Revolution #505, August 21, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #505 August 21, 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 #505 August 21, 2017

Refuse Fascism August 19, 2017 Regional Conference Presentation:

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

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Good Evening. Here now the news for Friday night November 17th 2017: 

“Our top story tonight remains the continuing protests and occupations now taking place in over a dozen cities and on more than 20 campuses nationwide. Protesters vow they will not leave or stop until Trump and Pence are removed from office. This morning, police in Los Angeles arrested over 300 protesters. Protest organizers announced this afternoon that hundreds of thousands will take to the streets on Saturday in coordinated marches in protest of this mass arrest. Alt-Right websites ominously called for their members to put a stop to the weekend marches. Supporters of President Trump have called for a “March to Keep America Great” over Thanksgiving weekend.

“In related developments, lawsuits have been filed by several city governments to remove protesters, and in response, civil liberties organizations have countersued. A coalition of multi-faith religious leaders has presented a letter to Congress requesting that they act now on the demand of the protests to remove this administration for the good of the country and the world. German Chancellor Merkel spoke to European leaders about issuing a statement that the U.S. should respect the rights of their citizens.

“Later in this broadcast we will have responses from Trump Administration officials and Congressional leaders. But first, after a break, we return with the latest tweet from President Trump.”

*****

Friends, the break we are going to make this afternoon, is planning a breakthrough to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power. We are going to break with how, up to now, opposition to the regime only engages in never ending critique and protest against each outrage of the Trump/Pence Regime and actions of the Alt-Right Nazi thugs. Yes, exposure, critiques, analysis and especially protest are all righteous and necessary, but because we are dealing with a regime that is fascist—remaking law and the norms of society with enormous peril to all of humanity and the earth— we must act so they are removed from power. Today we have the responsibility and the opportunity to get down and seriously plan, struggle, and organize for the only way these fascists could be removed from power. Plan and organize so that the “FAKE NEWS” report I just read... becomes the REAL NEWS... News that we, Refuse Fascism, together with thousands and then millions of people make, beginning on November 4, 2017.

Welcome to the Regional Conference of Refuse Fascism on getting organized to End the Nightmare!

Nazis with torches marching. Nazis murdering. Nazi white supremacist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic thugs backed up by the President who belligerently let the whole world know this is the way it is going to be in the America he and Pence now rule. Pence said he stands with the President. Trump and his regime are shattering what have been the norms of governance and society in pursuit of a different way of rule, fascism. Trump did not and will not back down. And, while many in power from both parties may criticize and cover their asses and distance themselves from the blunt coarse language of Trump, they will not call this out as fascism, they will not call out the whole regime, on their own they will not move to remove the whole fascist cabal from power. That is on us.

We undertake this responsibility today not for ourselves alone. We do this now honoring the legacy of Heather Heyer. Most of all we do this because it is in the interests of humanity.

The Call for November 4th says:

THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END. . .

ON NOVEMBER 4, 2017:

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: This 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.

“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 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.”

Let’s flesh this out a bit.

First, there are recent historical precedents that give a vision of what we are talking about. In Seoul, South Korea in October of last year, tens of thousands began protests against the President of that country. By mid-November their numbers climbed on certain days to around a million. Then came counter-protests supporting the corrupt President—these were also in the hundreds of thousands. A back and forth struggle unfolded as more and more evidence piled up against the President. But, what kept the issue in front of their country and the world was the unrelenting determination of people to not stop their protest until President Park was removed. She was impeached in early March—over 4 months after they began.

In 2010 and 2011, throughout the Mideast starting in Tunisia and then spreading to Egypt Presidents were removed from power in what has been called the “Arab Spring.” These were significant outpourings of masses of people—millions in some cases—demanding regime change—day after day and night after night. In some countries this lasted weeks, in others, months.

More recently in the United States, on Sept 17, 2011, a few hundred people occupied Zuccotti Park beginning “Occupy Wall Street” to protest income inequality. Encampments spread around the country until mid-November when nationally coordinated police raids shut them down. This was a top story around the world tarnishing the reputation of the U.S. as a “bastion of opportunity.” More recently, last year thousands of people went to Standing Rock to support and take part in the Native American’s brave struggle to protect the water from a pipeline carrying tar sands oil.

Each of these struggles offers lessons, positive and negative, and yes, their particularities are different. Yet, what we should learn from all of these struggles is that when confronting an extraordinary problem—like the necessity for regime change—masses of people must act outside the bounds of normal protest—and do so with the determination to not stop until the demand is won.

What will taking to the streets and public spaces look like here? We must begin in the key cities with at least several thousand people in each city. Many will come in shifts—with the protests swelling in the afternoons and evenings. In some places there will be encampments. Everywhere there will be a need for a round the clock base of operations: for literature, food, hygiene and many other needs.

Starting now we need to plan to be organizing work in different communities to bring a broad and diverse group of people into the protest. The many “Nightmares” described in the Call for November 4th indicates who to reach out to, involve and partner with—who needs to be “in the house.”

The character of the main protest will be nonviolent and respectful of different peoples, genders, and cultures. As it says in the Call: “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.”

The protest will be the polar opposite of the “White Power” Nazi/KKK thugs the world saw in Charlottesville—not only in the diversity of who’s there, but in the values, the conviction and courage we project to the world.

We can imagine now that there will be different focuses on different days—different issues, organizations, artists, speakers coming to speak and be present where the protest is centered. We can imagine marches coming to the site and stepping off from the site to locations that concentrate the outrages of the Trump/Pence regime. We can imagine the protest site alive with serious discussions and debates over the big issues of the day, strategizing about the road forward in our struggle to drive out the regime, and getting into and debating what kind of world people want beyond driving out this fascist regime.

This will be a huge, difficult and historic struggle—a political battle and not without cost. Donald Trump has been a racist, misogynist, xenophobic fascist his whole life. Mike Pence is a theocratic Christian fascist and has implemented some of the most anti-women; anti-LGBQT laws of any state governor. We must drive home for people Mike Pence’s truly horrific history and that he has dutifully stood by and supported every Trump policy since they made their unholy, “holy” alliance to bring Christian Fascism fully into the heart of the regime. This is an alliance made to create hell on earth for humanity in the name of a lunatic literalist/fundamentalist “heaven.”

THE POINT: These people and the whole fascist movement have been built up over decades. They have a coherent fascist world view and program and they are in a fight to the finish. Trump is leading the charge, but Mike Pence is a dangerous figure and they have assembled a whole fascist cabal. Our demand that the whole REGIME must go is a tremendous strength of Refuse Fascism.

When earlier this week Trump gave a huge green light to the Nazi thugs and para-military type groups who marauded in Charlottesville, this was not without purpose. Already one person has been murdered by these fascists. We saw and take note of how the police largely stood aside in Charlottesville while these fascist thugs attacked counter protesters. The November 4th Movement will need to stand strong. We will need firm principles of not initiating violence and opposing violence against the people and among the people, while recognizing the right of the people to defend themselves. This will need to guide the security we organize, safeguarding the protest and the people in a way that shows to the world that the people have right on their side.

A KEY in whether or not a momentous struggle such as we are beginning on November 4th succeeds, resides in good measure in whether we are able to come back after being attacked—either by fascist thugs or by the police—and coming back by rallying even more people to our side: masses of many different kinds of people who come out to support and to demand The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go with even greater determination. We should know this now, and plan and organize with this process in mind—thinking through going to work on developing the ties with people and the ability to communicate with millions, to rally the religious and legal communities, the campuses, and all the diversity of people we represent.

This fascist regime will remain in power through 2020 and perhaps beyond if we, as well as other forces of resistance, just keep doing what we are doing now. If we don’t plan, organize and bring forward the people needed to begin on November 4th then all the suffering that fascism means will be imposed on humanity. Trump and Pence are already directing the fascists in Congress to further re-write voting laws—to throw Black, Latinos, and more off the voting rolls to ensure that the regime is re-elected. Or, they could impose a “state of emergency” in response to an actual or a manufactured crisis, in order to cement their power and fascist program.

We also need to be awake to the possibility that events could accelerate in such a way that the struggle against Trump takes off sooner than November 4th. In that case, we should push an upsurge as far as it can go, and if we need to move our start date sooner because millions are already staying in the streets day after day, then we will bring all that we have brought forward up to that point, to bear on a new situation.

Change only comes if we—in our thousands, then hundreds of thousands and then millions—disrupt business as usual and force the whole country, the whole world, and all factions of those in power to respond to our demand. If those in power are faced with this determination—including that every time they take steps to attack or undermine and diminish this movement, they are met with even more people coming into the streets (as happened, for example, in South Korea last year), then their ability to govern, to conduct business as usual will be disrupted; they will lose respect and legitimacy in the eyes of people here and internationally—and this—international legitimacy—is a very critical calculation for the rulers of this country. Facing this kind of serious political crisis, sections of those in power could be compelled to see it in their interest to find the ways to resolve an extraordinary and unprecedented political crisis and remove this regime from power. Recall that President Nixon and his Vice President were both forced from office.

We have to be firm in our core understanding—and we have to spread this understanding—that this is a fascist regime which poses an existential danger to humanity. People got a sense of this last week with the threats against North Korea and then with Trump’s open backing of murdering Nazi/KKK thugs. THIS IS NOT NORMAL and WE ARE GOING TO LAUNCH A STRUGGLE ON NOVEMBER 4TH THAT IS ALSO NOT NORMAL: thousands and eventually millions in the streets demanding the regime must go! It will and must be extraordinary. With courage and conviction... and with a serious plan and organizing campaign, We Will End This Nightmare.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Refuse Fascism August 19, 2017 Regional Conference Presentation:

Why the Fascist Character of This Regime Makes It Possible—and Necessary—to Mobilize Millions to Drive It From Power

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The first speech you just heard laid out what we are here to do—what it will look like to drive out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. I am going to talk about WHY this is necessary. Why we are right to say that the Trump/Pence Regime is a fascist regime and that ONLY the people in our millions—starting with many thousands on November 4th—going into the streets and staying in the streets, night after night, day after day, can drive them from power and why nothing short of that will bring this nightmare to an end.

A week ago today, we woke to images of hundreds of white supremacists carrying torches and chanting KKK and Nazi slogans. These images struck terror in the hearts of Black people everywhere—people who remember all too vividly the thousands of Black people who were lynched and millions who were terrorized over generations by torch-wielding night riders. Soon, we began seeing images of white supremacists and paramilitary thugs beating and bloodying counter-protesters. Finally, we saw that bone-chilling image of a car driven into a crowd... bodies flying through the air... and we learned the name of Heather Heyer, murdered in cold blood.

For days, the media, the Democrats and even some Republicans expressed dismay that Trump came out swinging—defending torch-carrying white supremacists as “fine people” and lashing out at the so-called “alt-left.” These talking heads said, “Trump is abdicating leadership...” and, “Trump is failing to unite.”

But there is no mystery. Donald Trump didn’t denounce this clearly because it was Trump that unleashed this. Trump whipped his rallies into frenzied mobs chanting for revenge against Muslims and Black people, against women and his political opponents, against Mexicans and against protesters. He said of one protester, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” For years Trump championed racist, ignorant birtherism. And he hasn’t let up. Just recently, he openly called for police brutality and terror, telling a crowd of laughing cops, “Please, don’t be too nice!”

As for supposedly “failing to lead,” Trump IS leading. He is leading in ripping up the laws, the political norms, and the basic moral glue of this society. Because of people’s heroic struggle, it had become unacceptable to publicly condone white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Very broadly diversity had become something to embrace. Trump is not “failing.” He is succeeding at ripping up those norms and asserting new fascist norms. And Trump IS uniting people—he is uniting white supremacists, Nazis, anti-Semites, woman-haters, LGBTQ-bashers, Christian fascists, warmongers, and bigots.

Or, look at Trump’s bellicose threats against North Korea. He promised “Fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.” He’s talking about nuclear bombs and annihilation. More fire and fury than Hiroshima and Nagasaki—two cities that the United States dropped nuclear bombs on, incinerating tens of thousands of people in a blinding white explosion and killing hundreds of thousands in the black cloud of destruction that shock-waved for miles.

Here, too, the Democrats and the media went into a frenzy. But what did they say? They said Trump’s language “wasn’t presidential.” NPR—the liberal, supposedly reasonable and broad-minded radio station—had “experts” explaining that the problem with an attack on Korea is that North Korea will retaliate. No, the problem with nuking Korea is that it is a crime against humanity. That’s why it’s wrong!

But that is not all. Look at these panels. These panels detail the scale, the scope, and the nature of the crimes being unleashed by the Trump/Pence Regime.

Did you know that 431 measures were introduced at the state level across this country to restrict abortion for women in just the first three months of this year?

Did you know that over 200 protesters were arrested at Trump’s inauguration, charged with multiple felonies, and that 211 of them face up to 75 years in prison?

Did you know that Trump’s so-called Environmental “Protection” Agency has already moved to undo or block 30 environmental rules aimed at protecting air, water, and public health?

This is just one fact off of three of these panels—you really have to read all of them in their entirety because the scope and scale of what is being done is staggering.

And it’s not just Trump, it’s his whole REGIME. It’s Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos. It is the Christian fascist theocrat Mike Pence who has not only backed every outrageous threat Trump has made, but also is part of a whole movement—which includes the new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and many others packed throughout this regime at all levels—who are working aggressively to impose a fascist Biblical, literalist society that enslaves women, terrorizes LGBTQ people, erases science, indoctrinates generations of youth in Christian fundamentalist and creationist schools. This is why the whole regime must go. And they must go BEFORE it is too late.

As we say in the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, “Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values.’ ... What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.

You see, Trump is not only committing great horrors—he is intentionally ripping up the norms and assumptions of how society has functioned up until now.

Trump is bringing open white supremacy back with a vengeance, he is bringing a FLOOD of undisguised and unrelenting LIES, he is bringing threats of violence against the media and the courts and his political opponents. He is bringing Christian Fascism. He is assailing science and purging scientists. He is bringing fascist thugs into the streets. His bludgeoning methods—his violating of the norms—is not inexperience, psychosis, or blundering. It is the point. The Trump/Pence Regime is a FASCIST regime—they are remaking the governing norms of society—ripping up basic democratic and civil rights. To quote again from the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, “We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward. The Trump/Pence Regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law... IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.

The Democratic Party can not be relied on to stop this. 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 is president precisely because he does not respect the norms of politics as usual—he was backed by powerful interests who recognized that he could be the vehicle to shred what have been the governing and social norms of America for decades. He was elected by a social base that has been riled up for decades behind a racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant program. They believe that Trump’s outsider outrageousness and his flouting of the norms proves that he can and will deliver. The program of the Democratic Party and their media mouthpieces is restoring the norms. So people who hate and oppose the regime are being led by them to look to elections, hearings, investigations, and protest as usual to “make their voices heard,” as if we are dealing with a normal regime. We are not.

Besides, even in normal times, change doesn’t really come about by people playing within the official channels of politics in society. The Freedom Rides and sit-ins of the civil rights movement didn’t “play by the rules.” The draft-card burners and the soldiers who refused to fight in Vietnam, and the students who took over universities didn’t “play by the rules.” And again: these are NOT normal times.

This is why only the people acting outside politics as usual can create the conditions where the Trump/Pence Regime is removed from power.

What makes this possible is the very extremeness of the Trump/Pence Regime. This regime actually IS fascist, it IS hell-bent on hammering into place a nightmare, it will not relent, and all this flies in the face of and insults what millions and millions of people deeply feel is moral, is decent, is legitimate, and is the way society and the world really ought to be. It is precisely because of all this that there are millions and millions of people who can be brought forward and forged into a political force that can STOP this regime, that can DRIVE IT FROM POWER.

It is the people who are being targeted and it is the many people who cannot stand aside and let this happen. It is people who have been in the streets and it is millions more who have still not taken this step. It is the students who are just now coming of age, and it is the 1960s generation that wakes up once again. It is the scientists and religious leaders and local officials and neighborhood book clubs. It is the ones who want to surge to the front lines and it is those who want to open their churches and provide water and food. It is people from every walk of life standing together, starting November 4th and growing every day after that, to say: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

This is harder and it is riskier that other “solutions,” but the truth is it is much more realistic. In fact, it is the ONLY realistic way.

I have spoken to WHY we are right to call this regime fascist. How they are making progress in installing and consolidating fascism, and WHY—because of this—anything short of driving them from power will not stop them. And why, coming to understand they are fascist also opens up the possibility for millions to move. Finally, I want to speak to is WHY we must do this November 4th.

The simple reason is that the regime is moving fast to remake the laws, to unleash their mobs, and to make it more and more difficult for people to organize and stand up.

But that is not the only thing making the clock tick. The other thing is that everyday people are getting more and more used to this nightmare, it is becoming more and more normalized. Things that once shocked people about this regime aren’t quite as shocking anymore. Refuse Fascism, in our mission statement, The Call to Action, recognized that one of the ways fascism advances is that fascism advances through stages, through periods of outrage, shock and intimidation, followed by periods of normalization where [people] accommodate to the next new situation. This process is underway, but there is still a mood among people to not accept this, and especially so in the wake of Charlottesville.

But if a real way is not carved out to stop this—a way that millions can take up together and act on—people will have no choice but to find their place in the new fascist order. This is the lesson of Nazi Germany. And, the logic of waiting, the logic of getting on with your life, the logic of leaving this up to others—to investigations, to the next election cycle, to some make-believe notion that the regime will self-destruct—these are being constantly promoted and they are having an effect. So we must act now, before people have learned to accept the unacceptable—while people are still raw with outrage and horrors, and frankly right now while this outrage is being stoked in new ways.

We have a window to stop this regime. We have a window to reach and move the people who can do this. We have an organization, Refuse Fascism, that recognizes the problem and has developed a basic plan that has room for everyone and can actually succeed. Now is the time to fight with everything we’ve got to realize this plan. If not now, when?

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

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

A Serious and Inspiring First Step Towards November 4 — The Day It Begins. This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 19, 450 people gathered in five regional conferences held around the country by Refuse Fascism to get organized to make November 4 the launch of a massive national mobilization that continues and grows day after day and night after night until the demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Coming in the wake of Trump’s defense of white supremacists and Nazis after they carried out brutality and murder in Charlottesville, and Trump’s recent bellicose threats to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea, the gatherings had an air of seriousness and determination. For many in attendance, this kind of organizing was new but they felt strongly that protest-as-usual, while necessary, will no longer suffice. They were drawn to the slogan, “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and they were looking for a way to invest their time and energy that really stood a chance of stopping the Trump/Pence nightmare that grows uglier by the day. 

Video of Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, challenging everyone to live like Heather by stepping up against injustice was played to open the conference. Next, people listened intently and then wrestled together with two speeches.  The first speaker laid out a vision of what November 4 and the days and weeks that follow must look like to succeed in creating the kind of political crisis in this country that forces every faction of those in power to respond to our demand that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! The second speaker went into why the fascist character of the regime makes this possible, and makes anything less completely inadequate. 

In a second plenary and then in smaller planning break-out groups, plans were made to begin bringing forward many thousands to launch the November 4th movement—the role of students and faith communities and leaders, the role of professional associations and community groups, the need for medics and lawyers. Plans were also made for social media and fundraising, for both organizational and street level outreach, and for reaching out to and involving students and campuses—with particular attention put on really kicking out the jams to raise funds. At the East Coast regional conference a plan was made to do the kind of widespread and attention-grabbing promotion so that by soon after Labor Day, September 5, everywhere you go, people will know that on November 4—It Begins, and that there is a powerful Call and a plan that is circulating in the minds of millions throughout this country. 

Special focus was given to the extremely powerful indictment display panels that have been developed by Refuse Fascism which detail the many crimes that the Trump/Pence Regime has already unleashed—and what they have said they will do—against Muslims; against immigrants; women and LGBTQ people; against civil liberties; against the people of the world; against the environment: and around white supremacy, police brutality and mass incarceration. These posters—which can function as very large panels set up in public spaces and protests, as well as infographs online or a series of regular sized flyers, and in other creative forms—have three critical roles.  First, they educate people about the full scope, scale and depth of fascism this regime is imposing.  Second, they can be used as a form of political action and protest; for example, confronting members of the Regime with these panels, or protesting with them outside media that is refusing to cover these crimes.  Third, the posters are a means through which people can get organized: they can be printed, displayed and discussed in house-gatherings; folks can take them out on the street; they can be used in teach-ins and in many other ways that enable people to get organized and go out together spreading the word. 

These conferences represented an important leap in the level of seriousness and organization towards November 4th, but—not surprisingly—there remains much work to be done to reach out to and involve other forces, to boldly and creatively project the November 4th vision to millions of people, to raise serious funds, and much more. Further fleshing out the plans and seizing on new openings that emerge will be critical, but at the same time it is necessary that the plans that were forged be fought through on and that not a single day be wasted. 

As the East Coast regional conference drew to a close, the emcee asked everyone to think about the immigrant families who are aching already from having their families torn apart, the people throughout the Korean Peninsula living in terror because of Trump’s nuclear threats, and the many others targeted and horrified by the Trump/Pence fascist regime. “These people don’t know that we met here, today,” she told people, “but they are counting on us. Millions and millions just like them are counting on us. We must make a commitment to follow through on this, to work together, to go out and fight for everyone else, to persevere in the face of risk and even sacrifice, to solve problems and keep thinking big and working to make it real.” With that, everyone put their fists in the air and joined in a promise to seal their commitment: “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! Don’t Accommodate. Don’t Conciliate. Don’t Normalize. Don’t Collaborate. Drive Them Out! November 4—It Begins!”

 We encourage everyone to join in immediately: 

  1. Spread the word far and wide about November 4th. Find materials, slogans, and memes here
  1. Donate and raise funds for widespread promotion of November 4th. Donate and spread the crowdfund campaign here
  1. Stay tuned for more at refusefascism.org.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/washington-lee-and-trump-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Washington, Lee and Trump:
5 Points That Must Be Clear

August 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

  1. To stand up against Nazis, KKKers, and fascists is righteous and just.  Those who refuse to knuckle under to armed lynch mobs and forcibly or otherwise defend themselves and the masses against these fascists are heroes and must be unapologetically upheld.
  2. This is a country that was born in genocide, mass kidnapping and slavery, and that literally invented racism.  Washington, Jefferson, and most of the rest of the “founders” not only individually owned slaves, with every bit of ugliness that entailed including rape and the destruction of families, but continually fought to defend and expand slavery.  As Bob Avakian has said, starting off his book BAsics, 1:1: “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.”
  3. There is at the same time a special ugliness to the Confederate statues, all of which were erected to legitimize the oppression and humiliation of legal segregation and the outright terror of lynch mob rule.  These statues were built to, and still do, strike a chill in the bones and souls of those who suffered under this rule, or who hated it for simple human reasons; these monuments must all come down NOW, beginning with the many monuments in the official buildings of Washington D.C., and nobody must be tried or in any way punished for the public service of removing these monstrosities from public life.  Those who now defend these monuments to the terrorization of an entire people must be driven from public life—beginning with Trump, Pence and the whole rest of this fascist regime.
  4. Trump inherits and defends the mantle of both the George Washingtons and the Robert E. Lees.  When Trump says, in a rare moment of truth-telling, that tearing down the symbols of the Confederacy will logically lead to tearing down the monuments to all the slave-owning founders, and this is a threat to American values, he reveals a great deal of the ugly hypocrisy at the core of mainstream American politics.
  5. Trump is indeed a contemptible monster.  But to claim that Trump is somehow different in essence or in any kind of fundamental way from earlier presidents distorts reality. Presidents from Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat who purged Black people from federal employment and promoted the Klan-loving film The Birth of a Nation... to Franklin Roosevelt, whose reforms actually strengthened white supremacy... from Richard Nixon, whose “Southern strategy” blatantly appealed to those backward whites who hated school desegregation and the Voting Rights Act which enabled Black people to vote and whose Justice Department connived in the assassination of leaders of the Black Panther Party even, in the infamous case of Fred Hampton, as they lay sleeping... to Ronald Reagan, who opened his presidential campaign with a visit to the city famous for the lynching of three civil rights workers in 1964, and not only refused to mention the lynching but went on to uphold “states' rights”... from Bill Clinton who made a point of posing for campaign pictures showing him lording it over a group of Black prisoners on a chain gang and who put mass incarceration and police terror on steroids with legislation and money... on down to, yes, Barack Obama, with his relentless attacks on Black men for being “irresponsible” and his fatuous, and extremely damaging, claims that in America “you can make it if you try” and who assailed people who bravely rebelled against police terror in Baltimore as thugs... all of them upheld the institutions and logic of white supremacy.  
  6. What DOES make Trump different from other presidents is not his recognition that white supremacy is essential to the history and present-day preservation of capitalist-imperialist USA as it is... but his insistence that in order to survive the U.S. political system and its representatives must now OPENLY and UNABASHEDLY dispense with the coded messages of the past and full-throatedly come out and defend open, blatant racism and, with it, must impose laws and measures that are genocidal in direction and intent. This is the particularly pressing danger of what Trump and the whole Trump/Pence regime represents: the move to fascism, to open dictatorship.  As we have said:  “Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as ‘enemies,’ ‘undesirables,’ or ‘dangers to society.’”
  7. Trump continually demonizes Black people, immigrants, Muslims and other “minorities.”  But the Trump/Pence regime has a vicious and, yes, fascist political program as well.  This fascist regime has already set in motion plans to deprive millions of Black and Latino and other people of color of the right to vote, Trump himself has called for nationwide stop-and-frisk (another name for pervasive and often murderous racial profiling), he has moved to deprive further millions of basic health care, he has ordered the expansion of mass incarceration through his Attorney General Sessions—this is already a truly genocidal program. Now those who openly call for a white America, for ethnic cleansing, for an outright full genocide have this week publicly drawn heart from how Trump essentially supported them in the Charlottesville outrage.  Where is this going?
  8. The fascism that is now moving so aggressively to set terms and consolidate power, embodied in this Trump/Pence regime, is extremely and extraordinarily dangerous to humanity worldwide and must be defeated and driven out—NOW.  Those who deplore Trump but neither recognize the fascist character of the Trump/Pence regime as a whole nor call for its removal and who instead counsel nothing more than waiting for elections well more than a year away do a grave disservice.  A powerful movement of millions, in the streets, reaching into every sector of society, demanding the removal of the Trump/Pence regime could in fact set off a crisis that could prevent this regime from carrying out plans that are indeed fascist and put humanity as a whole in direct danger.  Such a movement is not only urgently necessary but possible, but only if extremely diverse sections of society and political points of view come together to do it.
  9. Finally, people must come to grips with the true character of a society and system that not only spawned Trump but elected him to the highest office of the land and continues to tolerate him in that office.  This means coming to grips with the true history of this country, rooted in slavery and the genocide of 90 percent of the Native peoples living here; the nature of the system of capitalism-imperialism that generated that history; and the fact that there actually is a solution to this madness, a society able to, on the road to and making it a core mission to uproot the poisonous soil of oppression and heal the scars of the horrors committed by this system.  That solution can only come about through revolution—a revolution for which there is the strategy, the vision and “blueprint” for a new society (concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America) and the leadership, in Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party which he leads.

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/trump-on-a-rampage-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Trump on a rampage

Time to Put an End to This Nightmare!
Organize This Weekend!

August 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

In the wake of the Klan-Nazi rally in Charlottesville where the fascists murdered Heather Heyer and injured many, many more, including in racist gang assaults... where they trooped through the streets carrying torches and armed to the teeth, chanting slogans against Black people, gay people, and Jews... and where some people bravely stood up against the lynch-mob... Donald Trump has made totally clear where he stands. With the fascists. Period.

Trump is not blundering. Nor is he on an out-of-control, self-destructive ego trip. Trump is calculating. Trump is moving. He is tearing up the legitimating norms of this country—the principles that politicians are supposed to pay lip service to and the procedures through which government is supposed to proceed—and he is doing this consciously. He is setting the new norms that he believes to be necessary for “American greatness”—a USA up against tremendous challenges and contradictions. Trump, and the regime he leads, stands for unapologetic, violent, lynch-mob-style white supremacy... to replace the systemic and systematic but hypocritically denied white supremacy enforced by the police, the courts, and a thousand other institutions. Trump and Pence and the regime they lead—including the many generals now holding civilian posts—stand for and implement open, unapologetic, vicious American bullying with nuclear weapons... to replace diplomatic, covert, “multilateral” American bullying with nuclear weapons. Trump, and Pence, and their legions of Christian fascist minions, stand for open, unapologetic, virulent hatred and degradation of women and LGBTQ people, including outright denial of fundamental rights, to replace the hypocritical and disavowed (but widely practiced) misogyny and anti-gay discrimination and oppression. Not to mention the open vicious attacks on Muslims, immigrants, etc.

In doing so, Trump is calling the bluff of all the established politicians and commentators. He is defending, energizing, and emboldening the core of his base. He is setting his norms, the norms of fascism, in place at a breakneck pace. Yet none of the politicians criticizing Trump and or tut-tutting against racism will dare call Trump the FASCIST that he is. None of them will say that the Trump/Pence regime must go NOW. Let alone concretely proposing how to do that. And meanwhile, the juggernaut rolls on. Waiting and hoping for them, for someone “up there,” for someone beside yourself to take action... to stand up...  to organize...  is worse than wishful thinking; it is irresponsible at a time that demands moral responsibility and political accountability.

The situation is dire. This nightmare must urgently be ended—and it is up to you. But not you alone. There is a force that in fact has been calling out the regime as fascist; that has in fact been posing the urgency to act, NOW, around the demand that THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO. There is a force that has a plan on how to do that. That force, that group, is RefuseFascism.org.

And this weekend that group, RefuseFascism.org, is meeting in five cities around the country. They will lay plans to mount massive demonstrations, South Korea-style, on November 4, refusing to leave the streets until the regime is over. Until it is history.

This is your chance, and this is your duty, to reverse the tide. Seize it.

 

SIgn up for regional conferences here

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/boston-and-across-the-country-tens-of-thousands-march-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Boston and Across the Country:
Tens of Thousands March Against White Supremacy, Neo-Nazis, and Trump

Updated August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Tens of Thousands in Boston on August 19, 2017.
Tens of thousands march in Boston on August 19 against the alt-right, fascists and neo-nazis. Photo: Twitter/@RedTRaccoon

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets Saturday in Boston to protest and confront a rally of a collection of “alt-right” fascists and neo-Nazis held under the banner of a “Free Speech Rally.” This massive protest, coming a week after fascists and KKK white supremacists ran amok and murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the largest of a nationwide wave of vigils, marches, and protests in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville and to condemn Nazis, racism and white supremacy.

“Thousands of demonstrators, emboldened and unnerved by the fatal eruption of violence in Virginia last weekend, surged into the nation’s streets and parks on Saturday to denounce white supremacy and Nazism,” the New York Times reported.

In Boston, one march—Fight Supremacy!—left from the traditionally Black neighborhood Roxbury, and a Stand for Solidarity march left from the State House. The marches filled the street for block after block after block. One freelance journalist wrote, “I couldn't see the end of this crowd with binoculars.” Both marches met at and surrounded the Boston Commons where a wall of police protected what ended up being a pitiful rally of some 20-40 assorted fascist and racist scumbags. In some cases pro-Trump neo-Nazis were surrounded by counter-protesters and prevented from getting anywhere near their rally. When the neo-Nazis were escorted from their cut-short rally, they were met with a chorus of “Shame!” and “Scum!” At one point a Confederate flag was burned.

This was a very broad, diverse outpouring, including LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter activists, clergy, and many mainstream folks who’d been shocked and outraged by the violent rallying of fascist forces in Charlottesville and Trump’s open support for them. One Jewish woman wearing the kind of yellow Star of David the Nazis forced Jews to wear under Hitler told MSNBC, “I never in a million years thought I’d be going to protest Nazis.”

Chants included “No Nazis, No KKK, No fascist USA” and “Nazis Go Home.” One activist tweeted “NO PLACE FOR NAZIS. Tens of thousands united to #FightSupremacy, racism, and Nazis.” There were signs for “Black Lives Matter,” “Solidarity,” “White silence is unacceptable,” and “No hate no fear white supremacy is not welcome here.” A colorful Refuse Fascism “NO!” banner was shown in news coverage.

A retired Black teacher told the New York Times, “Charlottesville is what forced me out here. Somebody killed for fighting for me. What is wrong with me if I can’t fight for myself and others?”

Protests and Vigils Nationwide

Also on Saturday, in Dallas a diverse crowd of several thousand rallied at City Hall Plaza for “Dallas Against White Supremacy.” Chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, neo-nazis got to go” and “Take them down, take them down,” the demonstrators called for the removal of all Confederate statues in Dallas. “We don’t put up a statue of Adolf Hitler to study World War 2,” one speaker said.

As the rally was winding down, some demonstrators marched to protest the Confederate War Memorial and confront the white supremacist upholding this monument to the soldiers and generals fighting for slavery. “Officers in riot gear, and some on horseback, forced hundreds of protesters out of a Dallas cemetery where they were clashing over a Confederate monument on Saturday night,” the Dallas Star-Telegram reported.

Meanwhile, several hundred rallied against white supremacy in Austin.

In Laguna Beach, California, nearly 350 turned out for a “From Charlottesville to Laguna Beach: We Stand Together” rally against racism and white supremacy, chanting “No hate. No KKK. No racist USA.” More than 100 also protested in Santa Ana, which is also in Orange County.

Up the coast in Venice Beach, 200 people demonstrated against the alt-right and the Nazi assault at Charlottesville. Demonstrators had originally planned a “Defend Diversity” counter-protest against an alt-right rally in support of James Damore who was fired by Google for circulating a misogynist memo claiming women were biologically incapable of being scientists and engineers. (See Setting Some Shit Straight About James Damore’s Anti-Diversity Memo At Google, by Sunsara Taylor, revcom.us, August 10, 2017.) When the alt-right canceled their demonstration in the wake of Charlottesville, protesters turned their #controlaltrightdelete protest into a march against white supremacy, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! White supremacy has got to go!” and “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”

Hundreds gathered in Charlottesville on Saturday for a somber vigil led by Heather Heyer’s parents, at the spot where Heather was murdered. Protests were also called in New Orleans and Minneapolis, and several dozen events in solidarity with Black Lives Matter were announced to “Confront White Supremacy from Charlottesville to the White House.”

On Friday, there were protests in Durham, North Carolina, and Portland, Oregon, and candlelight vigil in remembrances of Heather Heyer was held in Boston at the New England Holocaust Memorial.

Many vigils were held across the country on Wednesday night to oppose racist and fascist hate, and in solidarity with the victims of the fascist violence in Charlottesville, including in Akron, Ohio, and Nassau, New York. In Philadelphia, some 2,000 people marched in a "Philly Is Charlottesville" rally condemning white supremacy, “chanting denunciations of racism, fascism, President Trump, and former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo,” according to Philly.com. Anti-racist, anti-hate and/or anti-Nazi solidarity with Charlottesville protests were planned between August 17 and 20 in many other cities around the country, including Daytona Beach, Florida; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Manchester, Iowa; Burton, Michigan; and Asbury Park, New Jersey.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/observations-from-boston-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Observations from Boston... and Looking Ahead to November 4th

August 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Overall this was a very good day and an important and positive development that can and should set a bar for the rest of the country, including what people do in response to the fascists getting a permit for their “Patriot Prayer” mobilization in San Francisco on August 26 and the "No to Marxism in America" rally in Berkeley on August 27, as well as other places. Here are some notes from the Boston march.

An academic said this felt to him like after Kent State (on May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War on this Ohio campus, killing four and wounding nine others). It is not an exact comparison, but it does speak to something of a sea change in the mood of people. There was no confusion about “free speech” among the tens of thousands of people—that does not wash and most people felt these fascists should not be given any platform to spew white supremacy. Also, I noted a shift in people’s views of antifa (an anti-fascist movement) after Charlottesville; people are not buying this “bad people on both sides” bullshit.

There were homemade signs that said things like fascism is not up for debate. There was more clarity than at the Women’s March, or Science March, in DC a few months ago, on the nature of the regime. People who are doing congressional work are increasingly up against the reality that to keep doing what they have been is dreaming—it is not going to stop this. There were lots of unaffiliated young people, mostly white, on the march. More Black people joined in at the Boston Commons. Overall, there was a very celebratory mood downtown with the basic youth out in force saying we kicked the Klan’s asses. In some cases they got in the face of the police after the main march was over.

Estimates of the size are in the tens of thousands. There was a march from Roxbury called by Black Lives Matter. There was another at the State House and thousands who just showed up at the Commons. The mayor showed up to speak at the rally in Roxbury. He was there to show solidarity, but also to go on radio and tell the public not to go to the Commons. Among tens of thousands this advice was swept aside—and everyone there expected to march on the Commons. The Black Lives Matter rally began on bullhorns. Eventually there was sound and no interference from police. But the police did manage to slow the march down enough so that the fascist rally (very puny) was over before the big march entered the Commons.

The Black Lives Matter people were very embracing of the multinational unity and a new generation that does not accept white supremacy. There was widespread condemnation of white supremacy, and going after symbols of this—a sentiment that we need to drive it out of Boston and out of the country.

There were lots of older people on the march (medics had to deal with lots of dehydration), but they were not in the majority. There were lots of young white people—not all students, but there were students there from the region (Northampton, MA. Providence, Rhode Island)—and also young white working class people (Uber and truck drivers, workers from GE, medical students, etc.). There were people from the public employees union and the teachers union. There was a big showing of people who were medics and legal aid workers, some of whom I had a chance to talk and network with. Nurses came from small towns on the Canadian border to be medics on short notice. They went through a day of training and then were there for us on the march.

Among older people there was more of a sense that we won’t go back and “I can’t believe it would come to this, but it has.” There was a sense of emergency among them. There were lots of clergy and Jewish people in this crowd, people saying never in their lives had they heard the anti-Semitism said out loud the way it was in Charlottesville. This was very alarming and jolting to people. They get that it’s connected and encouraged by Trump, but don’t understand the whole remaking of everything going on by the Trump/Pence regime.

There was a good sense among many I talked with that this unleashing of a fascist social base is just beginning and about to get much worse if we do not act to stop it (including a recognition that Bannon will now be leading and whipping this up from Breitbart, something that Robert Kuttner from the American Prospect, who recently interviewed Bannon, emphasized on CNN last night). There was also a sense in the crowd and from the stage that this day was a win.

There were very broad anti-Trump sentiments, but there was no calling out the regime, the system, or any sense of driving them from office coming from speakers on the stage. Individuals were gracious and friendly in getting materials from Refuse Fascism. Of the many people I talked to, there was ready agreement that this was fascism, that there is no way to stop it but us—“the process” is not going to work. The biggest question was: Could you, and how would you, do the mobilization for November 4 that has been called by Refuse Fascism, November 4 It Begins: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! It was good to see that the Refuse Fascism “NO!” banner made the NBC evening news. We got out all the material we had for November 4, but Refuse Fascism really needs to raise a huge amount of money to be able to really have the materials we need to impact crowds of this size.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/voices-from-charlottesville-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Voices from Charlottesville

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Voices from Charlottesville

On the weekend of August 12-13 and following, correspondents from Revolution/revcom.us were in Charlottesville, Virginia, to report on the protest against the white supremacist, neo-Nazi rally and developments after the fascists murdered one of the protesters, Heather Heyer, and injured many others. These are notes from our correspondents. (The names of those interviewed have been changed)

Part 1

We arrived in Charlottesville (popularly known as C’ville) on Friday afternoon, and went to St. Paul’s Memorial Church for an evening gathering in preparation for the weekend. It was organized by the Reverend William Peyton of St. Paul’s and other progressive religious forces in C’ville—Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. They had issued a broader call which brought others to the gathering, including Harvard professor Cornel West and Reverend Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ. The church was packed with more than 500 people.

Folks from Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club were there and distributed flyers for the August 19 regional conferences and the call for November 4—for people to be out in the streets and public squares in towns and cities across the country, and not stop until the demand is met that the Trump/Pence fascist regime must go.

Everyone received an event program walking in—#CvilleClergyCall—which made it clear how the clergy who’d organized the event viewed this moment. The lyrics to the song “Wade in the Water” were in it, updated with these special refrains:

In 2017 new hate arose
Immigrants and Muslims were some of the foes
Jewish people too relived the hate
LGBTQ got more of the same
A call was sent for the faithful to come
Stand against the alt right and the evil it does
The people gathered in Charlottesville
They came to take a stand and share God’s will

We were able to speak with many people going in, and what we found was everyone there was taking this extremely seriously, and with the understanding that they had a responsibility to be out there challenging these white supremacists/KKK/Nazis—despite the risk. Some were coming more from a religious viewpoint of “bearing witness,” while many others were determined that these fascists had to be confronted.

We spoke with Laura, a woman who’s lived in Charlottesville for 30 years after marrying a “Southerner” and moving from upstate New York. She said how strange it was to live around these monuments to the Confederacy and the “Southern heritage.” And she continued, “What’s happened in this country and specifically in Charlottesville, around race and using these monuments as an excuse for racism is beyond the pale. And I’m just really happy that people are coming out and getting into the streets in a way they haven’t in many years.”

We asked her about the next day, and what she felt we should be trying to accomplish. She said, “Standing up and showing in numbers that this won’t be tolerated—this is our town, this is our country.” And she made the point about the role of Trump’s election: “These folks have been on the Internet and kind of hiding beyond the shadows—and they’ve always been there. But now they’re emboldened by the Trump presidency to come out, and we need to show them they won’t be tolerated.”

Laura wasn’t sure she considered this regime fascist, but she did say they were “illegitimate.” When we asked what she thought it would take to drive this regime from power, she first looked at it as something the Republicans had to do. “I don’t know what... ‘shoe has got to drop’—it’s raining shoes, it’s a shoe storm. I’m not sure if I believe if it’s going to be the masses rising up. I think there’s a lot of power in that, but I think power is so entrenched right now that it’s going to take seated officials at this point, maybe, I don’t know.”

We got more into why only the masses of people, in their millions and tens of millions, can drive out this fascist regime. We showed her page 2 of the print issue of Revolution newspaper and introduced her to the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian, and then went to the centerfold and showed her Refuse Fascism’s call for November 4. Laura was really happy to get the newspaper and gave a donation.

We were also able to speak with Christine, who sensed something very serious about this moment: “It’s unbelievable, the voices of hate. I do not understand what is going on. I am terrified. I am terrified. And I really believe Donald Trump is encouraging this—they have come out of the woodwork since he became president. And I’m very terrified for this country and where we’re going. I think we have to show up to be a different voice.”

The church had security outside before the meeting, because the white supremacists were roaming the area in cars. The church was warned by the police not to let anyone leave. We opened the doors and saw hundreds and hundreds of KKK/Nazis up on the lawn of the University of Virginia (UVA) campus across the street, without the hoods, marching with torches. It was chilling. These Nazi brown shirt goons were making it clear that “making America great again” meant returning to the “good old days” of the white supremacy of the Jim Crow era, and slavery.

Part 2

Early Saturday morning, groups of fascist white supremacists arrived and marched through the neighborhoods on their way to the statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park—viciously attacking anyone who opposed them along the way. They carried Nazi and Confederate flags along with clubs and other weapons, while dozens of armed militiamen were among them in military uniforms carrying rifles and pistols. At the same time, hundreds and hundreds of counter-protesters came together in the main street adjacent to the park to confront them. The fascists attacked people brutally, which led to many clashes with those who actively defended themselves. These bloody encounters went on in the street till nearly noon when the pigs, who had been spectators till that point, suddenly declared an “unlawful assembly” and forced everyone to leave the area.

In the middle of the street, with a helicopter overhead and tear gas in the air, we had a chance to speak with Steve, a Black community organizer. We asked him about what was happening, and what caused it. “The Trump administration obviously has brought those demons that were already there, back out of their caves, back out of their lairs. So what we’re seeing is what was already there—emboldened and enabled by the Trump administration. What we’re seeing is what was already there.” What did he think we should do about it? “What we’re doing right now—come into the streets and make sure our voice is felt and make sure those fascists know that America is not going backward no matter what.... our being here, of us meeting them—man for man, woman for woman—sends them the message that they would be better served by staying in the holes from which they came. Because the people are pushing society forward, always forward, we’re always going forward, we’re never going back.”

Steve said he agreed with the Refuse Fascism “NO” sign: “It’s illegitimate and it’s certainly fascist. We’ve seen incidents of violence towards people of color, hate crimes on an uptick since that man was inaugurated but he’s never said a word. So by his very silence he is condoning fascism and of course through his policies.” Steve grappled with the Refuse Fascism call to “drive out” this regime. He pointed to the protests on the day of Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s Marches the next day, but said they only lasted a day. When we asked how we can go from protesting for a day to not going home till the regime is gone, he said, “That’s the work. I don’t have all the answers to that but that’s what needs to take place—protest on a massive scale like there was on Inauguration Day, protest on a massive scale like there was during the Women’s March—and NOT going home. And NOT going home until the will of people is acknowledged and respected and implemented by the government.”

With Steve and other people we talked to, we told them about the plans for November 4—to take to the streets and public squares in towns and cities around the country, and continuing until the demand is met: NO! This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

At this point we went with others back to a nearby park that had been set up by some of the ministers as a place to regroup. It was there that we first learned about the savage murder of Heather Heyer and the other 19 sent to the hospital by one of these Nazi white supremacists. Someone passed out flowers and we created a makeshift memorial for Heather there in the park.

We talked with Joe, who’d come from Philadelphia by himself on Friday, and was at the UVA rotunda to stand with the students when the KKK/Nazis showed up with their torches and weapons. He said he’d come because he wanted to stand against fascism and white supremacy. “I was just standing up for what’s right; standing on the right side of history.” We asked whether he connected this with Trump. “Absolutely. The rise of this stuff? There’s a direct correlation. He’s giving a wink and a nod to these people... You’ve got Jeff Sessions as attorney general, rolling back civil rights. There’s the mosque bombing last week that Trump still has not come out and denounced. All this is a wink and a nod, to allow this kind of hatred to exist and thrive.”

Why did Joe think this regime is doing that? He called it a fascist divide-and-conquer tactic. “They want to embolden their base to squash dissent.” Does he think it’s fascism? “Yeah. That’s what I see; fascism right here. Last night at that torchlight march, that was nothing but fear and intimidation. And it’s targeted. That’s fascism.”

Revolution Club-Chicago speaking in Charlottesville, VA August 12:

"We are doing this for humanity. We need an actual revolution. We have the leadership in Bob Avakian."

(audio)

Several people spoke from the microphone, including someone from Refuse Fascism and Lucha from the Revolution Club. Their messages were very welcomed by those in the park. Later in the park, the Revolution Club gathered with a group of Black youths. Everyone had their copies of Revolution opened to “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution”—reading it out loud, and talking about it.

We went up to Dan and Ellen, a young couple who were clearly moved by the whole scene. They had just gotten there after driving for hours—late only because they had to get their car out of the shop. I asked Dan why they felt they had to come to Charlottesville. “Why? Because I care about people; I care about humanity first and foremost, and no one should have to live in their community frightened. Regardless of your race, or class, no one should have to be afraid, especially from the tyranny that we saw earlier today. So I felt it was my duty as a person to come out in some way and just give my body and my presence, my energy, whatever metaphysical thing you want. So that was my explanation for why I wanted to come.”

Dan continued: “I kept reading the news today, and speaking to Ellen, and to my mother.... All day I wanted to come.” Then Ellen spoke, “Yeah, we were really frightened by what we saw today and wanted to come out and support the people.” Did Dan think Trump was responsible? “He’s certainly not helping the situation. He’s more of a buffoon, or an embodiment for the type of white supremacy and hatred we saw today. He’s their symbol, if you will.... So I definitely think Trump is contributing to it, based on his comments today; not even acknowledging the murder, blaming violence on many sides. I don’t know how you can claim violence on many sides, when one shows up with riot shields with intentions to hurt people. Clear and simple. That’s how I view the Unite the Right rallies. They were coming here specifically to hurt people, and to cause terror in the community, and throughout the country.”

Near the end a woman came up, wanting to tell us about an incident she’d witnessed earlier in the day. “There was a group of protesters—fascists, Nazis—and they got cordoned off by the police. So they stopped and lined up, doing the drumming thing. Then some antifa forces came around the corner and they were exchanging words for a while. And then the right became violent, and started pummeling on two guys in particular, and a woman, who started bleeding from a head wound. She was bleeding a lot. The police just watched it. They started to walk over at a certain point, but nobody was arrested. Nobody. It’s terrifying, that they would have so much force, and then just watch people get beat.”

PART 3

The Revolution Club held a speak-out on Sunday afternoon in the downtown outdoor mall area in Charlottesville.

As we walked along the mall it felt like everything had changed as a result of the Nazi/white supremacist attack the day before, the murder of Heather Heyer, and the serious injuries to 19 other counter-protesters, and Trump’s statement backing the fascist thugs. At the site of the murder, there was a memorial with Heather’s picture, flowers, and lots of messages in chalk written on the ground. Outside one shop the owner had put up a sandwich board saying “If Equality & Diversity Aren’t for You, Then Neither Are We. Minority Rights are Human Rights!” There were more and more pigs the farther we walked.

At the end of the mall you could hear loud chanting by hundreds and hundreds of protesters outraged that Jason Kessler, the Nazi who organized the white supremacist rally, was daring to call a press conference right there in front of City Hall. People came with handmade signs saying “Justice for Heather”; “Heather’s Blood Is On Your Hands”; “Hate Has No Home Here”; and “Maybe You’re Being Replaced Because You Suck.” People chanted “Shame on You,” and “Heather’s Blood Is On Your Hands.” This Nazi/fascist/white supremacist killer was forced to cancel his press conference.

While we were there we ran into two young women who had taken a red-eye flight from Los Angeles and gotten there Sunday morning. They were attending a Christian college and had been home schooled. They told us they’d come because they watched the protests on TV all day Saturday, and finally decided they were not going to be like those white people who stand on the sidelines just watching and doing nothing.

As the protest was winding down, a block away the Revolution Club began speaking on a bullhorn. One of the Club’s leaders told revcom.us:

We ended up leading a speak-out for 90 minutes, a rotating crowd with hundreds going through at different points. There were dozens of people who spoke—some repeatedly— a lot of different kinds of people: some middle class white people and Black people spoke, but the main character of it was the basic people from the neighborhoods. One thing that stood out to me was that there was a very dynamic thing that happened during the speak-out: a process of struggle and debate that was being worked through, interrupted every now and then when some white supremacist would come through and start yelling or something and people would confront them. At one point the pigs lined up and then they backed off. One white supremacist moved away to stand in front of the police station—like it was his safe space.

One important thing: in the speak-out we did a lot of work, agitation, leading people—we were stressing that these were the outlines of a civil war and people needed to get organized for revolution and there being a leadership and a strategy and a plan—and people were hearing this. This whole system gave rise to [these horrors] and that system has to be overthrown. And we also talked about the need to drive out this regime that was unleashing all these Nazis. We did a round of agitation on how we can win and told people now they need to get their Revolution newspapers and all these people came around grabbing for their papers. So there were lines and ideologies being struggled and debated out in the speak-out.

During the speak-out one woman said: “What I want to say as a Black grandma, standing, taking a spot on the front lines, to protect the people that couldn’t protect themselves. One Nazi spit in a girl’s face, and the police stood there, talking about there wasn’t nothin’ they could do. C’ville police didn’t protect us yesterday, and they didn’t protect us July 8... fuck the police!” A young man took the mic and was livid, talking about a Black kid in a garage who was beaten by fascists wielding poles, and he shouted how that “is NOT free speech! We’ve had enough of this shit! Tell these motherfuckers to get out of our town, and to stay out.”

       

At one point a 16-year-old woman we later learned was from Afghanistan spoke to the crowd: “I’m not from Charlottesville, and from two hours away I drove down here because I had to be a part of this. This isn’t my first rally. I’ve been to about seven rallies with Black Lives Matter. And it breaks my fucking heart... (She began to cry, and people shouted out to encourage her to go on.) I swear to god, if it was someone Black they would beat them down in a heartbeat. (“They shoot them, baby, they shoot them,” another woman shouted). The African-American race is the most oppressed race in the entire world. And it is so disgusting that it is still going on in two thousand fucking seventeen.” She continued: “Trayvon Martin was my first one. I’ve been protesting since I was in sixth grade. I’ve been to Mike Brown; I’ve been to Freddie Gray; I’ve been to so many, and I just want this shit to stop.”

Later we ran into one of the Black youths who had spoken on the mall. We talked, and he left with a copy of BAsics. We saw him the next morning and he told us that he had read a couple of quotes from BAsics with a friend. “You know, that first one that says ‘The United States would never be what it is today without slavery.’ I’m pretty sick and tired of seeing people be on TV, especially after the previous events, and saying ‘This isn’t the way this country was built. This isn’t what this country was built on.’ But it is. It is what this country is built on.”

Part 4

We spent some time at a Black housing project in Charlottesville, one of the projects in different parts of the city. This one is near the church where the state governor had spoken Sunday morning. You could tell the events on Saturday, followed by Trump’s statement where he made it clear that he was with the racists, had affected people deeply, and they were trying to come to terms with it themselves. A couple who were walking to their apartment stopped to talk.

Debra spoke first: “It was just so bad. You know how people got beat. The young lady got killed by the car. And then they’re still trying to find some way to make it so it wasn’t his fault. They’re saying something went wrong with the car. They keep saying different things. No. Wasn’t nothin’ wrong with the car. You were behind the wheel of that car and you are responsible. The people that allowed them to come here are responsible for everything that happened. And I blame them.

“My 11-year-old son, he has to see this. And he has to ask me questions that, honestly, I didn’t want to even answer. Because, this time and day, we still should not have to deal with this. We have these rallies and stuff. To me it was a disgrace. I can’t even believe that they would allow them to come here, to do what they did, and then, hear news that they supposed to be coming back. How do we protect ourselves? What are we supposed to do? We’re just supposed to lay down and get hurt and get beat? We can’t fight back? Cause, you know, we’re the ones that are gonna get locked up because we’re trying to protect ourselves. And it’s not right. It is not right.”

We asked Debra how she felt that people came to town to stop them. “Honestly, I was glad. I was relieved, because to know that so many people stood up for us. Stood up for us. It was such a relief. I’m saddened people got hurt. People got killed. I’m saddened. Because people are standing up for what people believe in. You get hurt and you get killed for something you believe in?”

Debra told us about her mom. “We still have to live in fear. I have a mother who’s sick. She called me today and said she needed to go to the store, she said ‘but I’m scared.’ To hear my mom say that? You’re scared?” Robert interrupts, “And she’s been here for almost all her life. You’re scared? It shouldn’t be like that.”

Robert continued, “I have to echo what she said, because I never thought in a million years that I would have to explain to my children, it’s in history books, you’re going over it in history classes, and then to see this is actually a reality? I had to cry when I was talking to my son, like ‘What is this, and why is it happening?’ And I’m looking at him. An innocent child, who knows nothing about this. Who’s been taught to love everybody, to respect everybody, you don’t know anything outside of this and I have to explain why this is the way it is. That is so heartbreaking for a parent. And then for it to actually be broadcast over the United States of America, and beyond that. And for our president to take it as lightly as he did. For us, it was a tragedy. It was beyond a tragedy. It was a horrific moment.... I don’t think it was two-sided. Those people came here to harm people. They came walking the streets of our city, to intimidate us with their guns, and uniforms on. They were ready. And they came to do exactly what they did.”

We asked Robert what role he thought Donald Trump played in these Nazis being emboldened. “I watched his campaign. And I watched how he allowed them to attack people in his campaign. You may not have verbally said to these people that this is okay. But because you said nothing to prevent them from doing this in your campaign... that is saying to them, clearly, that this is okay. So because you already opened that door and allowed them to do these things, they think it’s okay. They feel like you condoned them. And your words, and what has happened already, a part of me does think he condones it.... I watched his press conference. I was baffled. I literally sat in my living room and said, ‘What in the hell?’ He gave Charlottesville all of five minutes, and then he moved on to what he had done for America.... He blamed everybody. And I believe the only reason he blamed the Nazis and the white supremacists was just to save face. I pay attention to everything. David Duke, he told him, ‘This is why we voted for you. This is what we believe you want us to do. We’re making America great again.’”

We came to these projects with a member of the Revolution Club, and she was invited into the backyard of two older Black women. She was talking to them about attending Refuse Fascism’s August 19 organizing conference. One of the women makes food for others in the projects. She decided that one way she could contribute was to deliver the food and tell them their contributions were going to help people get to the conference.

We then came upon some kids playing out in front of their apartment. We spoke with Princess, who is 16. She told us her friend, her sister and their cousin were there on Saturday. All of them were hit by the car that killed Heather Heyer and had just gotten out of the hospital. Princess had been at the speak-out on Sunday that the Revolution Club organized. What did she think? “It was cool, how they were saying things, how some had experience down there [Saturday], it changed their lives, a lot.... Like it was emotional and stuff. I didn’t go. But there’s no reason, we’re all the same, no matter if we’re white, Black, purple, yellow, we’re still the same, and we’re always gonna be the same.... It’s gonna be a day for us to remember. Something like that never happened before.” Princess was really glad that people had come to oppose the fascists. “It was just fascinating, that people really cared. It was so amazing.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/no-we-should-not-hope-that-trumps-nuclear-blackmail-works-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

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

August 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Donald Trump and his regime have let loose an unprecedented stream of genocidal threats of a nuclear holocaust against North Korea—"fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump warned.  "The end of its regime and the destruction of its people, [emphasis added]" Defense Secretary General "Mad Dog" Mattis declared.  And all this, Trump bellowed, wasn't "tough enough"!

In response, a host of government officials, ex-officials, and media talking heads criticized this blood-curdling nuclear blackmail.  Why?  Because they didn't think it would work to force North Korea to give up its nukes and could end up weakening the U.S.    

In interviews and on his CNN show GPS, Fareed Zakaria argued that the U.S. "appeared to be on the brink of war" because the situation "has been exaggerated and mishandled by the Trump administration."  According to Zakaria, Trump's threats of preemptive war, possibly nuclear war, in response not to a North Korean attack but its rhetoric, was not "credible" and this was damaging the U.S.  "Empty threats and loose rhetoric only cheapen American prestige and power, boxing in the administration," he said, criticizing Trump's bellicose language as "the art of the bluff."

Zakaria Sounds "Sensible"... But What's the Logic of His Logic?

To many, this may sound like a sensible, even anti-war position.  Leaving aside whether Trump is just bluffing, let's examine Zakaria's underlying framework and assumptions, and where they lead.  What we'll find is something extremely reactionary and dangerous. 

Zakaria does not question America's "legitimate right" to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons—and more generally to try and dictate who has, and who doesn't have these genocidal weapons around the world.  Why?  The underlying presumption, constantly reinforced in the system's media, is that the U.S. may have its problems, but it's still a force for good in the world, and isn't a reckless power with no scruples about wholesale human destruction—as North Korea and other U.S. adversaries are portrayed.  Zakaria's problem is just that Trump is going about it the wrong way.

How Many People Has the "Peace-Loving U.S." Already Killed in North Korea?

North Korea's is an oppressive regime.  But just taking the Korean Peninsula, who has been the reckless power with no regard for human life or the staggering horror of nuclear conflict?  America!  It mass murdered over three million North Koreans—one third of its population—during the 1950-53 Korean War literally leveling North Korea through massive bombing. 

During the war, according to historian, Bruce Cumings, the U.S. "dropped dummy atomic bombs on North Korea to see whether they might be useful against troop concentrations and cities," and tested a massive atomic bomb as a threat.  It was the U.S. that first introduced nuclear weapons to Korea in 1958 (only removing them in 1991 when the military developed what they believed would be more useful, accurate non-nuclear weapons). 

Why did the U.S. rulers inflict such terrible violence on Korea (and so many other places around the world)?  They did so to attack the Chinese revolution led by Mao ZeDong and the socialist camp (of China and the Soviet Union) and the powerful national liberation struggles that emerged in the aftermath of World War 2, in order to establish American imperialist dominance over a world locked in the chains of capitalist exploitation and age-old forms of oppression.

Cumings notes that North Korea is a "small country, and the largest power in the world is constantly threatening it with nuclear annihilation. President Obama did this too. He routinely sent nuclear-capable B-1 and B-2 bombers over South Korea for exercises."  All this is the main reason North Korea has even developed nuclear weapons—for deterrence.

If the U.S. Has Thousands of Nukes, Routinely Uses Them for Threats, and Actually Has Used Them in the Past... Then Why, Exactly, Does It Want to Eliminate North Korean Nukes?

The U.S. is not demanding North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program as a step toward eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world (or even mainly to protect the U.S. from attack).  It's doing so to rob North Korea of any serious defense to strengthen America's ability to bully North Korea—and China—including by maximizing its freedom to use its own nuclear arsenal if need bean arsenal which remains at the core of U.S. military and global power!  (See, "Behind the Madness of Trump's Threats of "Fire and Fury" in Korea," Revolution/revcom.us, August 10, 2017)

       

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

If the U.S. successfully nuclear blackmailed North Korea it would normalize and encourage more threats of nuclear obliteration leveled against other U.S. rivals and opponents, escalate tensions and the danger of war across Asia and the world, give wind to Trump's whole "America First... Make America Great Again" approach, and strengthen, embolden and in some ways legitimize this fascist regime and this imperialist system.  How is any of that any good? 

And who does Zakaria's underlying logic lead him to choose as a model when it comes to "credible" threats?  Harry Truman!  Trump drew from Truman's apocalyptic threats against Japan in August 1945 after dropping the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima: "If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth." 

Zakaria: I Prefer Reasonable Genocidal Maniacs to Clearly Demonic Ones Like Donald Trump

"But of course," Zakaria claimed, repeating the lie that Japan was hell-bent on continuing the war, "that was at the end of a carefully thought-through strategy designed to force Japan to surrender at the end of World War 2.  And when they didn't, when Japan in a sense called his bluff, he dropped two atomic bombs on Japan."  In reality, Japan had been suing for peace, not calling American bluffs.1

So there you have it!  According to Zakaria and the rest of the "reasonable" imperialists, using nuclear weapons, instantly incinerating tens of thousands and mass murdering over 200,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (when Truman knew the Japanese were preparing to surrender) is OK—as long as you do it "credibly," as part of a "careful strategy!!" 

The "Sensible" Lindsay Graham's Logic: Who Cares If a Lot of People Die, So Long as They're Not Americans

And speaking of wanton, barbaric disregard for human life and "off-the-cuff" threats, neither Zakaria nor any of the rest of Trump's establishment critics have framed their objections to his reckless brinksmanship in what it would mean for North Korea's 25 million people (and the millions more in the region whose lives would be snuffed out or devastated in the event of war). 

Why?  Because threats, whether "reckless" like Trump's or "careful" like Truman's, are part of preparing the ground for towering crimes should the rulers decide to carry them out, and training people to accept these crimes as normal or just.  And they're training people in this country that American lives are more important than others—in fact they're the only ones that count. And if this wasn't already clear, Senator Lindsay Graham spelled it out explicitly recently:  "If there's going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die here. And [Trump] has told me that to my face."

What kind of system promotes, and what kind of a country, promotes that kind of putrid, barbaric outlook—really no different than Hitler and the Nazis?  A capitalist-imperialist system based on the ruthless exploitation of billions all over the world, carried out through savage oppression and environmental devastation, and enforced by violence on a scale unimagined in past history. 

The Logic of Empire

All of this country's bullying, disarming, and wars—whether carefully thought out or not —are unjust wars of empire, aimed at maintaining and strengthening a system of global exploitation, oppression and endless misery.  They bring nothing good for humanity. 

What makes them even more intolerable is that they're unnecessary.  A core assumption promoted by Zakaria and other defenders of this system is that in a world of horrible regimes and forces—from ISIS to North Korea's Kim Jong-un—America is the "good guy," or at least better than the rest.  And these are the only choices humanity has.

That is not true.  There's a real basis today in the way the world has developed for a radically different and far better, emancipating way humanity can not just survive but flourish—socialist societies based on the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, here and elsewhere, moving towards a world where exploitation, oppression, and war will be a thing of the past. As the accompanying excerpt makes clear, there will be no nuclear weapons in the Socialist Republic in North America. (See side panel.) But getting there will take an actual revolution to overthrow the power most responsible for the unending horrors crushing billions and threatening humanity's future—U.S. capitalism-imperialism!  And that revolution must be the first great step toward a communist world free of any form of exploitation, oppression, or environmental despoliation. 

A crucial strategic component of working toward such a communist revolution is internationalism and revolutionary defeatism: putting humanity and the world first—not America! —and welcoming the defeats and difficulties our rulers suffer to hasten and prepare for the moment when this monster and greatest nuclear threat to the entire planet can be overthrown through revolution. 

 


1. The claim that Japan was "called Truman's bluff" is a lie.  The U.S. knew Japan wasn't "calling" any bluffs—they were suing for peace weeks before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On July 12, 1945, Truman admitted in his private diary that the U.S. had received a "telegram from [the] Jap Emperor asking for peace."  Two weeks later, on July 26, 1945, the U.S. and its allies called for Japan's unconditional surrender—but gave no hint they'd developed a devastating new weapon.  Proposals by a number of scientists for a demonstration test of the atomic bomb to shock Japan into immediate surrender were rejected.  Then Truman issued his "rain of ruin" threat after atomic bombing Hiroshima.  He then quickly dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki 3 days later—probably before Japan understood what had hit them according to researchers.  America's real motive in nuking Japan was not simply ending the war or "saving lives"—it was to threaten the then-socialist Soviet Union and dominate the post-World War 2 global order, including Japan—by forcing its immediate, unconditional surrender on U.S. terms.  (See "American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," revcom.us, May 23, 2016.) ; [back]



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/korea-pop-quiz-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Before You Go Along With and Give Your Silent Approval to the Murder of Tens of Millions Koreans, Take This Quiz and See How Much You Really Know!

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

  1. How many Koreans, and how many American troops, were killed in the Korean War, 1950-1953?
    1. About 100,000 U.S. troops, and about 1 million Koreans
    2. About 1 million U.S. troops and about 1 million Koreans
    3. About 450,000 U.S. troops and about 1 million Koreans
    4. About 650,000 U.S. troops and about 2 million Koreans
    5. About 60,000 U.S. troops, and over 3 million Koreans
  2.  

  3. True or false: U.S. warplanes dropped more bomb and napalm tonnage during the Korean War than they had during the entire Pacific campaign of World War 2.
  4.  

  5. If the number of Americans killed in the Korean War was proportional to the number of Koreans, how many Americans would have died?
    1. 1,000,000
    2. 5,000,000
    3. 25,000,000
    4. 45,000,000
  6.  

  7. What percentage of buildings in North Korea, over one story high, were destroyed by U.S. bombing by the end of the war?
    1. 20%
    2. 40%
    3. 60%
    4. 80%
    5. 99%
  8.  

  9. Which country used chemical and biological weapons on Koreans during the Korean War?
    1. North Korea
    2. South Korea
    3. The United States
    4. China
    5. The Soviet Union
  10.  

  11. After the surrender of Japan in World War 2, in response to overwhelming demands by nearly every political force in Korea for an independent and unified country, which of the following represented U.S. policy?
    1. President Truman admonished U.S. military commanders to stop sending him “messages from representatives of self-styled governments which are not recognized by the Government of the United States” who were appealing for U.S. support for Korean independence and reunification.
    2. The U.S. National Security Agency assessed that Koreans were not ready to choose their own government due to the “political immaturity of the Korean people.”
    3. U.S. intelligence documents reported that if open elections were held, “Almost all Koreans are leftists by current US standards, and not even the conservative parties can be considered defenders of traditional capitalism… Soviet policies might therefore be expected to have great popular appeal in Korea.”
    4. The 1948 elections in South Korea staged by the U.S. should be branded as having “strong popular support” even though, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, “they were boycotted by almost all organized parties except two of the large extreme rightist groups,” and the fact that “moderate factions ... joined with the Communists in boycotting the election on the ostensible grounds that the election would tend to perpetuate the artificial division of Korea....”
    5. All of the above.
  12.  

  13. True or false: In 1958, the United States installed hundreds of nuclear weapons, battlefield tactical weapons, and short-range warheads on missiles in South Korea, and kept them there until 1991 when they were replaced with missiles the Pentagon thought presented less threat of contaminating South Korea in the event of a war.
  14.  

  15. The Bodo League Massacre was the greatest massacre of civilians in the Korean War. Which of the following describes the nature of that massacre?
    1. The Chinese brutally murdered between 100,000 and 200,000 captured U.S. and South Korean POWs.
    2. The North Koreans rounded up and killed between 100,000 and 200,000 pro-Democracy dissidents.
    3. The U.S.-backed government in South Korea massacred between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians it suspected of being communists or communist sympathizers.
    4. Between 100,000 and 200,000 ethnic minorities were forced march to their death in the Soviet Union because their loyalty to the North Korean regime was suspect.
  16.  

  17. True or false: The United States has pledged to never be the first country to launch a nuclear attack.
  18.  

  19. Any decision by President Trump to launch a nuclear attack on North Korea would require which of the following:
    1. Authorization by Congress
    2. The agreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    3. A review by the Defense Intelligence Agency
    4. All of the above
    5. None of the above

 

Turn in this test to the person who gave it to you, or send your score and your school to revolution.reports@revcom.us, and we will tabulate and report back on how well American students have been educated as to the actual reality. 

 

Answers and Sources

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/korea-pop-quiz-answers-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Take the Korea Pop Quiz: What do you REALLY know about Korea?
Answers and Sources

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

1. How many Koreans, and how many American troops, were killed in the Korean War, 1950-1953?

e) About 60,000 U.S. troops, and over 3 million Koreans

2. True. U.S. warplanes dropped more bomb and napalm tonnage during the Korean War than they had during the entire Pacific campaign of World War 2. (source: “Thomas Walkom: North Korea’s unending war rages on

3. If the number of Americans killed in the Korean War was proportional to the number of Koreans, how many Americans would have died?

d) 45,000,000

4. What percentage of buildings in North Korea, over one story high, were destroyed by U.S. bombing by the end of the war?

e) Over 99%

5. Which country used chemical and biological weapons on Koreans during the Korean War?

c) The United States [40+ tons of napalm]

6. After the surrender of Japan in World War 2, in response to overwhelming demands by nearly every political force in Korea for an independent and unified country, which of the following represented U.S. policy?

e) All of the above. (sources: The Korean War and Its Origins Research File)

7. True. In 1958, the United States installed hundreds of nuclear weapons, battlefield tactical weapons, and short-range warheads on missiles in South Korea, and kept them there until 1991 when they were replaced with missiles the Pentagon thought presented less threat of contaminating South Korea in the event of a war.

8. The Bodo League Massacre was the greatest massacre of civilians in the Korean War. Which of the following describes the nature of that massacre?

c) The U.S.-backed government in South Korea massacred between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians it suspected of being communists or communist sympathizers.

9. False. The United States has NOT pledged to never be the first country to launch a nuclear attack.

10. Any decision by President Trump to launch a nuclear attack on North Korea would require which of the following.

e) None of the above. The U.S. president requires no authorization to launch a nuclear attack.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/40ba-science...revolution-statesmen-and-strategic-commanders-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 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."

Excerpt from the section:
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders

In moving toward a conclusion, I want to come back to this point about “statesmen,” and strategic commanders of the revolution. What does this mean? Well, there are different dimensions to this. Most basically, it means grasping, applying, and contributing to the development of, the theory and strategic approach for communist revolution; that’s the most basic thing it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution. It means you understand your role, and act, as an overall leader of the revolution—whatever your place or position is within the revolution, or within the vanguard party of the revolution, you think and act, in the appropriate ways, as someone who is contributing to the overall leadership of this revolution, as opposed to just being a cog in the machine and making an absolute out of a division of labor.

A party needs a division of labor, it needs people doing different tasks and working on different fronts of the overall revolutionary movement. It also has, and needs to have, a structure which—no apologies to “Occupy”—is not just horizontal, but is also vertical. In other words, you have people on different levels of the Party who correspondingly have more or less responsibility for the whole thing. And that goes along with the epistemological dimension to this because, without being mechanical or rigid about this, there is, there should be, a general correspondence between the level of the Party that you’re on and your ability to contribute, and especially to lead—both in the sense of the “raw material” that you have to work with (that is, the information that is coming to you, through Party channels, as well as other sources) and in the sense of your ability to synthesize things and develop line and policy. So, if you’re in the very top leadership of the Party, you have a lot more “raw material” that’s feeding in from the world overall, as well as specifically from the work of the Party, from the different levels of the Party, and you have correspondingly more responsibility for synthesizing that into line—into theory, strategy, policy, and so on. But everybody at every level has the same fundamental responsibility, and should have the same orientation that they are responsible for the whole revolution. In that fundamental sense, it doesn’t matter what role you have in the overall division of labor. You might be working on a particular thing, such as Stop Patriarchy,69 but you’re not a “Stop Patriarchy communist.” You are a communist who might be working, primarily, in Stop Patriarchy, or SMIN (Stop Mass Incarceration Network),70 or other things. Your fundamental responsibility is to contribute as much as possible to working through all the contradictions that have to be fought through to advance on the road of revolution and get to the point where we can actually go all-out with a real chance of winning. This means thinking critically, and raising criticism, in the right spirit and in the right way, through the right channels, if you think things are off track or things are not being taken up which should be taken up. This same basic principle applies more broadly to people who are not yet in the Party but are moving through the “Ohio” as part of the broader movement for revolution: they should have the same fundamental orientation of contributing everything they can to the revolution, even though people who are part of the Party can approach this on a still higher level, as part of a more advanced collective organization and process.

The basic principle and fundamental orientation is this: Take responsibility for the revolution as a whole. This is what it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution.


69. Stop Patriarchy is a mass organization of women, and men, whose essential mission is indicated by its main slogan, "END PORNOGRAPHY AND PATRIARCHY: THE ENSLAVEMENT AND DEGRADATION OF WOMEN." The RCP, which played a key role in the initiation of Stop Patriarchy, works to develop this organization as a powerful force in the fight against attacks on the right to abortion and birth control, and the sexual degradation and all-around oppression of women, and to build this struggle in a way that contributes to the revolution that is needed to put an end to this, and to all, oppression. Information on Stop Patriarchy is available at StopPatriarchy.org, and also revcom.us. [back]

70. Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) is a mass initiative in which the RCP has played an initiating and leading role. SMIN has been deeply engaged in the struggle against mass incarceration and police terror and murder, as well as having been an initiator of RiseUpOctober. Information on SMIN is available at stopmassincarceration.net, and also revcom.us. [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/505/turn-prison-into-your-university-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Turn Prison Into Your University

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

In thinking of the different ways that prisoners can do revolutionary work while locked up, I recalled some experience that I wanted to share.

I wasn’t good in school when I was young but I developed my ability to read, write, and work with ideas while in prison, turned a good out of a bad some might say, or wrenched some freedom out of necessity, as communists would say. Arbitrary lockdowns compelled me to pick up books and read ’em; shit I had never even thought of doing in any other circumstances and I wanted others to do the same. I collected books from any place that sent free books to prisoners, there were many but I have to highly recommend, better yet insist, that people write to the Prisoner’s Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) to get the best and most important literature you can get your hands on in and out of prison. This is where you can get the works of BA, which concentrate the most advanced understanding, the most thoroughly scientific method and approach, for making a revolution that can lead to the emancipation of all of humanity.

In any case, I collected about a hundred books after a few years that I didn’t want just sitting on my shelf, or on someone else’s shelf, collecting dust. I saw the need to make those books readily available to all the prisoners in my block and also find a way to encourage everyone to do some reading. I had plenty of time to kill, so I made a list of every book in my cell and wrote a brief description of each one after listing the title and author. I had a typewriter so I decided to make a pamphlet. This took some work but it was worth it. I folded 8½" x 11" blank paper in half, figured out margins, line spacing, and how much text I could fit on each side. I then had a sense of page numbers and how many blank sheets I would need total. I wrote a small two-paragraph intro to go on page 1 that encouraged everyone regardless of race or nationality to get at me to “check out” any of the books or periodicals that were on the list. In the front I simply typed in all bolded caps on the center of the page: TURN PRISON INTO YOUR UNIVERSITY.

I had someone with access to a copy machine run some copies and I had copies going around touching every cell in every section of the block. Requests for books started coming in, prisoners who also wanted to share their books in the same way listed the books they had on sheets of paper and placed them inside the pamphlets as they went around. Others donated books to “the library” and it quickly became a collective thing. After some additional struggle and encouragement coming from me, a few prisoners who didn’t do much reading were inspired to read and asked me to send something that I myself could recommend. (I soon realized that would need more than one copy of BAsics.) Away With ALL Gods! was a particular hit when I added it to the list. About 10 prisoners had read that one copy before I paroled. People who read it or were reading it would be discussing it on the yard; then someone would walk by and overhear their conversation and wanted to be next in line to read the book. I had to make a list of the people who wanted to read it and the order in which they had asked. I don’t know if every prisoner who wanted to read that book got to do so. Every time I scratched a name off, I had to add another one to the list.

The books on the list covered a whole range of subjects: philosophy, science, psychology, math, law, history, and of course, some communist, anarchist, and revisionist (fake revolutionary masquerading as communism) books as well. I became somewhat of a magnet to anyone wanting to have political discussions. I was just starting getting into BA and all the back and forth with people was helpful in getting clearer on what I was learning. I especially enjoyed talking with those who were influenced by some of the revisionist literature that they had checked out. “Who’s actually being idealist while talking about materialism? Who’s talking up dialectics without being dialectical?” Since then I’ve come to more deeply understand how much that actually matters. Even though you spend most of your time locked in a concrete box, it matters tremendously for humanity what outlook and method you take up and fight for. It wasn’t long before I found myself promoting the leadership of BA and Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

There is plenty of fighting the power that has to be done in prison. I’m sure every prisoner reading this would agree that there is no shortage of outrages from the guards and the administration that constantly have to be taken on. For prisoners who are fed up with having to deal with bullshit, there is the constant search for the ways in which resistance can be taken to a higher level, but then there is the need to go deeper in understanding what we’re up against, how are we actually going to change things, should we aim for better dungeon conditions or should we look beyond prison walls and aim immensely higher? This is where BA and the new synthesis of communism have to come in. Don’t think that it doesn’t matter what people are reading as long as they’re reading. What urgently needs to happen is for people to get deep into BA and take up the scientific method and approach that he has developed. The more people do that, not only will we learn more from reading broadly, but the forces and movement for an actual revolution to sweep this whole goddamn system off the face of the Earth will grow bigger and stronger.

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

—Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/murderous-gang-infiltrates-chicago-public-schools-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Murderous Gang Infiltrates Chicago Public Schools and Even Takes Over Some!

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Everyone knows that hundreds of people a year die from gun violence in Chicago. The authorities try to pin most of this on conflicts between different gangs. And this truly is a major problem—one that the Revolution Club is working on solving the only way it can be solved, by getting the youth organized into the revolution.

But did you know that the public high schools of Chicago are openly brainwashing thousands of youths and organizing them into the most brutal gang on the planet—one that murders thousands of people a year even in relatively “peaceful” times? Did you know that senior gang members—so-called officers—not only openly walk the halls, but even teach classes and administer entire high schools, sporting their gang colors—complete with insignia showing how many of their “enemies” they’ve killed?

Yes, we’re talking about the U.S. military and its cancerous infiltration and takeover of many public schools in Chicago. This program took off under Mayor Daley II in Chicago, with a lot of the people who ended up in the Obama operation. By 2008, when Obama was elected president, Chicago had the most militarized public school system in the nation. And that remains true today with over 9,000 students participating in JROTC programs in 45 of the district’s 104 high schools. Over 1,000 students are enrolled in one of the six stand-alone military high schools that are literally run by the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, and hundreds more are attending the nine other military high schools that are called “schools within a school.”

The Army Wants You—to Kill and Die for Imperialism

There are two purposes to these programs. First, the army is looking for Black and Brown bodies to kill and be killed in the service of imperialism. In Chicago, 85 percent of public school students and 93 percent of JROTC cadets are Black or Latino. The military preys on students who face a very bleak future. They literally recruit in some schools by comparing what happens if you get killed in the army (making a big deal out of the money your family will supposedly get) and what happens if you get killed gang-banging (a street memorial but no money). This is the choice being offered young Black and Latino people in this country—that fact alone is cause enough for a revolution.

Training Robots Who Brag About Their Obedience

The other purpose is to brainwash these youth. Listen to this well-programmed JROTC student in an online debate with opponents of the JROTC programs: “Right now... every kid is thinking about what to do in their lives. If the economy is fucked up... of course we have to rely on parents... scholarships or the military to fulfill their dreams.” Getting the JROTC cadets to go for this kind of brainwash is made all the easier by the complete lack of training they receive in critical thinking. Another cadet said: When people see that we went to a military school, they know we are obedient, we follow directions, we are disciplined.Yes, they do—and that’s NOT a good thing. You are like sheep being led to the slaughter, with the exception that sheep do not brag about their obedience.

There is another horrific, but little discussed, source of attraction of JROTC that is particularly relevant to Chicago. Joining JROTC can keep the police from killing you. A professor who has studied this question put it this way:

Financial benefits are not the junior reserve program’s only draw. It also allows working-class and minority youth an opportunity to dispel negative stereotypes and avoid profiling by associating themselves with one of the country’s most venerated institutions. They recognize it’s one way of not being immediately suspect. In Chicago, it’s so pervasive. To wear a uniform really takes you out of that mechanism of surveillance.

And all this “thank you for your service” bullshit that is so dominant in the culture has impacted students joining JROTC, as the professor explains:

Far from being profiled, junior reserve cadets receive a positive response from the public. Some are even mistaken for military personnel and thanked for their service. For teens who are often viewed with suspicion and hostility, this ability to “command a certain amount of respect” acts as a powerful incentive to join the junior reserve program.

In other words, and borrowing from the words quoted from the cadet above, wearing one of these shameful uniforms marks you as “safe and obedient”—to the most murderous oppressors on the planet.

Drilling Students—in Outright Lies!

This brainwashing comes complete with outright lies about America that are pounded into their heads in this program. The JROTC history books claim that the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” actually happened in spite of the fact that decades ago it was clearly proven that the entire thing was invented by the U.S. government to justify launching a massive, murderous bombing campaign on North Vietnam in a vain effort to maintain the U.S.’s imperialist domination of Southeast Asia. Similarly, JROTC materials claim that before the U.S. attacked Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein worked with Osama bin Laden and that he may have had weapons of mass destruction—both of which are blatant and well-proven lies. But the biggest lie of all is this: that oppressed people can overcome their oppression by joining and fighting in the army of their oppressor and fucking over other people.

With Trump now threatening war all over the planet and promoting the cult of the military at the same time, it is hard to believe that this whole poisonous program won’t get seriously ramped up. It behooves everyone with a shred of respect for the truth, critical thinking and basic justice to wake these youth up this fall. And it behooves revolutionaries to organize them out of that madness and into the fight to REALLY end oppression—revolution.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/revolution-club-checks-out-romeo-and-juliet-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Two letters:

Revolution Club Checks Out
Romeo and Juliet

Updated September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

September 4, 2017:

“My first Shakespearean play—I loved it!”

The Romeo and Juliet play was amazing; I couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about it afterwards! I absolutely loved it!

When I heard about the plans to watch a Shakespearean play, I shrugged. I never understood Shakespeare’s writings. I was always glad to have dodged this class in high school because I perceived it as boring and hard. I saw this subject as being only for “smart” people—not for me! There was always a feeling of shame when people spoke about Shakespeare because I never read anything of him. I also had a negative perception of musicals, plays, and museums as being tedious. Growing up, I was not introduced to arts and culture—not even a trip to the public library! The only culture I was bombarded with was television and radio.

However, after recognizing that human beings cannot live simply on “bread” alone, and because we are fighting for a different world with a different approach to art and culture, there was a need to attend this play. But as soon as the play began, I was captivated! I was glued to the characters from beginning to end. I was left wanting more and had a huge smile for the rest of the day. I still think of the play and wish to see it again. I didn’t understand some of the terminology used but was able to follow the story. It was a wonderful experience! This was definitely much better than the Romeo and Juliet Hollywood movie.

This experience made me think of the world we are fighting for. “The sphere of art and culture responds to a profound need of human beings, who indeed cannot live simply by ‘bread’ (the basic material requirements of life) alone,” as written in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America by Bob Avakian. There are many people among the oppressed who have never left their community and hung out at cafes, visited a museum, or seen a play.

The Constitution continues, “In the sphere of art and culture as a whole, the objective of the government ... is to meet the intellectual and cultural needs and serve the largest interests of the masses of people, to foster and support the all-around development of people throughout society, and to contribute to the development of people throughout the world, whose imagination, creativity, initiative, talents and abilities, are inspired and unleashed to bring into being new relations among people, and a new world in which human beings can flourish in ways and in dimensions never before imagined, in a spirit and in bonds of cooperation....” This is the world we fight for. This is the world Bob Avakian, leader of the revolution, leads to bring into being. This is the world we all should strive for.


August 14, 2017:

“It Was Crazy Watching Some Similar Beefs and Banter...”

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is playing in parks all across Chicago. A tale most attributed and alluded to love is in fact one of his great tragedies, with a heavy view on the cycle of retaliation and revenge and how it permeates into every aspect of people’s lives. The Revolution Club went to a performance on the South Side to watch and experience the play, and to meet and talk with people coming to see it. A warning before the play started told the audience that it was going to be in its original language of old English, but encouraged people to not get perplexed but fight through in context. Afterwards in talking to some of the actors and people running the event, they reflected on some initial hesitance to doing a tragedy, but found it powerful to do this play in the parks across the city and, yes, right in the middle of communities torn by similar revenge that kills people not too different than the characters in the play.

About a hundred people watched the play, with a mix of people you don’t always see in this segregated city, white and Black people, university students, families, people from the neighborhood and from the suburbs. Some were being introduced to the play for the first time and some were die-hard Shakespeare enthusiasts. It was crazy watching some similar beefs and banter as well as longing of characters within the play and being in the neighborhoods with people caught up in the same bullshit in another outmoded system. It was a great performance and we all were into it, as was the audience in general.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/news-flash-from-charlottesville-interviews-with-revolution-club-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

News flash from Charlottesville
Interviews with the Revolution Club

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

In the wake of the clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, revcom.us interviewed two members of the Revolution Club, one from New York, one from Chicago. Through these interviews, our readers will learn more about how events unfolded in Charlottesville, how different strands and streams of people were responding to the murdering white supremacists, what the Revolution Club did in the midst of this showdown to lead people in struggle, win them to take up the revolution, and connect them to the leadership of this revolution, Bob Avakian, and the Party that he leads.

The following are edited comments from the Revolution Club members. (Questions not included.)

A MEMBER OF THE REVOLUTION CLUB, NEW YORK:

The fascists were ready for war. They came out with shields, doing formations, marching. On Saturday early, we were trying to rally people to go to Robert E Lee, or now named Emancipation Park to confront the fascists who were going to be there at noon.

While this was happening, a group of militant fascists—they were doing “blood and soil” chants—marched by. The Club called them out: “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” The fascists start moving forward, so the Club moved its line—and the fascists rammed through with their shields. They hit two Revolution Club members who were trying to protect the others. And there was another woman who stepped in and got punched in the face. The fascists kept going. One Revolution Club member was bleeding bad and street medics came out, and this other woman was also bleeding bad above her eye. I went to the hospital with them.

The pigs came out in gear AFTER it happened. As the day went on, people talked about the fact that the police were doing nothing. People were shaken up by the police not protecting them against the KKK, and that the police almost created a ring to let it happen. When they did move in to “protect,” they pointed a tank at the people. That shook a lot of people.

We were driven to the ER by local Black Lives Matter activists. This was very important, and while we were there some of the clergy from another part of Virginia came to show solidarity and help in caring for people.

When we got back out on the streets there were Black youths we talked to about revolution. They were saying “we’ll be there.” Then they actually went up to the line of pigs and were saying shoot me—so defiant—but they knew everyone in the crowd had their backs. The Club agitated around this role of the police, and more, getting into BA. This agitation really sharpened things up for people—this is going to take a lot more. This is serious.

One queer woman from France was so happy to hear there was an organization and that we had a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. She said "I know so many people who would love and need to hear this."

There were other youths around and we talked to them about what was happening in Chicago—we can’t duke it out now [make revolution], we need to get serious and be organized. It made people think and the whole scene made them take it more seriously.

A lot of people were angry and asking, where do we go next to confront the fascists? The Revolution Club member who had been attacked told people what happened in the clash with the fascists. She said the fascists are not going away, and called on people to go to a park to get into How We Can Win—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW). A half-dozen young Black people came—we got Revolution newspaper to them and we read all of HWCW and discussed it in relation to what’s going on around us, especially the parts about what we can do now and how we can defeat them. We had the Chicago banner— it was very powerful, seeing that, and so many people had written notes to send to the people in Charlottesville.

Many people from the South Side of Chicago wrote statements on this banner to send to people in Charlottesville. Photo: Revolution Club-Chicago.

 

One thing to underscore is that a lot of the agitation by the Club was really sharp and powerful and a lot of people were moved by it and—we were getting out the newspaper while it was going on. We were seeing people emboldened and lifted up (after the car rammed through and people were shook)—the agitation had a real impact on people.

 

A MEMBER OF THE REVOLUTION CLUB, CHICAGO—FRESH OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AFTER THE WHITE SUPREMACISTS ATTACKED:

Saturday. I was out of the picture from early on until the big melee was over. When I got back out there, there were standoffs between the police and people from the neighborhoods, Black masses and youths and some others from a nearby neighborhood—the defiant ones—and there were a couple dozen people facing off with and ridiculing and calling the pigs out, not backing down. We agitated and were standing with the people. At a certain point the pigs backed off.

In the mix of that, we were doing agitation about now is the time to get organized for revolution, calling on people to get into BA and the plan to win, urging people to come to speak out in the evening and a number did that, but it didn’t go far enough.

       

But today—Sunday—that changed. We were in these housing projects for a few minutes—people are really up on what has been going on, and we heard—oh yeah, the white supremacists are having a press conference in five minutes. So we went down to City Hall, which is near where the car hit and killed Heather Heyer. We get to the press conference and the pigs have the streets blocked off because the Nazis are there and masses want to go get them.

People were very pissed off at the pigs: some of the youth from the city and people from Charlottesville, white and Black, of different strata, but also mixed in were people who come from other cities—nearby cities. People were really outraged, and there was a mix of people from different strata standing there shouting anger at the pigs because people didn’t feel the pigs stopped the Nazis, but protected them and were more lined up against the people.

At the press conference we started to do some agitation, which was really appreciated.

The connection was being made between Trump and all this stuff going on in Charlottesville. The broader masses and the youth see a connection, but I’m not sure how deep it goes. But people including the Black youth are making the connection between the fascists and Trump and there’s the visceral reaction to these Nazis. And that’s mixed in with, among more of the basic youth, a thing about this is our town, we don’t want this here—so it gets a little narrow: this is happening to us and we want it to stop.

But people, including all these people from the neighborhood, are really angry and upset about the woman being killed— it’s like she is one of ours who’s been taken from us. People were upset, angry, and furious.

We ended up leading a speak-out for 90 minutes, a rotating crowd with hundreds going through at different points. There were dozens of people who spoke—some repeatedly— a lot of different kinds of people: some middle class white people and Black people spoke, but the main character of it was the basic people from the neighborhoods. One thing that stood out to me was that there was a very dynamic thing that happened during the speak-out: a process of struggle and debate that was being worked through, interrupted every now and then when some white supremacist would come through and start yelling or something and people would confront them. At one point the pigs lined up and then they backed off. One white supremacist moved away to stand in front of the police station—like it was his safe space.

There was a lot of speaking bitterness, including by white people. A lot of people talked about all the protests starting with Trayvon Martin and look where we are today.

One important thing: in the speak-out we did a lot of work, agitation, leading people—we were stressing that these were the outlines of a civil war and people needed to get organized for revolution and there being a leadership and a strategy and a plan—and people were hearing this. This whole system gave rise to [these horrors] and that system has to be overthrown. And we also talked about the need to drive out this regime that was unleashing all these Nazis. We did a round of agitation on how we can win and told people now they need to get their Revolution newspapers and all these people came around grabbing for their papers. So there were lines and ideologies being struggled and debated out in the speak-out.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Sierra Leone Mudslide: Unnecessary Deaths in a Land Savaged by Slavery and Imperialism

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hundreds of people, as many as a thousand, were killed by a massive mudslide last week in the West African country of Sierra Leone. The mudslide struck in the early morning of August 14. A torrent of mud flowed down from Mount Sugar Loaf, about five miles outside the capital city of Freetown. It swept away and buried everything in its path, humans, the flimsy houses they lived in, becoming deadlier as it picked up debris.

Houses were completely submerged with mud, killing residents—many still asleep—trapped inside. The Regent district, a slum on the outskirts of Freetown, was wiped out. Thousands of people are homeless, right now, their homes under mud and flooding. People gather to seek out news of missing loved ones.

Criminal (Non)Response of the “International Community”

News accounts of the triggering events and aftermath of the mudslide paint a picture of a nation of eight million people almost defenseless against the mudslide, the aftermath, and the threat of more mudslides. The hardest hit slum of Regent is composed of “illegal” dwellings built by people driven from the countryside into the city, but unable to find legitimate work and income. Over a million people are crammed into the city, the majority of them into slums. Rational urban planning, building codes and environmental regulations are non-existent. Relief supplies are nearly absent. People are digging out bodies with their bare hands. Even the morgues are unable to keep up with the bodies, and authorities are relying on body bags supplied by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

The country’s medical resources were overwhelmed by the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 that killed at least 4,000 people. That outbreak exacerbated poverty, homelessness and hunger. Now medical experts fear an outbreak of cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid from contaminated water. And the conditions that gave rise to the mudslide still exist, and the threat of new devastation hangs over the heads of people in the capital and other parts of the country.

One woman told The Guardian, “Everything is gone. We’ve lost everything—our house, everything. The mud came down with the water so fast and my son did not escape. We found him lying in the mud. He was just a boy. They took his body with the others to I don’t know where. God help Sierra Leone. Why are we cursed? What are we supposed to do now, with nothing?”

 

       

 

Meanwhile, the response of the “world community,” in particular the rich nations of the world, has been criminally negligent. Humanity has brought into being technology, resources and science that could have been brought into play to anticipate and respond to the mudslides, if not prevent them. But those resources are in the hands of a global system of exploitation and oppression, and the needs of that system are utterly incompatible with the needs of the people of Sierra Leone in this crisis.

The European Union pledged a measly $350,000 in aid. The small African nation of Togo pledged more. Only China and Britain pledged a million dollars or more of aid. And, in a true statement of part of what the Trump/Pence regime means by “Make America Great Again,” the United States made no pledge of aid for the mudslide crisis at all!

Scars of Slavery and Colonialism

But it’s worse than that. The conditions that have been exposed so sharply by the mudslide are a direct product of the slave trade, colonialism and capitalism-imperialism.

Sierra Leone and its capital city were in the heart of the slave trade. Survivors of the hellish journey to the Americas were whipped, tortured, and worked under the most brutal conditions to lay much of the basis for the rise of capitalism worldwide, and for the wealth and power that is the United States today. All this left a traumatic imprint on every aspect of life in Sierra Leone.

The scars of the slave trade, and colonialism, are still raw and deep in Sierra Leone. In 1895, Britain drew borders for Sierra Leone, declared the country their “protectorate,” and waged a bloody war of suppression against independence fighters. Gold mining, manufacturing and agriculture served the emergence and wealth of the colonial, imperialist powers, who truncated indigenous capitalist development. Plundered gold for coins was a key component of the emerging capitalist monetary system, and the colonialists branded Sierra Leone and adjacent areas “the Gold Coast.” As a result of this lopsided, distorted development, infrastructure—roads, social services, communication, education, healthcare—such as they are, were built to serve slavery and colonial plunder.

In the book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney wrote: “Taking only one example from the British colony of Sierra Leone, one finds that the railway which started at the end of the 19th century required forced labour from thousands of peasants driven from the villages. The hard work and appalling conditions led to the death of a large number of those engaged in work on the railway.” Those railways, like everything else built up under colonialism (and after that, new forms of imperialist domination) didn’t connect people and products within Sierra Leone, it served the export of cotton, minerals, and other products. Local agriculture was crushed by cheap imports injected into the country through the global circuits of imperialist exploitation. And Rodney observes that this “international division of labour allowed technology and skills to grow in the metropoles [the emerging capitalist countries.

Sierra Leone only achieved independence in 1961. In the 21st century, Sierra Leone has been wracked by civil wars and ruled by brutal tyrants. Life for the masses remains defined by and chained to the needs of western capitalism-imperialism. The legacy and present-day impact of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism is concentrated in the fact that life expectancy in Sierra Leone is the lowest in the world, 51 years—decades less than in the West.

Environmental and Climate Change Factors

But it’s worse than that. Environmental degradation due to climate change and unregulated economic “development” left the people on the outskirts of Freetown in a precarious situation. Mudslides are basically a product of two factors: rainfall that overwhelms existing channels, and deforestation and other factors that prevent the ground from absorbing water.

Experts have identified that man-made global warming is driving substantially greater extreme weather events, and the last couple years have seen dramatically increased rainfall in Sierra Leone.

Deforestation has also increased dramatically in recent years. According to the watchdog group Global Forest Watch, Sierra Leone has lost nearly 800,000 hectares (nearly 2 million acres) of forest cover in the past decade, with loss accelerating in 2015. The unregulated cutting down of trees is the result of war and the desperate conditions people face.

 Product of a Criminal System

The system of global capitalism-imperialism set the stage and triggered the events that set off the horrific mudslide in Sierra Leone, and left the people of that country in the nightmarish conditions they confront right now. Karl Marx, the founder of communism, wrote, with bitter irony:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. 

This is the foundation of the wealth and power of western capitalism-imperialism, including the USA. When ghouls like Donald Trump, and for that matter all the promoters and apologists for imperialism, point to the wealth and power of this country, they are talking about the product of a system that created the hellish conditions the people in Sierra Leone face today.

All this, and the utter lack of a proportionate response from the rich countries of the world, is obscene and unacceptable! The global powers must respond with necessary aid now. And the people of the world must step up work to overthrow this system ASAP.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/trump-white-supremacy-and-neo-nazism-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Trump, White Supremacy, and Neo-Nazism: New Book, Hitler's American Model, Takes on Heightened Relevance

by Raymond Lotta

August 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

James Whitman, professor of law at Yale University, spoke last week at Revolution Books in Harlem, NYC about his new book Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.1This is an important work of scholarship. And an extremely timely one in light of the racist and Nazi lynch mob mobilization in Charlottesville—and its ugly and menacing defense by the white-supremacist-in-chief, Trump.

Hitler's American Model painstakingly shows how top Nazi legal scholars and policy makers looked to America as an inspiration and precedent for a functioning white-supremacist society. Hitler himself in Mein Kampf and other writings and pronouncements extolled America as a shining and working example of what Nazi theorists called a "race state" that preserved "racial purity."

The Nazis Closely Studied America's Racist Law and Practice

The story that Whitman tells: In setting out to create legal structures to degrade, demonize, and expel the Jews of Germany, the Nazis closely studied America's Jim Crow segregation in the South—­America's racist immigration laws (setting quotas and excluding some nationalities outright)—and the laws of 30 U.S. states (north and south) that banned intermarriage between whites and non-whites. Click here to watch the video of James Whitman's talk.

In particular, Whitman examines the notorious Nuremberg Laws enacted by the Nazis in 1935. These measures formally stripped Jewish people of political rights, subjected them to a legal category of second-class citizenship, and made it a crime for Jews to marry non-Jews. Whitman researched and made use of the minutes of high-level Nazi meetings to demonstrate how the Nuremberg statutes were deeply influenced by American law and judicial practice against Blacks, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos and other Asians, and non-West European immigrants.

The Nazis did not find Jim Crow segregation to be the most useful form to apply in subjugating the Jews of Germany. But America's system of legal and terroristic enforcement of white racial domination was seen as a precedent. The Nazis were especially taken with U.S. restrictions on immigrants in the name of preserving "racial purity" and "superiority" and the laws against "miscegenation"—the U.S. term for racial intermarriage—laws which existed in many states until as late as 1967 in Virginia.

But—and this is further indictment of American racism—some elements of the "American model" were "too extreme" even for the Nazis: for instance, the principle that a person with "one drop" of African blood was classified as Black.

A Challenge to the Official Narrative of "American Exceptionalism"

The official and lying narrative of "American exceptionalism" holds that the U.S. is a special force for good in the world. In his book, James Whitman shines a light on a profound truth:

In the early 20th century the United States was not just a country with racism. It was the leading racist jurisdiction—so much so that even Nazi Germany looked to America for inspiration ... [T]he United States, with its deeply rooted white supremacy and its vibrant and innovative legal culture, was the country at the forefront of the creation of racist law. This is how the Nazis saw matters, and they were not the only ones. (p 138)

Hitler's American Model looks at American white supremacy and racism through the lens of German Nazism. Today, white supremacists and Nazis are mobilizing, marauding in Charlottesville and throughout the country. The Trump/Pence regime has courted, emboldened, and defended them. Such are the dangerous depths of the current moment. This is a time to resist and to mobilize to end the nightmare of this regime. It is also a time to grapple with the real history and nature of the system that spawned Trump... and that inspired the Nazis in the 1920s and 1930s.


1. James Q. Whitman, Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, Princeton University Press, 2017. [back]



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/climate-scientists-fear-new-report-will-be-suppressed-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

As Evidence Mounts of Catastrophic Global Warming...

Climate Scientists Fear New Report Will Be Suppressed by Anti-Science Trump/Pence Regime

August 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A near-complete draft of a major new scientific report presents further evidence and sounds the alarm about the dangerous effects of climate change already being felt—and that will be made much worse if drastic measures are not taken, threatening human and other life on earth. The report—“U.S. Global Change Research Program: Climate Science Special Report,” part of the National Climate Assessment—is the work of scientists from 13 different U.S. government agencies. The report deals with issues that have to do with the very future of humanity and the planet we live on. But the scientists who put huge efforts into this report are afraid that it will be distorted or suppressed by top-level officials of the government. If that happens, it will be a monumentally criminal act!

Just a few among the many points made in the report:

* The rise in global temperatures is “unambiguous”: “2014 became the warmest year on record globally; 2015 surpassed 2014 by a wide margin; and 2016 surpassed 2015. Sixteen of the last 17 years are the warmest years on record.”

* “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” (The major human influence is the emission of carbon dioxide [CO2] and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.)

* More than a quarter of the CO2 emissions are absorbed by the world’s oceans, “making them more acidic” and leading to “potential detrimental impacts to marine ecosystems.” (Already, large stretches of coral reefs around the world have been destroyed, and other enormous and even irreversible destruction of ocean life is taking place.)

* Significant advances are being made in scientifically linking global climate change to specific extreme weather events, like devastating droughts, heat waves and storms.

All this flies in the face of the rantings of climate deniers leading the regime in power—from Trump, who claims climate change is a “hoax”... to Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who denies CO2 is the main cause of global warming... to others in key positions. The draft report must be approved by Pruitt and other agency heads before it is made official. So there is very good reason for the scientists involved to be “concerned that it would be suppressed,” according to a New York Times report.

We will be writing more on this report and developments around it in coming weeks. But consider the utter outrageousness of the fact that scientists coming forward with crucial evidence on an issue having to do with the future of human and other life on the planet must fear being silenced by the government they work for!

Many people across the world, especially in the poorest areas, are already suffering due to climate change—tens of millions forced to become “climate refugees” because they can no longer survive where they are, and two billion people potentially displaced by the end of the century. As the new report makes clear, if greenhouse gas emissions are not immediately and significantly reduced, climate change and its dangerous effects will accelerate and intensify to horrendous levels. Faced with such a situation, leaders of a society organized in the interests of humanity would approach this as a real emergency, bend every effort to work closely with scientists, bring in whatever resources that are needed, and mobilize the masses of people to grasp the problem scientifically and on that basis act on the urgent situation confronting the world.

In contrast, those heading up the U.S. today are not only deniers of the reality of climate change but, more overall, deadly enemies of science and truth. This is a fascist regime of “alternative truths,” of sidestepping and undermining the role of science and scientists in critical areas like global warming and public health. The Christian fascists in the regime, led by Mike Pence, are gearing up assaults on evolution and other sciences in schools and other areas. This is a nightmare, and it must end: the Trump/Pence regime must go.

But as monstrous and grotesque as the Trump/Pence fascist regime is, it is an extreme form of the capitalist-imperialist system that in its “normal” workings has brought horrors for humanity: imperialist wars... oppression of Black and other oppressed people... degradation of and violence against women... extreme exploitation and hounding of immigrants... and more. And destruction of the environment is also a part of the “normal” course of this system.

It’s going to take a radically new system—a socialist society organized and led on a whole different basis than the capitalist-imperialist system—to fundamentally tackle the danger of climate catastrophe facing humanity. Get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by revolutionary leader Bob Avakian—a concrete and visionary plan for the new society, which must and can be brought about through actual revolution.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/467/american-crime-case-71-the-colfax-massacre-of-1873-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

American Crime

Case #71: The Colfax Massacre of 1873... and the Supreme Court Stamp of Approval for Racist Terror

November 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

A magazine cover reports on the 1873 attack on Black people demanding their right to vote in Colfax County, Louisiana, by armed white supremacist mobs.
In 1873, Black people demanding their right to vote in Colfax County, Louisiana were attacked by armed white supremacist mobs. There was a courageous attempt by Blacks to defend themselves but they were massacred. Above, a magazine in New York reported on the crime.

Three Strikes...

On April 13, 1873, Easter Sunday, a mass slaughter of Black people occurred in Colfax, Louisiana. Over 300 heavily armed white men, most of them former officers and soldiers in the Confederate Army, shot, stabbed, burned, and maimed Black people seeking shelter in a courthouse. Many were killed as they tried to surrender. Historian Eric Foner described the Colfax massacre as the “bloodiest single instance of racial carnage in the Reconstruction era.”

Reconstruction was a brief, more or less 12-year period after the end of the U.S. Civil War. As Bob Avakian wrote:

[D]uring the brief period of Reconstruction, while the full promise of these rights was never realized, there were significant changes and improvements in the lives of Black people in the South. The right to vote and to hold office, and some of the other Constitutional rights that are supposed to apply to the citizens of the U.S., were partly, if not fully, realized by former slaves during Reconstruction. And in fact some Black people were elected to high office, though never the highest office of governor, in a number of southern states.

This was very sharply contradictory. The armed force of the state, as embodied in the federal army, was never consistently applied to guarantee these rights, and in fact it was often used to suppress popular struggles aimed at realizing these rights. But there was a kind of a bourgeois-democratic upsurge in the South during this period, and it not only involved the masses of Black people but also many poor white people and even some middle class white people in the South. During these ten years of Reconstruction, with all the sharp contradictions involved, there was a real upsurge and sort of flowering of bourgeois-democratic reforms. This was not the proletarian revolution, but at that time it was very significant. (From “How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points,” on revcom.us as part of a series of excerpts from Bob Avakian’s writings on the Black national question.)

THE CRIME: From the beginning, these developments were assailed with convulsions of mass terror and violence across the entire area of the former Confederacy. White supremacists were determined to reinstitute a system in which gains Black people had made were violently snatched away, and Black people were ruthlessly repressed. Schools were burned, entire communities destroyed. The Ku Klux Klan was founded and grew dramatically in these years, carrying out lynchings, night raids, and terroristic assaults upon newly freed Black people across the South.

This violence permeated every aspect of society and was intended to enforce a culture of white supremacy. Historian Eric Foner wrote, “...(V)iolence was directed at... ‘impudent negroes’—those who no longer adhered to patterns of behavior demanded under slavery. A North Carolina freedman related how, after he was whipped, his Klan assailants ‘told me the law. That whenever I met a white person, no matter who he was, whether he was poor or rich, I was to take off my hat.’” Robert Smalls, a former slave who became a U.S. Congressman from South Carolina until 1887, said when he left office that “fifty-three thousand African Americans had been murdered, mostly in the South, in the years since emancipation,” according to historian Douglas R. Egerton.

Louisiana was a particularly violent inferno of racist mob violence against newly enfranchised Black people. In September 1868 over 200 people were murdered in three days in St. Landry Parish. Later that month, hundreds of whites unleashed a bloodbath in Bossier Parish, and by October, 168 Black people there were dead.

In Colfax, federal investigators arrived two days after the massacre. They found too many mutilated corpses on the courthouse grounds for them to count. Most had been horribly tortured and shot in the back of the head at close range. Historian Charles Lane described some of what the investigators literally stumbled over: “One lay dead with his throat slashed. Another, stripped to the waist, had been so badly beaten that no facial features were recognizable; next to him lay the broken stock of a double-barreled shotgun. All that remained of the courthouse were its singed brick walls, reeking of smoke. In the ruins, the officials found a human skeleton.” The number of dead is unknown; most estimates say at least 150 people were murdered that day.

No state charges were brought against any of the murderers. Federal charges were brought against dozens of members of the white-supremacist mob. They were not charged with murder, only with violating federal laws against interfering with people’s “right and privilege peaceably to assemble together.” In federal trials, only three men were convicted of any crime at all. The convictions were appealed, and set aside in federal district court. Federal prosecutors appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case U.S. v. Cruikshank (William J. Cruikshank was one of the three men convicted of violating Federal civil rights law).

A drawing from Harpers Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.
A drawing from Harper's Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.

The Supreme Court heard the case in 1875. By that time, federal troops to enforce Reconstruction remained in only three Southern states—Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. The other states had been, in the language of white supremacy, “redeemed”: white supremacy had begun to be restored in all the laws and institutions, and the odious system of Jim Crow was becoming entrenched.

The Court overturned the guilty verdicts on the three racist killers. The essence of the ruling was that federal law cannot protect Black people from violations of their civil rights (or from mass murder!) committed by mobs, only violations of those rights by government agencies.

The legacy of Colfax and the Cruikshank ruling stood for over a century. Only in 2005—yes, 2005did the U.S. government in any way acknowledge its endorsement of the murder and terror against Black people, when the Senate passed a resolution expressing its “remorse” for never having passed an anti-lynching bill.

       

In 1877 the U.S. withdrew the remaining federal troops from Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. This withdrawal, and the Supreme Court decisions, put an end to Reconstruction.

As Bob Avakian wrote:

[H]ere was a situation involving a major turning point in U.S. history where the question was posed very decisively: Can Black people and will Black people actually be “absorbed,” or integrated, or assimilated into this society on a basis of equality? Will not only slavery, but the after-effects of slavery, be systematically addressed, attacked and uprooted...or not? And the answer came thunderously through—NO!—this will not be done. And there was a material reason for that: it could not be done by the bourgeoisie without tearing to shreds their whole system.

Instead they re-chained Black people—not in literal chains, but in economic chains of debt and other forms of economic exploitation and chains of both legal and extra-legal oppression and terror. So this was one major turning point where the system fundamentally failed and betrayed Black people.

The Criminals

* The entire racist mob of unrepentant Confederate soldiers who committed the mass murder.

* The organizers and leaders of the lynch mob, Alphonse Cazabat and Christopher Columbus Nash, former Confederate officers who claimed to be the elected judge and sheriff of Grant Parish, where Colfax was located. William Cruikshank, a wealthy former slave plantation owner who participated in and helped organize the lynch mob.

* The U.S. Supreme Court. The Cruikshank ruling was a stamp of approval for the KKK and racist mobs to carry out terror and lynching. And the Supreme Court made the point again a few years later, invoking the Cruikshank ruling in another case concerning a lynch mob in Tennessee. The Court ruled that “Lynching was found not to be a federal matter, because the mob consisted only of private individuals.”

These rulings gave a green light to 100 years of lynch mob terror in the South. In the words of W.E.B. DuBois, “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”

Criminal Past

Many of the participants in the mass murder had owned other human beings of African descent. They had participated in driving them brutally on highly profitable slave plantations, whipping them, hunting them down. Some of them made fortunes buying, selling, and exploiting enslaved Black people. Most of them fought in a war to preserve the slave system. After they lost that war, all of them fought for years to restore and entrench white supremacy.

The Alibi

The white mob claimed they attacked Black people who were seeking shelter in the Grant Parish courthouse because they were about to kill and rape white people. They also claimed Black people were “stealing” an election so they could carry out further murder and rape. One participant in the lynch mob said, “the Negroes at Colfax shouted daily... that they intended killing every white man and boy, keeping only the young women to raise from them a new breed. On their part, if successful, you may safely expect that neither age, nor sex, nor helpless infancy will be spared.”

The Actual Motive

The small army that assaulted the Colfax courthouse had the explicit aim of restoring unquestioned white supremacy.

The motive behind their acquittal, and the Supreme Court decision in Cruikshank, represented the interests of even more powerful forces. As summed up in a special issue of Revolution, “The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need”:

[T]he true interests of the northern capitalists [in the Civil War] came out with their betrayal of Reconstruction. During this all too brief period of Reconstruction, in the 10 years or so after the end of the Civil War, the U.S. government had kept some of its promises and stationed troops in the South. These troops were there to prevent wholesale slaughters of Black people, and poor whites, who were striving to gain land and exercise political rights promised to them. But the capitalist class which now dominated the national government did this in large part in order to fully subordinate the former plantation owners; and when the ex-slaves and their allies fought “too hard” for their rights these same troops would be used against them.

Above all the northern capitalists wanted order and stability to carry out the further consolidation of their rule, as well as further expansion on the North American continent and internationally. The ferment and upheaval that would have gone along with everything that would have been involved in the former slaves playing a significant role in the political process or even exercising basic rights might have “sent the wrong message” to other oppressed people within the U.S.; and in fact, when in 1877 the U.S. troops were pulled out of the South, signaling the end of Reconstruction, they were immediately sent west—to fully crush the resistance of the Indians—and into the cities of the North—to violently suppress revolts of immigrant workers. Further, real freedom for the former slaves would have enabled them to resist the severe exploitation that was visited upon them, and thus would have made the re-integration of the southern economy into the larger society much less profitable for the ruling capitalists. So the Ku Klux Klan was unleashed in full force and played a brutal role in defeating and subjugating the freed slaves and progressive whites, often in bloody battles.

Ongoing Crimes

Louisiana converted its largest slave plantation, not far from the site of the Colfax massacre, into the notorious Angola prison camp. Louisiana now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world; its prison population is overwhelmingly Black men.

In 1950, the state of Louisiana put up a highway marker near the site of the Colfax massacre that perpetuated the justification, deceit, and cover-up of the mass slaughter of Black people there. It read, “On this site occurred the Colfax Riot, in which three white men and 150 negroes were slain. This event on April 13, 1873, marked the end of carpetbag [i.e., Northern anti-slavery] misrule in the South.”

Sources

“How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points,” on revcom as part of a series of excerpts from Bob Avakian’s writings on the Black national question.

The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need (Special issue of Revolution, October 2008)

LeeAnna Keith, The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Douglas R. Egerton, The Wars of Reconstruction (Bloomsbury Press, 2014)

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 (DIANE Publishing Company, 2008; updated edition, Harper Perennial, 2014)

Peter Irons, A People’s History of the Supreme Court (revised edition, Penguin Random House, 2006)

Charles Lane, The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction (Holt Paperbacks, 2008)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/the-total-solar-eclipse-of-2017-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
A Cool Darkness that Shines Light on How Reality Works

August 17, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This coming Monday, August 21, the shadow of the moon will cross North America in about three hours, in a line from Oregon to South Carolina—a total solar eclipse. The complete shadow will be about a 70-mile-wide circle. Anyone in the path of that complete shadow will be able to watch as the moon's shape moves completely in front of the sun, blocking out all the sun's direct light. For someone standing still and looking up, this "totality" (when the sun is completely blocked out) will last less than three minutes. Outside this complete shadow you would still see the moon passing in front of part of the sun. Along with the parts of North America that are not in the path of the total eclipse, parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will be able to view a partial eclipse. Watch the video on the right to see how this works. Click here to view a map of Monday’s eclipse, and the times it will pass over your location. A search online can easily give more information.

A "total solar eclipse" is when the sun is completely blocked, "eclipsed," by the moon. A "partial solar eclipse" is when only part of the sun is blocked by the moon. This is different from a lunar eclipse, when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun and passes through the Earth's shadow. A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about every 18 months. Most of these are over water and only a few people get to see them. The eclipse on August 21 this year is rare because it will mostly be over land, and millions will be able to watch. And it is an awesome sight! If you are completely in the shadow (seeing a total eclipse), the sun will become completely blocked out and for a few minutes it will look and feel like nighttime. You will even see some stars.

But that's not all. If you're completely in the moon's shadow, you will see the sun's outer fiery atmosphere, something impossible to see any other time because of the intensity of the sun's light. It will look something like the picture at right.

Scientists are excited. Along with a wondrous awe (one scientist was quoted saying "It will be awe-inspiring and I mean that 'awe' in the original, moving you to tears since of 'awe'"), they are gearing up to learn everything they can from this eclipse, including by popularizing experiments for "citizen scientists" (anyone who wants to get in on this) to do and send in results. Studying the sun during eclipses is not new, but there is still a great deal we don't know. The sun is our star. It's large enough that about one million Earths could fit in it. It's more than 90 million miles from us. The moon is smaller than Earth, but because it's much closer to us casts a shadow on the Earth's surface when it passes in front of the sun. During a total eclipse, scientists can study the outer atmosphere of the sun. And through that they'll learn even more about how our sun works, how stars work. Other scientists have experiments ready to learn how the Earth's atmosphere and environment changes when radiation from the sun changes. Eleven satellites, high-altitude balloons, hundreds of ground-based telescopes and the International Space Station will be chasing the moon's shadow.

These days we can also watch the moon's shadow from space!

On Monday, humanity gets another peek at the awesomeness of the universe we are part of, how it works and our place in it. And it's a chance to send a big "fuck you!" to those that would deny science and reality. Learning science, learning how to know what's real, what's true, discovering what we do not yet know, learning how to apply that to changing our world... this makes all the difference in the world.

It's easy to find online videos and information about this eclipse, including what the science community is planning.

Science rocks!



Ardea Skybreak Science and Revolution excerpts A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What Is New in the New Synthesis? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic--A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis Serious Engagement with the New Synthesis--The Difference It Could Make An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

  Order from Insight Press:

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism

Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

"This book will be of tremendous benefit to many..."
— Richard Leakey

 

Graphic to help visualize what happens during an eclipse. Source: NASA

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/theory-can-run-ahead-of-practice-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Theory CAN run ahead of practice

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

From a Reader:

Revolution’s article “The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017: A Cool Darkness that Shines Light on How Reality Works” points out how science allows us to understand things that appeared in ancient times to be the capricious actions of gods. The ability of science to predict exactly where and when a solar eclipse will occur is a tribute to the power of science to explain the world we live in.

But solar eclipses have also contributed to the development of science itself. During a solar eclipse in 1868, scientists for the first time investigated the spectrum of the light from the sun’s corona—the bright gases that surround the sun and which are visible only during an eclipse when they appear as a bright ring around the moon that is blocking out the sun itself. What they found was a bright line in the yellow part of the spectrum of this light that had never been observed before. Such lines are associated with the light emitted by various elements when heated. But this new line did not correspond to the spectral emissions of any known element.

The scientists observing this phenomenon correctly hypothesized that the bright spectral emission was caused by a previously unknown element which they named “helium” after Helios, the ancient Greek sun god. It was not until 1895 that chemists finally found and isolated the gas helium on earth. Helium was actually found on the sun before it was found on earth. The fact that helium was found in theory before it was found in practice was a striking example of theory running ahead of practice.

Another example of science developing from eclipses happened during a solar eclipse in 1919. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity had revealed that the phenomenon of gravity—the appearance of bodies of mass to attract each other—was actually caused by the fact that space itself is curved in areas around bodies of mass. But if space itself were curved, then not only would the path of moving objects be affected but the path taken by light would be “bent” by this curvature as well. In particular, beams of light moving close to and past the sun would be deflected out of their normal path and toward the sun. But this phenomenon was extremely difficult to observe because the blinding light of the sun normally makes it impossible to observe stars in the sky that are close to the sun.

During a total eclipse of the sun, however, it is suddenly possible to see stars in the sky around the sun. In 1919 two British astronomers traveled to an island off the coast of Africa to photograph the stars visible around the sun during the eclipse. When they compared these photographs with photographs of the same region of the sky taken at night when the sun was not present, the positions of stars were in fact moved toward the sun just as Einstein had predicted. This was yet again an example of theory running ahead of practice!

As Bob Avakian has discussed, precisely because theory can run ahead of practice—rather than simply summing up what has already happened—revolutionary theory enables us to see AND ACT ON what is possible for the emancipation of humanity rather than being restricted by what already exists. Yes, science rocks!

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/new-florida-law-on-textbooks-fascist-attack-on-truth-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

New Florida Law on Textbooks: Fascist Attack on Truth

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Florida state law that went into effect July 1 allows people to challenge and call for bans on textbooks and other classroom material they don’t like. An independent, “unbiased hearing officer” will judge complaints about textbooks and determine if they should be banned.

To be clear, this law is NOT about giving kids a better education. Just the opposite. It is about taking TRUTH out of public school textbooks and inserting all kinds of un-scientific ideas and lies.

When proponents of the law talk about getting rid of “political indoctrination,” “revisionist history,” and “pornography,” this is what they are targeting:

Climate change. The history of slavery and racism in the U.S. or America as an “imperialist” country. Any positive discussion of Islam. Books like Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, which depict the painful history of slavery.

They want to ban the teaching of evolution, one of the most essential scientific discoveries that opens up human understanding to how all of reality works, while teaching the unscientific story of creationism from the Bible.

In 2010, commenting about efforts in Texas to make school textbooks overtly reactionary, Bob Avakian (BA) wrote:

A driving force among these “conservatives” is a “young earth creationist” who actually insists, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old! You really have to read this article to see what lengths, or extremes, this is going to. To give a further “taste,” these “conservatives” are insisting on including, in textbooks, the words of Jefferson Davis, head of the slave-owning Confederacy in the Civil War, side by side with quotes from Abraham Lincoln. Their aim is not to expose and condemn Jefferson Davis but rather to lend status and respectability to what he represented. “Fascist” is certainly not too strong a word to describe these “conservative” forces. (from “Some Observations on the Culture Wars: Textbooks, Movies, Sham Shakespearean Tragedies and Crude Lies”)

In this piece, all the more relevant with recent events in Charlottesville, BA says: “…these ‘conservatives’ not only want to more thoroughly reverse the verdicts of the 1960s about the U.S. and its role in the world, including as the influence of these verdicts gets reflected—even though in a watered-down way—in school curriculum, but they also want to reverse the verdict on the Civil War—treating the Confederate slave system as deserving of legitimacy and respect!”

A Fascist Agenda

Who are these fascists in Florida who have been the driving force behind passing this law? Who clearly have ties to and are getting a hearing from fascists in the government? The Florida Citizens Alliance wants to get rid of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves. They want to get rid of the clause to the 14th Amendment that overturned the ruling that Black people were three-fifths of a human being. They want to get rid of the 15th Amendment that gave Black people the right to vote. And they want to get rid of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. These fascists say these Amendments are “unnecessary and dangerous” because “they have been used as a tool to deny truth and history. They have been used to rewrite the minds of Americans to believe that the Constitution is a document of oppression that needs to be interpreted by the government to give the federal government more power because the States are tools of oppression and bigotry.” (http://floridacitizensalliance.com)

These fascist attacks on school textbooks go right along with efforts by Trump’s head of education, Betsy DeVos, who wants to replace public education with charter schools that turn students into Christian fundamentalist robots, unable to think critically or resist. It goes along with Christian fascist efforts to outlaw sex education and impose school-led prayer.

The fascist efforts to shut down anything that goes against their reactionary agenda have been going on for decades, including under Obama. And especially now, with the fascist Trump who doesn’t even believe in “facts” and just makes up shit to serve his fascist agenda—the attacks on a scientific approach in textbooks are occurring as part of and in the larger context of a wholesale assault on the very notion of truth.

This is yet another profound illustration of the fact that the U.S. ruling class and their government are completely illegitimate and have no right to determine the direction of society, the world and the fate of humanity.



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/j20-in-the-crosshairs-fascists-get-green-light-to-terrorize-and-murder-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

J20 in the Crosshairs... Fascists Get the Green Light to Terrorize and Murder

August 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For months, the U.S. Department of "Justice" has been demanding information about all visitors to the disruptj20.org website. Disruptj20 organized direct action protests on the day of Trump's inauguration. They blocked checkpoints onto the Washington Mall, held parades of resistance, festivals, fairs, speak-outs, and concerts. And they staged an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march that was attacked by hundreds of cops in full riot gear who indiscriminately sprayed pepper spray and used weapons similar to concussion grenades with rubber cluster munitions in them. Over 200 of the protesters are still facing draconian felony charges including conspiracy to riot, destruction of property, and assaulting a police officer. (See background here).

It's outrageous enough that the Department of IN-Justice is going after the J20 protesters with a vengeance. But now it has come to light that the government is demanding massive and detailed information on visitors to a website used to organize those protests. According to Dreamhost, the site's web hosting provider, complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government. An attorney for Dreamhost said, "In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website."

Dreamhost had already complied with DOJ subpoena demands for information identifying the registrant of the website, including the registrant's physical addresses and e-mail addresses. But they refused to turn over information that would identify visitors, saying that "information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution's First Amendment." 

This logic and direction of this massive, ominous fishing expedition is to intimidate, suppress, and collect data to round up people resisting Trump.

Compare that to the fact that the DOJ is NOT going after...  THE NETWORKS OF THE MONSTERS WHO MARCHED, TERRORIZED, BRUTALIZED, AND MURDERED HEATHER HEYER IN CHARLOTTESVILLE ARE WIDE OPEN TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SEE THEM. The point is NOT the government should spy "equally on" the fascists. The point here is that the tools of repression—which should not be used against anyone—are being deployed overwhelmingly against people whose only intent was to protest government policy, while those intent on genocidal race war not only enjoy a totally free hand, but support from the highest office in the land.

While the Department of IN-Justice demands the identities of 1.3 million people who visited a website of resistance to Trump... they can't see a terrorist white-supremacist conspiracy that is in plain sight. Over and over these Nazis, KKKers, white supremacists, and Alt-Reich fascists openly declare their intention to carry out a genocidal race war. Nobody needs to be spying on people's web browsing history to see that. Or, to trace the networks behind them. They are deeply embedded in the military. They openly declare they have active duty police in them, in organizations like the "Oath Keepers."

And it doesn't take detective skills to trace the forces behind, and at the top of these networks. Steve Bannon, Trump's Chief Strategist, ran Breitbart News, where he openly took credit for creating "the platform for the alt-right."  At the top of the pyramid of all this is the President of the United States. In his repeated declarations defending the Nazis and KKKers who attacked and murdered people in Charlottesville, and his blaming "the violence" on those who stood up to these thugs, Trump is putting the resistance in the crosshairs of the repressive apparatus of the government, and giving a green light to fascist thugs to attack Black people, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, Jews, and anyone who values diversity and the humanity of the most vulnerable.

This is the reality we face. This is a regime that must be driven out by mass political action, in the streets, in the millions. Get with RefuseFascism.org today. 



 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/nfl-players-support-kaepernick-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

From a reader:

Two White NFL Players Openly Support Black Players' Anthem Protest

"Time for people that look like me" to take a stand

August 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday night last week, Chris Long of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles football team, a white player, stood alongside and put his arm around Malcolm Jenkins, his teammate who is Black, as Jenkins raised his clenched fist during the national anthem.

Then on Friday night, another white player, Justin Britt of the Seattle Seahawks, stood alongside and put his arm on the shoulder of Black teammate Michael Bennett as he sat during the anthem. Afterwards the two hugged.

Chris Long was the first white player to openly make a gesture during the anthem in support of the protest started last year by Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers to oppose the murders of people of color by cops.

After the game, Long said, “I think it’s a good time for people that look like me to be here for people that are fighting for equality.”

A graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Long said, “It’s been a hard week for everybody. I think it’s not just a hard week for someone being from Charlottesville. It’s a tough week for America. I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘You need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protest.’ I’ve said before that I’ll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different to everybody in this country, but I support my peers.”

Yahoo Sports reported that Long addressed why he supported Malcolm Jenkins: “If you don’t see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don’t think you’ll ever see it. My thing is, Malcolm’s a leader and I’m here to show support as a white athlete.”

Jenkins added, “Stepping out in front of all those people and the obvious attention that is going to be brought to it is not an easy thing to do. I think looking at the atmosphere last year compared to this year, so much has transpired, and in a negative direction, that I think the stakes are almost higher now.”

Michael Bennett, who is continuing this year to sit during the anthem, said several days ago, “It would take a white player to really get things changed, because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it, it would change the whole conversation. Because you bring somebody who doesn’t really have to be a part of the conversation, making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a big jump.”

The game after Bennett said this, Britt showed his support for Bennett’s anthem protest.

After the game Britt said, “I want to support what he stands for and his beliefs. I’m not foolish. I’m from Missouri. I get that things are different in that area than they are in some other areas. I’m not against what the flag means and veterans. You know, my dad was in the army. So I’m not putting any disrespect to them. I’m just trying to understand the issues, trying to educate myself more in that regard and showing support.

“And I’m going to continue to understand what’s going on in the world and why it’s happening. None of it’s right. None of it’s what should be happening. I’m going to continue talking with Mike and exploring and just helping myself understand things. I wanted to take a first step tonight. And that’s what I felt like I did.”

As of this time, no white NFL player has sat or raised a clenched fist during the anthem. However, Megan Rapinoe, who is white, sat during the anthem last year during a U.S. women’s team national soccer match.

Let’s see if these gestures by Chris Long and Justin Britt create the sort of “jump” that Michael Bennett spoke about. There needs to be more players of all nationalities in the NFL taking up this anthem protest for this to really go where it needs to be. It needs to be a part of galvanizing millions of people to put a stop to the white supremacy we saw in Charlottesville that is being led from the highest level in the White House.

In a related development, there is growing support for Colin Kaepernick, who is a free agent but has yet to be signed by any NFL team—clearly a target of conscious blackballing by team owners for the determined political stand he is taking. A rally for Kaepernick has been called for August 23 in front of the NFL headquarters in New York City. And the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has called for a national boycott of the NFL until a team signs Kaepernick

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/504/rally-for-colin-kaepernick-planned-for-nyc-on-august-23-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Blackballed from the NFL for Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem

Rally for Colin Kaepernick planned for NYC on August 23

August 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Letter from a Reader:

Last football season, San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick (Kap) refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police murder and brutality against people of color. (See “Cheers to Colin Kaepernick—For Not Standing for National Anthem,” http://revcom.us/a/454/cheers-to-colin-kaepernick-en.html.) Kap started a movement of football players (professional, college and high school) and athletes in other sports in not standing or raising their fists during the national anthem. At one point, 30 players on 14 teams in the National Football League (NFL) took part in this protest.

After the season, Kap opted out of his contract and became a free agent where he could be signed by any team. Months have passed, the NFL is now into its preseason, but Kaepernick remains unsigned, despite the fact that many quarterbacks with less talent than Kap have been signed. It is clear that he is being blackballed from his profession due to his political stand and the fact that he righteously protested out of the bounds of “normal acceptability.”

A national movement has started to boycott and protest the NFL until Kaepernick is signed. On August 23 a rally for Kaepernick will be held at NFL headquarters in New York City. The rally has been endorsed by a broad range of people and organizations. Some of those are: AME Church, Color of Change; DeRay McKesson; IBW; Justice League NYC; LIVEFREE; NAACP; Opal Tometi, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement; Pastor Michael McBride; Rainbow Push Coalition; Rev. Jamal Bryant; Rev. Jesse Jackson; The Empowerment Movement; The People’s Consortium; and Women’s March. Spike Lee retweeted an ad for the event and said he supports Kaepernick and “His Stance On The Injustices In The USA.”

One of the endorsers, Pastor Jamal Bryant, wore Kap’s jersey to church services and told his congregation to sit during the national anthem, too.

Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women’s March, said of her support for the protest: “Colin Kaepernick used his constitutional right to free speech and took a knee on behalf of black lives. When the NFL has a history of excusing players for egregious behaviors (including violence against women), it is clear team owners are making a statement when it comes to Kaepernick. We as consumers, viewers and people of good moral conscience must make one as well.”

Despite being vilified and receiving death threats, Kap never backed down from his protest and he continued to speak on political and social issues.

In response to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again,” Kaepernick said, “Well America has never been great for people of color...” About the debate between Clinton and Trump, Kap said, “Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist...You have Hillary, who’s called black teens or black kids ‘superpredators.’ You have Donald Trump, who’s openly racist.” On the 4th of July he tweeted out, “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?”

The anti-Kap forces are clearly led from the highest level of the government. Donald Trump, who is close friends with several NFL owners, said that the reason Kaepernick is being shunned by teams is because “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.” The right-wing American Family Association called Kap’s actions as being “against the law.” Ted Cruz said, “To all the athletes who have made millions in America’s freedom: stop insulting our flag, our nation, our heroes.”

None of this has deterred Kap from spending the off-season supporting social justice organizations, where he donated $750,000 to several organizations in and outside the U.S.

Support for Kap has been growing with a protest movement to boycott the NFL. This past week, several dozen people protested outside the Los Angeles Rams’ preseason game demanding that Kap be hired. A group, #StandingforKaepernick, has called for protests at the first regular season game played at every NFL stadium and a boycott of anything related to week one of the NFL unless Colin Kaepernick is added to an official NFL roster.

At the first preseason game this past week, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders sat during the national anthem, while Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles raised a clenched fist, continuing the protest that Kaepernick started.

Kevin Livingston, who Kaepernick helped in getting suits for job interviews to those who were formerly incarcerated, said , “Everyday folk just wanna protest for him.... He’s our modern day Muhammad Ali.”

 

Editors note: Stay tuned to revcom.us for coverage of the August 23 rally and other developments around Colin Kaepernick.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/chicago-revolution-club-attends-a-funeral-on-the-southside-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Chicago: Revolution Club attends a funeral on the Southside.

The Horrible—the Unnecessary—Pain and Suffering—that comes from being played by THIS fucking System.

By Joe Veale

August 22, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Today, Saturday, August 19th, four members of the Revolution Club went to a funeral on the Southside. Hundreds of people were in attendance.

Once again a young man was killed for being in the “wrong neighborhood.” Shot to death by someone just like him. By someone vicariously looking in the mirror who saw someone just like themselves, decided he was the enemy and pulled the trigger.

Our appearance was both welcome and controversial. A small but very vocal number of people said this was not the time or the place for the revolution. In reality though this was exactly the place and time for people to hear from the revolution. 

We boldly got up and got in line when things were opened up for people in attendance to make comments. Many people got in line. It was not certain if we were going to get a chance to speak.

But the reverend said before ending this part of the “service” she wanted the “REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS” to speak. We were in uniform—and she repeated this two or three times as we approached the microphone.

The four of us went up together. We stood before all offering our heartfelt condolences to the family on behalf of the revolution.

Our spokesman said there were some people in attendance who know what we are against but very few who knew what we are for but they are about to find out—he told everyone that he had some words—a message—from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party—and the leader of the revolution BA.

He read selected parts of the Central Committee statement on “What the Fascist Trump/Pence Will Mean For Black people and What Must Be Done About It, NOW!”

He read the first two paragraphs and the part that says: “We Need A Revolution!” that quotes BA about the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness... and the paragraph following that, that speaks to how we have the leadership for this revolution.

Many in attendance verbally responded: “that’s right!” “come on now!” “tell it!”

Afterwards numerous people approached us saying they really appreciated us—appreciated us being there and appreciated the bold and daring revolutionary work we are doing in this neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago.

Before we spoke a reverend had said god had a plan and had called this young man home. But now this reverend said “god did not have a plan...”—“the plan was for this young man to live a full life...,” “he had potential...”

We passed out palm cards inviting many people to come hear Carl Dix speak Sunday on August 20th on “Trumps Violent Reassertion of White Supremacy, the Threat of Genocide, and What Must Be Done, NOW!”  

 

 

       

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/media-debunks-trumps-general-pershing-pig-blood-lie-in-service-of-even-bigger-lie-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Media debunks Trump’s General Pershing “pig’s blood” lie in the service of an even bigger lie about the U.S. and its bloodthirsty history of imperialist plunder

August 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, August 17 in Barcelona, Spain, a van plowed along a sidewalk in a commercial district killing 13 people and injuring over 80, a horrific attack, allegedly carried out by fundamentalist Islamic jihadists. 

Trump's advice to the Spanish government?  Carry out war crimes. Trump repeated a mythical war story about General Pershing, a U.S. general who led in the 1898 invasion and occupation of the Philippines in the wake of the U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War.  According to the story, as Trump tells it, General Pershing brought about the defeat of Muslim "terrorists" by lining up 50 captured Muslim fighters and using bullets dipped in pig's blood to murder 49 of them—then sending the remaining fighter back to his people to tell them what happened.  Islam has strict prohibitions about killing and eating pigs and this, according to Trump, was supposed to have struck terror into the population and brought about 25 years of peace. 

Mouthpieces of the liberal media on CNN and MSNBC jumped all over themselves to refute this absurd and brutal myth (for which there is in fact no historical record) and restore the tarnished image of our great "hero" General Pershing who could never have carried out such a heinous act.

But let's look at the real history of who was General Pershing, what were he and the U.S. doing in the Philippines, and who were these so-called "Muslim terrorists?"

In 1898 after waging war with Spain in the Pacific and the Caribbean, the U.S. seized control of Spain's colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.  U.S. troops invaded and occupied the Philippines, which was in the midst of waging a war for its independence from Spain. 

Pershing, who had begun his military career in the U.S. fighting in the so-called "Indian campaigns," which carried out the genocidal expulsion from their lands of the Apaches and Lakota Sioux, commanded the U.S. forces in their occupation of the Philippines.  The Philippine resistance forces, initially believing that the expulsion of Spain would lead to independence, soon found out that the treaty signed between the U.S. and Spain had put the Philippines under the direct control of the U.S. and its military. 

In 1899 the Filipino people launched a war of resistance against their new colonial masters.  After three years of brutal war and 220,000 deaths, overwhelmingly civilians, the liberation forces in the predominantly northern Catholic islands of the Philippines were crushed.  

Having subjugated the northern islands, the U.S. then broke the initial treaty they had made with the Muslim tribes (called Moros by the Spanish) who lived in the southern islands of the Philippines.  The people of these islands rose up in a second war of just resistance against the U.S. occupation of the Philippines.  These are the "Muslim terrorists" that Trump describes in his story. 

Throughout both of these wars, the U.S. systematically carried out brutal tactics designed to terrorize population—search-and-destroy missions, waterboarding of captives and the herding of civilians into concentration camps. While there is no evidence that U.S. soldiers shot Muslim fighters with bullets dipped in pig's blood, there were accounts that U.S. soldiers attempted to instill anti-Muslim terror in the population by burying Muslim dead in graves together with pig carcasses.  One massacre that took place in 1906 was later described by one of the U.S. veterans of the battle.  He said that the Americans "turned that machine gun on them and they'd stand there, the Moros would, and just look like dominos falling." 

In 1909 Pershing took over as military governor of the southern islands with the resistance war still raging.  While imposing economic and legal reforms favorable to U.S. businesses which had begun extracting resources from the islands, he continued to wield violence against the Filipino people, justifying this in his memoirs: "During the slow process of evolution leading up to civilization, the Moros must be kept in check by the actual application of force or the moral effect of its presence."  The resistance of the Moros was finally crushed in 1913 in a campaign led personally by Pershing which resulted in the massacre of hundreds of men, women and children. 

The Philippines was an outright colony of the U.S., until U.S. forces were driven out by the Japanese imperialists at the start of World War 2. While it became formally independent after the war, the U.S. returned as the neo-colonial master, and remains to this day the overwhelmingly dominant political, economic and military power there. 

This is the brutal legacy of the "heroic" General Pershing that Trump wants to flaunt to terrorize people in the world today, while the liberal media seeks to whitewash and lie to people about the whole history of U.S. plunder and war crimes which are the foundation on which the U.S. empire has been built. 

[Some of the information in this article is drawn from the article "What Was General Pershing Really Doing in the Philippines" by Jonathan M. Katz that appeared in The Atlantic.]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/trumps-new-afghan-strategy-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Trump's New Afghan Strategy:
Piling Horrors Atop 16 Years of Horrors

August 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Monday night, August 21, Donald Trump announced his new strategy for America’s 16-year-long war in Afghanistan. “We are not nation building again,” he bellowed, “We are killing terrorists.”

Trump promised to end any restrictions limiting his generals and field commanders from raining death and destruction, even minor ones that might reduce civilian casualties. He hailed the “success” of this gloves-off approach in Mosul, Iraq. There the U.S.-led assault reduced huge swaths of the city to rubble and killed as many as 40,000 people. And while Trump refused to say it, there are widespread reports that the U.S. will be sending another 3,900 troops to Afghanistan.

Trump didn’t just threaten more killing in Afghanistan. Like the global Mafioso he is, Trump threatened Pakistan with severe consequences if it didn’t play ball and stop giving aid and comfort to the Taliban. He warned the U.S.-installed Afghan government (which is reportedly losing 20-30 soldiers a day) that it had better be ready to sacrifice even more for U.S. objectives. And Trump declared the U.S. was “going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us”—a reference to the widely discussed potential for the U.S. to profit off Afghanistan’s vast, untapped mineral wealth.

All this is heaping new crimes and horrors on the people of Afghanistan atop the crimes and horrors they’ve suffered for 16 long years, and threatening new horrors to the people of the region and world.

In its decade and a half of war and occupation against the reactionary Afghan Taliban as well as other Islamist jihadists, the U.S. has already killed uncounted thousands—men, women, and children! It has bombed wedding parties and wantonly massacred innocent villagers—16 in one night by one U.S. soldier on a hate-filled rampage. It has seized and terrorized people in the dead of night, then turned them over to its Afghan “allies” to torture them in dungeons like the one next to its Bagram Air Base—which the U.S. was forced to close in 2014 after its barbarism was exposed. Official estimates put the war dead at a staggering 149,000 and the wounded at another 162,000, enormous numbers which almost certainly vastly understate the carnage. The war forced more than a half-million people to flee their homes in 2016 alone!

Now, the fascist Trump/Pence regime in April dropped the world’s largest-ever non-nuclear bomb, nicknamed MOAB, the “mother of all bombs,” on Afghanistan. It has escalated air strikes—389 in June, the most in a month in five years—and increased civilian casualties. And Trump is promising more dead, more wounded and more terror. And he’s raising the specter of widening the war regionally—possibly globally.

Why Did the U.S. Start this War?

Trump’s speech on Afghanistan dominated the news cycle, with the system’s politicians and pundits all discussing it. But they did so within a certain framework: that America’s motives for invading and occupying Afghanistan were unquestionably legitimate, even noble.

But what has this war been about? And what has the U.S. been doing in Afghanistan?

In October 2001, the George W. Bush regime invaded Afghanistan. They did so in the name of “liberating” the people, bringing freedom and democracy, and exacting justice on those responsible for the attacks of September 11.

In reality, that is not what was behind the invasion of Afghanistan. As the world’s imperialist godfather, the U.S., like any Mafia overlord, could not tolerate insults, let alone attacks by lesser gangsters, and retain its status as top global predator. So after the shock of 9/11, the Bush regime felt it was essential to lash out violently, on a massive scale, to demonstrate to one and all that neither America’s will nor its power was diminished but rather, like the Roman Empire, it would decimate its opponents. Afghanistan was the first target of the planned onslaught.

The U.S. rulers also felt compelled to take drastic measures to stem the growth and influence of reactionary Islamic fundamentalism—embodied in groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban and states like Iran. This was not because these Islamist forces oppress the people, especially women, in brutal, medieval fashion, but because they were undermining America’s imperialist grip on the Middle East and Central Asia, regions key to its global power.

Bob Avakian deeply explores the imperialists’ motivations, the necessity they faced, and how they saw that necessity, and the profound repercussions of the “War on Terror” in Bringing Forward Another Way. The dominant forces in the U.S. ruling class envisioned this as a decades-long war to restructure the entire region—“draining the swamp” as they put it—to eliminate the economic, social and political wellsprings of reactionary fundamentalism and to more fully integrate this vast swath of the globe into the U.S. -dominated world order in general and in its rivalry with Russia and China in particular.

       

After Afghanistan, the U.S. targeted Iraq, and had Iran, Libya, Syria and other regimes in its gunsights as well.

This “restructuring” never equaled liberation. “The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism,” Bob Avakian has written. “What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.”

In Afghanistan, this meant U.S. forces began by overthrowing the reactionary Islamic fundamentalists of the Taliban, occupying the country, and then creating “political structures to enforce that imperialism”—a new government, with some formal elements of democracy, some very superficial rights for women in some places, and the building up of infrastructure like roads. And they patched together a national government consisting of a hideous cabal of warlords, narco traffickers and other widely hated lackeys who’ve oppressed, butchered and preyed on the Afghan people.

What’s Behind Trump’s New Strategy

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has been the longest war in U.S. history. But all the economic, political and military moves and shifts, troop surges and troop withdrawals have not brought it victory, and the U.S.-backed Afghan government remains weak.

When Trump rails against “nation building,” he’s pointing to a core element of his new strategy: that the U.S. will now focus on crushing forces that present a challenge to the U.S. empire and its global objectives. This shift in strategy is bound to mean much more horrific violence, torture and destruction in Afghanistan and beyond, and is signaled by Trump’s message to U.S. commanders that they no longer need look over their shoulder as they carry out carnage, massacres and war crimes.

The Trump/Pence regime is indicating it is ready to expand the Afghan war (possibly including to Taliban and Al Qaeda “safe havens” in Pakistan) as part of other moves it is planning in South Asia, including working more closely with India.

Where the Interests of Humanity Lie in All This

After 16 years, the necessities of empire that propelled the U.S. into Afghanistan and the Middle East remain, and in many ways are even more acute today. This includes the need to defeat reactionary Islamic jihadism and to demonstrate American decisiveness and strength, which Trump has promised to assert more violently and viciously around the world, promising “we will always win.” And this has propelled them once again to remain in Afghanistan.

And there is a grave danger that Trump and his fascist regime may attempt to cut the “Gordian Knot” of the intractable contradictions they face in Afghanistan (and elsewhere), not simply by escalating there, but regionally or even globally. Trump even went out of his way to declare the U.S. had bolstered its nuclear arsenal—this in a speech on Afghanistan and South Asia.

Over these 16 years, the U.S. has battled the brutal Taliban and other jihadists in Afghanistan. This clash between America’s imperialist carnage and support for vicious oppressors and the feudal barbarities of the Taliban has created a horrendous dynamic in which these two outmoded, reactionary forces have fueled and reinforced each other, even as they’re battling each other.

None of this is just, and none of this is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan or the world. In fact, it’s diametrically opposed to our interests. No one should hope any of this “wins,” which would only encourage and enable more U.S. aggression and bloodshed. It is a U.S. defeat—and a defeat for this fascist Trump/Pence regime—that’s in the interest of the people of Afghanistan and the world. Such a defeat could weaken the grip of the U.S. rulers on the planet and the people, and help create a situation in which it becomes possible to actually overthrow the monstrous system that now threatens humanity and the planet through revolution, and take the first great steps toward bringing into being an emancipatory society and world based on Bob Avakian’s new, re-envisioned communism.

As part of preparing for revolution, Trump’s dangerous threats and escalation further underscore the life-and-death urgency not only of visibly protesting America’s war in Afghanistan, but of November 4 being the beginning of the mass political struggle to force the Trump/Pence regime from office. Everyone reading this should throw in with this effort.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/trump-in-phoenix-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Trump in Phoenix:
Thuggish Attacks on the Press, Doubling Down on Charlottesville

August 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump’s August 22 speech in Arizona was a 77-minute-long rant with a clear purpose: to firm up the most reactionary core of his supporters and rouse them to battle. Against his opponents in the ruling class, the mainstream mass media, and the targets of the vicious agenda of “Make America White Again,” including immigrants, Muslims and those outraged by and taking to the streets to protest Trump’s embrace of neo-Nazis, KKKers, and all manner of white supremacists.

Friends and Enemies: Cops, Christian Fascists and “Second Amendment People”

Despite a lot of cynical blather about “loving” everybody, opposing racism, etc. this speech was very much about “us vs. them,” friends and enemies. Trump set clear terms at the start about who he actually “loves,” who exactly he means when he says “We.

He began with praise for a string of Christian fascist theocrats at the events—VP Mike Pence, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, evangelist and Islam-basher Franklin Graham—and said that “America is indeed a nation of faith,” clearly meaning fundamentalist Christianity. These Christian fascists are a major part of his regime and of its social base, and Trump needs to maintain his close alliance with them.

Trump made clear to his base that in the face of opposition, he is not backing away from the whole fascist program he represents: “We are fully and totally committed to fighting for our agenda and we will not stop until the job is done.”

Trump went on, saying that “we reaffirm our shared customs, traditions and values. We love our country. We celebrate our troops. We embrace our freedom. We respect our flag. We are proud of our history, we cherish our constitution, including the Second Amendment by the way ... we believe in law and order, and we support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.”

These and other references to patriotism and faith; to “shared” (meaning white Christian “Western”) values; the full and absolutely uncritical embrace of America’s whole ugly history of genocide, conquest, and white supremacy; the repeated calls for law and order and shout-outs to pigs and other armed reactionaries—all this defined “we” as “we fascists.”

Everyone not part of or fully down with this was cast as “the enemy”. First, there were the non-white and/or non-Christian masses. Here Trump was careful to use dog whistles and buzz words. When he spoke of “gang violence in our streets” and the MS-13 “animals” who “cut [people] up into little pieces,” when he spoke of “liberating towns,” his audience knew he meant Black urban youth and Latino immigrants. When he spoke of keeping “radical Islamic terrorists out of our country,” his audience knew that meant Muslims in general, whether immigrants or U.S.-born. Trump also went after anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters, who he depicted as menacing figures “in the helmets and the black masks,” then spitting out the words “the antifa.”

Trump was whipping up fear and calling for fascist violence as the solution. At one point he bragged about how protesters had been beaten up by the crowds at his past campaign rallies, and then boasted that people are “safe ... at a Donald Trump rally ... you are safe in this room.” The clear message was that “his” people face a vast array of threats, and the only way they can be safe is by violently suppressing those “others” who threaten them, whether through the official forces of “law and order” (cops, Border Patrol, etc.) or armed civilian reactionaries.

Trump was also threatening bourgeois forces. After raising the specter of menacing foreigners and animals assaulting America, he charged mayors who lead “sanctuary cities” with “shielding criminal aliens,” and those who oppose his border wall as “putting all of America’s safety at risk.” He mocked and denounced both Republican senators from Arizona (McCain and Flake), and called on the mob (sorry, “the audience”) to troll and harass them (sorry, “speak to your senator”). He insisted Senate rules be changed so that the 51 Republican senators could pass at will whatever laws Trump wants.

The message was clear—no barriers to his full program would be tolerated, and there would be no quarter for foes or even vacillating allies.

Attacking the Media, Forging a Mindless Mob

Trump’s attacks on the media were particularly vicious—he denounced journalists as “bad people,” “really dishonest,” who “don’t like our country” and “aren’t going to change.” You don’t need a computer to figure out what Trump has in mind for people that he believes are traitors who will not change, but in case you didn’t get it, Trump led the crowd to turn and face the media cage for a bout of menacing booing.

This attempt to TOTALLY DISCREDIT the news media as a possible source of any true information was accompanied by a barrage of falsehoods that was astounding even by Trumpian standards, because everyone listening knew, or could readily find out, that he was lying.

Trump claimed that  CNN turned off their cameras because it “does not want its falling viewership to watch what I’m saying tonight”—even though millions of people were watching him at that very moment live on CNN! He claimed that there were just a “few people outside” protesting—when there was live footage of thousands of protesters. And on and on.

Trump was running the classic “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes” gambit, and he was doing it for a reason. Fascism, to a qualitative degree more than other forms of bourgeois rule, requires mindless mobs of fanatics as shock troops for the imposition of extreme and brutal changes—mobs that will, in the name of their leader, their “protector,” carry on pogroms (mob attacks) on oppressed people, break up rallies of opposition parties, march blindly into wars based on whatever mendacious explanation the regime comes up with at the time. People like that need to be insulated from objective reality, they need to be trained to believe that even when the leader says something that is obviously false, it is still “true,” and that things that are obviously true when coming from other sources are still “false.” And it must be said, the chanting, screaming mob in that Phoenix arena certainly showed themselves to be willing converts.

Lies, Double-Talk and Doubling Down on Charlottesville

After white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville with torches chanting racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay slogans, after they threatened people at a church service and savagely beat counter-protesters, and after one of them murdered Heather Heyer and injured 19 other people ... after all that, Trump placed the blame for the violence partly on the anti-racist demonstrators. Then, on Tuesday, August 15, Trump’s human-mask slipped off completely, he said straight up “there were many fine people” in the white-supremacist mob, and that statues of Confederate generals who fought for the enslavement of Black people should not be touched.

Trump’s siding with the white supremacists, in the face of the murder of Heather Heyer, has set off shockwaves in society. Major protests against white supremacy took place, even in deep “red” states like Texas and Arizona. Important business leaders and people in the arts broke ties with Trump.

Trump dealt with this at his Phoenix rally by a combination of outright lies, double-talk, and doubling down. First, he made a big point about loving everyone, wanting to bring the whole country together, opposing to racism, etc. He even condemned the KKK and neo-Nazis by name—twice. But on his second try he all-but-openly said “this is not something I believe, it’s just something I have to say.”

Then he spent half an hour walking through his statements about Charlottesville, leaving out all the parts that revealed his support for white supremacy. He didn’t mention that he had emphasized “many sides... many sides” were in the wrong. He didn’t mention that he said some members of the Nazi mob were “very fine people” He didn’t mention that he had mourned the loss of “our beautiful [Confederate] statues.” And then he whined about how outrageous it was that “the media” was reporting that he did say these things—which he did say.

This was pure bullshit! But there was purpose to it—convincing the public (and even to a certain extent people in Trump’s base) that this movement isn’t racist, it’s just “sticking up for the rights of white people.”

In the eyes of these fascists, the smallest concessions made to the struggle for equality for Black people over the past few decades are discrimination against white people, even “white genocide.” And this is closely meshed with demanding women “return to their place,” and LGBTQ people be erased from society. The logic of that logic does lead to open embrace of Nazis and the KKK.

In this vein, Trump complained bitterly about “weak leaders” taking down Confederate monuments that had been there “for 150 years,” and declared “they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that,” which was met by loud boos. Then he basically promised to pardon ex-Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a vicious anti-immigrant racist who is facing jail after defying repeated court orders to stop what the U.S. Department of Justice called the worst racial profiling in U.S. history! And then he wrapped it all up with echoes of the German Nazi slogan “Germany Über Alles” (over everything): “We are Americans ... The future belongs to us.”

For all those (far too many!) who have not yet come to terms with the fully fascist nature of the Trump/Pence regime, and its chilling program of white supremacy, xenophobia, patriarchy, and “law and order,” this speech was a shocking wake up call as to where the Trump/Pence regime is going, how fast it is going there, and how determined it is to rip up the existing way the U.S. has been ruled, and replace it with something much, much worse.

There is an urgent need for millions of people who do not want this nightmare to come to pass to act with the courage and determination commensurate with the stakes on November 4 and across the country, to drive this regime from power before it is too late.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/thousands-protest-trump-in-phoenix-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Thousands Protest Trump in Phoenix—Police Attack with Tear Gas

August 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As Donald Trump ranted at his fascist rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday, August 22, thousands of people rallied to denounce him. There were various groups that called for protesting Trump. And there were many who felt compelled to come out—like a Latino man who told the Los Angeles Times, "I don't want to regret not speaking up. It's one thing to complain with friends.... I wanted to show up and speak up." Another protester, a white man in his 60s, said, "I used to protest in the 1970s and 1980s, but I took a little time off. Now it's time to get back in the game."

There were several marches downtown earlier in the afternoon, in temperatures climbing to 108, that converged on the convention center for the Trump rally in the evening. A "unity vigil and march" was organized by the First Congregational United Church of Christ and included a number of different religious, civil rights, and activist groups. There was a "Never Again: Jews and Allies Against Hate" rally, and a "Protest Trump Arizona" rally was held near the convention center. The Puente Human Rights Movement led a "White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned" march to the convention center.

As the protesters converged on the site of the Trump rally, police helicopters hovered overhead and heavily armed police went through the streets and lined up to guard the convention center and the Trump supporters going in. There were also "unofficial" pigs, like "Bikers for Trump" and militia types, brandishing weapons.

The determined protesters were outside the convention center for hours, chanting "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA," "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go," and other slogans. People spoke out against Trump's support for the KKK-Nazi fascists who rallied in Charlottesville, the prospect of Trump pardoning the racist and rabidly anti-immigrant former Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio, and other outrages of the Trump/Pence regime.

Then, as the Trump rally was ending, the police suddenly attacked. One protester, a 19-year-old woman, said that people were peacefully protesting when "Police started throwing tear gas and pepper-spray pellets and flash bombs to basically make us run away." A councilman from the Arizona city of Tempe said that he was nearby handing out water bottles to people when he heard a "pop" of tear gas canister or pepper ball, and "then people started running."

In a statement the day after, Carlos Garcia of Puente Human Rights Movement Arizona, said, in part: "After refusing to condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend, Trump came to Phoenix to rally them. His nod to Arpaio is the latest sign of the white supremacy that is governing the White House and it will not be pardoned. There is no negotiating with his hate agenda. There is only resisting it."

It was righteous that thousands came out in Phoenix to oppose Trump—he and Pence and the rest of the fascist regime need to be met by strong, determined protests wherever they go. These protests need to grow in numbers and strength—and they need to be part of bringing this urgent fight to a whole new level with people acting together in nationwide actions starting November 4 and not stopping until the demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Fascist Regime Must GO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/dick-gregory-groundbreaking-comedian-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Dick Gregory: Groundbreaking Comedian, Courageous Activist, and Target of FBI Assassination Plot

August 23, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Dick Gregory, a ground-breaking comedian, public intellectual, and courageous activist died on August 19, 2017 at the age of 84, after a lifetime of fighting against injustice.

When a journalist asked Dick Gregory, not that many years ago, why he still felt the need to perform, speak to the media and protest, Gregory said, “They always ask me why I travel so much and I tell ‘em, the fight for freedom is out there—it ain’t at my house.”

In the 1960s, Dick Gregory broke new ground in comedy. He went after things that were real and very controversial about the situation of Black people. He drew humor out of what Black people have gone through, and mixed in biting exposure. Many times, he went beyond where his audience was at, or ready to go, but audiences, white and Black, hung with him. He become very influential.

Author Mel Watkins wrote: “Dick Gregory emerged at a time not only when the distance between comedians and audiences was being erased but also when the established public barriers between whites and blacks were being challenged at lunch counters and flaunted through integrated freedom rides... The sham was over—both in the streets and on stage. And Gregory, more a candid satirist than an entertaining funnyman, appeared at exactly the fight time.” (On the Real Side)

In the early 1960s Gregory, became friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Civil rights leader Medgar Evers invited him to speak at a voter registration rally in Jackson, Mississippi at a time when people were being killed for fighting for the right to vote. Dick Gregory marched in Selma and fought Jim Crow, going up against police dogs, billy clubs, fire hoses and jail. He was shot during the 1965 Watts Rebellion and that same year, spoke at one of the first major teach-ins on the Vietnam War at University of California, Berkeley.

Dick Gregory was a target of FBI and police surveillance. In 1968, he ran as a write-in presidential candidate—saying if he won, the first thing he’d do was paint the White house black and then he’d bring all the soldiers back from Vietnam. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover considered Gregory such a threat that he wrote a memo to the Chicago FBI office saying, “sophisticated, completely untraceable means of neutralizing Gregory should be developed,” including getting help from the Mafia.

Dick Gregory went on many hunger strikes for justice—in solidarity with Native Americans, against school segregation, against the Vietnam War, just to name a few. And he saw his struggle for freedom on a world scale—going to Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis, Northern Ireland in support of the IRA hunger strikers, and Ethiopia many times to speak out against hunger.

Gregory was especially present in the fight against police murder and brutality. In 2014, he went to Ferguson to join the protesters against the police shooting of Michael Brown. There, he told Revolution, “This went all over the world... and that’s why the president had to send some people in, he’s been embarrassed all over the world. And that’s what the young white kids did in the 60s at the Democratic National Convention—‘The whole world’s watching, the whole world’s watching.’ And what you see out here is joy.”

Dick Gregory had a wide-ranging set of interests, insights, and opinions—some on target, others not—and he promoted some views that led people away from confronting the real sources of oppression. But he never made peace with the system and fought his whole life for justice and freedom for the people.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/colin-kaepernick-must-be-hired-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

More Than 1,000 at NFL Headquarters Demand: Colin Kaepernick Must Be Hired!

August 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Over a thousand people, overwhelmingly African American, rallied in support of football quarterback Colin Kaepernick in front of NFL Headquarters on 5th Avenue in New York City August 23.  People came from as far away as D.C. to take part.  Speakers at the rally included religious leaders, local politicians, and two of the leaders of the January 21 international Women’s March.  Political commenter Symone Sanders was one of the MC’s.  Dozens of members of the Black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, which is organizing nationally for Kap, turned out.  Actress Susan Sarandon sent her support on social media, tweeting “together we win.  I stand with Colin.”

Last year Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started a national movement of professional football players which spread to other sports, by refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest police murder and brutality against people of color.  In retaliation, since leaving the 49ers at the end of the season Kap has been blackballed by the owners of every team, who refuse to sign him.  A national call has spread to boycott and protest the NFL till he is signed. 

The sense of seriousness and determination at the rally was palpable.  It was clear in speaking to people that events in Charlottesville, and Trump’s response supporting the white supremacists have greatly affected people.   After the rally ended members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism announced the call by Refuse Fascism–“NO! November 4: It Begins—This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.”  

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/trump-threatens-to-pardon-fascist-pig-joe-arpaio-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Trump Threatens to Pardon
Fascist Pig Joe Arpaio

Updated August 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

ALSO SEE:
The Dangerous Implications of the Pardon of Joe Arpaio

Posted August 27, 2017
READ HERE

On Tuesday in Phoenix, Donald Trump did not pardon his friend and supporter, Joe Arpaio, the fascist former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, who had been convicted of contempt of court after defying a court order to stop the sheriffs' racial profiling practices.  But as the crowd screamed to pardon Arpaio, Trump told them, "Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?... I'll make a prediction.  He will be doing just fine. But I won't do it tonight because I don't want to cause any controversy. Sheriff Joe can feel good."

Joe Arpaio Is the Definition of a Fascist Pig

"Sheriff Joe" brutally arrested and deported Latino immigrants. After arresting them he housed them in a draconian "tent city," where temperatures inside reached into the high 100s in the summer and down to the low 40s in the winter with holes in the tents that let the wind and the rain in.  People died due to the extremely harsh conditions they faced while being incarcerated.

He served as sheriff from 1993 to 2016, where he conducted vicious sweeps and raids in the Latino community, stopping and arresting anyone who looked Latino.

Arpaio's brutal treatment of immigrants was reminiscent of Bull Connor, the KKK pig, who brutalized Black people and civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s in Alabama.

A tremendous struggle opposing Arpaio and his gang of thugs broke out.  Thousands of people marched against Arpaio. Celebrities came out in opposition to him.  Bumper stickers with "Fuck Arpaio" could be seen in the Phoenix area.  "No Deportation Zone" signs appeared on the streets and houses in the immigrant communities.

In the context of tenacious struggle of the people, in June 2008 the Department of Justice initiated an investigation of Arpaio for racial profiling. Arpaio responded by saying he would not cooperate with the investigation. In 2011, the Justice Department issued a report concluding there was pervasive racial profiling, and the Department of Homeland Security revoked federal authority for the Sheriffs to detain immigrants. In 2012 the DOJ filed suit against the Sheriffs, which led to a court order that Arpaio cease racial profiling.

Arpaio defied the court order, including by arresting 500 people on the basis of racial profiling, which he bragged was “just for spite.” As a result, he was convicted of criminal and civil contempt in late July of this year.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 5 and could face up to six months in jail. That maximum sentence is obscene in itself for the horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated by this Nazi, but now Trump is hinting very, very strongly he's about to pardon him.  

Trump previously lauded Arpaio as a "great American patriot" who had "done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration" and indicated that he was going to pardon him.  Pardoning "Sheriff Joe" will be another kick in the face to the immigrants and other people in this country, who are brutalized and murdered by the cops who walk free, even when they are convicted!!

A Torturer and a Murderer

Revolution reported on this in 2010:

"Sheriff Joe" Arpaio likes to call himself "America's Toughest Sheriff." He has a long record of human rights abuses documented by Amnesty International. Just one example: In June 1997, an Amnesty International delegation visited Maricopa County, Arizona, where Arpaio became sheriff in 1993, to collect information on the treatment of inmates because of concern following allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners and the death of inmate Scott Norberg in Madison Street Jail on June 1, 1996, after he was placed in a restraint chair. (Read the AI report, "Ill-Treatment of Inmates in Maricopa County Jails—Arizona" at amnestyusa.org.)

In the 1990s Arizona's prison system was seriously overcrowded. Arpaio's solution was to use old army tents to build a tent city complex in the desert where, in the summer, temperatures sometimes reach 150 degrees. He brags that he saves money by feeding inmates only twice a day—and then giving them "green baloney." He is especially fond of putting his "volunteer" chain gangs on public display for "educational purposes." Example: prisoners shoveling dirt and breaking rocks under the hot sun in striped prison uniforms and chains—in downtown Phoenix. He also created the first women's chain gang in the history of the country.

And Revolution identified:

In the early '90s, Arizona was the site of vigilante activities by ranchers whose land was a crossing point for immigrants. The ranchers, with the cooperation of the police, would capture and detain groups of immigrants and turn them over to the Border Patrol. They also advertised vacation hunting parties where KKK and Nazi types would gather on the ranch of Roger Barnett and go out terrorizing immigrants at night. These activities devolved into the Minuteman movement who were then legitimized and promoted by "moderate" Democrat governors like Janet Napolitano, then-governor of Arizona and Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, along with open reactionaries like Lou Dobbs.

It was in this climate that Arpaio became point man for the forces bent on whipping up hatred toward immigrants and hunting them down. In 2006, Arpaio began devoting most of his department's resources to this effort.

Arpaio's anti-immigrant sweeps are brutal. A 160-man deputized force and a volunteer "posse" whose members often wear black ski-masks patrol the roadways looking for suspected "illegals" and then arrest them for "traffic violations." In 2007, Arpaio marched 200 Latino men dressed in striped prison uniforms with "unsentenced prisoner" prominently written on their chests. They had chains around their ankles and carried their belongings in bags. They were being moved from the Durango jail complex to a separate tent city for the undocumented, surrounded by electric wire. Arpaio "joked" in his daily press release page, "This is a population of criminals more adept perhaps at escape..." "But this is a fence they won't want to scale because they risk receiving quite a shock—literally."

This is the fascist pig that Trump wants to pardon. And, by itself, the promotion of this fascist thug as a role model for police, sheriffs, and other pigs is a reason for people to demand that the Trump/Pence regime MUST GO!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/hurricane-harvey-approaches-the-texas-coast-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Harvey Hits the Texas Coast: A Natural Disaster, the Crisis of a System

Updated August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey tore into the Texas Gulf Coast. This storm, and the continuing unprecedented deluge of rain, is already a catastrophe of mammoth proportions. Millions of people’s lives have been thrown into a desperate struggle for survival. Many of these people are poor Chicano, immigrant, and Black people who have worked on the docks and refineries of the area, or toiled in the rice, cotton, and cane fields, or been relegated to dilapidated urban slums and unincorporated rural colonias. Or, people already living on the edge in Houston, including thousands of homeless people.

One of the reasons for the massive flooding, and the inability of the ground to absorb the pounding of furious rain, is unrestrained capitalist development—a seemingly endless expanse of parking lots, shopping malls, and suburban subdivisions—which has dug up meadows and pastures, obliterated grasslands and wetlands, lined bayous with concrete and channeled them, and cut down forests. This is a big factor in why the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi said that flooding will likely make many areas “uninhabitable for an extended period.”

Some officials called for evacuations. But there was never a plan for organizing the moving of hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people to safety, and providing food, shelter, and care for them. Before the storm hit, the mayor of Corpus Christi said, “I’m not going to risk our police and fire people trying to drag somebody out of the house if they don’t want to go.” Right now, at least tens of thousands of people are desperate for shelter, food, medical care, and water.

Corpus Christi and the “Coastal Bend” of Texas have one highway, and another state highway that parallels the coast. There is no train service, and virtually no public transportation. The numerous small towns and isolated rural areas along the coast are even more bereft. And this area is already, or will soon be underwater.

The governing outlook in the government’s response to the horrific flooding is dominated by the capitalist ethic—“every man for himself.” If you have a car, if you have money to drive hundreds of miles, you may be ok. Otherwise, forget it. And even if you have a car, leaving the area is almost impossible. And even for people with the resources to drive out of the area, there is no realistic way to do that. When Hurricane Rita hit Houston in 2005, the traffic stalled for hundreds of miles heading towards San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.

Hurricanes in the Gulf Coast are not unexpected. In fact, they are common. People refer to events like “Ike,” “Rita,” “Allison” and know that everyone shared the experience. Yet nothing close to what is actually needed was done by the authorities to prepare for hurricanes socially; to be sure there are adequate evacuation plans, that elderly people and people in vulnerable and flood prone areas have a known plan for responding to the storm; for ensuring that shelters are well stocked with water, food, and sleeping areas, and capable of dealing with a large influx of people; for seeing that hospitals and other medical facilities are poised to meet a huge public health crisis, and other vital measures that are urgently needed—and quite predictable and possible to provide for. No great innovations in technology, analysis of the impending devastation, or production of shelter, food and water, or medical care are needed to accomplish this. The ability to determine and provide for all of these things exists now.

Under this capitalist system addressing these extreme environmental and human needs is not even part of the equation.

It Doesn’t Have to Go Down Like This

Before the hurricane hit, Trump met with Texas governor Abbott—a fellow fascist. They said they were preparing for the storm—as it was hours from striking a large city! What they were preparing for is controlling human beings who are about to have a major disaster crash into and wash over their lives. They were preparing to maintain some sense of the stability of their system. They also were preparing to maintain the crucial refineries and oil production that exists in Corpus Christi and the entire Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, and are a significant source of profit and strength to their entire global system of plunder and oppression.

Trump tweeted that the government, in particular FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was “ready” for dealing with Harvey. But next to nothing had been done to prepare for this eventuality, other than order police and National Guard forces to mobilize. And nothing was being done in advance to mobilize and organize masses of people to confront and assist each other in getting through this catastrophe.

It doesn’t have to go down like this.

Let’s be clear—this storm is a natural disaster. But most of the suffering, death, and dislocation it brings will be caused by the capitalist-imperialist system. Every death, every human rendered homeless, every person’s life destroyed by Harvey and its aftermath will be a crime of this system.

 

WE DEMAND

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/why-the-whole-regime-must-be-driven-out-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

One Day...
Why THE WHOLE REGIME
Must Be Driven Out

August 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

In just the last 24 hours:

All this while a deadly storm is barreling down on the people of Texas and Louisiana with no organized way out.

One nightmare on top of another on top of another on top of another. This is fascism consolidating—committing crime after crime after crime.  

This must stop! We must take on every one of these outrages—but that alone is not sufficient—we will be on losing ground if we don't connect the dots. All this is part of a larger fascist regime—and all of it must STOP.

Every day, every outrage must fuel our determination to get organized—November 4, It Begins!

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: This Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!"

From the call from Refuse Fascism for November 4: "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.”

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

From members of the Revolution Club, Los Angeles

Nickerson Gardens: Connecting the Real Revolution with People Rising Up and Defying Police Repression

August 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Over the past few weeks members of the Revolution Club have been out in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts standing with residents, activists, and others who have been standing up to police repression, murder, and terror. We've also been going deep with some people into what's the source of the problem and what's the real solution to this and the many other outrages in society. 

July 25 marked one year since the brutal murder of 18-year-old Richard Risher in the Nickerson Gardens. In late June the L.A. Police Commission justified this murder and cleared all the pigs involved. Lisa Simpson, the mother of Richard, gathered with over a dozen friends and activists to commemorate her son on the one year anniversary of his murder, and led them on a march from a nearby park to the housing projects. As we marched we came across two pigs harassing a group of Black youth who were filming a music video that later we learned was a tribute to Richard. The pigs had the two Black youth up against the wall and in handcuffs and the protesters got out their phones and started filming the cops and chanting "Let him go!" The pigs were surrounded and slowly began to back off and soon let the Black youth go. Everyone cheered, some yelling, "No! Not this time motherfuckers!" The pigs were driven out of the parking lot of the projects. People felt very defiant and decided to take the streets, which brought traffic to a halt. A number of pig cars showed up and both pushed people back on the sidewalk and tried to do their "community policing" bullshit routine, at one point a Black pig claiming he was known and liked in the projects to which one person asked the crowd whether that was true and people replied, "Hell no!" People were calling them murderers and racists. At some point the pigs decided not to remain on the scene and left. The evening ended with a beautiful ceremony where Lisa and others released lanterns into the air in honor of her son.

On August 9 people in the Nickerson Gardens stood up and rebelled against the police once again. Several people were arrested and several cop cars damaged. The Revolution Club went down to the Nickerson following this incident to talk to people and learn more about what went on. We learned that residents and friends had gathered to celebrate the birthday and memory of someone who passed away a couple of years ago. They do this every year, hang out and have a good time. People were eating, friends were chilling outside, children were running around playing. Everyone we talked with said the same thing over and over, "It was peaceful, everything was peaceful" until the pigs decided to crash the party. They detained and arrested two people, one of them was Zach Randolph a veteran two time NBA All Star who this year signed a huge contract with the Sacramento Kings. He was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell which everyone we spoke to thought was outrageous and ridiculous! As they arrested the two people the crowd grew larger and angrier at the harassment and so people stood up to this. According to the Los Angeles Times, the tires of several police cars were slashed and their windows broken. The pigs had to call for backup and in a matter of minutes dozens of police cars came storming in. They made skirmish lines to disperse the crowd. 

In the days that followed many people we talked with were still angry about all that had gone down. One Black man we spoke with said the police do this all the time, and recounted how last year he'd been arrested at a similar gathering where people were kicking it and having a good time. He said he knows about Zach Randolph and knows he is not a drug dealer. Others felt Zach was targeted because as a successful person he is not supposed to be hanging out in places like the Nickerson. One person who saw the front cover of Revolution newspaper "This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!" said, "We cannot have eight years of Trump!" and talked about how many people are not going to make it if he's allowed to stay in for all that time. Another person yelled out that white supremacists and the KKK are really running the White House. 

We ran into some Black youth hanging outside. We talked to them about what was, at the time, unfolding in Charlottesville. We had just learned that one person, Heather Heyer, had been killed and many others injured by a white supremacist who rammed his car into the protesters. One person took out his phone and looked up the video. A member of the Revolution Club did agitation on what is represented by what's going on in Charlottesville and all across the country and what's really at the root of the problem and what's the real solution to all this. One person in his 20s said he'd come across some things online about the Klan in Virginia and was outraged that all these white supremacists were going around with torches and defending the Confederate monuments. There was a whole discussion with him and others about who are these modern storm troopers, the role they are playing in consolidating fascism in this country, the genocidal plans against Black and Brown people that the Trump/Pence regime is trying to accelerate, and the need to get organized for an actual revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time... and as part of that working now to oust the current regime before it's too late.

One person who'd been quiet but listening asked, "OK, but what do we do then?" We pulled out the pamphlet "How We Can Win—How We Can Really Make Revolution" and talked to people about how we are working back from making revolution, what is meant by revolution and a revolutionary situation. We got into some key things in the pamphlet, including the section on "how we could defeat them" and what we need to do now to get ready for that time. Big questions having to do with winning when the time comes to go all out for the revolutionary overthrow of this system came up and were gotten into in a serious way. At one point we challenged one person we'd been talking to about joining the Revolution Club. He said he felt him and others would join "when it's right in front of our face, if the white supremacists were right in front of us then we would join." We told him that by that time it would be too late! We struggled some more around the need for him and many others like him to confront what's represented by the current situation and the outlines of a civil war we're seeing. And as part of challenging some of these youth in the Nickerson to get out of killing each other and get into the revolution, we talked to them about the crucial work being done this summer in the South Side of Chicago by the Revolution Club.

Then on August 16 the L.A County Sheriffs shot and killed 34-year-old Kenneth Lewis Jr. These pigs claim he had a gun and took off running. The pigs chased him and as he entered the Nickerson Gardens he was shot numerous times. People we talked with in the aftermath of all this say he did not have a weapon. We spoke to a family member who showed us a video that was uploaded on social media that was recorded right after Kenneth had been shot. It's very hard to watch because you see Kenneth on the ground with his hands cuffed as he keeps sitting up and falling down and fighting to stay alive. No ambulance during the whole video clip. All you see are a bunch of Sheriff pigs with loaded weapons "securing" the area as Kenneth breathes some of his last breaths. He died later the same night. 

Family and friends had a candlelight vigil the next evening. They were seen visibly upset, many crying and mourning the loss of their loved one. A member of the Revolution Club had a Stolen Lives poster which shows the faces of a few of the many thousands and thousands of people who have been murdered by the police throughout the years. People stopped to see the poster and look at the faces, many people shocked to learn that children and grandmothers were on there. Some pointing to the teenagers on the poster kept asking in disbelief, "they were killed by the police?" We talked to some of the people about the urgency to get organized for an actual revolution, a revolution that would do away with the system that gives rise to the oppression of Black and Brown people, an actual revolution that emancipates ALL of humanity. 

On August 19, Lisa Simpson held a rally and protest in response to the murder of Kenneth Lewis Jr. She was joined by members of the Revolution Club and other activists. The rapper Lady of Rage was also there to stand up against police terror. We marched through the projects calling on people to join, to step out of their houses and take to the streets. Some of the people came out to see what was going on, people raised their fists in support, others gave a thumbs up, and others chanted along. At the end some of us had a discussion about the role of the police. One Revolution Club member pulled out a copy of Bob Avakian's book BAsics and read 1:24 on the real role of the police:

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 the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

Everyone nodded and applauded. We then talked about the work the Revolution Club is doing in the South Side of Chicago and called on people to contribute to this effort.

These have been some tense times in the Nickerson Gardens projects, with the pigs harassing and murdering and with the people rising up and defying the police and their repression. There is such a need right now to be joining with, and taking further, the ways people begin to rise up and not accept what this system does to them. And to take this where it needs to go, we need to be bringing people the strategy and leadership that exists for an actual revolution and the leadership for that revolution, Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/saturday-update-hurricane-harvey-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Update on Hurricane Harvey, Saturday Night:
Enormous Destruction Already...but the Worst May Be Yet to Come

August 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Hurricane Harvey tore into the Texas coast late Friday night, just northeast of Corpus Christi. At this writing, it is difficult to determine the extent of damage Harvey has caused. But it is certain that the slow-moving storm has already wreaked enormous destruction on Corpus Christi and smaller coastal towns. And the worst may be yet to come in the days ahead, including in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S.

At least one person has been reported dead because of the storm. Countless homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged. Winds uprooted giant oak trees, and were recorded at 132 miles per hour in the town of Port Aransas. The Electric Reliability Council, which oversees Texas’ electrical grid, reported that hundreds of thousands of people were without power by Saturday morning; about 200,000 in the Corpus Christi area alone.

The mayor pro tem of the coastal town of Rockport, which has a population of about 10,000, advised residents who didn’t or couldn’t evacuate that they should “make some type of preparation to mark their arm with a Sharpie pen. Put their Social Security number on it, and their name”—so their corpses could be identified. After the storm hit, the mayor told CNN the town has suffered “widespread devastation” and that the authorities haven’t conducted home checks or searches for people injured or killed by the storm. He said, “We’ve already taken a severe blow from the storm but we’re anticipating another one” from flooding in the storm’s aftermath.

What’s Important Under This Capitalist System

A natural disaster like Harvey reveals some fundamental things about the society in which it occurs—important things about the economic and social relations of that society, and what the people who dominate it value. Even in the early stages of this storm, when much about the extent of damage is unclear and the destruction is far from finished, some truths are coming into focus.

The heaviest rains have only begun to pound the Houston area. Predictions are that they will continue for several days. Houston is a flat, low-lying city with numerous bayous—sluggish, brackish streams that ribbon the entire metropolitan area. They are prone to overflowing even during the intense but frequent storms that hit the area, and often flood entire sections of the city. Now some of the bayous are already topping their banks, and as much as 20 more inches of rain is expected. How many of the almost six-and-a-half-million people in the Houston area will lose their homes, their vehicles—even their lives—is yet to be determined.

Texas governor Greg Abbott advised people in Houston to evacuate: “If I were living in the Houston region, as I once did, I would decide to head to areas north of there.” Meanwhile, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner told people to stay put, and his view was echoed by an official with the federal Office of Homeland Security: “Local officials know best. Houston has no evacuation order.” This was not a personal dispute. It was an expression of the fact that there has been no systematic, overall plan of preparing for a predictable environmental and human catastrophe in a heavily populated and sprawling metropolitan area.

This is an area where, as an article by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune put it last year, the question is “not if, but when Houston’s perfect storm will hit.” Buffalo Bayou has been dredged, widened, and renamed the Houston Ship Channel. It is “one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Flanked by 10 major refineries—including the nation’s largest—and dozens of chemical manufacturing plants, the Ship Channel is a crucial transportation route for crude oil and other key products, such as plastics and pesticides.”

There is a great possibility that a storm like Harvey—with storm surges pushing in from the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay, and massive flooding coming uncontrolled down Buffalo Bayou—can trigger an environmental catastrophe... for the people who live in the area, and for the fragile and already threatened ecosystems off Galveston Bay and the gulf and the wetlands around them. The Texas Gulf Coast is home to what an article in the Guardian described as “an astonishing range of life, from fish and amphibians to the birds that stop over during migrations along the great Central Flyway from South American winter habitats to arctic nesting grounds. What happens to the dunes, estuaries and marshes along the upper Gulf Coast can be felt across the entire hemisphere for years.”

Government officials and commentary in business publications have expressed concern that a storm-caused disruption to production and shipping along the Houston Ship Channel would be disruptive to the global (capitalist) economy, and to the profitability of the corporations with facilities there. A major storm that hits the Ship Channel could even “kill America’s economy,” one Republican congressman claimed. But as the authors of the Texas Tribune/ProPublica article pointed out, “For all its economic importance, though, the Ship Channel also is the perfect conduit to transport massive storm surge into an industrial area that also is densely populated. ... the Ship Channel itself ... would probably be littered with debris and toxins.” This has happened in previous storms which were less destructive than Harvey is poised to become.

Hurricane Ike hit Houston in 2008. It wasn’t as powerful as Harvey. According to an NBC News account, “In the days before and after the deadly storm, companies and residents reported at least 448 releases of oil, gasoline and dozens of other substances into the air and water and onto the ground in Louisiana and Texas. The hardest hit places were industrial centers near Houston and Port Arthur, Texas ... ‘We are dealing with a multitude of different types of pollution here ... everything from diesel in the water to gasoline to things like household chemicals,’ a Coast Guard officer said.” These toxins caused “widespread environmental damage ... ripping through the region’s barrier islands, washing debris into Galveston Bay and the Gulf, and imperiling animals, fish and plants by pouring excessive amounts of saltwater into marshes.”

This system of capitalism-imperialism is hell-bent on maximizing profit. Its representatives and leaders are focused on preserving its profitability during times of stress, and fearful of disruptions that threaten its functioning. They take some measures to protect and insure their investments—while doing next to nothing to undertake preparations that would safeguard against environmental destruction and the damage to human and other life that entails.

It is a system that has long outlived its time.

Check back at revcom.us for further continuing coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/287/concerning-the-thomas-jefferson-controversy-automatically-disqualified-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

Concerning the Thomas Jefferson Controversy...

Automatically Disqualified

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

Originally posted December 9, 2012, Editors' Note updated August 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors' note: Recently, in the wake of the Klan-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, where fascist thugs defending a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee rampaged through the streets and murdered Heather Heyer, Trump made clear where he stands. With the racists and fascists—loud and clear. When there was widespread outrage at this, Trump refused to back down. In defense of the Confederate monuments, he said that tearing those down would lead to bringing down the monuments to all slave-owning founders, including Washington and Jefferson, and that this would be a threat to American values. This actually revealed a great deal about the hypocrisy at the core of American politics. Thomas Jefferson was—in addition to being a major figure in the American Revolution and the first decades of the United States—also a major slave owner and defender of the slave system. As president, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase—the buying from France of a huge territory that now comprises part or all of 15 states, primarily in the interests of the slave owners and with the aim of spreading the brutal and murderous version of the slave system in North America into these new areas. Some people argue that Jefferson must be "judged in the context of his times," and that—taking into account his beliefs and actions concerning slavery—he was a "flawed giant." The following, which is taken from parts of a talk by Bob Avakian (BA) several years ago, was originally posted at revcom.us in 2012, and we think it is quite relevant in the current situation. For a more thorough treatment of Jefferson and his theories, see BA's Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy.

 

Now, in this context it might be useful to think about the contrast—in response to a system of oppression and the possibilities offered by the oppressors—the contrast between the response of a slave who seeks at most minor changes in the conditions of slavery, or the response of the serf in the Middle Ages who cannot imagine a world without his lord and master owning the land and dominating the work and the very lives of the serfs, who cannot imagine a different world than the one in which the place of everyone, from the ruling monarch to the lowly serfs themselves, is predetermined by a supposed god and reinforced by religious dogma. All that on the one hand, but in contrast to that, the response of the conscious, scientific freedom fighter and emancipator of humanity. What the latter, the conscious freedom fighter and emancipator of humanity, knows and which the slave needs to know is that only by getting rid of the system of slavery can there be really any meaningful change in the position of the slave. And the same applies to the serf—only by abolishing that whole system can the possibility of something radically different and better be opened up. And the same is true in relation to the current system of exploitation and oppression we live under, the capitalist-imperialist system.

But we have a problem. The problem is we have a lot of bourgeois-democratic intellectuals thinking like serfs. [laughter and applause] You go out and you try to talk to them about something radically different... "No, no, no, we gotta make sure the Democrats stay in office." You say: "But the world could be a completely different way." "I can't imagine there could be anything better than our system of democracy—we just have to make it work better." "Yeah, but look, there's a whole history here of communist..." "Oh, don't talk to me about communist revolution—that was a nightmare and a horror and it just proved what I'm saying that there's nothing better than this system." Bourgeois-democratic intellectuals thinking like serfs—unable to see beyond the confines—or refusing to see beyond the confines of this system.

Now, I want to introduce a phrase into political discourse. I got it from a movie and I'll talk about that in a second. The phrase is "Automatically Disqualifed." If you come up to anybody and start saying: "I want to talk about freedom and democracy," and then you want to go on and talk about our great founding fathers, you are Automatically Disqualified. [laughter and applause] I mean somebody needs to tell these people: "You do know that you're talking about slave owners, right? You do know that out of the first five presidents of the United States, four of them were slave owners. You do know that, don't you? Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe—you do know that's what we're talking about—people who owned other human beings and viciously exploited them while they were denouncing the 'slavery' the British monarch imposed on them." Automatically Disqualified.

Now I got this from the movie High Fidelity which is a movie about . . . the main character is played by John Cusack. And he's a guy who owns what used to be called a record store—now it's gotta be called a music store. But anyway, he owned a record store and during the course of the goings on in the record store, some of the employees there, one of whom is played by Jack Black, would get into discussions about what music was great music and so on and so forth. And at one point one of the other characters mentions a song—I believe it was by the Temptations—and the Jack Black character says, "Automatically disqualified because of its association with The Big Chill." Now I don't know how many of you remember the movie The Big Chill. But The Big Chill was a movie very consciously made by Lawrence Kasden, whom if I remember correctly was actually part of SDS back in the University of Michigan in the '60s and then turned his back on it. And this is a movie that's consciously made to say to all those kind of people who were part of the upsurge of the '60s, particularly the white middle class youth in the student movements and antiwar movements: "It's okay for you to have turned your back on all that. It's alright for you to have settled in and accommodated to the system and go along with it because now we know better."

That was the whole point of the movie and it's captured in many scenes, but one in particular stuck with me. And that's when there's a woman—I believe it's played by Mary Kay Place—who became a public defender to help people out. And think about how insidious and vicious this is: they're going back and forth, she's talking about how disoriented she is, disillusioned she is, and all these people she has to defend as a public defender. And other people said, "What do you expect?" And she said, "Well, I expected they'd all be Bobby and Huey—I never thought they'd all be so guilty." Now think of the viciousness of this and what message it's delivering—and it makes me furious. Look, there have been people from among the oppressed nationalities, Black people and others—I've known some—who've given up and sold out and stabbed people in the back. But there was a phenomenon when we went out in the '60s—we would go out into the neighborhoods of the oppressed, spreading the word of radical change and so on. And a lot of people were very positive toward it but some people if they got to know us a bit and felt like talking to us down on the ground would say, "Look, you white people, you come out here and you say this and talk all this stuff but when this is all done, when this movement ebbs you're gonna go back into your lives and get comfortable with this system and leave us here fucked once again." And it makes me angry that so many people have allowed that to be what they've done.

I think of the song by the Clash, "London Calling." I don't know what they were getting at but I want to take one of the lines—"London calling" and they'd say "Come out of your cupboards, you boys and girls." And I feel like saying to all these people who once knew better and should know better now from out of the '60s: "Get the fuck out of that place. You know that you were right when you recognized the criminal nature of this system. You know you were right when you knew there was a radical alternative that was better. Get out of that whole shit of accommodating to the system. Come out of your cupboards and join with the movement and get back into the thing where you're doing something real that means something and is fighting for the oppressed." [applause] Whether they do that or not we have to win many, many more people, older and especially younger, to be doing just that from all different parts of society, but especially among those who most urgently and desperately need this revolution.

So don't come talking to me about the founding fathers and Jefferson and Madison. "Well, yes," you say, "but you gotta understand. See, that's the way everybody saw things in those times. People didn't know any better in those times. Everybody thought that slavery was just a natural part of things, and it eventually would die out."

Bullshit! Don't try to tell me that nobody in the time of Jefferson and Madison knew better. There were many people who knew better—not the least of which were the slaves themselves! [applause] And here's a fact—I referred to Adam Goodheart who unfortunately just put this in a footnote in this book 1861, but he did have it in there. He recounts that this man named Edward Coles, who for a time was private secretary to James Madison and later became the governor of Illinois, freed his own slaves and then tried to convince Madison and Jefferson to do the same. But they refused. So don't tell me people didn't know that there was another possibility and it couldn't have been done differently. Jefferson, the big hero of American bourgeois democracy, not only was a slave owner, he was actively using his presidency and his prestige to fight for the extension of the slave system. That's a big part of what the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800s was all about which at the time doubled the size of the United States and provided an avenue for the expansion of the slave system. And don't talk to me about Andrew Jackson, the great populist hero being upheld these days, who was a slave owner and who then forced the Cherokees—who had gotten into a bad place, some of whom had actually gotten set up on plantations and owned slaves themselves—but then, when it was decided that they needed more room for Europeans to come in and do that, under Jackson's direction these Cherokees were sent on the Trail of Tears, marching across huge expanses of territory in harsh conditions and with many dying, including children, all along the way. Don't talk to me about the founding fathers and the great populist slave-owning leaders of this country. If you do, you are Automatically Disqualified.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/pardon-of-joe-arpaio-en.html

Revolution #505 August 21, 2017

The Dangerous Implications of the Pardon of Joe Arpaio

August 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 25, Donald Trump issued a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was facing a six-month sentence for criminal contempt of court.

Trump and Arpaio have been like-minded fascists for years. Both were powerful forces behind the “birther” movement that sought to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama under the pretext of challenging the legitimacy of his birth certificate, but really on the basis that no Black person belongs in the White House. Trump’s original political claim to infamy was calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, young Black and Latino teens bullied and tricked by the police into false confessions, and falsely convicted of rape. Arpaio’s was essentially criminalizing the entire Latino population of the Phoenix, Arizona area.

During Arpaio’s 24 years as sheriff in the Phoenix area his pigs conducted vicious sweeps and raids in the Latino community, stopping and arresting anyone who looked Latino. He locked them up in a draconian “tent city,” where temperatures inside reached into the high 100s in the summer and down to the low 40s in the winter with holes in the tents that let the wind and the rain in. People died due to these conditions.

So, then, what does it say that Trump, speaking to a fascist rally in Phoenix, said that Arpaio was being punished “for doing his job”? On one level, Trump blurted out a basic truth about the nature of all pigs in America: they are violent enforcers of a system of exploitation and oppression and when they do that, they are doing their jobs.

But on another level, it marked a major move to tear up norms, to tear up what thin restraints there have been on how that is supposed to be done. To attack the rule of law. With very ominous implications.

Joe Arpaio was defiantly overt in using racial profiling to stop people because they were Latino. That is blatantly unconstitutional. Arpaio was the focus of years of resistance and struggle. In 2010, between ten and twenty thousand people marched in Phoenix under the slogans “Stop the Hate!” “Stop Arpaio!” “Stop the Raids!” Arpaio was the subject of thousands of lawsuits, and the subject of a scathing report by Amnesty International. In the context of this outrage and protest, the Justice Department investigated and “discovered” that Arpaio was racially profiling in violation of people’s constitutional rights. A court order was issued demanding he stop.

Arpaio openly defied that court order for 17 months. As a result, he was charged, tried, and convicted of criminal and civil contempt in late July of this year. For all his massive crimes, he would likely have been sentenced to just six months in jail. But before he could even be sentenced Trump pardoned Arpaio.

In pardoning Arpaio (after first, unsuccessfully leaning on his attorney general, Jefferson Sessions, to drop the case), Trump is sending a message that this racist, xenophobic fascist thug is a model for law enforcement. And, tearing up any pretense of everyone being equal under the law. This is of a piece with things like Trump’s Muslim ban which overtly targets people based on their religion, and his calls for imposing “stop-and-frisk” style racial profiling in Chicago and nationwide.

And on another level, issuing a presidential pardon this early in the term of a president, in the way this was done, sends a message in its own right. Trump ignored and stepped over the normal processes where someone convicted of a crime applies for pardon and there is a lengthy review process, including input from victims of the crime. Some people have pointed to the possibility that in issuing this pardon for Arpaio, in the way he did, Trump is sending a message as to how he might deal with criminal convictions of people resulting from the FBI investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russia. That’s possible. But the message being sent here goes way beyond that: Trump is flaunting a willingness and determination to subordinate the rule of law, including the courts and what are supposed to be civil and legal rights for people, beneath the powers of the executive. That is: the president above the law, and fascism above the law.

Revolution has written:

Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.” (See “What is Fascism”).

The Trump/Pence fascist regime is not about doing what is “normal”—it is about shattering the old governing and social "norms" of how things are done in the service of creating a powerful fascist state. And the pardon of Joe Arpaio was another in an escalating, rapid-fire series of moves by the Trump/Pence regime to radically tear up the rule of law and respect for what have been considered basic, constitutional rights, and replace that with a fascist order.

This outrageous pardon is one more, urgent, compelling reason for people to throw everything into driving this regime from power.