Revolution #506, August 28, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Houston Day 3: People Struggle to Survive the Catastrophe

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hurricane Harvey has been battering the Gulf Coast of Texas since Friday. First with winds topping 130 miles per hour. Then with an almost unbelievable deluge of rain that is predicted to continue for several more days. The National Weather Service described Harvey as "unprecedented." "All impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced," it continued.

The official number of dead, as of this writing, is five. But the mayor of Rockport, a town in the direct path of Harvey's landfall, told a press conference on Sunday that Nueces County officials informed him that there were "eight fatalities in the area of Rockport and Port Aransas." He also said that the town had been destroyed by the hurricane, and that much of the rubble and wreckage that had been people's homes, businesses, and boats only a few days earlier remained to be searched.

Several people have died in the flooding that has literally covered the Houston area. Countless houses and apartments have taken on several feet of water. Countless vehicles were abandoned and lay completely or partially submerged. Horrific scenes of people in a nursing home in a room as filthy water rose to their waists were aired on national TV. The main public hospital in the city and one of only two level-one trauma centers in Harris County has shut down and transferred its patients. As this storm continues, the potential is great for further deaths, and for more bodies to be found as the waters recede and rescue efforts intensify.

Tonight, August 27, the situation could get far more dangerous. More rain is expected—as much as an additional two feet or more. The website of the National Weather Service said "another 15 to 25 inches of rainfall is expected through Thursday. Storm totals in some locations may approach 50 inches. This is producing devastating flooding."

In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Sunday that it planned a "controlled release" of water from the two major reservoirs on the western side of the city. Most of this water will flow into already flooded bayous that course through central Houston. An official with the Corps said the release—planned for early Monday morning—is needed because the aging dams on the reservoirs may not be able to contain water which is predicted to rise by four to six inches an hour beginning Monday. As the Houston Chronicle reported, "Addicks and Barker [the reservoir dams] were built to protect the heart of the city by controlling the flow of water along Buffalo Bayou. Things haven't gone as planned."

Struggling to Make It Through the Disaster

People across the sprawling expanse that is the Houston metropolitan area are being impacted by this storm. Middle class and well-off areas such as West University, the wealthy Galleria shopping district, and subdivisions filled with NASA engineers were inundated. Several hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, were forced to shut their flood gates, and employees coming in on an emergency basis had to wade to work.

But it seems that the industrial and refinery towns east and southeast of downtown were particularly hard hit by overflowing bayous, raging surges of brown water surging through streets and into homes, freeways that resembled wide rivers. Market Street, the historic center of the 5th Ward, one of the oldest communities of Black people in the state, was under several feet of water. Pasadena, a refinery town along the Houston Ship Channel populated mainly by Chicanos and immigrants, suffered severe flooding.

People have struggled to assist each other and make it through this disaster. One woman wrote in an email that when she awoke she was "surprised to see regular people leading their own search and rescue operations. The current political climate would make us believe that everyone is divided, and we can never come together. However, I saw people from different races helping each other. People who had lost everything were risking their lives to rescue their neighbors."

People made makeshift rafts out of air mattresses and other material. Youths made repeated trips through waist-deep polluted water to see that entire families they didn't know were taken to dry ground. A man in a second story apartment took in three households of people flooded out from the first floor.

A woman in a town near Galveston Bay spoke of how the freeways in her area were "completely under water, couldn't nobody get nowhere." But she and others in the neighborhood "look out for each other, and we took it on ourselves to look out for people who were stuck or who didn't get ready. I got people living in my home now. Water's come up to the doorway, and then it went back when the rain stopped for a while. Now I don't know what's going to happen, probably it will come up again when it rains more. We'll see."

Harvey has already inflicted much suffering upon the people of the Texas Gulf Coast. But this pain is only beginning. Not only because the storm will inflict significant damage for days to come. More fundamentally, because this system and its rulers—in particular the Christian fascists like governor Greg Abbott who control Texas, and the Trump/Pence regime that is working to consolidate fascism in this country—have neither the desire nor the ability to meet the needs of the people.

Thousands of people have lost everything. Their houses, their apartments, their furniture, their clothes, their vehicles, their jobs. Schools their children attend; stores where they get their groceries; offices, factories, and restaurants where they work; parks where they try to get some recreation—much of this has been destroyed.

 

The Fake Compassion of Fascists

The authorities in Texas and nationally have been eager to portray their response as humane and compassionate. Governor Abbott said this is all about "Texans helping Texans." Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump's spokeswoman, said that "President Trump continued to stress his expectation that all departments and all agencies stay fully committed to supporting the governors of Texas and Louisiana and his number one priority of saving lives."

Abbott and Trump—both straight-up fascists—are very conscious of how George W. Bush's indifferent and repressive response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans triggered enormous protest and anger at his presidency. It raised fundamental questions about the system he presided over, in particular the status and treatment of Black people in the U.S., historically and down to today. In this period of enormous social dislocation, it seems that they want to appear compassionate even as they institute qualitatively more repressive—fascist—forms of control over all of society.

So far, the response of the authorities in Houston and Texas has not been so overtly murderous as it was in New Orleans after Katrina. The Houston mayor has said he encourages and welcomes the rescue and support efforts of citizens. Dozens of community centers have been set up throughout the city. But beneath this mirage of benevolence, police have seized on the crisis to continue to enforce brutal repression and control over masses of people. As one woman said about a convention center, "the police inside there are being rough and rude. We don't deserve to be treated like this... you get pushed around, talked crazy to, and disrespected by police". (See "Voices from Houston: 'We don't deserve to be treated like this'" for more of this and other interviews.)

Many people have demonstrated great courage and compassion in this time of adversity. But the crisis millions of people are enduring will intensify in the days, weeks, and months ahead. This system has no ability to provide for the well-being of masses of people, and Abbott and Trump have no intention to even pretend.

The seven demands issued by Revolution are crucially important now, and will remain so in the days and weeks ahead.

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Voices from Houston and Rockport: "We don't deserve to be treated like this"

Updated August 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Report from Rockport, Hit Directly by Hurricane Harvey: “So much of the town is just piles of rubble...but it’s going to get worse”

Rockport, Texas, is a town of about 10,000 on the Gulf of Mexico, just north of Corpus Christi. Hurricane Harvey barreled right through and over Rockport, with winds over 130 miles per hour. The small town was flattened, and torn to shreds. Revolution  recently had the opportunity to speak to a long-time resident of Rockport, who left just before the hurricane hit and is now back in the town. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

~~~~~~~~~~

The storm came right over us. There really wasn’t time for anyone to prepare. It seemed like it was going to hit further south, down by the (Rio Grande) Valley, and not be that powerful. Then very quickly that changed. Really you need 72 hours to evacuate even a town the size of Rockport, but we didn’t have half that. So, some people got out. Some people didn’t. Either they didn’t want to or couldn’t. Rockport is basically a peninsula, with water on three sides, so there’s only one way out. There’s a barrier island between the town and the Gulf, but that’s like a sandbar that’s disappearing fast. And it’s really bad for people who didn’t get out of town. And for a lot of the ones who did.

I went up towards San Antonio and stayed there for a couple of days. [After returning to Rockport,] it was a shock to see what happened here. So much of the town is just piles of rubble. One thing people don’t understand is that a hurricane is like a huge tornado in a way. I grew up where there were a lot of tornados, and you can see where one building is obliterated and a building can be standing right next to it, looking like nothing happened to it. Most of what’s here is gone, but there are some things standing. Not much, but some.


A mobile park in Port Aransas, Texas, is destroyed after Hurricane Harvey landed near Corpus Christi on August 26. Photo: AP

But you go by these trailer parks, and they’re gone. The trailer parks are the worst. Aransas County is the smallest county in Texas, size-wise, and about half of it lives in Rockport. But there are still isolated areas, and most of it seems pretty rural. So it’s going to take quite a while to really go through and see what’s left. See who’s left. You hear different things about how many people are dead. I don’t know. But it’s going to get worse.

“No one really knows how many people died”

There are some really expensive houses here in Rockport. This is a tourist town and a retiree town. But it’s right on the Bay, there’s water everywhere, the fishing is great. So some people have built some very expensive homes. There’s a famous country singer with a house here ... not Garth Brooks, but somebody like that. So there’s a handful of multi-millionaires who have huge mansions, big yachts, maybe tennis courts. I’ll tell you, I’ve been by there, and those places are gone. They’re flattened. You might not know what had been there if you went by now.

But most of the town is poor. Our average income is high, because there are these very rich people. But basically everybody else is poor or retired, or both. There’s a lot of retired people. Most of them, almost all of them really, don’t have much money. Some of them live here year round, others come down during the winter, and people call them “snowbirds.” But pretty much all of them live in these small trailers that are pretty flimsy to begin with. I’m pretty worried about what we’re going to find when all the search and rescue heads out to them.

Plus a lot of them are in these little trailer parks out in the country. Most of the roads when you get out of the town of Rockport are gravel. Now there’s trees down, poles down, power lines down, debris scattered all over the place. When I say debris, I mean big pieces of lumber, appliances, machinery, all kinds of stuff. So getting around isn’t easy. Even in a small town like this, and a small county like Aransas County, it’s going to take a while. A lot of people we got out early, people who needed assistance, who had some physical problems.

About 60% of the population are Hispanics. Almost all the people who work in the restaurants, or on the fishing boats, and things like that that are part of the tourism trade, are Hispanics. ICE is around here a lot. People talk about it like, they raid some restaurants and things, and then the owners go to Laredo and know how to get people back to work, which they are in a week. But this seems different.

H-E-B (a large grocery chain) has been bringing in trucks of food and ice from San Antonio. They set up big spreads for people, and it seems like it’s open to everyone. Whether everyone feels like they can come to it, I don’t know. Now there’s a curfew, 7 pm to 7 am, no one can be out. Plus there’s roadblocks on the only ways into town. Nobody is being denied anything because they don’t have papers, as far as I can tell, but who knows how long that will last. SB4 starts this week, I think it is.


August 27, two Latino residents of Rockport, Texas pass out free water to residents stranded by Hurricane Harvey. Photo: AP

No one really knows how we’re going to manage. No one really knows how many people died. No one really knows what it will take to get this town on its feet. We probably won’t have water for weeks. We don’t have power. The IT systems are down. One silver lining, if you want to put it that way, is that things have cooled off after the hurricane. Usually it’s about a hundred degrees at this time of year. But that will come back, and we’ll have the heat, the insects, the stagnant water and probably disease. We don’t know where the kids will go to school.

So this whole situation is difficult. And it’s unsettled. And it’s probably going to stay that way for a while.

Houston, Day 4: Intensifying Devastation for the People, Rising Repression...and More Rain Expected

Monday, August 28—Harvey continues to pour torrential rain on Houston and coastal East Texas, and has begun drenching parts of Louisiana. Widespread flooding on city streets and interstate highways from overflowing bayous, rivers, creeks, and lakes, is a major problem. People are suffering from the devastation, thousands have been made homeless, and serious public health threats could develop. After rocking ashore as a Category 4 hurricane, the storm moved back out into the Gulf of Mexico, and then headed back inland again, bringing more rain with it.

Revcom.us/Revolution talked to a resident of Houston on Monday night. Stayed tuned as this situation develops.

~~~~~~~~~~

Revcom.us/Revolution: So I’m going to ask you about significant developments in Harvey, particularly in Houston, and I know you were talking about the northeast part of town that was particularly hit last night.

H: It was in the northeast, which is predominantly an impoverished Black neighborhood, and then areas around Lockwood, in 5th Ward, which are predominantly Latino neighborhoods, that were hit last night. So what’s very significant is that the majority of rescues are being done by non-governmental people up to this point. So you see all the footage of them going into the neighborhoods and bringing people out in like air boats and bus-boats, and kayaks and things of this nature, from those neighborhoods.

Revcom.us/Revolution: Where are they going?

H: Yeah, that’s a problem. At this point, the George R. Brown Convention Center with a capacity of 5,000 people has now exceeded that capacity. And some of the other shelters are now also almost full. The projection from the county press conferences is that they expect 30,000 needing shelter. So they are being taken to George R. Brown, and at a certain ... but they do not have the capacity to house people, and feed them and to keep them warm.  So that is one thing that has developed.

Now in this area in Tidwell and the Beltway, an impoverished Black neighborhood, so these boats have been going back and forth—and the Coast Guard and ... they ruled on the part of the Federal Government and whatever, that once it gets dark, the Coast Guard can no longer fly the helicopter and the agencies can no longer take their boats to rescue people, to pick people up. And it’s still raining there. And apparently, through social media, people organized themselves to where people from that neighborhood have all walked to a designated spot, I think it’s under an overpass, where they wait for the boat to come. So when it got dark, the reporters were saying there were over 100 people waiting under that overpass—and nobody’s coming to get them.

Revcom.us/Revolution: You were saying something about the police coming and messing with them.

H: Yeah. So I think there’s 12,000 or more National Guard that have come into the city today. It is unclear what they are going to be deployed for.

Revcom.us/Revolution: I heard 4,000.

H: They upped it. New York is sending several thousand. Some other states are sending their National Guard. So the entire Texas National Guard plus the National Guard from other states. So there’s this whole wave of repressive forces, which is unclear what they are gonna do.

Revcom.us/Revolution: There was a statement by the mayor.

H: They had a press conference this evening where the mayor stated that in Houston “we rescue and we arrest.” That they are not gonna tolerate any “looting.” And then the representative from the Houston Police Department said that we are not tolerant of crime, or attempted crime, or taking advantage of people, or whatever. But that now we have more eyes and ears on the ground with all these agencies coming in, so you know basically gonna be “tough on crime.”

Revcom.us/Revolution: You mentioned something about a spill.

H: There is apparently a toxic spill in the Ship Channel that occurred this afternoon. I don’t know what exactly it was but the entire LaPorte area, Channelview, around they are telling people to shelter in place. They haven’t disclosed the nature of the chemicals but they are saying it is related to the flood.

The other thing is that you also have much more widespread flooding in places that weren’t expected to flood. The Brazos River is overcoming its banks so they have mandatory evacuations from west Houston, from several subdivisions ...

Revcom.us/Revolution: West Houston...

H: Yeah. So all these people who are being rescued, it is unclear where exactly are they supposed to go. Mattress Mac (a local store owner and philanthropist) opened up several of his stores and is sheltering people. But you know he can only hold 100 or so people in each of his stores, and they are full.

Revcom.us/Revolution: Someone was telling me that there is a big contrast between the accommodations people get in those and George R. Brown ... in terms of food, water, and resting place.

H: Yeah, I’m sure there is. And George R. Brown now is full... where are they going to put those people? The buses are just dropping them off there after they pick them up, dropping them off at George R. Brown.

Revcom.us/Revolution: And more rain is expected.

H: Yes, more rain is expected. And it is still raining.

 

Sunday, August 27

Revolution/revcom received these interviews from Travis Morales as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey were inundating Houston, Texas. These interviews took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, one of the places those who couldn’t find shelter with family or neighbors were being bussed.

Kerin: “We don’t deserve to be treated like this”

“Before the water started rising, we didn’t have any warning. We watched the news. We felt like it wasn’t gonna do much. We went to bed, and it wasn’t raining. We woke up this morning and had to get out of there. There was water up to the second level of the apartment, so we took an air mattress. We had to cross a whole field, to the I-45. And that’s when we got picked up. It was my neighbor, his wife, his son, our dogs, all hanging on. We got picked up by police. Then we got dropped off at a bus, and we were told the bus would take us to a shelter. We sat there for five hours or more, ate crackers, and drank water. Then they said they were taking us to the George Brown Convention Center.

“So we were all excited because we were getting some hot food. But we were not allowed in because we brought our dogs with us, expecting them to help us. Right now we are standing outside in the cold and wet sidewalk, with no place to sleep.

“They got pillows and blankets. If they gonna make us sleep outside, at least give us pillows and blankets. The people who have the upper hand on the lower-class people don’t give a hoot about us. They just arguing among themselves, they ain’t helpin’ nobody. I see people out here who can’t hardly stand, what are they supposed to do?

“The police inside there are being rough and rude. We don’t deserve to be treated like this. Right now, I could go to my daughter’s house. But I don’t have no transportation. No busses run there. They’re treating us like crap. It’s like Houstonians don’t have rights. The people make Houston. You get pushed around, talked crazy to, and disrespected by the police.”

Anthony: “Where am I supposed to go, jail?”

“I live on the streets right now. I’m homeless. I’ve been homeless for about two months now, I’ve been downtown, cuz that’s where the services are. There aren’t too many services but that’s where I’m at right now. Last night we were trying to walk down the street and a cop pulled us over and told us we had two choices—go into a shelter or go to jail. For what? For nothing, but he said we had those options.

“Now there’s only two places to go here, the Salvation Army and another shelter. We went to the Salvation Army and they were kicking people out in the rain because they were charging their phones—literally into the rain last night because people were charging their phones and they weren’t supposed to... my bags were getting all wet, my social and my birth certificate, everything. We were standing outside in the rain for a good 10 hours before we could go inside to hopefully get a bed. They tell you to go to a shelter, but then the shelter is only so big. So then where am I supposed to go, jail? Because this place just opened up. It’s been raining since Friday and there was nowhere to go—especially when the shelter kicks you out for charging your phone. Something petty like that. And it’s not only about the services, they have so much stuff that’s available but they just don’t offer it.

“I’m from Las Vegas, I’ve been here for seven months now. I got a job. That’s another thing, I got a job and I’m homeless, you know what I’m saying. Trying to make things work. I’m in construction, I’m a plumber. And I just applied for my apartment last week. So I am trying to get it done, it just took two and a half months...”

Pancho: “We have no life guards, and they don’t know how to swim”

“Like everybody knows the storm was coming. Friday night everything looked fine but then Saturday afternoon came and the warning for the storm was on. And we started noticing that the street was getting flooded and after only 45 minutes it was like 40 inches deep, it was a lot. We had to move our cars. We also put blankets on the floor to try and trap the water. The water started going through the walls in the house so we got 3-4 inches of water... We have two kids with us and my mother-in-law who is 65.

“It was just the rain, it was really scary. I never been through anything like that. Like I told you, I have kids with me and let’s put it this way, what if the water goes higher, we have no life guards, they don’t know how to swim. I’m the only one that knows. We have five persons who don’t know how to swim, and just one who does. I wouldn’t be able to take care of all of them.”

Conel: “It was the first time I had ever been to jail—during Hurricane Katrina”

“I’m not really homeless, but I’m homeless. I have a job. I work at McDonalds. I’m in the restaurant field, waiting tables cooking, stuff like that... I started off in New Orleans, but I didn’t come during Katrina. I got locked up during Katrina. There were only two charges then—looting and violating curfew. And me being a Black brother, I was in a white neighborhood and there was a lot of breakage in homes and me being in the neighborhood, they picked me up. It was the first time I had ever been to jail—during Hurricane Katrina. And they tried to give me six years of my life. And me not knowing the law, the system, how the jail works, I was quiet. That’s what they tend to do to a lot of people that don’t know the system. So they took me in and they dropped the six years and gave me three. And I was like, sir, a person like me, I don’t do jail. Going through so much as it is, I don’t know if I can handle this.

“I kind of wrote a letter to the warden that I shouldn’t be out here and I need something better for me. So the letter got to the warden and they asked me to go to a halfway house. So I spent like 18 months in a halfway house, saved up a little money. My felony was still fresh so I couldn’t get an apartment, so I started staying in motels. So that’s how I’ve been living ever since.”

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 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/505/hurricane-harvey-approaches-the-texas-coast-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/503/this-nightmare-must-end-the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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. 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/serious-and-inspiring-first-step-towards-november-4-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/505/pardon-of-joe-arpaio-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/science/41ba-science...revolution-methods-of-leadership-pt-1-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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 1 from the section:
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the "Art" of Leadership

Another experience I want to touch on here, which also holds important lessons in terms of method and approach, is the experience with Nepal, where, unfortunately, at another critical juncture (the coming together and concentration of a lot of contradictions), the leadership of the Party there went off the revolutionary road. I referred to this earlier in talking about how the argument was made to them: You comrades face a lot of great necessity, but you should not impose unnecessary necessity on yourself. And here, once again, the question was posed: With a revolution that, in an overall sense, you consider to be part of the same revolution in the world that you’re a part of—even if it has its own particularity, as the revolution in every country does—what do you do when you can see that this revolution is going off track and will plunge over a cliff if it keeps going the way it’s going? As people should know, we wrote many letters to the Party in Nepal, sharply raising criticisms of the line they were pursuing after a certain point.71 Now, when we first started recognizing this, around 2005–2006, we didn’t come out in Revolution newspaper and say: “The revolution in Nepal is not being led in accordance with the new synthesis of communism, therefore it’s no good.” No! That’s not what we did at all. We raised, in letters that were not at the time made public: Here is our understanding of the actual contradictions you’re dealing with, and here is why we think you’re dealing with them in the wrong way. If you give up on the goal of overthrowing the present regime, and instead try to go on the parliamentary road of electing yourself into a position of running the government under the present system, and with the present state still in power and in effect, you are going to be swallowed up by that system, and all the gains of the revolution that you’ve achieved so far—waging people’s war in the countryside, establishing revolutionary political power in parts of the countryside, carrying out some land reform, lifting certain burdens of oppression from women—all that’s going to be given up, and the revolution will end up being abandoned and defeated.

What were the conditions and contradictions they were confronting? At that point, besides the people’s war they were waging in the countryside, there was a big upsurge in the cities, in particular the capital, Kathmandu. The country was being ruled by a monarchy, and there was a mass movement that got to the point of demanding the abolition, the overthrow, of the monarchy. Now, it was correct that they couldn’t stand aside from that movement, and act aloof, as if, “Oh, we’re off over here doing our people’s war, and that struggle in the capital doesn’t mean anything, that’s just a bunch of bourgeois reformist stuff.” It was correct for them to take part in and fight to lead that upsurge in the capital in a revolutionary direction. But in the process of it, they came to accept, more and more, the terms that were being set by that movement, as it was. To go back to what Leibel Bergman raised in regard to Zhou Enlai, the question is not “Why would the Nepalese comrades want to go revisionist?” It’s not that they “wanted” to go revisionist. There were certain shortcomings in their understanding of things all along, and there were some in the leadership who were more and more openly arguing for a bourgeois-democratic orientation, but mainly they were on the road of revolution and making important advances on that road. But they ran up against certain new obstacles and contradictions—they came up against the prospect of not just fighting more limited battles in the countryside against outposts of the police and sections of the Nepalese army, but actually having to fight the backbone of the Nepalese army. Behind that was India threatening to intervene to put things down if the revolution got too far, and the U.S. and other imperialists were looming in the picture, as well as China, which pretended to be supportive in some ways, but if the Nepalese Party continued on the revolutionary road, would turn against it. These were very real things that they had to deal with.

In this context, we waged several years of struggle, very concretely. And every time they raised to us, “You don’t understand, this is what we’re up against,” we did not say, “It doesn’t matter, you’re violating basic principle.” We very seriously dug into what they raised to us, the conditions they were pointing to when they said, “We have to do this because this is what we’re up against.” We did not dismiss any of that out of hand. We went into all of it, to evaluate it as thoroughly as we could. We even questioned: Well, maybe in this situation they do have to do this. But we always arrived at the conclusion that, no matter how difficult it would be to remain on the correct road, if they went on the road they were increasingly taking—the road of accommodation with the existing system and state power—they would give up the whole thing. There was certainly no guarantee of victory—they might get defeated if they persevered on the road of revolution, and that would constitute a serious setback, not just in that country but for the revolution in the world as a whole—but it would be much worse to throw away the revolution by taking the road of revisionism and betraying the masses of people who were willing to sacrifice to fight for this revolution, because they had come to see it in their interests.

Here again we see the difference between dialectical materialism and determinism in the name of materialism, where you analyze the conditions before you, but you don’t look at the larger picture and the deeper underlying dynamics and contradictions. For example, on the one side, it’s true that, had they continued on the road of revolution, there would have been a real possibility of powerful forces—India, perhaps China, maybe even the U.S. or other imperialists—intervening more directly against them. But it also would have raised the banner of revolution and communism powerfully in the world and set off a lot of contradictions, or sharpened a lot of contradictions, including in countries like India. And if they’d been able to hold out for a while, things could have gotten very sharp in India, in terms of exposure of the Indian government for its role in opposing the revolutionary struggle in Nepal. Once again you come to a juncture like this and you don’t know in advance, you can’t say, how all this might turn out; but if you just look at what’s immediately before you and the difficulties you’re up against right then, and you don’t grasp the potential to transform necessity into freedom and set off a whole chain of events which might get contradictions going in a whole different way, in your more immediate circumstances and more broadly in the world as well, then you’re going to take the road of revisionism because it seems to be more “realistic.”

In relation to this situation, in assessing our responsibilities and recognizing the need to struggle sharply, we understood that the point is not to act like a “petty critic” finding fault with and poking at every little thing you don’t agree with. It’s so ironic, you hear certain opportunists saying, “The RCP, they just denounced what was happening in Nepal on the basis of a misreading of a few Marxist works, like the Critique of the Gotha Programme72 and The State and Revolution.73” This from people who never carried out any scientific analysis of the actual concrete conditions facing the revolution in Nepal, but were just trying to jump on a bandwagon to say, “Well, we can still call ourselves Maoists even while we’re betraying everything we’re supposed to have been about.”

At every stage, every key juncture, we were very assiduously, very systematically, digging into things. Even far into this process, when it had become more and more clear that the Nepalese comrades were going completely onto a trajectory leading to disaster, there were a few times when there would be a little spark of something that raised the possibility that maybe they were trying to get back on the right road, and each time we would jump at that and try to figure out if there were something there that could and should be united with and encouraged. This was our approach even for some time after we had published our letters openly, which put the whole struggle out to the world—for several years after that, whenever there was any kind of a spark, we would look very seriously into it. Why? Because this was not some kind of contest to determine who was the “better Marxist.” The reason we didn’t go along with what they were doing in Nepal was not out of any considerations like that. The orientation with which we proceeded, and what we were doing our best to analyze—and this is what I want to really drive home—is this: What is actually going to advance the revolution that the masses of people need, and what is going to take it over a cliff? Once again, it’s a question of applying science to the question of for whom and for what. This is what it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution.


71. These letters were openly published in 2009. See Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, "On Developments in Nepal and the Stakes for the Communist Movement: Letters to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, 2005–2008 (With a Reply from the CPN[M], 2006)," January 29, 2009. Available at revcom.us. [back]

72. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875. [back]

73. V.I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, 1917. [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/287/concerning-the-thomas-jefferson-controversy-automatically-disqualified-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/506/eclipse-revolution-club-chicago-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

From a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago

Eclipse

August 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I felt like a child inside. I was at awe. The eclipse was beautiful, exciting and amazing! Although I didn’t get to see the totality because of a cloud covering it during the exact time, to experience the area go from extremely sunny and hot to cool and dark was incredible and breath-taking. I expected extreme darkness but it was a beautiful, soft, dim sundown kind of darkness. During this time, I could understand why people in the old days sought to the Gods for answers. I imagine a farmer planting seeds during a hot, sunny afternoon when all of a sudden it’s dark. I imagine them saying, “what the fuck?” So many things people couldn’t explain in the old days, especially when it affected their crops, their livelihood. But with science, it has been possible for us to understand how the world works.

One of the many crimes of this system is to keep millions of people in ignorance by denying them the knowledge of science, and not being able to apply the scientific method and approach to understanding the world. If it weren’t for this capitalist system based on commodity relations, especially now with Trump/Pence science-deniers, science would be available to everyone and scientists would have more freedom to explore the vastness of the world.

But under this oppressive system, people like myself, even beyond childhood, I didn’t even know that the sun and moon were two separate entities, although it didn’t make sense to me. I was scared of science because it was hard to understand. I don’t remember learning anything in Chemistry class in high school. I was lost and couldn’t follow the lecture. And this is exactly the goal of this system, to keep masses ignorant. Without the scientific method and approach, people believe this is just the way things are. NO!

In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, science is “...aimed at continually increasing the storehouse of scientific knowledge, and broadly fostering the scientific spirit and method, for the benefit of humanity... Beyond that, encouraging curiosity about the natural world, in its manifold dimensions, including human society and its historical development, and fostering and applying creative and at the same time rigorous scientific means for exploring and learning about all this, is fundamental to the full flowering of human beings and to their ability to contribute to the advance to a communist world.” Part of this is for scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to be shared with scientists around the world. And unlike making science available to a small few under this system, under the New Socialist Republic “ ...efforts shall also be made not only to provide students and the people more broadly, through the educational system and in other ways, basic scientific knowledge and grounding in scientific principles and the scientific method, but also to involve growing numbers of people in scientific research and experimentation—including in projects where they are working together with and are led by full-time scientific professionals—and to draw on the vast experience and accumulated knowledge of the people in society as a valuable resource for scientific endeavor.”

Under this new system, science will be available to everyone, and it will not scare people away. Remember the terrible twos? Well, this stage, the terrible twos should be a lifetime of curiosity, excitement and awe.

The total solar eclipse of 2017
Click to download pdf

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/revolution-club-poster-about-eclipse-of-2017-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Revolution Club poster about Eclipse of 2017

Science, imagination, wonder and awe—part of being human, part of the revolution we are making...

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolution Club, Chicago made posters about the Eclipse of 2017 to put up on walls in some South Side neighborhoods together with news of the revolution. We put up these posters to bring to people the science, imagination, wonder and awe that is part of being human and a key part of the revolution we are making and the kind of world we are fighting to bring into being. This is captured in the quote from Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, that is featured on the poster, #4:30 from BAsics.

We also shared the poster with some youths we talked with. One said he knew about eclipses and asked for a poster to put in his room. We talked to a couple of youths about revolution and how we can win. One had a lot of good questions and then he asked, “Why don’t you believe in god?” We said the revolution includes people who believe in god, but we don’t and BA doesn’t because there’s no evidence of god and we need to use science to know what’s real if people are going to get free. One comrade pointed out the eclipse poster we had all been looking at and said, see, the moon revolves around the Earth, and the Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun. We can understand what an eclipse is because of science!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/prisoner-on-confederate-statues-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

A Prisoner on:
Confederate statues and “the hypocrisy and hatred that this country was not only founded on, but that defines it to this very day”

August 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Revolution Club, Chicago, received the following letter from a prisoner at our organizing center:

To “The Revolution” and all those who stand in solidarity with our just and moral cause. I am writing to you from within the confining barriers of an american concentration camp, one of the countless voices silenced, terrorized, ostracized, and oppressed by the criminal system of injustice.

Watching the hypocrisy on both sides of the political isle disturbs and sickens me beyond description. Last night however, something was said by the right that angered me and brought me to attention. A Fox news commentator who was speaking on the subject of confederate statues being removed, had the audacity to act as if the Left was infringing upon the rights and liberties of these white elitist. This man claimed that the confederacy is a part of american history worthy of remembrance and that it is wrong for us to define the lives of america’s racist forefathers by their “single worse moments.” But is this not the very same standards that the Right hold american citizins to, to this day!?! As a convicted “criminal” am I not being defined by my “single worst moment”?...

The right and their criminal system of injustice define us by our “Criminal History” declaring us “Enemies of the state,” placing us on oppressive registries, and placing our entire life in criminal databases for use in future prosecutions so that they might better justify hiding us away in these torture camps they call “Correctional Institutions,” placating society. They shroud the countless atrocities committed within these dungeons on a daily basis by inducing false fears in the minds of people leading them to believe us unredeemable boogeymen to be feared, who deserve no second chance. While our parents, our children, our brothers and sisters are sold out and enslaved by this very system founded on the illusion of rights and liberties, that supposedly abolished slavery and that is supposed to be there to “protect and serve” us, ....we must endure the humiliation of confederate statues glorifying slavery and giving legitimacy to those racists white elitist whom embrace evil in the forms of bigotry and hatred.

By this standard in which the United States of Oppression is setting for the world, Germany would be justified if they chose to erect statues of adolph hitler as “historical monuments.” No decent or sane human being would ever stand behind or support the glorification of this genocidal tyrant yet america and its system of terror continue to fight in support of its own historical monsters! This summarizes the hypocrisy and hatred that this atrocious country was not only founded on, but that defines it to this very day. For this and many other reasons I am ashamed to have been born “american”....a citizin of a country that has written me as well as an entire segment of its population off as undesirable and unforgivable.

Down with Tyranny!

Down with Hate!

Down with Capitalism!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/revolution-club-funds-pitch-secures-900-dollars-donations-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Now THAT was a Funds Pitch!

Revolution Club secures $900 in donations and pledges at Carl Dix talk in Chicago

August 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I was able to attend Carl Dix’s talk in Chicago on August 20, “Trump’s Violent Reassertion of White Supremacy, the Threat of Genocide, and What Must Be Done NOW!” It was a really powerful talk and set the stage for what I wanted to share with your readers. At Carl Dix’s talk, members of the Revolution Club described in vivid detail their experience in Charlottesville confronting and then not backing down in spite of being clubbed in the head by the fascist white supremacists; spreading the message of revolution and Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism among the protestors and in the housing projects.

Then a representative of the Club talked about the continuing struggle for the aims of Revolution Summer! Volunteers coming to Chicago to make it known for revolution—not the insanity of young people killing each other. I took in what she said—that it hasn’t been easy. Some people have stepped forward into the revolution and there’s been a big impact in a number of neighborhoods mainly on the South Side of Chicago. But she wasn’t satisfied and talked about the need for more forces to join up, not just to get into a position to influence all of society around this crucial concentration point, but also to forge a leadership that’s strong enough to lead an actual revolution. She made it clear, ‘WE ARE NOT GOING TO BACK OFF OUR MISSION.’ Then, after a challenge to get with the Revolution Club on the spot, a very gripping appeal for funds began.

The audience was challenged to think about what’s needed, and where we are in history. When the people in the neighborhoods ask, “how do you live? we know you’re not working, ’cause you’re out here arguing with us every day!” she said she tells them, “IT COMES FROM YOU,” the masses of people. No corporation, no government entity is going to fund us. No revolution is made without a lot of risks and sacrifices... donate until it hurts. These volunteers come from all over the country to do this work for humanity. The South Side organizing center needs support. And what about when youth decide to get out of this madness—they ask how they will survive and they need networks of support to do that. Who can donate $200? LONG PAUSE... If you can’t donate today, make a pledge to donate or to fund-raise $200. LONG PAUSE. A voice from the crowd, “I don’t want to stand up, but I pledge $100!” Applause. Another voice, “I will donate $200 today.” Applause. Another, “I pledge $100”; another, “I pledge $200”; another, “As a couple we can give you $200”; another, “I pledge $100.” The Revolution Club member gave encouragement—“this is how we do it together.” Altogether $900 was donated and pledged as people grasped deeply how much difference this will make in the world! It must be said that the pauses were almost as important as the appeal itself, showing strategic confidence in the people to dig deep into their consciences as well as their pocketbooks.

NOW—AMONG THOSE OF YOU READING THIS—WHO WILL MATCH THOSE DONATIONS— OR PLEDGE TO RAISE THAT MUCH?

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/fascist-direction-and-momentum-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Just ONE WEEK: The Fascist Direction and Momentum of the Trump/Pence Regime

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week, in the face of growing protest over his embrace of Nazis and KKK murderers in Charlottesville, Trump didn’t back off. He doubled-down. He continued to give aid and comfort to neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, even in the face of widespread outrage. He banned transgender people from joining the military. He pardoned fascist pig Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He announced an endless escalation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. He slashed land set aside for national monuments (large areas that have been protected from environmental destruction). And he did much of this as Hurricane Harvey bore down on Texas and Louisiana, posing a grave danger to millions of people.

Trump is not mentally unfit. His agenda is not dead in the water. And his presidency is not failing. As we wrote last week:

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.

Think about that... and how the moves by Trump in just the last week fit into that picture.

In ONE WEEK...

Monday, Trump announced a wider, more vicious, and overtly endless war in Afghanistan. There are reports this begins by sending 3,900 more U.S. troops into the country. He declared the U.S. is killing terrorists, not “nation building.” Which means, in part, there will be no more pretenses that this war is about anything but the naked interests of America Über Alles. And Trump made clear U.S. commanders need not worry about how many civilians are slaughtered in the process.

Tuesday in Phoenix, speaking at one of his Hitler-style rallies, Trump incited his mob with even more escalated attacks on the press. And, as the nature of the two sides that clashed in Charlottesville (and in protests around the country) became unavoidably clear to millions and millions, Trump upped the ante with even more full-throated support for the racists, anti-Semitic Nazis, and other thugs in Charlottesville along with gushing over monuments to slavery and Jim Crow.

On Thursday, acting on orders from Trump to figure out how to slash public lands set aside to be preserved, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed shrinking the size of three national monuments. This would open vast, environmentally essential tracts of lands to capitalist exploitation. And this proposal throws a bone to rabid fascist forces, like the ones who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, for whom environmental protection of public lands is an anathema. And it spits in the face of objections from Native peoples who live in the areas of these monuments.

On Friday, Trump banned transgender people from joining the military, and ordered the Pentagon to move on his transgender ban overall. This can only be understood in the context of the whole Christian fascist agenda of the entire Trump/Pence regime. For them, the vicious re-assertion of unchallenged white supremacy is tightly bound up with imposing Bible Belt old-school patriarchal “morality” on society.

Friday night, as Hurricane Harvey bore down on Texas and Louisiana, Trump pardoned Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio is a fascist. Arpaio overtly defied court orders to stop racially profiling Latinos. He was convicted for doing so. Trump’s pardon was an extremely ominous green light for pigs everywhere to institute open racial profiling, and further unleashed his armed fascist minions to feel free to attack immigrants. And it was a slap in the face to any pretense of respect for rule of law.

       

Trump threatened a government shutdown if Congress didn’t fund his border wall. And he threatened to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting 800,000 young people in immediate danger of being ripped from their families and the country they grew up in, and deported.

At the end of the week, the U.S. imposed draconian new sanctions on Venezuela which will likely lead to widespread suffering. This was part of an effort, which includes military threats, to bully Venezuela’s government into submission, or perhaps overthrow it.

A Coherent, Extraordinarily Dangerous Fascist Package—This WHOLE Regime Must Go!

Again, because the stakes of appreciating this are so high: This week cannot be seriously understood as the bumbling of an inept egomaniac who doesn’t understand the rules of governing the United States. It can only be accurately understood in the context of a regime that is tearing up the ways in which this country has been governed, and implementing a fascist agenda.

Bob Avakian has analyzed how this agenda springs from the deepest needs and contradictions confronting U.S. capitalism-imperialism, and has identified what can and needs to be done in response, and we strongly encourage readers to read, grapple with, and share that analysis. (See “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer” and “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’...And What Will Replace It”)

None of this is to say that the Trumpites have it all wrapped up. The horrors they’ve already inflicted and promise to inflict, and their radical break with traditional bourgeois-democratic norms, have generated mass outrage from below, and sparked fierce infighting from above. And as Refuse Fascism has summed up, “The Fascist Character of This Regime Makes It Possible—and Necessary—to Mobilize Millions to Drive It From Power.

But that’s the point. Driving Trump, Pence and the whole regime from power, and it must be done by the people in our millions. If resolving this crisis is left to the machinations of the ruling class, the horrors will continue even if Trump himself is forced from office.

This underscores the life-and-death urgency of Refuse Fascism’s call: 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!

“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.” (From the call from Refuse Fascism for November 4)

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/503/andy-zee-presentation-at-refuse-fascism-august-5-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

On November 4, 2017, We Begin:

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

by Andy Zee

August 5, 2017 Refuse Fascism National Meeting

August 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/505/from-members-of-the-revolution-club-los-angeles-in-nickerson-gardens-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/dick-gregory-groundbreaking-comedian-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/trump-in-phoenix-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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 #506 August 28, 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/504/trump-white-supremacy-and-neo-nazism-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/506/more-bootlicking-from-jim-brown-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Collaborators' Walk of Shame

From a reader

More Bootlicking from Jim Brown

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week, Jim Brown, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and claims a reputation as a voice against oppression of Black people, attacked Colin Kaepernick and other football players for their national anthem protest.

Last season, Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, began refusing to stand for the anthem, in protest of police terror and brutality against people of color, and others have taken his lead, including into this season. Brown said, “I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American. I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”

This is the same Jim Brown that met with Trump last December at Trump Tower in NYC and said of this known racist monster, “...I fell in love with him because he really talks about helping African American, Black people...”

The same Jim Brown that said about the Black Live Matter movement in 2015, “The problem that I’m looking at, is young, black men terrorizing their own community.” Fuck you, Jim Brown. Intelligent manner? You mean bootlicking manner.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/trumps-new-afghan-strategy-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/media-debunks-trumps-general-pershing-pig-blood-lie-in-service-of-even-bigger-lie-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/503/trump-threats-vs-north-korea-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

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

Updated October 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

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

September 25, 2017

Read more

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

September 20, 2017

Read more

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

September 6, 2017

Read more

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

Updated September 3, 2017

Read more

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

August 16, 2017

Read more

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

August 11, 2017

Read more

 

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

August 10, 2017

Read more

 

 

At Fox News Plaza in New York City on August 9, speaking out against Trump's threats of Armageddon. Photo: special to revcom.us.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #506 August 28, 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 #506 August 28, 2017

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

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

 

Answers and Sources

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #506 August 28, 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/a/504/the-total-solar-eclipse-of-2017-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 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 #506 August 28, 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!

 

        ]

 

 


 

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

Revolution #506 August 28, 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)

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Hundreds Protest Trump’s Plan for Border Wall in Texas

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Saturday, August 12, 2017. Hundreds of protesters, wearing white and chanting in English and Spanish, marched to protest plans for a new border wall. They crossed the levee on the Rio Grande, the winding river that separates the United States and Mexico in Texas. Here is where Trump has proposed putting up 60 miles of wall as part of a $1.6 billion proposal. About 40 groups took part in the protest, from environmentalists to landowners’ rights groups to immigrant rights activists. The protesters said they hoped to draw national attention to their opposition.

The wall would go through a federally protected wildlife refuge and split apart several border towns. The Statesman reported, “Under the current proposal, the wall would seal La Lomita on the southern side of the levee. It would also cut through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, a verdant sanctuary for 400 species of birds and nearly half of the butterfly species found in North America. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security can waive environmental reviews to build more quickly, and has already issued a waiver for proposed construction in San Diego.”

There are reports that government contractors are already working on the wall―taking soil samples along the Rio Grande levees and beginning to examine property ownership records.

Scott Nicol, co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands campaign and an organizer of Saturday’s rally, told the Austin Statesman, “Because people have seen the walls go up and see what they do, it’s not sort of an abstract, imagined concept.” “There’s a lot more opposition to it now than there was 10 years ago.”

Marie Montalvo, who lives in San Benito, said, “I want my nieces and nephews, and the children of the Rio Grande Valley, to know that I was completely against this.”

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

“No Fire and Fury”: Vets Protest War Moves on North Korea at Trump Tower in Chicago

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

August 13—About 50 participants in the Veterans for Peace national convention in Chicago marched out of the hotel where the event was held to Trump Tower, blocks away, for a protest against the Trump regime’s nuclear threats and war moves on North Korea. Some carried Refuse Fascism “NO!” signs in English, Spanish, and Korean. A Refuse Fascism member started a chant, “No nukes, no KKK, no fascist USA!” that was enthusiastically taken up and led by vets.

A family staying at the hotel joined the march because “we felt we had to.” One of them is a student in a city where she said “everything you hear about [what’s] being done to immigrants is going on.” She said that the frequency of people being stopped in their cars, because they are thought to be immigrants, and forced to show papers, and of raids, has created an atmosphere of fear where few immigrants go out at night.

At one point the march passed through the busy theater district in the Chicago Loop where hundreds of people were getting out of plays. Many theatergoers joined the “no nukes” chant or clapped and cheered. At the “Real Fake” art installation across from Trump Tower, protesters held candles and signs that included “No Fire and Fury,” “No Racism, No Hate,” and “Trump, Stop Inciting Violence.” The vets did a mic-check style apology to the North Korean people for U.S. aggression against them, repeatedly chanting “We Are Sorry.” It was very moving, reminiscent of when vets who went to Standing Rock to join the struggle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline apologized for U.S. genocide of Native American people.

Speaking at the protest were Ann Wright, a retired U.S. colonel and retired State Department official; Kathy Kelly, an author and longtime antiwar activist; John Kim, head of the Veterans for Peace’s Korea project, who did a powerful workshop at the convention on the history of U.S. military aggression in Korea; and Will Griffin, a young vet who praised the South Korean people for impeaching their president, and called for Trump to be driven from office. A member of Refuse Fascism made an announcement about the protest the same day at Michigan and Randolph at 1 pm against the rally of white supremacists (unleashed by Trump) in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the killing of one counter-protester and injuring of other by one of the fascist thugs. She reminded the crowd that the South Korean people had driven out their president when millions went into the streets every night till she was gone. And she urged vets to join sustained protests beginning November 4, with thousands becoming millions until the fascist Trump regime is driven from power.

On the way back to the hotel, marchers took the streets, as the whole march chanted “No Nukes, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” and their shouts echoed through the Chicago Loop.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017


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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

1968: The FBI's Plans to “Neutralize” Dick Gregory 

August 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who died on August 19, 2017 at 84 years old, was a courageous fighter against injustice. And for this, he became a target of FBI surveillance and vicious plots. 

In 1968, then FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover wrote the Chicago FBI office saying, “Gregory has traveled all over the country preaching black nationalist extremism, hatred, and violence.... Chicago should review Gregory’s file and his current activities to develop counterintelligence designed to neutralize him. This should not be in the nature of an exposé, since he already gets far too much publicity. Instead, sophisticated, completely untraceable means of neutralizing Gregory should be developed.” And Hoover wrote in one of his memos, “Gregory uses his reputation as a … comedian to insure [sic] his vitriolic statements are reported by the press.” (See “FBI memo: Use mob against Dick Gregory”)

What did Hoover mean by “neutralizing Gregory?” This could have meant a whole range of things that rendered someone unable to live their life, maintain their job, their sanity, or have an impact on society. In 1969, the FBI collaborated with the Chicago police, to assassinate Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. 

And who did Hoover think should do this “neutralizing?” Hoover wrote another memo to the FBI agent in charge of the Chicago office with more specific instructions—suggesting that “La Cosa Nostra” (the Mafia) be alerted that Gregory had verbally attacked them. Hoover noted that in a recent comedy performance, Gregory had said, “Syndicate hoods [are] living all over. They are the filthiest snakes that exist on this earth.” And then said, “Consider the use of this statement in developing a counterintelligence operation to alert La Cosa Nostra [LCN] to Gregory’s attack on LCN.”  The FBI had no problem working through the mob, to “neutralize” Dick Gregory.

On July 2, 1968, the special agent in Chicago wrote Hoover saying, “The Chicago office has organized a counterintelligence ‘team,’ made up of SAs [special agents] experienced in RM [racial matters] and SM-C [security matters-Communist] Investigations, including SAs with lengthy prior counterintelligence experience. This group, together with the RM supervisor and the SA responsible for the coordination of this program, have [sic] devoted considerable effort to methods of inhibiting the effectiveness and credibility [sic] of Gregory. His file has been thoroughly and exhaustively reviewed to this end. Chicago is continuing to give the matter of discrediting Gregory top priority, and bureau authority will be promptly requested... in the event a specific counterintelligence device is formulated.”

All this was part of CONTELPRO—the government’s counterintelligence program. COINTELPRO started in the 1950s but only came to light after some activists broke into an FBI office in 1971 and then publicized FBI documents. In the 1960s and early 1970s the FBI conducted a massive super-secret, utterly illegal campaign to target groups and individuals resisting crimes by the U.S. in this country and around the world. It especially targeted those opposing the oppression of Black people. The FBI and other police agencies sent infiltrators into groups, recruited informers, broke into office of groups and homes of activists to gather information, and fomented antagonisms within and between different groups. 

When Dick Gregory learned about the FBI efforts to “neutralize” him, he said, “Do you realize what you have here? This piece of paper has the director of the most powerful police agency in the history of this planet proposing to contact the Mafia so ‘they could work together.’ Look, if the FBI was going to contact La Cosa Nostra. And, if the FBI knew who they were, why weren’t they arrested?...What I was saying was that one day we were going to find out that one of the most dangerous men in this country was J. Edgar Hoover and we would probably find out that Lyndon B. Johnson was one of the worst tyrants.” Gregory told Jet Magazine, “I’ve been knowing the FBI has been following me and tapping my phones for some time now. In fact, whenever I wanted to get a message to (the late J. Edgar) Hoover, I just put it on my phone.” (June 8, 1972)

The FBI’s secret, illegal operation to “neutralize” Dick Gregory, the whole COINTELPRO program, and the ongoing repression of political activists in this country, reveal the essential nature and role of the FBI. It is an instrument of violent enforcement for a system of injustice and oppression. 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

What Can We Say About the Role of Climate Change in the Disaster of Harvey?

By Dr. Michael E. Mann

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Revolution/revcom.us is reprinting with permission this Facebook post from Dr. Michael Mann, a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University with joint appointments in the departments of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He is also Director of the Penn State Earth Systems Science Center and author of several books, including his most recent work, The Madhouse Effect.

 

What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane #Harvey?

There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.

Sea level rise attributable to climate change (some is due to coastal subsidence due to human disturbance e.g. oil drilling) is more than half a foot over the past few decades (see http://www.insurancejournal.com/…/sou…/2017/05/31/452704.htm for a decent discussion).

That means that the storm surge was a half foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.

In addition to that, sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5C (close to 1F) over the past few decades, from roughly 30C (86F) to 30.5C (87F), which contributed to the very warm sea surface temperatures (30.5-31 C or 87-88F). There is a simple thermodynamic relationship known as the "Clausius-Clapeyron equation (see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relat…) that tells us there is a roughly 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5C (~1F) of warming. Sea surface temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than the 'average' temperatures a few decades ago. That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.

That large amount of moisture meant the potential for much greater rainfalls and greater flooding.

The combination of coastal flooding and heavy rainfall is responsible for the devastating flooding that Houston is experiencing.

Not only are the surface waters of the Gulf unusually warm right now, but there is a deep layer of warm water that Harvey was able to feed upon when it intensified at near record pace as it neared the coast. Human-caused warming is penetrating down into the ocean warming not just the surface but creating deeper layers of warm water in the Gulf and elsewhere.

So Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human- caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge (as an example of how this works, we have shown that climate change has led to a dramatic increase in storm surge risk in New York City, making devastating events like Superstorm #Sandy more likely (http://www.pnas.org/content/112/41/12610.full).

Finally, the more tenuous but potentially relevant climate factors: part of what has made Harvey such a devastating storm is the way it has stalled right near the coast, continuing to pummel Houston and surrounding regions with a seemingly endless deluge which will likely top out at nearly 4 feet of rainfall over a several days-long period before it is done.

The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth like a top with no direction. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the U.S. right now, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change.

More tenuous, but possibly relevant still, is the fact that very persistent, nearly 'stationary' summer weather patterns of this sort, where weather anomalies (both high pressure dry hot regions and low-pressure stormy/rainy regions) stay locked in place for many days at a time, appears to be favored by human-caused climate change. We recently published on this phenomenon: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep45242

In conclusion, while we cannot say climate change "caused" Hurricane Harvey (that is an ill-posed question), we can say that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.

Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

San Francisco and Berkeley—broad masses in powerful repudiation of fascist thug rallies

August 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Many thousands marched in San Francisco and Berkeley on August 26 and 27 against fascist rallies. In the wake of Charlottesville and the important mass rejection of the fascists in Boston last weekend, these protests reflected the growing broad outrage at the Trump/Pence regime and their foot soldiers on the ground.

Even going into the weekend, it was very clear that thousands of people were mobilizing against the “Patriot Prayer” rally in San Francisco, and the “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley. In San Francisco, the “Patriot Prayer” rally was called by a group of flag-waving Christian fascists bringing their hatred of LGBT people and women right to San Francisco. Their leader talks about Christian love and “Free Speech,” but works directly with open neo-Nazis. Some city officials denounced the rally and linked it to white supremacy and Charlottesville. There were several dozen different actions and counter-protests planned—these ranged from hundreds of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious forces mobilizing on Friday night for a religious service, to a City of San Francisco sponsored concert and rally planned for the same time as the “Patriots Prayer,” to groups who organized to confront the fascists as they rallied. Refuse Fascism was in the mix, relating to all of this, going among the different events and bringing the word of "November 4—It Begins" to the people resisting. In Berkeley, there were similar mobilizations and calls. In the face of all of this, including some obstacles thrown in their path by city officials (the fascists never received a permit in Berkeley, and in SF, the Mayor called for the National Park Service to withdraw the permit they were granted) the fascist organizers in both SF and Berkeley cancelled their rallies at the last minute (though still attempting to maneuver to claim some kind of victory in their political defeat, and as usual lying about and slandering the forces who were opposing them.)

So it was very important that many thousands of people rallied, marched and protested in opposition to the cancelled fascist rallies. There was of course a need to make sure that the fascists actually did not hold their rallies (they didn’t—though in each city they did come sneaking around the rally sites in small numbers); more important, it was crucial that masses of people made a powerful political statement. In San Francisco, a speaker from Refuse Fascism led thousands in a pledge to take to the streets on November 4 and not leave until the regime is gone.  Another group of many thousands marched from the Castro District after a spirited rally to the Civic Center where there was a major concert and rally. Popular chants along the way were “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and “No Ban, No Wall, the Trump Regime Has Got to Fall”. Everywhere people were marching, Refuse Fascism organizers were there, getting out thousands of the Refuse Fascism Call for November 4, gathering names, and talking to people and making connections for November 4.

In Berkeley, which had been the scene of three major fascist rallies this past spring, way too many people had been paralyzed by the argument that these fascists have the right to come and assault people under the guise of “free speech,” and refused to counter-protest. This weekend was very different. The fascists in Berkeley were rallying under the banner of “No to Marxism”—Refuse Fascism put out a flyer which said “Once again the fascists are targeting Berkeley, this time claiming, ‘Berkeley is a ground zero for the Marxist Movement.’ By going after Marxism, they are taking a line right out of Hitler’s playbook. Whether you are a Marxist, an anarchist, a Green, a Democrat, or ANYONE WHO REFUSES TO ACCEPT A FASCIST AMERICA, you need to be there.” Revolution Books was in the field with a flyer “Yes! To the New Communism”, calling for people to come to a discussion at the store on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Many different people came out in protest of the basic thrust of the fascist rally—600 religious people gathered in a nearby park and marched to the scene. At one point a truck with a sound system parked in front of Berkeley City Hall and a series of religious leaders spoke, including a woman rabbi who passionately denounced white supremacy. Many UC Berkeley students were in the mix, along with a whole range of activists of many different kinds.

The size and breadth of the crowd is important. And the resistance represented some changes in the thinking of people as they face what is happening in society, struggle over how to understand it and feel compelled to act. People spoke to how glad they were that thousands came out, and how we cannot let these fascists rally unopposed; some mocked the view that the fascist regime will just go away if we ignore them, which some in power are saying. The Mayor of Berkeley other city officials had called for people to stay away from confrontations with the fascists, but at the same time did support those who wanted to speak out and called on people to do so.

Thousands of copies of the Call for Nov. 4 were distributed including by people just joining in with Refuse Fascism. A wide range of people took this plan very seriously - many were struck by the boldness and seriousness of the plan, and promised to be there Nov. 4, and signed up to take part.

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017


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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Harvey Day 5: Massive Flooding; Poisonous Leaks: Curfews; Broken Levees

August 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Harvey continues to wreak havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast, and has now begun to inflict serious damage on Louisiana as well. The official death toll has risen to 14, including 6 members of one family who were in a van swept away by raging flood waters. Shelters have been set up all over Houston for people whose homes are unlivable, and thousands are being bussed to Austin, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, and Dallas.

Now the storm is starting to drop deluges of water on Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Massive flooding is highly likely to erupt in those areas. And even if the rain begins to ebb in Houston, flooding will continue as swollen rivers and bayous continue to pour water into the metropolitan area. More importantly, after this flooding ends, the devastation and destruction it has caused will continue to plague incalculable numbers of people long after the immediate crisis has passed.

A snapshot of some occurrences of the past 24 hours:

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner ordered a midnight to 5:00 am curfew. He said this is to prevent looting. As of this writing, the official tally of people arrested for “looting” in Houston since the flooding began is 14. There is no “looting” problem. Police chief Art Acevedo said the curfew will enable the police to better go after “lowlifes”. While literally thousands of dwellings have been destroyed, flooded vehicles are on every freeway and numerous roads, and nothing close to a reckoning of missing people has been accomplished, Acevedo announced that the HPD is curtailing its “search and rescue” missions. He continued that “his officers would begin pulling back from nonstop search-and-rescue missions to focus on what the Houston Police Department does best, which is going after criminals and keeping the people of Houston safe ...”. Numerous suburban cities and industrial towns across the Houston area have also announced curfews. Over 10,000 National Guardsmen are in the area, in part, to assist in enforcing these curfews. There are, at least, tens of thousands of people who have been made homeless in the past five days, and there is not enough shelter space for them. Now the police have been ordered to prowl the city for people committing the crime of trying to survive while destitute.

A call to all our readers to contribute to our coverage of Hurricane Harvey.   Read more

A poisonous leak forced authorities to announce a “chemical emergency” at the mouth of the Houston Ship Channel, where it meets Galveston Bay. Residents of several small cities at the confluence were instructed to shelter in place, shut off their air conditioning, and close doors and windows after a pipeline or chemical leak. Authorities claimed the problem “was contained within several hours, without injury.” The leaked chemical, which apparently was hydrogen chloride gas, is described on its data sheet as causing “severe respiratory tract, eye and skin burns. Harmful if inhaled. May cause target organ damage, based on animal data.”

Also, Exxon-Mobile announced that flood-caused damage at its enormous Baytown refinery released an “unbearable” chemical smell over parts of Houston. Heavy rains caused a storage tank to sink, and released “unusually high emissions, especially of volatile organic compounds, a category of regulated chemicals”. A little ways east, in Beaumont, damage to another Exxon-Mobile refinery forced it to release “1,312.84 pounds of sulfur dioxide, well in excess of the amounts allowed by the company’s permits”.


Volunteers rescuing people from flood waters.

Despite these acute threats to public health, at least 18 hospitals have been forced to close and evacuate patients in Houston alone, including the county hospital. This is having an enormous impact on the health and lives of people in intensive care, recovering from surgeries and other conditions, pediatric patients, and others. In addition, many of these people arrive at other facilities needing emergency care because of the ordeal of their transport. And of course, the thousands rendered homeless and living in shelters have far fewer hospitals that they can possibly get admitted to. A city that boasts of having the largest, most modern medical center in the world is proving incapable of meeting the challenge of the crisis caused by Harvey.

Floodwaters in the Addicks Reservoir in west Houston went over the top of the reservoir for the first time in its 70 year history.  This triggered what a local TV station called an "uncontrolled release of Harvey's floodwaters into nearby neighborhoods that may be underwater for weeks.” A few hours later, officials in Brazoria County just south of the reservoir said a levee along some lakes had been breached by floodwaters. They put up a sign telling people still there to leave immediately. Their message “GET OUT NOW!!”

This system is not, and cannot, meet the needs of the people during this crisis. The demands published in Revolution need to get out in Texas and everywhere. As the first of them reads: At the government’s expense: People must be housed and cared for until they can safely return to their homes; hotels, convention centers, and other buildings must be provided to people in need of shelter; there must be free communication for people to contact relatives. Immediately, there must be emergency medical care and measures to prevent massive epidemics and needless deaths. There must be no arrests for so-called looting. There must be emergency relief—people must be immediately provided with water, food, medicines, and other basic needs FREE OF CHARGE.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017


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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

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

Updated September 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the latest dangerous development around the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean regime announced on Sunday, September 3, that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for its intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is North Korea’s sixth testing of nuclear bombs, the first since Trump became president, reportedly the most powerful one they have exploded.

Trump fired off a series of tweets on Sunday morning about the test, calling North Korea a “rogue nation.” And Trump blasted South Korea, the country the U.S. claims they are “protecting” against North Korea, saying “their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

A few hours later James Mattis, Trump’s Secretary of Defense, appeared before the media at the White House to declare, “Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam, or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.” He said that there was a “small-group national security meeting” with Trump and Pence in the morning. Mattis also said in the short statement that “we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said we have many options to do so.” Note that Mattis stated “any threat” would be met by the U.S. carrying out “a massive military response.” The fact that Mattis said “any threat”—as opposed to an actual attack—would be a trigger for a U.S. war is a huge, dangerous escalation. The U.S. could declare any action by North Korea—more nuclear tests, missile launches, or even verbal statements—as a “threat” that justifies a military response, which could include the total annihilation of North Korea—a country of over 25 million people!

This follows the August 30 firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile by North Korea 1,700 miles into the western Pacific Ocean. The missile passed over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, ratcheting up the threat of a war that would likely result in tens of thousands of deaths just in the first few hours.

 

Take the Korea Pop Quiz: What do you REALLY know about the Korean War?

 

But Who's Threatening Whom Here? And What Do People Need to Do?

Here's the basic reality that you are not being told. This is the reality you need to know in order to act in the interests of humanity...

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017


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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/rev-books-nyc-hurricane-harvey-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

August 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Special program

Thursday, August 31, 7:00pm

Hurricane Harvey: A Natural Disaster, and the Crisis of a System

Roundtable Discussion with 

Raymond Lotta

Revolution Books, New York City
437 Malcolm X Blvd @ 132nd (#2/3 to 135th)
212-691-3345
www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

 

RevBooksNYC Discussion on Hurricane Harvey

 

Hurricane Harvey is ravaging the Texas Gulf Coast. Millions of people's lives have been thrown into a desperate struggle for survival. Many are poor Chicano, immigrant, and Black people who have worked the docks and refineries, and rice, cotton, cane fields -- confined to dilapidated urban slums and in rural settlements along the Texas-Mexico border. 

Hurricane Harvey was caused by forces of nature. But the lack of preparation for evacuation, shelter, food, and medical needs...the inability of the government to really mobilize and organize people to confront and assist each other in dealing with this catastrophe...the concern first and foremost for the oil refineries and oil production in Houston...and how Houston itself has been built up in a way that compounds this disaster...

All this has everything to do with the profit-based capitalist-imperialist system we live under. 

Join the discussion. We'll get into:

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/devastation-in-texas-nine-ways-a-crime-of-this-system-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Devastation in Texas:
Nine Ways This Is a Crime of this System

August 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hurricane Harvey has devastated southeast Texas. Thirty people are already dead. One-third of Harris County, where Houston is located, is now under water. The lives and futures of millions of people are at risk.

Why has this hurricane struck with such force? Why are so many people living right in the path of hurricanes and floods? Why weren’t any real plans in place to evacuate people to safety or take care of them during the kind of storm emergency everyone knew was coming? And why, even now, are the authorities unable to prevent widespread suffering and devastating losses for so many thousands of people?

This isn’t just nature at work, there’s a system at work in this catastrophe. Things did not have to happen this way.

1. The system of capitalism-imperialism is fundamentally responsible for global warming, which makes storms like Harvey happen more often and hit much harder.

2. Houston, a city of millions, was built up right in the path of hurricanes, on a flat plain known to be a flood disaster waiting to happen, because it was profitable to produce and transport oil and other products there.

3. Toxic, dangerous oil refining, petrochemical, and pesticide plants have been built in harm’s way, because capitalism’s dog-eat-dog drive for profit and dominance makes this system incapable of protecting the people or the environment.

4. Capitalist oil, real estate, and development industries have profited by replacing natural flood barriers like forests, meadows, and wetlands with shopping malls, freeways, and developments—making Houston’s flooding far worse.

5. In the last 40 years, Houston has flooded more than any other major U.S. city, but real disaster planning to evacuate, shelter, or care for people doesn’t profit or serve capitalism—so it’s never done.

6. Those who’ve been exploited and oppressed to create capitalism’s wealth are always the most vulnerable when disaster strikes. They don’t have the money or resources to prepare for storms, escape when they hit, or recover from the devastation.

7. Immigrants have been exploited and terrorized by this system, and now they could be arrested or deported for seeking shelter and safety. The Border Patrol made this viciously clear: “The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”

8. Capitalism gets everyone to compete against each other for jobs, housing, and education and promotes look-out-for-number-one values—just look at Trump. People are not encouraged, organized, and given the resources to work together to prepare for floods and hurricanes. Instead, they’re left to fend for themselves—with people trapped on roofs, the elderly huddled in rising storm waters, or families trying to wade or drive to safety through flooded streets.

9. During this crisis, the rulers of this system have acted to preserve capitalist property and the social order that serves it—not meet the needs of the people.

This is not the best humanity can do—a whole other and far better way IS possible, through revolution. The know-how and resources exist right now to meet people’s needs, protect the environment, and plan for emergencies. What stands in the way is the system of capitalism-imperialism and the state power that backs that up with pigs, guns, tanks, and armies. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, by Bob Avakian, provides a vision of a society organized not to maximize the profits of a few but to move toward a world where all exploitation and oppression have been ended, and where humanity is not the plunderer but the caretaker of the environment. This IS possible; what is required is revolution.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Refuse Fascism/November 4:

UNITING ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED,
Defeating "Divide and Conquer"

August 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Don’t allow the ruling forces, or any other force, to divide us or pit us against each other. Don’t fall for "divide and conquer" schemes and divisive actions, reject and rise above petty disputes and sectarian squabbles—reach out BROADLY to UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED, from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective of driving out, through massive, sustained political mobilization, this regime which has already done such great harm and which poses a grave threat to humanity.

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

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

 

November 4: It Begins

Read more

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/monstrous-floods-kill-over-1000-in-south-asia-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Monstrous Floods Kill over 1,000 in South Asia: The Global System Behind the Misery

August 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Floods in Mumbai

A flooded street in Mumbai, India on August 29. Photo: AP

You would not know from American network news that 41 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal are right now suffering from the devastation and floods caused by extreme monsoon events. (Monsoons are seasonal heavy wind and rain events that are common in South Asia.) Over the past week, 1,200 people have died and millions are now homeless. One-third of the entire country of Bangladesh is now under water! The whole region of South Asia is in a severe crisis.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross, 8.6 million people have been affected and 715,000 homes have been destroyed in Bangladesh alone. A spokesperson for the Red Cross in India told the Independent newspaper in the UK, “People have been shaken by the huge flooding. This is an area where people are used to a bit of flooding but people said this is on a different scale... There was no warning and downpours started one night. People had to escape and fled their homes with only what they could carry. People are on survival mode and they are only thinking about tomorrow but reconstruction will be slow.”

In the vast countrysides of South Asia, life depends on subsistence farming. Now tens of millions of small farmers have literally nothing left. Homeless and landless, many will likely end up living in the hugely overpopulated cities of the region, with no prospect of finding jobs as the economies of these countries spiral further downward due to the devastation.

India’s most populous city, Mumbai, has 18 million residents. At least half of them live in sprawling slums, with generations continuing to be driven from the impoverished rural areas. Now these millions of people are under water, with roads, schools, and already crumbling public services out of operation.

Flooding in Bangladesh

Houses in Bangladesh under water after flooding. Photo: Bangladesh Department of Disaster Management

This scale of destruction and human suffering is unimaginable. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Over 163 million people are packed into approximately 55,600 square miles. (Compared to the state of Texas, in Bangladesh over six times the number of humans live on less than one-quarter of the land area.)

As is the case with Harvey—in Texas and Louisiana—there is evidence that the extreme storms that have hit the region this summer have been made worse through climate change driven by the global capitalist system. (See here for example)

On top of that, this is a region of the world where the capitalist economies and governmental structures serve and are dependent on the profit-junkie global imperialist order. That has meant violent suppression of the oppressed, and laws and development that facilitate intensified globalized exploitation of peasants and workers. These regimes are extremely corrupt, carry out torturous repression, and the persecution of ethnic minorities.

       

Bangladesh is the epitome of a country where imperialism has warped the economy, development, culture and conditions of life. There are 3.5 million workers toiling in garment sweatshops to produce clothes for America and Europe, an industry that provides 80% of the Bangladesh’s exports. 85% of these workers are women. The megacity of Dhaka is home to over 18 million people in the whole metropolitan region. The huge slums of Dhaka have no modern sanitation and sewerage facilities. Makeshift latrines empty directly into waterways. The yearly monsoons regularly bring floods that mean people are literally living in shit, and this year’s larger than ever storms will only leave more millions of people teetering on the edge of existence. Tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh, including 50,000 children, die every year of preventable waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, and typhoid.

These are societies in permanent turmoil, and the people of this region suffer from all kinds of dislocation and misery driven by the workings of imperialism. For example, just in the last week, close to 20,000 of persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) have fled across the border into Bangladesh, seeking refuge from massacres by the Myanmar military.

These governments are not in any way equipped to provide for the victims of such disasters, let alone the everyday suffering of billions of people in the region.

It is a region of the world that cries out for genuine revolution.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/bob_avakian-the-problem-the-solution-and-the-challenges-before-us-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

August 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Listen

Download PDF of "The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us"

New Talk by Bob Avakian

The following is the text of a talk given by Bob Avakian (BA) to a Party working group in the summer of this year (2017). The audio of this talk is available here.

 

The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us

Touching on Essential Questions Concerning the Actual History of this Country, The Nature of the Capitalist-Imperialist System We Live Under, The Consequences of This for Humanity, The Way Forward to a World Free of the Unnecessary Suffering and Horrors Bound Up With All This, and the Breakthroughs That Must Be Made Now

 

 

Part 1: Breaking with American Chauvinism and the Killing Confines of Capitalism

Contrary to all the mythology that is constantly perpetrated and perpetuated through the dominant institutions of this society and all of its spokespeople, the wealth of this country and the situation of the people within it is not owing to some great freedoms that are particular to this country and to the great innovativeness that this freedom allows and encourages. To get to the reality of what this really rests on we could go back to Marx, speaking about the primitive accumulation of capitalism on the basis of horrific plunder and unbelievable exploitation of masses of people in far-flung parts of the world. This provided the foundation on which the accumulation of capitalism began, coming out of feudal society, and the basis on which whatever innovation was carried out ultimately rested. Marx also spoke of the “rosy dawn” of capitalism with great irony. In the book Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones, I quoted Jack Weatherford who wrote Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World. He begins with this statement: “The capitalists [speaking of the United States, in particular, but the capitalists in Europe and other places as well—these capitalists] built the new structure on the twin supports of the slave trade from Africa to America and the piracy of American silver.” And then he goes on to quote Marx about the rosy dawn: “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 a basic and irrefutable truth.

We hear in connection with all these notions of the great freedom and innovativeness of people in this country and how the freedom allows for this innovativeness—we hear a lot about the expression “American exceptionalism.” Now, when first hearing this term you might think...you might not recognize that there is actually a certain ironic twist to this. You might think: “Yeah, well, that makes sense, ‘American exceptionalism,’ we have this good democracy here and people have a lot of freedom, but of course there are some things that ran really contrary to that in the history of the country—like the genocide against the Indians and all the slavery and everything else. Yeah that makes sense, it’s an exception, it’s a democracy but it’s kind of an exception because it has all these negative features associated with it.” And then, lo and behold, you discover that’s not what it means—that American exceptionalism means America is exceptionally good, that even in comparison to all the other “capitalist democracies” in the world, there’s something special, the shining city on the hill, as Reagan, for example, invoked it. You know, this image that there’s something particularly and specially good about America and its people. And you have to think: what an irony. This is completely upside down. If anybody wants to talk about exception, it should be talked about in the way I was just referring to it—that here are some real negative things here that stand in sharp conflict to “our democracy” which we still haven’t yet overcome. But no, it means the opposite—we’re exceptionally good.

And think of the level of American chauvinism you have to have internalized not to vomit upon hearing that. Let’s look a little bit more at the actual founding cornerstones and the long shadow of slavery in this country along with the genocidal dispossession and rounding up into concentration camps called reservations of the native population, the original population.

The treatment of Black people in this country, the horrific oppression of Black people from the time of slavery down to today—if you want to talk about a special characteristic of America, that’s one of the most distinguishing. And that slavery has been built into the very foundation: it is a cornerstone of the entire society, and its shadow continues to cast itself over the entire society, the entire country and everything about it, right down to today. If you look at the founding documents of this country—for example, if you look at the Declaration of Independence—what are the indictments that are made against the King of England in declaring independence? Among them is the following: “He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.” Now, think about this. Here are people who repeatedly broke treaties with these very Native Americans, the original inhabitants, who never in fact kept a single treaty they made with them, who drove them repeatedly off the land—would grant them land but, “Oh, wait a minute, there’s gold there.” So they have to be uprooted again and put on these Trail of Tears marches where thousands died over and over and over again. And then, in turn, we hear these people described as “the merciless Indian Savages” whom the King of England is inciting against these settlers. This is one of the great crimes of the King of England according to the Declaration of Independence. Again, reality is turned completely on its head.

And then of course it goes on and talks about how the King of England has forced the slave trade upon the European settlers of this territory—as if somehow none of them, including Thomas Jefferson, wanted to have slaves. Never mind the fact that he engineered the Louisiana Purchase to greatly expand the territory that would be slave-based. Somehow supposedly the King of England is responsible for forcing slavery on people like Jefferson and these other founders.

Or look at the Constitution of the United States. Not only the infamous three-fifths clause which declared that the slaves were three-fifths human beings, to be counted as three-fifths for the purposes of taxation and representation; but even such things as the electoral college were in fact engineered in that way, established, and established in their particular forms, as concessions to the slave states. Recently in the New York Times, in a special supplement on the Constitution on July 2, 2017, Garry Wills went into how the Second Amendment itself was not about individuals owning arms—that’s not what was being... that was not the concern that was being addressed. It was, in particular, the right of the slave states to have militias to hunt down slaves and put down slave insurrections. So right there, again, in the very founding of this country’s basic documents, and in the way this has extended its shadow right down to today, the horrific oppression of the original inhabitants, and then of Black people—or of Black people along with that—it’s right at the core of what this country is about, from the beginning to today. The fact is that white supremacy and its continuation in different, but always horrific, forms has been built into the very foundation and structures, the social relations and the culture of this system in this country and is an indispensable part of its ongoing cohesion and functioning.

Now, in light of all this, you might think it’s a little ridiculous when people say something like: “Fascism couldn’t really happen here. We have all these institutional protections against it, and, once again, we are these exceptional people. So how could fascism happen here? It couldn’t happen here.” Oh no, it couldn’t happen here. Not in a country founded on slavery and genocide and steeped in white supremacy as well as male supremacy, manifest destiny and white man’s burden. Oh no, it couldn’t happen in a country like that. And it is important to point out about all these things—the white supremacy, the male supremacy, the American chauvinism, the manifest destiny, the white man’s burden—all of these have been, and remain, intertwined and mutually reinforcing.

If you turn to the book, for example, The Rebirth of a Nation by Jackson Lears—which focuses on the era when the U.S. really pushed itself out into the world as a colonial power, gobbling up the Philippines as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba, and entering onto the world stage on a level of thuggery previously unseen—he talks about how all this was bound up with a certain sense of male identity and male assertiveness, as well as white supremacy, in rather grotesque forms, unvarnished, the way we’re seeing it coming back now, unvarnished, under the Trump/Pence fascist regime. For example, he cites the woman, Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was the wife and campaign manager, not of a dog catcher, but of a U.S. Congressman, who said that one of the great problems in American society was that men were not providing adequate attention to “white women’s vulnerability to the Black rapists” who were supposedly roaming the rural South. “The fault, she declared, lay with southern white men. They had failed to put a ‘sheltering arm about innocence and virtue.’” She concluded that “if lynching was required ‘to protect women’s dearest possession from the ravening human beasts—then I say lynch, a thousand times a week, if necessary.’” The wife and campaign manager of a U.S. Congressman.

Or let’s look at another statement that shows the horrendous dimensions of this and the way in which all of this is intertwined. In particular, here is the male chauvinism, the patriarchy, the misogyny. Lears writes: “Behind all the economic calculations and all the lofty rhetoric about civilization and progress was a primal emotion—a yearning to reassert control, a masculine will to power.” In particular, this was speaking to the sense that the elite, the wealthy men, had become soft as a result of their riches. And so what was said was necessary to deal with that? War—this would be a masculinizing effect on these feminized wealthy effete men. This was the way that they could experience regeneration.

Or look at the following comment, speaking about the cult of courage and an urge to warfare: “Here,” Lears writes, “was the germ of the worship of force, the secular religion that underlay the regeneration of masculine will.”

And here’s something very interesting in light of the tactics and strategic approach of U.S. imperialism in invading and occupying countries these days. If you think back, for example, to the first Iraq invasion in 1991, Colin Powell said: “We’re not imperialists, we don’t invade countries in order to occupy them, we don’t engage in permanent occupation. We just democratize them and then leave them to the people to run themselves.” Well, this is a well-worn approach of the imperialists, which was being applied as far back as the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Lears speaks to this. He speaks to the approach that the American empire would depend only in part on formal acquisition of foreign colonies, which it did occupy, for example once again, the Philippines. “More commonly it would involve periodic military intervention (rather than permanent occupation) and support for governments friendly to American policies. This indirect approach [to colonialism, I’m adding] would make it easier for American imperialists to wrap themselves in exceptionalist rhetoric and claim moral superiority to their European counterparts.” Here we are again with American exceptionalism, ravishing and plundering colonialism with a particular twist that enables them to say: “Oh no, we’re not colonialists like those Europeans.”

And finally, from Lears he talks about how the resistance of the Philippine people to U.S. occupation was taken by the Americans, including the soldiers of the American imperium, was taken as an affront to white identity and to white being.

So you can see how all of this is all intertwined and mutually reinforcing. And then there’s something that should also be recognized, especially in light of the present situation. There is a direct line and deep connection between all this, and the way in which all this is intertwined and mutually reinforcing—a direct line and direct connection between all this and the virulent hatred and repressive actions directed today against the fight for the recognition of the humanity and the rights of LGBT people.

It is crucial that people be won, including through struggle waged well, to look squarely into the reality of what this system is built on and how it really works, and come to understand why the horrors it causes cannot be reformed away. Here I can only touch on the actual reality of what this system is, how it operates and why, and the terrible consequences of this for humanity. In the Interview with Ardea Skybreak, SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, this is discussed more fully. In THE NEW COMMUNISM, the basic contradictions and dynamics of the system are dug into in some depth. And there is continual exposure and analysis fleshing out all of this on the website revcom.us. But to put this in kind of concentrated way, and what is the actual history and foundation and reality of this country, let’s look at BAsics 1, 2, 3, and 4, beginning with BAsics 1:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.

Now, of course, slavery was not the only factor that played a significant part in the emergence of the U.S. as a world power, whose economic strength underlies its massive military force. A major historical factor in all this was the theft of land, on a massive scale, from Mexico as well as from native peoples. But, in turn, much of that conquest of land was, for a long period of time up until the Civil War, largely to expand the slave system. “Remember the Alamo,” we are always reminded. Well, many of the “heroes” of the Alamo were slave traders and slave chasers....And expanding the slave system was a major aim of the overall war with Mexico, although that war also led to the westward expansion of the developing capitalist system centered in the northern United States.

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.

Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves. Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, “from can’t see in the morning, till can’t see at night”—until they’ve been physically used up....These are conditions very similar to outright slavery....This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well. All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.

 

Now again, this might sound like exaggerated or extreme descriptions. But in fact, it is an accurate description of the reality of today and the whole historical development leading up to it, in terms of this country and its role in the world. As I said elsewhere, many examples have been given to bring to life more fully the reality of this, and much analysis has been made of how and why this system cannot operate on any other basis than this. For example, in the book, THE NEW COMMUNISM. But, as a shorthand way of saying this, it can simply be stated that there is not a single thing that finds its way into the consumption markets of the U.S. and similar countries which has not gone through, in its chain of production, horrific forms—the most vicious exploitation and oppression—in far flung parts of the world, in particular, the Third World. Not a thing.

We can go to another statement by Marx: “Capitalism came into the world with blood dripping from every pore.” And it has maintained itself down to the present day, on an even greater scale, on exactly the same basis. This country and this system is most emphatically not a force for good in the world, but on the contrary the greatest cause of unnecessary suffering for the masses of humanity.

Now, let’s look at another one of the narratives they like to run out to talk about the great nature of this country and of this system of capitalism—job creation. “The capitalists are not exploiting people, they’re creating jobs. If they go to Indonesia or Guatemala or Haiti or Pakistan or Bangladesh or India and have children, or even adults, working for less than a dollar a day—why that’s better than the alternative. If it weren’t for these capitalists going there, these people wouldn’t have a way to have a livelihood at all. So, yes, maybe the conditions are not as good as you and I might like them to be, but they’re much better than they would be otherwise.” This is a typical rationalization, it’s one of the most disgusting rationalizations. And it’s a complete tautology. It amounts to saying: Under the system of capitalist-imperialism, the choices people have range from bad to worse. And it’s a complete lie. If you step away and out of the confines of the self-contained logic of the capitalist system, think about it: The raw materials are there, the people are there—that’s what you need to develop an economy. The question is, on what terms and through which means are you developing that economy with those people and those raw materials?

Once again we’re back to the question that I focused on centrally in THE NEW COMMUNISM: through which mode of production are things done? Capitalism is not the only way, and is certainly far from the best way, to “create jobs” and for people to have meaningful employment. It is possible to have a radically different economic system, the system of socialism, in which people’s work is not exploited for the benefit of cut-throat competing capitalists who are now cut-throat competing capitalists on a world scale, who immediately, as soon as they find it not profitable enough, stop creating those jobs in this country and go to another country where they create jobs, until they find another country where they can go and more ruthlessly exploit people. The people are there. That is the most important thing. And with the people it is possible now to have a radically different economic and social system which is not built on exploitation and oppression—which, in fact, moves to do away with every form of exploitation and oppression—the socialist system moving toward communism on a world scale, at which point all exploitation and oppression will have been eliminated.

So again, the question is: what’s the economic system underlying all this? Or, once again, through which mode of production are things done? Through an exploitative and oppressive system, or one which is moving to eliminate exploitation and oppression and unlocking and unleashing all the human potential in that direction and for that purpose?

Now, I’ve talked elsewhere and emphasized the anarchic workings of this system. Once more, let’s go back to Marx, who said about the system of capitalism: Its total disorder is its order. This is speaking to the anarchy of these different capitalists who, because of the internal nature, contradictions and dynamics of their own system—which, once again, is gone into in THE NEW COMMUNISM—but because of its very internal nature, its very intrinsic nature, its very internal contradictions and dynamics, is a system that rests on ruthless exploitation and ruthless competition between different units and aggregations of capital, competing intensely with each other today on a world scale and in a highly globalized way.

The point, the brutal reality...we hear, for example, all this from these high-tech billionaires and so on, talking about “epic fails” and the “creative destruction” of the way in which they come in and completely undermine the way things have been done and bring in new ways of doing things. And this is upheld as a great phenomenon in the world, this creative destruction. Even where you fail, you learn how to succeed at creating more creative destruction—in other words, more exploitation. And again, the brutal reality is that this disorder, this creative destruction, causes tremendous suffering on a world scale of people and of the environment, which this system and its internal dynamics have brought to the point where the very future and existence of humanity is seriously threatened. And then, on top of all that, there is a massive destruction brought about by the wars, the coups, and other bloody actions which are carried out in every part of the world to enforce this system’s oppressive rule.

The military of this country is not a body of heroes who should be thanked for their service, but a machinery of perpetual war crimes and crimes against humanity, repeatedly carrying out slaughter and destruction on a mass scale in the service of a system literally built on blood and bones. Once again, this may seem like an exaggeration or an extravagant claim, but look at the wars that have actually been carried out by this military, in the present day in the Middle East, and the horrific results of their invasions and occupations and everything this set loose. Or Vietnam. Or the coups they pulled off from Iran to Guatemala to Indonesia to Chile, which have cost the lives of literally more than a million people—just those coups and their consequences. This is no exaggeration. This is the reality that people have to be brought to confront.

And as for people who should be appreciated, those from this military who should be supported are those who have broken with it, especially those who have come over to the side of opposition to these crimes and the system this military enforces with its depraved violence and massive destruction. And depraved violence is a very apt description. You can go back to Vietnam, not only the massive bombing with chemical weapons—Agent Orange, napalm which literally sets fire to people’s flesh—but the My Lai massacre, which was not an aberration or an exception or a one-time deviation, but a repeated pattern by the U.S. military in Vietnam. The soldiers who became so degraded that they cut off the ears of the people they slaughtered and carried them around as trophies. This is the reality of those that the rulers of this country want people to celebrate as heroes. Because this is the nature of the military that these people are serving in and its role in the world.

Now, along with everything already spoken to in terms of the actual history of this country, as well as its role in the world right up to the present, the theory of government and the founding documents of this country—as articulated, for example in the Declaration of Independence—this theory of government is in fundamental conflict with reality. Let’s look at one of the most oft-quoted statements from the Declaration of Independence. And often you’ll hear people celebrating democracy who will quote this opening of the Declaration of Independence right after “When in the course of human events” and so on (I guess people still memorize this in school on some occasions), there’s this famous passage:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men... [Nota Bene, as they say: all men are created equal, note well] all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.

Now, I have to say there should be a certain prize given here, because it’s hard to conceive of packing more bullshit into such a small number of sentences. First of all, leave aside the part about “endowed by their creator.” Let’s leave aside the fact that there is no creator, there is no god, nobody is endowed with anything by a non-existent being. That’s the first point. But let’s leave that aside. Let’s move on to the core of this—that to secure these rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness)... by the way notice that in the Constitution “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is replaced with life, liberty and property, including that the slaves were property. But anyway, to secure these rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness “governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed.” Well, this completely flies in the face of the actual history of human beings. Human beings who evolved and lived in early communal societies were not marked by all the features of the kind of society that’s spoken to in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. They did not have the kind of oppressive class divisions within their own small societies that are taken for granted in the world today by the defenders of this system and those who don’t know better, even if they should. And the evolution of human beings from there to the present time did not take place through gatherings of the people to institute governments among them which derived their just powers from those who gathered together to create these governments.

Think back to the statement by Marx, describing the “rosy dawn” and what the primitive accumulation of capitalism rests on. The inhabitants, the original inhabitants, of the mines of Potosi in Latin America, who were literally worked to death in the mines— passing their flesh literally into the structures there—they were not governed by an association of people that had come together to choose this. The slaves who were hunted down in Africa... Yes, there was slavery in Africa—we have to speak to what’s raised by all these fascists and others—yes, there was slavery in Africa; yes, there was slavery among the original inhabitants of the Americas. But it was on a very small scale, part of the fabric of those societies. When slavery and genocide became tethered to the machinery and fed into the maws, the jaws of capitalist accumulation and exploitation, it became a whole other thing on a whole other horrendous level, involving and killing millions of people and grinding millions more to an early death. Those people did not come together and choose a government that derived its “just powers” from their decisions.

In the feudal societies of Europe and Japan and China, the serfs did not come together with the nobles and hold a conclave and decide upon the government of their choosing whose “just powers” derived from their decision and their consent.

Oftentimes, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, people did things out of necessity which led to great changes which they themselves did not anticipate and might not even have wanted. Now, I spoke in another work about people in Mexico, for example, thousands of years ago, who lived by hunting and gathering, and then by their own activity, used up many of the resources that they were depending upon, and also due to changes in the natural environment, they were forced to leave the area they were hunting and gathering in, and they went and settled by a river and began to carry out settled agriculture. This is just one of many examples of how this has happened repeatedly throughout the world. And then class differences of a very oppressive nature began to develop among them because of the new situation they were in. Some people were more favorably situated near a river—on more arable land, for a combination of factors—so polarization developed among them. It wasn’t that they sat down together and said: “Let us develop a society in which there’s polarization among us, in which some will thrive and others will suffer and in which those who thrive will exploit those who suffer so they will suffer more—this is what we choose to do as a way to be governed. And of course that government that we established for these purposes will derive its ‘just powers’ from our consent.” This is absolute nonsense. It completely flies in the face of reality. And it has nothing to do with the reality of the United States of America when it broke from England and established a different new country. The slaves were not part of any conclave, nor were the original inhabitants, the so-called Indians—they were not part of any conclave to establish a government deriving its “just powers” from their consent. The character of this society, the class divisions, the social relations in this society were not decided by people sitting down and having a meeting to discuss: “Okay, some people are going to be farmers, and some are going to be rich farmers and some are going to be poor farmers, and some are going to be indentured servants to these other people, and some are going to be slaves, and some are going to be dispossessed of everything they own, and during the course of the Civil War we’re going to start a westward expansion 90 years from now, but let’s plan it now. Ninety years from now we’re going to start a westward expansion to drive the remaining original inhabitants off their land, killing them in the process, suppressing them through warfare. And we’ll bring a bunch of Chinese in, force them to work on building the railroads so we can expand all the way to....” What kind of nonsense is this?! It has nothing to do with how the country was founded, how it developed, and what role it has played in the world right down to today.

These things arise out of the conflict between the necessity that people face and the means they devise to try to transform that necessity through a series of different societies, which are fundamentally founded on the relations that people—in the face of that necessity, and in the face of what they’ve inherited from previous generations—the relations they enter into to meet their material requirements of life, and the superstructure that arises on the basis of this—political institutions, political processes, ideology and culture—which serves those underlying economic relations which are not static and forever but continually change with changes in conditions, including the new productive forces that are brought forward through this process. This is how society has developed from the earliest emergence of human beings down to the present. And the important thing is that it was not predetermined to do so but it has come to a point where there are now the actual material conditions to do away with all these oppressive divisions and exploitative relations among human beings of every kind.

Besides what I’ve spoken to here, this is gone into in greater depth in Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 1. And there is also a very good concentrated discussion of the basic principles that I’m discussing here in Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, Part 1, particularly in the section “How Does Human Society Actually Develop?”

The truth really does matter, and it is very important to insist on and struggle fiercely for the critical importance of actually following the truth wherever it leads—as opposed to the longing, all-too-common among liberals and “progressives”: “Please, can we put an end to these lies from Trump that make me uncomfortable and get back to the lies about this country that make me comfortable.” In the “Democracy” book, (Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?) I wrote: “[I]n all bourgeois democratic countries—and this is no exaggeration—from the very earliest age, through the educational system, the mass media and in other ways, the people are systematically misinformed and lied to about every significant question of current political and world affairs and of world history, and are systematically indoctrinated and imbued with an upside-down world view and errant methodology.” (That’s on page 190, for those who want to look at it.) This is obviously a very provocative statement, and it is as true as it is provocative. In fact, it is so provocative precisely because it is so profoundly true. That is, it seems outrageous precisely because people have been so systematically misinformed and misled.

I’ve already touched on some glaring examples of this, speaking to the actual history of this country and its role in the world. Some others will be spoken to through the course of this talk, and many, many other examples could be cited, including the lies and distortions by the dominant institutions and representatives of this system about the wars waged by this country, about socialism and the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and China, the Great Depression of the 1930s and how it was ended, World War 2 and how and why the U.S. emerged as the most powerful imperialist country after that war, what the situation is with Korea and why, what the ’60s was really about, the character and role of imperialist heads of state who are presented as great leaders like Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Churchill, and on and on and on.

While it is right and necessary to unite with people broadly in opposing the injustices and outrages committed by those who rule this country, and while this has taken on heightened importance with the coming to power of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, it is a basic truth that without breaking with American chauvinism—without confronting the very real horror of what this country has been, and what it has done, here and all over the world, from its founding to the present—and without coming to deeply hate this, it is not possible, in the final analysis, to retain one’s own humanity and act in the highest interests of all humanity.

Before moving to Point 2, I just want to make a clarification. In the Declaration of Independence, along with the point about inciting the slaves to carry out domestic insurrection against the slave owners and inciting the “Indian Savages” to make warfare against them (the colonists), the point about the King of England forcing slavery on the colonies was actually, I believe, in Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence but for whatever reasons did not make it into the final version. But nonetheless you can see Jefferson’s thinking there.

 

 

Part 2. The Decisive Importance of MethodScientific Method—in Understanding and Changing the World

First, we need to speak to the glaring lack of materialism that is so widespread and common in regards to what this system is, how it actually functions, why it functions as it does, and what the consequences and implications of this are. Here, again, we can refer back, for example, to the point I made earlier about the narrative of “job creation”—as opposed to the reality of ruthless exploitation. But this lack of materialism is, in fact, extremely glaring. This is what you find, instead of people basing themselves on the critical breakthrough that Marx made in establishing what is the foundation and what are the dynamics of human society in general, what are the fundamental dynamics—the relations between what the forces of production are at hand and therefore correspondingly how people enter into economic relations in order to utilize those productive forces, and on that basis, the superstructure that arises of politics, ideology and culture, and the back and forth, the dialectical relation between and contradictions and relations within, the economic system, between the forces and relations of production, and how those are constantly moving and changing, and in terms of the contradictions between the economic system and the superstructure of politics and ideology that develops on the foundation of this economic system and, in turn, reacts back upon it in certain ways.

This breakthrough has been there for the taking for more than 150 years, and it was systematized in Marx’s major work Capital more than 100 years ago, nearly 150 years again. And yet people, including those who consider themselves scholars of society, constantly turn away from this—reject it, distort it, deny it, or in one form or another try to ignore this fundamental breakthrough—ignore and often oppose this fundamental breakthrough. Instead, what do we get for explanations about society, both in academic circles and out more broadly among the “common people?” Things that focus on the superstructure as the decisive element—theories of “human nature” which supposedly explain why things happen the way they do, emphasis on the political processes, elections and different demographic analyses in terms of how they pertain to and influence elections—all these kind of things which are secondary and can only be correctly understood on the basis of a materialist approach to and a materialist method of proceeding from an understanding of what underlies all these politics, what underlies all these ideas and the culture that circulates in society and predominates in society. Why did Marx say, so very correctly and importantly: The entire history of humanity is the history of the transformation of human nature? Did that mean that the way human nature got transformed was that people fought with each other about what their nature should be? Well, yes, they did do that. But what was more fundamental, underlying and decisive in that? Not the sole factor, but the more underlying, fundamental and decisive factor was: what was going on underneath all of that in the economic base of society?

Here, again, you run into other tautologies. “People are just naturally selfish”—which is another... Marx and Engels point out in the Communist Manifesto that this kind of thinking is just a tautology, that as long as you have capitalism you will have the ideas of capitalism predominating, including the idea that everybody should be out for themselves against everybody else, which corresponds to the commodity relations of a capitalist society where everything is increasingly turned into a commodity. The continuous transformation of human nature proceeds through the changes that occur in the base of society and the corresponding struggle that this gives rise to in the realm of ideas and politics, and so on. So we have, once again, an upside down approach which leads you always into a dead end. You can never understand such basic things as: If you have a society based on exploiting people, you’re gonna have a lot of fucking selfish people, OK? If you have a society in which white supremacy is built into its structures, you’re gonna have a lot of white supremacists.

But see, a sort of basic understanding like that is either neglected or outright attacked and replaced with all these theories that are just going around in a circle, never getting to the underlying basis of why things are the way they are and why they change. Why don’t we have slavery anymore? Is it simply because people developed ideas that slavery was wrong and fought against it? Yes, they did. But that, in turn, while not being reducible to, was fundamentally grounded in changes that were taking place in the economy and the rising conflict and antagonism between a different kind of economic system—capitalism, which was developing particularly in the North—and the slave system, which was seeking to preserve itself and even to expand, centered fundamentally in the South. And not reducible to, but on the basis of that increasing conflict between these different economic systems, these different modes of production, different ideas not only arose but were able to attract masses of people to them.

People could have all kinds of ideas in any kind of epoch, but if there’s not a basis in the underlying foundation of society and its economic dynamics, and in the social relations that are emerging and in the changes that are occurring in the underlying basis of society, then those ideas will not be able to attract a mass following. People thousands of years ago could have the idea that it would be nice if nobody mistreated anybody else, but as long as they didn’t have the basis for an economic system which made that possible, they could not have a society like that. They could not institute those kinds of social relations. It wasn’t a matter of people coming together in a vacuum and cooking up ideas about what kind of society they wanted and then proceeding to implement it. This basic dialectical materialist understanding—dialectical because it doesn’t just deal with the underlying material system, the mode of production, and it doesn’t deal with that as static and unchanging, but deals with the contradictions and motion and development within that economic system, within the superstructure of politics and ideology that arises on that basis, and between that underlying economic system and the superstructure of politics and ideology. And the dialectics of this are that changes are brought about, of any real consequence in society, through what occurs in the superstructure, through the formulation of political ideas and theories and ideologies and through the struggle over different programs, and ultimately, when a revolutionary crisis comes about, then the possibility opens of a radical transformation in society, taking place in a concentrated way in the superstructure, in the struggle over who will rule society and what kind of system will they be able to implement—not out of their abstract reckoning in their heads but in relation, once again, to what are the underlying economic and social relations and the dynamics and changes within that.

So the foundation is the underlying economic system, and it’s in the superstructure where this gets battled out and where the changes get fought out. And the superstructure is a very dynamic sphere; the realm of political struggle, the realm of culture, the realm of ideas is not one-to-one a mere passive reflection of what the underlying economic system is, but it’s full of contradiction and struggle. People who perceive, like Marx did, the contradictions and analyze deeply and scientifically the contradictions in the underlying economic system, were able to recognize the possibility of transformation to a radically different economic system and therefore to formulate the theories and ideas that would lead to that, that would lead to that process of struggle, that could make that possible. This is why Marx said that the sense of the permanence of the existing conditions breaks down in theory before it is actually broken down in practice. Or, as we emphasize, this is why theory can and often does run ahead of practice. Theory has its ultimate point of origin and point of verification in practice, in the actual material world—that’s where ideas arise out of, and that’s where they’re proven ultimately to be true or not true and to find a basis or not find a basis among people. But in that overall process, people can perceive—out of reflecting on the contradictions and motion and development of the underlying relations, they can perceive changes before those changes are actually brought about. If that weren’t so, there could never be any radical change in society.

So this is all very important to understand. What are the actual relations here? If you want to understand why people treat people the way they do, you have to look fundamentally to the underlying economic system, and the social relations that correspond to that, and then the ideas that arise on that basis and the contradictions and motion within all that. That’s the way you understand it. Otherwise, you’ll go around in a circle. “White people are racist.” “Men are chauvinist.” Well, overwhelmingly in a society like this, if you’re looking at the broad population, that’s true—but why is it true? And why are there not very many advocates—although we see some cropping up again now with the Trump phenomenon and his supporters—but why are there not very many advocates of slavery? Other than things like sexual slavery and the trafficking of women and girls today. But why are there not advocates for: Let’s restore the whole slave system? Because that’s completely out of line with the underlying economic system and the way that system operates in the world today. So people may have those ideas, but it’s hard for them to get a hearing on a mass scale or exert significance influence—not simply on the basis of different moralities, but what underlies and gives rise to those moralities, the changes in the economic relations and the social relations. And without understanding this, you could never really see the possibility of changes in both circumstances (that is, the system) and in people—and of the way those can be fought for. So we need, as opposed to this anti-, not just non, but anti-materialist approach, we need dialectical and historical materialism and a correct understanding of the dynamic contradictory relationships within the economic base, within the superstructure, and between the economic base and the superstructure.

Now, let’s look here: I thought it might be worthwhile looking at what might seem like an unusual but actually an important example of applying dialectical and historical materialism—the phenomenon of gangs in the U.S., but not only in the U.S., throughout much of Latin America and the Caribbean. Now, there’s a book called Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America by Ioan Grillo, which is about the Caribbean and Latin America. And it’s very striking. He makes the following statement early in this book: “When you tally up the total body count the numbers are staggering. Between the dawn of the new millennium [in other words at the turn of the century, 2000] and 2010, more than a million people across Latin America and the Caribbean were murdered.” Now even if we think this is somewhat... he does cite sources for this... but even if we think this is somewhat exaggerated, even if it’s anything close to that, think of the implications of that. Think what that reflects. And he goes on to say that it’s a cocaine-fueled holocaust, a cocaine-fueled holocaust. In other words, most of these are—not literally every murder, obviously, there are “crimes of passion” and other murders—but on this kind of scale, the largest contributing factor is the drug phenomenon and the wars associated within the gangs who are part of all this. And if you look at the U.S. itself, Tom Hayden made the analysis a little while ago that, in the decades since the 1970s, tens of thousands of people have died from gang battles in the United States itself. So think about this. A million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, or something on that order, and tens of thousands within the U.S.

Now how do we understand this? Is it because the people doing this are just by nature, their human nature, depraved? Or is there something else going on here that is much more fundamental? In the book I cited earlier, Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones, in speaking to Jim Wallis and refuting his arguments about how you could have a good society based on principles of Christian charity and so on, I analyzed one of the examples he gives of how problems in society can be remedied. He talks about how in Brazil, back in the 1980s, there were a number of peasants who were about ready to be driven off their land, and the women among the peasants contacted the wives of the senators in Brazil and persuaded them to put a stop to this particular dispossession. He holds this up as a model of how justice can be brought in society and changes for the people’s good. And I did a little research and I discovered, not to my surprise frankly, that in the same period he’s talking about, 15 million people in the countryside of Brazil had been dispossessed. That was the overwhelming phenomenon. And the land holdings in Brazil were highly concentrated in large land holdings among a very small percentage of the rural population. And what happened to those 15 million people and their descendants over several generations? Did they evaporate? No. They went into the favelas, the urban slums of Brazil, in conditions where they were not integrated into the economy in an articulated way where they got regular employment even under highly exploitative conditions. Many of them had to engage in various forms of self-employment in the informal economy, including crime, which became one of the more lucrative means of accumulating wealth or at least making a living.

We’ve seen the same phenomenon in the U.S. People from the... Black people, in particular, came from the South after World War 2, worked in factories to a large degree, and other occupations, many of which were closed down or the jobs were replaced by machines. After a couple of generations, many of the youth faced massive unemployment rates. And what did they turn to? Crime and the gang structure in large numbers—not all of them obviously. And you look throughout, not just Brazil, but Latin America and the Caribbean, you have this phenomena of people who several generations ago were peasants in the countryside who were driven off and could no longer live that way, as oppressive and exploitative as that was. They came into the cities, but also could not be integrated into the regular formal economy, and the youth in particular turned to means other than menial employment, such as it was, for making their way through the world and trying to get some kind of existence that was meaningful to them. On the basis of this, and also on the basis that drug production became one of the highly lucrative means of agricultural production, if you will—the raising of cocaine and then the processing of it—you’ve got people drawn into these gangs which then developed into major structures and enterprises which in Latin America are frequently called, and do have some of the characteristics of, cartels. Why did this happen? If you roll the process back 50 years ago, these youth were not into that. It’s not because of some depraved character of their human nature. It’s because of the conditions into which they were thrust and the options that were presented to them, and which were not presented to them.

I mean, in the same book, Preaching From A Pulpit of Bones, I spoke about William Bennett and his pontificating about virtues, and this whole notion of personal responsibility and the choices that people make. And I said: Why is it that the choices for people like Bennett and the class he represents, with their multi-thousand dollar a plate dinners, why is it that their choices are whether to wage war here or there, or whether to close down factories here and move them there, whereas for middle class people in this country it might be how much to go into debt to try to put your kids through college, while for poor people it’s can you get a job or not, and for a girl in Thailand, as young as nine, it’s either be miserably, viciously exploited in some sort of factory or being chained down as a prostitute. Why are those the choices? Is it because of human nature, or is it because of the system and the relations that are embodied in that system and the dynamics of that system?

So you have this phenomenon of gangs now on a major scale. And it’s interesting to think about how in a certain way—not in every detail or every aspect, but in a certain way—this parallels the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism in the parts of the world where Islam has been the dominant religion. Much of the process has actually been the same. Peasants driven out of the countryside, driven into this “planet of slums,” as Mike Davis called it, where up to a billion people live in these massive slums around the core cities of these countries throughout the Third World. They’re uprooted from the traditional relations and then drawn to, in the case of Islamic fundamentalism, attempts to restore, with a vengeance and through barbaric means, those traditional relations—which are being undermined but not transformed in any thoroughgoing way by the dynamics of what imperialism, in conjunction with the dynamics of the particular country, has wrought, has brought forward, has caught people up in. And it’s interesting, you see that some of these leaders of some of these Islamic fundamentalist forces, or people who have become their foot soldiers, were actually people who were into crime, went to jail, and got proselytized by these fundamentalists.

But again, we need to be materialists, but not mechanical materialists, not determinists who think that whatever people’s conditions are in their main aspect is all that there is to their conditions, and whatever their conditions are will automatically produce a certain result in terms of how they act. That’s a kind of mechanical materialism and determinism that we also have to fight against. Because we have to understand the dynamic role of contradiction. There are very acute and profound contradictions in the conditions of all these masses. There is, on the one hand, the pull that I’ve described owing to their conditions, but there’s also the oppression they suffer, the poverty that’s enforced on them, the misery that they are subjected to by the workings of this system, and there are the corresponding ideas of longing for a different and better world that are often suppressed and suffocated to a significant degree once again by the workings of the system, both its underlying workings and the conscious policy and actions of those who rule in society, who dominate the superstructure of political rule and ideology and culture.

So the contradictions of the masses caught up in these situations—whether you’re talking about the favelas and slums of the Caribbean and Latin America, whether you’re talking about the slums and barrios, for example, in the United States where people, many peasants or people from other strata from Mexico and Latin America, come to this country and basically the same phenomenon occurs as occurred to Black people migrating from the South, the first generation maybe finding some kind of menial and super-exploited exploitation, but the youth, many of them don’t feel like going through that, so they turn to this other way of life based on gang structure and crime and so on, not all of them, obviously, but significant numbers. But there’s also the highly oppressive conditions that people are in and the highly repressive situation in which, because of their conditions, the system and its enforcers—the police and all the rest of that apparatus of repression, the courts and the judges, and so on—are constantly subjecting them to all kinds of horrors: outright murder and brutality, mass incarceration, and on and on.

This is the contradictory character of the conditions of these masses and what it gives rise to spontaneously, but also the basis it provides for struggling with people to take a different road, a road of emancipation. That will not happen by spontaneity, and given the pulls that I’ve been describing—the very powerful pulls—this is not going to happen without a great deal of struggle. But the point is that the contradictions are real, and the side of people that aspires to, or can be drawn toward, something actually emancipating, as opposed to enslaving in one form or another, is very real. Without dialectical materialism and historical materialism, you can’t even recognize this, let alone act on it. But with it, you can. And that’s what’s so crucial. So we have to have a correct understanding of the contradictory nature of all this, the contradictory nature of people’s thinking and ideas and the contradictory nature of the economic and social relations that they’re caught up in—which, in an ultimate and fundamental sense, give rise to these contradictory ideas and tendencies and aspirations among them. And we have to work to transform this through a great deal of struggle—and not by any tailing of spontaneity—into a revolutionary force based on the understanding of the possibility, and the inspiration on that real foundation, of the whole prospect and reality of the struggle to emancipate all of humanity.

And within this, without falling into the notion, which I have been criticizing, of turning things upside down and thinking that ideas somehow arise completely independently of the underlying relations in society and thinking that the struggle is merely a struggle in the realm of ideas, at the same time we have to recognize the very powerful role of ideology. People in the same conditions can be drawn to very different programs because of the struggle in the realm of ideas if, again, those ideas have some relation to the underlying reality, not just as it is in a static and unchanging sense, but as it is full of contradiction, struggle and motion. And the ideology of communism, and its further development in the new communism, can be a very powerful force attracting people as the liberatory, emancipating path out of the conditions, the contradictory conditions in which they are caught up. This is something we really have to powerfully recognize. And our ideas, in order to play this role, in order to be a powerful force, have to be in accord with an actual scientific understanding of reality and constantly struggling to further develop and refine that understanding, including because life is constantly changing. But if, in fact, they are based on that scientific approach to the correct relation of things in society—the correct relation between the underlying conditions and the realm of politics and thinking and culture—if they more and more reflect a correct understanding of that, they can be a very powerful pole attracting people toward the only resolution of the contradictions they are caught up in that is fundamentally in their own interests and in the interests of humanity as a whole.

So with that I want to move to part 3.

 

 

Part 3: The Solution, the Necessity, the Possibility and the Desirability of Revolution Grounded in The New Communism

I want to start by reading the 5 Stops, which repeatedly appear in our newspaper, Revolution, and on the website revcom.us, for good reason:

      STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!

      STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!

      STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

      STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

      STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet!

Now, these are, on the one hand, contradictions. They are descriptions of major social contradictions and conditions of masses of people and ultimately conditions affecting all of humanity. Now, we’ve made the very important statement that these are contradictions that cannot be resolved under the present system of capitalism-imperialism—they cannot be resolved in any way that would be in the interests of the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity. And therefore this is a compelling reason and a fundamental reason why we need the kind of revolution we’re talking about to uproot this system, to break its hold over society and humanity and to bring into being a new system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a new system of socialism that is part of the worldwide struggle, and works to develop and promote and support that worldwide struggle, ultimately for communism in the world.

Now, for those who want to oppose us, for those who want to say it is not necessary to have that kind of revolution, they have to argue that the things that are encapsulated and concentrated in these 5 Stops are not important, that they aren’t really significant problems. Let them argue that. Or they have to argue: “Well, yes, these are big problems, obviously—only a fool or worse would deny that—but they can all be solved under the present system.” In which case: let’s hear the argument. But it is completely irresponsible either to ignore what’s concentrated in these 5 Stops or to fail to engage the question—if you do recognize how significant they are—to fail to engage the question of whether or not they can actually be resolved under this system or whether it requires a revolution and a radically different system to solve these problems.

We have not come to this position of revolution lightly. We’ve come to it out of a scientific analysis that identifies these major social contradictions—which didn’t just pop out of nowhere, but have been integral parts of the capitalist-imperialist system and have further become accentuated in the present period—a scientific analysis of the magnitude of those contradictions, of those horrors, really, and the scientific analysis that it requires the kind of revolution we’re talking about to deal with those in a way that would be in the interests of the masses of people, not just here but throughout the world, and ultimately in the interests of all of humanity.

So there are these 5 Stops which concentrate these major contradictions of this system, which are unresolvable and are real horrors. And there’s the reality, which I’ve spoken to here—and which, again, for example, on revcom.us is gone into from many different angles and utilizing many different examples—a world of massive poverty, oppression, exploitation, despoliation of the environment and unnecessary suffering for humanity on a massive scale. This is the world that we actually live in. This is the world we’re actually confronted with. And there is an actual answer to this, a scientifically grounded answer.

So, for all the reasons touched on here and gone into in more depth in THE NEW COMMUNISM, the Interview with Ardea Skybreak, SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, and other works, including a great deal of material available through revcom.us, it is clear that this system cannot be reformed, cannot be made to function in the interests of the vast majority of humanity, because of the very basic contradictions and dynamics of this system. And once again, we’re back to the basic point: The fundamental contradictions and dynamics of this system, and what this gives rise to in order to perpetuate this, is not something which is incidental or accidental, but something which is rooted in the very nature of the system itself. Here, I refer people, again, to THE NEW COMMUNISM, in particular Part I, the discussion of “Through Which Mode of Production,” and “The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism”; and Part II, the discussion of “The 4 Alls.”

Now, in terms of the possibility of revolution, one big reason people have a hard time seeing this possibility is the inability or difficulty in seeing beyond the permanent necessity of existing conditions or the positive potential of upheaval and sudden dramatic change—a fear of that, rather than a recognition of the possibilities it opens.

I was thinking here of an analogy to the question of evolution in the natural world. Leaving aside the Christian Fascists who are determined to resist science and to promote an anti-scientific approach to the world, many regular people—especially those who haven’t been exposed to and had the chance to learn about the actual scientific explanation of evolution—many ordinary people have a hard time with understanding or accepting evolution, not only because of the influences of reactionary forces like the Christian Fascist fanatics, and so on, but also as part of this, because they have difficulty in actually conceiving of things not in terms of a few years, a few decades, a few centuries, or at most a few millennia, maybe two or three thousand years, but conceiving of things in terms of millions and billions of years, which is how long life has existed, in one form or another, on this planet. If you can’t theoretically conceive of such a vast span of time, then the question of how all these diverse forms could evolve on the earth seems at best perplexing and at worst sort of like impossible. How could all these diverse things...if you’re thinking of how it had to evolve in 25 years instead of 3.5 billion years...I mean people can’t even think about a billion years. So a lot of regular people—I’m making an analogy—a lot of regular people have a hard time conceiving of things in those terms, besides the fact that they’re indoctrinated, once again, with an upside down world view and an errant methodology. This thing about: “Oh, you don’t believe in god. Well, who woke you up this morning?” Well, my alarm clock. But anyway, the whole point of material reality—you know, that you don’t need a god to explain these things which are explainable by scientific means; or if they’re not yet explainable by scientific means, through scientific means the recognition can be achieved of how you would move toward explaining them or what the contradictions are that lie in the way of explaining them. Rather than it all being mysterious and you have to invoke some sort of supernatural force for the simplest of things, like how do you talk or how do you get up in the morning.

So I’m making an analogy here. Besides the importance of that point in its own right. I’m making an analogy to why people have a difficult time—one of the significant reasons, I should say, why they have a difficult time—imagining the possibility of revolution, is because they can’t imagine a radically different situation in which all the things that normally hold, and hold down people, are beginning to fray and tear apart and even break apart. Even the normal functioning of the system—though people are getting a sense of some of that now with this president, this Trump guy, who tweets out things calling somebody in the Congress a sleaze ball or calls him sleazy Congressman so and so. I mean these are not the normal ways that the ruling class has conducted its affairs. And you have Pence always leering behind Trump, looking, as someone said, like one of those child molester priests—leering behind Trump. This is a different way, so this begins to get people to... it shakes people up, begins to cause them to think about... you know, a lot of them, their spontaneous reaction is they want to go back to the norms that they’re used to. But what if all those norms are breaking down on a whole other level, both because of the struggle that’s been called forth in society and because of the way that at the top the rulers of the society are attempting to resolve these things and this is intensifying the conflicts among them as well as the conflicts they have with the masses of people? So, if you can break out of this framework and this blindfold of only things ... once again, the tautological thinking, the round-in-a-circle thinking, that: “Well, you can’t do that because that’s not the way things are done.”

Now, with all of his problems, there were some positive qualities definitely to Eldridge Cleaver, and I remember when, way back in the day, he was being interviewed on PBS, I believe, by one of those bourgeois wise men, David Susskind, and he began to run down the 10-point platform and program, Eldridge did, of the Black Panther Party. And he got only a little ways into it and David Susskind says, “But you can’t do that kind of thing in this society.” And Eldridge immediately responded: “You can’t do that kind of thing in this society—that’s why we need a radically different society.” See, this is the thinking that people have to be liberated into, breaking out of the confines of the self-contained logic that this is the way things are done, so therefore what you’re saying can’t be done because it’s not how things are done. That’s exactly the point—it’s not how things are done. And we have to wage that struggle in the realm of thinking, in the realm of ideology. At the same time, we have to develop the struggle of the people which contributes to people breaking out of that, on the one hand, and also sharpens up the contradictions in society in a positive way, because they need to be sharpened up in a positive way. Not because that’s our thing, but because society needs to be radically transformed, because of these 5 Stops, because of the massive poverty, exploitation, oppression and suffering in the world that’s completely unnecessary, because of what’s happening with the environment. It’s for those reasons that the contradictions in society need to be sharpened up and people need to break out of the way things are done and do them in a way that corresponds to their actual interests.

Now, in terms of looking again at the prospect of revolution, another thing I want to touch on is what we might call: parasitism, paralysis of bourgeois liberalism and reformism, friendly neutrality, and the possibility of revolution.

Let’s take the first part: parasitism. Going back to the ’60s, for example, more than 50 years ago, many people who aren’t completely blind to the realities of things would say... if you think back to the ’60s, people would say: “I want a revolution, too, but you’re never going to have a revolution in this country because there’s too many middle class people who are too well off.” Well, is this a real phenomenon and a real problem? Yes, it is. It’s a heavy weight on the masses of people and a heavy weight against the kind of radical change and the struggle for that radical change that’s needed. And it is owing to the parasitism of this society. Once again, in this land of short attention spans and no memory, where history is somehow anathema and out of bounds, people think that the way things are yesterday at the most—that’s as far back as they go—is the way things always were. You look at this country, for example—it didn’t always have the same kind of gigantic middle class, very large middle class which is relatively well off, although its well-off position has been significantly undermined in the last couple of decades, and that is something to be definitely aware of—and the implications of that which are, again, very contradictory. But if you look back at the history of this country, here again you get another narrative about the immigrants. The Statue of Liberty—good hearted people, when faced with this anti-immigrant hysteria being whipped up by Trump and these people, will say: “Well look, you know this is a country of immigrants, we’ve always welcomed immigrants.” Well yes, they were welcomed when they could be viciously exploited for several generations coming into New York, living in the Lower East Side in incredibly rat-infested, miserable conditions, working...I mean where did we get International Women’s Day? From out of the struggle of particularly women workers in their horrific conditions in New York City and representative of what was going on in the country as a whole. Where did we get May Day, International Workers Day? Out of the struggle of people who were viciously exploited, many of whom, as in the case of the women workers I was speaking of, were immigrants. And it was really only after World War 2 and the U.S. emerging relatively... see people don’t know anything about—I’m sorry, let me just say bluntly: people don’t know shit about anything in this country. For many of them, it’s not their fault. Some of them, it is because they could know and they don’t, and they don’t want to know or they resist knowing or they refuse to find out. And they’re too busy with...what is it Paul Simon called it even 30 years ago? Constant staccato of information... little bits of information constantly coming at you all the time—but no depth, no digging beneath the surface of the information to see what it really is all about and what larger framework and underlying basis it fits into and is grounded in.

So people don’t know anything. You know, I have to say I got furious the other day—just to engage in a personal indulgence—I got furious when I watched Kenneth Branagh on Stephen Colbert talking about this movie about Dunkirk, going on and on. First of all, Dunkirk was a fucking rout. The British Army got routed and had to flee by any means it could back to the island. And second of all, he goes on to talk about: “If this hadn’t happened, if the British Army had been destroyed at Dunkirk, the whole war would have been different, but because they escaped, because of the assistance of your great country, the history of things....” There are so many fucking things wrong with that, including, hey, you know what? Guess who broke the backbone of the fucking Nazi Wehrmacht, the Nazi war machine? It wasn’t fucking England, and it wasn’t fucking the U.S. It was the Soviet Union, and anyone who’s done any scholarship knows that. But nobody in this country knows it, and nobody is gonna tell them except for a few of us. But the point is, people don’t know anything about... why did the U.S. emerge out of World War 2 the way it did? Because it was, essentially, completely unscathed in World War 2—a few hundred thousand casualties, one thing at Pearl Harbor, nothing directly on the mainland. Europe was completely devastated. The Soviet Union lost between 20 and probably 30 million people. Its whole industrial base was destroyed. Why did things take shape in Eastern Europe and in Korea, and so on, the way they did? Did that have anything to do with—oh a forbidden word—history? Did it did have anything to do with what emerged out of these conditions? Did the character of U.S. society, the “physiognomy” of U.S. society—that is, the nature of the social classes and social groups and how they relate to each other—did that have anything to do with all that? Or is it somehow just the way it’s always been? I’m giving vent to a lot of frustration here, but we really have to not just be frustrated. We have to go out and really struggle to get, once again, a dialectical and historical materialist understanding of where did this parasitism come from? And it is contradictory—the conditions of the middle class, they are being undermined. People in that middle class, even ones who are relatively well off economically—who are benefitting with some of the spoils, the plunder of the whole vast international network of sweatshops that U.S. imperialism could not do without—even those people have better aspirations, because they live in a society full of contradiction and struggle about what the social relations and basic relations should be.

So, on the one hand, there is the parasitism, but it’s also in contradiction to other tendencies among people which ultimately are rooted in the contradictory nature of their conditions and more broadly the contradictory nature of society and ultimately the world—which, despite everything I just said, people are not completely ignorant of, although there is an astounding amount of ignorance, in certain particular spheres especially, having to do with the nature of society, history, and so on.

But in moving toward a revolutionary situation, one thing to understand: It’s not necessary for all the middle class to be enthusiastically leaping into the ranks of the revolution. You won’t make a revolution without at least good numbers of the youth in the middle class becoming part of the revolution, but for many it’s going to be a matter of their recognizing that what they had been used to, and what they may be even desperately yearning to have back, is not going to exist anymore. The norms they want reestablished are not going to be reestablished, and norms that are in conflict with what they want and what they think constitutes a society worth living in are going to be instituted, and the bourgeois liberalism and reformism that’s put forward in various forms—from the “left” groups, from the regular bourgeois politicians—are proven to be completely bankrupt and cannot deal with the new conditions that are emerging. This is where you get, much more broadly than those who will be actively involved, everything from support to friendly neutrality, which is very important. People decide that, at a minimum, they’re not going to help the powers-that-be and the oppressive ruling class suppress the revolution as it emerges.

So yes, this is a big phenomenon. Anyone who thinks about making revolution in the U.S. seriously, knows that this phenomenon, among others—there’s the power of the ruling class and its military, its repressive apparatus overall, its massive machinery of destruction and death—yes, all that’s real. But also very real is this weight of the middle class, even with the undermining of the conditions of significant sections of the middle class. It’s all very contradictory, and we have to approach this strategically and not in a determinist way which looks at it, once again, like “all that’s possible is what is.” But do we look beneath the surface? Do we see the contradictions? Do we see the motion and development? Do we see where...the possibilities that might lie ahead, the contradictory directions things might go, and how we might—and need to, and in fact, must—act on that to transform it in the direction it needs to go in?

So, in terms of the possibility of revolution, you’re never going see it if you don’t break out of the self-contained logic and the determinist logic of just looking at things as they are and then getting caught up in thinking that the way things are is the only way they could be. Why? Because that’s the way they are. Now, when you state it like that, it seems like an obvious tautology, but that’s the thinking that most people are caught up in. “Well, you can’t do things that way.” Why not? “Because that’s not how things are done.” Why aren’t they done that way? “Well, because they’re done differently.” I mean when you break it down, that’s really what a lot of people’s arguments are. What if we don’t accept that that’s the way things have to be? What if there are material conditions in the world that say that there’s a possibility for them to be radically different? Then what?

Now, the next thing I want to talk about and touch on briefly is “How We Can Win” as an actual living guideline and working document. And to stress this I would ...I would formulate this—to stress how this needs to be approached as a living guideline and working document, I would put it this way: “How We Can Win” needs to be taken up and applied and constantly gone back to and dug into more deeply—but taken up and applied all while that’s going on—in the way of working back from the third part, consistently applying the second part, on the basis of the first part.

Now, what do I mean by that? The third part speaks to how we could actually defeat them when the times come, under radically different conditions with the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions—just to emphasize that. But projecting to the possibility of those conditions, it talks about how we could defeat them and lays out certain concentrated principles. The point, after all, is to make revolution, and making revolution does require defeating them. So you have to work back from that. That’s what we’re going for, and if we don’t do that, everything else we do ultimately—not at every point along the way, but ultimately, in the final analysis—amounts to nothing. It amounts to tinkering around and leaving the system the way it is. So we have to actually get to the point where there is a real chance to win, with millions fighting for revolution in a revolutionary situation.

So working back from that, we have to be consistently applying the second part of “How We Can Win”—what it is that we need to do now. How do we go about implementing a strategy in its various dimensions and approaching this strategically, as strategic commanders, to wield this as a strategy so that all the component parts are mutually reinforcing each other on a strategic level? And what’s that grounded in? It’s not grounded in some fanciful idea that it would be nice to have a different society, and because that would be nice we ought to subject everybody to everything that has to go into achieving that, including all the upheaval and all the radical disruption, and yes, all the destruction that will be brought down overwhelmingly by the forces of the old order viciously resisting. No, it’s not that. No, it’s not that we had a nice idea and we’re going to subject everybody to all that because of that nice idea which has no basis in reality. No, it’s because we need a revolution, and why we need a revolution—which comes back to what I was saying earlier in terms of the world as it is, what’s concentrated in the 5 Stops, the horrors of all that, the very real peril to humanity that it’s posing, and the possibility of a radical transformation to something that’s much, much better. It’s not just much better but it’s better in qualitative terms, it’s a whole different kind of world—the basis for which exists within the contradictions of the very world we live in now, including the people who are caught up in those contradictions.

So it’s a matter of consistently wielding this as a living guideline and working document, working back from the third part, consistently applying the second part, on the basis of the first part—on the basis of why there is a necessity and possibility for revolution in the first place, and the desirability. And in this context I just want to say very briefly a few words about Chicago.

We’ve concentrated in Chicago because it has become a concentration point objectively of very important social confrontations and social contradictions. The ruling class, as such, is seizing on it as a bludgeon for greatly heightening its murderous repression that’s carried out among the masses of people who are concentrated in the inner cities in particular, but also as an ideological weapon that it’s been working on for decades—which is not very different from, and is essentially the same as, what I quoted from that wife and campaign manager of that Congressman back at the end of the 19th century—that these are a bunch of savage animals. And we even hear some of the masses telling us: “They’re too far gone, try to get the five-year-olds. These kids, by the time they’re teenagers, they’re too far gone.” No, they’re not, but it’s going to be a very intense, fierce struggle to win them to revolution. But you keep thinking...you know, for decades they’ve been portraying these masses in this way through all the culture, through all the pig shows on TV, through everything the politicians have done. They portray these masses as savage beasts, like this woman said.

And I kept thinking to myself: How the fuck do they keep getting these juries that let these pigs off, or refuse to convict them, one after another, when the evidence of cold-blooded murder is overwhelming and right in front of your face? It’s partly who they get on juries, and it’s partly how the prosecution doesn’t prosecute and accepts the terms, the very narrow terms, of whether the cop had a legitimate fear for his life or whatever—which has racism written into it and institutionalized. “If I’m a cop and I hate Black people, well, then every time I see one of these young Black youth, I’m afraid of them because I hate them, and therefore I can do anything I want to them.” And then the prosecutors accept that and try to work with that basic logic, try to work within it. And you know what the judges... how they’re slanting things. But still you’ve got these juries—how do they not convict, even with all that? Because people who get on these juries, in particular, have been conditioned for years and decades on how to look at this: “If we don’t let these cops do what they gotta do, these savage beasts are gonna run wild, they’re gonna come in our neighborhood and rape the women and burn down everything and steal everything and murder everybody.” This is how they do this. They’re using Chicago as a big battering ram and a big sledgehammer ideologically to go further with that as part of, in practice, greatly heightening the repression, the murderous repression. It’s nothing less than murderous repression with genocidal, yes, real genocidal dimensions.

And so we’ve recognized this. This is a gauntlet that’s been thrown down by the ruling class, and is objectively a gauntlet that we have to pick up and transform. And there is nobody else who’s going to do this—not because of some sort of human nature that we have that’s different from other people, but because people don’t have the science. They don’t have the science to recognize what the actual situation is, what the contradictory situation is. Yes, what the very negative factors are, including in what people are into—not just what they do but how they think, and what needs to be really compellingly struggled with in a very fierce way to rupture them out of that and to get them to actually rise to the potential they have to be emancipators of humanity, to be a backbone of a revolution whose goal is the emancipation of all humanity. And furthermore, having entered into this, there is no way that we are not going to fight through on it. We have to fight through on it because of what it represents objectively, which I was just speaking to. And, on top of that, we have to fight through on it because we’ve gone to the masses and said we’re going to do so. And goddamn it, we’re not going to not do that!

Now, that doesn’t solve the problems. That’s just a basic point of fundamental orientation, and then we have to go to work on the problems—which we are. But I will say, on the positive side, if and as we make even beginning qualitative breakthroughs to bringing forward a critical mass, particularly among the youth, who are won to this revolution and don’t just put the shirt on one day—you know, “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” and take it off the next—which is something—but actually get all the way in with this and are really not only willing but fired up to go out and struggle with everybody else about “this is what we need to be with,” and have the vision—a scientifically grounded vision, not a vision that’s cooked up in somebody’s head which has nothing to do with reality and is in conflict with reality, but a scientifically grounded vision—of how we could have a radically different world in which people don’t have to be put through this, all this unnecessary suffering and horror that they’re put through every day, not just the people here but people all over the world. As we make real breakthroughs on that, then, you know, the struggle is going to intensify a thousand-fold. And we have to be prepared for that. We have to be, as we once said, down for the whole thing. We have to be ready to fight that all the way through. It’s not the whole of the revolution by any means, but it is a crucial concentration point of the fight for revolution in this society and in this world. And even all over the world people know about Chicago.

So think of the positive side. What’s it going to mean if the banner of revolution—in a real sense, and real people actually raising and fighting for that banner among others like them and going out more broadly in society and fighting for it—what’s it going to mean positively as that comes forward and the fight is waged not to have it suppressed? I just want to emphasize: this is the stakes of this battle. It’s not everything we’re doing, it’s not even everything we’re doing among the basic masses, but it is a concentration point and carries tremendous stakes and implications.

Next, I want to say a few things about potential civil war between two sections of the people. I notice that the reactionaries, the fascists, are constantly talking about this and gearing up for it in a real way. And if things more fully develop, this is going to be more and more a feature, not just of the future, but in the present struggle. And it already is. I noticed, in reading reports about the July 15th Refuse Fascism demonstrations, the question had to be fought out: Are people afraid to come out because if you go to the Trump star (or whatever it is) in LA, the fascists are going to be there to defend it? In Houston they’re saying (the fascists are saying) they’re going to come armed to confront the demonstrations. This is going to increase more and more. And are people going to fight through that and recognize that if you capitulate to this, things are only going to get worse? They’ve got to be won to stand up to it. So this is in embryonic forms now, in terms of the potential civil war between the different sections of people—the reactionary, and the positive and ultimately revolutionary side of the people. But how this gets fought out now—I don’t mean fought out in military terms, just to be clear. But how it gets fought out politically now and whether people stand up to this, and whether, yes, they defend themselves if they’re attacked, not initiate attack but defend themselves if they’re attacked, whether they refuse to back down—carries real stakes and has real consequences in terms of where society is going to go and whether, first of all, this fascist regime could be driven out, and then beyond that whether a radically different society could be brought into being through revolution.

And within this I do want to say a few words about the role of the youth, especially from the basic masses. Now, I know Farrakhan has this thing, always posing as the general whose army is not ready: “I want to lead you”... (He also says, “Justice or else”—but it’s really or else nothing.... But, anyway he says,) “I want to lead you, but you’re not ready to be led. You’ve got to stop doing all this bad stuff you’re doing because I can’t lead you. You’re not ready to be led. You’ve gotta get out of all this bad stuff and get into all this reactionary shit that I’m promoting. And then I’ll lead you.” Where is he going to lead you?—that’s another question. But there is a real phenomenon. You could issue a call to these youth who are killing each other: “Stop doing that, let’s go out and take on these real fuckers who need to be taken on.” But that would not lead to a good result, at this point, because people need to be transformed, people need to fight the power and transform themselves and transform whole groups of people in increasing waves for revolution. And it’s not the Farrakhan thing: “First you have to be perfect, according to my perverted vision of what’s perfect, and then maybe I’ll lead you somewhere where you don’t need to and shouldn’t go. But you’re not ready yet.” It’s not that, but there does have to be transformation of people.

They have to take up the Points of Attention for the Revolution, including the ones that really sharply concentrate things among the masses—like the second one, around women, if I remember correctly. And the sixth one. How do we break out of this revenge? I saw an interesting...I was reading an article about Mosul in The New York Times Magazine and this question of revenge came up with one of the...you know, it’s perverse... it’s one of the Iraqi military officers who’s waged this battle of devastation and destruction on Mosul. But the question of revenge came up, because everybody’s had people killed by all the sides of this religious sectarian conflict. And one of these guys said: “We have to put aside the revenge, otherwise everybody will be dead.” And there is a certain point to that, not in the way he’s making it, but in terms of the masses, in particular the youth. We have to break out of that—not just so everybody won’t be dead, but so we can get to a whole different place in this country and in the world. And on the basis of that, then these youth can come to the forefront. On the basis of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, they can come forward and be a force who can be in the forefront of beating back these fascists. I don’t mean attacking them. Again, the sixth point is we don’t initiate violence. In the present stage of things, we do not initiate violence and we’re against all violence among the people and against the people. But that doesn’t mean people don’t have a right to defend themselves if they are not the ones who initiate the violence, if violence is... if illegitimate violence is directed against them, they have a right to defend themselves. And they have a right to be even... besides the question of physical defense when attacked, there’s a question of being a bold revolutionary force that gives backbone to people, which is fundamentally even more important. So that’s something else to think about in terms of how we struggle with people and what lofty sights we raise their vision to.

And I want to say a few words, before moving on to the final point in this section, about the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic. We often say it’s the systematic application of the new communism, a sweeping vision and concrete guideline for a radically different and truly liberating society and world. And this is true. But this has to really be understood as how and why that’s so, and has to be taken up as such.

In this context, I want to read the following from THE NEW COMMUNISM, speaking about this Constitution: “One of the things that should really be understood about this Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, in most fundamental terms, is that this Constitution is dealing with a very profound and very difficult contradiction: the contradiction that, on the one hand, humanity really does need revolution and communism; but, on the other hand, not all of humanity wants that all of the time, including in socialist society.” And here’s a very important sentence: “So this Constitution is set up to provide the basic methods and means to deal with that contradiction....You need to get to communism, but you’re not going to get to communism by putting guns in the backs of the people and force-marching them to communism. You have to continually win them to that, fighting through all the contradictions that get posed, including the ones that the enemies put in your way, or accentuate, in order to turn the people against you.”

I want to underscore this sentence: “This Constitution is set up to provide the basic methods and means to deal with that contradiction.” And really grasping what is being said in a very concentrated way there is really crucial to understanding the full dimensions of what this Constitution is actually doing and what it is—what’s both the heart of it and the many different particular dimensions of it, and how they all fit together and are all serving that purpose, of dealing with that very basic contradiction in all of its complexity.

And just a word on how this Constitution actually got developed. At a certain point, I did go back and read everything from the Magna Carta to Plato’s Republic and the U.S. Constitution, to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and other similar documents, and then some constitutions from the Soviet Union when it was socialist and China when it was socialist. And that was important—that’s what I did right before sitting down to actually wage the struggle to work through the contradictions in theory and embody them in this Constitution. But even more fundamental than that, what I did was repeatedly go back, over the course of a number of years actually, to what I could identify as some of the main contradictions that such a constitution needed to deal with, including this one that I just pinpointed, reading from THE NEW COMMUNISM. And, in particular, how does solid core and elasticity on the basis of the solid core—how should it be applied in a constitution of this kind? How does it apply to the state? How does it apply to civil society and the relations among people, as well as their relations with the state? How do you actually institutionalize the leadership that’s necessary and the understanding concentrated in such a leadership that is necessary in order for society to go where it needs to go, and at the same time institutionalize the provision of the means for many different people of diverse viewpoints and inclinations to be part of this process, while the process continues to go where it needs to go? These were the contradictions I was wrestling with repeatedly.

I even had little diagrams, which then got translated into concrete provisions in the Constitution—like, okay, here’s the Party, a diagram for the Party to ...what are the institutions the Party really needed to lead? The legal apparatus, the courts, the executive, the institutions of defense and security. But how do you do that in a way that isn’t just what we’re accused of doing? For example, Ajith in his polemic says: “Well, this stuff about the Party being... has to be faithful to the Constitution or has to adhere to the Constitution—that doesn’t mean anything, because the Party can suspend the Constitution.” Well, no, it doesn’t actually say that. The Party itself cannot in this Constitution take that step. As referred to under the rights of the people, Point H there, where it says under emergency situations, where literally the existence of the Republic is at stake, certain rights could be suspended, there are a lot of provisions for how that has to be done in a certain way and how it has to be overseen, so it isn’t just arbitrary. But it isn’t the Party that does that. There are institutionalized mechanisms for how that is done that is not just the Party acting unilaterally and acting willfully and arbitrarily on the basis that it doesn’t like something that’s happened. So a lot of struggle went on with how do you actually handle the solid core and elasticity on the basis of the solid core—how do you actually institutionalize it so there’s a very strong basis for things to be led where they need to be go and, on the other hand, for there to be this whole process of a lot of ferment, a lot of diverse thinking, a lot of diversity in culture, even down to the level of how these things will be supported that are oppositional to the direction things need to go in.

And if you go through this Constitution you can see the tension there that’s being worked with—the objective tension of how do you handle that contradiction. That’s what’s so important about this Constitution—that it’s dealing with that contradiction that I spoke to, reading from THE NEW COMMUNISM, but it’s dealing with it in all the manifold ways and many different ways this is going to arise, anticipating as much as possible—because, of course, everything can’t be anticipated—but anticipating as much as possible, and to a very great degree, all these kinds of contradictions, specific contradictions that really get back to the question of solid core and elasticity on the basis of the solid core. How does society go where it needs to go, but then this is not a process of force-marching it there, and there’s a lot of diversity and a lot of wrangling and even a lot of opposition along the way, but it all can go where it needs to go if things are done correctly. It’s not a matter of institutionalizing in the sense that it becomes automatic, but the institutional means are provided for how to struggle through those contradictions. And this really has to be understood. I’m going a little bit into how I approached this because I think it shines further light on what is actually embodied in this Constitution and how important it is, what it’s actually dealing with, and the whole radically different way than this has been dealt with before. Not that it’s rejecting all the past experience (of socialist society) or saying that was principally negative, but it is a radical leap, and it is in some ways breaking with some things, as we’ve said. So I just want to emphasize that point, and it’s really important to wield this Constitution with that kind of understanding and to fight through all the petty objections and whatever to actually get people to engage: This is the kind of society we’re going for, this is what we intend to do. And it isn’t us imposing our unilateral will on everybody, but it does have a direction to it, because that’s a direction things need to go, and at the same time it is envisioning and embodying and institutionalizing a living process full of contradiction and full of diversity and opposition and struggle as a necessary part of that process.

Now, before moving on to the final section here, I want to talk about what is posed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime—how to oppose this, and how this relates to the fundamental strategic goal of revolution.

First of all, identifying the Trump/Pence regime is important. I’ll come back to that a little bit more and how that comes up in the actual work and struggle in Refuse Fascism and what it’s aiming for. One thing I think we should understand, an important part of this whole picture and we can understand it partly in terms of historical analogy, is what we could call—since Trump is the “master of the deal” according to him—Trump’s deal with the Christian Fascists. You see, I think it’s pretty important for us to understand what happened here with Trump and particularly this dimension of it. If you look back over Trump, he used to be pro-choice, a lot of his views were not in line with those of the Republican Party and in particular the Christian Fascists. The racism, the crude misogyny—yes. But a lot of it was out of line with their position. And, at a certain point, there was a recognition from the two sides of some important things from their points of view. Trump, I think it’s fair to say, could not have won the election if the Christian Fascists had not only—not only if they had opposed him, but if they’d been unenthusiastic about him. And you would think: well, why him? Ted Cruz is much more in line with these Christian Fascists, and he’s much more of a Christian Fascist lunatic himself. He’s right in the heart of that stuff. Why not Ted Cruz, from their point of view? Because at a certain point—and this is spoken to in The Coming Civil War articles—you can’t keep dangling as bait before these fascist forces, and in particular the Christian Fascists, about you’re going to do this and that, like get rid of abortion and suppress the gays and all this kind of stuff. You can’t keep dangling that and never deliver on it, and at a certain point if you do, they’re going to break away from that. And in a sense that’s what has happened. Trump ran within the Republican primaries, but he was not really of the Republican Party. And what Trump represented to these forces—which is why, even when the Hollywood Access tape pussy-grabbing thing came out, they didn’t turn against him (you know, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and all these others)—because they recognized: “Here is somebody who is going outside of the whole rules and the way this is done in the ‘swamp of Washington,’ who will actually carry through on this stuff. So even though Ted Cruz is more like what we’re about, he’s too much been a part of those dynamics. Trump is outside of that. Trump will actually carry through on these things.” And Trump, for his part, recognized that if didn’t get this force behind him, he was not going to be able to do it.

The historical analogy this calls to mind is the deal Hitler made with the military in 1934. Hitler came to power, but for a long time the military was not really under his command. It still was under the more traditional command. And at a certain point Trump (I mean Hitler) struck a deal in 1934 with the military. The military would come under his command, and in return he would smash the Storm Troopers, the SA, the brown shirts—which he did. And there’s a certain analogy here to Trump and the Christian Fascists, that Trump took up their program. Look who he nominated to the Supreme Court, a Christian Fascist lunatic, Gorsuch. And look who he’s nominating.... he’s doing what he said he would do, as far as the main programmatic things. He’s delivering what these other people wouldn’t carry through and deliver for them because they were still “playing the game” of bourgeois politics as it’s been carried out. So this is an important thing to understand.

Pence is obviously a critical linchpin in this, in this alliance, this uniting of what’s represented by Trump—his own personal ambitions and everything bound up with that—and the Christian Fascists, and programmatically what he (Trump) has taken up in order to get where he’s going and in order to keep going with it. And this is why the regular bourgeois institutions, especially those more in the center of things, like CNN, the Democratic Party and so on, they keep bringing in historical analogies which don’t pan out or don’t pan out completely. You know, they keep saying: “He can’t do that, that’s not the way things are done.” But then he does it, because he’s not playing by those rules. He’s not working within the norms as they’ve been. He is going directly up against them, precisely as an important part of what he’s doing. I mean who ever heard of somebody tweeting all this stuff—not just the asinine stuff but the actual really fascist stuff, including attacks on other people within the ruling structures. You know, Comey’s a nut job, Adam Schiff is a sleazy Democratic politician. I mean, who heard of anybody doing that—that’s outside the norms. This is an important part of what Trump is doing. And Pence is a real linchpin of this, cementing the Christian Fascists—or hinging them together, if you want to continue the analogy: Trump and what he represents and particularly the Christian Fascists. And it’s worth pointing out what was quoted from Andrew Sullivan way back in the Clinton supplement, The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton the Democrats Are No Answer, where it says: nowadays some are saying the religious fundamentalist element of this right-wing thing is not the going thing, it’s the fiscal conservatives who want to cut social programs, cut benefits to people, slash taxes for the rich, and so on—those are the ones who have the initiative. And it was pointed out: Well, that may be a very temporary thing, but in an overall sense these Christian Fascists are the ones more setting the terms within this whole fascist thing. And Sullivan pointed out: Even people who are fiscal conservatives—this is writing way back almost 20 years ago, but it’s even more true now—even the ones who are fiscal conservatives have to wrap up their program in this language of this Christian fundamentalism. So this is an important point to understand. And I’ll come back to the whole question of: Well, if we get rid of Trump, then we’ll get Pence, and that might be even worse.

I think it’s important to identify what we can call the triad of fascism, that is, the unapologetic aggressive assertion of white supremacy, male supremacy and American supremacy (or racism, misogyny and bellicose xenophobic jingoism, if you want to use other terminology), reinforced with defiantly—not apologetically, defiantly—ignorant and belligerent opposition to science and rational thought, combined with equally ignorant and belligerent assertion of the “superiority of western civilization,” as evidenced in Trump’s recent speech in Poland. And once again, referring back to what I read from Jackson Lears’ The Rebirth of a Nation, speaking about things at the turn of the previous century, more than 100 years ago, you can see sharply manifested the intertwining and mutual reinforcement of all of this.

Along with this, we have the fascist thuggery—both physical thuggery and intellectual thuggery: mindless storm troopers, coupled with perverted pretensions of victimhood and irrational rationalizations for atrocities. Think about it: You have these storm troopers—you know, the Oath Keepers, the Ku Klux Klan, and all the rest of these people, the Proud Boys, or whatever they’re called—out there in the streets carrying guns, and so on. And you have the NRA videos basically calling for people to engage in civil war against anything positive in society. But you also have the Ann Coulters and others out there with their intellectual thuggery, presenting at one and the same time the Christian Fascists and other fascists as victims. Somehow these people—whose representatives are in power, with a fascist regime implementing its program—somehow they’re the victims, they’re the Christians in the Coliseum with the lions being turned loose on them. Why? Well, there is this book by this guy—his name is, it’s not Jimmy Kimmel, it’s another Kimmel (Michael Kimmel)—called Angry White Men. And he made a statement which I think speaks to a lot of this sort of mobilized resentment, this frustrated entitlement. He said: If you’ve been in a situation—speaking about men who feel aggrieved these days because “the bitches are getting everything their way”—if you’re used to having everything 100% in your favor, and then it’s cut down to 75%, I guess it feels like you’re being persecuted. And that’s essentially what’s happening here. There have been certain concessions to the struggle against things like white supremacy, and patriarchy in different forms, and so on and so forth. So this feels to these people like their birthright of superiority—even if they’re not wealthy and powerful, all of them, some of them are—their birthright is being undercut and diminished and destroyed by these minor concessions. I think this is very important to understand. Then there’s the irrational rationalizations for atrocity. I mean just look at Ann Coulter—pure irrationality but in the service of all kinds of horrendous things—advocacy of horrendous acts: Go in (to Muslim countries), and kill all their leaders, convert them all to Christianity—on and on and on—you can cite these things endlessly.

So I think it is very important to understand this phenomenon. But I also want to stress, again, the importance of not being cowed by it, but boldly countering these fascist thugs in every sphere—including the intellectual sphere and including the physical storm troopers—but, at the same time, doing so as part of a broader movement to drive out this fascist regime, and from our standpoint, in terms of what’s fundamentally needed, part of advancing the 3 Prepares: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Fight All-out for Revolution With a Real Chance of Winning.

It’s very important, in connection with all this and overall, to correctly handle the contradiction between the essence of the bourgeois capitalist state, the dictatorial essence of that, and the appearance of democracy—which, on the other hand, the fascists are moving to resolve in their own way by getting rid of the appearance and moving to grotesque outright dictatorship. And in all this, once again, we can see the long shadow of slavery and the continuing oppression of Black people playing a pivotal role, including in fascist rule today. Among this is its expression through the normal electoral set-up. This includes the whole voter suppression thing, which has taken another leap with this commission supposedly investigating voter fraud, which is really a commission for further voter suppression. And you can see it in the skewing of the electoral process to favor the conservative—that is, the reactionary and fascist-inclined—areas and forces. I saw on one of these programs—I think it was on MSNBC—somebody was saying that there is an analysis that by the year 2030 (or something like that, within a couple of decades anyway) 30% of the population will be represented by 70% of the Senate, and 70% of the population will be represented by 30%. This is an important phenomenon, because is it necessary for them to do away with all the electoral processes? It may not be necessary, because things are skewed toward these rural areas, and small states which tend to be highly rural as well (in many cases, not in all cases). Then you don’t necessarily have to do away with the whole electoral process. And that’s an additional reason—not the most essential reason, but an additional reason—why this whole Democratic Party strategy of “We’re going to flip all these elections in 2018 and win the White House back in 2020,” is out of line with what’s actually happening. I’m not saying they couldn’t possibly win an election, if there is an election in those years, but there’s something going on here. Which, once again, if you think about what led to the electoral college in the first place, and the way the representation in the Senate is set up, and on top of that the way the Congressional districts have been gerrymandered so that sometimes you have like one district... you have a lot of Black people in an area, they’re overwhelmingly in one district, and then all the other districts are the white people in the area... all this kind of thing is part of what they’ve been building up for decades now, which is taking another leap.

And we have to understand, and struggle for people to understand, the straight-up Nazi mentality of this fascism and its consciously genocidal—not only implications but intentions. I go back to that comment, once again, by that “sleazy Congressman,” Adam Schiff. I remember seeing him talking about the original Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act, or whatever they call it) when it was passed. One of his constituents came up to him and asked him how he voted on it, and he said he voted for it, for Obamacare. And his constituent is obviously displeased and asks him: “Why’d you vote for it?” He gave a number of reasons, and then he said: “Well, and besides, one of the main reasons is that people who otherwise couldn’t afford health care can now get it.” Then this guy said: “And you think that’s a good thing?” Adam Schiff said: “Yes, I do. Don’t you?” And the guy said: “No! If they can’t afford it, they shouldn’t have it.” Now, think about the implications of this kind on mentality that’s been built up and primed among sections of the people into a fascist force. This depraved world view that certain types of people—including obviously Black people, other oppressed peoples, but also old people, sick people, women and so on, especially ones who want to have birth control and abortion—that these are people who are seen by these fascist forces as a drain and a stain on society and civilization, and who, therefore, deserve to die (or, what is the same thing, do not deserve to live or to be assisted to live).

There’s a great deal concentrated in and great importance to this statement which appears regularly on revcom.us:

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

This is extremely important, and it was very heartening to read about what happened in L.A. when the Trump fascist people came out and were yelling: “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” and the people who were there with Refuse Fascism were led to chant: “Humanity first! Humanity first!”—which drowned out, and actually in the short run silenced, these fascists.

Now, it is also important to go on with the second part of this statement which says:

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

The Democrats, and the section of the ruling class generally aligned with them, do not and cannot provide any answer to this fascism that is in the interests of the people, of humanity, because they are part of the same system which has created the conditions that gave rise to and fostered this fascism, and they share with the fascist section of the ruling class fundamental interests and assumptions, not least grotesque American chauvinism. This repeatedly comes out from all these institutions of the media and the Democratic Party. And all you have to do is think back to the 2016 Democratic Party Convention that nominated that hawk Hillary Clinton and think how this got concentrated, when not only was there militarism and “U.S.A., U.S.A.” emanating from the stage, but then this got concentrated when some of the people from Oregon, I believe it was, at a certain point, in opposition to all this jingoism and chauvinism, began to chant, “No War, No War, No War,” and they were drowned out by the mass of the delegates yelling, “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” So just think about that.

Or think about the question of the fundamental lie of American society—the fundamental lie that “you can make it if you try.” Now, think about this: In the middle of the election, a Trump campaign functionary in Ohio was forced to resign—even a Trump campaign functionary was forced to resign—because she said: If you’re Black and in America today and you’re not making it, it’s your own fault, you aren’t trying hard enough, you’re not working hard enough. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the essence of what she said. She had to resign from the Trump campaign because of that. That’s because she put it in baldly negative terms, openly blaming the people. But I would like somebody to explain to me: What is the difference in logic between that and Barack Obama’s statement in his victory speech in the 2012 election when he said: The great thing about America is if you work hard you can succeed. What is the difference in substance, in the essence of what’s being said, between that and what this woman in Ohio in the Trump campaign had to resign because she said? It’s exactly the same statement, except one is put in very negative terms, and the other is put in very “positive, hopeful” terms by the man of the “audacity of hope.” But it’s exactly the same message, because what is the logic of: If you work hard in America and do the right things, you can succeed? The logic is: If you’re not succeeding, you’re not doing the right things and not working hard—which is exactly what the woman from the Trump campaign said and had to resign over. So you can see a number—we could go through others, but I am running out of time, so I won’t—but there are many other examples in which they share fundamental assumptions because of the very nature of the system that they represent.

So, in sum on this, even as they do have real and in some aspects very acute differences and conflicts with the fascist section of the ruling class, including over the norms of political rule, they are an expression and an instrument of the same capitalist-imperialist system which produces daily horrors for humanity on a massive scale and which has spewed forth this fascism as a response to a situation that has resulted, above all and most fundamentally, from the basic contradictions and dynamics of this very system that all these politicians and political forces represent and serve.

Now, many have raised: If we drive out Trump—here I want speak to this—then we’ll just get Pence, and if anything he is even worse. Here it’s worth referring back to what was said earlier about the deal between Trump and the Christian Fascists, which Pence symbolizes and whose outlook and program he aggressively spreads and fights for, that of the Christian Fascists. But it’s important to understand that it’s not a matter of just driving out Trump and getting Pence. That way of seeing things, once again, reflects still too much being confined within, and weighed down by, the normal way of seeing and doing things, which is precisely the trap that people have to break out of in their millions and millions. It is a matter not of getting rid of Trump and getting Pence, but it is a matter of driving out the whole Trump/Pence regime. It is a matter of a massive and sustained political mobilization and resistance from below. It is a matter of changing the whole political landscape, the whole political situation, culture and atmosphere in society. If, and as, this begins to happen on the scale and with the determination that is needed, this, in turn, will have significant repercussions among the ruling political forces, creating or deepening cracks and divisions among them and forcing at least sections of the “liberal” ruling class forces to pretend to recognize the legitimacy of what this mass mobilization is demanding, while at the same time seeking to co-opt it and bring it back within the normal and “acceptable” channels and positions. This, in turn, must be responded to by seizing on the further openings that are created by all this, to draw even greater numbers of people into the massive and sustained mobilization. And this overall dynamic must be continued, amplified and accelerated toward the goal of actually driving out this regime before it can fully consolidate its rule and implement its program. All this will be necessary and crucial in order to drive out this regime, and driving out this whole regime in this way would create more favorable conditions for bringing about even further positive change in the interests of not just people in this country who are sick to death of this regime and refuse to accept a fascist America, but of all humanity.

The last thing on this point: there’s the question of what is the relationship between the principal objective now of driving out this fascist regime and the fundamental objective of the revolution we need. Here we have to speak very briefly to Naomi Klein and her book No is Not Enough. Now, it’s very significant that she had to put out a book with that title, even though she didn’t put the exclamation point on the NO. It’s very significant she had to speak to this NO. And what is the answer to that? The answer is, first of all: NO is necessary, vitally necessary. Driving out this regime, in other words, is critical at this point. At the same time, no, it is not enough. And the fact is—which we, again, going back to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, have to be bringing to people in a very bold and vigorous way—that there is a real, viable radical alternative beyond just driving out this regime: the new communism, the revolution it is the foundation for, and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic it has brought forth.

In conclusion on this point, we can go back to the conclusion of the Weimar Republic article and what it says there: that the attack by fascist forces on the Weimar Republic, especially when these fascist forces are in power, is something that has to be opposed; but what needs to be brought forward, fundamentally and ultimately, is not the Weimar Republic, or an even more grotesque and murderous form of what is represented by the Weimar Republic—that is, the bourgeois-democratic form of bourgeois dictatorship and the capitalist-imperialist system it enforces—but the radical alternative represented by revolution, represented and embodied in the new society, the new society represented and embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, and the ultimate goal of a communist world. That is what fundamentally and ultimately needs to replace the Weimar Republic—and, at this point, the road to that lies through driving out this regime and then carrying forward the struggle toward that goal of revolution and a radically new society.

 

 

Part 4: Once More on the Crucial Role of Leadership

Here, I refer people, in addition to what I’m going to say now, to the fourth part of THE NEW COMMUNISM.

As a matter of fundamental orientation and approach, what is needed are emancipators of humanity, “on fire for revolution” and wanting revolution badly enough to approach it scientifically; propagating, and fighting, consistently, boldly to win people to this revolution; not tailing but leading people, including through comradely but compelling struggle, to carry forward “Fight the power, and Transform the People, for Revolution,” and advance the “3 Prepares.”

In this context, I want to talk about something that is spoken to in one of the sections of Part 4 of THE NEW COMMUNISM—what’s referred to as another kind of pyramid. I want to speak to this both because it’s important and also because I have the sense that, at least in some ways, there’s been a misrepresentation (or a misunderstanding and misrepresentation) of what’s being said there. The point isn’t just that when you are engaging in political work and discussion and struggle with various class forces you have to never forget what it is you are standing on and what it is you represent in the fullest sense—not in a tailist sense—that you represent the fundamental interests of the exploited and oppressed of the world and the need for communism to put an end to that oppression and exploitation. That point is very important, that in working among all different sections of the people, as we must, we must never forget that most fundamental thing and have it constantly in mind. But if this point about another kind of pyramid is reduced to that, it’s going to be distorted and vitiated. Its real meaning is going to be lost—the essence of what’s being said here and the contradictions that it’s dealing with. The point here is not just that you have to not forget what fundamentally you’re representing and keep this consistently mind in going among all sections of the people; the point is that you need to go among all sections of the people, you need to engage in discussion and struggle with people of all different strata, and you need to engage in the realm of ideology and philosophy, if you will, theory—you need to do all that, and because you need to do that, then you need to not ever forget what it is that you represent, and you need to consistently fight to do that with the scientific outlook and method of communism as it’s been further developed through the new synthesis of communism. That’s the point of “another pyramid,” and if that first part is lost sight of it becomes narrowed down, and becomes in effect economism, and feeds economism and tailing the oppressed among the masses. It becomes a form of reification, of turning yourself into just a representative of those masses in a narrow, and even in a tailist, sense. So I want to stress that point. It’s really important that this point, which is a very important point, be understood correctly, in its full dimensions and in the full amplitude of the contradictions that it’s dealing with, in particular that contradiction between the need to go among all sections of the people and to engage in the struggle in the realm of ideology and theory and work in the realm of theory and discussion and struggle with people representing different world outlooks and ultimately different social forces and class interests—and in that context and because of the need to do that, never losing sight of what fundamentally it is you’re representing and what outlook and methodology you must bring to bear consistently in doing so.

What we need—once again, a point that’s stressed in the Interview with Ardea Skybreak, SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, as well as in THE NEW COMMUNISM—we need strategic commanders of the revolution, people consistently approaching everything from the strategic standpoint of how to work and fight through the contradictions to actually make revolution, continually grappling with the problems of the revolution, with the goal of advancing toward the emancipation of all humanity with the achievement of communism on a world scale as the consistent guiding orientation. And this means being—among other things, other important things—it means being alert to, and constantly seeking to draw lessons from, major events in society and the world, as well as grappling with and deepening the grasp and application of theory and, in particular, method, all in relation to the strategic objective of revolution and the ultimate goal of communism on a world scale.

Here, let’s talk a little bit about this question of weighing major social and world events— not approaching them in some abstract sense, but weighing them specifically in relation to the goal of revolution, and even more specifically, what is concentrated in “How We Can Win.” For example, a strategic commander of the revolution, when seeing the exposure and the living reality of the horror in Mosul, would think not only about the crimes of imperialism, as well as the crimes of these reactionary fundamentalist jihadists, not only about the devastation that’s brought about by these forces, but would also think about what can we learn from this in terms of what should and should not be done in actually making a revolution that has to go up against these forces, in particular the massive machinery of these imperialists. For example, what light does this shed on why, in the third part of “How We Can Win,” it talks about not openly controlling and governing territory until a very late stage in the overall struggle? What does the experience in Mosul have to do with that? What can you learn from that? Why is that principle in there? See, that’s the kind of thing that a strategic commander of the revolution—just to cite one example—would think about. Not because that’s the form of struggle that we’re engaging in now. We’re not. We’ve made that point many times. We’re talking about—and it’s very explicit in the third part of “How We Can Win”—a radically different, qualitatively different, situation with a ripening revolutionary situation and revolutionary people emerging in the millions and millions. But strategically we have to be thinking about that. What does this struggle going on at the ruling class levels of society—what does that have to do with our more immediate objectives, but even more fundamentally, with our strategic objectives?

I remember, back a long time ago, one of these youth who was very dogmatic and, not surprisingly, didn’t stick around after a while, but who was impressing everybody by memorizing many of my works—I remember talking in a meeting with some of these youth, including that person, about something I’d read in the New York Times. And he made the comment: “Why would you even bother to read the New York Times?”That is not a strategic commander of the revolution. It’s not just a question of, metaphorically speaking, “doing reconnaissance on the enemy”—politically speaking now. It’s a matter of looking at all the major events in society and the world and how different class forces are reacting to them and seeking to work on them, and what that has to do with our strategic goal and the application of our strategy to get toward that strategic goal. This is what it means, and everybody from the newest person in the ranks of the revolution to the most seasoned leader of the revolution, should be doing this on the level on which they’re capable at any given time and constantly striving to raise their level, not just individually but as part of the collective process, to be able to contribute more fully. This is a very important point I want to stress about strategic commanders—what that means and how that has to be applied, how people should be approaching it. We have to be thinking in terms of how are we actually going to make this revolution, how are we actually going to work through the contradictions and solve the problems of the revolution from here all the way forward. And what do all these different social events and world events and the actions of different class forces in relation to them have to do with all that, at every given point, as well as in an overall strategic sense?

And I want to say a word in this context about the new synthesis of communism, the new communism and the leadership of BA. “The basis for a new wave of communist revolution that is urgently needed in the world and the leading edge in building for that revolution in this country, as a crucial part of that worldwide revolutionary struggle”—I just read this like a mantra, on purpose, and that is not how it should be seen and approached. These are not empty words to be ignored or occasionally recited like religious incantations, but something to be deeply grasped and resolutely fought for— everyday, everywhere, among all sections of the people. And you have to basically ask yourself: Look, what is objectively the importance of this new synthesis of communism? What is objectively the importance of this leadership? And it gets back to the “As long as” sentence. (The “As long as” sentence refers to the understanding that, as long as we are basing ourselves on, and actively propagating and working toward, the goal of communist revolution, then it should be easy to promote and popularize the crucial role of BA’s leadership and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward.) Do you really understand what’s being said there? Do you really understand what’s embodied in this new synthesis? Do you really understand what this leadership represents? And therefore do you go out among the masses of people to struggle with them about this, in a way that flows out of that scientific understanding and not out of religiosity? This is something very important for the masses of people to know about and to take up, to themselves become active fighters for, and to apply actively as part of the overall collective process of the revolution.

I want to read something important which we all can cite but we really need to, once again, struggle with people to deeply grasp and recognize the significance of this. The following is from the first of the January 1, 2016 Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party (It says “U.S.A.” but I’m just going to say Revolutionary Communist Party—No U.S.A, No U.S.A.—anyway, let’s get serious here, although I was serious about that, but anyway, to continue...) It says:

As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis:

represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

And:

What is most fundamental and essential in the new synthesis is the further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach, and the more consistent application of this scientific method and approach to reality in general and in particular the revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression and advance to a communist world.

Now, is that important or not important? It depends on what you’re aiming for, what you understand, once again, about what the problem is and what the solution is. Sometimes people say... I saw somebody, a minister, quoted somewhere making a positive comment but he had to, of course, start it off with a slightly snarky, negative comment: While I don’t understand all this devotional stuff about BA, I have to say these revolutionary communists are everywhere, they’re always everywhere—I wish we could be like that. I’m paraphrasing, but he was saying: I wish we were as consistent and always there in the struggle.

Well, by the way, you are the one who deals in the devotional dimension of things. You are part of inventing a god, elevating something above human beings so you can engage in devotion toward it. That’s not what we do. But in any case, I don’t want to be snarky in turn. The point is, how do you understand why it is that the communists, when they’re actually acting with the method and approach and the line they should, are consistently out there fighting on all these different fronts—around the 5 Stops, for short—in opposition to this whole system? Why are they doing that? Because they have a scientific understanding of the problem and solution, for short.

And what does this “devotional element”—which must not be religious devotion, but science—what does this have to do with that? Once, again it’s back to the “As long as” sentence. Is it important that—is it true, first of all, that this science has been qualitatively developed, that there’s been a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has run through communism from the beginning up till now? Is that true? And is that important? The answer is yes and yes. But that’s the basis on which people have to really take this out and struggle with people about it. This is monumentally important to people—that there’s a more consistently scientific approach to understanding why people are in the situation they’re in and what must be done to get to a radically different situation which is liberatory, which is emancipating. If you approach it with religiosity and religious incantations, you’re not going to: A) convince anybody; and more fundamentally, you are actually undermining the very essence of what this is all about. Because it’s about science, and it’s not about religion.

And I want to go to the Sixth Resolution, where it speaks to the fact of BA being subordinate to the Party in one dimension but greater than the Party in another, and that the latter aspect is principal. Once again, we’re back to: what is the importance of what’s been brought forward here? There’s a unity between Resolution 1 and Resolution 6. I mean, there’s a unity between all of the Six Resolutions, but there’s a particular unity between Resolution 1 and Resolution 6. Why is this new synthesis important? How should we present this to people? To use a perhaps over-used but still valid analogy, imagine when Pasteur came forward and said: “I’ve developed something that will prevent people from going through the terrors and the horrors of rabies.” And people said: “Well, you can’t do that. Everybody knows there’s always going to be rabies, people are always going to have rabies. If you get bitten by a dog or a wild animal, you’re going to have rabies. What are you talking about?” Imagine if people had that attitude towards somebody that brought forward an actual way to deal with rabies so that people weren’t put through the whole... I mean it’s a horrific thing, rabies. Imagine if that were the attitude: “I don’t have to think about that.” Or imagine, in relation to the smallpox vaccine (and millions of people in the history of humanity suffered and died from smallpox) or the fact that the plague could be dealt with by antibiotics now, and it was a terrible scourge on humanity—imagine if when those things were brought forward people said: “I don’t care about that. Besides, you can’t do that. Everybody knows people will always get smallpox. It’s just the way it is. It’s human nature, people get smallpox, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So I don’t have to find out about your supposed vaccine that deals with rabies, or your vaccine that deals with smallpox.” Or imagine the Salk vaccine, dealing with polio— that was another scourge on people. Imagine if people said: “I really don’t care about that. Why are you making such a big deal about this guy Salk and the fact that he did something about polio? Everybody knows you always are going to have polio. That’s just the way it is. Children are going to go out to swim in water and they’re going to get polio—that’s just the way it is. You can’t do anything about it.” Imagine if people... I know there are people full of idiocy now about vaccines, including people who should know better, but imagine if that had been the reaction to these kinds of breakthroughs in medicine.

Well, we’re dealing with a much, much greater scourge on humanity than even these terrible diseases. And we’ve identified it—it’s capitalism-imperialism. And there’s an answer to it. It’s not some magic potion, but there’s an answer to it. There’s a way forward out of it. Is that important to the masses of people? Or can that also be dismissed in a flippant way, this irresponsible way: “People are always going to...society is always going to be like this...people are always going to be like this. It’s just human nature. This is the best of all possible worlds.” Or: “It’s no good, but you can’t do anything about it.” Why should we—when we’re talking about something that’s a road forward out of a much greater scourge for humanity than even those terrible diseases—why should we not be impatiently and vigorously struggling with people about that, if that’s what we run into? Or even the people who are not coming from such a bad place—masses of people out there who don’t even know what the problem is, they’re caught up in it and suffering terribly as a result of it, but they don’t know what the problem is. You know, it’s no different than people centuries ago who thought—and some of this still exists in the world today—people who thought that these terrible diseases were the result of demon possession, or whatever, because the Bible told them so. Or the religious authorities told them so. All these terrible ways in which ignorance was imposed on people in a way that reinforced the most horrific conditions of life that they were subjected to as a result of real material forces of the system they were forced to live under. Masses of people out there are going through all this horrific suffering—and on top of it, they don’t even understand what it is and why they’re going through it. And all too often they’re led and misled to blame themselves on top of all the rest of the horrors.

Is it important what we have to bring to them? Is it important that there’s not some magic solution or magic wand you can wave, but there is a road of struggle to deal with this scourge of humanity? Is it important that these things like the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, like the strategic approach to revolution, like an understanding of the relation between the struggle in one country and the worldwide struggle, like an understanding of how all these different 5 Stops relate to each other and relate to the fundamental dynamics of this system, and how they all have to be taken on in a unified struggle, that you can’t eliminate every form of oppression but one—is that important to people? Is that important to the people, not just in this country, but the people of the world? This is the question that has to be answered, and there is an answer to it. It’s extremely important, and people have to go out there and fight for this on nothing less than the basis of that scientific understanding, not with religiosity which leads them to drop it as soon as somebody challenges them, or lets these other people set the terms. There’s going to be lots of opposition, including from people who desperately need this, you know—the nationalism, “I don’t want to follow a white man, I want to follow somebody Black,” or whatever it is. And people have to be told: “Look, you don’t understand—we’ve never had leadership like this. This is something that we’ve never had before that we now have.” If you have a terrible disease you want to go to the doctor that actually might have a cure for this disease. And if it turns out that doctor is this nationality or this gender or that, well, so be it.

The question is: Are we going to find a solution to the terrors and horrors that people are being put through without even understanding why? That’s the way we have to go out to people. This is something we have that’s beyond anything that we’ve had before—way beyond anything we’ve had before. This new synthesis of communism, this scientific approach, what’s concentrated in that First Resolution and in the Sixth Resolution—the importance of that being fought for as the leading edge in building revolution in this country, and also as what is needed throughout the world for people to take up the fight for their emancipation—this is what we have to be grounding ourselves on. And if you do, then into play comes the “As long as” sentence: It’s not hard to go out and fight for this, if you actually are grounding yourself in what the problem is, what the solution is, what this is all about and what we’re all about.

This is critical in terms of the great challenge we face immediately before us—in an ongoing way, but acutely right now—forging a real revolutionary vanguard on the basis of the new communism. This is a contradiction and a challenge profoundly, that’s acutely posed now. We need a living, flowing OHIO, as we’ve described it, a process where people are moving forward from their first engagement with the revolution, through struggle and contradiction, and sometimes backward motion and forward again, toward actually becoming part of the vanguard of this revolution. We need to be continually bringing forward and recruiting into the Party new forces from among the basic masses, especially the youth, but also among students and intellectuals and other sections of the people, on the basis of the new communism and everything that it opens up and everything that it provides the path to, nothing else and nothing less.

So the final point I want to speak to is the interrelation and positive synergy, you could say, between bringing forward new forces, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the continuing Cultural Revolution within the Party at any given time to effect its radical transformation to really and fully becoming the vanguard it needs to be and to rise to the profound challenges that must be confronted, in an acute way now and repeatedly throughout the process of actually making revolution—aiming, once again, for nothing less than the emancipation of humanity with the achievement of communism throughout the world.

We have to correctly handle this contradictory relationship. We have correctly identified that the main way we’re going to revolutionize this Party is by bringing in new forces on the basis of the new communism and nothing else and nothing less. And we have to be understanding that as a strategic goal but also one which we have to make immediate further breakthroughs on now, and in an ongoing way, at the same time as we need to continue to carry forward the struggle within the Party as it is at any given time—and especially as it is, given the positive injections (so to speak) of these new forces on the basis of the new communism—the continuing Cultural Revolution to actually effect the radical transformation of this Party to more fully and really become the vanguard it needs to be. We are acutely put to the test around this now, because of everything we’re up against in the objective situation, including this fascist regime and the fascist forces it is mobilizing and unleashing, as well as the wielding of state power that it now has largely in its hands—not without contradiction, but largely in its hands. And the horrors, the even greater horrors, this is going to bring forward. All that on the one hand. On the other hand, and dialectically related to that, the fundamental understanding of the problem and the solution and the need for revolution as the North Star we continually are guided by, in every particular immediate struggle and phase of things, whatever they might be, including the present one. So we have to handle well this contradiction. But we have to recognize this is a real challenge that we have to take up. It can’t be relegated to a secondary thing, buried underneath whatever immediate tasks there are. As Mao said, so many deeds do cry out to be done. There are so many pressing tasks and responsibilities that we do have to take up and shoulder, because we have the basis to do so and, in the fullest sense, nobody else does—not because, again, we have some better human nature, but because we have a scientific method and approach and its further development through the new synthesis. So we do have to meet all these immediate challenges; but, at the same time, and dialectically related to that, mutually reinforcing in either a positive or negative way, is the challenge of bringing forward new forces to the Party and making that an active process, an active task in that sense—something we’re continually and consistently working on—at the same time as we’re also carrying out the process of leading with this and only this line, and insisting on this and only this line, and modeling this and only this line. This is the contradiction we have to handle well because, look, we can talk about all the things we need to talk about, we can figure out how to move around all the particular challenges we face, but even in order to meet those challenges, as well as more fundamentally in order to actually get to the point where a solution can be brought about to this system that continually spews worse horror after worse horror, requires an instrumentality that has the scientific grounding and methodology to be able to lead through all the complexity and difficulty and the very daunting challenges of all kinds, including the repressive challenges that are bound to come, in order to do that.

So I want to end by emphasizing that: This really has to be, increasingly and more and more fully, a party that is based on this, this new communism, nothing else, nothing less, with all the contradiction and struggle that this is inevitably going to entail.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/protests-against-ending-daca-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

In New York and Other Cities, Protesters Declare—

“#Defend DACA: Immigrants are #Heretostay!”

August 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fox News announced on Thursday, August 31, that White House officials are saying Trump intends to announce as early as Friday that he is putting an end to the DACA program—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Trump’s decision has been expected; Republican attorneys general in ten mostly Southern states had announced they will go to federal court on September 5 if Trump has not ended DACA by then.

A thousand or more young protesters took to the streets of New York City Wednesday, August 30, in anger and defiance, demanding the Trump/Pence regime keep its hands off DACA. Many of those who marched were “Dreamers,” undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children who, through DACA, have been given legal work permits, Social Security numbers, and temporary relief from deportation. Ending DACA will put 800,000 Dreamers in danger of being kicked out of the place they grew up in, separated from their families and friends, and forced to end their education.

Organized by Make the Road New York, the New York Immigration Coalition and a number of other immigrants’ rights organizations and dozens of others including several unions—the march drew hundred of immigrants from dozens of countries—from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, to the Middle East, South Asia to Korea, including youth facing possible deportation if DACA is ended and many, many others standing with immigrants.

The marchers rallied at Columbus Circle near Trump International Hotel. From there they marched to Trump Tower. Protesters carried signs such as “#Defend DACA, Immigrants are #Heretostay,” and “Deport Trump,” and chanted “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here,” while pounding on drums. Refuse Fascism was in the mix, distributing the Call for Nov. 4: NO! NOVEMBER 4—IT BEGINS! This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

The spokesperson for Make the Road New York said:

There’s been a threat by President Trump that at any moment he might take this program away. What we’re trying to say today is this program is lifeblood to the immigrant community, and touching it is an act of war against Latinos and immigrants in the United States.

One of the protesters was quoted saying, “How dare we demonize them. We don’t turn our backs on people in need. That’s not what we’re about. So even if our president feels that way, we’re here to say we’re better than that.”

A day earlier, a rally was held in front of City Hall in Sacramento, California, which included students, teachers, the mayor, and other elected officials. And in Los Angeles, CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights) is leading a week of activities opposing the end of DACA. These protests come on the heels of demonstrations in 40 cities across the country on August 15, the fifth anniversary of the implementation of DACA.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/hurricane-harvey-day-6-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

August 31: Hurricane Harvey's Cascading Social and Public Health Catastrophe; Getting the Demands into the Hands of the People

August 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Devastation caused by the hurricane and deluge that has hit the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast continues. New terrors unfold daily as the storm slowly moves east. The mayor of Port Arthur, about 90 miles east of Houston, sent out a message saying "Our whole city is underwater right now". Nearby Beaumont—a city with about 120,000 people—lost its municipal water supply when massive overflow from the Neches River shut down its main pumping station. A city official said "There is no way to determine how long this (restoring water to the city) will take at this time". The one large hospital in Beaumont was forced to transfer all its patients.

In Crosby, north east of Houston, the Arkema chemical plant exploded—twice—and set off "chemical reactions" and fires. Several deputies near the explosions were hospitalized, and the area around the plant was evacuated. In the face of this disaster, the CEO of Arkema made the amazing claim that the environmental impact would be "minimal." Meanwhile, the Texas Tribune reported that the head of the state Sierra Club said smoke from the fires and explosions indicates "the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a known carcinogen. Depending on the wind, these chemicals could spread quickly to the surrounding area."

In the midst of this cascading social and public health catastrophe, the demands issued by Revolution have begun to circulate. The following is based on reports of some initial activities, including some interviews with people at two of the major shelters, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and the Lakewood Church.

Wednesday, August 30 A long line of people continued for hours outside the GRB. It is filled to double its capacity with people homeless from the storm. We went up to people with the Demands printed on the Revolution site. Most people were really appreciative of what we were doing, even as they were also very distressed. In particular, many people appreciated that these demands concentrated a lot of the lessons coming off Katrina. Also, while there is a facade of concern right now among the authorities, a lot of people said that the government is not to be trusted in their promises.

Many people did not know that Art Acevedo, the police chief, had a press conference yesterday announcing that the police are cutting back on "search and rescue." Acevedo said the police's focus is going to be on "looters" and "people taking advantage of the situation."

There was controversy over this: a lot of people were taken in by the hype coming from the media about people "taking advantage" of the situation to steal from people's homes. Some of them said they had experience of getting robbed while trying to escape the flood. This is being used big time to divide people, and build support for the police. One woman at the Lakewood Church who had come to volunteer at the GRB, asked about this when she read the demand, "Extraordinary measures must be taken to distribute needed resources from all stores to people, at government expense—and under no circumstances must those who take the needed resources be shot or arrested."

A lot of people were very skeptical about government aid. They knew that whatever was being done now was not out of the goodness of the government's heart. The authorities in GRB are allowing people to make phone calls, and at least in the immediate period they feel compelled to appear helpful. A lot of people were there with their kids, and are very concerned with the children's well being.

The question of climate change was important. People really need science. Most people seemed to appreciate what we were saying about the hurricane being natural but the disaster coming from the system. They also related to the fact that a lot of the demands come from experience of Katrina. We met three young women originally from Baton Rouge, where they were flooded out a year ago, and now they are flooded out again! People also talked about how release of water from two reservoirs was avoidable, since it had been known for years that these reservoirs were at "high risk" for failure.

A number of Black people agreed with the demand around ICE. "ICE must be kept away from hospitals, shelters, schools, jails, and other key places during this emergency—and this policy should be publicly broadcast and announced. People should not have to choose between drowning or dying in the floods or losing their children, being permanently separated from loved ones, and hurled across the globe." Also, most people didn't know about the horrible flooding in Asia going on at the same time, and how people there are facing an even worse situation.

There were a few [white] Trump supporters, who generally were not friendly, although one really liked what we were doing. He said that he voted for Trump. When I said Trump is a fascist and explained that, he sort of laughed, at himself, I think. But then we had an exchange about climate change, because he said it was predicted in the Bible that it was supposed to warm. He was interested in what I said about the science of climate change, even if he wasn't convinced. It was ironic, if not surprising, that some white people in this situation support Trump. But also there are openings through this work, including towards November 4. People generally were not aware that Trump was proposing budget cuts for FEMA, but found that important to know.

We met a Black woman in her 20s who attends Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church (a Charismatic Christian mega church that attracts people of all nationalities), who was very appreciative of our efforts. Then she raised the conspiracy theory that scientists are behind these shifts in the weather, "Have you heard of HAARP?" [generally this is an idea that the scientists are using technology to alter the weather]. I said it is the scientists who have been exposing the climate change, and the conspiracy is to hide what they are discovering. These conspiracy theories are rampant generally and bound to come out during these crises, but she took seriously what we said about it.

That's all for now. We got out a lot of the Demands flyers, a few November 4 flyers, and a few copies of Revolution.

Excerpts from interview with a Black woman in her 30's: "You Left Us Out There to Die"

Early Saturday morning, we come outside and the water has already filled up to like five feet. So I went live on Facebook to my family and my friends, my Facebook friends, saying, "Help—we're stuck out here...everybody at the top of the apartments is seeking help." So my friends start giving me like the National Guard safety number and I call the number and its busy, it's busy, so I'm like—man, I gotta get my kids, my mom and everybody outa here.

So we literally had to like suit up and swim, in five feet of water, just to get to the freeway. Once we got to the freeway we started seeing snakes and stuff so we had to hurry and jump up to the freeway to safety. We see like a firetruck coming down and I had to jump in the middle of the street to flag em down. We got on the firetruck and they took us to some Metro stop down the street...and the Metro bus brought us to the health department in Third Ward.

Once we got there, we sat there for a looonnng time, like just wet, shivering, cold. They didn't give us no blankets, they didn't give us nothing to keep us warm, and we had to sit there for a really long time until another bus came and brought us here (George R. Brown Convention Center). And once we got here it was real, real crazy—like everybody was just running wild...people not getting the medical attention that they need. I mean people falling out, people having asthma attacks and stuff—it was just real crazy. And once they got us in there they was feeding us crackers, bread, and not properly feeding the kids. Man, it was crazy.

But now it kinda like got a little bit better, since they been sending in volunteers and stuff like that so eventually I see progress by the day. It has gotten better. But us not knowing when we can leave, or what we should do when we leave, it's like really depressing cuz some people can't just go back to they home, cuz everything is destroyed. Like me, in my position, I don't even know what my next move is. So I just frankly don't know what to do. Cuz every person I ask questions to—they don't know what's going on...

Like everything I worked hard for, all my life—it's gone. And what's really crazy about it is, how come the news people didn't make a mandatory evacuation—like it's just something that happened out of the clear blue? Like y'all didn't even want us to leave, to get out of here, get prepared, nothing. Y'all waited til the water got 5 feet until you wanna start moving people? No. That's not how you operate things. You basically left us out there to die.

Two Youths From Fifth Ward: The Pickle Man

"When we came to George R. Brown Center—we didn't know we was going to come here. So we found that out from communication from other people. So we walked from the apartments in 5th Ward. And when we was walking the water was so high to our knee caps. And then while we was walking the water starting getting so high even to our chests. So we were almost fell into the water and felt like we was drowning. But we lift back up and we started walking toward the freeway. So what we did, we walked on top of the freeway so we could get to higher ground. ..

"We did not get upset. We never got discouraged. So—we had to just walk with the faith; not walk against the faith. So I hope that everybody that's out there, listening to this message—Mason and Tidwell in 5th Ward is totally flooded. Do not go that way.

"In the Fifth Ward, there's a man, we call him Pickle Man. He sells the neighborhood pickles to everybody. Sometimes he gives free pickles to the kids and the parents just to have people have a smile on their face while he was out there. He was out there on a dumpster truck. And he was out there on the dumpster dirt truck and he was riding on a truck like those. We was helping people out with wheel chairs, pushing them around and all that.

"Some people that couldn't get on the truck, some people that was handicap people. He was letting the handicap first. And anybody—let the handicap go first before us. We're more stronger. We got legs and we're healthier. Young kids that out there that's going through it right now; this is their first time going through floods—if we can stay stronger, if we can hold on through these things... I'm giving you all the encouragement and to encourage your parents too."

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/hurricane-harvey-september-1-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

September 1: As People Continue to Face a Dire and Dangerous Situation, a Chemical Plant Fire Spews Out Dangerous Toxins

September 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As of Friday night, while the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey were receding from some of areas in Houston and the surrounding counties, there were still large areas underwater. Parts of Beaumont, a city of 120,000 people east of Houston, and nearby communities remained very isolated, and the Neches River is still rising—already eight feet higher than during any previous storm, and not expected to crest until Saturday. The pumps that used to provide fresh water to Beaumont were knocked out by the floodwaters on Thursday, and officials said they did not know when the water system might be repaired.

Many of the people in Beaumont had tried to leave town but had been unable to because the roads were cut off by floodwaters—the city was basically an isolated island. Now, with the water system broken down, the people—who have already lost their homes and possessions—have been left with no drinking water, no water to flush toilets or bathe, desperate for basic sanitation and facing a public health emergency.

According to Chronicle.com, the authorities have not evacuated the federal prison in Beaumont where over 1,800 prisoners are held. Chronicle.com reports that they have received messages sent by the inmates using a prison email system that tell of the horrible conditions they are facing. Chronicle.com described one of the messages: “The man described a scene where a fellow inmate passed out Thursday night because of malnutrition; inmates haven’t had a warm meal in more than five days, he said. Because of the water shortage, four portable toilets were brought in to service the man’s building. No chemicals were placed in the toilets, which have already been ‘topped off’ with waste, the man said. ‘Save me Jesus,’ the man said in an email. ‘I never thought nothing like this would happen in prison.’”

In Houston, thousands still remained in shelters—unsure of how long they would remain there and where they would go when they need to leave. Many of those who were able to go back to their neighborhoods found their homes heavily damaged or totally devastated, their cars unusable, and without any insurance that might help cover losses.

In northeast Houston, part of a chemical plant was engulfed in fire, sending out thick plumes of black smoke. This Arkema plant manufactures organic peroxide, which is toxic, and there were fears that these toxins would spread as the fire continues to spew out smoke into the air—and there is concern that the fire at the plant might spread. A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for people living within 1.5 miles of the plant. This whole region is filled with chemical plants, oil refineries, toxic dumps, and other sites that could be spilling out poisonous material into the floodwaters, posing a huge public health danger.

The situation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey points to the continuing timeliness and importance of the demands that we have posted at revcom.us (see on this page and here). Spread these widely—in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and around the country.

Check in at revcom.us for continuing coverage.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/the-word-from-houston-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

The word from Houston: "People are experiencing some of the worst times in their lives right now"

September 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from an interview with S., a young Black woman, at a program last night at Revolution Books in Harlem, New York City, on "Hurricane Harvey: A Natural Disaster, and the Crisis of a System." She grew up in Houston and has been in close touch with relatives and friends there during Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath.

Revcom: Where do your friends and relatives live in Houston?

S: My mother lives in the Third Ward where we all grew up. It's close to downtown Houston. It's been heavily gentrified in the past 10 or so years, but historically the Third Ward has been a Black neighborhood, and a lot of elderly people are concentrated in the Third Ward as well because a lot of them have lived there their whole lives.

Also, the southwest side where my aunt lives is also an area a lot of poor and Black people are pushed into, because you know how urban sprawl works. You get knocked out of your homes in the urban areas because it's too expensive or by gentrification, so you get pushed into places like the southwest side—Missouri City, the 59s, the Beltway Area, Meyerland Park, Meyer Park—these are big areas on the southwest side.

Revcom: Were people surprised by how severe this storm was?

S: First and foremost people knew it was going to be a lot of rain, a lot of flooding. But it's Houston, we have hurricane season, but you are used to it. You get used to it and you know to be prepared. So people get their water, the boards to cover up their windows, the batteries. They get all those things. It's going to be a storm, probably a bad one, but it's going to be a storm. There's no need to panic, we're just hunkered down, that's what Houstonians always do.

I think people were surprised that their houses were going to be completely covered. I think people were predicting it was going to be bad. But I also feel that the media wasn't truthful about how bad this storm was going to get. Especially, specifically the local government was not vocal enough about how bad it was going to get and how long people needed to prepare for.

Previously Houston and Houstonians are used to hurricane season, they are used to areas that flood and they prepared like it was going to be something like that. But people were completely surprised that this was going to be a Katrina.

Revcom: What about evacuating?

S: As far as my community of Black and poor people, where are you going to go? If you have a car, great, you can evacuate—but where are you going to go? The surrounding counties around Houston are not very favorable to poor and Black people. They're white and wealthy suburbs so they're not going to be taking people.

Houston is a place you need to have a car to get around, and a lot of people don't have cars. They rely on buses, so that's not going to happen [after Harvey]. So of course they're going to choose to stay if transportation isn't provided for them to be evacuated.

Also they have their elderly relatives. Some are bed-ridden, some are disabled, some require constant medication, so what are they going to do, evacuate and leave their elderly disabled friends or relatives at home? No! You can't do that. Like my aunt is the sole care provider for my grandmother, and my grandmother can't leave the house unless it's in a wheelchair, a stretcher. So the option to leave—it's not really an option, it's not really a choice. So that's what a lot of people are faced with.

Revcom: What are your friends and relatives telling you about what's been going on?

S: My aunt, my uncle, my mom, my friends in southwest Houston and the Third Ward have been sending me pictures of where they are, and videos of what's going on right in the areas around them. People outside of Houston are saying "The coverage has been great, we can see what's going on down there." But it's not.

The problem with the media coverage is that the people inside the city—regardless of whether they have power or not—they are not being told what is passable, where the water has cleared and they can possibly get out. Or where they should gather so they can be evacuated and they can get help. They're not being given that information and that's a huge problem.

On the outside, we're seeing these aerial photos of the water and the cars and everything underwater. But people in Houston are not being told, "Hey the grocery store on Willow Bend is open, but you can't get there on Willow Bend, but you can get around on Hillcrest." The roads that are covered in water, and the roads that are not covered in water. They're not being told any of that information, and how will they know unless they can see that road from their house?

And that's a problem. People are running out of food, they're running out of medicine. And they need to get out, to be able to get food any way they can, to get medicine, you know, to get to a place that's dry. But how? With what navigation? With what guidance?

And then they are putting in curfews, which I can understand, but people have been enclosed in their houses for a week, and they want to get out of their house at least to breathe some air that's not house air. They're being told get in your house, get back in your house, you can't be out here. Why? This is my shit. I should be able to walk outside of my fucking house!

The members of my family that I know of have avoided the flooding. My uncle on the other hand, he lives in a relatively nice area, a wealthy area, and they've had some flooding there. The last thing I heard from him, they had moved everything to the second floor and they were waiting it out, but the water that was coming up had receded.

But there are people all over Houston whose houses are covered to the garage, like their entire first floor is gone. All you can see is a rooftop, that's it, and the only way you can see that is if you're looking at it from a helicopter. And that's the majority of Houston right now.

Revcom: How are people getting food now?

S: I think yesterday there was a break in the rain and my aunt was able to get out and get a few things. Some of my friends were able to get out and get a few things. But the grocery stores—there are lines to get into the grocery store, lines that wrap around the building. That's what my aunt and my friends and stuff are telling me. You can't even get into the stores, and the food is running out and the supplies are running out. Are they telling people outside how and where they can get supplies? No.

People have been without just basic necessities for at least a week. They haven't been working for at least a week. And stores have been closed. Other establishments have been closed for a few days. So people are going to be terrified and worried and scared that they're not going to be able to make ends meet. Rent payments are coming due tomorrow on the first. So I just want people to keep in mind that people are missing out on making money to be able to live, for child care.

School is supposed to start next week for Houston, and everybody was buying clothes and supplies and whatever to get back to school, right? All that's gone. That's gone. Everything you prepared—your lunches, whatever, is gone. The childcare you had lined up is gone.

People are experiencing some of the worst times in their lives right now. I just want people to focus on the people and what it is really like to go through a disaster and fuckin' lose everything! And not know what your next week is going to look like, what your next month is going to look like. Because your house is completely covered—everything that you own.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/from-refusefascism-indictment-pamphlet-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

From refusefascism.org

New! Indictments of the Trump/Pence Regime as a Powerful New Pamphlet

Order Copies Today

 

September 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Refuse Fascism has just published a tremendous new educational and organizational tool: all seven Indictments of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime, the Call for November 4, and organizing instructions, as a 12-page pamphlet.

This is a powerful tool to understand the scale, the scope, and the fascist essence of the Trump/Pence regime—the horrific peril it presents to all of humanity and the Earth itself. What is more, this pamphlet has the way out of this nightmare: a plan for people all over the country to act together, beginning November 4, to drive this whole fascist regime from power.

This pamphlet should be studied and spread—to classrooms and religious congregations, in street outreach and at protests, to book clubs and cafes, everywhere people gather.

Order copies today.

1 copy for $2.50
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Or, email at
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Or, mail a check/money order to:

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305 West Broadway #185
New York, NY 10013

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/football-brain-injuries-prompts-more-defections-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Letter from a reader

Damaging Report on Football Brain Injuries Prompts More Defections from Football—
Sport should not destroy mental health; it should promote health

September 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As football season begins this week, the life-threatening dangers of playing the game are out on front street once again with a new study and early retirements.

A recently released report, "Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Players of American Football," on the study of brains of deceased football players shows the alarming rate of CTE1 among these players.  The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that 110 of 111 former National Football League players (99%) were neuropathologically diagnosed with the devastating brain disease caused by concussions and sub-concussions due to multiple hits to the head.  (See jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2645104) CTE cannot be definitely diagnosed until the player has died and the brain has been examined, although a number of concussions and symptoms of CTE are indicators that the players may have this deadly disease.

Since this report was released on July 25 this year, two very different defections from football have been all over the news.

The first was John Urschel, a Black player who played three years for the Baltimore Ravens and retired two days after the publication of the report.  Urschel quit so he could further his PhD studies in advanced mathematics at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where he had been attending during the past two off-seasons studying spectral graph theory, matrix algebra, and computational finance.  He graduated from Penn State in three years with a 4.0 grade point average and has already published nine accepted research papers.  The NFL Network called him "the league's smartest man" and he has been named to Forbes' "30 under 30" list of outstanding young scientists.

The second person to leave his job in football is Ed Cunningham, a former NFL player who resigned as a college football analyst for ESPN and ABC.  The New York Times reported, "Cunningham, 48, resigned from one of the top jobs in sports broadcasting because of his growing discomfort with the damage being inflicted on the players he was watching each week. The hits kept coming, right in front of him, until Cunningham said he could not, in good conscience, continue his supporting role in football's multibillion-dollar apparatus."  Cunningham said, "I take full ownership of my alignment with the sport.  I can just no longer be in that cheerleader's spot."

Urschel has not given a statement after quitting football but posted on his MIT web page, "Right now, I spend most of my time thinking about discrete Schrödinger operators, high-dimensional data compression, algebraic multigrid and Voronoi diagrams."

He had previously written an essay published in the Players' Tribune where he said that he envied Chris Borland, who retired from the NFL at age 24 because of his desire not to damage his brain.2 At that time Urschel wrote, "Objectively, I shouldn't [play football]," but that his "passion for the game overrode the possible risks."

In 2015, Urschel was knocked out in a game that resulted in a severe brain concussion.  He told Bryant Gumbel of HBO Sports that after the concussion his "ability to do high-level math was temporarily affected."

Cunningham has been very outspoken about his resignation and about brain injuries to players.  According the New York Times, in telecasts of games he would point out "reckless hits and irresponsible coaching decisions that endangered the health of athletes. His strong opinions often got him denounced on fan message boards and earned him angry calls from coaches and administrators."

After he resigned he said, "In its (football) current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear.  But the real crux of this is that I just don't think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it's unacceptable... I know a lot of people who say: 'I just can't cheer for the big hits anymore. I used to go nuts, and now I'm like, I hope he gets up.'" 

John Branchaug of the New York Times, who interviewed Cunningham, said that Cunningham's "eyes welled with tears" as he said, "It's changing for all of us. I don't currently think the game is safe for the brain. And, oh, by the way, I've had teammates who have killed themselves. Dave Duerson3 put a shotgun to his chest so we could study his brain... This is as personal as it gets.  I'm not hypothesizing here."

Several NFL players have retired early due to the dangers of getting CTE, but a prominent sportscaster leaving what he called "a great job" has changed the calculus in another way.  It is unprecedented and let's hope it spreads.  Cunningham's play-by-play television partner, Mike Patrick, said of Cunningham's leaving the booth, "I could hardly disagree with anything he said... But now that I realize what it can do to people, that it can turn 40-, 50-year-old men into walking vegetables, how do you stay silent? Ed was in the vanguard of this. I give him all the credit in the world. And I'm going to be outspoken on it, in part because he led me to that drinking hole."

The report, written by more than 30 doctors and scientists, studied the brains from 202 deceased players of American football and CTE was neuropathologically diagnosed in 177 players across all levels of play (87%).  The study indicates that the longer you play football the more likely you will have CTE.  Except for pre-high school, CTE was found in all levels of football.  Of those who only played in high school 21% had a mild form of CTE, while full-blown CTE was found in players whose highest level was college, semiprofessional (64%), Canadian Football League (88%), and National Football League (99%).

How many more football players have or are going to have this horrible brain disease that causes memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia that often results in the person taking their own life?4 This is totally unacceptable.  A society that creates sports that cause this kind of pain, suffering, and death should be ruled completely out of order.  Sports should promote health, not destroy health.

I encourage people to get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  This is a constitution for a radically different world than we currently live in and it does speak to the role of sports:

In addition to the sphere of art and artistic creation, the government (with the central Executive Council having the overall responsibility, while establishing agencies and instrumentalities for this purpose and working with government at other levels) shall also promote and support sports events and activities, to provide entertainment and recreation and promote health and fitness throughout society. This shall include some professional sports teams and leagues, while at the same time emphasis is given to the participation of people broadly, and in particular the youth, in sports of many different kinds. The role of competition in sports will be recognized and given its appropriate place, but the basic and overall priority in sports will be to foster bonds of friendship, comradeship, community, cooperation and the shared experience and joy of sport, along with its contribution to health and fitness—and the promotion of internationalism, particularly in sports activities that are engaged in together with people from other countries.


1. "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published that neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia." ("What is CTE?," Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy) [back]

2. For more on Chris Borland see "Tackle Football 'Can't Be Saved": Early Retirements Keep the Focus on Concussions in Football," Revoluton #405, September 21, 2015. [back]

3. Duerson was a teammate of Cunningham's with the Phoenix (now Arizona) Cardinals in 1992 and 1993. He killed himself in 2011 and when his brain was examined, he was found to have CTE. [back]

4. Revolution newspaper has reported extensively on CTE in football.  (See "George Carlin, Frank Gifford, the NFL and Rugby—More Thoughts on Concussions in Football," Revolution #417 December 14, 2015;  "Tackle Football 'Can't Be Saved': Early Retirements Keep the Focus on Concussions in Football", Revolution #405 September 21, 2015; "NFL Concussion Settlement: $765 Million to Suppress the Truth About Brain Injuries, Revolution #316, September 15, 2013; and "League of Denial is a League of Criminals—The Outrageous Brain Injury Cover-Up of the National Football League," Revolution #320, October 14, 2013) [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/DACA-in-the-crosshairs-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Trump/Pence Regime Drives a Dagger in the Heart of DACA

Updated September 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump/Pence regime ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).  By doing this they have thrown the lives of millions of people in this country into a whole new level of fear and danger.  Immediately after Jeff Sessions made the announcement, powerful protests broke out in cities all over the country. (See “Protests in the Streets Across the Country Denounce Trump Regime’s DACA Decision” for more).

Since 2012, DACA has shaped the immigration status of 800,000 “Dreamers”—undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children, even babies.  For most Dreamers, this society is the only one they have ever known. Under an executive order issued by Barack Obama, they were eligible for renewable two-year work permits to live and work in the U.S. legally.

This decision means the government has stopped accepting applications for DACA.  Those whose work permits are scheduled to expire within the next 6 months will have one month—until October 5th—to renew them.  But as of March 5th, 2018, there will be no more work permits renewed.  That means that beginning on that date, an estimated 1,400 Dreamers a day will see their 2-year work permits expire and be at risk for deportation at any time.  By March of 2020, every single Dreamer will become a “criminal” in the eyes of this regime, and in the cross-hairs of ICE. 

To qualify for DACA, people had to provide ICE with every detail of their lives, their residence, their work, and the names and status of their family members and relatives. They gave the authorities information that now can and will be used against them, and their loved ones. When they applied for DACA, they were told this information would not be used to deport them. But an email from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services later said that policy “may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.”  What that means is that right now, six million mixed-residency families across the country are in a state of extreme alarm, and great risk.

The idea is being promoted that somehow Congress could pass some legislative version of DACA in the next six months.  But at the White House briefing after the announcement to end DACA, it was made clear that DACA must be dealt with as part of a far more drastic attack on immigrants: “The president wants DACA made permanent as part of ‘comprehensive’ immigration legislation that would end illegal immigration, prevent visa overstays and create a "merit based" system of immigration.” 

Conflict in the Ruling Class ... and What We Need to Do Now

The Trumpites cry, "They're illegal! They broke the law!" So fucking what. U.S. immigration law is obscene. Slavery was legal, freeing a slave was illegal. Jim Crow was the law, integration was illegal. Abortion was illegal (and today hangs by a thread). "Mixed-race" marriages were illegal... Hardly anything positive has ever emerged in this history of this country that didn't involve breaking unjust laws.

DACA is not anything close to justice for undocumented immigrants. And it only applies to a small percentage of people in this country without documents. But going after DACA is a drastic leap in demonizing, criminalizing, and driving out immigrants. It is of a piece with the whole agenda of the Trump/Pence fascist regime: pummeling people into an overtly white supremacist (and viciously patriarchal and xenophobic) society, and crushing people's ability to resist. They are hell-bent on re-cohering U.S. society as an overtly white Christian society, putting people of color, women, LGBTQ people, critical thinkers, and the oppressed violently, firmly "in their place." Or, in the case of immigrants, driving them out.

A section of the ruling class objects to Trump deporting the Dreamers. They see the officially multicultural (while savagely unequal) aspect of U.S. society as a positive factor in the long-term survival and "competitive edge" of the U.S. empire atop a world of exploitation and oppression. The Democrats defend DACA. Monopoly capitalists like the heads of General Motors, Facebook, and Hewlett Packard have issued statements strongly opposing ending DACA. Some prominent Republican lawmakers have called for a legislative version of DACA in some form, although the actual nature of this replacement appears to be even worse than the present rules for DACA.

These differences are part of a larger divide in the ruling class over the Trump/Pence regime's agenda to tear up forms through which this system of exploitation and oppression has operated. But in confronting and opposing moves to end DACA, the starting point must be the interests of humanity. The damning indictments against the Trump/Pence regime by Refuse Fascism include the defining moral stand that Immigrants are full human beings, not "illegals" or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out.

Trump's threats against DACA are an obscene outrage. Those who are furious and disgusted by Trump's pending attack on Dreamers must resist this. At the same time, these attacks are of a piece with, and yet another escalation in the direction and momentum of fascism. It is necessary to confront the reality identified in the initial Call from Refuse Fascism:

 [R]esistance is righteous and necessary, but it is not sufficient. 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.

And in that light, Refuse Fascism has issued this call:

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.

People! Everywhere! Get with that, starting now. The call, the plan, and what you need to get organized are at refusefascism.org.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/some-observations-from-houston-en.html

Revolution #506 August 28, 2017

Some observations from Houston on...

A Natural, Environmental, and Social Disaster

by Travis Morales

September 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The correspondence that was posted at revcom.us/Revolution, “August 31: Hurricane Harvey’s Cascading Social and Public Health Catastrophe; Getting the Demands into the Hands of the People,” overall had some good exposure in the first three paragraphs of what people are confronting with the flood and the explosions at the chemical plants. However, I think the sections on what the masses of people were saying was a bit one-sided. It is true that there are different areas hit by Hurricane Harvey where people are getting very little help and feel abandoned. But this is not the same as Hurricane Katrina. Over 200 shelters have been opened. The George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston was opened as a shelter on Sunday with food, water, clothes, and medical care, very quickly after Harvey struck. People were encouraged to go out and rescue those stuck in the floodwaters. Many, many people were rescued by volunteers and the authorities. Yes, some/many people may not trust the government. But many people, at this point, are grateful for the aid and said they were being treated well. And a number of people that read the Demands that were issued at revcom.us said this is what is happening, now, meaning they are being helped. I do not doubt that people were telling us what is reported in the correspondence, but it is not so simple. The situation, and people’s thinking, is more contradictory.

The state—that is, the ruling class—summed up some things from Katrina, where leaving people to die created a huge political crisis. But also, in this case, for the rulers to turn their backs on the suffering would have meant turning their backs not just on poor and mainly Black masses, as in Katrina, but a huge number of people of all strata. This could have quickly created political upheaval among a cross section of people, including many among the Trump/Pence regime’s social base. The devastation covered a huge area. Masses of people, including a lot of good ole boys, were determined to go out and save others.

Contradictions Let Loose by Hurricane Harvey

Harvey has created a natural disaster, an environmental disaster, and a social disaster. This comes through in looking at all the contradictions this hurricane has let loose. Not only did the anarchic capitalist-imperialist system lay the basis for this disaster with global climate change and the unbridled economic development in a flood plain, with no real preparation for devastating storms in an area with a history of severe hurricanes, but the imperialists have no good answer for the masses of all strata whose lives have been upended and ruined.

The scenes are incredible: 120,000 people trapped in Beaumont, east of Houston, with no running water for the foreseeable future and the Neches River still rising. This is a recipe for a major health crisis. The mayor described Beaumont as an island. The mayor of Houston went on TV and told everyone west of Gessner Road with water in their homes to evacuate. The aerial scene was like a large lake with hundreds of houses neatly arranged throughout it. And these are not small rundown houses, but in an area of prosperous-looking two-story large homes. This is a huge area, and people have water in their homes because the spillways for the Addicks and Barker reservoirs have been opened in fear of water breaching the earthen dam. But at the same time, leaving the spillways open for two weeks could compromise them, according to an expert on TV. People were told they would not be able to return for weeks to months.

A chemical plant exploded from chemicals not being refrigerated because there was no electricity. And more explosions and fires are expected at the same plant. The “solution” is to let 500,000 pounds of toxic organic peroxides stored in eight containers explode and burn and enforce a mandatory evacuation 1.5 miles around the plant. A man living near the plant and interviewed on TV said, “Day one I was worried about people getting out. Day two I was just waiting for information. Now, I’m frustrated and getting angry because no one from Arkema [owners of the plant] will help us.” One report said, “In its [Harvey’s] wake, more than two million pounds of hazardous chemicals have been released into the air, according to filings reported with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality...” Two million pounds!!! And the worst may yet be in store.

The Only Program That Speaks to What the Masses Need in This Nightmare on the Gulf Coast

All of this is in the context of the Trump/Pence regime moving to quickly consolidate fascism, day after day, relentlessly taking one horrific step after another. On Friday, September 1, the horrific anti-immigrant Texas state law SB4 was scheduled to take effect, until it was put on temporary hold at the last minute by a federal judge. This law would confront undocumented immigrants at every turn with arrest and deportation. An estimated 600,000 undocumented immigrants, out of a total population of six million, live in the greater Houston area. There are 80,000 DACA recipients (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “Dreamers”) who live in the greater Houston area, and the status of DACA is very uncertain. And this is coming on top of the devastation of Harvey on the lives of undocumented people.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has claimed they are not going to raid shelters and aid centers, but they have sent an additional 200 ICE agents to southeast Texas. While FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has said that undocumented people can receive emergency shelter and food, they are not eligible for long-term aid such as money to rebuild their homes or replace destroyed belongings. Many, many immigrant families, even if they are undocumented, have purchased homes. Without FEMA assistance, those whose homes were damaged or destroyed will lose everything, their lives even more devastated—even if they were renting but lost everything, they will be ruined. Already in the barrios signs have gone up that say, “We buy flooded homes.”

More could be written, but I will end for now. The situation here, while not immediately calling into question the legitimacy of the system in the way that happened in the wake of Katrina, has the potential to do so much more powerfully. What are the imperialists going to do with all these people who lost everything? In Harris County alone, 136,000 structures were flooded. So far, 440,000 people in Texas have applied for federal assistance. One news article raised the question of where will the workers that are necessary to rebuild come from, and pointed out that 100,000 Latino workers came to the Gulf Coast after Katrina to rebuild. How will this intersect with the horrors coming down under the Trump/Pence regime on the undocumented? What will the immigrants themselves do, and what about all those who hate what the Trump/Pence regime is doing? The chemical plants and oil refineries are far from being under control and stabilized. A major environmental emergency could develop.

Getting out the Demands and the Nine Ways This Is a Crime of this System can play a big role in what people understand and what they do. The Demands very concretely put forward what is in the interests of the people and what is needed. No other program is being put forward that in any way speaks to what the masses of people need in this nightmare on the Gulf Coast.