Revolution #507, September 4, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

August 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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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/507/hijacking-compassion-to-serve-christian-fascism-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Vice President Pence in Texas
Hijacking Compassion... to Serve Christian Fascism

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Along with heart-wrenching reports of devastation and death in the hurricane zone, there have been many inspiring stories of ordinary people dropping everything, making great sacrifices and taking big risks to help storm victims. This spirit of self-sacrifice emerges whenever there is a major disaster (it is not a “Texan” or “American” thing!). And it is important—even beyond the vital work of saving and aiding people in need, it gives millions a sense that humanity could do much better than the dog-eat-dog, narrow-minded selfishness that so clearly stamps this society.

But the authorities are, in many ways, moving to hijack the spirit of compassion manifested around this storm to serve the consolidation of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. Specifically, to lure, deceive and coerce large numbers of people into the Christian fascist movement.

Christian Fascist Vultures Descend on the Hurricane Zone

On August 31, three “superstars” of Christian fascism descended on the Hurricane zone, pretending to offer “comfort and compassion,” but actually to build up the strength and influence of their poisonous ideology and reactionary movement. Vice President Mike Pence brought an entourage of Trump cabinet members to Rockport, Texas, where they joined with Texas governor Greg Abbott and evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at a church that was destroyed in the storm. This photo/op/propaganda event got major promotion in Christian fascist media, but beyond that, in all mainstream media.

Graham spoke first, telling a Bible story that he said showed that Jesus, and only Jesus, could save people from the disaster, claiming that Jesus was capable of “rebuking the waves and wind” and causing storms to cease.

Hit pause here! If Jesus—or any other (imaginary) all-powerful supernatural being or force—could save people from disaster, where the hell was he when a hurricane tore up the lives of millions of people, left them without safe shelter, food, dry clothing, or transportation to safety, and killed dozens! If there really was such a god, he (or she) would have to be a cold-hearted monster to let this happen. Thankfully, no such god exists.

But Graham did not end with the assertion that only Jesus could save people from disaster. He added the very earthly prayer that “you bring an army of volunteers” to help in the recovery—a clear pitch (to Pence and Abbott as much as to “god”) to funnel thousands of well-meaning volunteers into Samaritan’s Purse, which is Graham’s “aid” organization—about which we will say more shortly.

Then fellow Christian fascist, Texas governor Greg Abbott, proclaimed: “It was God acting through the lives of so many Texans who came to the rescue of other Texans. It was the power of God that was able to pull people out of the water and literally save them.”

No, “God” did not “literally save” people. Human beings did. They were guided by a whole range of outlooks, religions (or not), and motives. And if any of them would have sat by and waited for “god” to “literally save” people, more people would have died.

       

Religious People Can and Do Make Important Contributions to the Struggle for Justice... But these Christian Fascists Are Cold-Hearted Monsters

Many people, looking at the world through their religious convictions, see unnecessary suffering and profound injustice, and based on those convictions, they feel moved to throw themselves into making the world a better place, whether through giving aid to those suffering or joining in the struggle against oppression. While communists are atheists, we value, appreciate, and learn what we can from the contributions and insights of religious people. The revolution we are preparing for must and will include people coming from all kinds of perspectives, including religion. 

But these Christian fascists are something else. For all their talk about “compassion,” they are cold hearted monsters. Franklin Graham is a fanatic inciter of hate and violence against Muslims (he calls Islam an “evil religion”). He proclaims Christianity is engaged in a “Holy War ... A battle for the souls of men and women from North to South, East to West, over the entire earth.” Graham stresses: “No souls can be saved without the shedding of blood. Blood must be shed!” Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, sees its primary goal as evangelizing—recruiting people into their fundamentalist branch of Christianity, and, through that, into what Graham calls a “Holy War.”

Before becoming governor, as Texas attorney general, Abbott fought to close all abortion clinics in the state. This year, he called a special session of the Texas legislature to attempt to push through a “bathroom bill” to stigmatize and persecute transgender students. He fought to cut funding for Texas public schools in a state that has been slashing all secular social services for years. He pushed a law to ban sanctuary cities that offer some minimal measures to protect undocumented people from being deported and having their families ripped apart.

Mike Pence says Roe v. Wade should be “consigned to the ash heap of history,” forcing women to bear children against their will. While governor of Indiana, Pence defied a federal recommendation to protect transgender students. He pushed through a bill that would allow bigots to discriminate freely, if they come up with some religious justification for it. In 2015, in the face of an HIV/AIDS epidemic in Indiana, he refused to fund needle exchanges, which all experts agree play a big role in reducing HIV transition. And the Trump/Pence regime, among many, many attacks on oppressed people, just a few weeks ago rescinded an Obama-era order that housing destroyed by floods must be rebuilt to withstand future flooding!

And now these Christian fascists want to come around and claim to be the compassionate leaders of humanitarian relief efforts!

A Whole Christian Fascist Agenda

These Christian fascists are not just heartless hypocrites. They are out to impose a much larger, fascist reconfiguration of U.S. society. Bob Avakian (BA) has pointed out that the Christian fascists are:

... political leaders and forces who insist that “traditional morality,” as embodied in the patriarchal family as well as “right or wrong” patriotism—and rationalized in terms of fundamentalist Christianity—must be the basis for maintaining the cohesion and solidity of American capitalist society and the dominant position of imperial America in the world arena. (See “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer.)

This work by BA, as well as “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’...And What Will Replace It,” provide a crucial analysis of the nature of these Christian fascists, how they are a product of extreme crises this system faces, and what to do in the face of them. They are must reading to understand where all this is coming from, and what to do about it.

The Christian fascists are at the core of the Trump/Pence regime, and their movement makes up a major part of their popular base and potential shock troops against ruling class opponents and against the oppressed masses.

Trump Proclaims a Day of American Theocracy

Of a piece with hijacking compassion to serve Christian fascism, Trump proclaimed Sunday, September 3 (the Christian Sabbath) a “National Day of Prayer.”

It should be called “The Day of American Theocracy.”

Trump’s proclamation said, “From the beginning of our Nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need...” [Italics ours] This is an effort to obscure the inconvenient reality that the U.S. was founded on a secular (non-religious) basis, with separation of church and state as a fundamental constitutional principle. Battering down that separation in service of a Christian fundamentalist theocracy is a key and pivotal piece of the Christian fascist mission.

While the body of the proclamation does have one reference to “people of all faiths,” in language and tone it is implicitly evoking Christianity. And this becomes explicit in the final sentence, in which Trump says the proclamation is issued “this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen.” Here “our Lord” can only refer to Jesus Christ. Taken together with the rest of the proclamation, this openly casts America as a Christian nation—a major rupture with the secular and non-sectarian (not favoring one religion over any other) foundations and history of the U.S., and is a major signal of the ascendant power of Christian fascism, with all the horrors that will entail (if the regime is not driven from power).

Hurricane Relief Must Serve the Needs of the People, Not the Christian Fascist Agenda

Sharp lines must be drawn now, and in an ongoing way, between relief that meets the needs and interests of people, one the one hand, and “relief” work that is a vehicle for the Christian fascist agenda of white supremacy, demonization and expulsion of immigrants, vicious patriarchy, violent suppression of dissent, unbridled environmental devastation, dismissal of science, and “USA #1.”

Contrast how the Christian fascists are working to warp, twist, and channel the response to the disaster­ with the demands issued at revcom.us. Those demands insist the government take responsibility for people being able to survive and rebuild. That the needs of the people must supersede capitalist profit-making. That everyone, regardless of nationality, immigration status, or anything else, be treated as human beings. That the real situation people face is told to the world, including through the voices of those affected.

Find those demands here. Read, distribute, and fight for those demands, now!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/press-release-rf-arkema-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

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

Received from Refuse Fascism-Houston

 

Refuse Fascism-Houston Holds Press Conference in Crosby, Texas, to Denounce Arkema Inc.’s Responsibility for the Developing Environmental Catastrophe at Its Crosby Plant

 

September 5, Refuse Fascism attempted to deliver demands to people at the Arkema chemical plant outside Crosby, Texas. After two chemical storage units with highly toxic chemicals exploded in the water of Hurricane Harvey, Arkema set the other six units on fire in what they called a "controlled burn."

 

Following is the statement issued by Refuse Fascism in Houston:

Arkema Inc. has responsibility for the deepening environmental catastrophe at its chemical plant outside Crosby, putting the health and lives of thousands of people at risk. They are aided and abetted by the Trump/Pence regime, which cut funding for the EPA, eliminated safety regulations, deregulated the oil and gas industries, eliminated limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and more. This is an outrage!

We demand:

Three of nine containers holding 500,000 pounds of highly flammable and toxic chemicals have caught fire when power was lost for their refrigeration, producing two explosions. More explosions are expected. At least 18 people have been taken to the hospital complaining of problems caused by the smoke produced by the burning chemicals. A mandatory evacuation order for a 1.5 mile radius around the plant has been ordered. What is Arkema’s solution? They are igniting the six remaining containers!

This is “A Nightmare: The whole planet in peril from a regime that denies global warming and shreds all environmental protections.” (From the Refuse Fascism Call for November 4, This Nightmare Must End. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go, In the Name of Humanity We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!)

Press reports are that the plant flooded like this before in 2006, lost power, and chemicals ignited because of a loss of refrigeration. Since then, Arkema has not done enough to prevent this from happening again, according to their own safety expert.

Arkema is responsible for chemicals exploding at the plant and endangering the lives of thousands. This must stop.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #507 September 4, 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.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/interview-with-relative-of-beaumont-prisoner-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Interview with Relative of Beaumont Prisoner:
Trapped in a Hell of Floodwaters and Inhuman Treatment

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

While there are some places in areas of the Texas Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Harvey that have received at least some aid, many others have received little help—including the federal prison at Beaumont, east of Houston, which has been inundated and where prisoners have not been moved out and are being held under outrageous, dangerous conditions. Revolution/revcom.us talked on Saturday, September 2, with Andrea Hasberry, a Black woman whose husband is one of those prisoners. On Sunday, she posted an email from her husband with the latest on the prisoners’ situation (see end of article).

* * * * *

Revolution: Tell us what’s been happening with your husband.

Andrea Hasberry: I had talked to him the day that the Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, and I usually talk to him all day long. You know, we got family there to make sure he got money on his books, so we’re able to talk to him. The way the email is, if you post the email, say for instance at 1 o’clock, he won’t be able to see it till 2 o’clock—I have no problem with that, as long as I get to talk to him. Well, the last one I got from him that Monday was at 8 o’clock [in the evening]. When I get ready to go to bed I always say good night, and he’ll send me a text back saying good night, get the grandbabies ready for school, whatever. Then it became 10 o’clock and I hadn’t heard from him. I said, well, there’s a storm going on, what’s going on, ’cause I hadn’t heard from him. I stayed up, and it was 12 o’clock and I still hadn’t heard from him. So I said, well, he probably done fell asleep, or they got them on lockdown, you know, trying to keep the faith.

The next morning I got up and I still hadn’t heard from him. I got a little worried. I seen one of my friends post on Facebook, “If you got any federal family members down there, let’s pray for them. I been calling and calling and getting no response.” I did the same thing and still didn’t get no response. I said, well, the lines are still probably down, we just need to wait it out, wait it out. So I waited, waited. Tuesday, I waited. Thursday, I waited. And then I finally got a message from him. My husband is not the type of person… everything is always OK, everything is always OK. So if he speak out about something, it’s got to be bad. So when he starts sending these messages, I could tell that something was really, really wrong. I asked him, are you sure this is what’s going on?

Revolution: What was he saying in his messages?

Andrea Hasberry: Well, the first message I got from him, he say that they just turned the electricity back on, let me explain to you what’s going on. He said, baby, last night, a guy had passed out. Because I guess they hadn’t been able to get no food and stuff for a certain amount of period of time. He said the guy had passed out. He said, so he go and told one of the lieutenants… and the lieutenant told him he don’t want to hear about that—that some of the guards’ family have lost their homes and stuff like that and they lost their property, so they don’t wanna hear that [what the prisoners are facing]. So I said, oh my god.

The next message he sent, he said that [some officials] was there—and he said that he talked loud enough for those people to hear, and nothing happened. Then he was explaining that there was three feet of water in here, and it looks like sewer water. He said there’s bugs and things rolling around in it. He said they move us up to the second floor. On the second floor, there’s more people than there’s supposed to be. He said there’s no running water. At that time, he said, they’re only giving us two bottles of water. He said, what’s two bottles of water gonna do? We hadn’t had any clothes since about Friday, I have no clean clothes. But it’s no use putting on clean clothes because if we step out, we’re gonna be stepping in water. Oh my god, I really broke down then ’cause I had got really, really scared. What is going on?

Revolution: There are over 1,800 prisoners there, is that right?

Andrea Hasberry: That’s only in the low-security, where my husband is. It’s called FCI [federal correctional institution]. And in the FCI you have USP, you have medium, you have low, and then you have people that are in the camp. The USP people are people that are “high-risk” people, they have more than like 20-30 years. People in medium are people that have 20 years or less. When you’re in the low, you have five years or less. If you’re in the camp, that means you’re not a risk factor. They don’t have any fencing to stop them from moving around… When I talked to him that Monday, he said that the water was up to their level, and when I still didn’t hear from him the rest of the night, I said, oh lord… that means that these people cannot get out. Then my cousin called me and said, the water is going higher and higher and higher. And she said, have you heard from my husband? I said I still hadn’t heard from him. That’s just when I broke down… I just got really, really scared.

Revolution: What have you heard about the current situation?

Andrea Hasberry: [My husband] said, I got out of the place and I went to the nurse and I told the nurse and the doctor that the two bottles of water is not enough for us. And they’re only giving us two johnnies a day, it’s not enough. We get a johnny bag in the morning with peanut butter and jelly in it. And the other food we get to eat is a baloney sandwich. Some of those people there that are diabetic, that’s not enough food for them. My husband gave me this number and told me to call the mother of the guy that passed out, the guy that’s diabetic. They said because the water is in different places, they can’t get the medication until Monday. So they gave him some type of pill to keep his blood pressure under control. But the lady called me this morning, the guy’s mom, said he had called her this morning and told her his blood pressure is still up high…

Revolution: Have you heard of the situation with other prisoners or other relatives?

Andrea Hasberry: I have different people call me and say they still haven’t heard from their family members. I have a family—not a biological family but I call him “family”—M, he’s over at the medium. He said that where they’re at over in cells, they’re in medium [security]—not in cubicles like where my husband is. And there’s water all over there… Some of the guys in the low [security], they work, and they able to move around. One of the reserve [army soldiers] asked some of the guys in the low to go over to medium to take johnny bags there. Those people are in cells. And one of the guys there was asking, can you email his relative, we can’t get out of our cells. So this is what’s going on.

Revolution: So the prisoners are still in a very dangerous situation…

Andrea Hasberry: Yeah, that’s what my husband says. There’s people in there with staph infections, and more…

       

* * * * *

The following is an email message that Andrea posted on Facebook, sent by her husband Sunday afternoon.

These are the present conditions at Beaumont FCI as of 8/25 and 9/3 and the conditions at the medium and high are more severe. I have been on lockdown since 8/25/17 with approximately 156 Prisoners for no violation of prison rules, etc. under the following conditions: 1st dy. I was given 33.8 fl. oz. of water. 2nd dy. I was given 50.7 fl. oz. of water. 3rd dy. I was given 84.5 fl. oz. of water and the 4th day I was given 67.6 fl. oz. … no ventilation [fresh air]; no Air Condition; not being allowed to leave the Unit for fresh air or recreation; the UA unit water is shut off; thus, no shower/bathes; no water to dispose of human waste; feces and urine; Prisoners are defecating in trash bags to prevent the excruciating smell of their own human feces; UA-Unit is stagnating with the smell of human feces, human urine and unwashed bodies. Since 8/25/17 prison staff has issued Prisoners three small bars of soap and no toothpaste, etc. I am provided t.i.d. [three times a day] staple of: Lucy Peanut Butter 57 gr.; two tortillas, honey bun/cake with no ingredients on the package, etc. UA-Unit has: 5 toilets and 1 handicap toilet; 5 latrines; 15 showers and 1 handicap shower; 12 face bowls and 1 handicap face bowl. UA-Unit houses a multitude of handicap Prisoners: 3 in wheelchairs; approximately 6 in walkers. All of the handicap Prisoners are required to use one handicap shower, toilet, and face bowl. There are insufficient toilets, handicap; toilets, face bowls and handicap face bowls for 156 Prisoners confined to this insufficient space. The staff have brought in 8 waste disposals for each bldg. that have combined feces and urine disposals. When seated on the defecating stool the urinal disposal is approximately 12 inches from your face; moreover, there are approximately 700 Prisoners assigned to the 3 bldgs.; therefore, 700 Prisoners have to utilize 8 waste disposals; however, wheelchair bound Prisoners cannot utilize the waste disposal without the assistance of other Prisoner—it is above staff’s to assist Prisoners with anything! Medical staff do not visit UA-Unit to check Prisoners’ medical complaints. Only diabetic Prisoners and Prisoners ingesting hot medication are seen by medical staff daily. UA-Unit houses Prisoners with the following medical conditions: heart diseases, stent implants, diabetes, possible cancer…; Prisoners with Staphylococci; a multitude of elderly Prisoners extending in age to 76 years. Prisoners’ uniform and linens have not been washed since 8/25/17. Staff have not issued cleaning detergents and water with which to wash the cubes and Unit.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/interview-with-chicano-activists-in-houston-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Interview with Chicano Activists in Houston:
"Yeah, we do demand to be treated like humans"

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revolution correspondent Travis Morales talked with several people from the Brown Berets—a Chicano activist group—in Houston this past week. The following are excerpts from the interview.

~~~~~~~~~~

Revolution: Did any of you receive any warning before the hurricane struck that where you were could get flooded? And what can you say about the impact of the flooding?

Jenn: They said it might rain. I mean, no one seemed to take it seriously. It seemed like just another bad storm in Houston. And, you know, business as usual. It wasn’t really elevated that it would be dangerous. Until the last minute. Then we started getting these alerts. And, you know, most people can’t leave. They don’t have anywhere to go. I can’t go anywhere. I don’t have a car. So I was trapped in there.

Antonio: Speaking for another member that’s not here today—she got flooded out of her whole house. And her grandmother—she looked like she is over 70—she had to be taken out in a boat. And she’s in chest-high water. It sucked. You see the whole thing documented on her Snapchat. The water just kept rising. It was horrible. She smiled through the whole thing, so it’s the power of our people out here that keep us going. And I mean, it’s horrible the way it goes. They waited from six in the morning, I believe. She said on her Snapchat that she talked to some rescuers. They were supposed to come get her and her grandmother out of there. They didn’t get help until about 6 or 7 the next day...

And I seen a lot of schools go under. I seen daycares go under... No army, no nothing. You didn’t see none of them people. I seen a couple of army trucks off of Uvalde and Wallisville by San Jacinto College. But they were only like two. And they weren’t really trying to help nobody. I seen people in boats pass right by people.

For the majority of it, seemed like people did come together. But it was our own people helping us. There were no officials, no authorities, no nothing. Nobody to reassure you of nothing. Nobody to tell this store might be open; that store might not be.

My mother stays in south Houston. Her house, the water went all the way up to the window sills. They didn’t get no help out there. The police station is right around the corner, kitty-corner to her... They didn’t do nothing out there. They didn’t put no sandbags. They didn’t do nothing. They didn’t do anything. So we’re left to pick up the pieces. We’re left to fend for ourselves. So that’s what we’re doin’.

~~~~~~~~~~

Revolution: You read these demands that we are getting out at George R. Brown Convention Center to the thousands of people there. It’s getting around other places in the country. What do you think of these demands?

Jenn: I think they are very necessary. Whenever a natural disaster happens it does affect the disenfranchised, it affects people of color. It seems very intentional the way Houston’s zoned out, that those in poor communities are people of color, and they usually don’t have access to sandbags, they don’t have access to elevation. And it does seem intentional to me. Because when natural disasters happen, those are the people it affects—the disenfranchised, the working class, poor people. And so yeah, these demands need to be met. Because as we saw with Katrina, and a little bit of what we are seeing now—we are dehumanizing people by not giving them the help they need.

I do want to point out too, the media seemed to only focus on only the upper middle class people who lost their homes. There was no poor people on those news channels. They only interviewed the upper middle class. And so they’re only showing one side of the disaster and sympathize for the people who are better off. They completely ignored all the places where the flooding really did affect others.

Esmeralda: So one of these [demands] that it says here—“There must be intense search and rescue efforts in all area. People must not be allowed to die. All necessary resources, including mobilizing volunteers, must be brought to bear on this. The government must not repress people who volunteer or prevent them from helping but instead assist these efforts.” I agree with this one so much, because while they were over here trying to stop people from saving others, there was people who already were drowning. And, you know, the death toll on the news is really off. It’s way off. There’s been rescue teams on their own settle right now. There’s been so many people that are rescuing others and they are getting told by officials that they can’t go unless they have them there with them. And it’s like—do you really expect us to wait? And sometime some of them say “How far are you?” And they be like, “Well it’s probably goin’ take an hour and a half or two hours.” By that time it could be too late.

They are repressing people. They’re putting this curfew. And I understand that they want to do it because they don’t want to endanger themselves. But if you keep waiting... It’s like right now in Port Arthur, last night was when it started hitting. Everyone was starting to drown already. I mean the water was starting to rising already into their homes. And they kept calling. And they said, “Well you are going to have to wait because we have a curfew at 12, from 12 to 5.” That’s five hours. Five hours...How many children don’t know how to swim?! They’re stopping people from saving these other people. It’s like, why do we have to be certified? Why isn’t it just a human thing to want to go help somebody? And if they want to help, why would you stop them? No, you need to work with them, you need to tell them OK, well if you are going to go do it by yourself then, then do it. Instead of they’re like, “I’m sorry but you’re gonna face consequences. You’re gonna get arrested.” NO!

I live [in a] mostly Hispanic community. And also around there we are close to Homestead. And Homestead is also an African American community. And all these areas are getting affected. And for a lot of our communities, they are undocumented. Unfortunately. And they’re not paying them to fix their homes.

Revolution: Anybody else want to speak to these demands?

Emmanuel: The most important one, I guess, is the one on the bottom—ICE must keep away from hospitals, shelters, schools, jail... How can people continue to persevere and thrive, and overcome this storm when they are not able to use their full resources? Or ask for help? We must continue to push boundaries and our rights. And not rely on police, and not rely on the state. This is the perfect time for people to not live in gated communities, I guess, mentally. To reach out to your neighbors and really organize amongst themselves. And empowering themselves to take civic duties as a badge of honor, and not just seek comfort, you know. It’s very vital, and especially when you’re subjugated and oppressed. You have to figure that your rights are going to be taken away from you.

Antonio: Two things I want to touch on that. Number one, somebody already touched on that, but it’s going through background checks and trying to make it harder and make people go through obstacles to help other people. There’s plenty of people out here—I mean, your past is your past they say but—they have felonies maybe. Not just undocumented people or what they call “illegals,” which is crap. They are out here saving people too...

STOP threatening us. I will not have my daughter raised in a society where she has to be scared outside because of her skin color, or because she lives in the wrong neighborhood and don’t make enough money, or didn’t marry a white man, or whatever color man she has to marry to get rich and be out of these problems. NO! Not me; not today. Yeah, we do demand to be treated like humans, not like animals. We’re not dogs...

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/undocumented-in-the-wake-of-hurricane-harvey-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

The Undocumented in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey:
No Relief from the War on Immigrants

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Living through Hurricane Harvey was a terrifying experience for millions of people in Houston and the surrounding areas. People everywhere faced fear of being victim to the ferocious winds; of getting trapped inside homes and apartments filling up with water, or in cars suddenly stopped and becoming submerged; running out of water and food, desperately making calls, searching for help and a way to get your family to the safety of a shelter.

But the nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants living in the Houston area faced terror on a whole other level. For them, every decision about how to survive the winds and floods had to be weighed against the possibility that they could run into the Border Patrol or local police, arrested, and be torn away from their family, their home, their entire life.

The Customs and Border Patrol announced just ahead of the storm that all immigration checkpoints would stay open—there would be no letup from the risk of deportation even in the midst of the impending hurricane. Later attempts by the mayor and others to tell people it was safe to go to the shelters did little to lessen people's fears. As a result many immigrants stayed inside homes they should have left much sooner. Others relocated not to shelters but to public locations such as under bridges, where they could have drowned. In one case a call was received: “Please, we’re in this place. We’re under this freeway. We are under this place. Please, can you come help us?”

The sight of ICE and local police "rescuers" riding through their neighborhoods on boats only heightened the fear, believing the authorities were searching for undocumented to arrest. And those who decided to risk taking their families to shelters despite the danger, worried like everyone else whether their home and all of their belongings would be destroyed by the time they returned, but on top of that was the worry whether their lives as they’d known them would be destroyed at any moment by being asked at the shelter to “show me your papers.” How many may have perished as a result isn’t known.

Many of the people in Houston are returning to their homes and apartments to see what is left of them, their furniture, and their other belongings. They are calculating the damage, counting on receiving rebuilding assistance from FEMA. But for those who are undocumented, they will be denied any rebuilding assistance.

In fact, for the undocumented in Houston, and for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, the storms are only intensifying each day this fascist regime remains in power.

In June the Republi-fascists who control the Texas government passed SB4—a law that was designed to put an end to “Sanctuary Cities” or any other "safe places" where the undocumented won’t face the same constant fear of arrest and deportation. SB4 would require city officials and police to comply with ICE, and make it a crime to refuse to do so. Texas’ SB4 would turn every cop into an immigration agent, and make any and every encounter a potential catastrophe. This law was scheduled to take effect September 1,,but has been temporarily sidelined by a federal judge’s injunction. But the reactionary governor has already announced he will appeal the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. And this law is seen as just the start of efforts by fascists at the state and national level to criminalize “Sanctuary Cities” everywhere.

On top of all of this, Trump is expected to announce on Tuesday, September 5th, the future of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. If he ends DACA, 800,000 “Dreamers” across the country -- undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children who, through DACA, have been given legal work permits and temporary relief from deportation—will lose their work permits, and face the danger of being deported to a country they do not know, where people speak a different language, and where they'll have no way to support themselves.

The attack on immigration and on immigrants is a cornerstone of the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist vision of a white supremacist society where immigrants are considered "undesirable," "unwanted," and a "danger to society." This fascist regime has an agenda; it has a strategy for achieving it; and every day it is moving forward in carrying it out, doing great harm to people here and around the world, and to the planet itself. It cannot be allowed to continue—it has to be stopped!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/506/new-dangers-of-war-in-korea-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 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...

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/two-rnc-protesters-face-felonies-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

As Repression and Threats Against Dissent Grow…

Two Protesters Face Felonies in Cleveland for Burning Flag at Republican National Convention

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 19, two of the RNC 16 defendants are going to trial in Cleveland, Ohio. They are facing serious felony charges. The RNC16 are 16 protesters who were arrested for burning an American flag on July 20, 2016 during a righteous political protest outside the entrance of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on the very day the RNC selected Donald Trump to be its presidential candidate. Donald Trump campaigned under the slogan “Make America Great Again” and the fascist program of law and order, white supremacy, “build the wall” scapegoating of immigrants and Muslims, disgusting misogyny, and unbridled wars of aggression.

The way the authorities and fascist stormtroopers attacked these protesters was a harbinger of what has happened since then: physical assaults and heavy charges against people exercising their basic right to protest, including the righteous and protected speech of burning the American flag. What happens in this case has big stakes for what happens in the struggle against the fascist consolidation of the Trump/Pence regime and their Nazi minions. Those who are being prosecuted for protesting the Trump/Pence regime must be defended.

“We’re standing with the people of the world today!”

On July 20, 2016, in protest of Trump’s nomination, Gregory “Joey” Johnson along with the Revolution Club went right up to the gates of the Republican National Convention and declared: “We’re standing with the people of the world today!... Donald Trump is an open fascist. Hillary Clinton is a proven war criminal. We’re not following either one of their leaders.... America No. 1? America First? It always has been first: at genocide, at slavery, at exploitation, at destruction of the environment, at torture....We’re standing here with the people of the world today.” Then Joey Johnson lit the American flag as he stood in the middle of a safety circle of the Revolution Club who chanted “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide and War! 5, 6, 7, 8—America Was NEVER Great!" (Johnson is the same Johnson of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson that established flag burning as constitutionally protected speech in 1989.)

Even before the flag was lit, a mob of police and fascist thugs brutally attacked those in the safety circle. Sixteen of the protesters were arrested and charged with serious felony and misdemeanor charges. The two protesters going on trial on September 19 are charged with a total of five felonies and two misdemeanors and face up to three to four years each in prison. There are 12 other defendants who face numerous misdemeanor charges.

The response to this protest foreshadowed how this fascist regime (even before coming to power) would treat political protest. This included the use of illegal and pre-emptive massive police brutality, the over-charging of protesters so that they face the threat of years in prison, AND the role of fascist thugs in assaulting protesters. All for exercising constitutionally protected political protest.

       

In the months before the RNC, the Secret Service, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security were in Cleveland knocking on doors and spying on political activists and others. Thousands of militarized cops (with a $50 million federal budget for “heightened security measures” and equipment for the RNC) from across the country swarmed Cleveland. All this to preemptively intimidate people from coming to protest and to suppress protesters who dared to come.

Not only were the RNC 16 attacked by this massive police force—fascist thugs physically assaulted them, and then tried to play "the victim." During the flag burning, two fascists physically assaulted Joey Johnson. They publicly bragged about punching and kicking Joey Johnson in an interview with Alex Jones posted online later that day. (See “Who Is Alex Jones and Infowars.com.”) Not only were these thug provocateurs NOT charged for an assault on Johnson, but based on their claim that they were “burned” in putting out the flag—an act violating the constitutional right to protest by burning the flag—they became the “victims” for which the prosecutors charged Joey Johnson and one other protester with assault! These fascists admitted to assaulting Johnson and then bragged about filing charges, but the authorities went ahead and pressed charges against Johnson and another defendant! In the face of public support and media coverage, this bogus charge was dropped six months later.

In the last months—from Sacramento, to Berkeley, to Charlottesville—we’ve only seen these kinds of extralegal assaults grow, with fascists coming to intimidate protests in full battle gear, wielding bats, knives, and even using their cars as weapons. Often, these fascists get a free pass from the police to terrorize and brutalize righteous political protest.

Serious Stakes and Consequences

On November 29, 2016, Donald Trump tweeted a dangerous threat: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American Flag—if they do, there must be consequences—perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.” During his campaign rallies, Trump openly longed for the days when protesters were “carried out on stretchers.” Since Trump’s inauguration, state laws have been passed or are pending to criminalize peaceful forms of political protests, including giving immunity to drivers who run over protesters who are in the streets or highways as long as it is “an accident.” The NRA has made videos calling their followers to attack those resisting and protesting against the Trump/Pence regime, including specifically targeting people who burn the American flag.

Here is a case of real freedom of expression, which is being suppressed BY THE STATE. Protesters facing prison sentences based on trumped-up charges after they were brutalized by the police and fascist thugs. Fascist provocateurs getting away with threats and outright violence, working hand in glove with the cops. Yet the news of this is being kept hidden while the media-wise people (some of whom want to both criticize Trump but at the same time keep that criticism and the whole struggle against Trump within very strict—and restrictive—bounds) direct our attention to the “threats” posed by those who are protesting against fascism and fascist attacks on the people. While we’re being told that people like Ann Coulter and such ilk, with backing and access to the fascist regime in power, should have an “all access” pass to vomit their filth all over people.

What happened on July 20, 2016 at the gates of the RNC with the burning of the American flag was an alarm being sounded against what has become a true nightmare for humanity. This bold (and completely legal) flag burning called out Trump’s campaign and now regime for what it is: a fascist regime which must be opposed. That day, before the eyes of the world, we saw a clashing of two futures for humanity. The RNC 16 said, “We had a right to [burn the U.S. flag] and it was the right thing to do!”

The upcoming felony trial, and continued prosecution, of the RNC 16 is a very serious attack on the right to dissent. This has great stakes in the context of the Trump/Pence regime moving to consolidate a fascist America. And the arrests and prosecution of protesters is aimed at silencing and intimidating all those who have been drawn into motion to stop this. We must not allow this to go down, their repressive moves to criminalize dissent have to be defeated by all who are horrified and outraged by the future the Trump/Pence regime is working to lock into place. In addition to the importance of winning this fight in the courts, it can give strength and courage to everyone who wants to see a better world.

At the gates of Trump’s coronation and in the face of a massive and brutal police assault and of fascist thugs, and before hundreds of international media, the RNC 16 stood up for the people of the world. These beautiful and courageous brothers and sisters must be defended and the powers that be must not be allowed to punish them for the so-called crime of telling the truth. They acted in the name of humanity and now all of us are being called on and challenged to do the same. Join in this fight: DROP THE CHARGES ON THE RNC 16!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/pig-lets-cat-out-of-the-bag-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Pig Lets Cat Out of the Bag:
"But you're not black. Remember? We only kill black people."

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In July 2016 a Cobb County, Georgia, cop stopped a car for an alleged DUI, and told a young white woman passenger to get out. She didn't want to for fear of the police.

Cop: "Use your phone, it's in your lap right there."

Young woman: "I just don't want to put my hands down. I'm really sorry. I'm just....I've just seen way too many videos of cops..."

Cop cuts her off: "But you're not black. Remember? We only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right? All the videos you've seen, have you seen black people get killed? You have."

When this video recently came out the police claimed the pig was lying. Police chief: "It shouldn't have been said." A police commissioner called it "repugnant and offensive beyond measure."

BULLSHIT! The only thing this pig did "wrong" in his superiors' eyes was let the cat out of the bag by blurting out some truth! The pigs do disproportionately target Black people—for "driving while black," for harassment and abuse, for tasings and beatings, for arrest and imprisonment, and for murder. In 2016, an unarmed Black person was more than twice as likely to be murdered by police as an unarmed white person.

Why? Because these pigs are enforcers of a system that was founded on the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native Americans and remains based on white supremacy and the oppression of Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans, and other oppressed peoples to this day.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/letter-on-sandy-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Letter from a Reader:

Looking at Hurricane Harvey,
Remembering Sandy

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As people are suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I’m thinking back on my experience working as a disaster case manager with a non-government agency in New York City after Hurricane Sandy. In the days and weeks after Sandy hit on October 29, 2012, many people were left with no way to get food, clothing, and safe shelter. I started my job about five months later. The government mistreatment and neglect continued and would get even worse in the months and years to come.

Whenever there was a new case, I asked people to tell me their story of what happened when Sandy hit. People had all kinds of horrific stories. A lot of people didn’t evacuate before the storm. Some of this was because they actually didn’t know how bad the storm was going to be—there wasn’t widespread public education about why they should evacuate. And many didn’t have the means, money, and resources to relocate their whole family. People described how a few inches of water in the streets rose to several feet in less than an hour. Many of the families had small, two-story homes and ended up stuck upstairs for days.

A lot of the cases involved families living in public housing, and they had to endure weeks where they had no electricity and water. These Housing Authority buildings are over 10 stories, and people had to walk up and down dark stairways to haul water and what little food they could find in the neighborhood. Some elderly clients said they were trapped in their apartments for days and days because the elevators weren’t working and they couldn’t walk down the many flights of dark stairways.

We tried to get families relief—whatever we could in terms of food, clothing, furniture, and reimbursements for what they had lost, spent on repairs, or having to relocate—but NONE of this was from the government.

The government’s multibillion-dollar “Build It Back” (BIB) program, announced seven months after the storm, promised to reimburse people for losses and repairs and rebuild hurricane-proof houses for those whose homes were destroyed, and meanwhile provide people with places to stay until their homes were repaired. But by March 2014—a year and a half after Sandy—BIB had failed to help any of the almost 20,000 people who had signed up. Only a handful of people (173) had been able to even just establish how much aid they were going to get, and no construction work had been done at all.

By September 2016, half of those in BIB had dropped out, some 10,000 people—mostly because they didn’t have any hope they would get relief. Many were seeking help from non-governmental agencies. People were also so frustrated by all the bureaucratic red tape—like being asked to provide receipts for every repair they had ever done or documents that had been lost in the storm. There were all kinds of deadlines—like people being told that if they didn’t contact BIB by such and such date, they would be dropped from the program. Sometimes people didn’t even know about these deadlines.

       

Many clients lived in attached row houses, and they were told that their homes would have to be elevated. But this meant that everyone in the whole block would have to be signed up for BIB—when some weren’t and the deadline had already passed. BIB officials actually didn’t even have a plan for how to deal with this. And there were many thousands of people who didn’t even have a disaster case manager to help them navigate all this.

In June 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio bragged that BIB construction had been started on 92 percent of the 5,000 homes that needed to be rebuilt. This was total bullshit!

The other part of this is the whole way that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, failed to give people the help they needed. FEMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is supposed to give people direct housing assistance after a disaster. But people can only get a maximum of about $31,000 from FEMA for temporary housing, home repair or replacement, and other disaster-related needs—a fraction of what most people needed. Lots of people were also told that they had to apply for a Small Business Administration loan—which meant that people ended up deep in debt.

FEMA is supposed to help renters as well. But many people in apartments were denied FEMA money. Clients who lived in public housing said that when the FEMA inspectors came, they just almost categorically said the families weren’t eligible for disaster relief because they lived above the first floor. But the fact is, lots of families had all kinds of damage to their apartments from wind and rain pouring into their windows during the storm, as well as the fact that many lost food because the electricity went out and they had to stay somewhere else for days, if not weeks.

Some people also became the victims of money-grubbing vultures. There were instances of contractors, knowing people were desperate, overcharging for shoddy work that had to then be completely redone. One client paid hundreds of dollars to get mold remediation done—but it turned out that all had been done was to throw some Clorox on the walls, and so she had to spend money again to get rid of the mold.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program supposedly oversees insurance companies that provide funds for disaster claims. But many clients we were serving, like thousands of others, were either denied flood insurance claims or were given way less than they needed to repair their homes. And as it turned out, all kinds of insurance fraud was going on. The FEMA executive in charge of their insurance program admitted there was evidence of fraud in reports that were used to deny people full insurance payouts. He also said unlicensed engineers were used for flood damage reports—which also ended up with people being denied insurance or given way less than they claimed. FEMA actually knew that this was going on for more than a year.

By the spring of 2015, funds for disaster case management were stopping—even though there were many, many clients still in dire need of help. This included one family of about 10 people who had the first floor of their home completely destroyed by Sandy and had to all live in the three small bedrooms upstairs—except for the elderly father who had to live in the destroyed part because he could not walk up the stairs. The family was able to get into a non-government program for funds to rebuild their home. But then they were told they weren’t eligible because they were in the BIB program—AND no contractor would work on the house because the bank that had sold the family their home had ignored building code violations (which by law are supposed to be cleared up before any house sale). When I left my job, the family was still in BIB hell, trying to get repairs and reimbursements.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/american-crime-case-61-monuments-to-the-confederacy-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

American Crime

Case #61: Monuments to the Confederacy Across the United States

September 4, 2017 | 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 focuses 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.

 

THE CRIME: Today there are over 1,500 monuments, statues, buildings, roads, schools, parks, and military bases across the U.S. honoring the leaders, generals, and soldiers of the Confederate states that waged the Civil War (1861-65) to defend slavery.

The biggest wave of Confederate monument construction took place from 1890 to 1920, after Reconstruction was ended. Hundreds of monuments and statues were built, at least 189 of them on courthouse grounds, and almost all of them in the South. A smaller construction spike took place from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s, when over 45 were dedicated or rededicated nationally.

Soon the Southern landscape was dotted with Confederate memorials, especially of military leaders dressed in full uniform, often mounted on horseback. The main Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Nathan Bedford Forrest; as well as the Confederate president Jefferson Davis and vice president Alexander Stephens, were favorites.

What did these men stand for? After the South seceded, Alexander H. Stephens declared: “Our new government’s foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.”

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a slave trader and the first national grand wizard of the KKK. He led his troops to massacre hundreds of Black Union soldiers who had surrendered—at both Fort Pillow and Brice’s Cross Roads.

Robert E. Lee wrote: “The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race.”

“Stonewall” Jackson believed, according to a Virginia Tech scholar, that “the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence....”

Jefferson Davis: “We recognize the negro as God and God’s Book and God’s Laws, in nature, tell us to recognize him. Our inferior, fitted expressly for servitude.”

Many of the monuments carried flowery inscriptions memorializing Confederate soldiers and their cause. One in Anderson, North Carolina, was inscribed, “[T]he soldiers who wore the grey, and died with Lee, were in the right.” Another declared the monument was “erected in memory of confederate soldiers, and the sacred cause for which they contended....”

A dedication ceremony held in 1901 in Monroe County, West Virginia, was attended by over 10,000 people including prominent officials and businessmen. Many were decked out in “Confederate grey... [and the] speakers’ stand adorned with bunting and Confederate flags.” Speakers praised Robert E. Lee as “the grandest man of all ages.”

Confederate monuments and statues were put up in parks, cemeteries, schools, roads, military bases, on government lands and buildings. Today there are more than 700 (some estimate there are over 1,000) in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Most are in the South, especially Virginia (96), Georgia (90), and North Carolina (90). But there are also monuments across the country, from Arizona and California to New York, from Washington State to Washington, DC, where there are 13 statues of Confederates in the U.S. Capitol Building.

Besides monuments, there are 10 major U.S. military bases named for Confederate military leaders; nine official Confederate holidays in six Southern states; at least 109 public schools named after prominent Confederates. There are also highways and roads, streets and parks named for Confederates.

The second, smaller, wave of monument building took place in the 1950s and 60s, during the civil rights and Black liberation struggles. One was the gigantic (400 feet tall) Confederate monument at Stone Mountain in Georgia State Park. It has three huge sculptures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis on horseback, carved in granite on a mountainside within 20 miles of Atlanta. Four million tourists visit each year. It was conceived in 1912 but completed in 1972, and since 1915, Stone Mountain has been a rallying site for Ku Klux Klan (KKK) cross burnings and recruitment rituals.

THE CRIMINALS:

In 1894, a group of Southern women formed the United Daughters of the Confederacy. For over a century, they’ve played a central role in erecting, celebrating, and defending Confederate monuments. The UDC also began spreading the poisonous mythology of the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” that romanticizes slavery and justifies the Confederacy and white supremacy through an array of cultural and educational means such as books and films.

After Reconstruction was ended in 1877, the ruling classes of the South as well as the then-dominant North supported these monuments as a means of unifying the country on the foundation of maintaining white supremacy and the oppression of Black people after slavery had been abolished.

For instance, in 1912, President William Howard Taft, speaking to the United Daughters of the Confederacy convention, upheld the honor of the Confederate cause: “No son of the South and no son of the North, with any spark in him of pride of race, can fail to rejoice in that common heritage of courage and glorious sacrifice that we have in the story of the Civil War and on both sides of that Civil War.”

President Woodrow Wilson was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose official logo/emblem is the Confederate flag. In 1914, he led a dedication ceremony for the Arlington National Cemetery Confederate Memorial.

To this day, powerful forces in the ruling class, now concentrated in the fascist Trump/Pence regime, uphold these Confederate monuments and all they represent. On August 22, 2017, after the white supremacist assaults in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump declared, “And yes by the way... they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.” Vice President Pence stated, “I can’t help but think that instead of tearing down monuments, as some are want to do, rather than tearing down monuments that have graced our cities for years, we ought to be building more monuments.”

THE ALIBI:

During the first wave of Confederate monument building, their supporters felt no need to hide their real intent. A speaker at the 1913 North Carolina University dedication to Confederate soldiers said it was “their courage and steadfastness [that] saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South.”

Today the UDC and other Confederate monument defenders claim the monuments are reminders of U.S. history and removing them would be “erasing” that history, and that these concrete markers exist for “heritage not hate.” They portray the Civil War as being fought over “states’ rights,” not slavery. On its website, the UDC describes their purpose as “honoring the memory of its Confederate ancestors; protecting, preserving and marking the places made historic by Confederate valor; collecting and preserving the material for a truthful history of the War Between the States; recording the participation of Southern women in their patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during and after the War Between the States....”

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

In reality, these monuments were built to uphold Southern slavery and white supremacy as part of imposing Jim Crow segregation, a new form of brutal white supremacy and oppression of Black people.

Black people were once again chained to the land—often former plantations—under the sharecropping system in relations barely better than slavery.

Laws were passed legalizing segregation and robbing Black people of basic rights. Between 1890 and 1908, Southern states adopted new constitutions and passed laws disenfranchising Black people. Racial discrimination and segregation were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. By 1914, every Southern and many Northern cities had enacted Jim Crow laws discriminating against Black people. “Whites only” customs and rules were enforced in hotels, hospitals, bathrooms, restaurants, drinking fountains, cemeteries, schools, workplaces, and on buses and trains. Southern states passed laws preventing Black people from voting through poll taxes, literacy tests, and other measures. Over a dozen states outlawed interracial sex and marriage.

One teacher’s resource website gives a sense of the horrific impact Jim Crow had on millions of Black people, for decades on end: “That declarative phrase—Whites Only—can’t adequately communicate the implicit boundaries and unspoken social codes and customs in place during the Jim Crow era, nor can it suggest exactly how treacherous this world was for black southerners. A single gesture, a movement, an expression, or a question could be perceived as a violation of Jim Crow boundaries. Black men and women who demonstrated too much aspiration, confidence or success became targets of harassment, assault, arson, and murder.”

The KKK and white vigilantes were supported and unleashed to enforce all this and terrorize Black people. Between 1877 and 1950, 4,084 Black people were lynched, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

States outside the South didn’t all impose overt Jim Crow segregation, but the U.S. rulers did enforce white supremacy, segregation, Jim Crow, and the super-exploitation and brutal oppression of Black people in other ways. The construction and preservation of Confederate monuments for over 150 years has been part of the cementing of bourgeois ruling class unity, North and South, with white supremacy a core component of the social, political, and ideological cohesion and stability of U.S. capitalism-imperialism.

Confederate monuments were built to legitimize white supremacy and this lynch mob terror. In 1930, the UDC’s official publication, The Southern Magazine, spelled out the purpose of honoring the Confederacy:

“The next task was to build up a new economic order, one without slavery, but one which recognized the ignorance, lack of skill, vagrant habit, and animal sensuality of the negroes [sic]...these poor ignorant, barbarous children, freed from the wholesome restraint of southern influence, were made the tools of the alien white vandals from the North, and became not only idle, vicious, thieving and insolent, but also a monstrous menace to white womanhood.”

As revcom.us has summed up, “These statues were built to, and still do, strike a chill in the bones and souls of those who suffered under this rule, or who hated it for simple human reasons.”

Sources:

The Oppression of Black People & The Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression, by Bob Avakian, www.revcom.us April 25, 2016

The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need, Revolution/revcom.us special issue

Take the Statues Down, by Yoni Applebaum, The Atlantic, August 13, 2017

Lies Across America: What our Historic Sites Get Wrong, by James W. Loewen, The New Press, 1999.

Jim Crow Summary and Analysis, www.shmoop.com

List of monuments and memorials of the Confederate States of America; Lost Cause of the Confederacy, The Battle of Fort Pillow, www.wikipedia.com

I’ve Studied the history of Confederate Memorials. Here’s what to do about them, by Fitzhugh Brundage, August 18, 2017, www.vox.com/the-big-idea

Equal Justice Initiative (EJI.org)

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

The March to Confront White Supremacy—
from Charlottesville to DC

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An inspiring and significant development in the wake of the KKK/Nazi attack on counter-demonstrators August 12 in Charlottesville―where Heather Heyer was murdered and dozens more injured by one of the Nazis—is the March Against White Supremacy that began in Charlottesville August 28 and plans to arrive in Washington, DC, on September 6. This 10-day, 118-mile march is organized by a coalition of community activists, students, and clergy, together with organizations including the Women’s March on Washington, Movement for Black Lives, Indivisible, and more.

About 200 people kicked off the march at Emancipation Park―until recently called Lee Park—the spot where the white supremacists rallied under an equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The mission statement for the coalition—#Cville2DC—states:

WE MARCH TO CONFRONT WHITE SUPREMACY

We are marching from Charlottesville to Washington DC to demonstrate our commitment to confronting white supremacy wherever it is found. It’s clear that we can no longer wait for Donald Trump or any elected official to face reality and lead. We are coming together to reckon with America’s long history of white supremacy, so that we can begin to heal the wounds of our nation.

WE MARCH FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

For years, white supremacist violence, rhetoric, and policies have escalated and intensified—exploding during Donald Trump’s run for president and reaching a boiling point in Charlottesville, as courageous people of moral conscience stood up to an army of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK.

This is the time for us to stand up for justice and equality. This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history. We demand that President Trump be removed from office for allying himself with this ideology of hate and we demand an agenda that repairs the damage it’s done to our country and its people.

A large banner at the front of the march says: “Confront White Supremacy #Cville2DC.” A protester carried a quote from MLK: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

There have been a number of protests by students on Charlottesville’s University of Virginia campus since the 12th. The Cavalier Daily, the UVA newspaper, spoke with a fourth-year student who came to the send-off: “I think it’s a great cause, and I kind of feel helpless. There’s not a lot of ways I can show my resentment for what happened in August, so this is just one little way.” She continued: “It’s really sickening what happened. It’s hard to put it into words honestly―Just utter disgust.” The student told the Cavalier she’s in the Public Policy school, and most of the lessons have centered around what happened, which she thinks is great. “I think the worst thing we could have done is pretend like nothing happened and that everything is fine. Everything is not fine.”

As of this writing, the march is over halfway to DC, with 80-100 marchers on Saturday and Sunday. They’ve been stopping at Confederate monuments in cities along the route. The march has received many angry messages, and was forced to stop early one day after police reported a threat by someone armed who planned to meet them on the way to Culpeper, Virginia.

On August 30, they were joined by actor Mark Ruffalo, who said in a statement he’s marching in memory of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a group of people protesting the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on August 12. Ruffalo also condemned President Donald Trump’s response that “both sides” were to blame for the violence, saying there’s “no place for racism, violence, and hatred” in the country.

The marchers expect their numbers to grow as they approach DC. Beginning September 6 they plan to start a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, demanding Trump be removed from office. #Cville2DC.us fleshes out a series of actions they are demanding of the government. “Starting on September 6th, we’re taking over Washington DC. We will hold our ground and launch wave after wave of nonviolent civil disobedience demanding Trump be removed from office and that an agenda be advanced that heals the wounds of white supremacy.” They say, “We demand an agenda that repairs the damage done to people here and around the world.” And they have announced: “This will be a sustained civil disobedience campaign, so bring what you need to stay.

The march expects to travel from Gainesville to Centreville on Monday; on to Merrifield Tuesday; and arrive in Washington, DC, Wednesday, September 6.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/why-the-attacks-on-antifa-must-be-opposed-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Why the Attacks on Antifa Are Shameful—And Why These Attacks MUST BE OPPOSED

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For the past week, “Antifa” has come under a sustained and many-sided political attack, including from liberal and some “progressive” voices. These attacks would be almost laughably idiotic if they were not so dangerous and deadly serious. These attacks echo Trump, as well as other organized forces. (“Antifa” refers to a range of anti-fascist and anti-racist groups with varying viewpoints, who act in different ways to defend against and take on fascist and white-supremacist thugs, on the street and on the internet. Significant sections of Antifa identify themselves as anarchist in some way.)

A sample of the range of the attacks: Noam Chomsky, the progressive anti-imperialist, and a self-identified “anarchist” himself—shut out of the major media for decades—suddenly finds himself quoted in every corner of that media for saying that Antifa is a “gift to the right.” Chris Hedges, the “progressive” commentator, echoes similar themes. Liberal democrats warn that Antifa is causing the legitimacy of the government’s right to the exclusive use of force and violence to come under question. A former speechwriter for Donald Rumsfeld takes to the Washington Post to loudly assert the “moral equivalency” between Antifa and the Nazis whom it takes on. (Rumsfeld, as George W. Bush’s “defense” secretary, directed the utterly unprovoked and illegitimate war against Iraq that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and still counting.) Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Party leader, rushed to denounce them, calling for arrests and prosecution.

At week’s end came the punch line to this vicious show—an article on the liberal-democratic Politico website announcing major FBI and “Homeland Security” investigations (and no doubt actions) against Antifa.

Let’s pull the lens back here and get some clarity.

Point Number One: The mobilization of organized groups of fanatical thugs is integral to fascism

The Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime.1

The Trump/Pence regime has step-by-step taken dramatic draconian moves, stripping away democratic rights, targeting group after group, and suppressing dissent and resistance. Trump himself whips up and foments hatred and vicious violence at his fascist campaign rallies: “take ’em out on a stretcher,” “punch ’em in the face,” referring to protesters, and systematically going after the press as “enemies of the American people.” Trump signaled to the whole world his support of the fascists in Charlottesville. When fascists march with torches chanting racist, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and outright NAZI slogans—in a country with historic and vicious white supremacy and male supremacy—people opposed to all this should wake the fuck up!

In states like Iowa, fascist militia groups like the Oath Keepers—“retired” law enforcement and military personnel—come armed to Trump rallies and even congressional “town halls” to intimidate opponents. Trump trolls on the internet “dox”—publish private, identifying information about those opposing Trump, and use this information to hound them. Everyone can—and should—go online to watch the three videos released by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in late June and early July that were essentially propaganda and recruiting tools to prepare Trump’s supporters to act as storm troops (the paramilitary street-fighting force that served as an arm for Hitler’s rise to power in Germany). Charles Blow of the New York Times has likened this to raising an army for extralegal purposes.

Meanwhile, “progressives” like Aviva Chomsky2 write articles attacking Antifa, posturing “from the left”—without even mentioning the word fascism and only mentioning the name Trump once in passing. This would be like writing an article condemning the communist resistance tactics in Germany in 1933—after Hitler had come to power—without mentioning Hitler or the Nazis. For anyone who doubts this is fascism, monstrous and grotesque in its implications for humanity, the work has been done—on what this regime has already done and what it has in store, in policy and in law. This is not a “pendulum swing” to a more right-wing Republican administration; this is a fascist regime—now aiming to consolidate itself, in opposition both to mass opposition and opposition from within the ruling class.

It matters that Antifa—along with other groups and individuals, including revolutionary communists—stood their ground and fought back in Charlottesville. Who among the so-called “leftists” and liberals would have preferred the outcome had they not? More bodies in the morgue? Names added to the courageous roster which now includes Heather Heyer? More broken bones? Worse yet, the picture of an openly fascist, racist mob rampaging unchallenged for the weekend would have been a tremendous political victory for the fascists: It would have demoralized those who oppose the regime, and would have emboldened still more backward racists, misogynists, and America-number-one-ers to join their ranks.

Instead, Charlottesville served as a stirring example of what people MUST do in this period. It re-polarized society in a very favorable way, with even forces in the ruling class deserting government institutions associated with Trump. But Charlottesville—including Trump’s insistent defense of the “good people” marching with Nazi insignia and Klan flags—should also have served as a serious wake-up call. To those who now shake their fingers against Antifa and related groups: please take your goddamn heads out of the sand. Recognize the depth and urgency of what is going on.

What is wrong when people amass to prevent fascists from doing their shit when they announce their intent to do it again—as happened in cities after Charlottesville? Absolutely nothing. To the contrary—we have compared this on our site to those who would act forcefully to prevent a lynch mob from assembling, and that comparison is exactly right.

Point Number Two: There is still time, but there is not much time, to drive out this regime through mass political action. But that will require breaking with the “norms” of ordinary bourgeois-democratic rule.

Fascism has not consolidated its rule (for more on this, see revcom.us articles here and speeches given by Refuse Fascism at the recent organizing conferences here and here). The Trump/Pence regime has not yet succeeded in crushing the opposition from the people, overcoming opposition of different kinds from other sections of the ruling class, and fully imposing its program. There is still time—and a “window”—to drive out this regime with mass political action. This is why Refuse Fascism’s call for November 4 is critical. Unless the time is seized, as quickly as possible, it is all too possible that the window for such mass action will shut, and the Trump/Pence regime will succeed in fully consolidating their clampdown.

But such action will require breaking with “the way things are done,” the “norms” of familiar ways of doing things. It will require breaking with the kind of thinking articulated by Peter Beinart, a liberal-democratic commentator, in his attack on Antifa:

Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people. [emphasis added]

One problem: The Trump/Pence regime does NOT play by the “liberal-democratic” rules, those “norms.” Trump proved this repeatedly throughout his campaign—and throughout his presidency so far, disregarding and trampling on the orderly “cherished” norms of “how things have been done,” including by those in power. As Trump and his regime assaults and destroys these “norms,” Beinart acknowledges this, but then pleads with “us,” the “movement” of opposition, to work within them. “How things are done” includes perhaps some resistance, but in service of channeling into elections and waiting till 2018 and 2020—or protesting each new outrage of the fascist regime as their clampdown tightens. This will have catastrophic consequences. As the Call for Refuse Fascism sharply states:

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.

At a time when these liberal-democratic norms are breaking down, with the struggle of the people, the acts of the fascists, their divides with other sections of the ruling class, and overall intensifying polarization in society, Beinart aims to recover these norms, to “hold the center.” This whole deadly logic—along with the roots of fascism in this country and the traps that hem in the thinking of people in confronting this danger—is analyzed in Bob Avakian’s new talk, “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us,” which we urge our readers to listen to and/or read.

Beinart elevates the functioning of this system—of which Donald Trump and this fascist regime is a product—over the monstrosity represented by this fascist regime, gravely underestimating its horrors, dangers, and consequences.

What, Mr. Beinart, do you advise if Trump does do all he has said he will do and the organized fascist thug forces grow, cohere, and become more empowered to act with impunity? Note that in every city, the police have stood aside for fascist forces, escorting them safely to their cars, and then gone after the forces who oppose the fascists. What, Mr. Beinart, do you advise when the Trump/Pence regime throws millions of Black and Latino people off voter rolls in the name of combating “voter fraud” and effectively engineers an electoral victory even before the elections? Defies judicial orders that go against their executive actions? Institutes martial law in the ghettoes and barrios of this racist nation? Rounds up the “young people” (and others) whom you worry do not recognize the government’s legitimacy? Launches war against North Korea or Iran or Venezuela, and rounds up everyone opposing it, or of targeted ethnicities? Should we end this nightmare or wait to see how this unfolds? Substitute “chancellor” for “president” and “Hitler” for “Trump” in the above paragraph you wrote and it would be a prime example of how the road to the death camps got paved.

There is not going to be a cut-rate, no-sweat, play-for-time-and-wait-till-it-blows-over way to deal with the situation we face: a fascist cabal intent on consolidating unchallenged rule, with the ultimate obliteration of all democratic rights, and genocidal measures, including perhaps literal genocide.3 The best thing to do is to act right now as if not only our lives, but the interests of humanity, depended on ousting this regime—because they do, OK? It is worth noting Trump has his finger on the nuclear button; Hitler did not have nukes!

This has historically been true with previous fascist regimes, and it is proving so with the Trump/Pence regime. Even as they face obstacles, they seek to impose different and more oppressive cohering norms in society, trample civil and legal rights, and mobilize violent fascist social bases, like Trump does with his “rallies.” Fascism is hammered in place from above, and by the thugs. Terrified progressive critics of Antifa—and really of all serious resistance—don’t confront this reality and dynamic—of fascism. Willfully blinding themselves, they propagate foolishness, blinding others. With this dynamic of fascism on the move, the scope and space for protest is undermined, weakening the basis for the people to fight, to resist―even as the horrors of fascism accelerate and accentuate!

What is needed is what Refuse Fascism is calling for, beginning on November 4, for people from all walks of life and many differing points of view to

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.

In this light, it is important to recognize that the more that fascist groups roam the streets unchallenged, the stronger they become and the more energized they are in imposing fascism, including seeking to crush opposition and resist efforts to oust this regime.

There is still time to drive out this regime—but NOT if people allow themselves to be bound by the very rules that enabled the rise of the regime. NOT if—to paraphrase the poet Yeats—“the best lack all conviction” (and worse yet, condemn those who do righteously act on conviction), and “the worst are full of passionate intensity.” This will not be without sacrifice—those who are so fond of pointing to the civil rights movement as a way to shake your finger at the youth today should really think about what was actually involved in Birmingham, in Selma, and in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Point Number Three: It is unconscionable to cooperate in treating anyone opposing the fascists as the equivalent of the fascists.

The critics of Antifa have failed the most elementary test of both politics and morality: drawing a clear line between those who are carrying out great crimes (in this case with the backing of the state4) and those who are opposing those crimes. This has to be a bright dividing line in any movement that has any hope of stopping the monster. To quote a statement on the Refuse Fascism website:

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.

In fact, to answer Noam Chomsky, it is precisely the “divide and conquer” devices of isolating sections of the resistance to fascism, to conciliating in its repression, that are a “gift to the right!” Let’s get right down to it here. The people who joined in, or allowed themselves to be used, in the attacks this past week are taking Martin Niemöller’s famous verse5—starting with “First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist so I did nothing, then they came for the Jews, etc.”—and making it even worse: “then they came for the Antifa, and I joined in the attack.” Wake the hell up! Don’t do this!

Point Number Four: It is, in fact, not enough to just stand up against Trump’s minions in the streets and develop networks of solidarity. There must be a major political movement, drawing in everyone from Antifa to Indivisible to Democrats, liberals, and disaffected and disgusted Republicans, going into the streets in a determined way, night after night and day after day, refusing to be “turned around.”

It is time now for everyone who is sickened by this nightmare of a regime, no matter what your project today or your vision for tomorrow, to come together for what might well be one of our last best chances to END THIS NIGHTMARE. It is time to get organized. It is time to be part of November 4, to throw in, to give your all to it to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Humanity—today and in the future—is counting on us.


1. The following has appeared at www.revcom.us:

What IS Fascism?

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.”

At the same time—and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini—while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its program overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors—if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, “conversion,” prison, or execution. [back]

2. “How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence,” CommonDreams.org, August 21, 2017. [back]

3. Carl Dix has recounted how the fascists in Charlottesville came up to him, and others, and said “We have an oven for you.” [back]

4. It is quite clear—indeed it was clear at the time—that the fascists in Charlottesville carried out their rampage with the conscious connivance of the police. And then, of course, there is the support they received from Numero Uno himself, Trumpf. [back]

5. “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
“Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” [back]

 

       

 

 


 

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

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Two letters:

Revolution Club Checks Out
Romeo and Juliet

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

 

September 4, 2017:

“My first Shakespearean play—I loved it!”

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

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

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

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

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


August 14, 2017:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/michael-slate-interview-with-matt-ruskin-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Michael Slate Interview with Matt Ruskin, Writer/Director of New Film Crown Heights

The Story of One Man Unjustly Imprisoned for 20 Years—and the Human Toll of Millions Incarcerated

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is an edited transcript from an August 25, 2017 interview on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio, with film director Matt Ruskin, whose new film, Crown Heights, is now playing in theaters.

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

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

 

"Crown Heights"
Courtesy of Sundance

 

Michael Slate: Matt Ruskin is the writer and director of Crown Heights, a powerful new film, an incredible film. It’s about the case of Colin Warner, a young Black man framed by the police in New York City for murder and locked up for 20 years; a story all too common at a time of slow genocide for Black people, which could easily be an all-out genocide. I’m really pleased to welcome Matt to the show!

Matt Ruskin: Thanks, Michael. Great to be here.

MS: What compelled you to make this film and, you know, go in the direction you went with it?

Matt Ruskin: I first heard this story on “This American Life,” which is this documentary radio show on public radio and they’re just incredible storytellers. I try to listen to everything they do, and they did a piece about Colin and Carl [King] which features a lot of recordings with them talking about their experience. I was just completely blown away not only by what they had been through, but how they handled themselves. For Colin Warner to emerge from 21 years of wrongful incarceration with his humanity and his dignity, and to come out of it without bitterness or spite, it just sounded super-human. He’s just an extraordinary person, and then for Carl King, his friend who spent more than two decades fighting for Colin’s freedom, this is a guy who, when everybody else gave up, he decided that he couldn’t live in a world when an innocent guy could be left to die in prison. I think that propelled him over those 21 years. History’s really important to me, but as a filmmaker, I wasn’t setting out to make a movie about the criminal justice system, initially. I was just so taken with these two guys. I thought they were so remarkable that I became really passionate about wanting to tell their story.

MS: Natalie Paul, who plays Antoinette, Colin’s partner, said she realized at a certain point that the problem is that you think of the people who are in the situation that Colin was in as NOT being part of society. Therefore you don’t see them, they don’t really matter. They don’t exist. And yet, what came through, even as you’re showing Colin “sinking” or being buried in the prison system, the more you watch, the more his humanity emerges. And the more pressing you feel, “Get this man out!” At the same time, you’re realizing that this is happening to countless numbers of people.

Matt Ruskin: Yeah, countless people. I think one of the things that was so extraordinary about his story and I’m sure is true of many others is that he was arrested when he was 18 years old. He was ripped out of his life and he was a kid. He was not only a kid but he had only been in the United States for two years. He had emigrated from Trinidad and so, you have this guy who’s not only trying to figure who he is as a person, but was still assimilating to the United States and that huge transition. Then you put him in one of the harshest environments imaginable and for him to become such a grounded and compassionate human being in that environment is just unbelievable to me and something that is really central to the film and has honestly been life-changing for me, just being around Colin and spending so much time with him over the last few years; just to see somebody who had that level of strength and who was able to live his life in such a principled way.

One of the aspects of the story that really blew me away was that after serving 15 years, he came up for parole and all he had to do, according to the state, was take responsibility for this crime. He decided that he would rather die in prison than validate their conviction and express remorse for a crime that he didn’t commit. As a result, he spent many more years in prison not knowing that there would be any end to this. The clarity and the conviction just really made an impression on me. My goal for this film was to “humanize” these issues and tell the story in the most human way possible and let people walk away from it drawing their own, sort of, commentary about these overarching issues.

MS: One thing that Colin kept: asserting his humanity as a way of not disappearing inside the prison, even though everyone around him, there was an element of they became something other than what they were, before they got into these jails.

Matt Ruskin: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think that you could convict somebody with no physical evidence based solely on the discredited testimony of a child who was railroaded by police. I don’t think all the adults in the room, the prosecutors, the detectives, could do that if you don’t dehumanize the person you’re doing it to. I think that is true throughout the rest of his experience in the prison system. I would imagine that there are countless people who don’t have advocates on the outside like Carl King, who just never gave up or, a woman like Antoinette who devoted herself to fighting for his freedom. And so, in a way, this story is not just about his experience in prison, but the experience of the people who loved him and held steadfast in their fight to get him out of prison.

MS: One thing that came into my mind each time I saw the film was the Central Park Five, because it wasn’t that great a distance between what happened to Colin and the Central Park Five. There were a lot of similarities—the demonization of the Central Park Five and the whole way that the system came out against them. But it is very much tied to what happened to Colin.

Matt Ruskin: Yeah, I think what I take from that is just rejecting the notion that this was like one bad-apple detective. There’s just too many cases similar to Colin’s. When I was scouting locations in Brooklyn, I would walk around and tell people what we were doing, and I would just describe his case in very general terms, saying that it was a film about that. And then they would say, “Oh, I heard about that guy,” and then they would describe a different case. That really hit me, that how really it’s an everyday occurrence. While I was writing the script, the New York Times ran a whole investigative series about a different homicide detective from south Brooklyn who had something like 50 murder convictions, in 12 of which there was the same eyewitness he had paid for her testimony. So, the Brooklyn DA at the time had opened up a review of his convictions and hundreds of others and within the first few months they had exonerated something like a dozen people. So, this story is really just a drop in the bucket.

       

MS: I had a friend a while back who used to refer to prisons as modernday slave ships. I kept thinking about that because when you’re looking at things like, for instance, the three presidents that, each one, tried to up the ante of the one before them in terms of talking about and supporting this kind of suppression, oppression, and repression. This is a sort of ongoing thing, where people’s humanity is stolen from them, and that is the equivalent of a genocide.

Matt Ruskin: Yeah. It was really eye-opening to go back and look at the political rhetoric from Reagan, Bush 1, and Clinton, who were all in office while Colin was in prison, and to look at their policies, with respect to being “tough on crime.” And to look at it, for me personally, to look at it for the first time through the eyes of somebody whose life hung in the balance, it took on an entirely different sense of urgency. George Pataki in 1995, when he was [New York] governor, at his inaugural speech which we include in the film, he talks about how, if he has his way politically, he’ll bring back the death penalty, he wants to abolish work release and parole for violent offenders. He succeeded in large part in doing the latter. The 24 percent of violent offenders who are eligible for parole were released in the early 1990s, 1991. And then by 1998 when he had been in office for three years, that number went down to eight percent, and Colin was one of those people—a “violent offender” who was denied parole.

MS: There’s a phrase that comes up a couple of times, from Colin where he says, “Please don’t let it be a cell.” It’s this plea, as he’s sort of coming out of sleep, but every time just in a very painful way, he’s confronted with the sounds of prison, the sights of prison, with the reality of prison. And I thought that was a really, really important way of bringing to people what this actually means.

Matt Ruskin: Yes, he told me that he said this prayer. He would hear the morning bells or buzzer go off and he would hear the sounds of the prison, but before he opened his eyes he would say that prayer because, as he always says, this felt like a nightmare that he was living, that he just hoped he would wake up from one day. That really made an impression on me and it was something I really wanted to find a way to work into the film.

MS: And you did! It’s haunted me since watching this. What do you see as the most important thing in relationship to what people need to know about what happened here?

Matt Ruskin: For me it’s just understanding that these are human beings with families, who were part of a community, guilty or not. These people are ripped out of their lives and put into these incredibly harsh environments. There’s an element to all of it that is inhumane, but with respect to Colin’s story in particular, it is just really—my goal is that people watch this film, maybe who haven’t thought a lot about these issues, and walk away thinking about the human toll, that these are people that we’re doing this to on a mass scale and that’s really the goal of the film, that people could walk away having put themselves in the shoes of Colin and Carl and his wife and all the people affected by this for an hour and a half.

MS: There’s probably millions of Colins either waiting to happen or having happened already, and your film is going to be a tremendous, tremendous asset to people trying to understand what’s happening, but also trying to stand up against it and popularize why this has got to end. So, thank you very much for this, OK?

Matt Ruskin: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/supporter-on-cnsrna-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Comments on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America from a Supporter

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After my first reading of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), I decided to read it a second time right away to make sure I understood everything. I spent hours playing with the apportionment figures and thinking about the structure of government bodies to see if they made sense and truly reflected the principles embodied in the Preamble. This document was so different and fresh, I bought extra copies to give to various friends and family.

At that time, discussions I’d had with them about the future of society and the importance of following Bob Avakian’s writings did not seem to be going anywhere. Some of my friends had long histories of political activism. On the one hand we seemed to have general agreement on what we were fighting for (values), but on the other hand they had very challenging questions about the “outcome” of a revolution that needed better answers than I felt capable of giving them. For example, many of the questions that came up had to do with the relation between the revolutionary party and the new government. I felt a new approach was needed to make these questions and concerns “real.”

The Draft Proposal, I thought, would help my friends look at these questions in a new light, and how Avakian’s breakthrough concepts—like the “solid core, with a lot of elasticity”—were providing a more scientific basis now to do this. For myself, reading the document forced me to consider principles not as abstractions, but as values that are reflected in the rules society is governed by. From the perspective of a just, revolutionary society, what values must be written into law? Flowing from that, how should society be governed—government, courts, legislative bodies, elections—and, perhaps most important, what direction society should be moving?

It will be worthwhile for concerned people at all levels of society and from all walks of life to pick up the Draft Proposal. What kind of society would be worth living in and worth fighting to bring into being? How could we manage that society for the benefit of humanity? What role would each citizen (we are talking about you and I here!) be expected to play in such a society? (That’s a question I never thought of until reading the Draft Proposal.) The document is very concrete in its application of revolutionary principle and a challenge to those who want and need a better world.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/no-platform-for-white-supremacy-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

No Platform for White Supremacy!
Oppose Charles Murray and Get Organized to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime
In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

by Sunsara Taylor and T. Redtree of Revolution newspaper, www.revcom.us

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Since Donald Trump's inauguration, a parade of fascists and white supremacists have toured college campuses under the guise of "free speech." They are working to legitimize and recruit for a fascist movement marked by "alternative facts," white supremacy, America First jingoism, patriarchy, and the silencing of dissent. This offensive serves, and in some cases is closely tied to, the Trump/Pence regime's accelerating imposition of a fascist America.

This Wednesday (Sept. 6) at Harvard University, Charles Murray—promoter of racist pseudo-science and white supremacy—has been invited to speak. This comes at a time when a test case from Harvard is being used by Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department to suppress affirmative action, at a time when a ban based on demonizing Muslim people has impacted all of academia, and when the Trump/Pence regime is about to create the legal basis for deporting people previously protected by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program).

This must be opposed! Students and those in the academic community who do not want to accept a world of open white supremacy and fascist suppression of whole peoples and the truth, must get organized to take to the streets and not leave, starting November 4, to demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Some will excuse themselves from confronting fascists who speak on campuses, advocating instead to ignore such speakers and not protest.

Here is why you can not ignore an American brand of fascism that has momentum and direction because in fact it is in power in the highest offices in the land:

  1. Charles Murray has made a career out of promoting the view that Black people, Latinos, Native Americans, and women are intellectually, psychologically, and morally inferior to white men. These views are false. They are anti-scientific. And they have been thoroughly—and repeatedly—discredited.
  1. These debunked views of biological "racial" determinism do real harm, just as the pseudo-science of the Nazis which promoted the "inferiority" of Jews did real harm. The types of views promoted by Murray have been used historically in the U.S. to justify the monstrous crimes of slavery, Jim Crow, and white supremacy. Murray's book, The Bell Curve, played a pivotal role as an "intellectual" cover for a whole reactionary program of gutting social services, dismantling affirmative action, and ramping up crime and punishment policies that have led to genocidal rates of mass incarceration, police terror and police murder against Black and Brown people.
  1. The only reason these repugnant, oppressive, and anti-scientific views continue to get treated as "legitimate" discourse is because they are backed by the predominant social relations of a capitalist system under which a program of poverty, punishment, patriarchy, and racism has gained increasing initiative in the halls of power, now reaching its apex in the Trump/Pence fascist regime. Murray's anti-scientific methods and apologia for white supremacy are not in danger of being suppressed. Not only does he have the backing of major institutions, mass media and publishers, his same essential views are being spewed from the highest offices of the land by the Trump/Pence regime and its torch-wielding, mosque-vandalizing, swastika-scrawling supporters every day.
  1. Murray's work, even if he distances himself from outright Nazis, has helped pave the way for the brazen white supremacy now unleashed with torches and murder in the streets and backing from the White House. While they cry "we are the victims," it is a fascist movement that is now using the reins of power to trample civil liberties, reverse verdicts on the U.S. Civil War, wage war on science and the environment, and take the world to the brink of nuclear war.
  1. The voices—as well as the livesthat are under threat, are those who are demonized, dehumanized, and outright hunted by the Trump/Pence regime and those resisters who stand with them. It is speech and protest against the views of Charles Murray and the state power of the Trump/Pence fascist regime that is being slandered, punished, and even criminalized.
  1. Fascists are targeting campuses all across the country because academia is an obstacle—bastions of what Trump likes to call "the opposition" and "the liberal elite" where facts and reality are not so easily dismissed. It is also because students historically have played a critical role in every powerful movement of resistance against oppression. This puts into perspective that the biggest danger in Charles Murray going unopposed at Harvard is not only the social and psychological harm done to those whose full humanity he denies, but the fact that this is part of a concerted nationwide attempt to take a battering ram to the history and culture of the academy as part of a fascist movement whose agenda and intention is to roll back and extinguish the values and gains that came from the 1960s and since, as part of consolidating a fascist America.

Speakers like Charles Murray need to be overwhelmed by protest and condemnation. Creative and disruptive protest by students and community must be supported and defended by the academic community.

To understand how we have gotten to this situation and how to get rid of the system that has produced the monstrous Trump/Pence regime and all its horrors, and to encounter the leadership, the strategy, and vision of a radically different world and society that is overcoming all this oppression, that is oriented towards meeting people's needs and protecting the environment, and that is unleashing real critical thought and intellectual ferment based on getting to the truth and emancipating all of humanity, engage the work of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian and read the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that he authored, at www.revcom.us.

Wherever you are coming from, everyone who is sick to death of the horrific nightmare that has worsened almost every day since the Trump/Pence regime has been in office... everyone who knows that racist garbage does not advance "intellectual debate," but rather legitimizes and furthers racist terror and repression... everyone who values real critical thinking and intellectual ferment based on real science and opposing the criminalization of resistance and protest... it is time to come together and say NO! We REFUSE to accept fascists and white supremacists spewing their garbage on campuses! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! On November 4, it begins!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/claremont-students-right-to-shut-down-heather-mac-donald-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Claremont McKenna College students were right to shut down the fascist Heather Mac Donald!

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a California Student:

In July, five students were suspended from Claremont McKenna, a liberal arts college in Southern California. Three students were suspended for a year, and two for a semester for participating in a nonviolent protest shutting down the fascist author Heather Mac Donald.

Who is Heather Mac Donald? Heather Mac Donald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, an influential conservative think tank, and author of the book The War on Cops. Heather Mac Donald is a fascist. If the title of her book isn’t enough of a hint, it takes a simple look at her track record to identify this.

In the past she has taken stands:

Her topic of choice when she came to UCLA and Claremont McKenna was in line with the title of her book. Mac Donald is most notorious for coining the term “the Ferguson Effect” which she describes as “officers backing off of proactive policing under the false charge that they are racist and the resulting increase in violent crime.” She even goes so far as to claim that “The DOJ’s Baltimore Police Report Contributes to a Hostile Environment for Law Enforcement.”

This sounds eerily familiar to the program of the fascists currently in the White House. All throughout that article where she argues murder by police is not a problem, she cites statistics about increasing homicide rates in inner cities which she attributes not to the horrible conditions people are forced to live in, but to a problem in the culture of Black people. She uses these statistics to justify “proactive policing,” things like stop-and-frisk and other forms of profiling, i.e., a practice where over 750,000 Black people were stopped and assaulted by the police for just going about their day in Black skin, a practice which has made every and any Black person a target.

Let’s be clear here: There is no war on cops! I’m not going to disprove this point by point as this has been done elsewhere many times over. This reality has come to light again and again... with Ferguson and Baltimore, with Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin... some of us have known since Rodney King, some of us since long before then... the pigs are a force used to terrorize Black people!

What does it mean that Mac Donald advocates for these ideas despite the existence of rigorous academic studies that debunk them, including what’s concentrated in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, or despite the reality recorded in the recent DOJ reports which exposed just some of the brutality of the police that characterizes police departments nationwide? She calls these reports a waste of time and tax money, and says they contribute to hostility against police! Because it couldn’t possibly be the practices of these pigs that cause the hostility—strip searching women who they pull over for traffic violations, beating and using a Taser on a 16-year-old girl for having her phone at school, taking people to rival gang neighborhoods to be beaten or killed, and the list goes on. These are a few of the findings from some of the DOJ reports that Mac Donald calls “harmful.”

Harmful for whom?! Not for Black people (which is what she claims)... this exposure is harmful for the genocidal program she is playing a role in pushing forward. This exposure has contributed to people pouring into the streets to demand that this stop! And this is the backdrop behind which students at Claremont McKenna and the other Claremont colleges righteously decided to shut her down.

They did so because they understood the stakes. Students stated on the Facebook page for the event that the university’s Institute of State and Local Government was wrong to “host the notorious white supremacist fascist Heather Mac Donald. As a community, we cannot and will not allow fascism to have a platform... Mac Donald openly advocates and encourages mass incarceration of black and brown folks in the U.S. by explicitly stating racist constructions of ‘black crime.’ As the Amerikkkan state monopolizes violence, the judicial system is a branch of many institutions that protect the interests of rich white supremacists... The way fascism is masked as ‘free speech’ is not any ‘normal’ exercise of constitutional power. White supremacists such as Heather Mac Donald claim protection from free speech as an exercise of constitutional rights forgetting that the Constitution was created by slave owners.”

These students were right! What Mac Donald really came to the universities to do was to justify the genocide of Black and Brown people that has been slowly grinding people down for decades, helping some and forcing others to swallow its coming acceleration with the implementation of fascism by reciting some bullshit statistics, in order to turn reality upside down!

At UCLA she didn’t fail to mention the good that Trump is doing sending the Feds to Chicago, and she has a whole article commending the regime, Sessions in particular, on how they’ve handled the question of “restoring law and order.”

The most ominous part of all of this is that Mac Donald’s speaking tour was part of a strategic and coordinated effort. Fascist “intellectuals” have been making the rounds in campuses throughout the country. Charles Murray, Anne Coulter, David Horowitz, Milo Yiannopoulos, and on and on. Every time a fascist came to a campus they’ve been met with some kind of resistance and all of this has sparked a debate about “students shutting down free speech.” Free speech is definitely under attack, but the fascists are the ones waging it.

Where were these self-proclaimed “defenders of free speech” when Cornel West came under attack for exposing the genocide Israel is waging against the Palestinian people... or more recently when a Texas A&M philosophy professor, Dr. Tommy Curry, came under attack for talking about the whitewashing of history when it comes to the role of violence and Black self-defense against white people in the fight for Black liberation... or when a Syracuse University professor received death threats for tweeting “We almost have the fascists in on the run. Syracuse people come down to the federal building to finish them off” at a rally counter-protesting Islamophobia?... In some cases these prominent fascists were in silent approval, and in others they were leading the charge.

These fascists are NOT for free speech. NO! They are trying to impose their lies as part of consolidating fascism throughout society. They wrap their fascist white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia, and Islamophobia in a shoddy intellectual veneer and come to campuses to popularize and legitimize their lies. All this while playing the victim.

Universities are a strategic target because they are places where critical thinking and dissent still has some space to flourish, and because they know the key role that students have played in movements of resistance. They cannot implement their fascist agenda when there is rigorous examination and de-legitimization of the lies that they use to justify their crimes. They can only get people to accept and normalize their crimes by stripping away people’s ability to contradict their rewriting of what is true. Think about it: if your program’s legitimacy is based on the tremendous lie of American exceptionalism and there are people continuously exposing the crimes of America and thus exposing your illegitimacy, how can you get society to go along with your brutal program?

They need mindless minions to take to heart their “alternative facts” (read lies), and they need to send a chill throughout society that puts people in their place when they dare to step out of line and say something that is not in accord with their fascist narrative. This is why they attack protesters and the right to protest, and this is also why they attack any media that criticizes them as “fake news.”

They are very quickly achieving these aims in the university.

There are many more professors than those mentioned above who have been targeted in blacklists (this is something the fascists, especially David Horowitz, have been doing for years, including by recruiting students to record and report these professors). Universities have punished progressive professors. There’s Essex County College Adjunct Professor Lisa Durden who was let go after she went on Fox News to defend a Memorial Day event hosted only for Black people, and Drexel University Professor George Ciccariello-Maher who was reprimanded by his university and attacked after he spoke out satirically against the baseless concept of “white genocide.” Universities that hosted fascist speakers are also punishing their students for refusing to give fascists a platform to justify their program. In addition to the students at Claremont McKenna suspended for shutting down Mac Donald, 67 Middlebury College students were punished for disrupting Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve. Now the attacks are coming from the state level. As a response to the opposition from students, seven states thus far are passing Republican-backed legislation to suspend or expel students who disrupt campus speakers.

This isn’t about free speech, this is about fascism!

Students aren’t “taking away the free speech” of the fascists. The First Amendment begins, after all, with the statement “Congress shall make no law...” These students do not have the power to pass laws limiting the freedom of speech of the fascists. On the contrary, what is happening is that while posing their fascist intellectuals as the victims, the fascists in power are ramming through laws that crush the ability of students to exercise their freedom of speech. Let’s not forget that these fascists are putting forward ideas with a long history of approval in this country, ideas that take on a particularly murderous character within the context of the consolidation of fascism.

In a country founded on slavery and genocide, on male supremacy and American chauvinism, it’s the students standing up against these ideas that need special protection— they are going up against ideas that are foundational to this country. Further, the resistance of students (and the repression that’s been unleashed on them) takes on a particular importance now because of the role these fascist intellectuals are playing in justifying the crimes of this regime.

This clearly multifaceted, strategic attack must be fought! We cannot allow universities to become complicit in the consolidation of fascism. Universities must be a site of ever increasing resistance to this regime, as they have been historically to other crimes of this country. This is going to mean that students need to resist the efforts of these fascist “intellectuals” to pacify and disorient people and we need to defend the courageous students that stand up in the face of this repression from the fascist base, from the universities, and from the state.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/grave-danger-of-christian-fascism-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Former Christian Fundamentalist’s Warning:

The Grave Danger of Christian Fascism

September 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Note: Vice President Mike Pence is exactly the kind of fundamentalist Christian Fascist that is spoken about in the article below. Trump’s cabinet is also riddled with these Christian Fascists, including Betsy DeVos, secretary of education. And Trump has appointed another of these Christian Fascists, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court. All this is one of the crucial reasons why the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime must go!

*****

Katherine Stewart, the author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, at one point quotes Rich Lang, himself a former Christian fundamentalist who broke with that and became a liberal Christian pastor, as follows:

It astonishes me that people don’t get it, that ideas have consequences....

When I was born again, faith was something inside of you, something you were supposed to reflect through your life. But in the 1980s, something happened. Fundamentalist Christianity jumped back into the public square with the intention to reshape the country as a Christian nation as defined by them.

Stewart notes that, “In Lang’s view, the American public remains inexcusably ignorant about the new religion in its midst.” Then she quotes Lang again as follows:

Fundamentalism is a global phenomenon, and it has come back on steroids since the 1970s and 1980s. Whether you’re talking Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, all forms of fundamentalism are on the rise....

And they all want the kids.... It’s no different than the Nazis wanting to start with the Hitler Youth. That is where you’d want to start if you were trying to build a fascist movement.

Stewart then remarks: “He pauses to make sure I’ve heard him correctly.” Then she quotes Lang again:

That’s the word, “fascism.”  Nobody likes to use it in this country.  But I believe that in this country, underneath the appearances, that is exactly the great temptation of our time.... and you have to call it what it is—“Christian Fascism.”

Stewart further summarizes Lang’s views this way: “Modern fundamentalism, like fascism in earlier times, he says, involves a strong feeling of persecution, typically at the hands of godless liberals or a religious ‘other’; the belief that one belongs to a pure race or national group that is responsible for past greatness, suffers unjust oppression in the present, and is the rightful ruler of the world; the impulse to submit unquestioningly to absolute authority; and the relentless drive for power and control.  It is, he says, a kind of supremacist movement, with religion rather than race at its core.”

And then Stewart quotes the following chilling remarks by Lang:

People have no idea it’s going on....

What does it mean that the conservative church that’s growing in America is an end-times church? What does it mean that we are raising a generation of children to believe that they are the last generation? What is going to happen if we keep on telling them, “Don’t care about the environment, and bring on the war, because we’re going to be lifted out of here, and you can forget about loving your neighbors, because they’re just going to get blown away”?

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/protests-denounce-trump-regimes-daca-decision-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Protests in the Streets Across the Country Denounce Trump Regime’s DACA Decision

Updated September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In response to the Trump/Pence fascist regime’s announcement that they were ending the DACA program, there were protests in the streets across the country. Among the protesters in different cities were many courageous “DREAMers,” young Latinos/Latinas who are in the DACA program and who face deportation—and being torn away from their families, friends, education, and jobs—if the Trump/Pence regime is able to carry through with ending DACA.


September 9 and 10:

Marches and rallies continued over the September 9-10 weekend in support of the DACA program and condemning Trump’s decision to end it.

Oakland, California


Thousands rallied in Oakland on Saturday, furious at the ending of DACA by the Trump/Pence regime. People held signs like “No ban, no raids, no wall.” After rallying they poured into the downtown chanting “Sanctuary for all” and “Stand Up, Fight Back!”

A16-year-old youth, credited with organizing the demonstration, said she convened the rally to “attack the decision [to end DACA] and attack the ignorance” about the decision. A young man told the crowd, “I’m the proud son of a Mexican immigrant, and with the repeal of DACA, it is horrifying to see Trump blame this country’s problems on immigrants.” And another youth whose father came from Mexico said this country chewed his dad up and spat him back out. A speaker representing Sikh and Punjabi immigrants from India told of the intense discrimination that immigrants face in this country.

Los Angeles


Thousands of people took to the streets and parks of Los Angeles Sunday afternoon to defend DACA and to oppose building a wall on the border. The march wound its way through the streets where immigrants live. People came out of their apartments to wave to and support those who were in the streets chanting “Immigrants are here to stay.” The march started after a short rally in MacArthur Park in the heart of the Latino immigrant community and then marched through neighborhoods to Echo Lake Park for another rally. The march then continued downtown to La Placita at Olivera Street for a final rally. The crowd was a microcosm of LA, with a lot of Latinos but also including people of all races and nationalities. There were families with children of all ages. Students from UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, and Cal State University at Fullerton were identified as being in the house. Professors from UCLA marched to support their students. All sorts of political and community organizations were there, including a contingent from Refuse Fascism. The mood of the march was defiant, and people were saying that they are going to remain in the streets to stop any attempt of the Trump/Pence regime to deport any DACA recipients.

Boise, Idaho


Nearly 1,000 protesters turned out at the State Capitol Saturday against the Trump/Pence regime’s decision to end DACA. The headline of the Idaho Statesman read “Emotions run high at Boise DACA rally.” An organizer of the rally said, “A lot of my friends and family members are DACA recipients, we just can’t stay quiet.” She said about the large turnout, “This is a community coming through. We want to show our Dreamers that we care about them.”

Hicksville, Long Island, New York


Scores of demonstrators marched on Saturday against Trump’s decision to end the DACA program. They gathered at the Hicksville Long Island Railroad station and marched for a mile to Governor Cuomo’s regional office. The organizers estimated that there are 10,000 Dreamers living on Long Island. Some of the groups taking part were Long Island Jobs With Justice, the Long Island DREAM Act Coalition and Long Island Immigrant Student Advocates.

“I have a lot of friends who are undocumented,” said a woman from Romania who came to the U.S. at age four. “I can relate to the immigrant experience of parents relocating and migrating to provide a better life for their children.” A high school teacher who fled the U.S.-sponsored war in El Salvador when he was 15 held a sign saying “Education Not Deportation.” He said that Dreamers “are a part of my story.” And a young woman said, “I’m here for justice, equality and fairness. Everyone in this country deserves to be here.”

Petaluma, California


About 250 people rallied and marched on Sunday in this small community north of San Francisco to oppose the ending of DACA by the Trump/Pence regime. An organizer from Indivisible Petaluma said, “This administration has applied a systematic attack on immigrants, and we are not OK with that.” A young man who came from Guatemala when he was two carried a sign that read “We might not run the country but we sure as hell make it run.” Many of the protesters came to stand with their immigrant friends.

NYC: Thousands at "Rally for DACA and All 11 Million Immigrants"

Watch video HERE—September 9 protest in NYC.
Video by Video Elephant

On Saturday, September 9, in New York City, there was a large outpouring of immigrants and those defending the rights of immigrants. Initially called by Movimiento Cosecha, the "Rally for DACA and All 11 Million Immigrants" drew a very diverse crowd of several thousand people for a rally in front of the Trump International Hotel. As it grew, it turned into an impromptu march up Central Park West until police loudspeakers threatened people with arrest, and it then turned into Central Park for a rally/speak-out. Many spoke, including a representative of Refuse Fascism who powerfully drew the connection between this battle for DACA and immigrants and the overall urgency of driving out the Trump/Pence regime and pointed to the call for November 4—It Begins, which was warmly received.


Thursday, September 7:

Harvard University: Professors and Others Arrested and Hundreds Rally Against Trump's Cancellation of DACA

From a reader:

Just a day after several hundred students and supporters had rallied on the Harvard University campus in support of DACA, over 30 people including a dozen professors from Harvard University as well as Babson College, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Tufts University, were arrested on Thursday, September 7 for forming a "human chain" blockading Massachusetts Avenue outside of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA at rush hour, in protest of the Trump/Pence regime's rescinding of the DACA program. Prior to their arrest, the blockaders were surrounded by 400-500 hundred students, staff and other supporters.

Before the action, hundreds rallied on the nearby Harvard campus and heard from a number of speakers, including Reverend Jonathan Walton, Minister of Harvard's Memorial Church, and Harvard history professors Walter Johnson and Kirsten Weld, all of whom were subsequently arrested.

Johnson, author of River of Dark Dreams, Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, cited Charles Sumner (a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts prior to the Civil War and a leader of the anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts), quoting Sumners's response to the federal government’s support for slavery and the need for civil disobedience. Reverend Walton, harkening back to the civil rights movement declared, "They don't have enough jails to hold us all." Demonstrators chanted "Education, not deportation" and "Hey hey ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go."

The demonstration was saturated with the Refuse Fascism Call for November 4—It Begins and the broadsheet with the 7 Indictments of the Trump/Pence Regime, and students and others were signed up on the spot for the 4th.

 

Queens, New York: Hundreds Protest the Ending of DACA

Thursday, September 7. Tonight, some 250 people—Dreamers, immigrants, Latinos, and others— marched through Queens, a very diverse borough in New York City, condemning the Trump/Pence regime’s ending of DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “Todos Somos DACA/We’re all DACA,” “Trump listen up, we’re going into struggle,” and “If we don’t get it—shut it down” were some of the chants. Protesters also sang “We are the immigrants, the mighty, mighty immigrants...” One sign read “You May Say I’m A Dreamer, But I’m Not the Only One.” Another—“I’m a teacher, not a criminal.”

The march was organized by the Jackson Heights, Queens chapter of the immigrant rights group Make the Road. A real effort had been made to bring forward immigrants—the documented and the undocumented—and the route went through neighborhoods with a high concentration of recent immigrants from Latin America, mainly Mexico.

A number of Dreamers on the march spoke of what a deep, terrible shock the ending of DACA was for them, throwing their whole lives and futures, and everything they’d hoped and worked for, up in the air. At the same time, those on the march felt it was urgent that they fight—“I’m not going back in the shadows”—against this outrage.

“Trump/Pence Must Go” was broadly welcomed in the march, and most took Refuse Fascism fliers announcing November 4. The word is spreading. Those at this march represent important sections of the people that must be mobilized and brought forward as part of the thousands, growing into many thousands and ultimately millions, who take to streets and public squares beginning on November 4.


Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday, September 6

In Washington, DC, hundreds gathered outside the White House in the hours before Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, made the announcement. People chanted, sang, clanged cymbals and banged on drums, holding signs like “We want education, down with deportation.” When word came of Sessions’s announcement, there were shouts of “Shame!” People marched to the Department of Justice and then to Trump International Hotel for a sit-in.

In New York City, hundreds protested midday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Several dozen people—including DACA recipients—sat down in the middle of 5th Avenue to block traffic and were arrested. A 30-year-old woman, originally from Mexico, who was among those arrested said, “Trump is trying to scare us into hiding, to get us to back down. We’re not going to back down.” Another protester, a young Latino, said, “We’re gonna have to be in the streets, daily, if that needs to happen. We’re gonna be here every day. You’re gonna hear from us.”

As of early evening, thousands were gathered at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, and the word was that people were going to march across Brooklyn Bridge.

In Los Angeles, Tuesday afternoon several thousand people rallied and marched in protest of the Trump/Pence regime ending the DACA program.  The crowd was very diverse with the largest section being young Latinos.   The rally started at La Plaza at Olivera Street in the old Mexican section of downtown.  The march went past Union Station, the ICE Detention Center, and through the streets around the downtown LA Civic Center before ending up at City Hall.  The marchers were spirited, angry, and defiant as they chanted all the way.  Passing cars on Alameda Street honked in support.  Refuse Fascism was in the mix with signs—“November 4 It Begins; NO! This Nightmare Must End!”  The Los Angeles Revolution Club was in the march selling Revolution newspapers.

In Denver, hundreds of high school students at multiple schools walked out of classes to protest the move shortly after the announcement. KUSA reported that many of them carried messages that read "Defend DACA" and "Our Dreams Can't Wait." Other DACA rallies in Colorado were planned for Colorado Springs, Boulder, Longmont and Glenwood Springs.

In San Francisco, 1,000 people protested in the plaza outside the federal building. According to the SF Chronicle, “The crowd spilled into the street outside the federal building, shutting traffic on Seventh Street between Mission and Market streets and shutting Mission Street between Seventh and Fifth streets.” Among those blocking the street was a group of clergy people. One speaker at the rally said, “I should be allowed to stay because I’m your friend, your sister, your daughter. Let’s show them they chose the wrong people to mess with.” Across the Bay, several hundred people rallied at Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus and marched down Telegraph Ave.

In Chicago, “thousands of protesters took to the street,” according to local CBS News, gathering at the Federal Plaza in the Loop and marching through the downtown streets to the ICE offices and Trump Tower.

There were also protests in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Phoenix and in Miami.

In Los Angeles, marchers are gathering in various parts of the city.

Stay tuned for updates on the protests.

 

Denver, CO Twitter pic @SaysHummingbird

INSPIRING SUPPORT FOR DREAMERS! ✊

RT to show SUPPORT for Denver STUDENTS who have WALKED OUT of school to protest Trump #DACA announcement. pic.twitter.com/FOqoFk2fPy

— The Hummingbird (@SaysHummingbird) September 5, 2017

 

San Francisco, CA:

 

Los Angeles, CA:

 

Brooklyn Bridge, NY:

 

Civil Disobedience, NYC:

 

Loyola University, Chicago:

 

San Francisco, Tuesday: Clergy block 7th Street in civil disobedience to support DACA. Credit: twitter/@breyeschow

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #507 September 4, 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/507/just-a-few-bad-apples-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

If It's Just A Few "Bad Apples," Then How Do You Explain THIS?

September 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Louis Scarcella was a New York police detective for nearly 30 years, reportedly the “go to” guy for hard to prove murder cases. In 2013, an investigation by the New York Times found that Scarcella had used “the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions” and repeatedly produced “confessions” from defendants who insisted they had not made them. Scarcella’s “investigations” played a role in sending countless people to jail, many serving long sentences. More than 70 of Scarcella’s cases have been under investigation, and so far more than 10 convictions based on his frame-ups have been thrown out.

How does the rest of the NYPD—the so-called “good apples”—feel about Scarcella? According to the New York Times, they consider him an “esteemed colleague,” and this month he’ll be honored by the NYPD’s retired detectives association, and his career celebrated.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/michael-bennett-life-threatened-by-lv-pig-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

"I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt."

Michael Bennett, an NFL player who refuses to stand for the national anthem, had a pig in Las Vegas threaten to "blow my fucking head off."

September 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Reader:

“I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.”

Michael Bennett, an NFL player who refuses to stand for the national anthem, had a pig in Las Vegas threaten to “blow my fucking head off.”

Below is a letter posted on social media by Michael Bennett, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL and has refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and murders of Black people, and who had his life threatened by a Las Vegas pig. (See TMZ video at http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_2i42pk8o/)

Dear World,

On Saturday, August 26, 2017 I was in Las Vegas to attend the Mayweather-McGregor fight on my day off. After the fight while heading back to my hotel several hundred people heard what sounded like gun shots. Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A police officer ordered me to get on the ground. As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands not to move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would “blow my fucking head off.” Terrified and confused by what was taking place, a second officer came over and forcefully jammed his knee into my back making it difficult for me to breathe. They then cinched the handcuffs on my wrists so tight that my fingers went numb.

The officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I could think of was “I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.” My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls. Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her I love her?

I kept asking the officers “What did I do?” and reminding them that I had rights they were duty bound to respect. The officers ignored my pleas and instead told me to shut up and then took me to the back of a nearby police car where I sat for what felt like an eternity until they apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player. After confirming my identity, I was ultimately released without any legitimate justification for the officers’ abusive conduct.

I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do. This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem—because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a “Nigger,” you will be treated that way.

The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleeena Lyles felt.

I have retained Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris to investigate and explore all my legal options including filing a civil rights lawsuit for the violation of my constitutional rights.

Sincerely,

Michael Bennett

Bennett was recently called an “activist disguised as a football player” in an article in The Undefeated. (See http://theundefeated.com/features/seahawks-michael-bennett-is-an-activist-disguised-as-a-football-player/.) (Also see, “Michael Bennett, NFL football player, supports the women’s strike on International Women’s Day,” in Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump-Pence, Revolution newspaper, March 7, 2017, @ revcom.us, and see “Pro Football Player Michael Bennett Refuses to Be a Shill for Israel,” in Voices of Conscience and Resistance in the Time of Trump-Pence, Revolution newspaper, February 14, 2017, @ revcom.us.)

His brother, Martellus Bennett, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, responded to Michael’s letter saying, “I’m glad your voice is one of the ones being heard. You are as real as they come, well at least how they used to come. I encourage you to continue telling your story and the stories of those that came before. I love you very much.”

Colin Kaepernick, who led the anthem protest in the NFL, tweeted out, “This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”

After Michael Bennett’s letter was posted, all the sports networks have been putting this out front, and it has been a major topic of conversation today in the world of sports.

Keyshawn Johnson, former NFL player, said on ESPN that the same thing has happened to him.

Domonique Foxworth, who played in the NFL and writes for The Undefeated, spoke on ESPN about the police, and said his experience shows him that this is not about “good apples, bad apples.” (See “If It’s Just A Few ‘Bad Apples,’ Then How Do You Explain THIS?” Revolution newspaper, September 5, 2017.)

He said, “I’m not surprised that this happened.” He brought in Charlottesville and how “this type of hate exists.” He said that “the idea that there are bad apples—I don’t feel comfortable with using that as an explanation. The issues we have with race are pervasive that is engrained in the way many of us think. When those things [police murders of Black people] continue to happen, at a certain point in time we have to accept something is wrong with our culture and not just point at the officers and say that that officer is bad or the people [Neo Nazis and KKK] marching in Charlottesville are bad and I’m good. No! This a problem that continues to exist in our society that we allow to continue, to pervade, and to influence the decisions that we make.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/korea-whos-biggest-warmonger-and-threat-to-humanity-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

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

September 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

After the North Korean regime announced on September 3 that it had tested a hydrogen bomb, the U.S. Secretary of War—sorry, “Defense”—James Mattis emerged from a White House meeting of the Trump godfathers and consiglieri—sorry, a “national security meeting”—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.”

Any threat”?!?! If we’re going to talk about “threats,” let’s look at the repeated threats that the Trump/Pence regime and the U.S. have made against North Korea just in the last few months.

So who’s really threatening whom here? And who’s the world’s biggest warmonger—threatening the future of humanity? The USA, now headed by a fascist regime.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/hurricane-irma-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma Hits the Caribbean

September 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This is bad. Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane since records have been kept, with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, is already wreaking massive devastation on many small islands in the Caribbean. People are dying, with reports of at least eight as we write this. The prime minister of Barbuda says 95 percent of the island's structures are damaged or destroyed and the island is “literally rubble,” and “barely habitable.” Barbuda is isolated since the storm snapped a telecommunications tower in two. 

Footage from St. Martin shows cars flipped on their backs by powerful winds, others with their bumpers torn off; power has been out all day. Puerto Rico is still being pounded with wind and rain, but already 4,000 people have lost water service, and 300,000 have lost power. Puerto Rico has been squeezed for the last few years by the imperialist-imposed debt crisis and as a result its infrastructure is severely weakened. The government says that it may take months to restore electricity in some areas.

And the worst may be yet to come. Haiti and the Dominican Republic—two impoverished countries with more than 20 million people that share the island of Hispaniola—lie in Irma’s path. Haiti still has hundreds of thousands of homeless from the massive 2010 earthquake. Cuba, the Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands may also be hit.

And then from there it is likely to slam into Florida, much bigger and with stronger winds than Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which destroyed 65,000 homes, killed 43 people and snapped lampposts like matchsticks.

Reports from the Caribbean are still very sketchy because of power and phone outages. And hurricanes are notoriously difficult to predict with certainty, so we cannot say who will be hit or how badly. But one things we do know—as with Hurricanes Harvey, Katrina, Sandy, and Andrew and every other major natural disaster, Irma’s path of destruction is revealing and will further reveal the underlying oppressive relations of this system, its complete inability to meet the needs of the people, and its continued destruction of the environment of the planet we call home.

Keep watching this site for further reports.

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/no-ben-shapiro-the-problem-is-not-campus-thuggery-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Updated September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Received from RefuseFascism.org:

NO, Ben Shapiro: The Problem is NOT "Campus Thuggery"

The Problem is Fascist Intellectual Thuggery in the service of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime

A PEOPLE'S SPEAK OUT AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACY, MISOGYNY, XENOPHOBIA & FASCISM
THE FIGHT FOR WHAT'S TRUE & WHAT WE MUST DO

Sproul Plaza, UC Berkeley - Thurs. Sept. 14th, 6pm

 

Sproul Plaza is where students, faculty, and all concerned people should be on September 14 when Ben Shapiro speaks at 7pm on so-called “Campus Thuggery.” Shapiro is coming to campus to spread ugly fascist views dressed up in slick-talking “intellectual” garb. Beneath his “reasonable” tone lies Shapiro’s real thuggery: Shapiro mocked Trayvon Martin on what would have been his 21st birthday, insists that being transgender is a “mental illness,” compares abortion to the Holocaust and thinks women should be forced to bear children against their will, argues that racial discrimination is not a “continuing factor in American life” and that poverty among Black people is not a result of racism but of Black culture, believes in a “clash of civilizations” and calls Islamic civilization “the polar opposite of the West,” wrote that “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage,” and more. This is harmful! He, along with fascists of many stripes, have targeted Berkeley because reversing Berkeley’s radical history would be a major advance for the consolidation of fascism on campuses everywhere and throughout society.

Fascists must NOT have an audience. DON’T GO. Or if you do go, WALK OUT when Shapiro starts to speak, and come to the Speak Out.

No, Chancellor Christ, speech by fascists and those who intellectually defend them is not what humanity needs and will not contribute to campuses acting as centers of critical thought and debate. Fascism already has a platform – the biggest and most powerful platform in the world: the White House! Not only do Trump, Pence, Sessions, Kelly, and the rest of the Regime constantly put forward fascist ideas about Muslims, immigrants, women, LGBTQ, Black people, people around the world, and more... they are using the power of the state – and unleashing the extra-legal mob – to destroy countless lives and threaten humanity as a whole.

What this moment in history requires is resistance to fascism, including discussion and debate over what fascism is, its roots, where it can lead, and what needs to be done to stop it. And, people – especially students – joining in the fight to drive the fascist Trump/ Pence Regime from power! Stand up on Sept 14 and start getting organized for November 4th, when many thousands will take to the streets in cities and towns across the country, day after day and night after night, growing to millions and refusing to leave until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Contact Refuse Fascism to endorse, to speak or perform, or bring your class or organization to participate. EVERYONE, from a diversity of perspectives, who refuses to accept a fascist America is invited!

510-253-5551  ~   norcal@refusefascism.org  ~  
Facebook.com/RefuseFascismBayArea  ~   @sfrefusefascism

RefuseFascism.org  ~   @RefuseFascism  ~   Facebook.com/RefuseFascism

Facebook event page

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/two-hurricanes-should-kill-doubt-about-climate-change-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Climate Experts Say the Two Hurricanes “should kill any doubt that climate change is real”

September 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As people in Texas are still suffering from devastation from Hurricane Harvey and as Hurricane Irma blasts through the Caribbean region, three climate experts are raising the question: “What is the role of human-induced climate change in these events, and how else have our own actions increased our risks?” Their article, titled “Harvey and Irma should kill any doubt that climate change is real,” appeared today at the Washington Post’s online feature PostEverything.

The authors—Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science and director of Earth System Science Center at Penn State University; Susan J. Hassol, director of Climate Communication LLC; and Thomas C. Peterson, president of the Commission for Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization—note that “Fundamental physical principles and observed weather trends mean we already know some of the answers—and we have for a long time.”

They go on to sketch some of these scientific answers:

Hurricanes get their energy from warm ocean waters, and the oceans are warming because of the human-caused buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, primarily from the burning of coal, oil and gas. The strongest hurricanes have gotten stronger because of global warming. Over the past two years, we have witnessed the most intense hurricanes on record for the globe, both hemispheres, the Pacific and now, with Irma, the Atlantic.

We also know that warmer air holds more moisture, and the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has increased because of human-induced global warming. We’ve measured this increase, and it has been unequivocally attributed to human-caused warming. That extra moisture causes heavier rainfall, which has also been observed and attributed to our influence on climate. We know that rainfall rates in hurricanes are expected to increase in a warmer world, and now we’re living that reality.

And global warming also means higher sea levels, both because ocean water expands as it warms and because ice in the mountains and at the poles melts and makes its way into oceans. Sea level rise is accelerating, and storm surge from hurricanes rides on top of higher seas to infiltrate further into our coastal cities.

Heavier rain and higher sea levels can combine to compound flooding in major hurricanes, as the deluges cause flooding that must drain to the sea but can’t do so as quickly because of storm surges. Sadly, we saw this effect in play in the catastrophic flooding from Harvey.

As the authors point out, not everything is known yet, and there are “scientific linkages” still being worked on. One question that scientists are looking at, for example, is how the slow speed of Hurricane Harvey—almost stalling at points—that resulted in record rainfalls and catastrophic flooding may be related to climate change. The authors write:

Cutting-edge climate science suggests that such stalled weather patterns could result from a slowed jet stream, itself a consequence—through principles of atmospheric science—of the accelerated warming of the Arctic. This is a reminder of how climate changes in far-off regions such as the North Pole can have very real effects on extreme weather faced here in the Lower 48.

These linkages are preliminary, and scientists are still actively studying them. But they are a reminder that surprises may be in store—and not welcome ones—when it comes to the unfolding effects of climate change.

The authors point out the seriousness of the situation—and the urgency to act:

The effects of climate change are no longer subtle. We are seeing them play out before us here and now. And they will only worsen if we fail to act.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/hurricane-irma-september-7-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma, Thursday: Devastation in the Caribbean...Heading Toward Florida

September 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Once Irma became a Category 4 hurricane almost a week ago, the U.S. news media fell in love with the phrase “Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida.” If you read most of these stories, it sounded like all that stood between Irma and the U.S. was open seas. They failed to mention that before Irma could reach the U.S., there were many island nations, with a total population of over 35 million people, and with far fewer resources than the U.S., facing this killer storm. And many have been pummeled by Irma in the last three days, while the U.S. media has trained people to cast their eyes overwhelmingly on the possible U.S. impact.

As of tonight, the toll of destruction and suffering on the islands that Hurricane Irma has already hit is only beginning to come in, but it is clear that the devastation was extensive. This is mainly due to the extreme power of the storm (which was almost certainly amplified by the effects of global climate change).

But in addition to that, there is the impact of centuries of colonialism and imperialism, which slaughtered the native populations, brought in millions of slaves to work under the most brutal conditions, systematically looted these nations of their natural resources, and in more modern times organized economic development to serve the needs of the imperialist powers, and not the people. The result of all this is incredible poverty in a number of countries, and in others, highly distorted development where islands that were once rich in agriculture are now dependent on food imports, while most of the people work in hotels, clustered on the coast and catering to U.S. and European tourists. All of this makes them even more vulnerable to the impact of major storms.

The Devastation in the Caribbean

Worst hit (so far) were the tiny island of Barbuda (part of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda), population 1,700 and the larger island of St. Martin (population 78,000).

Much of Barbuda is underwater, half the population is homeless, and over 90% of structures have been destroyed, including a key telecommunications tower that was snapped in half, according to the Prime Minister of Barbuda and Antigua.

On St. Martin, an official said “95% of the island is destroyed,” and reported at least four people dead. The desalinization plant, which the whole island depends on for water, is down, as is much phone service. Another official tried to describe the scene: “There are shipwrecks everywhere, destroyed houses everywhere. It’s just unbelievable. It’s indescribable.”

To add to its problems, St. Martin is a colony of not one, but two different imperialist powers, France and the Netherlands. So instead of a single central government coordinating relief and reconstruction, there are two weak powers, each tied to and depending for aid on a different European country thousands of miles away.

Another colony, the U.S. Virgin Islands, with 100,000 people, was hit hard today—at least four people were killed, and officials describe “catastrophic” damage. The British Virgin Islands were lashed as well, but no news has reached the outside world yet about what happened.

Puerto Rico (with 3.4 million people) was spared the full force of the storm, but its infrastructure has been so weakened by years of debt crisis imposed by U.S. imperialism, that a million households are without power, and the government has already said that it could take up to six months to restore service. Another 17% of the population has no water.

A great worry is what is happening on the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic (each with about 10 million people). Haiti in particular is extremely vulnerable, after a century of U.S. domination (going back to the U.S. invasion and occupation of 1915-34).

Already bled dry by the U.S. and the various dictators it has imposed, in 2010 Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands, and left 1.6 million homeless—at least 85,000 people are still living in camps, one third of which don’t even have a latrine. Then a cholera epidemic killed thousands, and last year Hurricane Matthew slammed Haiti, producing massive flooding and mudslides wiping out major highways and whole villages.

Irma skirted the north coast of Haiti, and there is little news of what happened, but it is almost certain that the heavy rains and winds of even a passing blow will spread more flooding, more cholera, more suffering. A 35-year-old mother of three told the Washington Post, “I guess we are worried, but we are already living in another hurricane, Hurricane Misery.”

As we write this, Irma is pummeling the 32,000 people on the Turks and Caicos Islands, which is facing a storm surge of 15-20 feet above normal. Most of the most populous island is only about 25 feet above sea level, so the danger of flooding is extreme, but again, there are few reports so far. There is also considerable danger to Cuba, a nation of 11 million people. We will continue to write on all this as reports come in.

Florida Bracing for Direct Hit

Virtually all computer models now predict a direct hit by Irma on South Florida this weekend. Although current forecasts are for Irma to weaken to a Category 4, that still means winds of up to 156 miles per hour, the speed of a moderate—but 40 mile wide!—tornado. This will still be an extremely powerful and destructive storm.

The last time South Florida was hit by a storm like this was in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew hit the Homestead area at Florida’s southern tip with winds of over 155 mph, and this is very much on the minds of Floridians. That storm was terrifying: 25,000 homes were destroyed, 101,000 damaged and 40 people killed; 99% of mobile homes in the Homestead area were destroyed; Homestead Airforce Base was leveled; docked boats were smashed by the hundreds; and even 60 miles from the storm center, large trees were uprooted and light poles snapped. 

But as bad as that was, there are a number of reasons to think that Irma could potentially be much worse.

Hurricane Irma, while it may have slightly lower wind speeds when it reaches Florida, is a much larger storm. And the South Florida area—much of which used to be rural—has been greatly built up in the last 25 years, and is now a vast urban/suburban sprawl of housing developments, malls and so on, with a total population of six million people. This not only means that far more people are in the path of the storm, but the overbuilding—similar to what we saw in Texas with Hurricane Harvey—reduces the ability of the ground to absorb water, increasing the danger of flooding.

Flooding is a great danger for another reason—the city of Miami is actually sinking, while sea levels continue to rise due to global warming. As a result, Miami now experiences flooding on sunny days in October, when the tides are their highest. And the whole city is virtually at sea level, with no hills to speak of. Imagine what that would mean if there was a 15-foot storm surge like those which Irma caused in the Caribbean!

Another concern is the ability of housing, construction cranes and other structures to withstand high winds. After Andrew it came out that much of the destruction was a direct result of capitalism, and not the storm itself. First, the authorities had maintained lax building codes for years in order to encourage a major building boom in the 1980s, even though South Florida is smack in the middle of “Hurricane Alley.” And there were only about 20 inspectors for the vast South Florida area. 

But many buildings were not even built to that code. The housing boom set off a competitive frenzy among dozens of builders and contractors vying for business. To keep costs low, they “cut corners” in criminal ways. One prominent example was that many contractors did not use the proper bolts and straps to attach roofs to load bearing beams on the walls—in fact, some did not attach them at all, so they were only held on by their own weight.

Shoddily built suburban subdivisions sprang up in South Dade County, and though this area did not feel the main force of Andrew, roofs flew off on block after block. And once the roof is gone, so goes the house. Yet older and better built homes directly across the street were virtually undamaged.

After this scandal broke, the government passed much tougher building codes, and increased the number of inspectors. But since the houses that were destroyed during Hurricane Andrew had not been built to meet the weak code back then, it is quite possible that the ones built since then will not meet the much stricter (and therefore more expensive) codes now in effect. In fact, the builders have been chafing at these standards, and since 2004 have succeeded in getting them watered down. (See USA Today, “Hurricane Irma could test Florida’s Hurricane Andrew-inspired building codes.”) And of course, much of that old, badly built housing stock is still around.

As we said as Irma started to hit the Caribbean: “Hurricanes are notoriously difficult to predict with certainty, so we cannot say who will be hit or how badly. But one thing we do know—as with Hurricanes Harvey, Katrina, Sandy, and Andrew and every other major natural disaster, Irma’s path of destruction is revealing and will further reveal the underlying oppressive relations of this system, its complete inability to meet the needs of the people, and its continued destruction of the environment of the planet we call home.”

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/the-issue-is-fascism-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Editors’ note: This letter was distributed Friday at the University of California, Berkeley, at an event including Chancellor Christ and Dean Chemerinsky among others.

The Issue is NOT “Free Speech”—
The Issue Is Fascism!

By Sunsara Taylor, writer for www.RevCom.us and co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org

September 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Fascists are targeting Berkeley. This includes unvarnished hate-mongers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter as well as intellectual hitmen like David Horowitz and Ben Shapiro, and the armed white supremacists and fascist thugs who have repeatedly assembled in the streets.

Most of all, this includes—and all the others serve—the Trump/Pence regime which is moving rapidly to consolidate a fascist America. Not exaggeration or insult, this is what is happening. They have already come for the Muslims, declared war on the media and the courts, and begun shredding environmental protections. They are criminalizing protest while encouraging white supremacists and Nazis. Pence and other Christian fascists are hell-bent on criminalizing abortion and ripping up protections for LGBTQ people. Trump not only pardoned, but heralded a sheriff who defied the courts to racially profile and torture immigrants. They are threatening nuclear annihilation.

Ben Shapiro dresses his arguments in intellectual garb but serves this same basic agenda. He argues that the campuses are dominated by “leftist thugs,” but the reality is that this country as a whole, and the campuses in particular, are increasingly coming under assault by the fascists in power and the mob they’ve unleashed. Shapiro is part of this assault. He mocked Trayvon Martin on what would’ve been his 21st birthday and argues that poverty among Black people is a result of Black culture, that being transgender is a “mental illness,” that abortion is akin to the Holocaust, that “Arabs Like to Bomb Stuff and Live In Open Sewage” and more.

The targeting of Berkeley is in the service of the consolidation of fascism in America. Berkeley symbolizes the heroic struggles of the 1960s against white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialist war, and mindless obedience to “America Right or Wrong.” Reversing these verdicts and gaining a foothold at Cal would mark a major leap in the consolidation of fascism in society. On another level, Cal has become a flashpoint of the fascists’ fight to transform the campuses from places with greater initiative for critical thinking, the pursuit of the truth, and resistance to injustice into sites of fascist indoctrination. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED! Campuses must become FASCIST-FREE ZONES.

All this is why RefuseFascism.org invites everyone opposed to white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, climate-change denial, and fascism to join a People’s Speak Out in opposition to Ben Shapiro’s upcoming appearance. As the flyer says: “Fascists must NOT have an audience. DON’T GO. Or if you do go, WALK OUT when Shapiro starts to speak, and come to the Speak Out.”

BUT WHAT ABOUT “FREE SPEECH”?

Because Chancellor Christ’s focus on “free speech” has confused more than a few people, let’s examine her argument briefly.

Christ draws from John Stuart Mill, arguing that “truth will always ultimately prevail.” This claim requires denying—or discounting—the monstrous suffering that has been inflicted before the truth has prevailed in any of a number of countless examples: slavery, the Holocaust, the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the continued existence of Creationism, the lie that Iraq had WMDs, and much more. Christ also argues that shutting down any speech makes all speech vulnerable to being shut down. But no one can seriously argue that the key in ensuring a better outcome for Jews in 1930s Germany or Black people in the early U.S. or Iraqis more recently would’ve been to better protect the speech rights of Nazis or slave-holders or George W. Bush’s lies about WMDs, respectively.

This is not to dismiss everything John Stuart Mill argued; it’s vitally important that there be a broad contestation of opposing viewpoints and that people hear views put forward by their most ardent advocates. It’s just that this important principle cannot be treated as an “absolute” and elevated above the real-world conditions in which it must be applied. Today, fascists are in power, they have a platform and are using it to silence its critics and threaten whole peoples. Allowing them a foothold on campus serves shutting down real debate and truth-seeking! There’s more to say about this, which is further reason to come to the People’s Speak Out on September 14.

THE REAL LEGACY OF THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT

Christ also invokes the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, describing it as a time when “students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus.” This is revisionist history!

The Free Speech Movement was about the right of students on campus to take up the fight against broader injustices in society, particularly the fight against segregation and racial discrimination. It was NOT about the “right” of racists and fascists to spew their bigotry on campus. Further, these students broke the rules—they climbed up on police cars, they occupied buildings, they went to jail, and through this kind of defiant and disruptive protest, they actually broke open much wider debate and engagement.

It is perverse for Christ to attempt to claim the Free Speech Movement while simultaneously defending the “right” of fascists to spew their toxic bigotry and creating a police-state shutdown of assembly, speech and protest in a huge part of campus, including the very Sproul Plaza made famous by the Free Speech movement.

FROM DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES, STAND UP AND SAY NO!

This must not be accepted! Everyone who refuses to accept a fascist America, from a great diversity of perspectives, is invited and urged to come together and speak out against this on September 14. Raise your voice against misogyny, white supremacy, xenophobia and fascism. Join in opening up real discussion and debate over what we face and what it requires of all of us.

At the same time, join in putting a stop to the imposition of fascism in America. Learn about and get organized for efforts to go into the streets in cities and towns across this country on November 4 in mass sustained protests that stay night after night and day after day, growing and not stopping until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Learn more about this at www.RefuseFascism.org.

Sunsara Taylor is an advocate of the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, a writer for www.RevCom.us, and a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org. Follow her at: @SunsaraTaylor

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/501/revolution-club-chicago-summer-en.html#rnc16meet

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/march-to-confront-white-supremacy-arrives-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

The March to Confront White Supremacy Arrives in DC, Convenes at “Impeachment (Farragut) Square”

From RefuseFascism.org

September 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

UPDATE Sept 8: “An announcement at the website cville2dc.us states: “Starting on September 6th, we’re reclaiming Farragut Square in Washington DC. We will hold our ground and launch wave after wave of nonviolent civil disobedience demanding Trump be removed from office and that an agenda be advanced that heals the wounds of white supremacy.”


September 6:

The March to Confront White Supremacy arrived in DC today. The March set off ten days ago from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, where armed white supremacists rallied under an equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on August 12. Hundreds of people were part of the march, dozens marched the entire 118 miles from Charlottesville to DC.

The march came about in the wake of the KKK/Nazi attack on counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville―where Heather Heyer was murdered and dozens more injured by one of the Nazis.

Donald Trump called those murdering fascists “very fine people,” and Mike Pence had no problem with that.

All along the route, for ten days, marchers made local news, shook people up, and brought their defiant message confronting white supremacy to mostly white small towns and rural areas of Viriginia.

The organizers’ statement declares:

For years, white supremacist violence, rhetoric, and policies have escalated and intensified – exploding during Donald Trump's run for president and reaching a boiling point in Charlottesville, as courageous people of moral conscience stood up to an army of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK.

This is the time for us to stand up for justice and equality. This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history. We demand that President Trump be removed from office for allying himself with this ideology of hate and we demand an agenda that repairs the damage it’s done to our country and its people.

Marchers also denounced Trump for ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). People with Refuse Fascism joined in, bringing the message of NO!, and November 4, This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

On the evening of September 6, the marchers ended up at Farragut Square in Washington DC.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/florida-sheriff-issues-potential-death-sentences-for-outstanding-warrants-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Florida Sheriff Issues Potential Death Sentences for Outstanding Warrants

September 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Thursday, as Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, and officials and meteorologists warned that anyone in the evacuation zones should head for shelters at risk of their lives, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida (east of Tampa), tweeted this message:

“If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we'll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” and that “sworn LEO [law enforcement officers] will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed.”

When questioned about this, both Florida’s Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi refused to condemn or countermand Sheriff Grady. Grady himself has not backed down.

So people who missed court dates or have piled up tickets that they can’t afford to pay have to choose between jail and risking their lives in a deadly storm. People who have been convicted of (and served their time for) sex offenses—which can include things like indecent exposure or a 17-year-old having sex with a 15-year-old—will have the door slammed in their face and be pushed out into the storm. And, though apparently not officially included in Sheriff Judd’s policy, his threatening message will undoubtedly scare many of the 18,000 undocumented immigrants in Polk County away from shelters as well.

What kind of fascist shit is this?

Everybody who needs shelter should be allowed in the shelters. PERIOD.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/fascist-attacks-on-daca-and-the-resistance-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

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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.

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

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!

The Fascist Attacks on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and the Resistance

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

 

Notes From a DACA Protest:  A Gaping Wound, Fighting Spirit, and Potential for November 4

In the days after the Trump/Pence regime announced it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), revcom.us had the chance to speak to a number of DACA recipients ("Dreamers") and their supporters—immigrants and non-immigrants. Most of the conversations took place as we were marching through the streets of Queens, New York, at a protest against ending DACA and in support of the Dreamers.

A number of things stood out.

September 13, 2017

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Protests in the Streets Across the Country Denounce Trump Regime's DACA Decision

In response to the Trump/Pence fascist regime's announcement that they were ending the DACA program, there were protests in the streets across the country. Among the protesters in different cities were many courageous "DREAMers," young Latinos/Latinas who are in the DACA program and who face deportation—and being torn away from their families, friends, education, and jobs—if the Trump/Pence regime is able to carry through with ending DACA.

Updated September 11, 2017

Read more

 

Watch video here— September 9 protest in NYC. Video by Video Elephant

Refuse Fascism speaks to crowd in NYC

 

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

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.

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.

Updated September 5, 2017

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The Undocumented in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey: No Relief from the War on Immigrants

...the nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants living in the Houston area faced terror on a whole other level. For them, every decision about how to survive the winds and floods had to be weighed against the possibility that they could run into the Border Patrol or local police, arrested, and be torn away from their family, their home, their entire life.

September 4, 2017

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From RefuseFascism.org:
The March to Confront White Supremacy Arrives in DC, Convenes at "Impeachment (Farragut) Square"

The March to Confront White Supremacy from Charlottesville to D.C. also denounced Trump for ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

September 8, 2017

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In New York and Other Cities, Protesters Declare—
"#Defend DACA: Immigrants are #Heretostay!"

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

August 31, 2017

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The Dangerous Implications of the Pardon of Joe Arpaio

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.

August 27, 2017

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Trump Channels Hitler in Youngstown: Fascist Attacks on Immigrants

Anyone who doesn't think that the Trump/Pence regime is fascist and could carry out genocidal crimes needs to come to grips with the speech Trump gave on July 25 in Youngstown, Ohio—especially what he said about immigrants:

...foreign criminal gangs that have brought illegal drugs, violence, horrible bloodshed to peaceful neighborhoods all across our country.... The predators and criminal aliens who poison our communities with drugs and prey on innocent young people, these beautiful, beautiful innocent young people, will find no safe haven anywhere in our country. And you've seen some of these stories about some of these animals....

They don't want to use guns because it's too fast and it's not painful enough. So they'll take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others, and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die.

August 27, 2017

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Michael Slate Interview with Playwright Robert Schenkkan
Building the Wall: A Play About the Future Now
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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/trump-north-dakota-oil-en.html

Revolution #507 September 4, 2017

Yes, This Arrogant VICIOUS Ignoramus Heads a Fascist Regime in the World’s Most Powerful Country...

September 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As millions of people continue to suffer in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and millions in the Caribbean are being devastated by Hurricane Irma... and as climate scientists warn that bigger and more destructive storms like these are on the rise due to global climate change, caused by greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels—Donald Trump spoke at an oil refinery in North Dakota and bragged about how he had pulled the U.S. out of the “job killer” Paris climate agreement, eliminated a “tremendous amount” of environmental regulations, and gotten the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which will move millions more gallons of oil every day, “open for business.” He even said—in a region going through unprecedented drought—he “didn’t know you had droughts this far north.”

...Now What Are We Gonna Do About THAT? November 4—It Begins!