neighborhood are semi-friendly because they know the police don’t like us and we don’t like the police but at the same time don’t want to seriously engage us when we tell them to get out of the shit they’re caught up in and into the Revolution Club. They all scattered when we tried getting them to engage some BAsics quotes but one of them stayed to tell us how he sees things and how we can’t actually change nothing. We kept trying to get him to be serious but he was all over the place. At one point we took one of the posters of the prisoner’s letter that we had in our hands and told him, “Man, check this out. This is from a prisoner doing life who was caught up in all the same shit.” One of us just started reading the letter and even had to stop him from interrupting at one point where he wanted to talk about how the prison conditions in Illinois are worse than Texas: “Look, man, the point of this letter isn’t to talk about prison conditions or where the worst dungeons are. Just listen to the rest of it, it’s important.” We read the whole thing and by the end of it his whole attitude had changed; he said, “Damn, that touched my heart” and he started calling out to his friends, “Ay, y’all gotta see this, this is from a prisoner doing life.” He asked if he could have one and if we could give him some tape. He walked up to a wall on a corridor leading into some apartment building where many of these youth hang out while continuing to call on his friends to come check this letter out. He said, “Y’all gotta see this, he just pours his heart out here. On my brother, he speaking some real shit. Y’all gotta come over and read this.” He seemed a little dejected by the fact that he wasn’t getting any response from the friends he was calling over and just kept putting more and more tape on the letter to make sure it wouldn’t fall off the wall. We asked him, what had touched him about the letter and he said, “What he saying about us doing what they want us to do, we destroying each other and being our own worst enemy… how they just killing us off and we’re helping them do it… We might as well put the gun in our own mouths.” We told him that this prisoner is also telling him to fight for something different and he’s telling him to get with the revolution and get into BA. We held up BAsics and told him, “This is the book he’s talking about, this is what you got to get into. This system is what has us all fucked up but it don’t have to be this way, we could make a revolution that will get rid of all this shit but you got to get out of that and you gotta get into this.” He nodded his head and when before we couldn’t get him to stop talking and listen, now we couldn’t get him speak. He walked away without answering and we just called out to him telling him that he was going to have to decide what his life was going to be about, he just looked back and nodded but kept walking.

We didn’t recruit this youth into the Revolution Club on this day but this letter clearly had an impact on him and we want to highlight the importance of prisoners who are getting into BA writing to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) and addressing their letters directly to these youth. You are making an important contribution and so are the people who are donating to the PRLF and helping sustain Revolution newspaper. This isn’t just about hoping that the Revolution Club does a good job in Chicago; everybody who sees the urgent need to get these youth to stop killing each other and become gravediggers of this system and emancipators of humanity has a role to play.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/501/letter-from-prisoner-to-the-brothers-and-sisters-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

From a prisoner to the Brothers and Sisters of the Street Organizations of America

“I read The BAsics...It's time for us to focus that fearlessness towards a BETTER WORLD”

July 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It has been awhile on my part, but The Struggle hasn’t stopped! I am a “Lifer” with 16½ years done on the rest of my life. It seems since Trump manipulated his way into the highest political position of the United States government, my time (life) has got harder! Now (supposedly) I reside on the worst prison in the State of Texas (XXX) and currently we are on Lockdown. Due to an African-American prisoner killing a Hispanic prisoner, so tensions are very high. So, The Administration decided to lockdown and shakedown at the same time. Well, the Captain supervising the guards that were searching my property decided that I had too much property, even though all my property could fit in my locker box. Well, they took all the reading material that you all (Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, PRLF) had sent over the years.

Now I been working as a Janitor in the Kitchen for 17 months, but the Admin. took my job, because I am a Confirmed Gang Member. Am I a Confirmed Gang Member? Yes, I am and been on file since 2001. Now, I haven’t had a disciplinary write-up in 3 years, and I am at the highest level (S3-G2) that I can go.

I would like to speak to my Brothers and Sisters of the numerous Street Organizations of America. VIOLENCE IS A FERRIS WHEEL OF HORROR! Violence begets (causes) violence. It never stops! We must stop it! I’ve been a member of the YY since I was 11 years old; I am now 44 years old. For most of my life, revenge and retaliation has been my meat and potatoes. Has been my sole reason for opening my eyes daily. Then one day I woke up tired (emotionally) sitting in Administration Segregation, looking at the rest of my life incarcerated. I knew the system (America) was broken, but didn’t have one clue on how to fix it, or change my mindset for the better. Then my next door neighbor introduced me to BA, and as I read BAsics, a whole new world—a world different than the one I was taught/brainwashed by my school teachers—became known to me.

Brothers & Sisters, WE ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKON WITH, and right now we are doing exactly what the powers that be want us to do. Destroying each other, they’ve been on this “divide and conquer shit” for centuries! Right now, we are their allies, and our own worst enemy! I was borne into this broken ass system, just as we all was. And we was, also, programmed to believe that this is the way it is suppose to be. But, Mr Bob Avakian has shown me that I’ve been lied to my entire life. Like Bob Avakian said in his book—BAsics: “If you want to know about, and work toward, a different world—and if you want to stand up and fight back against what’s being done to people—this is where you go. You go to this Party, you take up this Party’s newspaper, you get into this Party’s leader and what he’s bringing forward.” (BAsics 3:34). What more needs to be said?!?

Brothers and Sisters, I know you all are frustrated, tired, and mad as a muthafucker! Trust me when I say, BA is the answer to our problems with this country! Believe me or not, the powers that be wants us killing each other off. And the ones that survives, they will send their cops to lock the rest up, or finish y’all off! They are slowly, but surely, “MOWING” us down, and we are helping them do it! We might as well put the gun in our own mouths!!!

Brothers and Sisters, we have shed blood, sweat, and tears, plus put in so much “work” for Our Nations, Families, Hoods, and Sets. It’s time for us to focus that energy, that fearlessness towards a BETTER WORLD! All of us have proven over and over, we are willing to STAND TALL for what we believe in! Isn’t a better world for us and our children worth believing in?

DEFINITELY IN THE STRUGGLE,

P.S. Regardless of my daily struggles, I shall always strive in The Struggle.

 

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/check-it-out-the-movie-detroit-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Letters on the Movie Detroit

August 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a member of Revolution Club, Chicago:

“Watching the movie Detroit—I felt like my heart would pound out of my chest”

August 6, 2017

Watching the movie Detroit felt like my heart would pound out of my chest and the rage at the system with their enforcers, police and military, damn near boiling over. The mixture of “good ol’ boy” Klansmen-esque torture, eager militarism of the police locked and loaded, and the assertion of male domination made it hard not to throw up. One scene that stuck out as well was when the pigs asked a young white woman why she wanted to be with Black men, and she responded, it’s 1967... In 2017 there are officers like Wayne Welsh of the Estherwood, Louisiana, police—recently forced to resign because of widespread outrage at his tweeting an image of a white woman pushing down the head of her daughter in the bathtub with the caption, “When your daughters first crush is a little Negro boy”—are still on the same racist shit. As a lawyer for the police in the movie said, the police were doing their job.

The theatre on the South Side was packed, with few seats open. Gasps and anguished sighs were heard at some of the intense moments of the film, like when the friend tells the truth with his life on the line, and later on as well in court as the courts of injustice read out the verdict. The movie finished, leaving people in a stunned state, when some of the Revolution Club members started agitating, enraged tears still wet on their faces. Trump is saying to the pigs they’re being too nice—was that nice? That was years ago, and they haven’t let up. “Philando Castile, cover-up! Alton Sterling, cover-up! ... This system has had 400 plus years to make right. It’s time we stop taking their bullshit and get organized to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time!”

As this went on, we passed out copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and our Declaration (“The Revolution Club Declares: This Summer in Chicago Will NOT Be a Bloodbath of Killing Each Other...”) to eager hands and nodding heads. One woman was yelling in agreement as she was coming down the stairs. We talked with people who stopped in the middle of the theatre and in the bathrooms, getting into the solution and what we have—the leadership in BA and the RCP, and the work that’s been done on how a revolutionary force could end centuries of heartache through revolution. A middle-aged woman asked for a stack to get out in her neighborhood and others opened their purses to have a pamphlet stuffed in, asking about how they could be a part this solution. Half an hour later, we were tying it up with people lingering after midnight, eager to get into BA and stop by the Revolution Club’s South Side organizing center.

Just as the revcom.us “Check It Out” says, Detroit is a must-see movie. And people who know something of the solution, of BA, and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and what’s needed to get to another society, need to come out and bring the only solution to fight for to the fore.

Letter from a reader:

Detroit—the movie

August 6, 2017

I just saw the movie Detroit and am still reeling from it emotionally—it brought tears of heartbreak and fury. It’s hard to put in words, but here goes. It feels so real because it IS real. There is a continual kick in the gut—there is no historical or emotional “distance”—as you watch the movie because although the Algiers Motel Incident happened 50 years ago, the same police murder, brutality, and the whole systemic approval and cover-up the movie depicts so up-close and unflinchingly are still happening today.

The movie shows the terror of a young Black man in Detroit running for his life AWAY from the cops and desperately trying to climb a fence when the cop cold-bloodedly takes aim and shoots him and then congratulates himself and walks away as the young man crawls under a car to die. How many times have we seen this in the last three years alone? And in Detroit when the body is found, the murdering cop flagrantly justifies it to his superior officer who sends him right back out on the street to murder again.

The Detroit Rebellion of 1967, which the movie depicts, was one of the largest and most impactful rebellions of Black people of the ’60s. In response, not only the Detroit police, but the Michigan state police, the National Guard, and army troops were sent in to smash the rebellion and punish the people. The movie does not pull any punches about the role of the National Guard, a literal invading army with tanks and machine guns, who (along with the State Police) were complicit in the atrocities of the police at the Algiers Motel and give them free rein. There are references to the war in Vietnam in the movie that in my mind connect the oppressor role and mind-set of the U.S. military’s wanton war crimes going on at the same time in Vietnam where the people were treated as subhuman enemies to be crushed, with the openly white supremacist police view of the Black people of Detroit. The sick “game” the police play in the movie which leads to the murder of three people and terror and torture of many more is but one example.

The movie makes you feel you are “in the room” with the terrifying police torture and executions. You feel the naked and intentional cruelty, the bitter unfairness, the vicious white supremacist culture of the enforcers of this system. The power of this movie is what it made me feel about how wrong this is, what a basic violation of the humanity of Black people, how unjust, how much suffering it causes. It filled me with fury, at the same time I was crying for the pain this caused to the victims and their families in Detroit but also the thousands and thousands across the U.S. in the decades since.

There is no justice in this movie just like there is none in real life in the IN-justice system of the white supremacist USA, a capitalist-imperialist system where the oppression of Black people is built into its foundation since slavery days. In Detroit the murdering cops actually get put on trial in the context of the outrage and rebellion of Black people across the country. But the movie shows how the victims and witnesses against the police were treated like THEY were on trial and abused and criminalized in court and how this resulted in the all-white jury setting the murdering police free. There is a great scene where people in the courtroom call this out and stand up against this, but in the end the fucking pigs still get off. As I watched this my blood was boiling, I kept thinking over and over how true are the words of Bob Avakian in BAsics 1:24:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

Today fascists are in power with a genocidal program which, like the police and feds in Detroit, lauds white supremacist, above-the-law, lynch-mob, officially sanctioned fascist terror. Just last week Trump made his speech to cheering cops on Long Island, calling on them to be more vicious, calling immigrants and Black people “animals” and telling the cops that he’s behind them 100 percent in brutality and murder. This is what he means by “make America great again.”

At the end I was thinking “this is the one of the truest movies I have ever seen.” That truth is ugly and bitter—it tells the truth about America that people of all nationalities need to know. And I was thinking how badly people need to know that there is a way out of this madness through total revolution and that it is actually possible to bring into being a radically better world for all of humanity where this kind of oppression never happens again to anyone. They need to know that Bob Avakian is the leader of this revolution who has forged a new framework for revolution—the new communism. And that he is leading a revolutionary communist party that is preparing now to bring down this system at the soonest possible time.

I have to say I couldn’t speak for a couple hours after the movie. But I do think there would be tremendously worthwhile to go again to the theater and after the movie is over take Revolution newspaper and the pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” and tell people “If this movie moved you to pain and anger and you feel that there is something really wrong with what this system does to Black people in 1967 and today 50 years later, and if you can’t stand it, and you want to find out about how to end this once and for all, talk to me, go to revcom.us, and find out about this revolution and its leader Bob Avakian.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/revolution-summer-chicago-fund-drive-enters-second-and-decisive-phase-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Revolution Summer! Chicago Fund Drive Enters Second and Decisive Phase
On to $50,000!

From the Revolution Club, Chicago

July 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We are in the midst of an important campaign to raise $50,000 for Revolution Summer! Through this, we hope to bring many people in more middle strata to support this effort, and in the process to learn more about what the masses of people are facing in the oppressed neighborhoods, and about the revolution that is needed. We have raised a little over half of what is needed. Many people around the country will need to step forward to meet this goal as quickly as possible, to keep this project going.

As it says on the GoFundMe site for the project: “Donations are needed right now to support the work being done this summer in Chicago by the Chicago Revolution Club, out-of-town volunteers, and Carl Dix [a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party]. The Club is taking out the leadership and the science people need to get free to the people who are currently shooting and murdering each other. The Club is on the front lines, fighting relentlessly to get the youth to stop the insanity and get into the revolution. This situation is more acute than ever as the Trump/Pence regime sets its fascist sights on Chicago. ... Everyone with a heart agonizes over this situation. But here is a way for you to actually do something—make a donation that can actually make a difference—because this project is not about putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.“

We have learned some things with our initial efforts in the middle class in Chicago, concentrated in a group of health professionals and workers who have donated several thousand dollars to Revolution Summer! in both small and large sums. The six Points of Attention for the Revolution have played an important role in this work—projecting a vision for a new future and of moral authority for that future.

Because there is such a huge gulf of ignorance and ignore-ance among the middle strata, even in Chicago, of the conditions people on the South and West Sides actually face—there is the need in this work to bring to life the reality that the violent oppression of Black people has been deeply embedded in every aspect of this country for hundreds of years and that, due to the workings of capitalism-imperialism, millions of Black people have become expendable in its eyes. This agitation/argumentation does have an impact on people being asked to donate to this project. The problem is this system and not some pathology of Black people who in fact are the victims of all of this. Middle class people raise to us: Can these problems be addressed by more education? Should we focus more on problems of the Black family and the lack of fathers in the home? But how well do these people in more privileged positions, who are immersed in “information” but not in scientific analyses, get the horror of mass incarceration that has robbed these communities of so many people? How well do people understand the history of how this system created these segregated neighborhoods with redlining and restrictive covenants/the destruction of public housing/the turning of public schools into prisons with no chance at real education? These questions are all addressed at revcom.us, and using these articles has made a big difference in winning people to donate.

Why People Donated

Among those who decide to support this it has been important to get people to express why, from their perspective, they are supporting this project and to share that with others still on the fence. One health professional donated to Revolution Summer twice and wrote: “Made another 50.00 donation on the GoFundMe page. Instead of writing something of my own I will just pick some quotes that I like. (1) ‘The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.’ Marcus Garvey. (2) ‘For any marginalized group to change the story the society tells about them takes courage and perseverance.’ Sharon Salzberg. (3) People often call fighting discrimination being ‘PC’ because they don’t want their own unearned privileges challenged.’ DaShanne Stokes.”

A professional whose parents are from South Asia wrote: “I grew up doing volunteer work with my parents. So I’ve seen injustices and inequality of under privileged communities as well as the sense of hopelessness in the children/adolescents who can’t see a way out. When my friend discussed the Revolution Club, it got my interest immediately. An organization that is working to change things on a big scale. I’m in agreement that the world needs to open their eyes and see the blatant disregard for other humans just because of the low income or skin color. Thus glad to see a national movement for change.”

Carl Dix Dinner/Discussion with Health Professionals

We recently had an informal dinner meeting/discussion where four health professionals met with Carl Dix after all had donated to this project. Carl spoke about the decision to bring a Revolution Summer to these neighborhoods, to the pull of the street and the struggle to break people out of that and onto another road and what would be involved in this. He also gave a lot of attention to the campaign of police-imposed “martial law” in the area on the South Side where the Revolution Club has planted a pole—including the raid of over 100 cops on a family’s 4th of July party. Those at the dinner were really taken aback by this and learning of the 7 am-3 pm curfew which led to one resident being ordered off the sidewalk to his porch and then off his porch into his home! The issue of neighborhood development to “uplift the neighborhoods” came up. Carl spoke to the Obama library and the Tiger Woods golf course, both planned for South Shore and, as Carl explained, both meant to delude people into dead ends that do nothing to address the real problem.

At the end of the dinner, one professional who has been generous in her support of this project raised her questions about communism and human nature, and Carl went into this with substance. The next day, another of the professionals added that she very much appreciated what Carl had to say, and expressed her views this way: “Changing all of this is hard work and will take a lot of time and I appreciate that there can be many approaches to going at this.” She offered that she is going to donate again and would be willing to reach out to a few others that she knows. What we have learned, among other things, is that people do not have to agree with everything about Revolution Summer in order to support it, AND TO TAKE IT OUT TO OTHERS.

Support Those with a Real Plan to End the Crimes of This System

It is important to grasp that progressive middle class people, people who do have a heart and are agonizing over the daily carnage among these youth, have a responsibility to support this project even as they explore and engage with and raise questions about and voice disagreements with revolution and with Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. We welcome all of this, but not by making disagreement principle over the need to have the back of Carl Dix and the courageous Revolution Club volunteers as they fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution in these neighborhoods. You can sense the excitement of so many good middle class people when they first hear that somebody is out there on these mean streets with a plan to actually END this monstrous crime imposed by the system upon humanity! Then, of course, people want to “get real,” and why wouldn’t they, not grasping the deep science behind this plan? So now they’re on a journey—and we need to help lead them to that science and its methods and conclusions. But don’t let them lose that spark that we lit! Here’s a simple truth—No other plan out there is even close to commensurate with this fucking problem! Support that!

Bob Avakian, in his new book THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, talks about the “positive synergy” between building the revolutionary movement among the most oppressed—and among the middle strata. Those who catch the most hell need the middle strata to back them up to not feel that the rest of society is against them. This is strategically important in making revolution.

Another positive development we’ve seen so far in this fund drive is increasing excitement, and multiple donations, from a section of donors who follow Revolution Summer online at revcom.us or at least through GoFundMe updates, and emails we send out to them. When they read articles like “Face-Off on the South Side of Chicago” and how things were getting very intense and people in the neighborhood were stepping forward in various ways, including putting on the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts, some donated again and sent encouraging statements. We have to make sure the Revolution Club and the people they are reaching out to HEAR that there ARE middle class people who do HAVE THEIR BACKS.

DONATE.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/meeting-the-la-resistance-fighters-of-july-15-pt-3-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Meeting the LA Resistance Fighters of July 15
Part 3

by Michael Slate

August 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It took courage to be among the hundreds who gathered at Hollywood and Highland, the site of the Trump Hollywood star, to rally and march against the fascist Trump/Pence regime on July 15 in Los Angeles. Trumpite fascists had threatened the marchers in advance—and they did come out to try to intimidate and silence the protesters, and physically assaulted at least two people.

Michelle Xai of Refuse Fascism Los Angeles, the young woman emceeing the rally, called out the fascists in a strong and spirited rap that got right to what was so important and urgent about the protest, and rallied the people forward:

We’re here on a mission to drive out this fascist regime. These people, what are they representing, what are they opposing? When Donald Trump says make America great again, what is he saying? He’s saying make America white again. He wants to go back to the days when there was a separation, when Black people had to use different bathrooms than white people, when they were treated as less than human. We say NO to that, and we are determined to drive out this fascist regime from power. And we are not going to sit back and wait and see. This fascist in the White House has already shown us what they’re gonna do. They’ve told us what they’re gonna do. And we are not gonna be those good Germans who just sat back when there was bodies all around them and just covered their eyes and pretended like it wasn’t happening. No! We are not gonna go back to those days!... We refuse these fucking ignorant fools trying to intimidate us. They came out here to protect a piece of concrete [the Trump star]. If it wasn’t so dangerous, it would be laughable. But these people are serious—this is how fascism consolidates, through these modern-day brown shirts going around and shutting up all opposition while the people in power continue to carry out these genocidal programs against the masses of people. We should not get distracted. We are on a mission to drive out this fascist regime from power, and we’re not gonna back down from that!

There was a moment where the fascists were chanting “USA, USA, USA,” and the crowd responded with “HUMANITY FIRST, HUMANITY FIRST!” The fascists turned strikingly silent, and the moment had a profound effect on everyone involved.

Who were the 400 resistance fighters doing the right thing, marching against the Trump/Pence regime? They represented a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, and shared a sense of responsibility to humanity to drive out this fascist regime. Revolution correspondent Michael Slate caught up with a number of them, and shared notes on the scene, who was there, and why.

This is the third part of this series; we will add more in days to come, so stay tuned. See Part One here and Part Two here.

********

Nanzi was a young—maybe 23-year-old—white woman dressed in a kind of black dance costume. And she wore a black mask that covered the top half of her face. She called herself “Nasty Woman,” and she decided that she really wanted to take on the fascists standing along the sidelines of the rally. She explained that she had work to do and would not be able to talk with me but pointed me to the guy she came to the rally with.

Peter was also in his early 20s and “into Marxism.” I asked him why he came to the demonstration. He answered without hesitation, “The fascism of the Trump regime. I think that capitalism has been destroying our society and all of the planet since its inception. And the Trump regime and its fascism has doubled down on that in a way that is going to very soon prove catastrophic not only for us here in the United States but all over the world. And I think that it is crucially important that everyone in America stand up right now and take a stand. Are you for the destruction and ravishing of this society, of this environment? Are you for the exploitation of the regular working people? Or are you against this? Are you going to stand up and throw off these shackles, throw off this oppressive regime, because it has to go.

“I do think this is a fascist regime. There are 14 characteristics of fascism, and the Trump regime has either used, hit on or has shown a desire to implement every single one of them. If you look at the military budget. Scapegoatism—Trump and Pence are trying to scapegoat Muslims and immigrants. Sexism is a huge part of fascism, and you can see that through his comments on grabbing them by the pussy. And his belittling comments towards women on a daily basis, rating women on their appearance out of 10. Among other things, corporations and suppressing the workers. He has filled his cabinet with Wall Street tycoons and billionaires. Every point down the line it fits in. He is attempting to control the media by belittling and attempting to discredit anything that speaks out against him. So, we have a short span of time. We have a short span of time in which to do something about it.”

I had just asked Peter what he thought it is going to take to end the Trump/Pence regime when Nanzi began calling for him to join her because she was concerned some of the fascists might attack her. Peter went and got her, explaining to her that he had to answer this last question. He jumped into it, joking that it was going to be a short answer but an important one. “As a people we need to transcend that fear and that’s what our music is for, to provide the catalyst to understanding that that fear is misplaced and we need to have reliance on ourselves as citizens."

********

Carrie is a 35-year-old Black woman who heard about the demonstration on Facebook and decided to come right away. She explained that she tries to go to all the protests happening these days.

“I came here because I’m tired of Donald Trump. I have children and I want them to be raised in an equal world without hatred and with love and compassion. And I feel like Donald Trump is everything against that. He is actually hateful. My main thing about this administration is that they do everything out of hatred. They want to overturn everything just because they have hatred. There is nothing for the good of the people. It’s just literally everything based on hate and doing everything anti-Democrat. That’s all it’s about in my opinion.”

Carrie said that were a number of reasons she came but “my main thing is the total hatred for human beings, especially basic rights like health care, women’s rights—I feel like they are trying to just go backwards. And gay rights! We’re in a new era, we want to accept everyone, we don’t want to go backwards and I feel like they’re going to set us back very badly.”

I asked Carrie if she thought about the Trump/Pence regime as fascist, and she started nodding her head yes immediately. “I do believe that the Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime. And I do think it’s important for people to understand that. They have to understand that. That’s why we’re out here marching and trying to get the point across. We are tired of it and we don’t want it to get worse. You know, it can get much worse, basically like a dictatorship. I can see it coming. I think we get them out by sticking by the democratic values and what we democrats stand for and continuing to push for that and after that we have to stick together. Because other than that, he is going to take over and it’s gonna be another whole other type of life that none of us want to live in. As long as we stand together, I know Maxine Waters was starting to try to get him out of there. I really think he’s going to set himself up, to be honest with you, because he makes so many stupid mistakes. So, I really think it’s just a matter of time.

“It’s possible that they will try to make it more severe but I believe in general that the people of America know that this is wrong. He got in there somehow, and I do not think it was legit. Most people did not want him in there and most people are gonna fight to get him out of there.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/why-its-right-and-righteous-to-drive-fascists-off-campus-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Why It’s Right and Righteous to Drive Fascists Off Campus!

August 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In recent months students and others have protested against and in some cases shut down fascist, racist speakers on campuses. On March 2, hundreds of students at Vermont’s Middlebury College shouted down Charles Murray—a notoriously racist author. On April 26, Ann Coulter, in the face of protest and controversy, canceled a speech she planned at UC Berkeley. On June 15, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, 200 students, professors, and others protested and stood their ground against several dozen white supremacist, fascist, pro-Trump goons.

As Sunsara Taylor said in an article on www.revcom.us defending the students who protested at Middlebury:

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

Students are now returning to campuses and this whole controversy and struggle will only get sharper. And there is a lot at stake in waging the battle against these fascists on campus AND defending those doing this. Middlebury College has punished 67 students who participated in shutting down and driving out Charles Murray. And at Claremont McKenna College, three students were suspended for a year and two others suspended for a semester for staging a non-violent protest against white supremacist and fascist Heather Mac Donald. At least eight professors on different U.S. college campuses have been the target of death threats and harassment from pro-Trump white supremacists, misogynists, and Nazis.

As part of getting clear on and getting ready as this battle continues, we encourage people to watch the video of a talk Sunsara Taylor gave at UC Berkeley (right).

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/awtwns-remembering-amir-hassanpour-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

1 August 2017. A World to Win News Service.

Remembering Amir Hassanpour, revolutionary communist fighter, intellectual and internationalist from Iran

August 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On 24 June 2017 Amir Hassanpour, renowned revolutionary intellectual and revolutionary communist with long connections to the struggle in Kurdistan, Iran and elsewhere, passed away in Toronto, Canada.

On 22 July, 250 people of many nationalities gathered at the University of Toronto to honour and learn from Amir’s life. Memorials are planned in other cities as well.

The intellectual and political life of comrade Hassanpour was intertwined with events in the international communist movement and the Iranian revolutionary and leftist movements. Amir was born in 1943 in Mahabad in Kurdistan of Iran where he spent his childhood and teenage years. It is a region whose people, especially the poor peasants, were oppressed by feudal and reactionary patriarchal social relations and also suffered national discrimination.

The first-hand experience of national oppression and the political environment of Mahabad drove Amir to join a nationalist movement in his youth (Kurdiati), but in his own words, after he got to know about Marxism, his view on things changed. He saw the reality of human exploitation and national oppression in the light of Marxist theories, which helped him go beyond the confines of nationalist theories and views. Amir was a theorist on the national question in Kurdistan and the Middle East and a prominent scholar and researcher in the fields of the culture, language, literature and history of Kurdistan, with many academic publications. But above all he always tried to understand and analyze problems of human society by applying the science of communism. “I do not have any identity,” he stated frankly. “If I have to choose an identity, I must say that I am an internationalist.”

Amir joined the Iranian student movement in Tehran in the 1960s. This connection continued in the 1970s with his participation in the Union of Iranian Students in the United States. On 1 May 1968, during a student trip to the U.S., he landed in Paris and immediately joined the youth rallies in the Latin Quarter and their fighting with police. This period of activism connected him to the future Communist Party of Iran (MLM) and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP, USA).

Amir was, on one level, typical of the revolutionary intellectuals who were active in the 1960s. He was an enthusiastic participant in and advocate of the revolutionary national struggle then sweeping the world, from Kurdistan and Palestine to Vietnam and Brazil. As a student he jumped into the rebellion and intellectual ferment of those days in the United States and other countries of the imperialist world.

All of this was heightened and put on a scientific footing by Mao Tsetung and his leadership of the earth-shaking Cultural Revolution in China, which was showing in vivid colour the possibility of advancing toward the final goal of a society that finally surpasses all class divisions and all of the rotten relations and ideas that correspond to exploitation. Amir was also deeply concerned over the emancipation of women. He became a communist, a Maoist, and devoted his considerable talents and energies to the struggle to bring about a communist world.

He was one of the many communists and revolutionary intellectuals who threw themselves into the struggle in Iran as the Shah’s regime crumbled in the later 1970s. Amir was one of the founders of the Toilers Peshmerga organization in Kurdistan in 1981, affiliated with the Union of Iran Communists (UIC).

For the communists in Iran, the overthrow of the Chinese revolution after the death of Mao Tsetung in 1976 was accompanied by the defeat of the Iranian revolution and the rise of the reactionary Islamist movements in Iran, the Middle East and North Africa. This was followed by the emergence of the conflict between the two historically outmoded pillars: Islamic fundamentalism and imperialism. For those in the Iranian movement determined to carry forward the cause of revolution, the need for the fresh breeze of new communism and its scientific and political leaps was greatly felt. Amir, who was surrounded by many remorseful former left-wing intellectuals and ex-communist leaders from the 1980s and 1990s, never gave up on the cause of communist revolution and the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed. The new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian once again gave him the opportunity to challenge his thinking and engage with the advances in theoretical and political developments in the communist movement.

Amir knew that science is not a static, frozen phenomenon, but was marked by twists and turns, corrections of previous mistakes and new developments. This view on science helped him to become very involved with the new communism, which Amir struggled to dig into, grasp and actively promote.

At the memorial meeting in Toronto, Amir’s broad influence on revolutionary and progressive people from the Middle East and in the academic sphere was reflected by diverse statements and messages and cultural performances. The meeting began with a short drum performance and a talk by Salah Hassanpour, his son. After discussing Amir’s personal and political qualities, Salah pointed out, “My father was an optimist but not an idealist”—that Amir based his hopes and struggle for a better future for humanity on dialectical materialism and the science of communism.

A powerful tribute entitled “A Statement on the Passion of a Rebel” from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) was read. This statement celebrated Amir’s passionate and rebellious spirit, as well as his uncompromising fight against the oppressors and his lifetime search for truth. A fearless search which in the last years of his life made him a close adherent of the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian.

A short tribute by faculty members from Palestine hailed Amir’s contributions and invited people to continue on his path fighting for the liberation of Palestine.

A statement by KJA, a contributor to Demarcations, the theoretical journal of the RCPUSA, was read by a comrade from the US. It pointed out, “Confronting the process of ‘Maoism dividing into two’, learning to sift out what was essential and correct in our previous understanding and to reject the wrong, the harmful, the non-scientific thinking, has not been so easy for most of us who lived that shared experience, even with Avakian shining light on this very contradiction. In this perspective, the power and importance of Amir’s firm adoption of a political position in favour of the new synthesis, despite having to wage a protracted battle against a cruel disease, stands out all the more sharply.”

       

Some of Amir’s former students also spoke at the memorial, praising his lively teaching, his encouraging pedagogical approach that emphasised learning through criticism. Another activist and sociology student mentioned that for him, Amir’s special characteristic was the role he played in exposing the Persian chauvinism that is so strong in contemporary Iran.

Activists and leaders of other parties and movements, including the Kurdish Satar Awehang (Communist Party of Iran-Komala) and Fatih Sheikh (Worker Communist Party-Hekmatist) sent video massages, while others like the linguist Jaffer Sheykholislami and Farid Partovi personally read their statements. Though the speakers represented different political lines, they all agreed that as a revolutionary communist Amir tirelessly fought against all sorts of oppression, including national oppression, the oppression of women and class divisions. In addition to his undeniable role in the Kurdish liberation movement, Amir’s contributions to the study of Kurdish history, language and culture were emphasized.

Shahriyar Jamshidi performed deep and sad music, bringing many of the people in the room to tears.

The hall was decorated by several insightful quotations from Amir. One read: “Yes, I am for grand narratives… I wish they were even grander… we have no interests in one human being over another one.… We want this kind of world and this kind of relations and this kind of ‘grand narrative’. And science gives us this, and on the basis of this scientific truth we must aim to leap and achieve this horizon that humanity has been able to explore.”

Professor Shahrzad Mojab, Amir’s lifelong partner, colleague and comrade gave a strong and emotional talk. Shahrzad’s voice broke several times from sadness, but very soon she would remember one of Amir’s humorous moments and make the audience smile along with her in sharing lively memories. Shahrzad talked about Amir always standing on the right side, with the oppressed and against the oppressors. From boycotting Israeli products to regularly going to the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto to talk to people and make them aware of the oppression of the Palestinians. Shahrzad stressed that Amir was filled with passion for learning, life and humanity. She concluded her speech with a quote from one of Amir’s favorites, the early 20th century U.S. poet and singer Joe Hill—“Don’t mourn! Organize!”

The message from the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) concluded: “The world cries out the need for communist revolution. Without revolutionary communists there will never be a communist revolution. It is time to decide and scale the heights again. Riding the new waves of communism, Amir’s victorious smile will be with us.”

The ceremony also was live streamed on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/yadmanamir).

 

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/CPI-MLM-on-the-death-of-Amir-Hassanpour-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

CPI (MLM) on the death of Amir Hassanpour: “A Statement on the Passion of a Rebel"

August 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

1 August 2017. A World to Win News Service. The following statement by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) was issued on 22 July, 2017.

Losing someone like Amir is heavy. Especially in a world that dishes out unbearable misery for the majority of human beings every second.

When you think of Amir, you can hear his warm voice saying: How can you not agonize over what is being done to people all over the world? How can you not get angry at the unnecessary and senseless deprivation of the very basic needs of human life suffered by billions of people? How can you not fume over ongoing imperial wars, the horrendous spread of religious bigotry and slave/patriarchal relations among people, and worst of all, the rise to power of Christian fascists—and not ask why? What is the root cause of all this and the real solution?

Amir had a big heart for humanity and a burning desire for a better world.

In the beginning he was a young nationalist who grieved over the feudal exploitation of peasants, the national oppression of Kurds and the patriarchal relations that squeezed the life out of women. Then he discovered communist theory, which illuminated the root causes of this situation and proved that actually there is a real potential in human society to go beyond this ruthless way of life, this outmoded hierarchical social organization, and usher in a new epoch of communist society.

As an individual, Amir had a lot of loving qualities. But he represented more than himself. He was part of the 1960s generation. Revolutionaries of that generation had big dreams and deeds—aiming for the emancipation of humanity from class divisions, exploitation, oppression and old ideas corresponding to these relations and divisions.

Those in power called them a “lost generation” because a very big portion of those students and intellectuals who had been trained to become cogs and wheels in their system instead chose to use their skills in the service of the oppressed and the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. Right in the belly of the beast, they worked for the defeat of the U.S. and its allies in the Vietnam war; they exposed the reactionary/imperialist nature of the state of Israel and defended the right of Palestinians to Palestine; they became voices of the rebellion of the United States’ African slaves; and they turned universities into hubs of scientific truth against religious and non-religious obscurantism. Right in the heart of capitalism they dared to call on people to see the necessity, possibility and desirability of building a communist society on the ashes of ruthless and destructive capitalism.

For trained intellectuals, there is always a fundamental contradiction to solve: What are you going to do with the privileged status that capitalism has given you? For whom and for what are you going to use your intellectual abilities and skills and the know-how that the oppressed and exploited are normally deprived of obtaining while they direly need it in order to break their chains? Are you going to use your abilities as trained intellectuals to carve out a niche for yourself in this system and in the final analysis justify and validate the existing order, or are you going to use this in the service of opening the way to overthrow the system and radically transform the world in the interests of humanity and the Earth? In other words: Which side are you on? This is the point of departure for a rebellious intellectual. But to stay on this road will necessarily require more and higher ruptures.

For us to remain rebels and stay on the revolutionary path was not smooth and easy, as we faced some major crushing defeats. Revolutionary China was lost, and the first wave of communist revolution that started with the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871 came to an end. Within this framework, a big revolutionary opportunity in Iran turned into a sour and bitter counter-revolution that spread its dark clouds all over the Middle East.

After these defeats, many revolutionary communists became demoralized, and the system was able to “recycle” some of them. Those in power did this by applying harsh means of terror and suppression as well as “soft” means. For example, incredible efforts and investment were made to distort and bury the real history of communism. Relativist, instrumentalist and positivist thinking became dominant in academia and in fact were institutionalized as the normal and acceptable world outlook in the academic world.

All of us, including Amir, grappled with the challenge of not giving up in the face of this massive reactionary campaign.

It was hard to respond to the challenge of why we were defeated. Revolutionary communists had to get their heads clear. To this end, they had to critically review history and draw lessons. Big summations were made to understand the achievements and errors in theory and practice by the first wave of communist revolution. This process finally led to a radical leap in understanding, a revolution in the mind, a new synthesis of communism, and the person who carried out this process was Bob Avakian, whom our party has called the greatest revolutionary of our time.

Amir closely followed and engaged in this process. Some might think Amir’s adherence to the new synthesis was just a reflection of a nostalgic attachment to his revolutionary communist past. This is very far from reality! In fact, it was a result of his passionate attachment to the goal of radically transforming the world as well as his unwavering scientific outlook in searching for and recognizing the truth. In making judgements, he consciously avoided instrumentalism. He did not calculate the personal consequences of declaring hard and unpopular truths. In his view, truth is truth and nonsense is nonsense, and one must dare to make this distinction.

As he wrote in the preface to the Kurdish language book The Real History of Communism:

We cannot achieve a communist future by relying on the previous communism, and without the new communism one can neither correctly understand the past nor build the future. Making a communist synthesis of the previous communism and developing the new communism was the colossal work accomplished by Bob Avakian in the process of carrying out vast theoretical, political and ideological struggles over the past three decades. He succeeded in doing this. If communists want to be a vanguard of the future and not a residue of the past, they should take up the new synthesis of communism and seriously look into it and see its actual place in history and in the world today.

We will miss Amir so much. The voice of this dear comrade will always echo with us:

Yes, I am for grand narratives … I wish they were even grander … we have no interests in one human being over another. … We want this kind of world and this kind of relations and this kind of “grand narrative.” And science gives us this, and on the basis of this scientific truth we must aim to leap and achieve this horizon that humanity has been able to explore.

In memory of Amir, please allow us to bring our words to an end in the following manner.

Friends from the old times: it’s never too late to become a revolutionary rebel again! One can always make daring and inspiring choices.

And dear younger friends: the world cries out the need for a communist revolution. Without revolutionary communists there will never be a communist revolution. It is time to decide and scale the heights again. Riding the new waves of communism, Amir’s victorious smile will be with us.

 

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/learning-from-the-life-of-amir-hassanpour-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Learning from the Life of Amir Hassanpour

by KJA

August 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

July 19, 2017

Like many so many others, I was saddened to learn of Amir Hassanpour’s passing. The grief comes not only from a recognition of all that Amir has done for the communist and revolutionary movements in Iran and the Middle East and more broadly. My grief also stems from that fact that Amir had so much left to say and to do. Even though he left some precious tools for us to use, we will now have to carry on the fight without him.

Amir was, on one level, “typical” of the revolutionary intellectuals who were active in the 1960s. He was an enthusiastic participant in and advocate of the revolutionary national struggles that were then sweeping the world from Kurdistan and Palestine to Vietnam and Brazil. As a student he jumped into the rebellion and intellectual ferment then going on in the United States, France and other countries of the imperialist world. And all of this was heightened and put on a scientific footing by Mao Tsetung and his leadership of the earth-shaking Cultural Revolution in China which was showing in vivid colour the possibility of advancing toward the final goal of a society that finally surpasses all class divisions and all of the rotten relations and ideas that correspond to capitalist exploitation. Amir became a communist, a Maoist, and devoted his considerable talents and energies into the struggle to bring about a communist world.

Amir himself pointed out that “Even many of the nationalist movements regarded themselves as ‘advocates of Mao Tsetung Thought’ and ‘socialist China’, without being actually attracted to communism.” How true this observation is! A great many of the previous “advocates of Mao Tsetung Thought” dropped any such pretention when, after the 1976 coup d’état in China, the party and state leaders themselves violently and vociferously turned against Mao’s communist politics and ideology. Looking back from today, we can see that this phenomenon was even more pronounced and pernicious.

It was not only the pro-China nationalists of Kurdistan or Africa who turned against communism. Among the Maoists of the time, scientific communist ideology lived alongside other, non-communist, politics and world views. It can be said that, in a sense, the forty-year period since the destruction of the revolutionary communist bastion that was Mao’s China has been a whole process of “Maoism dividing into two”. On the one hand, the revolutionary, scientific kernel at the heart of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has been rescued, corrected where necessary and has been raised to new heights; on the other hand, the secondary weaknesses that coexisted in the previous Maoist movement have become hardened, consolidated, fossilized into political currents (both open revisionism and sometimes “left” dogmatism) that have nothing to do with revolutionary communism and indeed are viciously opposed to it.

Herein lies a great contribution of Amir and a painful loss for the great political and ideological struggle that has begun in all its fury but has not yet won basic victory. Amir was one of many activists and intellectuals from the previous communist movement all over the world who have been confronted with the phenomenon of “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism dividing into two”, even if few understand it that way. What distinguishes Amir from most others who went through much of the same experience, is the openness and eagerness with which he grappled with the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian and Amir’s efforts to side with and promote this new communism.

Amir made important contributions in different revolutionary and intellectual domains in over five decades of activity. Confronting the process of “Maoism dividing into two”, learning to sift out what was essential and correct in our previous understanding and to reject the wrong, the harmful, the non-scientific thinking has not been so easy for most of us who lived that shared experience, even with Avakian shining light on this very contradiction. In this perspective, the power and importance of Amir’s firm adoption of a political position in favour of the new synthesis, despite having to wage a protracted battle against a cruel disease, stands out all the more sharply.

I personally came to know Amir only in the latter years of his revolutionary activity. While I had a number of fruitful and invigorating discussions with Amir, I also realize how much more there is to learn from his thinking. I was very moved to read, over the last few days, an English translation of one of Amir’s last articles, “A Discussion on Scientific Knowledge” from a talk he gave, as I understand it, to some young Kurdish activists in Paris only one year ago and printed in a collection of Amir’s writings done by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist). Amir’s article shows a great deal of insight into crucial questions facing revolutionary intellectuals of all generations. It is not only a declaration in support of the new synthesis of communism, it is also a living example of how the new communism helps us make sense of the political and intellectual currents of the recent decades and how our new, higher level of scientific understanding renews and strengthens the revolutionary commitment to transform the world. I encourage everyone to read it.

In the article mentioned above, Amir recounts how he would combat the influences of post-modernism and identity politics among his students as well as their disdain for Marxism as a “grand narrative”. As he put it, “I would declare that: yes my narratives are grand but I wished they were even grander.” Amir Hassanpour’s narrative is grand indeed, and his thirst for “even grander” is more than something to appreciate: it is something precious to emulate and strive for. Let us learn from Amir and devote our energies, our intellectual capacities, our enthusiasm and our creativity to the cause of communism, as Amir did, until his last breath.

KJA

(A regular contributor to Demarcations, the theoretical journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.)

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/absolutely-no-new-kkk-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

White Supremacists Plan August 12 Rally in Charlottesville

Call Issued: “We say absolutely #NoNewKKK!”

Updated August 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This Call to Action was posted on Solidaritycville.com on July 25:

“On August 12, the alt-right plans to descend on our small town of Charlottesville, VA. Right now they claim to be bringing as many as 1,000 people to terrorize and intimidate anyone who disagrees with their ideology of white supremacy and toxic masculinity. We must outnumber them in order to #DefendCville. This is a call to everyone across the nation who feels called to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville to shout loud and clear that we say absolutely #NoNewKKK. Bring your friends, bring your skills, bring your voices, we are deeply grateful for every offer of support....”

The plan for a “Unite the Right March on Charlottesville” comes after recent confrontations between white supremacists and anti-KKKers. In May, after the city council decided to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, 100 white supremacists rallied with burning torches, some with automatic weapons, and chanted “We [white people] will not be replaced.” On July 8 a couple dozen KKKers, showed up, wearing white KKK robes, sporting handguns in holsters, carrying Confederate flags, and shouting “white power” slogans. A multinational crowd of about 1,000 counter-protesters rallied to SHUT THESE MOTHERFUCKERS DOWN. The cops protected the KKKers and brutalized anti-KKK protesters, arresting 22, four of whom now face felony charges.

Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon are among national leaders planning to go to Charlottesville—to support plans to confront the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally. And Congregate C’ville has issued a call for 1,000 clergy and faith leaders to travel to Charlottesville August 11-13 and local clergy and faith leaders are planning trainings, interfaith services, and opportunities for visible prayerful presence throughout the weekend.

Black Lives Matter has also issued a National Call to Action—“August 12th, Facing the Alt-Right, and Everything After,” which says, “We invite allies of Black Lives Matter to once again #DefendCville and to say #NoNewKKK for an entire weekend of action (August 11th-13th, 2017).”

A recent post at the Solidarity Cville website says: “We have seen time and again, from Berkeley to Portland, that a proven tactic of the alt-right is to use the freedom to assemble as a smokescreen to create a violent situation—and then count on law enforcement to intervene on their behalf by violently cracking down on their opponents. This is what we can reasonably expect to happen on August 12.... Even the white nationalist organizers acknowledge that they are not intending to peaceably assemble to exercise freedom of speech but are using the event as a pretext for violent attacks against their political opponents. Given this evidence, we cannot, as a city, continue to insist this is a free speech issue.”

The threats of reactionary violence are not intimidating anti-KKK organizers in Charlottesville who are calling on people in the city and “everyone in the nation” to come to the city on August 12 and shut this white supremacist shit down.

Stay tuned at revcom.us for ongoing coverage of this struggle in Charlottesville.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/ms-interview-with-playwright-robert-schenkkan-building-the-wall-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Michael Slate Interview with Playwright Robert Schenkkan

Building the Wall: A Play About the Future Now

August 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Building the Wall takes place in the very near future. The Trump administration has carried out the round up and detention of millions of immigrants. A writer is interviewing the supervisor of a private prison—who is awaiting sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated into the unimaginable. Building the Wall is a riveting, harrowing, and illuminating drama by Pulitzer and Tony award-winning playwright and screenwriter Robert Schenkkan. It delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how, when personal accountability is denied, what seems inconceivable becomes inevitable. The play premiered at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles and since then has spread across the country. Schenkkan urges theater companies, actors, and others to grab the play and mount performances wherever they are. The following are excerpts from an interview on The Michael Slate KPFK radio show with Schenkkan on March 31, shortly after Building the Wall opened in Los Angeles.

The Michael Slate Show airs every week at 10 am Pacific Time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, a Pacifica Network station. The show can also be streamed live and people can listen to or download archived shows.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports, and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

*****

Michael Slate: Robert, your play is blowing a lot of minds. It’s an extremely important piece out in the world today. You said you wrote it in a “white hot fury” and finished in a week. What compelled you to do this?

Robert Schenkkan: Well, this is in late October—as one of the more dispiriting presidential campaigns lurched to a close. I was extremely angry and anxious at what I was hearing and how it was being treated in the press. I thought that the then Republican presidential candidate’s rhetoric was quite deliberately incendiary and had crossed quite a serious line. I kept hearing fairly respected commentators, press as well as politicians, trying to reassure us that “he didn’t mean it” or, that “it was just words,” or that they would protect us and I didn’t believe that. I thought that regardless of how the election turned out—and I will be honest, I expected a different result—I thought that however the election turned out that we had already crossed a serious line politically and culturally. I needed to respond to that as an artist. So, I sat down and I wrote this play in a week. That is a bit faster than my normal process, which can take several months or several years. But I had such a strong impulse here and such a sense of urgency about the situation. I felt then and even more today that we’re in the middle of an unfolding political crisis—the magnitude of which I’ve certainly never seen within my lifetime and I doubt that the Republic has in 100 years, certainly not in terms of such an internal threat.

MS: The play is situated in the aftermath of the Trump regime to a certain extent, and it has a certain progression built on the most horrendous and terrible things being done. You’ve argued, though, that this is not some kind of “wild-assed” science fiction here—that in many ways it’s the logical conclusion of where things are headed. Let’s talk about that in relation to you doing this play.

Robert Schenkkan: Oh, absolutely! The play is set in the near future, the fall of 2019. You could call it speculative fiction. But I would argue that the ultimate reality that I’ve envisioned here is very easily one that could be brought into being. What we are seeing right now in the early months of this new political regime—while startling and infuriating and scary, is not new. This is a page out of a very old handbook, the authoritarian handbook. The process here is pretty straightforward. You make the populace feel afraid and isolated and anxious. You position yourself as the strong leader who is the only person capable of rescuing them. There are appeals to nativism and racism, scapegoating of minorities, racial and religious and a consolidation of power and the diminution of personal liberties...

MS: The way you present this, it’s all very compelling and challenging. You have these two characters and frankly, the interaction between the two—there’s sort of an edge to it. But there’s also a way that they’re really exploring where each other is coming from to a certain extent. There’s a lot going on in terms of the confrontation and interaction between these two characters themselves who are arguing out arguments that are taking place in this society and that are very organically tied up with what you just said about things being done that are just an unfathomable crime against humanity.

Robert Schenkkan: Well, thank you, that’s certainly what I intend to do here. The play’s not intended to be a polemic. I’m actually trying to get at some complicated ideas that we’re struggling with; some complicated issues that are not black and white. There’s a reason why people who would not normally have voted for our current president did during this election and this has to do with very real economic and societal failures that created the kind of conditions in which this kind of authoritarian figure can arise. It’s very important to understand that; not to excuse but to understand so that we can solve the underlying problem and hopefully change the circumstance under which we’re currently struggling. So yes, with these two characters who are different in many ways—Rick is a blue-collar managerial type who ran a private prison and he’s white, male. The other character, Gloria, is an African-American female who’s a professor of history. They come together in this one moment. Rick has been convicted of some unspecified, but obviously pretty serious crime, and is awaiting sentencing. And interestingly, Gloria is the only person, or first person that he has allowed to interview him.

So, they’re both here in this cell trying to understand history, trying to understand what happened. To some degree, Rick is honestly struggling as much as Gloria is, to understand what he’s done and what the consequences are. These people, like all people, come into this room with a certain set of expectations and stereotypes about the other person and the other person’s politics. These are confounded and surprised over again and both people are forced to recognize, more than once, how limited their understanding is, how narrow their perspective is, and how complicated people are. That’s quite intentional. The play’s intended to appeal to a very broad audience—regardless of your politics, or whether you’re in a rural or blue state or red state—because it speaks to a very fundamental human condition. The challenge here, as the challenge always is, is between the conscience of the individual and the power of the state. This is a struggle that’s central to the dynamic tension of democracy. Aeschylus was exploring this 2,000 years ago. It’s still true today. We like to think of our democracies as vibrant and healthy and strong and yet, we’re seeing, and not just in the United States, but in Europe as well, how fragile they are, really; how easy it is to wobble, to spin off course and how important, how even more important it is then for citizens to exercise their moral principle, their moral choice and not cede that authority to the authorities.

MS: When you write about the play, you talk about the book by Gitta Sereny, Into That Darkness, and the impact it had on you.

Robert Schenkkan: This book is kind of a classic now, in Holocaust literature. I just stumbled across it, I couldn’t even tell you how. It is an investigation into the life and times of this one individual, who for a brief moment became extremely powerful in the Nazi death machinery. She spends almost 60 hours interviewing him. But she also interviews his wife, family members and colleagues and people who survived him. It’s a real attempt to come to sort of grips with, “How did you wind up doing these kinds of things”? It was very, very provocative and very illuminating—for me personally. My grandfather was a Dutch Jew who emigrated in the 1920s, not just out of economic necessity, but also because I think he saw the coming cloud of fascism. He lost 16 family members in the Holocaust and the loss was so painful that he actually never spoke of it to me. I did not know this part of my family history until I discovered it by accident in my 30s. That’s how painful and profound the loss was, the wound was. I know that reading that book, which I did almost a year ago, certainly had an influence on me and it certainly found some expression in the play that I’ve written.

       

MS: I keep thinking about the film The Nasty Girl where this woman goes back to Germany and the village where her grandparents lived. She starts talking to all these people who had done the most horrendous things during the fascist Hitler regime, turning in their neighbors and everybody to the Gestapo and people being slaughtered and tortured. And no one wanted to talk about it, pretending it was all in the past. But I thought that what you do with this play, the way you work out the struggle here, is that people are challenged not to forgive. You want people to understand how this happens. It’s not a question of forgiving somebody where there have been crimes against humanity. This seems linked to the point that you have quoted a couple of times where you say that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Robert Schenkkan: Well, it’s very true. I was just reading an interesting article the other day in the newspaper, a review of a book talking about the Gestapo and how actually, the number of members of the Gestapo, the Nazi Germany police force, was astonishingly small given the size of the population. They managed to intimidate and control something like 3,800 citizens for every Gestapo agent. Well, obviously it’s not that that single agent is in contact with every one of those 3,800 people in every moment of the day, so what’s keeping them in line? What’s obviously keeping them in line, keeping them intimidated, keeping them subservient, is their own concession to the state. That’s a critical notion; that they gave their power away. They ceded their power to the authorities. Even if they were not explicitly active in the criminal activities that were perpetrated by the regime, they were implicitly involved because they didn’t say “no,” because they didn’t stand up. They didn’t take a stand and that’s a very, very important thing to keep in mind...

We’re all of us, the hero of our own play. We rarely think or admit that we might be wrong or that our motives might be less than pure. It requires a very, very strong constitution and conscience to be able to examine one’s motives and one’s action in an objective manner, but it’s critical that we attempt that. Rick’s slow progression here to Golgotha is full of half-steps and quarter-steps that in and of themselves make sense, sort of—don’t seem necessarily bad in the moment, but cumulatively we can see that he’s going down a certain kind of path, the consequences of which are dire and as you suggest, ultimately unforgiveable. The only way that one avoids that, and this is what the play’s ultimate argument is, the only way one avoids that is by staying very conscious—very conscious in your life. It’s critical to stay awake; to be aware of what’s happening! The human tendency to avoid unpleasantness or deny unpleasantness is almost overwhelming. It’s part of how we’re hardwired—particularly when a threat doesn’t appear immediate.

You know, it’s fascinating, I don’t know if you saw this recent article in the New York Times about American citizens and their perceptions of climate change. This actually now, is a fairly sizeable majority, 70 percent who agree with the statement that climate change is happening and it’s man-made. But what’s fascinating is that only 20 percent of those same people feel that it’s having any impact on them and therein lies the dichotomy and the terrible, terrible problem that we’re facing. We’re not feeling the consequences of our actions nearly acutely enough. As a consequence we’re not able or willing or ready to change our actions, even though we are setting in motion terrible forces, which once unleashed, may never be able to be recaptured. That’s the human condition. It requires a real effort to surmount that, to be awake, to be aware and to make our choices consciously.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/ms-interview-ciccariello-maher-we-need-to-fight-and-its-going-to-be-a-fight-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Michael Slate Interview with Professor Under Attack

George Ciccariello-Maher: “We need to fight and it’s going to be a fight”

July 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Michael Slate Show airs every week at 10 am Pacific time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, a Pacifica Network station. The show can also be streamed live and people can listen to or download archived shows.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports, and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

The following are excerpts from a July 7, 2017 Michael Slate interview with George Ciccariello-Maher.

Michael Slate: If people have been following what’s going on in academia, it’s quite disturbing. I recently came across a case that just knocked me back in my seat. It had to do with my next guest, George Ciccariello-Maher. George is an American political theorist, commentator, and activist. He is also an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Reactionaries are waging a vicious campaign against George because he is resisting fascist attacks on academics.

It began on Christmas Eve 2016 when George tweeted: “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” He was responding to a racist backlash against State Farm Insurance for supposedly advocating white genocide by depicting an interracial couple in one of their ads. The infamous Trump supporters at the fascist Breitbart “news” said that George was calling for the mass murder of white people.

George has refused to back down in the face of this attack and he has also stood strong against Drexel University’s attempts to discipline him. I’m really pleased to welcome him to this show.

George Ciccariello-Maher: I’m glad to be on.

Michael Slate: You were recently accused by Brietbart and various other reactionary sites and people of unacceptable behavior and leftist militancy that’s totally inappropriate for a college professor. Tell people what happened.

George Ciccariello-Maher: So, this goes back to December and it goes back to a satirical tweet that I sent mocking this white racist, nationalist, fascist concept of white genocide. What’s really sinister, I think, about this idea is the fact that over the past 40 years there’s been this idea developed that on the one hand the United States is a colorblind society, but on the other hand what that implies is that anyone who’s actually demanding equality is involved in some kind of reverse racism or actually oppressing white people.

So, in this broader cultural context, white nationalist, fascist, open Nazis have turned to using these sort of, sneakier terms—what I understand to be Trojan horse ideas that play on a mainstream white understanding of “white victimization” as a way of covering the fact that they’re actually white supremacists. So, it’s much easier to gain a mainstream following by saying white people are being the victims of all these policies, than it is to say, you know, “we’re the master race.” So, this is a strategic tact that the fascists have taken. One of these ideas, a very crucial one, is this idea of white genocide, which I think for most of us is the height of absurdity—the idea that this is a real thing or any kind of threat in the world, that white people will be the victims of precisely the kinds of genocide that they have inflicted on the rest of the globe, is really too much to even take seriously. Yet, this is very serious for fascists. They think that white people are being slowly being out bred; that they’re being intermixed; that any kind of intermarriage is undermining the purity of the white race—and that all policies of cultural diversity are kind of enforced genocide on so-called white culture.

Of course, there’s no such real thing as whiteness. It’s a political category. There’s no white culture. There are sort of various ethnic cultures that are grouped politically under “whiteness.” So this entire concept is absurd, but in mocking it, I became a target for these white nationalist groups that use Breitbart as the bridge to the mainstream media, to Fox News, and to other kinds of far-right outlets that sort of maintain a foot in the mainstream. And they created a campaign of pressure against myself, against my university in Philadelphia, all calling for me to be fired for being a sort of “anti-white racist,” which of course is not a thing.

 

       

 

Michael Slate: And as I understand it, they also actually attacked your family and the people close to you, right?

George Ciccariello-Maher: Of course. And I got, you know, we’re talking about hundreds of threats. We’re talking about doxxing. We’re talking about releasing of my family’s home address, photos, all these things. These are really brutal kinds of organizations. I want to be clear that when we say fascists, while that term can be used I think, in a more broad fashion, I’m actually referring to actually fascist organizations—organizations that identify as fascist, as white supremacist, as anti-Semitic. For example, one of the main websites leading the charge on me was called “The Daily Stormer.” It was an anti-Semitic Nazi website.

Recently, you know, flyers were going up at Drexel, where I work, about anti-white sentiment on campus and trying to get students to come hear about fighting back against this anti-whiteness. These flyers were put up by people associating with the podcast called The Daily Shoah, Shoah being the word for the Holocaust. So, we’re talking about some of the most fringe, dangerous fascist, and Nazi organizations that were nevertheless tied by people like Steve Bannon to the Trump government, to the Trump administration and to these other mainstream figures like Ann Coulter, for example, who are explicit white supremacists and yet, maintain access, a very dangerous access, to mainstream media. Fox News and these outlets are running the words of people who explicitly are identified with upholding whiteness.

Michael Slate: What do you see as being at stake in relation to these attacks?

George Ciccariello-Maher: We need spaces to make those cultural ideological arguments. We need spaces to be able to interact with people where we can say, “Well, no listen. Trump is blaming migrants for the state of the economy and unemployment and wages, but that’s actually simply not true. That’s a total ruse.” And we need to be able to explain the ways in which it’s actually the capitalist structures and imperialist structures governing the world that are creating these conditions—not the fact that we’re competing say, with migrants or that Muslims want to destroy us, or any of these other sort of explanations that the Right is giving.

We need to do that in movement spaces. The university is in no way a substitute for movement organizing. But so many people move through universities—and we’re talking about public universities, private universities; really, universities that impact hundreds of thousands and millions of people. We need to be able to fight battles. We need to keep those spaces, not so we can simply educate people in better citizenship, but no, so we can actually interact with and create militants who are gonna be able to fight this fight going forward. The universities won important space in which that’s going to happen—in which that needs to happen. And that’s why the Right thinks that it can take it over, chase out the radicals as it has done in the past, you know, we’re talking about the ’50s and ’60s, and attempt to win this cultural war that they’ve been battling for so long.

Michael Slate: In this era of Trump that you’re talking about with a bona fide fascist in power, with these kinds of attacks continuing, how do you see fighting back against this? What do you think is required of people right now?

George Ciccariello-Maher: Well, the first thing to understand is that we need to fight. I think this is really the shocking thing is that you have on the one hand, Democrats saying, “Oh, Trump’s gonna be a fascist. Trump’s gonna be a fascist” and as soon as he was elected then they said, “Well, let’s give him a chance. Let’s see what he does, alright?” Then Trump, after a couple of months in power and under pressure, made some moves to accommodate himself to the, you know, to the very same policies that Hillary Clinton would be pursuing, for example.

And I think what’s being forgotten—and what’s being undermined consciously by the liberal sector is the need to fight and the need to really fight and the need to recognize that no matter, whether or not Trump was elected or not, he’s not a legitimate president with legitimate ideas. The forces behind him are the most reactionary and retrograde forces that need to be fought at all costs.

So, I think the first thing to do is to be organizing; is to realize that we need to fight and it’s going to be a fight—and look at the parameters of where that fight is going to come. I think defending the faculty on campus, which is by the way, also defending students’ rights to exist on campus and to have your ideas that they want to hear on campus and their own ability to organize. But, we’re also talking about fighting when it comes to police violence, which is going to continue. We’re gonna talk about fighting against the wave of Islamophobia and the wave of deportation and doing so in a direct-action way that allows people to organize self-defense structures in their own communities, that allows them to resist deportation, that allows them to resist police violence, as you were just talking about with the previous guest [Carl Dix], and to do so on a community level. These are the kinds of things that all need to be tied together. But we can’t write off the universities and say, “This doesn’t matter.” Because the Right is very, very clear about the fact that it does matter.

Unfortunately, you have too many professors and faculty that think that they live in a bubble and think nothing’s going to affect them or they have tenure or something. Well, you know I have tenure. I’m under investigation and who knows what’s going to happen. Even worse is the fact that most faculty now don’t have tenure because the universities are attempting to basically proletarianize their workforce by hiring adjuncts, by hiring people who aren’t even making minimum wage and making them do all the teaching in a way that makes them utterly expendable if they ever raise their voice or if they ever say anything controversial, as we’ve seen.

So, we need to create a united front across the universities as well, so that faculty, students, and everyone realizes that it’s an important fight; that it’s not just a couple of individuals. As I said, there have been more than a dozen cases over the past couple of months. This is a unified, coordinated attack by the Right and we need a unified and coordinated response by the Left.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/501/defend-the-claremont-mckenna-college-students-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Letter from a reader

Defend the Claremont McKenna College Students

Students who shut down a fascist speaker are harshly punished

July 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Three students have been suspended for a year and two others suspended for a semester by Claremont McKenna College (CMC) for staging a non-violent protest and blocking the entrance where white supremacist, fascist Heather Mac Donald was scheduled to speak last April.  (See “Cheers to Claremont Colleges Students: White Supremacist Fascist Shut Down at Claremont McKenna College,” April 11, 2017, Revolution newspaper @revcom.us).  Two other students have been placed on probation.  The College, as of this time, has not named the students.  Four of the students were seniors and had their degrees revoked pending completion of the suspensions, which will affect their ability to compete for jobs that require a college degree.  Those who are not seniors face the loss of financial aid, which could leave them unable to complete their degree programs.

Further, the college, which is 40 miles east of Los Angeles and is one of the seven affiliated Claremont Colleges, turned over “evidence” to the other colleges of involvement in the protest by students at the other campuses, and CMC has banned four of those students from “non-academic” activities on its grounds.

CMC, which is known mainly as a school of business and economics, is by far the most conservative of all the campuses at the Claremont Colleges, with Scripps College and Pitzer College being known as some of the most progressive colleges in the county.

Nana Gyamfi, an attorney for the students said, “The students were being held up as, ‘this is how we’ll whip you at the whipping post if you dare to speak up.’”  Clearly this is a signal from the administration to other students in order to shut them up and shut them down.

These outrageous actions by the CMC administration were meted out at a time when the students and faculty were on summer break, which means the campus community is unable to respond immediately to these fucked-up, retribution actions by the college.

Before the students and faculty left for summer break in May nearly 800 signed an open letter to college officials expressing concern over the “criminalization” of the students who participated in the protest.

Mac Donald was scheduled to speak on April 6 when over 200 student protesters surrounded the entrances to the building where she was going to speak.  In a Facebook post the protest organizers said, “We CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform... To protect the current police and prison system means that you are maintaining the racist system which constantly murders and dehumanizes people of color.”

We need many, many more actions like this from students across the country and we can’t allow these college administrations to put a choke hold on any campus movement to stop fascism.

This was clearly laid out by Raymond Lotta in a speech he gave at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) earlier this year, “It IS Fascism—and the University Must Be a Zone of Resistance.”  (See Revolution newspaper, January 21, 2017, @revcom.us)  After running down what is fascism and the fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime, Lotta said, “... if students decide to engage in direct nonviolent action and take over buildings, they need the encouragement and involvement of their professors. We are fighting fascism that is aiming to consolidate itself.”

Lotta called for the campuses to “be turned into a zone(s) of resistance. Not sealed off from but opening into society—setting an example and inspiring others to act—and joining with others in mass resistance. People cannot fall into—and it behooves everyone to follow out—the logic of ‘preserving’ what we have or ‘my work.’ That is the politically and morally unacceptable logic of turning inward and turning your back on what is demanded of us at this perilous time. It is the logic, whatever one’s intentions, of complicity, of going along with horrors you never imagined possible but helped make possible—because you didn’t raise your head and you didn’t raise your voice when the costs were high.”

The students at CMC must be defended and we need to demand that these outrageous punishments be dropped and that the other Claremont colleges do not punish any of their students who were involved in this righteous action against a fascist.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/502/nashville-protest-denounces-trump-pence-attacks-on-daca-immigrant-youth-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Nashville Protest Denounces Trump/Pence Attacks on DACA Immigrant Youth

August 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 3, about 200 people from around Tennessee protested outside a Nashville fundraiser for Republicans, featuring Trump’s VP Mike Pence. Many of the people in the protest were “Dreamers,” people who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented children and have been given legal work permits and temporary relief from deportations under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That is, until Trump and Pence got into the White House. As part of their overall ramped-up attacks on immigrants, the Trump/Pence regime has been threatening to end DACA, putting 800,000 Dreamers in danger of being kicked out of the place they grew up in, separated from their families and friends, and forced to end their education.

One of the protesters, Nashville resident Cesar Bautista, said, “As they’re enjoying their dinner, having peace of mind, DACA recipients like myself have to worry, wondering: what is our future going to look like if DACA is taken away?”

Another DACA recipient, Alondra Gomez, told the other protesters that she came to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Mexico when she was five years old. She recalled, “Dance was going to be my way out of the poverty and the pain that comes with being undocumented in America. Then DACA happened. When I received that work permit, my life changed.” She enrolled in a community college to be a medical assistant and now works at a clinic in her community. And she is about to begin her studies at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. But, said Gomez, for her and others, “All of this is under the threat of being snatched away in a blink of an eye.”

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, which organized the protest, says, “Since inauguration day, the president has been carrying out his draconian campaign promises of mass deportations. In the first 100 days of the administration, immigration arrests were already up nearly 40% over the previous year. Across the country, and here in Tennessee, ICE has been terrorizing communities and separating families.”

At the end of June, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery was among attorneys general of 10 states and one governor who sent a letter to Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, declaring that if DACA is not ended by September 5 this year, they will sue in federal courts.

Aurora Padilla, now 18, came to Nashville with her family from Mexico when she was four. After being accepted for DACA, she began to work to save up for college and is going to begin at Middle Tennessee State University this fall. Padilla, who works with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said at the Nashville protest, “We didn’t really have a choice in coming here or not. We’ve been brought up here. We’ve built our life here. We want to continue to stay here.”



 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/trump-threats-vs-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

U.S. War Threats vs. North Korea:
Trump Puts World in Crosshairs of Nuclear War
This Must Be Opposed Everywhere!

Updated November 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Trump's Asia Trip Targets North Korea:
Experts Say Trump Threatens Nuclear War
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

November 6, 2017

Read more

Michael Slate Interviews History Professor Bruce Cumings
What “Everybody Knows” about North Korea—and the Real History of U.S. Aggression

Read more

The Facts: Who Has Escalated the U.S.-North Korea Confrontation, Time and Time Again?

September 25, 2017

Read more

Trump Threatens GENOCIDE at the UN:
When Is Enough ENOUGH?!?

September 20, 2017

Read more

Escalating War Dangers in Korea: Who’s the Biggest Warmonger and Threat to Humanity?

September 6, 2017

Read more

What We Aren't Being Told, but Need to Know About New Dangers of War in Korea

Updated September 3, 2017

Read more

No, Fareed Zakaria, We Should NOT Hope That Trump's Nuclear Blackmail Works!

August 16, 2017

Read more

Genocidal Monsters Promise to "Protect" the People of the World

August 11, 2017

Read more

 

Behind the Madness of Trump's Threats of "Fire and Fury" in Korea

August 10, 2017

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/394/sociologist-alice-goffman-under-attack-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Sociologist Alice Goffman Pilloried for Her Pioneering Research

High-Stakes Battle to Tell The Truth of Black Lives and Police Terror

by Raymond Lotta | Editor's Note added August 8, 2017, first published July 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Editor’s Note
In 2014, Alice Goffman, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin, published On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. The book chronicles the life experiences of young Black men terrorized by the police and legal system. They are “on the run” from criminal charges stemming from unpaid fines and missed court appearances linked to petty offenses. This is valuable research that sheds important light on and powerfully indicts a little-known aspect of the New Jim Crow. But no sooner had the book been published than Goffman was subjected to vicious character assassination—for supposedly sloppy research, abetting gang activity, and having the “arrogance” to think that she as a white woman could substantively address conditions of Black people.

Now there is another round of vicious attacks on Goffman. She was recently appointed a visiting professor at Pomona College in California. This was met by protests by some students, faculty, and others. The same baseless charges about the integrity of her research methods have been leveled—much of this in a letter from “anonymous” critics. And, once again, Goffman is being accused of “voyeurism” and “profiting” as a white woman from the lived experiences of Black people. This is toxic nonsense. Goffman’s work is marked by rigor and empathy. She has stood with the struggles against racist police murder and brutality. And at a time when the fascist Trump/Pence Regime is dead-set on “making America white again” and when progressive and radical professors are under mounting attack—it is unconscionable and borders on the insane to target someone like Alice Goffman.

In response to this new wave of attacks, we are reposting a review by Raymond Lotta of the book and the controversy surrounding it.

~~~~~~~~~

Alice Goffman is a young white sociologist who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her 2014 book On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City is a vivid study of a Black neighborhood in Philadelphia where “police helicopters circle overhead, police cameras monitor passers-by, and police routinely stop, search, and arrest people in the streets.” Goffman shows how police profiling, beatings, harassment, and tracking of residents have created “communities of suspects and fugitives”—where huge numbers of young Black men are, literally, “on the run” from police and legal authority.

On the Run by Alice Goffman

The New York Times chose On the Run as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2014. Cornel West described it as “the best treatment I know of the wretched underside of neo-liberal capitalist America.” Goffman has spoken at universities, and a prominently featured online talk has attracted over 940,000 views. An interview with Goffman can be read here.

Let it be said clearly: Alice Goffman has done a great service in bringing to light and to broader public attention the misery, horror, and heartbreak of African-American community life in an era of mass incarceration and police terror. Her reporting has humanized, and expressed deep empathy for, young Black men whom the system has demonized as “thugs”—while presenting a damning portrait of the police and the courts.

But there is a battle over this book. In the last few months, a series of vindictive critiques has attempted to discredit Goffman. Her professional ethics and research methods have been impugned on the Internet. Accusations of academic fraud hang in the air, and Goffman’s academic reputation and career are threatened. Things took a disturbing and ominous turn with the publication of an article in the May 27 issue of the New Republic titled “Did This Acclaimed Sociologist Drive the Getaway Car in a Murder Plot?”

This is more than an academic debate. Certain forces in and outside of academia are making allegations of professional misconduct to take down a scholar who has revealed uncomfortable truths about American society.

We have seen attempts in recent years to hound, discredit, and quash scholars who have written radical critiques of U.S. history... who have spoken out against the U.S. role in the world and U.S. war crimes... who have condemned Zionism. There is an ongoing fight to defend dissent and critical thinking in the university—and in society.

The attacks on Alice Goffman and her work are coming not just at any time but in the wake of Ferguson and Baltimore... when the cry “Black lives matter!” reverberates with political and moral urgency... and as society is being split open over the question of whether police terror must be stopped.

Let it be said clearly: The efforts to discredit Alice Goffman represent a serious assault on critical thinking at a critical time in U.S. society. She must be defended.

What It Means to Be “On the Run”

On the Run is based on a doctoral dissertation Goffman wrote at Princeton University. Earlier, from 2002 until 2007, she had conducted fieldwork in a poor, mostly Black neighborhood in West Philadelphia to which she gave the fictional name “6th Street.” It is a neighborhood that has, as is so typical of the inner-city over the last 40 years, seen jobs vanish with de-industrialization and the global outsourcing of production. 6th Street is a place where young Black men have few opportunities for legal employment, and where many can only survive through the underground and illegal drug economy.

Goffman had originally set out to focus on ghetto residents charged with felonies, hauled off to jail, and then released—who become second-class citizens, as described in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. She wanted to trace the effects on the social fabric of the entire community.

But as Goffman carried out her research, she came in contact with a population of non-felons—people with low-level warrants for unpaid court fees, failure to make child support, traffic fines, etc.—who are terrorized by, and terrified of, the police. They are routinely stopped and searched. Minor offenses that might go unpunished in white and middle-class neighborhoods lead to arrests—and nearly half of those taken into custody in “6th Street” are for technical violations like drinking while on probation. Arrests for possession of drugs result in criminal records that bar people from jobs.

Goffman saw a situation in which young Black men in particular spend an inordinate amount of time at court or probation hearings that grind away at their lives. Meanwhile, court fees and fines snowball. But without jobs, it is impossible to clear this debt. So people skip court dates, and often turn to criminal activity (!) to pay off fees and fines.

Alice Goffman: How we're priming some kids for college — and others for prison

Goffman began to put together a picture and synthesized an understanding of a growing “fugitive” sub-class that, in her words, is “arrestable on sight.” The police hunt these “fugitives” down. They go after friends and loved ones of those whom they suspect of shielding fugitives: raiding homes, pressuring women to inform on male partners or family members—or to cooperate in some fashion—and often charging the uncooperative with minor or contrived offenses.

Goffman conveys the personal and emotional toll of being “on the run.” She tells, movingly, of young men with legal problems who cannot attend the births of their children at hospitals, or who avoid the funerals of their friends (or go at great risk), because the police are watching. She tells, shockingly, of hospital janitors who commandeer medical supplies to fix the broken arms of those fearing arrest in hospitals.

This is vital research.

Fieldwork Among the Oppressed

Goffman’s approach was to immerse herself in the lives of her subjects. Among social scientists, her methods of research and inquiry are called “participation observation.” The researcher gets to know a social world qualitatively from within.

What made Goffman’s fieldwork difficult and risky was that she was studying an area of social life—the Black community—that the system views and treats as criminal through and through. (In one police raid that Goffman documents, she herself was handcuffed.)

To carry out her study, Goffman had to win the trust of individuals in a community under constant police surveillance. And exactly because young Black men have been criminalized and because illegal activity is so much a part of the oppressed and impoverished state of the Black community, she had to take certain measures to protect the identities of her subjects, who could be incriminated by her descriptions. So she changed and scrambled various details of what she was chronicling.

Intellectual Work in Charged Times

There are times when important intellectual work interacts with the larger political, social, and ideological terrain in an impactful way. The New Jim Crow is one such book. And On the Run has contributed further understanding of the ways that the system criminalizes young Black people—and the kinds of conditions that underlie the outrage and outpourings against police murder and terror of the last year. Goffman has observed, “The stuff I’m saying—it looks a lot like what people have been reporting from Ferguson, from New York, from Baltimore.” And she has spoken out against the police acting like an occupying force in the Black community.

Goffman’s work has been welcomed in many quarters. It has also been targeted for attack. There are forces that view Goffman’s work, and the significant public hearing it has gotten, as toxic. Various “critiques” have set out to discredit Goffman and, by implication, the mounting social indictment of police murder and terror. These attacks have focused on the veracity of her scholarship and her professional ethics.

A secondary line of attack—by way of "identity politics"—has been to rule Goffman's work out of order simply because she is white: "how dare a white person go into the Black community and conduct such research and analysis." This is as petty as it is poisonous. Here a crucial story needs to be told, and Goffman has done major work. Are her findings right or wrong? They are right. Does her truth telling about a savage injustice need to be heard? Yes, yes, yes.

Attacks Based on Bogus Accusations

The takedown efforts against On the Run began with an unsigned and highly vitriolic critique that was emailed to hundreds of sociologists—including to members of the sociology departments at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, where Goffman had earned her degrees, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she now teaches. Goffman was accused of lying about where she resided in Philadelphia, of botching up the ages of some of her subjects, of inconsistencies in the number of funerals she said she attended, and so forth. The author of the critique called for an investigation of professional misconduct.

Now, there is a standard of transparency in research requiring that experimental or research data be made available for inspection. But given the sensitivity of the subject Goffman was studying, that standard is not applicable as would normally be the case. Further, the allegations against Goffman, and the demand that she provide all her data, have put her in a difficult position. As she explained, “I don’t want to call attention to a document [the critique] that possibly identifies people in the book in a way that I had worked hard not to do.”

Indeed, to protect her research subjects (including against potential criminal prosecution), she destroyed pertinent files on her hard drive. This disclosure was pounced upon by detractors as evidence of irresponsible scholarship. Utter nonsense. As we will see, Goffman conducted scrupulous research that had oversight and review.

One factual claim in particular that has been sharply contested by Goffman’s critics is her account of police monitoring of a Philadelphia hospital. The detractors say there is no evidence of police officers checking on visitors to hospitals and running names through criminal databases in order to make arrests. The implication is a) the police do not mistreat people in the way that Goffman says she is documenting; and b) she is guilty of fabrication.

Goffman’s academic advisor at Penn, the noted sociologist Elijah Anderson, saw Goffman’s actual field notes. He also conducted interviews with two of her subjects. He has vouched for what she observed in hospitals. Goffman’s dissertation advisor at Princeton, Michael Duneier, met her on a weekly basis about some of her findings and also examined field notes. He too conducted independent interviews with some of the people Goffman interviewed and profiled, including a warrant officer of the Philadelphia Police Department. Duneier stands by Goffman’s research.

Philly Magazine researched the matter and concluded, “It is verifiable [that] people in the U.S. have been arrested at hospitals, even ones for children.” Of course, the bigger question is, what kind of society turns hospitals, which are supposed to be safe spaces, into zones of fear?

In the face of the various charges leveled against On the Run, the University of Wisconsin at Madison convened a panel to review the claims of misconduct. It found them “to be without merit.”

Outrageous Allegation with Potentially Chilling Consequences... for Research and Dissent

But no sooner had this inquiry been closed than another and highly dangerous accusation was hurled at Goffman. Steven Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern University, published an article that was subsequently excerpted in the New Republic and recklessly headlined, “Did This Acclaimed Sociologist Drive the Getaway Car in a Murder Plot?” Goffman was now declared to be a criminal accomplice!

Here is the back-story. Goffman’s research focused on two young men, Chuck and Mike (fictional names). She became close to and hung with them, and got to know others in their circles and in the neighborhood. Chuck had been trying to maintain a truce of sorts between his friends and a rival gang. Sadly, he was shot and killed. Chuck’s friends and others in the neighborhood began calling for payback. But Goffman has explained that this talk of retribution was just that: talk.

In the weeks following Chuck’s death, as Goffman further explained, his friends would drive around, “ostensibly looking for Chuck’s killer. But these drives, like the talk of the residents, also came to nothing. This was so because it was common knowledge that Chuck’s killer had fled right after the shooting...the drives seemed to satisfy the feelings of anger and pain...”

One night when no one else would join Mike, Goffman drove with him. Steven Lubet has seized on this incident. In his New Republic takedown piece against Goffman, he alleges with prosecutorial zeal that under Pennsylvania law, Goffman “agreed to aid another person ‘in the planning or commission’ of a crime—in this case murder.” Say what?

Goffman has answered this incredibly unethical and sensationalistic accusation (and, to be clear, no charges have been filed against her). She has explained that while she felt ambivalent about going on the ride—she knew that these rides were not about carrying out acts of violence. They were cathartic. People were working out their anger and grief. The rides were a form of mourning.

Jack Katz, a sociologist at UCLA, has written in defense of Goffman. He has also spoken to some of the high stakes, for social science and for society, bound up with this kind of fieldwork, and with Goffman’s study in particular:

The line between bravado and committed intent is handled as a binary in the law; but the messiness of that distinction is the very crux of a “badass” way of life.... As a citizen, as well as in my career as a sociologist, I’m concerned about interventions in this discussion [of Goffman’s work] that might embrace the flexibility of “conspiracy” and aiding and abetting laws to shut down descriptions of social life that many readers will take as resources for criticizing the government. (Washington Post, emphasis added)

****

The ferocity of the attack on On the Run must be understood in the context of the growing awareness of and resistance to the epidemic of police brutality and murder against Black and Latino people. A new generation is rising up with a new spirit of defiance. Alice Goffman’s study provides important and timely insights into some of the conditions underlying the just anger, the fury, and the rebellion. And it is indeed a “resource for criticizing the government.”

The attempts to discredit Goffman come at a time when the question of stopping police terror is growing in urgency, and as a line is being drawn in society: which side are you on?

Alice Goffman has righteously stood by her work. Anyone who wants the truth of police terror to be told, and anyone who values dissent and critical thinking, should stand with her.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/carl-dix-confront-the-white-supremacist-rally-in-charlottesville-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

#NoNewKKK
Confront the White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville

by Carl Dix

August 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

A “Unite the Right March on Charlottesville” rally has been called on August 12th. I’m going to Charlottesville to be part of confronting them, and I call on others to join me there.

Earlier white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville gathered people wearing Ku Klux Klan (KKK) robes, carrying Confederate flags, shouting “white power” slogans and bearing arms. This weekend’s will bring out these ugly manifestations from the history of the U.S. and gather forces who are being welded into a contingent of the storm troopers the fascist Trump/Pence regime is unleashing as it works to bring down and clamp into place fascist rule in this country.

This rally will dredge up the history of unimaginable savagery Black people have suffered in the U.S. Centuries of slavery, followed by decades of subjugation enforced by lynch mob terror. Thousands of Black people were lynched. The KKK burned crosses and kidnapped, beat and tortured people. Black people were burned alive or had body parts cut off. These savage acts were sometimes announced in newspapers in advance and joined by white mobs that gathered in a festive atmosphere. THIS is the “heritage” these fascists want not just to preserve but to force back on us!

This reassertion of white supremacy is occurring alongside intensification of patriarchy and aggressive national chauvinism. As Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party has said, these horrors form a triad of reaction that is being intensified by the atmosphere the fascist Trump/Pence regime is whipping up.

We have to confront these white supremacists in the streets in Charlottesville. In their mobilizations, you can see the outlines of a coming civil war. We have to make them understand that people will not tolerate them spewing their poison. However they come at us, we cannot back down. We have to meet them with a powerful and diverse outpouring that delivers a message that what they represent is unacceptable. #NoNewKKK.

And we can’t just show up in Charlottesville for the weekend and think we’re done. The intensified white supremacy, patriarchy and aggressive national chauvinism that is surging today must be ended. They and the other horrors the Trump/Pence regime is enforcing on humanity are all rooted in the American system of capitalism-imperialism, a system that’s been around too damn long and needs to be gotten rid of in the only way possible—thru an actual revolution that overthrows this system.

And right now everybody, wherever you’re coming from, needs to join together to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power before it’s too late.

RefuseFascism.org has called for people to take the demand: This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! to the streets in cities and towns across the country on November 4th and stay in the streets, night after night until our demand is met. Be part of fighting back this weekend and getting organized for November 4 to end the nightmare and drive out this regime.

SEE YOU IN CHARLOTTESVILLE THIS WEEKEND!
AND SEE YOU IN THE STREETS ON NOVEMBER 4TH!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/james-damores-anti-diversity-memo-at-google-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Setting Some Shit Straight About James Damore's Anti-Diversity Memo At Google

by Sunsara Taylor

August 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Recently, software engineer James Damore was fired by Google after he circulated a ten-page memo assailing attempts to promote greater gender and racial diversity within the company. Damore argues in his memo that women are biologically more likely to be "neurotic" and less capable of handling stress, that Google's diversity programs discriminate against men, and that "conservatives" are subject to a "psychologically unsafe environment" because they can't openly express these bogus and harmful ideas about women. Outrage at Damore's firing immediately spread across the many platforms of fascist "alt-right" and "men's rights" groups. They are screeching that Damore is being discriminated against by a "politically correct tyranny." This is not only wrong, it is dangerous. It dovetails with a larger fascist assault that is being spearheaded from the very top, by the Trump/Pence regime, to Make America White Again and put women "back in their place." For this reason, it is necessary to set the record straight on a number of things.

1. Oppression—NOT Biology—Accounts for the Lack of Women in Tech and Other Male-Dominated Spheres.

Google—like most of the tech industry—is overwhelmingly dominated by men. As of 2016, only 19 percent of Google's technical roles were held by women, only two percent of its employees as a whole were Black, and only three percent were Hispanic. Damore argues that "biological causes ... may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership" and insists that, "on average, men and women biologically differ in many ways."

This is WRONG. There is no meaningful biological difference between the brains of women and men. In her book, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, Ardea Skybreak details how one of the most defining things about human beings is the profound elasticity of our brains. Human infants are born in a much more undeveloped, dependent, and immature state than other hominids1 and our brains develop much more slowly over a more extended period of our lives. This means that we are even more shaped by our environment and learning than by "hardwiring," including any alleged differences stemming from our sex. Many other scientists, including Cordelia Fine, author of Delusions of Gender, have exposed the biases and faulty methods of those who claim to have "proven" that men and women "think differently."

There are, however, very real and very pervasive social factors which explain the lack of women in tech and other male-dominated industries. Report after report has revealed the tremendous discrimination against women and the widespread culture of sexual harassment of women within Silicon Valley. This comes on top of a whole society and culture that burdens women disproportionately with caring for children, shames women if they do not devote themselves to their children before all else, reduces women to sex objects, promotes a culture of rape and unpunished sexual assault, and systematically discourages women and girls from pursuing education and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

2. Conservatives Are NOT "Victims" and They Do NOT Need to Be "Empowered."

Damore argues that "conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility," and argues that, "We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves." In other words, Damore is whining because it has become socially unacceptable in some circles to openly argue for anti-scientific and highly oppressive views towards women, Black people, and other minority nationalities.

  

First, to the degree that there is any truth to this, it is a very good thing. There is NOTHING defensible about promoting junk "science" that justifies brutal oppression. This toxic garbage is provably untrue, profoundly harmful, and absolutely should be shut up and shut down!

Second, it is hardly the case that "conservatives" are being silenced and marginalized. In fact, the opposite is true. An openly misogynistic, white nationalist, bellicose America-First FASCIST is now in the White House and white supremacists, woman-haters, Christian fascists, and bigots of every stripe have been let out of the basement. At every point, the Trump/Pence fascist regime portrays itself as the "victim" and whips up and unleashes the pent-up resentment among white people and men at ever having had to tolerate any advances of women and people of color. All while unleashing the violence of the state and of the mob against these very groups. This is the context in which fascists—including major outlets with close links to the president, like Breitbart—have latched onto and taken up the cause of Damore and his memo.

3. Damore Bashes Communism, You Should Look into It Anew.

Throughout his memo, Damore plays on the classic anti-communist trope of tyrannical leftists whose utopian vision of equality denies human nature and so can only be imposed by bludgeoning innocents. He makes the connection explicit in a footnote: "Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their 'capitalist oppressors,' the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the 'white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.'"

First, communism has "promised" to be "morally and economically superior to capitalism" for very good reason! The world dominated by capitalism-imperialism is a world in which MILLIONS of children around the world die each year from preventable disease! Capitalism-imperialism has produced Donald Trump and the Christian fascist Mike Pence with their threats of nuclear annihilation and toxic cocktail of bigotry of every kind. In contrast, communism, where it has been genuinely applied—in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the mid-1950s and then in China under Mao from 1949 until 1976 when capitalism was restored—made unprecedented strides in overcoming hunger and exploitation, in liberating women and oppressed nationalities, in freeing the spirit from its cell. Today, the "core oppressor-oppressed dynamics" remain NOT because Marxists intellectuals got frustrated but because capitalism remains in power and is ravaging the people worldwide.

All this underscores the need for an actual revolution, for genuine communism. And it is a very good thing that today there is a new communism—a further synthesis and development of the science, the strategy, and the leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation. The architect of this new communism is Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party. His new communism builds on the strengths of—and ruptures with unscientific aspects of—communism as it previously existed, and draws from broader human experience. Everyone who doesn't want to live in a world that, decades after people fought and died for the liberation of women, Black people, Latinos, LGBTQ, and others is still marked by deep oppression, and now by a fascist regime violently slamming people even further back, needs to look into this new communism with an open mind. Two great places to start are BA's latest book, THE NEW COMMUNISM, and SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, an Interview with Ardea Skybreak.

~~~~~~~~~~

As you get into that, take very seriously the revengist fascist movement being given voice in Damore's memo and in the fascists who see in him a champion and see in Trump/Pence the future they want. They are on the march and there is no one but us, the people, who can stop them. RefuseFascism.org has outlined a plan to bring forward the millions who do not want to live in the Trump/Pence fascist future to take to the streets and drive them from power. It begins November 4th. Start organizing now


1. Hominids refers to the line of species which diverged from our ape ancestors roughly five million years ago and which includes all the species that are more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees. [back]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/behind-the-madness-of-trumps-threats-of-fire-and-fury-in-korea-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Behind the Madness of Trump's Threats of "Fire and Fury" in Korea

August 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Donald Trump's threat to attack North Korea with "fire and fury and ... power the likes of which this world has never seen before" put the world in the crosshairs of nuclear war. As we wrote immediately after these threats, "This is another level of brutality, bellicosity and insanity even for Trump. The danger we face cannot be overstated: this fascist president has now potentially put the very future of humanity in question."

Trump's threat poured gasoline on a conflict that has already brought almost unimaginable suffering and death to the Korean Peninsula. In the Korean War, 1950-1952, the U.S. carpet bombed North Korea, destroying every building over two stories high, and massacred three to five million people, some 30 percent of the people in that country. After the war was fought to a stalemate, the U.S.-installed puppet regime in South Korea imposed brutal fascist repression for decades. And the U.S. has never recognized the North Korean regime as legitimate, and has armed the South Korean regime with cutting-edge missiles and a huge army geared to invade the North. The U.S. has over 20,000 U.S. troops stationed on the border of North and South Korea.

Trump's incendiary threat came on top of vicious UN sanctions aimed at imposing widespread hardship and crippling the regime (see sidebar). And it came after threats by U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on August 5 that the U.S. might launch a "preventative war" against North Korea. By "preventative" McMaster literally means that the U.S. would strike first—launching an unprovoked war, which would be a violation of every basic tenet of international law. Plus, the U.S. and South Korea are conducting extremely provocative "war games" simulating a war with North Korea.

Who Is Threatening Whom? And Why...

The North Korean regime is not socialist or revolutionary, it is exploitative and repressive. But it is a problem for the rulers of the U.S. empire, who face a world of crises and challenges from many quarters. North Korea's rulers have defied U.S. threats, and 15 years after George Bush put that regime on the "Axis of Evil" list (with Iraq and Iran), the North Korean regime is still intact. The U.S. ruling class sees this as unacceptable, especially as the position of U.S. imperialism as the world's sole superpower is being challenged by forces ranging from fundamentalist Islamic Jihad, to regional powers flexing their muscles as they perceive weakness in the U.S. empire, to rising rivals like Russia and China (with whom North Korea is aligned).

All this is unacceptable to the U.S. ruling class as a whole, and every administration has tried to weaken, isolate, and oust the North Korean regime. But Trump, as a fascist, cannot accept any other power that directly challenges U.S. power. A Trump surrogate told Fox News, "He's saying don't test America and don't test Donald J. Trump... We are not just the superpower. We were a superpower, we are now a hyperpower. Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities."

North Korea has repeatedly made clear, and even U.S. ruling class experts generally acknowledge, that its nuclear program is not aimed at a first strike (which wouldn't make sense, given its very limited capacity compared to the thousands of nukes the U.S. has). As we wrote recently, "If North Korea is not going to launch a 'first strike,' then why does it pose such a 'threat' and why are its actions 'dangerous' or "'provocative'? The only logical answer is that the development of nuclear weapons and missiles could serve precisely as a deterrent, and render North Korea less vulnerable to bullying, and possible aggressive military actions, by the U.S. and its allies. So, in reality, the Trump/Pence regime, now at the helm of U.S. imperialism, is threatening and taking actions that could lead to a major—possibly nuclear—war, because an adversary is doing things that might make it less vulnerable to bullying and aggression by these imperialists!!"

Nuclear weapons are inherently weapons of mass destruction, which no one should have. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a blueprint for a society aimed at ending all exploitation and oppression, insists that the new revolutionary society will not possess and will not use the nuclear weapons, and will lead a struggle around the world to bar them completely. But the completely outrageous position of the U.S. imperialists is that they should have enough nukes to destroy the world ten times over, but if any country they don't like tries to even acquire them, then the U.S. is permitted to threaten and perhaps carry out a nuclear attack on them.

The Madness Behind the Madness

An outright U.S. military attack on North Korea would kill many people in that country and almost certainly result in a counter-attack by the regime that would kill tens of thousands of people in South Korea right away (and very possibly thousands of U.S. troops stationed there as well). Further, the possibility of a nuclear response from North Korea would be horrific in its own right, but it might also set in motion a dynamic that could draw in China or Russia and spiral to the point of a larger nuclear war that puts the very future of humanity in question. For that reason, mainstream U.S. ruling class military doctrine has been to attempt to use crippling sanctions, economic and diplomatic isolation, sabotage, and constant military threats to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear program—going to the brink of, but not crossing the line of all-out war. The concern of the U.S. rulers has not been the fate of humanity, but the danger that an attack on North Korea could trigger extreme and unpredictable consequences for their system.

With his bellicose threat, Trump tossed a grenade into that. However conscious or unconscious Trump himself is of what his threat represents, there is a logic to the madness. This is the monster who repeatedly asked a foreign affairs expert: If we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them? In the eyes of the Trumpite fascists, making America "great again" means—as Trump declared repeatedly during the campaign—having "our" enemies fear us.

The logic of that logic leads to the madness of pushing humanity to the brink of a horrific war that could spiral into unimaginable death and destruction, either through conscious decision, accident, or unexpected chains of events.

  

This Nightmare Must Be Stopped—by the People

The tremendous uncertainties involved in a U.S. attack on or war with North Korea, with the possibility things could spiral way out of control of the U.S., has provoked debate and conflict within the ruling class, and even among Trump's inner circle. The New York Times reported that Steve Bannon—Trump's chief strategist and a hardcore fascist—is arguing the real challenge to the U.S. is China, and that too much focus is being put on the clash with North Korea. But for all the criticisms and demurrals from the Democrats, and reservations on the part of some of the key players in the regime, there is right now no force within the ruling class that is going to stop Trump. Democrats, and possibly some Republicans who have serious reservations about the risks Trump is taking, have more fear of where the upheaval involved in stopping Trump might lead than they do of the path he's headed down. And, absent a major upsurge of protest and resistance from the people, the U.S. ruling class as a whole will almost certainly put aside any differences to close ranks and rally around Trump in any conflict with Korea.  

On the other hand, should there be a powerful upsurge from below, demanding that in the interests of humanity this nuclear roulette STOP and the WHOLE REGIME BE DRIVEN OUT, then that upsurge could interact with contradictions and conflicts in the ruling class in ways that create opportunities to actually drive out the regime.

People must act to stop this regime now! By exposing and protesting moves to war. And most importantly, coming together around the call from Refuse Fascism, starting November 4: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO.

Beyond that, the whole system that spawned this fascist regime needs to be overthrown at the soonest possible time. And from many perspectives, there is a need to break out of starting from the interests of the "USA" in any shape or form.

As Bob Avakian puts it in BAsics:

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.
   —BAsics 3:8



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/genocidal-monsters-promise-to-protect-the-people-of-the-world-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Genocidal Monsters Promise to "Protect" the People of the World

August 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 9, Donald Trump threatened to bring down "fire and fury" on North Korea. Defense Secretary Mattis spelled out what this meant, threatening North Korea with "the end of its regime and the destruction of its people" (emphasis added)—in other words, genocide.

In response to criticism of these threats, Trump said, "Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn't tough enough. They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough." (Emphasis added.) And he said, "Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He's been pushing the world around for a long time."

WTF?!?!

Let's look at who actually HAS been "pushing the world around for a long time"—and is doing so today and now threatening nuclear war.

Let's look at the real history—not the mythology of "American Exceptionalism" (a view that holds the U.S. is a special "force for good" in the world) that is the mantra of all U.S. ruling class politicians, and which is being taken to extreme levels by Trump. Let's look at just some of what the U.S. has done in the world for the past 65 years.1

In 1950 the U.S. invaded North Korea and, according to U.S. general Curtis LeMay, "burned down every town in North Korea" by 1952. About 30 percent of the total population was killed!

It invaded Vietnam with half a million troops, carried out mass rape and horrific massacres, dropped seven million tons of bombs (twice the amount dropped on Europe and Asia in all of World War 2), drenched the land in napalm (which burns people alive) and Agent Orange (which destroys crops and forests). Three million people died.

It orchestrated coups in Indonesia, Iran, Chile, Guatemala, and many other countries. In Indonesia alone, one million were murdered.

It invaded the Dominican Republic to suppress a popular uprising, killing thousands. It backed the military junta in El Salvador's civil war, killing 75,000.

The U.S. invaded Iraq in 1991, destroyed much of its crucial infrastructure (like water purification systems and pharmaceutical plants) and then imposed sanctions for a decade, which by the admission of then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright caused the deaths of 500,000 children (which she said in a TV interview was "worth it").

In 2003 the U.S. invaded Iraq again—on the pretext that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was a menace to the world—killed tens of thousands more and kicked off a civil war that has virtually destroyed that nation. Other Middle Eastern countries have been swept into the maelstrom, and the toll in dead, wounded and people driven from their homes in the region is now over six million.

Through this whole period, the U.S. has continued to develop and brandish its vast arsenal of thousands of nukes and has refused to renounce the "first use" of those weapons of mass destruction—and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

As horrific as all this is, it is truly just scratching the surface of U.S. crimes around the world, even as the imperialist rulers have continued brutal oppression at home. From the enslavement, torture and savage exploitation of millions of African slaves, to the genocidal slaughter of Native Americans, to the violent seizure of almost half of Mexico, and on up to today with the vast inequalities crushing the lives of tens of millions of working people; the mass incarceration of millions; the persecution of immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQ people; the deepening degradation and dehumanization of women; and always, day in and day out, the steady BAM... BAM... BAM... of pigs murdering civilians, over one thousand every year, disproportionally Black and Brown.

Yes, the people of North Korea suffer under an oppressive regime, and like people everywhere, desperately need an actual revolution and a genuine socialist state. But it is the U.S. that has for centuries been a scourge plaguing and tormenting people here and around the world—and now endangers the whole planet.


1. Most of the incidents listed here—and many more through U.S. history—are described and documented in the revcom.us series American Crime. [back]



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/prosecution-backs-off-on-outrageous-stonewall-4-charges-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Prosecution Backs Off on Outrageous Stonewall 4 Charges!

Come out for August 15th Court appearance of one of the SW4
from a previous NYPD attack on Refuse Fascism

August 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Received by revcom.us:

We want to thank everyone who fought so hard with us over these past 6 months. Our arrest was outrageous! We were out on February 4th at the LGBTQ Solidarity with Muslims Rally at the Stonewall Inn to stand with everyone there who wanted to protest Donald Trump’s first Muslim ban putting Muslim people in the crosshairs. We were getting out a very specific message: “NO! In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!” This message enraged some Trump supporters who had come there that day, and they began harassing those of us putting out this message, looking to provoke an incident. When they didn’t get it from us, one of them went to the NYPD and we were then surrounded and arrested.

On August 7th, the prosecution was forced to back off—all the charges against all Stonewall 4 defendants were Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD), meaning after 6 months all charges will be dismissed and sealed.

This came after 6 months of a prosecution in which, after the initial made-up story and set of charges began to fall apart, the District Attorney (DA) filed a different set of charges and a different complaint with an alternative made-up story of why we were arrested!

Our lawyers filed many motions against the original set of charges and the new ones, fighting to get “discovery” material turned over, to have charges dropped, and they even won a dismissal by the judge of one of the newly fabricated charges.

Our supporters, you and others like you, spread an online petition which was signed by over 700 people demanding the DA and Mayor de Blasio drop the charges. People, including clergy and prominent voices, did call-ins to the DA and Mayor’s offices, as well as some city council members. One caller called in to a WNYC radio show to make this demand to the Mayor.

All this served to expose that the prosecution’s case was based on lies and was a thinly veiled attempt to lock people up for daring to call for the end of the Trump/Pence regime and to stand up in the face of harassment and provocations by Trump’s supporters. Then just before trial, the prosecution made a decision to back down from pressing ahead with these outrageous charges. So we should welcome this as an important battle won, in an overall fight, which is very much not yet decided.

We still have to fight the charges resulting from a serious attack that took place on one of us even before the February 4th protest at the Stonewall Inn. On January 12th, one of us was stalked by the NYPD and brutally arrested on her way to a publicly announced Refuse Fascism event. She was illegally searched, and not only was she arrested but she was also sent to Bellevue Hospital—for the explicit reason put on the official NYPD report that she had called someone a fascist and expressed opposition to President-elect Donald Trump! This is a clear case of political suppression and must be fought! You are needed in court to stand with her on August 15th.

And there has been, since February 4th, the heightening of organized thuggery of fanatical Trump supporters becoming more aggressive, more cohered, and more violent, including armed thugs coming out to intimidate and threaten people participating in various rallies called for by Refuse Fascism on July 15th to say “Trump and Pence Must Go!” All while the regime moves ahead (even in the face of difficulty and obstacles, with scandal and controversy, with in-fighting and opposition) and is making strides in knocking down the rule of law, re-ordering the governance of society in a fascist way, demonizing and scapegoating Muslims, immigrants, trans people and LGBTQ people generally, going after women’s right to control their own bodies, and further letting loose terror on Black people and Latinos, while promising still more.

So, this battle is far from over. In addition to being there in court on August 15th for the member of the SW4 who has charges from the previous arrest, Refuse Fascism has called for November 4th “This Nightmare Must End—The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!” and is organizing regional conferences on August 19th to plan out how to make November 4th the beginning of the end of this nightmare.

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

Thank you and struggle on,

Stonewall 4

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/statement-from-carl-dix-from-charlottesville-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Statement from Carl Dix, from Charlottesville

August 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Groups of white supremacists displaying Confederate flags and white nationalist banners have been roving through Charlottesville all day. They have launched physical attacks on people, and one of them even rammed a car into a crowd of people, killing one person and seriously injuring a number of others. Trump's response to these horrors was to condemn hatred, bigotry, and violence "on many sides," and to say we need to love our country, our God, our flag, and our history.

This is double-barreled. This is not about hatred "on all sides," but about white nationalists glorifying the legacy of the oppression of Black people in this country, and displaying their determination to continue and intensify this oppression.

And love for the country, the flag, and the history of the U.S. is part of what's being used to weld these reactionary white supremacists into shock troops for the enforcement of fascism in this country. This white supremacist rally was called to prevent a statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of an army that fought to keep slavery in effect, from being removed from a public park. And these white nationalists embraced decades of segregation and lynch mob terror that enforced the subjugation of Black people after slavery was ended. This rally also included celebration of Hitler and all kinds of anti-Jewish poison. This history should not be loved, it needs to be recognized for what it is—a history of savage oppression. It, and the system that spawned it, must be rejected. This history, and the present-day reality, including Trump's insane threats to bring down “fire and fury, the likes of which the world has never seen” on North Korea, point to the need for an actual revolution, a real fundamental change that brings in a whole different system. And right now these fascists, from Trump down to the white supremacist scum stalking the streets of Charlottesville, are moving quickly to hammer their fascist regime into place. This must be STOPPED, and it's up to us to STOP it.

What is going on in Charlottesville is a direct outgrowth of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. And it is the outlines of a new civil war in this country. These fascists are serious. And we must wake up and confront them with resistance that is just as serious.

And we need to go from resistance to mobilizing to end the nightmare of the Trump/Pence regime. Right now these fascists, from Trump on down, are moving very quickly to hammer into place their fascist regime and this must be STOPPED. The organization Refuse Fascism has called for people to come into the streets and public squares and cities and towns across the country beginning on November 4 and stay in the streets day after day and night after night until the DEMAND is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO! For this to happen, everybody needs to be at August 19 regional conferences to organize and mobilize for this.

Beyond that—there is a need to seriously grapple with the whole history of this country and what it has done here and all over the world... the system that has required and enabled all this... and the revolutionary vision and strategy, brought forward by Bob Avakian, for a whole different, and far better, society.



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/clash-in-charlottesville-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Clash in Charlottesville

August 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hundreds of white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi fascist scum descended on Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12, to hold a “Unite the Right” rally. They came to defend the statue of Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederate army that fought to keep slavery alive, from being removed from a public park. They came to glorify the decades of open subjugation of Black people in this country under slavery and Jim Crow—and to promote the continuation and intensification of this oppression today. And they came to brazenly celebrate the history of Hitlerite fascism—and step up their fight to help consolidate the American fascist regime in power today.

These extreme reactionary forces have been encouraged and emboldened by the Trump/Pence Regime, and they’ve been increasingly active across the country. What we saw in Charlottesville was a major leap in this—some media commentators compared it to Kristallnacht, the night of violence and terror aimed at Jews by Hitler’s Stormtroopers. The hundreds of white supremacists came heavily armed. They did a KKK-style torch march through the University of Virginia campus the night before, chanting things like “blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan. They attacked people who came to protest them—as the hundreds of police watched. And one of them used his car as a murder weapon, ramming into a crowd of protesters—killing one woman and injuring 19 others, with five people still in critical condition.

After all this, the fascist-in-chief, Trump, refused to condemn the white supremacists but only talked of violence “on many sides”—an all-but-open endorsement of the racist neo-Nazis.

Confronting the White Supremacist Fascists

The white supremacist mob did not go unchallenged. They were confronted by hundreds of counter-protesters—from Charlottesville and nearby and from other areas of the country.

There were white middle class people disgusted by the racist fascists. There were Black Lives Matter activists. There were clergy and faith leaders, from locally and across the country, including national leaders Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Traci Blackmon, and hundreds of church people. At the KKK-style march on Friday night at the University of Virginia campus, a group of students courageously held up a banner saying “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy,” in the face of threats and violence by the fascists.

People from Refuse Fascism were in the thick of things, calling on people to carry on the fight against the white supremacists as a part of the fight to drive out the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime. Revolution Club members were there, and they brought a banner with a statement of solidarity signed by people from the South Side of Chicago. Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party issued a statement right from the scene in Charlottesville.

One man who had gone to grad school at University of Virginia said, “The statue that people are rallying around needs to come down—it’s a sign of ongoing structural white supremacy. It’s clear there is a huge mobilization of fascists in this country who are organizing around that statue and what it represents as a central structural principle and it needs to be opposed in every way possible.... That statue was put there as a monument to domination and violence and that’s the function it’s always served, that’s the function it’s still serving. Anybody who says it’s about heritage is fundamentally lying about that basic truth of why it’s there. Because that heritage is white supremacy, that heritage is evil and it needs to be fought.”

They were determined to send a message to the world—in word and deed—that people will not tolerate for one second this white supremacist shit. Throughout the day, wherever the white supremacists went in Charlottesville, they were fiercely opposed by different groups of protesters. These protesters on the frontlines represented the sentiments of many, many more across the country. And many, many more have to actually follow the example of the protesters in Charlottesville and step up and step out in the fight against fascism.

As Carl Dix said in his statement, “What is going on in Charlottesville is a direct outgrowth of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. And it is the outlines of a new civil war in this country. These fascists are serious. And we must wake up and confront them with resistance that is just as serious.”

       

The “Unite the Right” rally was scheduled to begin at noon in the park with the Confederate statue. Hours before the rally, hundreds of fascists marched through the streets—dressed in military gear, carrying all kinds of automatic weapons and signs upholding white supremacy, Hitler, and the KKK. Counter-protesters on the scene near the park confronted the white supremacists and defended themselves against the violence of the fascists. There were clashes for at least an hour near the park, and there were other confrontations elsewhere as well. Hundreds of police, including state troopers in riot gear, and the Virginia National Guard had been mobilized and were in the area—some close enough to clearly see the clashes. They watched as the fascists who were already in the park rushed out to join in the attacks on the counter-protesters.

David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the KKK, was at the fascist torchlight march through the University of Virginia campus on Friday night and was quoted saying, “We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back.” Many of the white supremacists carried Trump campaign signs along with their Nazi signs. There was a real feeling among counter-protesters that white supremacists are being are being emboldened by Trump and that they cannot go unopposed, that they cannot be allowed to threaten people and spew their poison.

By noon, the city declared the white supremacist rally an unlawful assembly and the police then cleared the park. Soon after this the governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency. As the fascists left the park and marched down the street, clashes continued. People chanted: “Nazi Scum Off Our Streets,” “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

This Nightmare Must End

Hundreds of people came out to Charlottesville under the banners of open white supremacy and Nazism, brandishing automatic weapons and attacking people with clubs and sticks, running rampant through the city... and then, even after they killed someone, they were given what was essentially a green light by Trump's refusal to condemn them by name and his equation of the armed, aggressive Nazis and KKKers with the unarmed and courageously resisting masses.

This, coupled with the nuclear roulette now being played by Trump with his threats against North Korea, makes it even more starkly clear where things are headed. This IS a nightmare. What must happen now is that many, many more people need to face the depth of the situation and respond immediately by marching in the streets across the country on Sunday,   August 13, to condemn the racist, murdering thugs that marched in Charlottesville—and, even more importantly, coming out to and building the meetings next Saturday to organize massive, night-after-night demonstrations, beginning on November 4, to drive this regime out of office.

If not now, when? If not you, who?

 

Where Did This Fascism Come From...and How Do We Fight It?

Some Key Works by Bob Avakian

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

Read more

“The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'...And What Will Replace It”

Read more

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/trumps-statement-steaming-pile-of-fascist-double-talk-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

Trump's Statement: A Steaming Pile of Fascist Double-Talk

By Toby O'Ryan

August 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Saturday, August 12, armed white supremacists ran rampant in Charlottesville, Virginia—or at least they tried to. They were put on the run by the unarmed counter-demonstrators... until one of these cowardly dogs ran a car into the protesters, killing one and injuring many more.

And what did the orange Mussolini say, when he finally came out to say something about it? Did he condemn the open white supremacy and Nazism on display for two days? Did he call out the thugs parading through the streets with automatic weapons, attempting to intimidate and threaten those who opposed them? Did he condemn the essentially terroristic act of ramming a car into a crowd of peaceful civilians who were walking away from the car? Did he even make a show, however hypocritical, of condolence to the murdered victim? Did he call for the swift apprehension and severe punishment of the perpetrator?

More: Did he take any responsibility at all for having created and spurred forward this kind of violent racism—for instance, in his campaign rallies where he had repeatedly called for violence against protesters and the press, and applauded and even offered to pay legal fees when his minions would pile on a protester and beat them?

No. He said not a word about the person killed. He said not a word about racism, white supremacy, or Nazism. Instead he condemned hatred and violence from "many sides"—he repeated that phrase "many sides" twice, by the way, in case you didn't get that he was equating the open Nazis and Klansmen with the counter-demonstrators. Equating those who drove cars into the backs of a crowd of people, those who came with guns and mace and shields, with those who bravely resisted them. Equating those whose historic predecessors and role models enslaved millions for generations in the United States and/or who exterminated millions for being of an alien, un-American—oops, I mean un-German—race... with those who united to fight against racism. This is like equating a rapist-murderer with one of his victims who attempted to resist him—"there's violence on many sides here, many sides."

As for his responsibility, Trump both said that it started before him and then dragged Obama into it, as if to say that Obama had also encouraged those who Trump sees as "the other side" to wage violence (when in fact Obama was most notable for continually telling those who looked to him to stay out of the streets to not protest, and to blame themselves if they couldn't make it). Not satisfied with that, Trump also then obliquely referred to the tragic violence among the people that he so loves to exploit (and exacerbate), referring to children being afraid to go outside and play—which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in Charlottesville and serves only to muddy the waters and lump everything under his push for a police state.

Which is where he immediately went. For Trump then said that "what is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order"—in other words, the whole package that Trump has promoted of a renewed war on drugs and heightened mass incarceration and the open encouragement of police violence, the heightened penalties for protesting that his minions are passing state after state, the severe rollbacks of legal rights already under way from the Sessions Justice Department, and the overarching moves towards the elimination of all dissent and protest.

Trump, fascist that he is (and egomaniacal narcissism is a key part of the fascist package), could not even talk for a minute about the attack without lapsing into bragging about how well things are going under his rule.

Trump called on people to respect each other and "cherish our history together." Do we really think that Trump said this not knowing that the major theme of these Nazis, Klukkers, and assorted racists was that they were there to defend the statue of Robert E. Lee under the signboard of defending our "heritage"?

Trump called for people to unite under love of the flag and love of God—again, terms that the very people who called the rally and launched the attack parade under. He even worked in his fascist "America first" slogan into his statement before it was all done.

But don't underestimate him. This was not Trump bumbling, or somehow "missing an opportunity," as Van Jones, who never tires of trying to apologize for and conciliate with Trump, said. This was Trump doubling down on his fascist agenda—just using strategic omissions and code words to do it with. And preparing to take advantage of horror to advance his agenda.



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/a-shout-out-to-the-brave-university-virginia-students-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

A Shout-Out to the Brave University of Virginia Students for Standing Up to the Fascist Mob

August 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Friday night, the eve of the “Unite the Right” fascist rally in Charlottesville, a mob of hundreds of torch-wielding white-supremacist neo-Nazis marched through the University of Virginia, yelling fascist, racist, and anti-immigrant slogans. In the midst of this, a group of students from the school held up a banner saying “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy.” These students stood their ground in the face of violent threats and attacks from the fascists. The powerful picture of this heroic action spread on Twitter—and clearly inspired many others. Among the responses: “VA students—I've shared this with my two sons. Your display of bravery and humanity is an inspiration for all who want a better world” “Huge respect to these young people for not being intimidated. Millions—actually billions of us share your values.” “Fuck Yeah! Now that's humanity.”

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/condemn-the-racist-murdering-nazi-thugs-in-charlottesville-virginia-en.html

Revolution #503 August 7, 2017

August 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From Refuse Fascism:

 

Take to the Streets
Sunday, August 13
Condemn the Racist, Murdering Nazi Thugs in Charlottesville, Virginia

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America

One person murdered and 19 wounded by KKK/Nazi thugs in Charlottesville, Virginia, have shown the whole world the reality of the Trump/Pence Regime's fascist America. Parading through the streets with torches chanting "Hail Trump" while spouting the most vile racism and anti-Semitism, these shock troops revealed the ugly face of the fascist future that the Trump/Pence Regime is hammering into place.

Even after learning of the death of one of the people standing up against these fascist thugs, Donald Trump would not utter words of condemnation of their vicious white supremacy, anti-Semitism and their open espousal of the Nazi slogan of "Blood and Soil." Trump wouldn't even offer condolence for the person murdered by these fascists.

THIS REGIME MUST BE STOPPED. The lives of millions of Black people, immigrants, women and LGBTQ people hang in the balance along with the lives of billions of people around the world as the Trump/Pence Regime threatens North Korea with "fire and fury."

We must get organized NOW, in a serious way, to STOP THIS REGIME. Refuse Fascism has a plan:

On November 4 we will gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country, at first, many thousands declaring that this whole regime is illegitimate and that we will not stop until our single demand is met: The Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Our protest must grow day after day and night after night—thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions—determined to act to put a stop to the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to the world by demanding that this whole regime be removed from power.

Be part of making this vision a reality. Come to an organizing conference for November 4 on Saturday, August 19, in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco or Austin. Go to refusefascism.org for more information and to register.

RefuseFascism.org