Revolution #508, September 11, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Does "Free Speech" TRUMP All Else?
A Response to Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ

by Sunsara Taylor, with revcom.us writing group

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Berkeley has emerged in the cross-hairs of fascists. In particular, Ben Shapiro, an intellectual advocate for fascism, and Milo Yiannopoulos, an outright fascist provocateur, are scheduled to appear on campus this month.

In response to the outrage and the controversy, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ issued an open letter* extolling the principle of "free speech" as a rationale for providing a "protected" platform to these fascists. This letter is full of the reasoning that hamstrings and befuddles all too many people who should be resisting and for this reason we are reprinting Christ's letter and taking on her arguments.

What "Events" in Charlottesville Do—and Do Not—Make More Urgent

» Christ begins: "Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense."

No. "Events" in Charlottesville, including the cold-blooded murder of Heather Heyer by a fascist thug, make clear both that white supremacy remains the animating force it has been in American political and social life—and that this has been immeasurably strengthened and made more dangerous by the ascension to power of Trump and Pence. Fascist thugs chant "blood and soil," wave Confederate flags, and brandish automatic weapons and are backed by the presidential bully pulpit of a fascist regime. All this makes the need to fight fascism—and its consolidation—even more urgent.

Fascism is the issue, not "free speech." Refuse Fascism.org has called for mass protests and actions starting November 4, aimed at driving this regime from power.

A Bitterly Ironic Perversion of "Free Speech" and an Open Threat Against It

» Christ continues: "The law is very clear," she says, invoking the First Amendment to rationalize giving a platform to the fascists, and she goes on to warn that “The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal.”

Yes, the law IS very clear: the government cannot suppress speech, but nowhere does it say that universities must pay fascists thousands of dollars and provide them with tremendous security so that they can mobilize their lynch mobs. Christ is distorting the law. Going further, in the name of protecting free speech, the university has now officially "locked down" the campus to prevent protests against these fascists. Halls closed, classes rescheduled, IDs required. An "increased and highly visible" police force will enforce this "perimeter" and has already requested permission to use pepper spray against protesters. So Christ wants to provide a platform to the fascists, but not to the protesters!

Christ goes on to say that "If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it." As we know, when it comes to defining violence, the authorities have a very "flexible" standard depending on who is doing the protesting. So let's translate that last sentence from bureaucratese: "these fascists will speak and if you disrupt them we will use the power of the state to arrest you."

No! Students and others have the right to protest, and yes, the right to shut this down! Students have the right to make the entire campus a fascist-free zone, not just carve out "safe spaces" off in margins while fascists occupy public plazas and lecture halls.

CHRIST'S USE OF J.S. MILL—A RATIONALIZATION FOR HORRORS

» Christ centers her argument on the philosopher John Stuart Mill's call for the contestation of ideas, of "public expression of many sharply divergent points of view." She states that two points are fundamental:

Let's examine these claims—against reality and history.

How long has it taken before "the truth ultimately prevailed" that Black people are not an inferior race, three-fifths of a human, or deserved to be enslaved? The lie of white superiority rationalized the monstrous crime of slavery—and this same ideology continues today in this still very much white supremacist society, now turbocharged with a fascist regime in power. Far from having "prevailed" in practice, this truth is now under violent assault, justified by the likes of both Shapiro and Yiannopoulos.

How long has it taken before "the truth ultimately prevailed" that women are not "the second sex," subordinate to men and meant to serve them, solely as objects of pleasure or servitude? We have Trump—the Molester in Chief—and we have Mike Pence, with his handmaid's-tale morality and the ascension of theocrats like Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Breitbart—which both Shapiro and Yiannopoulos worked for—orchestrated online campaigns of such violence against women who spoke out, that some of them were forced to hire security. Far from this truth having prevailed, UC Berkeley finds itself financing and protecting two people who fervently propagate the lie.

How long has it taken before "the truth ultimately prevailed" that America is not a force for good in the world, but one that commits horrific crimes—genocide of Native Americans; slavery; brutal occupations of the Philippines; nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; massacring millions in Vietnam and Iraq; instigating coups in Iran, Chile, Indonesia, Guatemala, Haiti; committing torture; organizing right-wing death squads and dictators throughout Latin America; and the list goes on? Undeniable to any dispassionate examiner of the facts, this truth remains not only contested but shoved to the margins.

On all this, we recommend Bob Avakian's recent talk, The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us, where he goes deeply into how people in countries like the U.S. have been systematically lied to and indoctrinated with complete and profound lies, and an errant worldview, on the history of this country—from its founding all the way to the present.

The Power Behind the Lies

Monstrous crimes are committed in the name of these lies—the same lies these fascists are being given a platform to propagate on campuses. These ideas are backed by powerful reactionary forces, funded in think tanks, and given voice in their propaganda organs. As we wrote in our open letter to the Berkeley community, Shapiro mocked Trayvon Martin on what would have been his 21st birthday, said poverty among Black people is a result of Black culture, Arabs "like to bomb stuff and live in open sewage," being transgender is a "mental illness," and abortion is akin to the Holocaust. Milo's vile white supremacy and hatred of Muslims and immigrants is well documented. Even if not marching with tiki-torch flames chanting "Jews will not replace us," as the Nazis did in Charlottesville, make no mistake, these are fascism's thugs and enablers.

There is a direct line between these falsehoods and policies to enforce them, with the state apparatus now in fascist hands—from Sessions' policies on imposing mandatory sentencing to lock away Black and Latino youths or Pence's "election integrity" commission designed to steal the franchise from Black people, to the Christian fascists' policies to take away the rights to abortion and gay marriage, to this regime's literally genocidal threats of total annihilation against North Korea and Iran, to their deportation of immigrants and banning of Muslims. This is not just about the "free expression of ideas" disconnected from harmful societal consequences. This is the highly financed, highly publicized and highly protected dissemination of fascist ideas to serve a fascist regime, in which those who dare to oppose those ideas are threatened with the sharp edge of the state.

Christ Sinks into Relativism and Exchanges Truth for Error

Further: Christ's claim that "any abridgment of argument therefore compromises the opportunity of exchanging error for truth," simply does not apply for arguments incontrovertibly false, settled, and therefore harmful to keep propagating.

How does "the abridgment of argument" for creationism "compromise the opportunity of exchanging error for the truth" of evolution? How does "the abridgment of argument" for the inferiority of Black people, or Arabs, or Latinos, or for depriving women or LGBTQ people of their rights, "compromise the opportunity of exchanging error for truth?" These are patently false arguments—with no contribution towards the search for truth, "exchanging error for truth!"

Christ's "extreme skepticism of the right of any authority to determine which opinions are noxious or abhorrent," and fear of "censorship," her open relativism in this case, is merely a device to avoid exercising the moral courage to call out fascism for what it is—noxious and abhorrent! She makes the excuse that she will be sued if the she does not provide the fascists with a paid and protected platform. Memo to Christ: so fucking what if you're sued, people are dying because of these ideas right now, and exponentially more will, as fascism advances with this regime and its intellectual and street thugs! And that's why Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about Shapiro's visit to Berkeley.

The absurdity of Christ's claim becomes patently clear against the actual opinions in question—for example, the inferiority of Arabs, Latinos, Black people, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, naked white supremacy and misogyny. Would she express this same "extreme skepticism" as Jews were being transported to the gas chambers under Nazism? Actually, that is precisely what all too many people in her position did do in Nazi Germany, until it was too late.

The simple question for Chancellor Christ: Did the free speech of the Nazis TRUMP the Holocaust of six million Jewish people, and others?

How Christ Misses What Is Correct in Mill and Then Turns Her Error into an Absolute

» As we examine Christ's claims, we should recognize that Mill's overall argument on ardent advocates engaging in the contestation of ideas is crucial. In fact, Bob Avakian has emphasized the importance of Mill's point to the search for the truth, as a critical component of the new communism that he has forged. However, Mill's principle is not "an absolute," trumping all circumstances—and in fact, more fundamentally in this instance, his overall argument on contestation of ideas does not underlie Christ's specific claims and rationalizations above.

As stated in "The Middlebury Controversy: Points of Orientation" (students at Middlebury College courageously and righteously shut down white supremacist Charles Murray from speaking on campus), Mill's principle is critically important for the dissemination and critical evaluation of poorly known and/or unpopular ideas in general, and especially if these are ideas which the dominant forces and relations of society (including the ruling state apparatus) do not favor, and actively work to discredit, contain or actively suppress. In this society, especially with this fascist regime in power, "Do climate change deniers, Holocaust deniers, Nazis and KKKers, anti-abortionists, white supremacists, creationists and so on... do they really need to be given additional platforms and extended respectful invitations to spread their views on campuses?"

Who gets widely known and has platforms in society, including at Cal, is constrained and conditioned by the dominant class interests and class power in capitalist-imperialist society, and by the dominant ideas—including white supremacy, misogyny, and ugly xenophobia—that have been "baked into" the nerves, muscles and sinews of that power in the U.S.

This is the "free marketplace of ideas" at work in capitalist society, and a good example of why that "marketplace"—like the capitalist market that gives it its metaphor—in actual practice reproduces relations of power and domination, silences the powerless, and contributes to ignorance and/or reactionary thinking on major political and social questions. Arrayed against massive funding, think tanks, control of the media and the academy, those who represent the dispossessed are in most cases effectively rendered voiceless and marginalized unless they shape their ideas to those dominant interests.

Further, it is a myth that the free contestation of ideas—and people's ability to "compare and contrast" and engage in critical thinking—can ONLY take place through orderly respectful engagement. In cases where, in the face of disproportionate power, influence, and official backing of one side of the contestation (e.g., these fascists, backed by the university administration and ultimately dovetailing with the prevailing ideas of the dominant institutions of society), the other side (in this case the relatively powerless students and others) choosing to resist rather than engage in a "respectful and orderly" way can actually lead to MORE and quite vigorous engagement with the contested ideas in the period following. As stated in "The Middlebury Controversy: Points of Orientation," "A correct protest can definitely fuel further engagement and contestation, and it is a myth that this just serves to 'suppress' ideas!"

CHRIST ON THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT—A TRAGEDY AND A FARCE!

» Finally, for the outrageous lie: Carol Christ portrays the famed Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM) as essentially a coalition of "left-wing and right-wing students."

No, Chancellor Christ, that movement was led by students who had been part of or were inspired by the civil rights struggle in the South. "Right wingers" had nothing to do with it, besides opposing it. And it was repressed by people like you, who did what you have threatened to do to those who stand up against fascism today: call out the police on the students, who brutalized and arrested them.

Marx once said that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Here the situation is different—far from being tragic, the Free Speech Movement of 1964 was a great advance, won at the cost of real sacrifice. Now Christ wants to falsely and farcically invoke that very history to grease the way to what would be a very real tragedy: the advance of fascism in America.

The times demand that we return and bring forward the true spirit of the Free Speech Movement, embodied in Mario Savio's famous quote: "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop and you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."


*The following is the text of Chancellor Christ’s letter, dated August 23:

Dear students, faculty and staff,

This fall, the issue of free speech will once more engage our community in powerful and complex ways. Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense. The law is very clear: Public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus policies to speak, without discrimination in regard to point of view. The United States has the strongest free speech protections of any liberal democracy; the First Amendment protects even speech that most of us would find hateful, abhorrent and odious, and the courts have consistently upheld these protections.

But the most powerful argument for free speech is not one of legal constraint — that we’re required to allow it — but of value. The public expression of many sharply divergent points of view is fundamental both to our democracy and to our mission as a university. The philosophical justification underlying free speech, most powerfully articulated by John Stuart Mill in his book On Liberty, rests on two basic assumptions. The first is that truth is of such power that it will always ultimately prevail; any abridgement of argument therefore compromises the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. The second is an extreme skepticism about the right of any authority to determine which opinions are noxious or abhorrent. Once you embark on the path to censorship, you make your own speech vulnerable to it.

Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the Free Speech Movement, where students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus. Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.

Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.

We all desire safe space, where we can be ourselves and find support for our identities. You have the right at Berkeley to expect the university to keep you physically safe. But we would be providing students with a less valuable education, preparing them less well for the world after graduation, if we tried to shelter them from ideas that many find wrong, even dangerous. We must show that we can choose what to listen to, that we can cultivate our own arguments and that we can develop inner resilience, which is the surest form of safe space. These are not easy tasks, and we will offer support services for those who desire them.

This September, Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos have both been invited by student groups to speak at Berkeley. The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal. If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.

We will have many opportunities this year to come together as a Berkeley community over the issue of free speech; it will be a free speech year.  We have already planned a student panel, a faculty panel and several book talks. Bridge USA and the Center for New Media will hold a day-long conference on Oct. 5; PEN, the international writers’ organization, will hold a free speech convening in Berkeley on Oct. 23. We are planning a series in which people with sharply divergent points of view will meet for a moderated discussion. Free speech is our legacy, and we have the power once more to shape this narrative.  [back]

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

From Refuse Fascism:

Shameful, Dangerous, Wrong Attacks on Antifa

There is NO moral "equivalence" between those seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism, and those fighting against this nightmare

 

A controversy has erupted around Antifa, a broad grouping of people who are anti-fascist and anti-racist, many of whom are associated with anarchism. After torch-wielding white supremacists and Nazis brutalized and even murdered in Charlottesville, Donald Trump argued that Antifa and other counter-protesters were just as responsible for violence and hate. In reality, Antifa and others played a courageous role in defending people against the brutal violence threatened and inflicted by fascists. Since then, the media has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa’s activities as "domestic terrorist violence." Nancy Pelosi has called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Antifa. The mayor of Berkeley has called for them to be classified as a "gang." And some voices of the so-called "progressive left" have joined in condemning and distancing from Antifa.

In this context, RefuseFascism.org wants to make the following critical points of orientation:

[1] There is NO moral "equivalence" between those who are seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism on society and those who are fighting against this nightmare. Fascist forces, both within and outside of the government, are seeking to impose an order that not only strengthens white supremacy, misogyny, and all forms of bigotry, but actually returns society to the days of open white supremacy and Jim Crow segregation, anti-Semitism and Nazism, violent and repressive misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and global destruction through wars and environmental devastation. Their acts and rhetoric correspond to this vision and these goals. All this is happening in a 21st Century context, with the Trump/Pence regime seizing the power to enact and consolidate this vision as quickly as possible. Those standing up against these horrific views and aims and are on the right side of history. One side is right. One side is wrong. There is no equivalency.

[2] To stand against injustice at this moment requires firmly understanding that the attacks against "Antifa" are designed to intimidate, suppress, and divide all opposition to fascism. The threats and attacks on Antifa and anyone else standing up against fascism, especially attempts by the state to brand them as "terrorist" or put them on watchlists, must be opposed. Criminalizing protest and resistance is an essential part of the consolidation of fascism which is fast underway under the Trump/Pence Regime. Given the horrific assault on Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, Black people, science, the environment, civil liberties, and people around the world by this regime, it is more important than ever that people have the right to stand up to fascism, to protest and to resist. Differences over tactics, where they exist, must not divide the people’s resistance. Distancing and effectively joining in the threats and attack by this fascist regime, and other government authorities, is not only morally bankrupt, it also accommodates and quickly leads to collaboration with fascism. We have learned from Nazi Germany that allowing one group to be criminalized only strengthens the momentum of fascism as it targets group after group.

[3] Refuse Fascism does not initiate violence. We oppose violence against the people and among the people, but we uphold people’s fundamental and legal right to self-defense. We welcome and actively seek to involve people who come from a great diversity of views on many big questions, including when and whether any form of violence is ever legitimate. This is a great strength as it will take millions of people working and struggling together to stop a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. The efforts we undertake together consist of nonviolent political protest.

[4] Some on "the left" have claimed that the actions of Antifa and others who confront fascist thugs directly are a "gift to the right" by "provoking and legitimizing" repression and assault by fascists. This is wrong. This argument rests on a wrong assessment of the danger we face. We face a fascist regime that is tearing up democratic norms and civil rights. The unleashing of organized fascist thugs to intimidate and terrorize is integral to the consolidation of fascism. It is a key part of how resistance is pacified into compliance. This process is well underway and it is not caused by – nor is it a response to – militant protest against it. This process will not stop if militant resistance stops. Rather, the full imposition of the most brutal and terroristic forms of fascism in America will continue to advance unless and until millions come together to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power.

[5] Arguments toward moral equivalency must not be allowed to become a rationale for "good people" to stand aside. Paralysis has far-reaching consequences. Silence is complicity, and not making a choice because of a fear of going outside of normal channels and possibly encountering violence allows the horrors of fascism to advance. Those who truly abhor all forms of violence need to honestly ask themselves what they are doing to stand up to the brutal violence of fascism. Staying on the fence with a wait and see attitude is also not a morally neutral position; it is to watch the march of fascism toward genocide and the destruction of the planet, with no more outrage than a shrug of the shoulder. There is no perfectly safe place to wage this struggle. There may be safety for some in staying home and remaining ambivalent, but that comes at a great cost to one’s own humanity.

*****

Every day, the urgency for people to come together from a diversity of perspectives to refuse to accept a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime grows! Join us in getting organized – building the broadest unity possible – to take to the streets starting Nov 4th in a sustained movement that grows day after day and night after night, from many thousands to millions, not stopping until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In this effort, we must Unite All Who Can Be United and Defeat Attempts to "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!

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

August 31, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Listen

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

New Talk by Bob Avakian

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

 

The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So with that I want to move to part 3.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

      STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Part 4: Once More on the Crucial Role of Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis:

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

And:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

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

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/501/revolution-club-chicago-summer-en.html#rnc16meet

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017


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

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/fascist-attacks-on-daca-and-the-resistance-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 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

Read more

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

Read more

 

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

Read more

 

Michael Slate Interview with Playwright Robert Schenkkan
Building the Wall: A Play About the Future Now
Read more

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/507/trump-north-dakota-oil-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 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!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/behind-the-hurricane-natural-disaster-in-the-caribbean-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Behind the Hurricane "Natural" Disaster in the Caribbean: A Brutal History of Colonialism, Slavery, and Imperialist Invasions and Domination

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"The Caribbean!" Sun-drenched beaches, blue skies and water, luxurious hotels, and a small army of local people bringing drinks and a smile to tourists relaxing by the pool in places like St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, or Barbados.

"The Caribbean!" A center of finance in countries like the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, or Dominica, where large corporations "headquarter" their business and wealthy individuals park their assets in order to avoid paying taxes.

"The Caribbean": scene of devastating economic crisis, poverty, and misery in nations like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

Each of these images has a certain reality. Each greatly amplifies the vulnerability of the tens of millions of people in the Caribbean to major storms like Irma, which are becoming more powerful and common due to global warming. And each is the product, not of the needs or desires of the people of these islands, but of the over 500-year history of colonial conquest and imperialist domination.

European Conquest

The string of large and small islands in and near the Caribbean Sea were mainly conquered by the Spanish empire in the early 1500s. This was at the beginning of capital accumulation in Europe, and the great powers there were seeking gold and silver to finance trade and early industry. This conquest and looting of the Caribbean (known then as the East Indies) was part of what Karl Marx, the founder of the science of communism, described with sharp irony as "the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production."

On Hispaniola, where they found gold, Columbus said of the hundreds of thousands of Arawak/Taino people who had long lived there:

When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone. ... They do not bear arms, and do not know them. ... Their spears are made of cane. ... They would make fine servants. ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. [Emphasis added.]

And so they did—not only on Hispaniola, but throughout the Caribbean. Arawak and other native people were worked to death in the mines in massive numbers. When they resisted, repression was savage—a priest wrote that the Spanish "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices of them to test the sharpness of their blades..."

Through murder, being worked to death, disease, and the destruction of their existing agricultural economy, virtually the entire native population—possibly millions—was all but wiped out within a few generations.

But as the Spanish extracted the gold, their power was declining in Europe. Increasingly, rival powers—Britain, France, and Holland—began raiding their ships and colonies in the Caribbean, eventually seizing many of the most important such as Haiti (the western half of Hispaniola), Jamaica, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Martinique, and many more. This happened through intense warfare in which the native people suffered greatly. Between 1762 and 1914, the island of Lucia changed hands seven times.

To this day, various European powers and the U.S. hold onto the islands as "overseas territories," "commonwealths," and other terms that seek to conceal an actual colonial relationship. In the case of St. Martin, the island is actually split—one side ruled by France, the other by the Dutch. Besides the profit that the imperialists extract from these islands, a major part of this is maintaining a strategic foothold in the crucial Caribbean region, which could again assume mainly military dimensions under future conditions.

Sugar and Slavery

With the new rulers came new and even more savage forms of exploitation. As gold deposits were exhausted and native populations were exterminated, the British, Dutch, and French (as well as the Spanish on the islands they still held) turned to agriculture to make profits. And what this meant was slavery. An estimated five million people were kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in the Caribbean.

In one of history's most towering crimes, every single European power and the United States ground up the flesh and bones of generations of African people into the foundation of their great wealth and power today—of the whole capitalist-imperialist system. Take French Haiti as one example of the system that also reigned in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, and elsewhere: the colonial rulers of Haiti imported up to 40,000 slaves a year. And by the late 18th century, 60 percent of the coffee and 40 percent of the sugar consumed in Europe came from this small country, making it France's most valuable colony.

Conditions were brutal: working under the lash and in the broiling sun, ill-fed and housed, beaten and tortured, the average life expectancy of a slave in Haiti was 21 years! This led to courageous resistance, which was met with the most grotesque tortures. A former slave wrote:

Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? Have they not forced them to eat excrement? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss?

Yet in the face of all this, Haitian slaves organized repeated rebellions, until in 1804, Toussaint L'Ouverture, (and after L'Ouverture's murder by the French, Jean-Jacques Dessalines) led a revolutionary war that defeated a series of European armies and established Haiti as an independent republic. This victory inspired slaves in other places, and the growing fear of revolution was a major factor in the decision of the European powers to abolish slavery in the Caribbean between 1838 and 1863. (Other factors in ending slavery were opposition among sections of people in Europe, and economic changes that rendered it not so central to capitalist profit.)

After Slavery: The Spanish-American War and the Rise of Yankee Imperialism

After slavery ended in the mid-late 1800s, the great powers continued to brutally exploit the Caribbean nations. Where there were natural resources like bauxite (Jamaica) or petroleum (Trinidad), large sections of the population, including the descendants of former slaves and indentured servants, went to work enriching the imperialists, now as "free" proletarians rather than outright slaves.

The great powers also battled—sometimes in open warfare, sometimes in other ways, but always fiercely—over which would dominate and control this source of such enormous wealth and global influence.

In 1898, the U.S. declared war on Spain, quickly defeated it, and took over its Caribbean colonies. U.S. troops occupied Cuba, and the U.S. outright annexed the island of Puerto Rico. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt, in a warning to its great power rivals, declared the U.S. "right" to act as an "international police power" in the Caribbean, and followed up by bullying the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries into transferring control of their economies from European powers to the U.S.

The U.S. carried out this brazen imperialism in the name of "protecting" the Caribbean from foreign powers, and would later declare itself a "Good Neighbor" to the Caribbean and Latin America. It was literally stepping onto the world stage as an imperialist power rivaling the empires of Europe on the backs of the peoples of the Caribbean and other oppressed regions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. was ousting rivals and seizing control of island after island for itself. In 1902, the U.S. made Cuba a "protectorate" under its control and established a U.S. Naval Base (colony) at Guantanamo Bay. The Cuban people had been fighting against Spain for their independence, but now the U.S. repeatedly dispatched ships and troops to suppress opposition to Yankee imperialism. The U.S. landed Marines in Cuba in 1906, and they remained until 1909. It dispatched troops again in 1912 and 1917, then occupied the country until 1933.   

In Cuba and some of the other Caribbean countries, agriculture remained the focus of the economy, but it was increasingly organized under imperialist auspices as agriculture for export—bananas, sugar, coffee, cacao—leaving even many islands with thriving agriculture and rich soil dependent on food imports to actually feed their population, an outrage that continues to this day.

By the 1950s, the U.S. controlled 80 percent of Cuban utilities, 90 percent of Cuban mines, close to 100 percent of the country's oil refineries, 90 percent of its cattle ranches, and 40 percent of the sugar industry. And the country was turned into a paradise for U.S. gambling syndicates, real estate operators, hotel owners, and mobsters. As a result, conditions for the Cuban people were horrific: sugar plantation workers faced incredibly oppressive conditions—slave-like labor punctuated by periods of unemployment. One hundred thousand Cuban women were exploited as prostitutes for sex tourists. The Yankees gave economic and military backing to one hated regime after another to enforce this oppressive political, economic, and social setup.

After the 1959 Cuban revolution overthrew the vicious Batista regime, the U.S. embargoed and threatened Cuba for decades, including invading in 1961 (the "Bay of Pigs") and threatening war, possibly global nuclear war, during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Today, the Trump/Pence regime threatens renewed hostilities against Cuba.

       

Conquering and Colonizing Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic

In 1898, U.S. troops also landed in Puerto Rico and seized control of the island from Spain. This marked the beginning of decades of U.S. military occupation, exploitation and poverty, cultural suppression, and national subjugation of Puerto Rico. In 1901, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Puerto Rico was an "unincorporated territory"—a colony with no path to statehood. A 1934 study found that Puerto Ricans working on U.S. sugar plantations were paid on average 12 cents a day.

On the nearby island of Hispaniola, the U.S. sent troops to the Dominican Republic in 1905, 1907, and occupied the country from 1916 to 1924, wrenching it from German control. The U.S. put the Dominican Republic under economic control ("customs supervision") from 1905 to 1940, putting the ruthless tyrant Rafael Trujillo in power in 1930 and backed his murderous rule for three decades until 1961, when he was assassinated with the help and supervision of the CIA.

Yankee imperialism struck on the other side of the island of Hispaniola as well, invading Haiti in 1915 to impose its control and occupying it until 1934. At least 19,000 Haitians were murdered by the occupiers. The U.S. Marines helped put down one people's uprising in 1918 and killed 2,000 people.

In all these countries, the U.S. imposed new forms of imperialist exploitation and oppression. Often, large numbers of small farmers were driven off the land in the interior of these countries to make way for plantations growing crops for export, a form of production that required very few year-round workers. Many of these former peasants went to the coastal cities, in search of work in industries that grew up there exactly to take advantage of the desperation of these displaced peasants, who were compelled to work cheap and hard just to survive—for example, pharmaceuticals in Puerto Rico and garment in Haiti (in the mid-20th century).

In more recent decades, imperialist-dominated service industries such as tourism and the "off-shore banking industry" have rapidly expanded. This, too, drew and drove large sections of the population to the coastal cities, and was associated with the decimation of agriculture meeting local needs. At best, this meant jobs and slight economic stability for a section of the people, servicing the needs of Europeans and Americans, whether tourists or wealthy tax dodgers. And at worst it was savage exploitation in cane fields or mines, little better than slavery, and then being tossed aside when capital moved elsewhere. In many countries, it has meant massive slums surrounding the major cities, where many live by scavenging in garbage dumps or are forced into the dangerous underground economy of drugs.

All this has led to mounting debt crises, and the steady deterioration of social and physical national infrastructure, and the intensifying destruction of the environment and threats from increasingly powerful hurricanes. The Caribbean is one of the most tourism-dependent areas in the world, and this is very connected to, for example, threats to the very existence of coral reefs, which are home to an incredible variety of sea life, because of waste from cruise ships and other factors. And as climate experts warn, based on mounting scientific evidence, global climate change—caused in large part by capitalism-imperialism's massive burning of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases—is already leading to increasingly bigger and more destructive storms and other "extreme weather events." The rising sea levels from global warming are also putting the homes and livelihoods of millions in the Caribbean islands in peril, as in other low-lying seacoast areas across the globe.

America's Bloody Fist Hammers the Caribbean, Again and Again

The United States has never stopped sending its military to violently enforce its domination and maintain its enslavement of the peoples of the Caribbean. 

In 1950, U.S.-directed forces crushed a rebellion in Puerto Rico seeking independence. The U.S. Navy has evicted thousands of people off Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico's east coast, and pounded and polluted it for many years as their practice bombing range. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. "commonwealth"—i.e., colony. Today its infrastructure has been so weakened by years of debt crisis imposed by U.S. imperialism that it faces a grave health care emergency. Even Hurricane Irma's "glancing blow" has left millions of households without power, which the government has already said could take up to six months to restore. Another 50,000 people are without water.

After assassinating Trujillo in 1961, the U.S. again invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965, killing somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 Dominicans, in order to crush a mass armed rebellion and install a pro-U.S. government in power. The U.S. troops conducted house-to-house raids and blew up entire buildings in residential neighborhoods, then occupied the country for 14 more months, carrying out bombing missions and violently breaking up public demonstrations. After the end of formal occupation, the U.S.-backed Balaguer regime carried out a wave of terror during the 1970s. During these years, it was estimated that someone was "disappeared" every 34 hours on average. Generations of Dominicans were forced to leave and seek refuge, millions ending up in areas of concentrated poverty inside the belly of the beast, like Washington Heights in New York City.

In Haiti in 1957, the U.S. helped put the barbaric François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his thugs, the Tonton Macoute, in power. In 1971, U.S. Navy ships stood guard in the capital's harbor to ensure the transition of power to Duvalier's son, Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc"). In 1991, the CIA organized a bloody coup d'état to remove the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power. U.S. troops were deployed to Haiti in 1994-1995 and again in 2004-2005 to maintain U.S. control. Nearly 100 years of U.S. imperialist dominance has left Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. An earthquake in 2010 killed hundreds of thousands, and left 1.6 million homeless. 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.

The U.S.—the CIA in particular—has also repeatedly intervened to shape Jamaica's politics and economics, including forcing Jamaica into the murderous clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), exposed in the 2001 documentary Life and Debt. In October 1983, the U.S. invaded Grenada, overthrowing the government and bringing the island under U.S. control. The Virgin Islands, bought from Denmark in 1916, remain a U.S. colony to this day. In 1989, the U.S. dispatched over 1,000 military police, federal marshals and FBI agents to St. Croix to crush a rebellion triggered by people's desperation in the wake of Hurricane Hugo's devastation. All this by no means exhausts the litany of U.S. invasions, interventions, coups, and other means of strangling and controlling the Caribbean.  

The Reality of the Caribbean "Paradise"

An often repeated phrase in the news coverage of Hurricane Irma's path of destruction through the Caribbean has been "paradise lost"—as if there was none of the long history of colonialism, slavery, imperialist invasions, exploitation on plantations and in sweatshops, and more. And as if there were no connections between that history and the impoverishment, the breakdown of social infrastructure, and the distorted economic development of the Caribbean today that drives people to the vulnerable coastal areas and increases dependency on foreign powers—a situation that has created a situation of extreme vulnerability to the ravages of these powerful storms. A vulnerability 500 years in the making, and which will now require profound revolutionary change around the region and world to overcome.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/507/no-ben-shapiro-the-problem-is-not-campus-thuggery-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/508/trumps-voter-suppression-commission-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Trump’s Voter Suppression Commission—

Disenfranchising Millions in Service of White Supremacy and Fascism

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

America, Summer of 2017: Open white supremacist thugs take to the streets to restore their “heritage” of slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow discrimination, while in Washington, DC, a more well-heeled team of fascists—the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity—meets and plans in modern offices, spearheading another front in the same fascist project.

This commission is officially headed by the Christian fascist vice president, Mike Pence, but the on-the-ground leader is Kris Kobach, former Kansas secretary of state (see sidebar).

Most people first heard about this commission in July, when its demand for extensive voting data, including detailed personal information, sparked public outrage and opposition among the rulers (see below).

This opening act pointed to the commission’s barely disguised mission: to prevent millions of Black people and naturalized citizens,1 as well as Latinos in general, poor people and young people, from voting. This is a major component of the Trump/Pence regime’s drive to once again reduce Black and Brown people to a semi-official status as second-class citizens, persons who are not fully human or deserving of all the rights of other people. In this respect, these attacks are a dangerous step towards ethnic cleansing, or even outright genocide.

Second, in the current context, where the fascist section of the bourgeoisie (grouped around the Trump/Pence regime) is encountering opposition from the non-fascist section, disenfranchising whole sections of the masses who are inclined to vote for that non-fascist section is an important way that the fascist regime fully consolidates power, making sure that, to the greatest extent possible, only those forces who are fully down with the fascist program will have any position of power or influence in society and in the state apparatus.

“Millions of Illegal Voters”—A Straight-up Lie from the Liar-in-Chief

This commission was initially formed to validate Trump’s claim that “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” and that “3 to 5 million illegal immigrants voted.” In that respect, it is both a way to try and “legitimize” Trump’s thoroughly il-legitimate regime, and another way to criminalize immigrants, Latinos, and Black people, so that even the supposed “civic duty” of voting becomes something sinister—if you are Black or Brown!

Trump’s claims of massive fraud are absurd—there is virtually no illegal individual voting in U.S. elections.2 One study looked at every federal election between 2000 and 2014, and found 31 (unproven) allegations of in-person voter fraud—out of over one billion votes cast. Kobach himself doggedly sought to prosecute voting by undocumented immigrants in his home state of Kansas, leading to exactly one conviction!

Undeterred by facts, Trump and a whole cadre of fascist commentators use deception to keep this myth going. Trump proclaimed that “dead people are registered to vote,” and that “you have people registered in two states.” That’s true, because when your loved one dies, few people think “I better make sure she is removed from the voting rolls”! Likewise, when people move and register in a new state, they rarely unregister in their old state.

The question is not whether dead people are registered, but are they actually showing up to vote. And the answer is a resounding NO! The few reports of “dead people” voting turned out to be people who died after casting “absentee” or “early voting” ballots. There is simply no evidence of a significant level—much less millions—of individuals voting illegally.

This brazen dishonesty aims not just to legitimize Trump’s authority, but also to create public opinion for a systematic national attack on the voting rights of Black and Brown people and others.

Such attacks are already taking place, on a state-by-state basis. (See “The State by State Campaign to Strip Away Voting Rights” below at right.) Laws to reduce the Black and Brown vote have been passed in at least 22 states in recent years, and states where Black and Latino voter turnout or population has surged have been the main targets of these laws. According to an article in The American Prospect, “The Brennan Center for Justice ... found that of the 11 states with the highest African American turnout in 2008, seven passed laws making it harder to vote. Of the 12 states with the largest Hispanic population growth in the 2010 Census, nine have new restrictions in place.”

The proponents of these laws often make no bones about it—they view the increasing numbers of Black and Brown voters as a problem! An Ohio legislator explained his 2012 vote for a measure against making voting harder by saying, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban [read: African-American] voter-turnout machine.” (American Prospect)

The Commission: Act I

The commission met for the first time in early July. As referenced above, so far it has taken only one major action, which was to request that every state’s election board provide the commission with all of its voters’ names and party affiliations, birth dates, felony conviction records, voting histories for the past decade, and the last four digits of all voters’ Social Security numbers. Kobach said he wanted to match this voter information with other data, like federal records of foreign residents and undocumented immigrants, to spotlight people who cast illegal ballots.

       

This is an extremely ominous move. It means putting some of the tried and true methods of voter suppression already used on the state level at the service of the national fascist state. This could include systematizing and massively upping the level of using statistical flimflam to generate false reports of voter fraud and then using that to “go national” with the kinds of voter suppression laws and measures discussed in “The State by State Campaign to Strip Away Voting Rights” (see sidebar below right), as well as to justify new measures to strip people of the right to vote.

There is also the question of what else this commission—and the Trump/Pence regime as a whole—might do with the kind of massive database they are trying to develop. Such a database, for example, could be used to target whole sections of the people for persecution based on their voting records, political affiliations, prison records, race, nationality, etc., or for “doxing” (publishing people’s personal information online) of individuals who speak out against the regime.

The commission’s request for records aroused public outrage, and also met opposition from other bourgeois forces for various reasons. Nineteen states refused to comply completely, and another 26 are expected to only partially comply. This was a significant setback for the commission (although it is also worth noting this means that 31 states are either partially or fully complying).

But if there is one thing we know about the Trump/Pence fascists, it is that their response to setbacks is to double down and accelerate their drive to fascism. The drive to marginalize, disenfranchise, and suppress the votes—and the voters—of oppressed nationalities is going to continue, unless and until this regime is driven from power.


1. Naturalized citizens are foreign-born residents who complete the process of becoming U.S. citizens and thus gain the right to vote. [back]

2. As is documented in many places, including below in this article, there is massive voting fraud in the U.S.—not individuals voting twice, etc., but the systematic and multi-faceted campaign by the fascists to suppress the votes of Black and Latino people, through legal and illegal means. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/020/avakian-memoir-excerpts2.htm

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

The Free Speech Movement

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

October 30, 2005, | Revolution Newspaper #020 | revcom.us

 

May 15, 2017: In light of the recent "Battle for Berkeley," where students have fought to drive fascists from the campus, and fascists have targeted Berkeley for its radical history, this excerpt from Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, is very relevant. In the course of recalling his involvement in the famous Free Speech Movement of the early 1960s as a student at UC Berkeley, he gets into what the terms of the struggle actually were, what the students were fighting for and the response of the university.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Six, "Your Sons and Your Daughters...," in Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, A Memoir by Bob Avakian.

The Free Speech Movement

Despite the administration’s rule that you couldn’t do “on-campus organizing for off-campus issues,” people at Cal were organizing on the campus to protest against local businesses which they identified as practicing racial discrimination in their hiring, such as the Oakland Tribune and this drive-in restaurant called Mel’s Diner. Everybody on campus was aware of this, it was becoming more and more of an issue that people were debating and talking about and getting involved in—or not getting involved in and opposing, because there was polarization. To jump ahead for a second in order to give a sense of this, at a later point in the FSM, during one of the nights when people were sitting in around a police car, 500 fraternity boys came to throw things at the people sitting in and shout insults at them. I’ve often said that in the ’60s even ­fraternity boys grew brains, but that was later in the ’60s—at the time of the FSM they didn’t have them yet.

So the administration sent the campus police to put a stop to this on-campus organizing for “off-campus issues.” A guy named Jack Weinberg was sitting at a table organizing for this and he refused to fold up the table. They arrested him, put him in a police car to drive him off, and then a bunch of students came and surrounded the police car. While this sit-in was going on, I was at a reception that the Chancellor, Chancellor Strong, was having for honor students at the university. At that reception, one of the students asked him what was going on with the sit-in, and the Chancellor basically said: “Well, the area in which they were originally organizing wasn’t the area where the police car incident took place, but where they were originally organizing, we thought that was actually city property, because it was right at the entrance to the campus. But then we looked into it and found out that it was university property, so we decided we should put a stop to it.” And why did they look into it? Well, he went on to tell us, because of pressure from the Oakland Tribune, which was owned by William F. Knowland, who was a well-known reactionary.5The Tribune called up, the Chancellor told us, complaining about the organizing of civil rights demonstrations against the Tribune for discriminatory hiring practices. “So,” Chancellor Strong concluded, “we cracked down on that organizing.”

I was just stunned. I was shocked, first of all, that this was actually how this came about and, second, that he was just saying this so baldly as if everybody would accept it. As I’ve said elsewhere,6 I guess his idea was this: since we had good grades, we must be “grade-grubbers,” in training to become money-grubbers, and we wouldn’t find anything objectionable in what he told us. But a lot of people there did find this very objectionable, including myself. I immediately went over to the sit-in around the police car and got in line to speak—the police car had been surrounded by the protesters and transformed into a speaking platform while Jack Weinberg was still sitting inside. It was really great! So when my turn came, I got up on the police car and told this story and explained how it led me to support this whole thing, and I donated my $100 honorarium for being an honor student to the FSM. And that’s how I first got directly involved.

Stepping back, I think the FSM expressed the general feeling that students wanted to be treated as adults and citizens, they wanted to have the same rights as other people. Phil Ochs had this song where the refrain went something like, I’ve got something to say, sir, and I’m going to say it now. And as it was in that song, so it was in reality with students and youth at that time. But, beyond that, there were a lot of big things going on in the world. Vietnam was already beginning to heat up in the fall of ’64, and there was the civil rights movement. People wanted to be actively involved in or debating about these things, they wanted to be part of the larger world—they didn’t want to be treated like little children just because they were students. So all this was going on and mixing together: the general resistance against treating college students as if they didn’t have any minds, against the whole bureaucratization of the university and the functioning of the university as machinery to serve the corporate world and the military, and against the depersonalizing effects of all that on the students, on the one hand, as well as the big things going on in society and the world, like the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, that people wanted to be involved in. It was all that together.

The university tried to claim that it was all being fomented by “outside agitators.” There were some people who weren’t students who were involved—and they were welcomed, it was good that they were involved. But it was overwhelmingly students who were involved. This came out, for example, when people were arrested in the big sit-in at the University Administration building. In the aftermath of these arrests, this claim was made: “Oh, these are just ne’er-do-wells, these are just disgruntled students and non-students.” But the records showed that overwhelmingly those arrested were students. Then, since they couldn’t deny that most of those arrested were students, they claimed that they were students who were failing or getting poor grades anyway, so they were just being troublemakers. In response to this, the FSM committee took a survey of the people who’d been arrested, and among other things asked the grade point average of the students who were arrested. This survey revealed and confirmed that the students who were arrested had higher grade point averages than students in the university overall, and were generally not failing or getting poor grades.

At this time Liz was more politically aware and more of an activist and radical than I was. She had a family background of people who’d been involved with the Communist Party, and even though that ultimately meant revisionism—reformism in the name of communism—it still gave her a broader political outlook than I had at that time. And she had a big influence on me. It was partly the political discussions we had and partly, to be honest, the fact that I was interested in her romantically and she wanted to be very active in the Free Speech Movement, that led me to be so consistently involved.

When we went into Sproul Hall for the big sit-in, and as the sit-in went on, I was trying to help keep the morale up. At one point I went from floor to floor organizing singing to keep the spirits up. But, at the same time, this sit-in lasted several days and I was still a serious student, so I was also trying to keep up with my schoolwork during the sit-in—until at one point I just decided, “Oh, the hell with it,” and threw my homework away. I literally took my homework and threw it down the hall. But this also had a larger symbolic meaning, even though I myself wasn’t fully aware of it yet.

Another one of those ironies of “straddling two worlds” happened to me at the end of the sit-in, when people were arrested in almost an assembly line fashion. As they were arrested, a lot of people were thrown down the stairs, and the women in particular were grabbed by the hair and thrown down the stairs. I was on the top floor and saw many people brutalized like that and, of course, this was only a few months after I had finally recovered from being sick. So besides being outraged generally, I was also a little worried about what would happen to me if I got thrown down the stairs or otherwise brutalized, especially if I got hit in the area of my kidneys. And as my turn came to be busted, I recognized the cop who was arresting me as someone who had played basketball for a local college. I saw his nameplate said Gray, so I said, “Aren’t you the ‘Gray’ who played basketball for St. Mary’s?” And I kind of shrugged my shoulders as if to say, “So what you gonna do?” And he replied, “Sorry, can’t do nothin’ for you”—and off I went.

Of course, I was very happy to be arrested, to put it that way. I wanted to be part of this, and there was a great camaraderie. When I did this thing with this cop Gray, I wasn’t trying to not get arrested, I just didn’t want to get thrown down the stairs or hit in my kidneys. But I was very happy to be part of this.

At the same time, my whole involvement in the Free Speech Movement came shortly after my dad was appointed as a judge by the same governor, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, who sent the police in to arrest us in Sproul Hall. So that kind of captures a sharp contradiction. My dad was saying to me and also to my younger sister, “Look, I just got appointed...” In effect, he was saying: “Don’t do anything to screw up my getting established as judge.” My sister and I both had the attitude: “Well, we’re not gonna go out of our way to make trouble for you, but we’re also not gonna hold back from doing the things we think are right or important.”

When I did get arrested, it was another case where both of my parents agreed with the principles of free speech, and even agreed generally with what the students were fighting for, but I think were made very nervous, not only in a personal sense but in a larger sense, by the whole turmoil that was being created—the shutting down of the university, in effect, and people getting busted and all that kind of thing, as well as the personal dimension of how this might affect my dad’s standing as a judge. On the other hand, as soon as they learned that I got arrested, my parents called up my doctor, since I had just gotten over this very serious illness, and I was still in a precarious position. And my doctor, who I later learned was sympathetic to protests like this, told my parents: “This could be very dangerous for him. Even if he spends just one night on a cold floor, it could kick back in his whole kidney disease.” Actually, my doctor felt so strongly about this that he insisted that my dad get me out that night, so that I wouldn’t have to spend the night on a cold floor under jail conditions. So I was surprised to get out a little earlier than some of the other people did, though most everybody was out by the next morning or the next day sometime.

Mario Savio

Mario Savio, who led the FSM, had a big effect on me, though I ­didn’t really know him personally. I was active and involved in FSM pretty much all the way through, from the beginning; I went to all the rallies and heard Mario and others speak. Like everyone else who was involved, or who heard his speeches, I was very moved by them and felt they spoke very penetratingly to how we saw things and what was motivating us. But while in general I was very moved by his speeches, I remember one time right before we all got busted in Sproul Hall, Mario gave a speech. I think this was just when we found out that the governor, Pat Brown, was sending the troopers to bust us, and Mario talked about the duplicity and the double-dealing of the university administration and the governor and so on—that they hadn’t negotiated in good faith and that they’d done these back-handed things—but then he said, “And this is just like what our government is doing in Vietnam.” This was in early December of 1964, and I was actively looking into the Vietnam War and trying to figure out what stand to take on it, but I ­hadn’t made up my mind yet.

As I referred to earlier, I was troubled by Mario’s saying this at that point, because I felt like we had a certain level of unity in the Free Speech Movement, but it didn’t include opposing the Vietnam War. You didn’t have to be opposed to the Vietnam War to be actively and enthusiastically involved in the Free Speech Movement, though probably if you took a survey, the overwhelming majority would have been opposed to the Vietnam War. And, within a short time after this, I myself became convinced that it needed to be very actively and strongly opposed. But at that time I was still in the process of wrangling with this—debating and studying and trying to learn enough to make up my mind about it. So this was a little troubling to me—although, as I’ve said before, as I was trying to make up my mind and come to a decision about Vietnam, the things that were said by people like Mario Savio, for whom I had great respect in general, obviously had a big influence and played a role in convincing me to oppose what the U.S. was doing in Vietnam. So it was that kind of contradictory thing.

 


5. William F. Knowland was nicknamed William “Formosa” Knowland because of his big-time support for Chiang Kai-shek, who had ruled China with the backing of the U.S. and other imperialist powers but had been driven from power in 1949 by the Chinese revolution, led by Mao Tsetung, and forced to retreat to the island of Taiwan, which was formerly called Formosa. [back]

6. For more on the author’s views on the Free Speech Movement, see “FSM Reflections—On Becoming a Revolutionary,” by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Worker, #882, November 17, 1996, available at revcom.us. [back]

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/the-new-communism-ebook-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

THE NEW COMMUNISM

The science, the strategy, the leadership
for an actual revolution,
and a radically new society
on the road to real emancipation

Now Available as an eBook

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Insight Press announces that in addition to the print book, THE NEW COMMUNISM is now available as an eBook at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble and other retail and library websites, and at some sites as a PDF.

For anyone who cares about the state of the world and the condition of humanity and agonizes over whether fundamental change is really possible, this landmark work provides a sweeping and comprehensive orientation, foundation, and guide to making the most radical of revolutions: a communist revolution aimed at emancipating humanity—getting beyond all forms of oppression and exploitation on a world scale. 

The author, Bob Avakian, is the architect of a new synthesis of communism. This new synthesis is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. Avakian has written this book in such a way as to make even complex theory accessible to a broad audience. In this book, he draws on his decades of work advancing the science of communism and his experience as a revolutionary communist leader, including leading the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, as its Chairman since its founding in 1975. 

This is a pathbreaking work, one that scientifically analyzes the system of capitalism-imperialism and its unresolvable contradictions; confronts the challenges facing the movement for revolution; and forges a way forward to making an actual revolution in this country, as part of contributing to communist revolution internationally.

Insight Press
www.insight-press.com

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/ba-seven-talks-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/facing-felony-charges-off-the-burning-of-american-flag-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Statement from Comrade Niko, Facing Felony Charges off the Burning of the American Flag at the Republican National Convention in 2016

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 20th [2016], we went up to the gates of the Nazi Republican National Convention and burned their blood-soaked rag of empire making a bold statement to people here and around the world, saying that there is another way—we're not following either one of their leaders, the fascist Trump or the war criminal Clinton, we're standing with the people of the world bringing forward another way, revolution and communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian.

Now the state is coming back with their repression, hitting us with trumped up charges. Why? I'll tell you: they don't want to see people get linked up with this revolution—especially oppressed nationalities taking this up and bringing forward others, so they want to make an example of us. Particularly me being a Black youth, they couldn't have that, so they brought down the boot now, in a time when political speech and the RIGHT to dissent is coming under attack. So in this context, this CASE means so much to the people whether they know it or not. If they are allowed to attack us [revolutionaries] and put us in jail for years, what is that preparing people for? And also this leadership the masses have is precious and people need to defend it, not let it be taken away, while also bringing more forces forward. That's why I'm calling on people to defend the RNC 16.

I want to say about flag burning, you may like it, or some people may not personally agree with it, but it is protected political speech. But people have the right to burn the American flag and that right is coming under attack and should people be criminalized and go to jail for years and years just for burning a flag?

I stand by what I did. I'm very proud of what we accomplished standing with the people of the world!! Calling out and sounding the alarm about the fascism of the Trump regime. I got to be part of that.

But I want to say this about the risks... jail, losing your life. These are times that are calling on us to rise to the occasion. Courage, conviction, and sacrifice is required. People go to jail, go to court, all the time for bullshit. This is for a reason. For the people. To get people organized into something that is the opposite of what is going on. I'd do it again. Seeing that flag burn, after the long years of slavery that went on behind, and the long years since, where it is held up as a symbol of democracy, but that is bullshit, it is a symbol of imperialism, of domination and suffering. Every time that flag flies, people here and around the world are being devastated.

When we burned it at the Republican National Convention. That was my first time burning it. And I think it was "right on." My only regret is that more American flags didn't burn. Felt that what we did was a rallying cry to the people of the world. There is a force that is serious about getting organized for revolution to overthrow the system, right here in the belly of the beast and people taking heart from that.

I been down here in Chicago now for like five months as a Revolution Club volunteer. And I see there are lots of people, a lot of Black youth, putting your life on the line for bullshit. Why can't you put your life on the line for something much more—emancipating humanity? For a world where there are no desolated and devastated communities of people gunning each other down, but instead transforming society to where those things are not going on anymore. That's why people are needed now to get with this revolution. It is not going to be easy, it is going to be a struggle, but a worthwhile struggle. You are going to have to break with those old ways of thinking and transform yourself, and start on the path to be a revolutionary communist—an emancipator of humanity.

People can be part of making all this happen. The alternative is to let these fascists and white supremacists get organized and consolidate, while we are helping them out by killing and dividing each other, while they sweep up humanity.

One of the reasons I'm down in Chicago is because I have this understanding from BA of how the world can be different, and to act on that understanding, to bring others forward, so I am happy to be part of this with the Revolution Club. Even though I get frustrated and have contradictions, but there is nothing I would rather be doing. That is why I left my home and my job to do this. It is a worthwhile sacrifice. Now we are about to go to Cleveland for this trial and I say let's do it. Let's defeat this shit.

As Repression and Threats Against Dissent Grow...
Two Protesters Face Felonies in Cleveland for Burning Flag at Republican National Convention

September 4, 2017
Read more.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/meet-two-rnc-16-protesters-facing-serious-felony-charges-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Meet Niko and Bo, Two RNC 16 Protesters Facing Serious Felony Charges

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 19, Niko and Bo, two of the RNC 16 defendants, are going to trial, facing serious felony charges. The RNC 16 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 on the very day the RNC selected Donald Trump to be its presidential candidate.

Niko is a member of the Revolution Club. He came forward against the high rise in police murder that happened with Eric Garner and Michael Brown. "I felt compelled to act and do something but didn't know what that was until I walked into a Revolution Books store and met the comrades who told me there is a whole another way that society could be organized—communism. And I wanted to learn more about it, and did and have been staying on that revolutionary road. Also, I went to the Dialogue [between Bob Avakian and Cornel West] and that concretely made me say I was going to put myself to it because of hearing BA speak at the Dialogue. That helped me and inspired me to make the decision. So when I came back home I said, alright, I'm going to put myself to this, that I really want to do this." Read more from Niko here.

Bo runs with the Revolution Club and describes himself as an advocate for the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian. Bo enlisted in the U.S. military and was deployed to Iraq, first as part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in 2003 and later in 2007 as part of the U.S. "surge." He joined the U.S. Marines believing he would be helping the U.S. to spread democracy in parts of the world where democracy was not functioning. These experiences, being a part of and seeing the massive destruction and horrific deaths of the Iraqi people, has had a deep impact on Bo. He began searching for answers as he realized that the U.S. was not there to help the people in Iraq. He was arrested when the authorities shut down the Los Angeles Occupy encampment in 2011. He was arrested during the April 14, 2015 National Day of Protest Against Police Murder and Police Brutality. This is where he met the Revolution Club. Bo volunteered with the Revolution Club and traveled to the RNC and DNC during the summer of 2016. When Bo joined the Marines, he believed it was his patriotic duty to the USA and he was confronted with the brutal reality of what the role of the U.S. has been and continues to be—a brutal imperialist empire that has and continues to plunder and ravage the world. So the burning of the American flag has particular significance to Bo, as part of his transformation from patriot to internationalist standing with the people of the world. He is proud of having been part of this historic political protest at the RNC. In January 2017, he volunteered to go to DC during the Trump inauguration, and was arrested along with 25 others for disrupting the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

From a reader:

Some thoughts on the RNC 16 and what to do to support them

September 9, 2017

Read more


As Repression and Threats Against Dissent Grow...
Two Protesters Face Felonies in Cleveland for Burning Flag at Republican National Convention

September 4, 2017
Read more.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/prisoner-glad-we-can-contribute-to-struggle-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Letter from a Prisoner

“I am glad that I can show that we locked in the ‘Belly Of The Beast’ can still contribute positively to The Struggle.”

September 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

TX, 8/9/17

Greetings Comrades and Friends,

I appreciate you informing me that my letter (thoughts) were of some positive use. Especially, to the point of it being posted on the South Side of Chicago. Hopefully, it reaches at least one of the many searching for an answer.

I am, also, glad that I can show that we locked in the ‘Belly Of The Beast’ can still contribute positively to The Struggle. Yes, I know PRLF and Bob Avakian has been telling us that from day one. Still, it does the Spirit good and motivates us to keep striving in The Struggle. And yes, we (prisoners) can grasp and wield the scientific method and approach for getting to a radically different and better world.

At times, we (prisoners) get caught up with the Drama and Bullshit of this world we exist in. But, having the Teachings of Bob Avakian and the Philosophy of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA as a Foundation (something like a safety-net). We don’t need to fall back into our old self-destruction ways, and the powers-that-be can’t stand it! They hate to see US (prisoners) moving forward when it’s not coinciding with their overall plan/program (religion, or snitching on each other). It hurts them to see a positive movement that they don’t approve of or authorize. It’s a lot of GREAT MINDS and untapped energy behind ‘The Walls’. I witness it every day, it just needs to be focused. It’s so much potential sitting in here, I know that WE could build a better world for the future generations to inherit!

Well, the prison officials got me for: BAsics, Away With All Gods!, The Science of Evolution, Science and Revolution, and Constitution for the New Socialist Republic.

I understand the policy of not writing responses to PRLF subscribers. So, please tell all my comrades and friends there THANK YOU! And you all’s silent support is the Guiding Light when it is the darkest in here. Just knowing we are not alone, nor forgotten gives us the strength to keep striving in The Struggle!

I shall keep you all informed of any retribution against me, but sometimes it’s better to fade it, and deal with it In-House. Does that make sense?

IN THE STRUGGLE,

P.S. Once again, Thank All Of You!

 

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

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/american-crime-case-60-rebellion-mass-legal-lynching-of-19-black-soldiers-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

American Crime

Case #60: The 1917 Camp Logan Rebellion and the Mass Legal Lynching of 19 Black Soldiers

September 10, 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:

December 11, 1917: At five in the morning, 13 Black soldiers are taken from the barracks at a military camp near San Antonio, Texas, and marched to the gallows. Each is placed on a chair, noose slipped over his head. Simultaneously, the chairs are kicked out and the soldiers drop to their death. Buried in graves nearby, the markers are not their names, just numbers 1 through 13. Each, to the end, proclaimed his innocence.

The events leading to the hanging began five months earlier. On July 27, 1917, the U.S. Army ordered the Third Battalion of the all-Black 24th Infantry Regiment to move from New Mexico to Houston to guard Camp Logan, which was under construction.

The regiment originally consisted of Black cavalry units formed in 1866. Made up of former slaves who had fought in the Union army during the Civil War, they were sent west to slaughter Native Americans, who called them Buffalo Soldiers. In 1916, they had been sent to Mexico as part of General Pershing’s forces who were trying, unsuccessfully, to hunt down the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. They were disappointed when they were not chosen to fight in Europe after the U.S. entered World War 1 earlier in 1917. But they continued to think that their patriotic service at home would result in some semblance of civility towards them from whites. But as events in Houston were to show, they were gravely mistaken.

At Camp Logan, white construction workers taunted the soldiers and demanded separate tanks of drinking water. In Houston itself, the soldiers encountered at almost every turn the overtly racist, degrading Jim Crow segregation pervading the Deep South. They were infuriated by the “whites only” signs, the verbal abuse by whites, and trolley conductors demanding they sit in the rear. Some refused, leading to clashes with the police.

Early afternoon, August 23, 100 years ago last month: Two white Houston cops break up a craps game in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and one, searching for a “fleeing suspect,” enters the house of Sara Travers. No “suspect” there, but he drags Travers outside in her nightgown, as her five children look on. Seeing this, Private Alonso Edwards of the Third Battalion offers to take custody of Travers, but the cop pistol-whips and arrests him.

Later that afternoon, the battalion’s Corporal Charles Baltimore goes to the police station to ask about Travers. There, Baltimore is beaten, flees, is shot at three times, captured, beaten again, and arrested. Baltimore is later released, but soldiers at the camp hear he’s been shot and killed.

Night, August 23: Fearing trouble from the seething soldiers, one of the battalion’s white officers revokes all passes for the evening, orders the men to assemble without arms, and warns them not to take the law into their own hands. One of the men, who has smuggled his rifle into the formation, fires it and yells that a white mob is approaching the camp. The soldiers break formation, race to the supply tents to grab rifles and ammunition, and 156 of them begin marching toward Houston.

When the soldiers reached the city, they fought white police and local residents in pitched gun battles. When the fighting ended, four Black soldiers, five white cops, and 12 white civilians were dead. The day after the rebellion, martial law was declared in Houston.

Sixty-three soldiers were charged with disobeying orders, mutiny, murder, and aggravated assault. At the court-martial, they were defended by only one person, who taught law at West Point but was not a lawyer and had no trial experience. Nearly 200 testified for the prosecution at the 22-day trial, but almost none could identify any of the defendants, or distinguish among them, because the rebellion had occurred at night during heavy rain.

At the three trials, no evidence was brought forth to prove the existence of a conspiracy, and in fact, having endured several weeks of racist Jim Crow laws, constant taunts, and police brutality, the soldiers had good reason to believe a mob attack was in the offing. Further, a little earlier in 1917, on July 2 and 3, a mob of white vigilantes in East St. Louis, Illinois, had burned hundreds of Black homes and beaten, shot, and lynched Black residents, with most historians estimating that at least 100 Black people were killed. The soldiers of the Third Battalion, who knew what had happened in East St. Louis, were well aware of what could happen in Houston.

But on November 28, 1917, a “prestigious” court consisting of three brigadier generals, seven full colonels, and three lieutenant colonels sentenced 13 of the Black soldiers to hang. Forty-one were given life sentences. Only five were acquitted.

Two more courts-martial followed. At the second, 15 were tried, five sentenced to death. At the third, 40 soldiers were tried, 23 were found guilty and 11 of the 23 were sentenced to death, the other 12 to life in prison.

THE CRIMINALS:

The chiefs of the U.S. Army set up and presided over the three courts-martial which, given the lack of evidence against the accused, were nothing but kangaroo courts.

General John Ruckman was the Army’s point man for the three trials. After the 13 soldiers at the first court-martial were sentenced to hang, the court recommended clemency for one of them, but Ruckman refused to grant it. He then approved all the death, life imprisonment, and other sentences handed down at the other two trials.

President Woodrow Wilson: While Wilson deceitfully promised “democracy” and “self-determination” for the planet’s colonized people during World War 1, back at home he was an openly racist and outspoken defender of white supremacy who publicly upheld this legal mass lynching. Wilson mourned the deaths of white “innocent bystanders,” “peaceable disposed citizens of the City of Houston.” He claimed that the three trials were “properly constituted,” that “extraordinary precautions” had been taken to “insure the fairness of the trials,” and that the rights of the defendants had been “surrounded at every point” by the “safeguards” of “a humane administration of the law.” This, in face of the fact that no substantial evidence had been presented at any of the three trials. Wilson went on to affirm the death sentences of the six other soldiers because there was “plain evidence” that they had engaged in “shocking brutality.”

On August 31, 1918, only after coming under heavy public pressure, Wilson commuted the sentences of 10 of the 16 men still awaiting hanging, consigning them instead to life imprisonment. He did so, he declared, because the “lesson” of the “lawless riot” had already been “adequately pointed,” and he hoped this clemency would inspire Black soldiers “to further zeal and service to the country.”

THE ALIBI: The authorities responsible for the “legal lynching” of 19 Black soldiers and life imprisonment for many more claimed that the men had engaged in a conspiracy, that they manufactured fear of a white mob attack in order to justify a murderous rampage against the white cops and citizens of Houston.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

The political power of the U.S. ruling class rests, most fundamentally, on its military, and these brutal mass hangings signaled that the military command would brook no disobedience, much less mutiny, no matter how justified, especially by Black soldiers. Far from being an instrument of social justice or transformation, the U.S. military reflects and reinforces the relations of exploitation and oppression America is based on—in this case the overt, legalized Jim Crow segregation and lynch mob racism in the South and the brutal and often murderous white supremacy that reigned in the North. The Black soldiers at Camp Logan frontally and militantly challenged both military discipline and Jim Crow segregation and white lynch mob rule—with arms.

Coming at a time of major social and economic transformations, a major migration of Black people from the South, and growing protests and demands by Black people for equality, the Camp Logan rebellion represented the worst fears of white Southerners and powers in the North as well: Black people taking up arms against their oppression. This was seen as requiring the most severe punishment, including 19 hangings, as a warning and lesson to Black people who would consider doing the same. One message: no matter what Black people do for “their country,” this system still considers them as less than fully human, with no rights white people are bound to respect. That was true then, and it remains true today.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/mexico-deadly-earthquake-murderous-system-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Mexico: Deadly Earthquake—Magnified by the Murderous System

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Just before midnight on Thursday, September 7, a huge earthquake of 8.1 or 8.2 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of southwest Mexico and Guatemala. It was the strongest earthquake to be recorded in Mexico in a century. As of Sunday night, reports are that at least 90 people have died from the quake and its aftermath—with the figure certain to rise. Damage from the quake is affecting many, many people, mostly in the southwestern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. In and around Mexico City, fully 430 miles (700 kilometers) away from the quake’s epicenter, a freeway bridge fell and buildings were damaged. Classes were suspended in 11 states.

Hardest hit was the historic indigenous town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, where three dozen people died and at least a third of the buildings were destroyed or damaged, including the hospital and City Hall, in this county seat with a population of 75,000. (Mexican newspaper La Jornada reported that in Oaxaca, communities are cooperating to protect the homeless by blockading the streets and standing guard. Most of the injured and dead were dug out hand-over-hand by families and neighbors before the official rescue teams arrived.)

In Chiapas, the State Civil Protection System reported on Saturday that more than one million people are affected, and the governor reported that 40,000 homes are damaged.

In Guatemala, close to 5,000 buildings were damaged.

Thousands of families throughout the region are spending their days and nights huddled in the streets, justifiably fearing that aftershocks will bring their damaged homes down on them. Of the more than 700 aftershocks so far, at least six have been above 5.0 on the Richter scale, including a 5.6 aftershock on September 9, with its epicenter in Oaxaca, which ratcheted up the level of anxiety.

Throw into this perilous situation the arrival on the east coast of Mexico of Hurricane Katia on September 8, killing two people in landslides and massive flooding. Although Katia slowed down to a tropical storm as it moved inland, it is still expected to bring rainstorms and flooding into southern Mexico and possibly slow the transport of goods for relief.

The Pacific coast of southwest Mexico and Guatemala runs along a colliding fault between the North American and Cocos tectonic plates, which frequently produces quakes, but this one was so large that it moved the fault up 32 feet (10 meters). The quake’s relatively shallow depth made it even more severe.

The movement of these massive plates that underlie the earth’s surface is not predictable with any exactitude, nor preventable. However, the extent of the suffering from such disasters, and the official response to them, are determined by the fact that under this system, society is not organized to meet the needs of people but on the basis of the drives and needs of capitalism-imperialism—and, in a country like Mexico, the needs of the big capitalists and landowners in the countryside beholden to them.

       

Mexican Government Response—and Their Drive to Enforce Blood-Soaked Control

The Mexican government’s response to the earthquake in this region in particular cannot be separated from its overriding concern to enforce blood-soaked social and political control. Oaxaca and Chiapas are among the poorest and most politically contentious states in Mexico, with the highest percentages of indigenous populations. The Mexican government has been promoting major new infrastructure development like mines, hydroelectric plants, airports, and freeways, many owned and/or run by imperialist conglomerates, especially from the U.S. and China, and this is giving rise to struggles throughout Mexico, many led by indigenous peoples whose land and historical roots are being expropriated and despoiled. Of a piece with these developments is the privatization of the oil industry and other previously state-run industries, and the corresponding slashing and restructuring of state sectors, such as the education system, especially in the rural south.

Just last year, armed police and soldiers shot and killed in cold blood six people in the Oaxacan town of Nochixtlán, and attacked and beat others throughout Oaxaca and the region, to repress the struggle of teachers in the CNTE teachers’ union caucus known for radical politics. Chiapas is internationally known for a mostly indigenous rural uprising (led by the EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) on January 1, 1994, the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. In 2014, thousands of Zapatistas and supporters mobilized after paramilitaries attacked a Zapatista school and clinic, murdering a leading teacher, Galeano.

Immediately after the quake, President Enrique Peña Nieto dispatched 200 soldiers to Juchitán and 100 to the state capital, Oaxaca City. Marines have now been added. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 troops were mobilized in Chiapas.

Peña Nieto announced three days of national mourning while he perched atop a mound of rubble in Juchitán, even as people were still digging through rubble to rescue possible survivors. He could barely contain his smirk. Just one day before, his visit to Oaxaca City had been met with powerful protests by dissenting teachers that shut down the city center for five hours. Two trucks were burned, and a helicopter was damaged by fireworks and forced to land. It was reported that in the ensuing police repression, more than 40 people were injured and 20 arrested, with possible disappearances. Juchitán is also well known for its long history of very militant opposition to the federal government and as a stronghold of the teachers’ radical movement.

Peña Nieto’s visit to the town of Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas last month was also met with very powerful protests by indigenous groups and teachers. Under the guise of celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day,” he came to promote Special Economic Zones intended to open up indigenous and communally owned lands to development. Before his visit, indigenous neighborhood leaders told him he was “persona non grata” and warned, “The heroic Chiapa de Corzo does not receive traitors.” One year before, this same community had driven out the whole federal and state police force en masse, shouting “Murderers!” in response to police attacks on teachers.

So, all the way up through the very day of the quake, the president of Mexico had a difficult time setting foot anywhere in either Oaxaca or Chiapas. Many on social media are lambasting him for his hypocrisy for taking advantage of the suffering from the quake to pose as a savior and get a “pass.” True enough, he’s a fucking hypocrite with a heart of stone and a wood block for brains—but that’s not the worst of it. What happens, historically, when military troops are unleashed onto indigenous zones known for militant or even armed resistance? People need to beware of treating the military as some kind of “above the fray” force for the good of the “nation” (as if the nation itself were a monolithic unit without classes).

Massive resources do need to be delivered immediately into the areas suffering enormous destruction, before a horrific public health crisis results from many thousands of people left without access to shelter, food and water. But these resources, including international aid, should be handed over directly to local communities without strings, questions of party and cartel affiliation, or any of the usual cut off the top. Use of the military or police to repress the people must be denounced and resisted—and not only by those in the regions who are most under the gun.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/prisoner-four-poems-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

From a Prisoner

"Four poems that express my thoughts in regard to the state of the presidency, economy and racism."

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

CA, Aug 18, 2017

Peace Comrades:

I love you guys for your priceless contributions to the struggle at large, especially as it pertains to the belly of the beast. I am enclosing four poems that express my thoughts in regard to the state of the presidency, economy and racism. Take Care.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

RACE OF RACES

A vote for a presidential redneck

Generations of white tyrannical rule

Masters of making people’s lives a wreck

Constitutional rights the size of a molecule

Circus competition from a two party election

Millions of dollars vested into showmanship

One voice allegedly for all protection

A con game equivalent to a slave whip

60

 

CAPTIAL RULE

Democracy strictly for the ruling class

White membership surpassing public rhetoric

Law abiding racist transparent as glass

Caste systems installed brick by brick

National monuments symbolizing a whitewash past

Founded on the scorched back of slaves

Indigenous citizens treated as an outcast

In a society erected from mass graves

43

 

GOVERNMENTAL CONNIVING

Government funding to white hate groups

Both in the trenches against black sovereignty

Fruitful roads leading to vigilante para troops

Political campaigns to administer mental poverty

Black code laws separating man from beast

Bibles reinterpreted showing truth of inferiority

Generations of the wealthiest slave feast

Subliminal constitution with an invisible priority

44

 

GOVERNMENT SKELETON CREW

Laws that ignite dissension among the people

Professional criminals with badges of authority

Diabolical actions summed into the cointelpro era

Frame ups to prosecute all leftist potential

Ku Klux Klans sworn into the oval office

Concentration camps as windows to population control

Executive tricks for the disappearance of martyrs

Congressional statutes to eradicate radical voices

Memorandums transformed into secret service bullets

An open grave to another dying song

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #508 September 11, 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/508/chicago-film-showing-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Chicago, Sunday September 17, 2-9 pm, Revolution Club Organizing Center

Showing of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Updated September 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Showing of DVD of a film of a talk by Bob Avakian:

Download PDF for printing palmcards: FRONT | BACK

 

 

Download PDF for printing posters: Poster 1 | Poster 2

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/it-is-the-system-to-blame-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Some Preachers Say That It Is God's Will and a Judgment on Black People When Our Youth Are Killed.
We Say: Bullshit! Such a God Would Be a Horrible God. But God Does Not Exist Anyway! It Is the System to Blame—And We Need to Wake Up, Face Reality, and Prepare to Make Revolution!

By the Revolution Club, with Joe Veale

September 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the last two weeks, the Revolution Club has been to two funerals. These were, like thousands of others here in Chicago, very painful deaths. Two unnecessary deaths. The last one was that of a 16-year-old. He was gunned down in broad daylight, allegedly witnesses say, by a Chicago fireman. The police say this youth was attempting to steal a car and therefore deserved to die. But there are eyewitnesses who say this is a lie. Even if what the pigs say is true—what kind of society—what kind of system do we live in that values a car over the life of a human being? A system that needs to be overthrown at the soonest possible time.

At the funeral the preacher had the nerve to get up there and say that the cold-blooded murder of this young kid was an act of god. That god was acting through this vigilante pig fireman. That god was chastising Black people and all people in the inner cities who get caught up in the gang life. In drug dealing. In worshiping money. This preacher said god is angry—he is passing his judgment on those who have went astray—god is seeking his revenge.

This preacher, a representative of a non-existent god, compared Chicago to the city of Jerusalem in the story of the Bible. He read from the book of Ezekiel. Where god tells Ezekiel to "go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." And in instructing others god says, "follow him [Ezekiel] through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mother and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark." Again comparing Chicago to the Israel of the Bible, this preacher says: "The Lord has forsaken the land ... the sin of the people is exceedingly great ... the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.... The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see. So I will not look upon them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their heads what they have done."

What kind of god is this? He is a mass murderer who slaughters human beings, including little children. He leads his followers to commit acts of mass rape—taking virgin girls as sex slaves—and to pillage and plunder others. The book of Ezekiel, the book of Numbers, the book of Deuteronomy, the book of Leviticus, the book of Isaiah (Jesus' favorite book), and the whole damn Bible is dripping in blood with these kinds of stories. It is a god that is more bloodthirsty than Dracula. Note well: this preacher did not think the things that god commanded Ezekiel to do—all this murder of children and everything else—was "detestable".

This is how this preacher got up and talked about this Black youth who was brutally gunned down by this vigilante (unofficial police). That his killing was an act of god. That there will be more acts of this kind to cleanse the city of those who are doing "detestable" things that anger this non-existent god. So said this preacher.

This Black preacher—and that damn Bible he read from—is calling, straight up, for genocide. In order to cleanse Chicago and Amerikkka of those who he accuses of doing "detestable" things.

Some Black Preachers Unite With the Racist Fascist Trump

It sounded like the fascist Trump threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" for doing "detestable things" by developing weapons it can use to hit back at the U.S. if the U.S. attacks North Korea as they are threatening to do.

It sounded like Trump saying he's sending the feds into Chicago to stop "the carnage." Like Trump saying a Chicago cop told him he and his fellow pigs could stop the violence here in Chicago in a couple of days if they were given a "green light" to do so. This is the fascist Trump—who is recruiting Black preachers to join him—threatening to unleash his cops to beat down, arrest, and even murder Black and Brown people for breathing while Black and Brown.

Now let's be clear: some preachers play a positive role in fighting the power, and the revolution seeks to unite with them, even as we discuss our differences. But this preacher of the "good book" joins those Christian fascists who are at the core of the Trump/Pence fascist regime who are aiming to turn Amerikkkan society into one that is governed by biblical law, religious law—turning it into a Christian theocracy.

Trump already said the police need to stop treating "suspects" they arrest in a "nice" way.

What does he mean? Police and vigilantes have already murdered many people. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Natasha McKenna, Andy Lopez, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, to name a few. These Christian fascists—like the one at this funeral—are calling for raising this up to another level—putting it on steroids—under the label of "law and order."

This Black preacher sounded like Trump's buddy in the Philippines—Duterte, the fascist president of that country. Duterte has given his police and vigilantes the authority to shoot down without warning those they accuse of being drug dealers and drug users. Those they consider "trouble makers"—those they and their god judge to be a "stain" and "drain" on society. They have murdered thousands in this way.

Look for Real at That Bloodthirsty Bible

Again, let's look for real at this Bible. What does it say? Kill women who are not virgins when they get married. Execute women alleged to be witches. Execute homosexuals. Kill children who rebel against their parents.

It promotes the belief in superstition and fear, and fear-inspiring ignorance, such as demon possession and exorcism. The cruel notion that sickness and disease is caused by sin—and according to the Christian fascist, if people get sick and can't pay for medical care they should be left to die because they are "undeserving," "undesirable," "they are making trouble for society," and they are a "stain" and "drain" on society.

According to the Bible you got to accept Jesus as the son of a non-existent "one and only true God"—who was crucified but then raised from the dead. If you don't, god and his son Jesus will condemn you to eternal damnation and unbearable suffering in hell.

"Let's call this what it is—it is a slave mentality, with which people are being indoctrinated. All this 'thank you Jesus!' is a slave mentality." Bob Avakian, BA, the leader of the revolution said that, in the handbook for revolution, BAsics 4:18.

Think about all this. The pain and suffering it has caused down through tens of thousands of years. The unnecessary pain and suffering it causes today—and the greater horror these Christian fascists have in store for humanity. These lunatics believe in hurrying on the "end of times" so that the "believers" can go up to heaven. And they have their hands on the seat of state power—the executive branch of government—and their finger on nuclear weapons.

Looking at All This Scientifically: How Did We Get in This Situation?

Let's pull the lens back even further and make further use of the comprehensive scientific method that has been developed and given to us by the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, BA. Let's use that to briefly examine why people get caught up into the gang life, into petty drug dealing, into chasing after and "worshiping" that mean, mean green... money. And the other things this preacher called "detestable." How this is not the fault of the people who get caught up in this but it is the fault of this fucking capitalist-imperialist system which has left millions and millions in the inner cities in the U.S.—and tens, if not hundreds of millions more in places like the Philippines, Brazil, Somalia, the Middle East—with nothing.

As BA shows in his latest talk, "The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us," the workings of capitalism drew Black people out of sharecropping in the South after WW2 and into the factories in the South, the North, and out West. They ended up on the bottom layer of these workers, but they were able to raise families. But over the past several decades the capitalist-imperialist system in the U.S. has had to become leaner and meaner in order to compete with its global rivals—it has become even more vicious in pursuit of expanding this system that creates a world of war, sweatshops, slums, and environmental devastation.

All this has driven those factories that millions of Black people and others used to work in to move to other parts of the world where they can more cheaply exploit people and more easily compete with their competitors. This has left generations of Black people in the inner city in the position of growing up with little access to legitimate ways to survive. It has led to the growth of an illegal underground economy.

People are taught from the time they are born—from everything they see and everything they do: the only way you get any respect in this system is if you are financially successful—if you can take care of those you care about—so no matter what, if you are on Wall Street or on the street corner everybody is trying to "come up." To be "the man" or the "woman." This is the outlook—these are the values of this system. If you are one of the lucky ones who is able to make it through the meat grinder and do it legally you are a role model, but if you are cast out by society—by the system—but still you try to get some respect and you do it illegally, you are a criminal. A "troublemaker." You need to be taught "law and order". You need to be locked up. You deserve to be shot down like a wild animal.

BA shows how this isn't just happening here in the U.S. In Brazil, over several generations 15 million people were driven off the land in the rural areas—the farming areas—by capitalist interests buying up all the land for logging, for wood, for paper, things that can be sold on the world market for profit. What happened to these millions of people? They ended up in slums in the cities, forced into the illegal underground economy—many joining gangs—as a way to survive. The authorities in Brazil have set loose their police as death squads to execute people they label as "drug dealers." It is the same in other countries around the world. In the Philippines in addition to this kind of horrific murder they also assassinate journalists. On more than one occasion Trump has stated his admiration for this.

So what the fuck is this preacher talking about?! We do NOT need a god who does NOT exist. A god that could only be a cruel monster—worse than Dracula—if he did exist.

       

What We Need to Do NOW to Change This Fucked-Up World

Now, again, just to be clear, the revolution will work and has worked with any religious people who are motivated by their religion to fight against the injustices that are being brought down on the people. And what the masses of people here and around the world are facing today is the nightmare of a fascist regime at the head of the U.S. empire—a fascist regime that is saturated with a mob of howling and snarling Christian fascists who are being led by Trump. Trump and Pence are going after the immigrants, the Muslims, women, the LGBT people (gay people), they are threatening war and they are destroying the planet we must live on—and yes, they are threatening Black people with genocide. We have to unite with others and go all out to STOP this nightmare by driving out this regime.

And while we do this, uniting with millions around this urgent demand to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime, people in the Revolution Club are representing for the only way out of ALL this capitalist-imperialist madness: revolution, getting people ready for the time when millions can be led to go all-out to make revolution, with a real chance of winning.

Pull the Lens Back

Now let's pull the lens back even further. Life on this planet began 3.5 billion years ago. It has evolved over all that time. Human beings—that's us—are only 200,000 years old. Back then we did not understand things we understand today. Back then we did not have science. Back then when the solar eclipse happened like it did a few weeks ago—when the moon moved between the sun and earth and suddenly in the middle of the day there was darkness for a few minutes—human beings did not know what the fuck was happening. It was scary. They made up stories to explain this, often attributing such natural events to the anger of some imaginary god. Back then they did not know better. But today we do.

Today we also know there are causes in the real world: there is a social system, capitalism-imperialism, that can NOT change—but people can change and we can change the system. This system, capitalism-imperialism, puts people in "detestable" conditions and makes them do all sorts of ugly things to survive. This is the root cause.

We also know that through communist revolution this system can be radically changed, radically transformed into a new system that brings out the very best in humanity, the best in the ability of people to discover what is true, to act on that truth in the deepest way. Overturning—overthrowing this system—changing circumstances in the most deepest way, at the root, and changing ourselves in the process—laying down an entirely new foundation from which human being interact with each other, in ALL aspects of human interaction, and in our interaction with our environment. Having leadership that is both revolutionary and scientific leading us to act in the highest interests of humanity, in ways where increasingly growing, and growing numbers of the oppressed and exploited of society together with those who out of basic human aspiration desire a better world than this dog eat dog shit... leadership which brings us all together in the revolution to where we, in our millions and millions, ultimately in our billions, where we take hold of the driver's seat, steering human society on a radically different course, consciously embarking on the journey to free ourselves the only way we can—by striking deep at the root—to emancipate humanity from the divisions which are rooted in deep-seated, underlying antagonistic conditions that have divided human society into master and slaves, oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited going back thousands of years.

Divisions which today are no longer necessary... which can be surpassed with the communist revolution... the revolution to emancipate all humanity. This is a radically different and far better world than what we have today.

Stop believing in things that do NOT exist. Throw off the chains of Mental Slavery. Join the Movement for Revolution and let's radically change the whole world.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/no-kaepernick-no-nfl-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

"No Kaepernick, No NFL!"

September 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Reader:

“No Kaepernick, No NFL!” “Kap took a knee, he was fighting for me!” A small, upbeat group of people gathered on Sunday morning, September 10, in Chicago to march to the Bears’ stadium, Soldier Field, to Stand for Colin. People from Black Lives Matter, SOUL, and other groups were joined by people who had come on their own—Black people in Kaepernick jerseys and Kaepernick shirts, students (some at their first protest), a community group wearing Action Now blue shirts—young, middle-aged, Black and white, many carrying homemade signs. We set out together and marched, chanting, past hundreds of people streaming towards the stadium to go to the game. By the time we reached Soldier Field the march had grown to 200.

In front of the stadium people formed a circle and held a rally. The moderator, a young woman from SOUL, emphasized that diverse people from different groups had come together to take this stand, stressed the importance of unity, and urged respect for all the speakers. More than one person said that Kaepernick had started a movement. A man who had been agitating during the march called out the NFL as ‘N’s Fall in Line’ and spoke of the modern-day slaves inside the stadium performing for the pleasure and profit of rich white men like gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. Someone read the incredibly detailed official diversity statement of the NFL, saying, “This is why Colin thought his right to take a knee was protected.” The NFL statement claims to uphold and support racial and gender equality and to promote the full personal development of the players. In contrast, one of the marchers carried a sign reading “NFL hypocrisy: Rape, murder, cheat, steal—that’s OK but Kap can’t kneel.”

A couple of times, football fans we passed hollered out, “He’s not signed because he’s not good enough for the NFL!” No racism here. One of the speakers took that on and ran down what Kap had achieved in taking his team to the Super Bowl just a few years ago. What seemed to resonate most with the gathered people were speakers who pointed out that Kaepernick cared more about justice than his career, that he refused to stand for the national anthem because of police murder of Black people, which the people gathered in Chicago were very much aware of; “16 shots and a cover-up!”

Maya from the Revolution Club was applauded several times, including when she said that revolution is needed, as she told how the club had chanted “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide, and War, 5, 6, 7, 8, America was NEVER great!” then burned the American flag in front of the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland that nominated Donald Trump, for which 16 were arrested and now face charges for this legally protected act. Maya then invited people to the RNC 16 event at the Revolution Club organizing center that afternoon.

Most everyone at the event got the RNC 16 flyer and the Refuse Fascism flyer, “The Nightmare Must End,” for November 4. One young couple said they had already gotten it at the DACA protest and were glad that it’s getting out everywhere. One question raised was what does “drive out” the Trump/Pence fascist regime mean. People really seemed to feel that this is a moment when people are acting and what we do can make a difference. Several people signed up to volunteer with Refuse Fascism—two freshmen from DePaul who took flyers to hand out on the march kept the flyers and said they would organize on campus. “I’m just getting involved and this seems like a good thing,” one said. A young man who had just come back to the U.S. from England said he needed to get involved. His friends had told him about Revolution newspaper. A Black man who said he hadn’t been active since Chicago 1968 got a copy of the paper.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/refuse-fascism-at-berkeley-city-council-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

City Council votes to allow pepper spray against protestors

Refuse Fascism exposes Berkeley City Council Collaborating with Fascism in the Name of Free Speech

September 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Watch Sunsara Taylor and Rafael Kadaris of RefuseFascism.org expose the Berkeley City Council Tuesday afternoon for collaborating with fascism in the name of free speech.  Amidst cries of “Shame,” the City Council outrageously voted to authorize Berkeley police to use pepper spray—a chemical weapon—against protesters for “crowd control,” despite a 1997 Berkeley law banning it.  Sunsara and Rafael called on people to join them at Thursday’s Speak Out: Against White Supremacy, Misogyny & Fascism, 6pm on Sproul Plaza in protest of fascist Ben Shapiro’s speech at UC Berkeley.   (Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/ events/131743294116559/?ti=icl )

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/espn-reporter-calls-trump-a-white-supremacist-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

A Voice of Conscience in Sports World
ESPN Reporter Calls Trump a "White Supremacist"

September 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

The shit hit the fan on Tuesday, September 12, after Jemele Hill, an anchor on ESPN's SC6 (SportsCenter at 6) news show, tweeted out on Monday that Donald Trump is a "white supremacist."

Hill has been known for not shying away from politics in her commentaries.

She began her tweets about Trump by first going after singer Kid Rock, a supporter of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, by responding to his tweet that he was thinking about running for the U.S. Senate and claiming he "loves black people," and then accused the "extreme left" of "trying to use the old confederate flag BS" to label him a racist. Hill responded by tweeting out, "He loves black people so much that he pandered to racists by using a flag that unquestionably stands for dehumanizing black people."

The Twitter thread by Hill continued after she was attacked for her tweet about Kid Rock. She posted her Trump tweets in reply to them:

Hill then was barraged with racist and anti-woman tweets calling her a "nigger" and a "bitch." The white supremacist supporters of Trump, including Breitbart and Fox News, called for ESPN to fire her. ESPN tried to throw her under the bus when they "disavowed" what she said, and put out a statement, "We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate." 

Then on Wednesday September 13 the White House called for ESPN to fire Hill—Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about the tweets by saying "That's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN."

But broadly from athletes, Hill immediately got support from Colin Kaepernick, who tweeted out, "We are with you @jemelehill." Deadspin.com reported, "ESPN Issues Craven Apology For Jemele Hill's Accurate Descriptions Of Donald Trump." Reggie Miller, former NBA basketball all-star, tweeted out, "I'm on team @jemelehill..." Current NBA all-star Dwayne Wade responded to Miller's tweet with, "Sign me up!"

Hill, who grew up in poverty-ridden Detroit, has continuously brought politics into sports.

Earlier this year, Hill was reporting on Colin Kaepernick not currently being signed by an NFL team because of his political views by refusing to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and murders against Black people. In reporting that Kaepernick had compared the cops of today with "slave patrols," she said the comparison of police to "slave patrols" was "inflammatory, but historically accurate."

After she was attacked for bringing politics into sports and ESPN was attacked as being liberal, she gave an interview to Yahoo.com (See https://finance.yahoo.com/news/sportscenter-anchor-jemele-hill-espns-politics-athletes-dragging-us-193537563.html)

I just had to notice the correlation between us being called more liberal as you see more women in a position on our network... as you see more ethnic diversity, then all of a sudden ESPN is too liberal. So I wonder, when people say that, what they're really saying. ... The other part of it is that we're journalists, and people have to understand, these uncomfortable political conversations... the athletes are dragging us here. I didn't ask Colin Kaepernick to kneel. He did it on his own. So, was I supposed to act like he didn't? Gregg Popovich, every week at his press conferences, is having a 10-minute soliloquy on Donald Trump. Am I supposed to act like he's not doing that? You have athletes saying they're going to the White House, not going to the White House, that's all sports news. It didn't just start with this generation of athletes, it's always been that way. Sometimes when I hear a viewer say they don't want their politics mixed with sports, I say, "What did you think about Muhammad Ali?" And then all of a sudden it's glowing praise.

In another interview she said:

Whether we want to discuss it or not, athletes are dragging us into these conversations. It's not that Mike [her co-host, Michael Smith] and I wake up one day and say, "Hey, today we're going to be MSNBC." It's usually based off a news story that is relevant to sports.

If ESPN attempts to suspend or fire Jemele Hill for telling the truth, people need to come to her defense in a big way.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/notes-from-a-daca-protest-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

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

September 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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. First, the cold-blooded declaration on Tuesday, September 5, ending DACA, was—and remains—a profound shock, one that literally threatens to rip up their lives, their families, their hopes, and their futures. "At that moment I wanted to cry because of all those things that I've accomplished and now it's gone," Martin, a Dreamer in the U.S. for 21 years, told me. "I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. I was in shock. I was having mixed emotions. I didn't know what to feel. I was scared," Daniel, another Dreamer, said.

"Tuesday was a day I didn't want to hear it, it broke my wife's and my heart, we were super sad," Carlos, a Dreamer from Ecuador, now a teacher, said. "We didn't even eat that night. We cried for about two hours. We really needed DACA to be able to work, that's the only thing we used DACA for, to work. It was totally a very dark day when Trump decided to say no. Very, very sad."

Maria, another young Latina who's a citizen, said: "I was really upset because when we grew up, I never saw America how it is right now.... I am really scared for immigrants now. I have no words for [the Trump/Pence regime], it's just really awful seeing someone bullying toward people who can't defend themselves." Regina, a "child of immigrants" from the Caribbean, said DACA "was always temporary—not a solution—but to have it undone so quickly, so dramatically, it's terrible."

These words were spoken with deep, raw feeling.

Defiance, Determination and Hope

All expressed determination to fight to protect the Dreamers and reverse Trump's DACA decision—even after having experienced such a body blow. Often this seemed driven by hope, given the fact that DACA had been won, and what they felt they'd accomplished when given the chance. But there was also the fact that people did not feel ashamed or defensive about being immigrants or undocumented.

Martin captured a lot of this: "I'm a Dreamer, I'm also Mexican, and I'm undocumented. Ending DACA was just racism from the beginning.... I was thinking we haven't done nothing wrong. We've given back to the community. It's a two way, not a one way. Dreamers are working hard and giving back to the community. Just a few papers don't define who I am...

"We feel betrayed, disappointed, and I was depressed. We're going to fall but we're going to get back up, and we're going to fight. I was scared coming out of the shadows saying I'm undocumented, I'm a Dreamer and I'm here. But DACA gave me the bravery to come out and tell everyone. I'm undocumented, I'm also gay, also Mexican—everything! It's not easy being undocumented, being Mexican and being gay.... DACA gave me the strength to come out and be who I am...

"Because coming out of the shadows, we're not going back into the shadows. We're Latinos, we're always strong, we always overcome every obstacle and this is one of the obstacles we have to overcome."

Byron, a Dreamer whose parents are from Ecuador: "I'm here because of a single reason—to save our lives. It's hard to be an immigrant here, because basically the system doesn't care about us. If we don't have a number [documentation] we're nobody for the government. And that's the reality and it is hard. This [having DACA] is how we get food, this is how we survive every single day, that's why we're fighting back. I got here when I was eight years old, basically here my entire life. I'm in college right now and I'm trying to open my own business, that's one of my dreams and I want that dream to happen one day."

The Two Sides of Hope

People want to continue to fight, but overwhelmingly see that in terms of continuing to protest, rally the public, and pressure Congress and elected officials to maintain DACA. A lot of their thinking and hopefulness, it seemed, came from feeling Latinos and Dreamers had made "progress" under Obama, so that continuing to pressure and work within the system's channels could still work now.

"Like I was telling everyone, just show up at rallies, show support for every action we're going to have to defend DACA," Martin said. "We're Dreamers, we're still going to fight even if we have to go on strikes every day, go before city council, call everyone in the government so we can get some solutions.... Just like the Women's March with thousands of people marching around the country, I feel like if that happened with the Women's March and it had a big impact with everyone talking about it, so I think the same thing could happen with DACA."

Daniel: "It's going to take a lot [to reverse this attack], I don't know what and how long but I know something better is going to happen out of this." Regina: "The response has been amazing. There's been a lot of support from everyone. We have to fight for the gains we've won in the past and get further."

Byron: "But if the system, if Congress doesn't do it, I don't know how we'll do it. Everything is in God's hands." And without missing a beat he continued, "Everyone needs to go into the streets and protest against this cruelty, I'm still shocked, basically. We don't know what to do. That's why I'm here because we're fighting back. And I'll keep fighting. If I have to go to Washington I'll go. I got to go protest to Congress to help us because our dreams have to come true. We want a better country for all of us. We deserve a better country, not to be the worst but to be the best country, and we're here to help."

November 4 and Challenges We Face

The 800,000 Dreamers, and the millions of family members, friends, and other immigrants being attacked, demonized, and terrorized by this regime, as well as the millions who sympathize with their plight, are a key and very important force to draw forward into the battle for November 4. They're directly experiencing the horrors this regime is inflicting on humanity—and driving this fascist regime from power is crucial now.

Word of Refuse Fascism and November 4 was being spread throughout the crowd and there was real openness to "Trump and Pence Must Go!" One Dreamer spoke to the similarities between Hitler and Trump:

I believe [Trump's] opening a great, I would say, civil war, with whatever he's been doing since he started his campaign. It's very, very bad against everyone, not only against Latinos or Dreamers but everybody else. I believe there's going to be another war because of his hatred, and yes—definitely Hitler is Trump. Even if you're not a Dreamer you could come out to protest because there are a lot of things going on in the United States, nothing like before.

Drawing forward and unleashing the Dreamers, immigrants, and their supporters to be a driving and dynamic element of building toward November 4 poses big challenges for those fighting to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power. Even as they continue to march and protest, the Dreamers, their supporters, and the broad numbers of immigrants must take the step to joining the movement to demand This Nightmare Must End, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go, In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

This will take a lot of wrestling and struggling with them about the nature of this regime, the dead-end of working through normal channels and protest-as-usual, and about the history and nature of America itself.

This will be highly contradictory terrain all the way through. There needs to be struggle, and people need to be organized into Refuse Fascism and/or the Revolution Club and become links and levers to the broader Dreamer/immigrant community.

Revcom.us had the opportunity to speak to a Latin American immigrant who had come to the U.S. with her parents as an infant, is now a citizen, and is volunteering with Refuse Fascism. She was deeply angered by the ending of DACA: "I almost couldn't do my job. It felt like somebody stabbed me with a knife in the chest. I'm a U.S. citizen, but I know what it's like to be an immigrant. I know what it's like not to get an opportunity when you're an undocumented immigrant. It's about compassion and empathy for those who are struggling today. So we feel the pain."

Seeing echoes of Hitler was one reason she was working with Refuse Fascism: "Trump won the campaign by criticizing Mexicans. But it's not just Mexicans but the whole Latino community. He rose to power like that and you compare it to Hitler and we're going toward that path... unless we stop it.... With this administration they really, really want to get rid of people of color.... When I look at the history of Jewish people—when you see the slogan 'Never Again'—and you see it happening again, I want to let Jewish people know their stories should not go in vain.

"We have potential on November 4, but people have to participate, not just rah, rah, not just talk," she summed up. "It depends on them..., If we grab their attention through visual communication we can make it work, reach out to religious institutions, places of entertainment, bars, and grab people's attention."

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/bob_avakian-a-question-a-challenge-for-paul-krugman-and-all-those-concerned-about-the-future-of-humanity-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

September 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A QUESTION, A CHALLENGE FOR PAUL KRUGMAN,
AND ALL THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY

by Bob Avakian

 

 

Paul Krugman, a Nobel prize winning economist who regularly publishes commentary in the New York Times, recently wrote (in a September 11, 2017 column “Conspiracies, Corruption and Climate”) that with Donald Trump in the White House, “know-nothing, anti-science conservatives are now running the U.S. government.” And here is the very sobering statement with which he concluded this column:

The bottom line is that we are now ruled by people who are completely alienated not just from the scientific community, but from the scientific idea—the notion that objective assessment of evidence is the way to understand the world. And this willful ignorance is deeply frightening. Indeed, it may end up destroying civilization. [emphasis added]

This brings into sharp relief the question: If, indeed, the people in power may end up destroying civilization (and this could come about not only through what they do in relation to the climate but through their wantonly unleashing nuclear war), does this not require everyone concerned with the fundamental interests of humanity, with its very fate and future, to act in ways that are actually commensurate with this profound existential threat?

In fact, there are people who are doing so. People who have recognized the grave threat posed by those now ruling us, and the urgency of the situation, and who are therefore determined to act now to not just oppose but remove from power this regime of nightmares. People who have refused to simply hope that the “normal workings” of a process that has brought these people to their ruling position will somehow prevent them from acting in accordance with their “willful ignorance,” and worse. People coming together on the basis of a Call from the organization RefuseFascism with its forthright stand:

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

They are working tirelessly to create the political and organizational basis for massive and sustained mobilization throughout the country, beginning on November 4 this year, whose unifying stand is the insistence that this whole regime now in power must be removed from power. As the special pamphlet from RefuseFascism.org: “The Crimes of the Trump/Pence Regime and How to Be a Part of Driving Them from Power” explains:  

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination toward Nov. 4 when many thousands of people will fill the streets of cities and towns, beginning a struggle that must continue day after day and night after night, eventually involving millions of people, demanding: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

We extend a welcome invitation to individuals and organizations from many different points of view who share our determination to refuse to accept a fascist America to join and/or partner with us in this great cause.

So, that is the crucial point of orientation and the challenge: People who hold many divergent points of view must come together and act politically, in what is really a meaningful and powerful way, to deal with the looming—in fact the ongoing—disaster embodied in this Trump/Pence regime, because of its willful opposition to the scientific method and its utter disregard for and repeated trampling on the truth, because of its overt white supremacy and misogyny, its xenophobic and bigoted attacks on immigrants, Muslims and LGBT people, its raw “America First” jingoism and the grave danger it poses to human existence through its predatory approach to the environment and bellicose wielding of military power, including its expressed willingness and brazen threats to use nuclear weapons.

In “Conspiracies, Corruption and Climate,” Paul Krugman refers to those now in power as “know-nothing, anti-science conservatives”; RefuseFascism agrees that they are “know-nothing,” and “anti-science” but goes further in identifying them not merely as “conservatives” but actual fascists. Krugman is a proponent of capitalism, whereas I am an advocate of communism, a new communism, who is convinced that what is ultimately and fundamentally required to deal with the current horrors facing the masses of humanity, and the looming threat to the very existence of humanity, is a truly radical and emancipating revolution. But that is not the immediate question and challenge before all of us at this present moment. Rather, it is to deal with the grave danger posed by those now in power, through nonviolent but massive and sustained political action—the mobilization of first thousands, growing into millions, determined to get and remain in the streets until this regime is removed from power. Does not the common recognition that this regime “may end up destroying civilization,” demand of us—of all those, of many divergent viewpoints, who can recognize that these are the stakes for humanity—that we act together, and do everything in our power, to bring about the massive political manifestation that is urgently needed to drive out this regime?

It is in this spirit and with this understanding that it is crucial for everyone—those, like Paul Krugman, with a prominent platform from which to influence public opinion, as well as those without such a platform—who do recognize and agonize over what is at stake for humanity to act, from their own perspective, to give meaningful support to, and indeed to become actively involved in, the critical work building toward November 4: publicly endorsing and promoting the Call from RefuseFascism, helping to break through what is effectively a white-out of this by the mainstream media, donating and raising funds, directing people to the RefuseFascism.org website, and in countless other ways helping to develop the necessary political and organizational basis for what RefuseFascism very rightly calls “this great cause.” For it is the massive and sustained political mobilization called for by RefuseFascism that truly represents the prospect of forging a positive path through and beyond this extremely dangerous and potentially disastrous situation.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/major-announcement-at-UC-Berkeley-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

A Major Announcement @ UC Berkeley Speak-Out

BOB AVAKIAN TO SPEAK AT UC BERKELEY–APRIL 2018

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Berkeley, California

The following major announcement was made at a Speak-Out in defiance of the fascist ideologue, Ben Shapiro at the University of California, Berkeley, on September 14.  Revcom.us will be announcing a press event at UC Berkeley where this announcement will be formally made this coming week.

For Immediate Release:

             Bob Avakian, the most radical revolutionary alive, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, author of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, former student at Cal and an active participant in the Free Speech Movement, will be coming to speak on the UC Berkeley campus in April, 2018 about freedom of expression and communist revolution; and, as part of this, he will be exposing and refuting the lies and distortions of Chancellor Christ about the Free Speech Movement.

            While Chancellor Christ and the university administration have done great harm in misrepresenting and misappropriating the Free Speech Movement to accommodate and facilitate the spewing of outright fascist provocation by the likes of Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopolous—which in fact it is right and righteous to oppose and prevent—it would not only be the height of hypocrisy, but would do still further damage to the actual exercise of freedom of expression, if they were to be involved in any way in suppressing or placing obstacles in the way of Bob Avakian speaking on campus about an emancipating communist revolution and freedom of expression in relation to that. For, as we have pointed out: “Fascism already has a platform—the biggest and most powerful platform in the world: the White House!”  And the principle articulated by John Stuart Mill, concerning the importance of the contestation of ideas —a principle whose basic importance Bob Avakian himself  has emphasized—is crucial in particular  “for the dissemination and critical evaluation of poorly known and unpopular ideas in general, and especially if these are ideas which the dominant forces and relations of society (including the ruling state apparatus) do not favor, and actively work to discredit, contain or actively suppress.”

 

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/democrats-cut-deals-with-fascist-trump-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Democrats Cut Deals With Fascist Trump

“We’re All on THE Same Team” 
— Obama on Trump, November 9, 2016

 

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On September 6, the day after the fascist Trump/Pence regime ended DACA and put the lives of 800,000 Dreamers and millions more immigrants in peril, the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Piglosi (aka Pelosi), merrily cut a deal with Trump, who brushed aside Congressional Republicans, to continue funding the government and deliver a pittance of relief aid to flood-ravaged Houston. 

Then, the following Thursday, September 14, Democrats Schumer and Piglosi dined and dealt with Trump once again, this time announcing they had made an agreement to protect DACA recipients.

This wasn’t Trump becoming “bipartisan” or “normal.” 

And no, Peter Baker of the New York Times, Trump is not “the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.”  He’s the first fascist president, and this was Trump shattering the traditional norms of governance, concentrating power in the executive in relation to both parties, and attempting to impose new fascist norms—with the Democrats aiding, abetting, normalizing, and grinning all the way. 

As for protecting DACA recipients, no deal has been struck and there’s no guarantee there will be one, and Trump made clear any deal would not include amnesty or a path to citizenship.  And that’s not the worst part.  Trump insisted on—and the Democrats agreed to— “a massive border security upgrade,” which means more Migra, more Border Patrol, more vigilantes, and more beatings, arrests and deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Trump’s press secretary also made clear on Friday that the “deal” also means stepped up “interior enforcement”—i.e., more ICE raids, more families broken up, more immigrants terrorized. 

Meanwhile, Schumer was busy giving Trump advice on how to succeed, and gushed, “He likes us; he likes me anyway.”

The Democrats’ collaboration goes way beyond shameful and unconscionable—it’s criminal.  And it speaks volumes about why the Democrats cannot be relied on to stop and reverse the Trump/Pence fascist juggernaut.   

This past week’s turn of events—Trump’s undercutting Congressional Republicans and dealing directly with the Democrats—points to the ongoing tumult and sharp struggle within the ranks of the ruling class as the Trump/Pence regime aggressively pushes ahead to consolidate fascism.  These battles are not unimportant or irrelevant, if they are understood and acted upon from the vantage point of how they relate to and can create openings for mass struggle “from below,” and most crucially for mobilizing people to drive out this whole fascist regime, which poses a grave, existential threat to humanity. 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/pig-who-murdered-anthony-lamar-smith-declared-not-guilty-by-judge-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

St. Louis Judge Declares Pig Who Murdered Anthony Lamar Smith “Not Guilty”
THIS is What Justice Looks Like in America

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Hundreds and hundreds of protesters are in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, as we write, furious and disgusted that Jason Stockley—the pig who murdered 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in cold blood in 2011—has just been found “not guilty” after his trial before a JUDGE. At this writing, the pigs have used pepper spray on the protesters; there have been arrests; and the protesters were stopped when they tried to get on the interstate. The National Guard has been on alert since before the judge’s verdict was announced. This is what justice looks like in the eyes of this utterly unjust system!

The Cold-Blooded, Premeditated Execution of Anthony Lamar Smith

Anthony Lamar Smith was approached by two pigs who claimed they had seen a “drug deal.” Smith took off in his car and the pigs chased him down. Along the way, Stockley told his partner: “I’m going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it!”

One minute later Smith was murdered. The pigs slammed into Smith’s car, Stockley got out, walked right up to the car, and fired five shots through the driver’s window into Anthony Lamar Smith. One of them—the “kill shot”—was fired from six inches away. This was a police execution.

Stockley was not done yet. When he discovered that Smith had no gun, he did what cops do all the time: He went to his pig car; dug through his duffle bag for a “throw-down” gun; and planted that gun in the car next to the body. All of this evidence was recorded and is available online, including the fact that the weapon had none of Anthony’s DNA on it—but it did have the DNA of the pig!

In a sign of how blatant this murder was, five days before the verdict, the Ethical Society of Police, an organization of “officers of color” in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, issued a video statement of their findings that called for Stockley to be convicted. “He wasn't defending himself in the line of duty,” said the Society's president. This statement was issued jointly with the President of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability. But none of this mattered to the judge.

Why does this happen over, and over and over again? Because, as Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, says in BAsics 1:24: “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”

Enough with this system that needs to have pigs gun down Black and Brown people by the hundreds each year. Enough with police getting away with murder!

 

Hundreds and hundreds of people marching in St. Louis Friday after the judge released his verdict.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/the-fascist-ben-shapiro-speaks-students-step-up-and-stand-up-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Battle for Berkeley

The Fascist Ben Shapiro Speaks... Students Step Up and Stand Up

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the face of fascist intellectual hitman Ben Shapiro, and in the teeth of a massive mobilization of police and police shutdown of much of the core public space on the UC Berkeley campus, an estimated 1,500 students and members of the university community joined in the speak-out called by Refuse Fascism (“NO, Ben Shapiro, the Problem Is NOT ‘Campus Thuggery,’ The Problem Is Fascist Intellectual Thuggery IN THE Service of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime”). Students, professors, people from the community, activists, and others spoke with passion and depth, from many angles, denouncing the regime, the fascist assault on the university, and digging into much, much more. At the same time, defying the police lockdown of the campus, dozens of students staged a sit-in in the MLK Student Union nearby in protest. The whole day represented a very important emergence of opposition from within the university, and from the community as well, to the Trump/Pence regime and to the assault by fascists on the universities (with the aid of the liberals running UC Berkeley).

Shapiro was invited to UC by the Berkeley College Republicans, and was given the biggest auditorium on the campus for free by Chancellor Carol Christ. Starting early in the morning, the campus was turned into an armed camp—concrete barriers were installed along streets and walkways, six major buildings, including the Student Union, and all the space between them (this includes the historic Sproul Plaza and another large plaza in front of the auditorium) were completely closed off by 4 pm. UC Police were reportedly brought in from all 10 UC campuses. Berkeley Police were also mobilized. In a show of force, a contingent of motorcycle cops rode in formation down the closed street next to campus. There were military vehicles and police dogs. Rules were changed to threaten and intimidate the people and unleash the police: Two days before, the city of Berkeley held a special city council meeting to authorize the use of pepper spray against anti-fascist protesters (pepper spray during protests has been banned for 20 years in Berkeley.) Checkpoints and metal detectors were installed at heavily guarded “access points” and only people with tickets to hear Shapiro and who showed their IDs were allowed in. A student watching the scene in simultaneous disgust and amazement said: “Is this a university or a prison?”

But all of this failed to intimidate. On the tiny bit of public space which the state left open for opposition, Refuse Fascism was out agitating and calling people forward all day long before the event. Students crowded around the table with Refuse Fascism materials. In the electric atmosphere, mass debate broke out hours before the speak-out was supposed to start. Fascists and a range of reactionary voices that were coming into Berkeley for the Shapiro event challenged Refuse Fascism and were in turn taken on by students and others. Refuse Fascism then cranked up a big sound system and started the speak-out, setting out from the start that this was about a whole fascist assault on the universities as a crucial link in the fascist transformation of America—that in the name of humanity, this could NOT be accepted.

The speakers called on students and others to step forward and join the speak-out. Many, many students and others stepped up on the improvised milk-crate stage over a period of four hours, speaking with passion and clarity.

A highlight of the speak-out came when Sunsara Taylor made an extremely important and exciting announcement: “Bob Avakian, the most radical revolutionary alive, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, author of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, former student at Cal and an active participant in the Free Speech Movement will speak at UC Berkeley in April 2018 on freedom of expression and communist revolution; and, as part of this, he will be exposing and refuting the LIES and distortions of Chancellor Christ about the Free Speech Movement.”

Refuse Fascism speakers also called on the crowd to start organizing for November 4, and led a call and response with the crowd pledging, in the name of humanity to go “into the streets, and stay in the streets, day after day and night after night until the fascists are off our streets, off of our campuses and out of the White House.”

At the same time that the speak-out was righteously denouncing the regime and the clampdown, students had gathered inside the student union building, one of the buildings which was locked down and cleared of everyone except police. The students had decided they would refuse to leave and they very visibly did not leave, putting up signs in the windows that could be seen from the outside. At a certain point, the authorities said students could stay, but they had to give their IDs. The students, as an act of resistance, refused to give their IDs. A student who had been inside later summed up that some were there because they felt their rights as students were being violated, some were there because they opposed fascism, and some wanted to demilitarize the campus, and together they made a very important and powerful statement.

At a certain point, the students sitting in inside the building sent word that police were threatening them with arrest—so the speak-out moved down the street, in sight of the students inside, directly supporting them. A cell phone held up to the mic outside amplified the words of the students speaking from inside. The crowd outside warmly supported the students and their demand that police allow them to leave, as they had planned, after Shapiro finished speaking—without arrest or punishment. After a long time, the students were able to leave without incident—to huge cheers from the crowd. All this in front of massive phalanxes of police.

The atmosphere throughout was incredibly tense and politically charged. Throughout the day, large and small debates, discussions, arguments swirled around the whole area even as the speak-out was going on over the loudspeaker. In some of the circles of debate, semi-professional fascist agitators were surrounded by crowds of students, arguing against them. In others, amateur fascist agitators or Trump supporters were circled in the same way. And in others, students with no fascists at all in their group were intensely engaged in discussion of questions like how to understand white supremacy and what to do about it. Students who had been ousted from their classrooms by the security arrangements for Shapiro joined in the protest and sat in a circle in the middle of the street, studying and talking.

Outrageously, the police arrested at least nine people, including the arrest of a Refuse Fascism activist for carrying one of the indictment panels down the street. TV broadcast mug shots of the arrestees with police captions that said these people were charged with having “banned weapons.” In the case of the activist with Refuse Fascism, it was the large sign exposing the Trump regime’s attacks on Muslims.

These are not normal times, this was not a normal day, and the response of the people to all of this was not normal either—the powerful Refuse Fascism speak-out, the breadth of people who joined in, and the actions of the students inside the Student Union were very much on time, and point to the basis to mount further and more powerful opposition.

And this will definitely be needed. Starting September 24, the fascists are staging four days of speeches with a veritable who’s who of Trump-supporting Nazis, white supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes, and other alt-right bigots and hate-mongers. Promoted and headlined by Milo Yiannopoulos, speakers include Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, David Horowitz, Erik Prince (creator of Blackwater mercenaries), Pamela Geller, Charles Murray, InfoWars radio host Mike Cernovich, and James Damore, fired from Google for a memo attacking and mocking women. These fascist forces are throwing down hard at UC Berkeley, the liberals running the university are doing everything they can to help them, and a great deal hinges on what the students, professors, and the university community will do to stand up and refuse to accept a fascist America. The speak-out and student sit-in were an inspiring, and extremely important, first step.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/a-rogues-gallery-of-fascists-collaborators-and-normalizers-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

 

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Revcom introduces a new regular feature: A Rogues’ Gallery of Fascists, Collaborators, and Normalizers. Each installment will feature a government functionary, political figure, media talking head, blathering pundit, or others who distinguish themselves by their craven service to Trump/Pence fascism, or their rank collaboration or accommodation with the regime, or by their efforts to normalize fascism. This week we begin with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Piglosi (aka Pelosi).

Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Piglosi (aka Pelosi), for their craven collaboration with and normalization of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Schumer, the leader of Senate Democrats, and Piglosi, the Democrats’ House leader, reached out to Trump and cut two deals with him in the space of a week. This included agreeing to Trump’s demand for “a massive border security upgrade”—more La Migra, more Border Patrol, more vigilantes, and more beatings, arrests, and deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border. It also means stepped up “interior enforcement”—in other words more ICE raids, more families broken up, more immigrants terrorized.

Fawning and grinning all the way, these two collaborators weren’t satisfied with just abetting Trump’s vicious attacks on immigrants, helping him consolidate fascist power, and normalizing this putrid racist, misogynist, xenophobe and his regime with their deal-making. Schumer also advised Trump on how he could “succeed.” Afterward Schumer gushed, “He likes us; he likes me anyway.”

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/trump-pence-representative-forced-to-leave-NABJ-panel-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Letter from a reader

Trump/Pence regime representative forced to leave the panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention focused on police murders of young Black men

September 15, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

White House Director of Communications for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, was greeted at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention in New Orleans last month with people walking out, people standing and turning their backs to her, defections from the panel she was on, and the moderator of the panel attempting to force her to speak about Donald Trump. 

Manigault-Newman was ultimately forced to leave the panel that was focused on police brutality and murders of young Black men.

Manigualt-Newman, who was a contestant on Trump’s TV show, The Apprentice, and is an ordained Baptist minister, supported Trump during the election campaign.  In an interview with Frontline she said, “Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”  The week after Trump was elected, Manigault-Newman appeared on the View and said, “I think in the first five days he’s done a spectacular job...” and she went on to say that she thinks that Trump will be “incredible” for the country, and “he brings me such joy.”

The organizers of the convention conveniently invited Manigault-Newman after the panel had been organized, but when her name was leaked to the press that she would be one of the participants in the panel on August 11—“W.E.B. Du Bois Plenary: Black and Blue [[:]] Raising Our Sons, Protecting Our Communities”—two of the panelists, Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times Magazine and Jelani Cobb, a journalism professor and staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, declined to participate.

The Washington Post reported that Manigault-Newman’s presence on the stage, “along with journalists and activists focused on police brutality and family members of black men killed by police, roiled the annual convention of black current and former journalists and public relations professionals.”

Before Manigault-Newman took the stage, two mothers whose sons were murdered by the police spoke.  When she appeared on the stage several people in the audience stood up and turned their backs to her in protest.  Several in the audience walked out, including Roland Martin of TV One and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post.  Lowery later tweeted out, “this omarosa appearance is beneath NABJ.”

In response to the two mothers, Manigault-Newman tried to turn the subject from police murdering Black people to violence in the Black community when she talked about how she lost her brother and father to violence.

The moderator, Ed Gordon, host of BET’s Weekly with Ed Gordon, immediately got into an argument with her when he asked her to talk about Trump.  She refused to do so.  Then it was reported, “Moments later, Trump’s voice billowed over the loudspeaker for several seconds before his face flashed on two large screens in the room” with Trump giving a speech to the cops on Long Island on July 28.  “I said, please don’t be too nice,” Trump told the cops.  “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody—don’t hit their head.  “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

When she refused to talk about Trump, she was questioned about Attorney General Jeff Sessions reviving the war on drugs and “broken windows”1 policing and if she had done anything “to address these issues within the administration.”  She gave a feeble response that she does things for the Black community.

As things got more tense and heated, it was reported “the audience was in open disbelief—and discomfort—as dozens of cellphone cameras captured the exchanges.”

The Los Angeles Sentinel reported, “When NABJ President Sarah Glover stood before the audience to explain the strict parameters of Manigualt-Newman’s appearance, which did not include policy questions impacting African-Americans, the groans of exasperation grew louder.”

Due to the turmoil and open hostilities towards her from the stage and audience, Manigault-Newman was forced to leave the stage.

Now it is time for the masses of people in this country to drive the Trump/Pence off the stage.

The NIGHTMARE that was being confronted at the NABJ Convention panel—of Black and Latino people openly threatened by the President, with maximum sentencing, stop-and-frisk going national, intensified police brutality and murder of our youth with no holds barred—MUST END!

Organize for November 4—the beginning when people all over the country act together to drive this whole fascist regime from power.

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

 

 


1. The broken windows theory is a criminological theory of how to deal with the urban, Black and Latino communities, in order to go after anyone in those communities.  When former LAPD Chief William Bratton headed the New York Police Department, he initiated this “broken windows” policy by calling for the use of disproportionate police force for minor offenses, in theory to prevent escalating criminal activity. In fact, “broken windows” in New York and Los Angeles became an excuse for the notorious stop-and-frisks that target young people of color for harassment, and for responding to minor incidents with sufficient force that de-escalation becomes virtually impossible. The policy is coupled with justifications for militarizing the police, post 9-11 and criminalization of dissent.  (This definition was obtained from la.indymedia.org in an article about Occupy Los Angeles) [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/bob_avakian_a-country-ruled-by-white-supremacists-since-when-is-that-acceptable-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Country Ruled By White Supremacists—Since When Is That Acceptable?

by Bob Avakian

 

 

Jemele Hill, a commentator at ESPN, tweeted that Donald Trump is a white supremacist, whereupon White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Hill to be fired. (She has not been fired but had to issue an apology, saying she should not have implicated ESPN in her comments.) And then there is the comprehensive and compelling case made by Ta-Nehisi Coates, in the current issue of the Atlantic, that Trump’s defining ideology is white supremacy. Here it must be sharply raised:

What does it mean, and what does it require people to do, if an overt white supremacist is sitting in the White House, if this whole administration (regime) is based on white supremacy, if not only Jemele Hill’s comments, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ argument in his Atlantic article, is accurate—which is the case? Is this something people just have to accept—that overt white supremacists are now ruling the country? Is it something that can, or should, wait until some future election (2018 or 2020) to see if it gets “worked out”? And who will cause this to “work out” in a good way, if their moral and political standard is that it is alright, or something people just have to accept, that the country is being openly ruled now by white supremacists?!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/capitalism-imperialism-never-met-a-disaster-that-it-could-not-make-worse-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Storm Season:

Capitalism-Imperialism—A System That Never Met a Disaster That It Could Not Make WORSE

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Hurricanes—as well as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts—are part of the planet we live on.

In earlier stages of human society, people were largely at the mercy of natural disaster. Those societies did not have the scientific knowledge to understand what caused, or to predict, these disasters, nor the technological capacity to respond, and were pretty much left with praying to imaginary gods for salvation.

Capitalism-imperialism, by contrast, has developed science, built up technological capacity, and amassed powerful productive forces and great wealth (much of it on the basis of the oppression and plunder of Caribbean nations) that could potentially be wielded—in a socialist society—to minimize the destructive impact of natural disasters, and to rapidly alleviate and repair the suffering and destruction that does happen.

But the underlying dynamics of capitalism—a system which rests ultimately on the dog-eat-dog competition between different units and groupings of capital, and between different capitalist countries, to accumulate profit—not only mean that profit will always be prioritized over human needs, but also that these powerful productive forces will in many ways be wielded in such a way as to actually worsen natural disasters and their impact on humanity.

All of this stood out starkly—and at great human cost—in the crisis around Hurricane Irma (as it did with Hurricane Harvey.) Here are some examples:

One. YES, Global Warming IS Making These Storms Worse

As a result of global warming which is caused mainly by the extensive and reckless use of fossil fuels in capitalist production, military activity, etc., releasing massive amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere the oceans are getting measurably warmer. Warm water is the fuel for hurricanes, which is why they form in the tropics. And the warmer the water a storm forms and moves over, the bigger and stronger it will be.

So NO, it is not a fucking “coincidence” that Texas had a “once-in-500-year” flood one year, and the next year a “once-in-a-1,000-year” hurricane which brought the largest rainfall in U.S. history. Or that this was followed by Irma as a Category 5 storm ravaging the Caribbean for days, and then its unprecedented landfall in the U.S. as a Category 4 storm that itself broke records for being the largest, and having the longest sustained high winds, of any Atlantic Basin hurricane since records began. Or that yet another Category 4 storm (Jose) formed directly behind Irma.

Global warming does not cause hurricanes, but it does cause them to be bigger and more powerful.

Scientists—including U.S. government scientists—have understood, studied, measured and warned about this for decades. But capitalism is unable to address this, because it is a system based on “profit in command”—things like concern for the health of the people and the well-being of the environment are considered “externalities” which cannot be allowed to cut into the rate of profit.

The capitalist state, while operating on the pretext of serving “the greater good of all,” primarily exists to create favorable political, military, and economic conditions—domestically and internationally—for the accumulation and the expansion of U.S. capital. And this is why it has not, cannot, and will not take measures to halt global warming if those measures undercut the profitability of U.S. capital, its “competitive position” vis-à-vis rival capitalist nations, or its military power.

So the U.S. has forged ahead, as the second largest carbon polluter on the planet, and this is going to accelerate with the Trump/Pence fascist regime, which denies global warming even exists!

Two. Driven by Profit and the Strategic Interests of Empire, Capitalism-Imperialism Literally Reshapes the World in a Way That Makes People Vulnerable to Hurricanes

In a socialist society, the government, in consultation with scientists and with the masses of people, would plan economic and social development to ensure the safety and meet the needs of the people (not just in the given country, but for humanity as a whole), in the context of “Protecting, preserving, and enhancing the ecosystems and biodiversity of the planet for current and future generation.” (New Constitution for the Future Socialist Republic in North America, p. 79.) In hurricane zones, this would mean organizing things to minimize the social and economic impact of major storms.

That is not what happens under capitalism-imperialism. Everyone knows there are hurricanes in the Caribbean, but real disaster planning to evacuate, shelter, or care for people doesn’t profit or serve capitalism—so it’s never done.

In the Caribbean islands—many of which are still, in 2017, colonies of the U.S. or European powers—economies have been organized to serve the needs of those powers. This often means that the whole economy is built around tourism. For instance, on St. Martin, 85 percent of the workforce is in tourism (meaning coastal hotels, restaurants, etc.).

This means that the bulk of development and most of the people end up living in vulnerable coastal regions, to be—predictably—devastated in major storms. So the short-term disaster of the storm creates an even more profound economic crisis, because the temporary collapse of tourism (or other service industries) also strips away the income needed to import almost all of their food and other basic necessities of life.1

In countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico, the imperialists carried out savage exploitation of desperate workers for many decades, in mines and cane fields, in pharmaceutical plants and oil fields. But now imperialist capital has to a large extent “moved on” to find even cheaper labor and more favorable conditions elsewhere, leaving behind overcrowded slums with no drainage, government debt that cripples disaster recovery, and crumbling infrastructure that cannot hold up to major storms. In the case of Puerto Rico, though only brushed by Hurricane Irma, about a million households lost electrical power, and may not get it back for months!

In the U.S., there is a different pattern, but driven by the same system—massive overbuilding on the dangerous coastal strips, where there are big profits to be made for “beachfront homes,” and massive urban sprawl, with suburbs, malls, and roads built over the wetlands, forests, and farmlands that could absorb water and minimize flooding. (See “Devastation in Texas: Nine Ways This Is a Crime of the System.”)

On top of all this, under capitalism major environmental hazards are located wherever it is most profitable, even in well-known disaster zones. (See “September 1: As People Continue to Face a Dire and Dangerous Situation, a Chemical Plant Fire Spews Out Dangerous Toxins,” revcom.us.)

What kind of society would tolerate such insanity? A society that puts profit before the needs of humanity, every single time.

Three: A Profit-Driven Society Refuses to Put the Time and Expense Necessary into Proper Preparation, Even When the Question of a Big Storm Hitting is “When, Not If”

Think about this: every time one of these major storms comes, the authorities improvise shelters out of stadiums, schools, churches, and so on, as if “who knew that we might have a hurricane someday?” Every time a hurricane hits, there is massive chaos; people don’t know where to go, show up at shelters and find long lines or no room at all, and often the shelters themselves are not suitable to resist the storm, or to provide a decent environment for people. This is a major reason why many people don’t evacuate during a storm, in spite of the risk.

For people trying to leave the area entirely, this system does not organize transportation (buses, trains, etc.), or even make sure that there will be gas available along the route. So millions of people get caught in traffic jams, turn off their ACs to avoid running out of gas, don’t have access to adequate water, etc. During the chaotic evacuation for Hurricane Rita in 2005, 107 out of the 113 hurricane-related deaths in Texas were in the evacuation itself, mostly due to heat stroke and related causes.

Nor are there plans in place to systematically evacuate vulnerable people, nor to ensure that such locations have their own reliable generating systems, and that they are immediately visited after the storm to ensure that vital needs are being met. Efforts like this would largely prevent things like the Hollywood nursing home disaster. But none of this is even on the radar of the capitalist-imperialist system.

It is obvious that areas in Hurricane Alley2 need pre-positioned shelters and well-developed evacuation plans... that is, obvious if you look at things from the standpoint of humanity.

Four: The Oppressive Social and Class Relations Permeate the Rulers’ Response to Natural Disasters

Some people say that a hurricane is a “great equalizer” because it devastates rich and poor alike. But, without minimizing the genuine suffering of more well-off people in these storms, under this system even that equality is a myth.

This starts with who has the ability to even leave the danger zone. No car, no money for gas or to stay in a hotel? You’re probably staying where you are! Elderly or sick relatives for whom you are caring and who cannot be moved without assistance? Again, you are stuck in the danger zone.

Before Irma hit, Florida Governor Scott self-righteously declared that “we can rebuild your house ... but we can’t rebuild your family.” But the reality is that for masses of people living from paycheck to paycheck, their home, and basic possessions like clothes, cannot just be “replaced”—especially since a lot of people will be unemployed after the disaster. In fact, the loss of property under this system can mean plunging people immediately into life-threatening destitution. So poor and working class people are going to feel much more compelled to stay in their homes and try to protect their property, even at the risk of their lives.

Another grotesque example of the oppressive relations of this society was the way that the death and destruction in the Caribbean was covered in the U.S. media. Mainly, it got little coverage, especially once the storm neared Florida, even though those countries were much more vulnerable to the storm’s devastation than the U.S. And to the extent it was, it was mainly to illustrate the potential threat to the U.S. mainland.

The national chauvinist disregard for the lives of people who are not “Americans” (or even some who are—like Puerto Ricans—but are brown-skinned) was so crude that one MSNBC weatherman actually described the possibility of Irma slamming full force into Cuba as “our one sliver of hope...,” because in destroying the lives of Cuban people it would weaken Irma’s attack on Florida! On CNN, another weatherman indicated he was relieved when Hurricane Katia turned south to devastate Veracruz, Mexico.

Other sharp examples are the refusal of the Border Patrol in Texas to suspend its hunt for undocumented people, even knowing this might prevent immigrants from seeking safe shelter, and the decision of a Florida sheriff to ID all people coming to shelters and send those with outstanding warrants to jail.

This system cannot stop oppressing and degrading the masses of people even in the midst of a humanitarian crisis!

Five: The Anti-Science Outlook of the Fascist Regime Makes People More Vulnerable to the Next Crisis.

And in the face of this wave of devastating storms, the Trump/Pence fascist regime and their ilk will not stop attacking science. In the midst of the storm, EPA head Scott Pruitt (who has been busily dismantling EPA regulations aimed at slowing the pace of global warming) told CNN that to discuss the link between global warming and worsening storms “at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida.” And in fact, by and large the media took the cue and did not discuss this.

Trump of course pulled out of the “job-killing” Paris climate accords, took down the White House webpage dealing with global warming, is slashing regulations that restrict carbon emissions and other pollution, and, incredibly, has proposed to slash funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ storm forecasting and storm prediction program. So, not content with spreading lies and ignorance about the reality of global warming, and with eliminating any regulations that might slow global warming down, the regime is actually slashing the ability of scientists to predict and track these devastating storms that are fostered by global warming!

All of these things—and much more that we do not have time to get into here—point to the fact that from this angle too (in addition to all the other crimes and horrors of this system) capitalism-imperialism is a chain around the neck of humanity, threatening to drag our whole species into an abyss of destruction, and that revolution to overthrow and replace this system with one grounded in the interests of humanity and a scientific approach to understanding and changing the world—a communist revolution—is urgently needed.

 


1. Because many of these islands are quite small, even under socialism it would not be possible for each one to be relatively self-sufficient. But it would be possible for the people of the Caribbean region to develop overall planning such that most basic needs could be met from within that region, rather than the current situation where they are dependent of imports from countries thousands of miles—and many days—away. [back]

2. Hurricane Alley, an area of warm water in the Atlantic, stretches from the west coast of northern Africa to the east coast of Central America and Gulf Coast of the U.S. South. [back]

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/harvard-suppresses-chelsea-manning-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Under Pressure from the Trump/Pence Regime,
Harvard Cancels Chelsea Manning’s Fellowship

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Starting this month, the University of California, Berkeley, one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S., will give a stage to a Who's Who of Trump-supporting Nazi enablers, white supremacists, viscous misogynists, xenophobes, and other alt-right hate-mongers. Among them: Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon. The university defends this by perverting the banner of "free speech."

At the same time, caving in to pressure from officials in the Trump/Pence regime and other ruling class figures, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government shamefully rescinded an invitation to courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow.

The New York Times describes the Kennedy School as a place "where power players from the top echelons of the state, the nonprofit sector, the military and the media all converge." Its invitation, the Times reports, was "inviting people from all ideologies, including some considered odious to the opposing side ... to provoke discussion across party lines in a campus setting that would keep hyperpartisanship at bay."

Chelsea Manning does, in fact, have a tremendous amount to offer Harvard students and many others. In 2010, as an Army PFC, she courageously leaked Pentagon and State Department documents which included evidence of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. support for regimes carrying out torture, and other far-reaching and until then secret U.S. machinations and skullduggery around the world. She recently said she felt compelled to do so because of the enormous "death, destruction and mayhem" she witnessed in Iraq.

For this act, Chelsea Manning was court-martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison under the U.S. Espionage Act. (Her sentence was commuted by President Obama after she served seven years.) Through all this Manning heroically refused to renounce her damning exposure of the crimes of this empire.

Harvard students and many others would have learned invaluable lessons about the real record of the U.S. around the world, and lessons about the morality of speaking the truth and standing with humanity, no matter the cost—a lesson urgently needed now.

But the moment Manning's fellowship was announced, top ruling class officials and mouthpieces began howling!

Michael J. Morell, a deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama, resigned from his fellowship in protest, saying the invitation "honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information," the New York Times reports.

Then the coup de grâce came from Trump's director of the CIA, the Christian fascist Mike Pompeo, who boycotted a Harvard forum he was scheduled to appear at and declared, "Ms. Manning betrayed her country", calling her an "American traitor." Pompeo is someone who opposes closing down the U.S. torture camp at Guantánamo Bay. He blasted decisions ending the CIA's secret prisons around the world (so-called "black sites"), instituting the requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws, and banning tortures like waterboarding.

Because pro-Trump, fascist forces are now making "free speech" a battering ram to normalize fascist discourse on campus and then to make it dominant, Harvard did not outright ban Chelsea Manning from speaking. Instead, at the behest of the head of the CIA, they attempted to de-legitimize her and distance Harvard from her by framing the issue as her "criminal" record, and lack of "public service," in order to quash her right to speak as a visiting fellow. The head of the Kennedy School, Dean Douglas Elmendorf, announced, "[W]e are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people—while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum."

According to Harvard, torturers like Mike Pompeo deserve to be honored for their "public service," while whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning who have and would expose torture do not.

Chelsea Manning, still standing strong, tweeted after her fellowship was cancelled:

"this is what a military/police/intel state looks like ... the @cia determines what is and is not taught @harvard."

and

"honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow ... they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure ... #WeGotThis."

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/whos-behind-the-fascist-onslaught-against-the-universities-en.html

Revolution #508 September 11, 2017

Who’s Behind the Fascist Onslaught Against the Universities?

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Ben Shapiro’s recent appearance at the University of California Berkeley was sponsored by a group calling itself “YAF.” YAF has promoted the spewing of white supremacist, misogynist, American chauvinist, and fascist bullshit on many university campuses, sponsoring appearances by Shapiro, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, and other public reactionaries.

YAF stands for “Young America’s Foundation” and also for “Young Americans for Freedom.” The former is the sponsoring group of the latter—they are the same cabal of fascists.

YAF has been feverishly promoting these fascists’ speeches in the name of “free speech.” But the truth is, as Sunsara Taylor has framed it, “This is not just about the ‘free expression of ideas’ disconnected from harmful societal consequences. This is the highly financed, highly publicized and highly protected dissemination of fascist ideas to serve a fascist regime, in which those who dare to oppose those ideas are threatened with the sharp edge of the state.” (See “Does ‘Free Speech’ TRUMP All Else? A Response to Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ.”)

The onslaught of campus appearances by reactionary and fascist speakers is part of an organized and orchestrated campaign by powerful forces in the U.S. ruling class to attack the campuses, shut down critical thinking, and reshape the universities.

YAF crows about its associations with Steve Bannon (who made promo films for YAF), Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (a former member), Ronald Reagan (former Honorary National Chairman), William F. Buckley (a founder), and a ghoul’s gallery of some of the major figures in the modern fascist movement in the U.S.

What is less visible in YAF’s propaganda is how they are funded. The Daily Californian, student newspaper and website at the University of California, Berkeley, did some research on this question that was published on the same day as Ben Shapiro’s September 14 hate speech at UC Berkeley.

The article stated:

[P]ublic financial returns obtained by The Daily Californian show that every year, YAF spends millions of dollars funding campus events such as Shapiro’s, propped up by tens of millions in annual donations from many wealthy, powerful foundations linked to prominent conservatives....

According to the nonprofit’s financial forms, YAF has spent about $54.3 million since 2005 on campus conference and lecture programs alone, with its most recent expense form showing costs of about $8.09 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, YAF has received about $124 million in gifts and donations since 2010. The vast majority of its total financial support relies on these donations from the public: In 2015, YAF received about $34.6 million in gifts, which encompassed nearly 98 percent of its total financial support.

The Daily Cal article, together with a May 20 article from the New York Times on YAF, details some of its elite financial underwriters.

Some of the largest and most prominent funders of YAF include:

Trump eggs on the street thugs of the fascist movement—the KKK, Nazis, and Proud Boys who chanted Nazi slogans and murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville—and lies that they are “good people.”

But no one should be allowed to deceive themselves or others with the myth that the political and literary representatives of fascism arise from “the grassroots.” RefuseFascism.org has termed them the “intellectual thugs” for fascism. They are nurtured, paid for, and promoted by some of the most reactionary sections of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class in this country.