Revolution #512, October 9, 2017 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/this-week-in-fascism-direction-momentum-urgency-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

This Week in Fascism: Direction, Momentum…and Urgency

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The two accompanying articles together make chillingly clear that, as the call for Refuse Fascism states, “Fascism has direction and momentum.”

The first article concerns Trump’s continuing reckless threats and the conflicts between Trump and elements of his “national security team,” including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The second, taken from the Refuse Fascism website (Refusefascism.org), shows the scope of attacks launched in just this past week against masses of people within the U.S.

Most of these attacks directly relate to the agenda of the Christian fascist section of the ruling class, which aims to impose rule by the dictates of fundamentalist Christianity on the U.S. It should be added here that this week was also marked by Mike Pence’s chief of staff telling big-money Republican donors to withhold money from Republican senators and congressmen deemed insufficiently loyal to the Trump/Pence regime, and to back their more fanatically fascist opponents in primaries.

These developments point to the urgency of the Call for massive, defiant, nonviolent demonstrations beginning on November 4 and building from there, aimed at driving out the Trump/Pence regime.

In both of this week’s developments, you can mistake the sharpness of what is happening for chaos and disarray; in fact, this is fascist consolidation proceeding through chaos. You could adjust to it, as many top Democrats are doing. What is imperative is that you resist this. If that is done, then the whole equation can begin to change.

As we have stated:

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.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/the-method-to-the-moron-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Trump/Pence Fascism Takes the Offensive Internationally

The Method to the Moron…

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This past week has seen an open rift between Donald Trump and his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and, to perhaps a lesser degree, his secretary of defense James Mattis. Disagreements flared openly around Korea and Iran, with Trump insisting on much more aggressive and warlike policies on both.

This rift does not signal an administration in disarray, nor is it just Trump blowing smoke. In fact, it is an illustration of the point from the Refuse Fascism Call that “Fascism has direction and momentum.” What this is marking—what we are witnessing—is the further consolidation of the fascist regime and fascist program, in the international sphere.

Last Sunday, October 1, Tillerson announced that he was working several channels to open negotiations with North Korea over their nuclear weapons. He announced this while visiting China, which implied that he was working with the Chinese to make this happen. Trump immediately tweeted that Tillerson should not “waste his energy” and continued his mocking and provocative insults of Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un. A few days later, word leaked that Tillerson had considered resigning over the summer and had called Trump a “moron” to others. In an extraordinary press conference, Tillerson denied any rift with Trump, though he did not explicitly deny his “moron” statement (though this was later done by a spokeswoman for Tillerson).

Meanwhile, Trump—who has been attacking the agreement that the U.S. signed with Iran that compels the rulers of that nation to stop any production that could even contribute to a nuclear bomb for 10 years—threatened that he was going to label Iran “noncompliant” with the treaty on October 15. (The president must certify that Iran is compliant with the treaty every 90 days.) That means that Congress could reinstate economic sanctions (that is, economic warfare) against Iran, which would essentially mean the end of the treaty. Secretary of Defense Mattis, testifying in Congress, said that he thought the U.S. should stand by the Iran deal. The backdrop for this is that nobody actually thinks that Iran has not complied with the terms of the treaty, but now the U.S. says that Iran is violating the “spirit” of it. These so-called violations essentially amount to ways in which Iran, coming from its own interests as a petty exploiter and wannabe dominator of the region has run up against the actions of the U.S. and its Israeli and Saudi Arabian proxies in the Middle East. In other words, Iran has NOT violated the treaty, and forces like Mattis openly worry that this will a) make allies and adversaries alike less likely to trust the U.S. and b) heighten the possibility of war involving Iran. Trump nonetheless continued to hint that he was going to decertify.

Finally, on Thursday night, October 5, at a gathering with top military commanders and their wives, Trump suddenly re-called the press corps into the room and stated that what they saw in that room—military commanders and spouses in evening wear—was “the calm before the storm,” and then refused to clarify what he meant. This of course led to rampant speculation about what he DID mean.

To draw this together: On two of the most pressing and explosive conflicts in the world—between the U.S. and North Korea over North Korea’s insistence on developing a nuclear deterrent to U.S. attack, and between the U.S. and Iran over U.S. insistence that Iran knuckle under to U.S. dictates in the Middle East—Trump has publicly rejected attempts by his top advisers to avoid war for the moment, and instead has provocatively ramped up direct threats of war or treaty-breaking.

       

Of Morons, Methods and Madness

To Tillerson—and to the sections of the ruling class he represents—Trump is indeed a moron. People like Tillerson, who came to the cabinet after heading up the bloodsucking imperialist Exxon Corporation, view the current world order as one that U.S. imperialism can work within to continue its domination and plunder. These forces are hardly averse to war to protect and enforce that order—but this section of the rulers wants to maintain at least the appearance that the U.S. wants to avoid war, that America is “the good guys,” that the U.S. only goes to war when all other alternatives are exhausted, and when “the whole world” agrees with this.

Moreover, there is an entire structure of geopolitical and economic alliances through which the U.S. has enforced and managed this order for over 70 years. Tillerson, Mattis, and those kinds of forces want to essentially maintain those structures and alliances but strengthen the U.S. domination within them. To be clear: this “world order” has meant the death through U.S.-waged or U.S.-sponsored war of over 10 million people in those decades; it means the needless deaths through starvation and disease of millions of children a year, and the grinding up of billions, year after year after year, into the maws of capitalism-imperialism.

On one level, Trump represents a different version of that. He, and the forces he has united, see those structures as essentially tying down and restraining U.S. power. They see it as imperative to break apart those structures and reassemble a different set of alliances based on different “cohering norms”—that is, different ways of settling disputes and justifying actions. So he rampages and does extraordinary things like forcing the generals and their wives to be party to his issuing of half-joking threats (the Washington Post noted that when he did his bit about calm before the storm, the eyes of the attendees “darted around the room” in panic). This parallels his approach domestically, where he continually breaks apart what people have become accustomed to as “how things are done” in U.S. politics.

To Tillerson, stuff like this and still more so Trump’s taunting of Korean ruler Kim Jong-un is indeed moronic, with no understanding of and respect for what the imperialists have put into place. But essentially, the Tillersons of the world don’t get it. Trump’s open and even jocular threats of war are not blunders or him being “tone deaf”; it’s a strategic approach. And moreover, it is a strategic approach that demands that sooner or later you actually go to war, and that when you do, you do so with overwhelming, disproportionate, and barbaric force. There is method to the seeming madness. Again, as Refuse Fascism says, there is direction and momentum to all this.

So while on one level this is a fight between global predators, on another these maneuvers and threats by the Trump/Pence regime are moves toward crimes against humanity that are perhaps unprecedented in human history. While we can’t say with certainty how any one situation will turn out, we can say that if this regime remains in power the probability that the U.S. will end up in a war that will either begin as, or become, nuclear is greatly heightened. Trump’s threats and intentional unpredictability make a miscalculation or “accidental” war much more likely and trifle with the lives of literally billions of people. Indeed, what Trump represents and is doing qualitatively heightens the danger to humanity, including the very future of humanity.

Who’s “Reining In” Whom?

Many people still delude themselves that Tillerson, Mattis, and Trump chief of staff General John Kelly are reining Trump in. In actual fact, these “moderate fascists” are being either forced out or publicly undercut or even humiliated, and it is increasingly clear that Trump alone is dictating policy, and if Mattis goes and says something else at some Senate hearing, it is essentially Mattis who is impotent, not Trump.

When Trump came to power, the presence of people like Tillerson, Mattis, Haley, Priebus, and then later McMaster was a concession by the fascist hard core, a way of calming down their bourgeois rivals and the general population, convincing people that Trump was willing to work with and take advice from these “wiser heads.” (This is very reminiscent of Hitler’s first cabinet, which only had four Nazis, and mostly not in key positions.) No need to panic, goes this logic, because he won’t be allowed to do anything rash.

But what does it say that even reactionaries are increasingly forced out or elbowed aside, that the Trump/Pence clique alone dictates policy, and if any of these other people contradict that, they are dressed down, often publicly, and ultimately gotten rid of? The media refers to this as “chaos,” and of course there is a significant aspect of chaos, but it is essentially fascist consolidation proceeding through chaos. The time to seek refuge in comforting myths is long since past; the time to struggle, in our millions, is long overdue.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/in-just-the-past-few-days-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From RefuseFascism.org

In just the past few days, the Trump/Pence fascist regime has:

Every day the Trump/Pence fascist regime is showing us what they stand for. It is our responsibility to drive them from power. Contribute all you can: November 4 It Begins.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/511/from-RCP-false-claims-by-Alex-Jones-and-the-truth-about-refuse-fascism-november-4-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party
False Claims by Alex Jones/Infowars...and the Truth About Refuse Fascism and November 4

October 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and supporter/confidant of Donald Trump, has posted on his website [Infowars] the claim that the November 4 demonstrations initiated by the organization RefuseFascism.org are part of a move to launch a civil war in the U.S. Jones cites unverified video footage of supposed “antifa” activists talking about how to use knives, and then flashes to the cover of the 2005 pamphlet The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. This false claim has been repeated on several other right-wing conservative websites and has unleashed a torrent of threats online against members and supporters of the RCP, RefuseFascism.org, and other individuals. 

This statement pushed by Jones is a lie.

What is being called for on November 4 by RefuseFascism.org is the beginning of mass nonviolent protests under the unifying slogan: This Nightmare Must End: We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A major point of this movement is precisely to PREVENT the kind of violent legal and extralegal repression that characterizes fascist regimes—the kind of thing which has already happened in Charlottesvile, as well as elsewhere! Driving out this fascist regime through these massive nonviolent protests, starting with thousands and ultimately actively involving millions, and thereby creating a situation akin to the protests that took place in late 2016 into early 2017 in South Korea, is the single, unifying objective of every organization and individual in Refuse Fascism. People and groups within Refuse Fascism have many different ideologies, programs, and proposals about the future, including about what replaces the Trump/Pence administration. But the demonstrations set to begin on the 4th have a clear objective and a clear character and it is not “civil war”!

People should read the pamphlet The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era for themselves. It discusses moves being made under the George W. Bush regime at that time toward consolidating a Christian fascist state, how the forces behind it were aiming the edge of their spearpoint against liberal Democrats, and how this must not be allowed to go down like that but instead has to be repolarized in a revolutionary direction

Bob Avakian and the RCP advocate and organize for revolution when specific historical conditions would make that possible, while uniting with Refuse Fascism’s more immediate aim of driving out the Trump/Pence regime and preventing the consolidation of fascism; we firmly adhere to Refuse Fascism’s call for mass nonviolent demonstrations to begin on November 4. People can and should go to the website revcom.us to find out more about Avakian’s new communism, the Constitution that would guide a new socialist society, and the strategy for revolution. We welcome discussion and debate about what should replace not only this regime, but the system that gave rise to it. But right now, again, the focus of all political forces and people of good will must be to politically drive out this regime. The slanders of an Alex Jones must NOT be allowed to divide us.

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org:

RefuseFascism.org Statement on the Lies and Distortions by Fascist Web Sites & Trolls

by Refuse Fascism staff

October 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

RefuseFascism.org has recently been the subject of numerous patently false articles posted on the internet that lie and distort its call for mass non-violent demonstrations to begin on November 4 and to raise the demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

One of the first and most cited of these attacks appeared on InfoWars, the website of Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and supporter/confidant of Donald Trump. This article falsely claims, first of all, that RefuseFascism.org is interchangable with Antifa, and that November 4 is planned to be a round of “riots” based on plans outlined in a 2005 pamphlet by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, titled The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution. InfoWars then cites and includes what is purported to be an undercover video of supposed Antifa activists explaining how to use weapons such as knives, flashing to the cover and title of the pamphlet.

These absolutely false claims have then been repeated on several other fascist and conservative websites, and have unleashed thousands of vile and intimidating social media posts and outright murderous threats against members and supporters of RefuseFascism.org, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Antifa, and other individuals.

The article and claims posted on InfoWars and on other websites are categorical lies. Here is the truth:

RefuseFascism.org has called for non-violent protests to begin on Saturday, November 4 in cities and towns across the country to raise the single demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! The plan is for these protests to continue every day until this demand is met. RefuseFascism.org has put forward the orientation for these protests with the slogan: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

RefuseFascism.org was formed and exists precisely to put a stop to the kind of violence and threats of violence against the people that characterizes fascist regimes and the extralegal fascist groups they foment. Donald Trump, during his campaign and continuing in rallies and tweets up to the present day, riles up and instigates white supremacist, misogynist and xenophobic hatred in his social base – including threatening violence. In Charlottesville, this resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer by a fascist thug.

RefuseFascism.org has clearly stated that it 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...”

What is envisioned beginning on November 4 are ever-expanding protests that create a political situation similar to the one that took place in South Korea from October of 2016 through early March of this year, when the president of that country was removed from office.

The individuals and organizations in RefuseFascism.org have many different ideologies, programs and proposals about the future, including ideas of what might replace the Trump/Pence regime. Our protests have a clear objective and character, and it is not acts of violence or “civil war”.

The views of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), and the views of Antifa and its various constituent organizations are their own. The RCP has stated: “Bob Avakian and the RCP advocate and organize for revolution when specific historical conditions would make that possible, while uniting with Refuse Fascism’s more immediate aim of driving out the Trump/Pence regime and preventing the consolidation of fascism; we firmly adhere to Refuse Fascism’s call for mass nonviolent demonstrations to begin on November 4.” The RCP’s full views are on their website, revcom.us including a statement on why they support RefuseFascism.

RefuseFascism has published its views on Antifa and the attacks on Antifa.

As a matter of principle and orientation, RefuseFascism.org calls on all principled organizations, media, and individuals to reject, repudiate, and to stop repeating the distortions and lies of these attacks on RefuseFascism.org and November 4th. RefuseFascism.org has published the following statement:

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!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/416/gun-violence-as-american-as-apple-pie-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Gun Violence: As American as Apple Pie

Updated October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: In the wake of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 58 and injured hundreds, there has been considerable discussion in the mass media about gun violence, with some kind of gun control often proposed as the solution. In light of this, we are re-posting a letter from a reader that was written shortly after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015. The points in this letter continue to be very relevant, especially with the Trump/Pence fascist regime in power.

 

From a reader:

Look up mass shootings in America on the Internet and you see picture after picture of people of diverse nationalities holding each other, eyes wet with tears over the loss of loved ones, and a painful loss of life. Americans shoot each other far more than in any other “advanced” country. While the recent horrific shooting in San Bernardino—leaving 14 people dead and 21 wounded—is also throwing up big questions about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the world (however that did or didn’t play a role in this as a motive), this is giving rise to many asking why these mass shootings keep happening on American soil and why there is such a high level of gun violence in the U.S.

But to really understand this, you can’t just look at the question of guns; you have to look more deeply at the character of the society that is shaping the people who are turning those guns on each other.

American Massacres Founded American Society

The U.S.’s particular relationship with violence in “the homeland” has everything to do with slavery, genocide, and the theft of land from Mexico. The idea of the “rugged American individual” or being a “self-made man” is built on all that—armed with the ideology of “my right to prosper above all else” (and profiting from all of what that sat on) and the weaponry to back it up.

The American mythology of the individual small farmer striking out on his own actually rested on the wealth created from the enslavement of Black people and the genocidal, land-robbing assault on Native American Indians.1 This could not have taken place without white men owning and using guns on a mass scale, at the same time as they used their guns on each other to settle disputes. All this got enshrined in the culture and has shaped the “American ideal of individual freedom.” (The typical Western film being a celebration of American, read: white male, individualism.)

At the same time, white supremacist violence has been relied on, and fostered, by the ruling powers to conquer the land and control oppressed sections of people from the founding of the U.S. through today: from the slave-owner's militias, the slave catchers and bounty hunters used to put down slave rebellions and catch runaway slaves; homesteaders (small farmers given plots of land by the U.S. government) after the Civil War who participated in the genocidal slaughter of Native peoples in order to control the land; mass lynchings and violence against Mexican people in the Southwest; racist violence and attacks on Chinese miners and railroad workers who played a key role in building up the infrastructure of the U.S. after slavery; lynch mobs that were aimed at terrorizing Black people, containing and suppressing them in enforced segregation from the late 1800s all the way up until the 1960s... This violence—and the right to commit this kind of violence—is integral to white male supremacy as an ideological glue of this system, and the fervent, even fanatic, culture of gun ownership is bound up with all this.

American Society Is Saturated in Brutal and Wanton Violence

All Played Out

"All Played Out"
(spoken word piece with words by Bob Avakian and music by William Parker), Centeringmusic BMI, 2011. Available at soundcloud.com/allplayedout.

Right now: America is a society that is saturated in a culture of brutal and wanton violence which affects and infects everything: from the brutality and torture this system uses in its war on the world; the rape culture that is endemic in everyday life, including this system’s military and police forces; the celebration of lynching in the history of the U.S. and the backing of the system’s police forces to brutalize and murder Black and Brown youth. From Afghanistan to Baltimore, from Ferguson to Palestine, from the slave ships to the reservations, this violence—aimed at terrorizing innocent people, here and around world, trying to go about their daily lives—IS America.

A big feature of this violence is male supremacy and the violent attempt to control and subjugate women. A concentration of this is the recent rampage on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado where three people were killed and nine injured. The murderer was, at least in part, inspired by the Christian fascists’ demonization of Planned Parenthood, which is about one thing only: female enslavement through taking away the ability of women to choose whether and when they will bear children. There is the revenge mentality against women for refusing to be controlled by male partners or ex-partners, where men will go shoot up a woman and her children with the idea that, “If I can’t have you, no one will.” Or the fury against women that was concentrated in the shootings at UC Santa Barbara by Elliot Rodger, which was in large part instigated by wanting to punish women for not wanting to be with him, as if by virtue of being a man, you are owed a woman—who in all this is never seen as a full human being but as something to be owned and dominated. This is also seen in the guy culture of pornography or in many video games that celebrate and reward reactionary violence, revenge, and degradation.

All this is on top of the most cutthroat enshrinement of unfettered capitalist relations and the wolf-like individualism that this promotes—again, among everyone, whether they sit at the top of this capitalist system, owning the means of production or not—and again coincides with the constant fortification and assertion of various forms of privilege (male right, white supremacy, nativism, etc). This is the culture that is promoted, celebrated, and given official backing in America—whether it be Shark Tank on TV, a show about brutal entrepreneurialism, or too much of the hip-hop that is promoted by the powers that be, where one track will brutally celebrate the degradation of women, and the next is about chasing money, taking down anyone who gets in your way, and using mass weaponry to do it (which is just parroting the larger rules and dynamics of this system).

Then there is the overall fraying of the social fabric: the “traditional relations” and social norms are being pulled apart by the workings of this system even as they are being forcibly enforced. There are big changes in the world, growing economic disparity in the U.S., great anxiety about the future, and this is causing a lot of turmoil, frustrated white male entitlement, and a tremendous amount of alienation. (Just think of the staggering number of people who numb themselves with drugs just to get through their days.) This is contributing to a lot of the craziness, unpredictability, and volatility in our society.

As painful and horrific as it is, these constant mass shootings—even as different incidences have different particularities—flow from all this.

Infighting Among the Rulers

In addition to a lot of struggle about the role of the U.S. internationally and in particular about how to deal with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism (which I’m not going to get into in this correspondence), the infighting among the bourgeoisie about guns and gun control has grown—in particular in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting. The New York Daily News (a more mainstream imperialist newspaper) has featured several newspaper covers in the last week calling for gun control, including going so far as to call the head of the NRA (the National Rifle Association) a terrorist. The New York Times, one of the main voices of the mainstream liberal imperialist wing of the bourgeoisie, ran an editorial on its front page calling for gun control. Running an editorial on its front page is something the Times hasn’t done since the 1920s! There are big questions up among the ruling forces—not over whether this system should stay in place, but what are going to be the cohering norms of this system as it carries forward its male supremacist, white supremacist imperialist system scrambling to maintain its top-dog position in the world. There is a lot coming apart and they are battling over how to keep it all together.

It would be important to think more about why the mainstream imperialists feel the need and freedom to go on the offensive around this right now. There is a basic question of people coming to feel the illegitimacy of a system that can’t “keep us safe” when this is something that Americans have come to expect in ways that most people in the world don’t. Then there is the need, from the mainstream imperialists’ perspective, to reign in the fascist forces. The Democrats don’t have a social base that they want to arm in the way the fascists do... so how, from their perspective, do you keep all this together? I’m thinking out loud here, but I think this would be worth batting around more to understand the sharpening and volatility of the terrain more deeply.

What Is the Way Out?

That said: gun control is not the answer. We cannot, and should not, rely on the source of the problem to solve it. This is a system that uses its guns in the hands of the police to murder people in the streets indiscriminately, in particular Black and Brown people. This is a system that uses its guns and its bombs halfway around the world to massacre people in hospitals and wedding parties as a fighting doctrine.2 And when they talk about “gun control”—they are not talking about stopping all this!

What’s needed—and what’s possible—is a profound struggle to bring into being a society where the destructive social antagonisms between people are eliminated and in which there is an ethos of cooperation, of mutual recognition of people’s humanity, an open-mindedness and curiosity proceeding from the world out; but the ONLY way to get to such a society is to dig out the roots of the one that gives you the dog-eat-dog daily relations and the system of oppression and privilege that requires the twisted and broken psyches that gives rise to, the close-minded and narrow individualism and the consequent madness and mayhem that rages. This requires revolution and communism, and a movement today that promotes, lives. and struggles for those emancipatory relations as much as it can in the present as it fights urgently for the future.

 

1. Read Bob Avakian’s Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy for a powerful dissection of the “yeoman” mentality, the mentality of the individual farmer, which Thomas Jefferson held up as the American ideal, an ideal which rested on slavery and genocide. [back]

2. This has only contributed to the geometric growth of Islamic fundamentalism. For more, read “In the Wake of San Bernardino: NO Pogroms, Paranoia & Persecution! NO More Unjust Wars!” at www.revcom.us. [back]

 

 


 

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Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Two Constitutions, Two Legal Systems, and a Man Who Imagined the World as It Should Be

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A 55-year-old Black man named John Thompson died in New Orleans on October 3. Thompson spent 18 years of his life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola—an infamous torture chamber. Fourteen of those years were on death row, and he was scheduled for execution seven times, all for crimes he was falsely convicted of in a trial where the prosecutors withheld evidence of his innocence.

A lawyer friend of John Thompson said Thompson often asked why the people who put him behind bars weren’t punished. Thompson would go over the legal statutes for kidnapping and attempted murder and show how what was done to him—what was very consciously done to him—fit these crimes. The lawyer said Thompson “understood when I said that it doesn’t work that way, but I was describing the way the world is. He was describing the way it should be.”

The U.S. Constitution: The World as It Is... Now

John Thompson’s experience concentrates what so many people—especially Black, Brown, Native American, and other oppressed people—confront in the meat grinder of the U.S. “justice system.” Ripped from your family... charged with crimes you knew nothing about... prosecutors lying and destroying evidence... phony “witnesses” coerced by police and the DA into lying on the stand... a court system that does nothing to guarantee supposed constitutional rights... public defenders routinely prevented from being able to mount any kind of real defense.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that prosecutors must provide defense lawyers with evidence that may be favorable to their case. Louisiana authorities systematically suppressed and destroyed evidence in order to send Thompson to death row.

Thompson’s conviction was overturned in 2002. In 2003 he was acquitted in a retrial. A jury awarded him $14 million—$1 million for each year on death row. The state of Louisiana appealed that ruling.

In 2011, the Supreme Court agreed that prosecutors had violated the 1963 Court mandate. But it also ruled that the “district attorney’s office may not be held liable.” Thompson never received a penny. The point, for Thompson, was never the money—it was some form of justice. Even when the system’s courts acknowledge that their prosecutors and police break their own laws—they refuse to even pretend to provide justice to people they’ve persecuted. The whole murderous chain of repression that has lashed John Thompson and millions of others is reinforced and legitimized by the legal system, concentrated in the U.S. Constitution and upheld all the way up to the Supreme Court.

This is not simply because of racist police, prosecutors, judges, and jailers—although there is plenty of that. More fundamentally, it is because the U.S. Constitution provides a framework that appears to treat everyone equally and claims to provide “justice for all,” but actually both covers over and reinforces the deep inequalities and divisions foundational to the capitalist economic, social, and political system. In actual fact, what kind of legal representation you get hinges on what social class you are in—how much money you have to hire lawyers, to be blunt.

In particular, for about 230 years the U.S. Constitution has served to legitimize the oppressed—and, for many decades, enslaved—status of Black people. This was certainly true under slavery, whose existence—while never explicitly mentioned in the Constitution—saturated the entire document. (See Bob Avakian’s latest talk, “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us,” on this.) Even after the Constitution was amended, following the Civil War, to recognize the legal and civil rights of Black people, for many years the Supreme Court ruled that laws stigmatizing Black people were actually legitimate. And even after the most egregious of such laws were found to be unconstitutional, the way in which the Constitution purports to recognize individual rights only, and not social inequalities (inequalities and oppressive relations between different groups), still serves to legitimize the kinds of things that happened to John Thompson and that continue to happen to all too many people like John Thompson.

Emily Maw, director of the Innocence Project New Orleans, said of her friend John Thompson, “He was angry, and yet he had astounding strength from the moment he got out and a need to channel his anger to doing good in the world. And that is what he did until he died.... [H]e did what he always did with the dreadful injustices life threw at him over and over again: He decided to use it to fight for accountability and more justice for people who came after him.”

How the World Could Be

We do not need to torture our aspirations for justice and emancipation to fit a document that was never intended to foster either. A better world IS possible. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, provides the legal framework and guiding principles and processes for a radically new form of state power that would be established after an actual revolution. The power, resources, and institutions of the new state will serve radically different purposes than what exists under this society based on exploitation and oppression.

This will have real meaning and impact in every dimension of society, including the legal sphere and the rights of the individual. Even though state power will now be in the hands of the masses of people, Bob Avakian has recognized that there will still be struggle between different classes and there will still be contradictions between the individual and the state, and he has taken this understanding and its implications to a far deeper level than communism previously understood. But this will be approached and dealt with in a qualitatively different, night-and-day different way. One big thing this would mean: there will be no more John Thompsons—arrested unjustly, railroaded to prison, with indifferent or overworked public defenders up against the full resources of the state, tortured for over a decade.

From the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, Article 1, Section 2, D, 2:

As a key part of providing the fullest protection for the rights and liberties of the people, and more specifically the defense of their rights in situations where they are accused of crimes—as well as in other proceedings where citizens or residents of this Republic are confronting the government as a legal adversary and have the right to legal representation—there shall be a Department of Legal Defense and Assistance, which shall be funded by the government, as part of the overall budget prepared by the Executive Council, but which shall in every other way be independent of, and operated independently of, the government. Branches of this Department of Legal Defense and Assistance, funded out of the overall government budget, shall also be established in the various regions, including any autonomous regions (or other autonomous areas) which may be established, and other areas of governmental responsibility and administration. The funds and resources allotted for this Department of Legal Defense and Assistance, including its various branches, must be at least equal to those provided, at the corresponding levels of government, for the prosecution of crimes. This Department of Legal Defense and Assistance, and its various branches, shall, with the resources provided by the government, establish the necessary personnel, structures and procedures in order to carry out the functions assigned to it by—and within the overall framework of what is set forth in—this Constitution.

Which world do you want to live in? Which world are you going to fight for?

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/second-printing-of-constitution-law-and-rights-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

The Bob Avakian Institute is proud to announce a second printing of

Constitution, Law, and Rights – in capitalist society and in the future socialist society

Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian including excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This compilation brings a truly unique perspective to a subject that is of critical importance for all those concerned with social justice: constitution, law, and rights.  In a time of political upheaval and uncertainty, these questions are taking on even greater urgency.

___

ORDER INFORMATION Print edition book available from Amazon or RCP Publications, a licensed distributor, Box 3486 Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654-0486
$6.00 + $3.00 shipping and handling
Bulk rates available.  Send inquiries to rcppubs@hotmail.com

Contact The BA Institute for review copies at info@thebobavakianinstitute.org.  Complimentary copies are available for academics considering this for their coursework.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/510/10-reasons-to-disrespect-the-anthem-en.html#reasoneight

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/puerto-rico-people-still-in-dire-need-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Puerto Rico—EMERGENCY!
People Still in Dire Need, Trump Regime's Response Still Deliberately Racist, Pitiful, and Deadly

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It's been nearly three weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and people there are still facing a dire, life-and-death emergency thanks to the history of U.S. imperialist plunder of the island, and now because of the deliberately racist, pitiful, and deadly lack of aid from the Trump/Pence regime. (See "Trump's Response to Hurricane Maria: Deadly, Racist Contempt for the Lives and Dignity of the Puerto Rican People")

Life-and-Death Medical Crisis

More than 90 percent of Puerto Rico remains without electricity, and half the population still does not have drinking water, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) statistics posted on October 4. The official death toll has already risen from 16 to 34, and the lack of power and water is putting tens of thousands at risk, including from contaminated water, lack of air conditioning, and refrigeration and more. It also means that hospitals and the health system remain crippled, and that people are without medicines and medical supplies.

Medical doctor and New Yorker contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes, "For want of insulin, blood pressure medications and antibiotics, things widely available at any neighborhood pharmacy in the US mainland, people in Puerto Rico will die—are dying—preventable deaths....There may be 10s of thousands of hardy people who survived the hurricane and are now struggling to stay alive in its aftermath. They are teetering on the edge, with hardly any reserve.... When you hear the death toll has increased from the current official number of 16, know that most every additional death need not have happened. They were preventable."

Making matters even more dire, Puerto Rico is facing a Medicaid funding crisis. Half the island's 3.5 million people depend on Medicaid for their heath coverage, but now, according to The Hill, Puerto Rico is running out of funds to maintain the program and some 900,000 people could be forced off Medicaid in a matter of months if Congress doesn't allocate the funds to ensure that does not happen.

As Puerto Ricans Suffer and Die, Trump Plays With Paper Towels

On Tuesday, October 3, Trump visited Puerto Rico. He made vague promises to help Puerto Rico. Then in a sick, racist joke, mocking the level of aid being delivered to Puerto Rico and the suffering of the Puerto Rican people, he "distributed"—that is, he tossed, like he was shooting baskets—paper towels to a small crowd of onlookers in one of  the wealthiest neighborhoods in San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital. His press secretary claimed people were having "fun." This as hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans were scrambling to stay alive. What would the public response have been if he'd pulled this stunt in Miami after Hurricane Irma, or Houston after Hurricane Harvey?

Later he made a deliberately empty promise to wipe out the island's $73 billion debt, which was quickly reversed by his budget director Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney "clarified" that Trump's words shouldn't be taken literally, that "Those bonds are being dealt with, were being dealt with before the storm, will be dealt with after the storm through the PROMESA process." (The PROMESA process is basically a savage austerity program that's been imposed on Puerto Rico which helped lead to the severe weakening of its infrastructure and the deeper impoverishment of its people.) In other words, the imperialists have no intention of rebuilding Puerto Rico much less meeting the basic needs of people there; instead they're going to continue to bleed the island dry.

Oxfam: "We are outraged at the slow and inadequate response"

Despite Trump's deliberate lies about the "great job" he's doing and his hollow promises of aid, and the claim by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) that "progress is being made," life remains a hellish struggle for the people. Reports coming out of the island describe FEMA officials filling out forms and taking surveys, but little aid getting outside the main cities to where it's needed most. One FEMA official claimed that a particular road was impassible, only to have a news organization immediately drive it and report it was clear. And fleets of helicopters—of which the U.S. has many thousands—to ferry urgently needed supplies outside the main cities of this mountainous island were nowhere to be found.

San Juan's mayor tweeted, "Power collapses in San Juan hospital with 4 patients now being transferred out. Have requested support from FEMA. NOTHING!" and "Increasingly painful to understand the american people want to help and US Gov does not want to help. WE NEED WATER!"

Asked about the mayor's cries for help, the head of FEMA spat out racist disdain: "we filtered out the mayor a long time ago," and "we don't have time for 'political noise.'" Exactly. FEMA isn't there to actually meet the needs of the Puerto Rican people and doesn't have "time" for their calls for life-saving aid. (On Thursday, FEMA removed from its website the statistics of how many people are without power and water; after being publicly questioned about the move, they put the statistics back up.)

The U.S. response to the crisis in Puerto Rico has been so lax—read murderous—that the international relief organization Oxfam felt compelled to issue a rare statement on October 2 condemning it:

Oxfam has monitored the response in Puerto Rico closely, and we are outraged at the slow and inadequate response the US Government has mounted in Puerto Rico. Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and health care are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we're hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response. The US has more than enough resources to mobilize an emergency response but has failed to do so in a swift and robust manner.

Making Puerto Rico Uninhabitable

Flights are finally arriving and departing San Juan, but the scenes are heart-rending—and infuriating. Thousands, often young people sent away by their parents, are leaving the island because they can no longer live normally, and it could jeopardize their health. Others are arriving. They are often relatives who have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying basic supplies and then flying to Puerto Rico to deliver them to loved ones themselves. This speaks volumes about how criminally inadequate the Trump/Pence "relief" effort has been.

All this raises the specter of a massive depopulation of the island. After over a century of U.S. imperialist plunder of the island, this would constitute yet another great outrage and crime against humanity.

As we concluded in our coverage last week, "These policies truly are genocidal, and have to be condemned and opposed. This regime has to be driven from power. And this imperialist system has to be overturned, here and all over the world, at the soonest possible time."

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/movement-for-revolution/revolution-clubs/revolution-club-frequently-asked-questions-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Revolution Club—

Frequently Asked Questions

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

 

1. “Why are you wearing the BA SPEAKS: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt?”

This T-shirt represents people getting free. Putting on this shirt means I’m no longer standing on the sidelines watching with no hope for the future or of getting free. I’m making a statement to be on the side of the people and getting ready for a time when there is a basis to go all out for revolution and end the nightmare that humanity has been trapped in for way too long.

Why aren’t YOU wearing the shirt?

2. “Why should I follow BA if he is white? How can I trust BA as a leader if I haven’t met him?”

No one should follow a leader because they’re white. Or Black. Or male. Or female. Or any other identity. People should follow Bob Avakian because he has answers on how we get free. He has answers for how we can make revolution to overthrow this system of nightmarish oppression, and how we can lead a new society on the road to real emancipation. BA is not leading any one group of people to try to get ahead of others. BA is leading a revolution to end all oppression and emancipate all of humanity. And if that’s not the leadership you’re looking for, what’s the point?

There are plenty of leaders you can meet who aren’t worth following to the grocery store. You can meet Farrakhan. He’s not even trying to lead a revolution! He’s so eager to get a piece of the capitalist-imperialist pie he even said he’ll make deals with the most powerful white supremacist in the world today, Donald Trump! You can meet with plenty of other forked tongue politicians and others who will stroke your ego, tell you what you wanna hear, and promise you a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That’s not what BA is about. BA tells you the truth, whether you like it or not. BA will struggle with you over where things need to go and what you can and need to do about it. BA has made a breakthrough in the science of human emancipation that provides us the tools to understand and radically change the world. And BA is leading the revolution with a deep connection to what people are actually going through and why it is so unnecessary. We’ve never had a leader like BA. And he needs to be defended and protected by the revolutionary people from a vicious enemy that would like nothing more than taking him out.

What people can do, and should do, is get to know this leader and his work. Great efforts are made to make this available at revcom.us, where you can get his writings and audio talks, including his memoir; the film of him dialoguing with Cornel West, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION; as well as the film of him talking straight up, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

3. “The revolutionaries don’t believe in God?”

“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.” (BAsics 4:18) Whose interests does it serve for people who are being fucked over and oppressed to accept this way of life as the will of a god who is punishing them or testing them with the promise of something better when they are dead? Who benefits from that? Think of what religion has been used to justify just in the history of this country: the pillaging and mass murder of the native peoples; enslaving, raping and selling African people; legalizing the beating and raping of women by their husbands.

We need to get beyond ALL lords and masters, and beyond all the oppressive economic and social relations, and traditional ideas, on which they rest. And to do that we have to confront reality as it really is. The truth is there is no god. And that is a great thing! It means we ourselves can understand the world using science and we ourselves can change it. It means we don’t have to be chained by books like the Bible that teaches that women should be killed if they are not virgins when they get married, children who rebel against their parents should be killed, gay people should be killed, and people who displease god or believe in other religions should be killed, including children (and if you bring us your Bible we can show you where it says that). We can get free of this kind of hate and this way of people treating each other.

At the same time, to join the Revolution Club you don’t have to agree that there is no god. Many good people, including revolutionaries, are motivated by their belief in a loving god that drives them to fight for justice. To make revolution, many, many of these kinds of “believers” are needed. To join the Revolution Club, you have to agree to the Points of Attention for the Revolution and while it is not a requirement to give up belief in a god, it is a requirement that we base ourselves on what we understand to be true and be open to discussing and debating what is true. Point of Attention #5 says this: “We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.”

4. “I heard BA’s a cult leader.”

This is the farthest thing from the truth and would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful. Ironically, when people tell you this they are trying to get you to stop asking questions and stop thinking for yourself (which is what real cults do!). And even more ironically, what most characterizes BA’s leadership is that he leads people to think critically, which is the exact opposite of a cult leader!

So, we could all just laugh this off as ridiculous and idiotic. But it is actually harmful for people to be going around saying BA’s a cult leader—because it attempts to put a wall in between the people and their revolutionary leadership. It attempts to keep people disconnected from the leader they have who is on their side for real and leading them to rise to the challenge of freeing themselves and all humanity. BA has developed a new communism, an advance in science to understand human society and the world and how to change it, a toolkit that can be used to work through and fight through all the problems that stand in the way of getting all of humanity free of all oppression. He is also providing incredibly high-level leadership right now to the process of making revolution in the most monstrous empire on the planet. And he is hated and threatened by the powers that be and their followers and enforcers. What we need, what humanity needs, is A LOT MORE FOLLOWERS of BA. People taking up that toolkit and becoming leaders for this revolution. NOT RELIGIOUS WORSHIPERS OF BA. SCIENTIFIC FOLLOWERS. And a movement for revolution that will defend and protect this precious leadership.

5. “What’s in it for me?” / “I have to take care of me and mine first.”

What’s in it for you is losing those damn chains that got people held down! Getting PAST all that. Also while you’re “taking care of yours,” others are being murdered, rounded up, demonized, facing horror after horror on a daily basis. Quite frankly, it isn’t about you. It’s about the masses of people here and around the world putting a stop to this the only way it can be done—revolution, nothing less.

And we have a saying: “for whom and for what,” why are we doing this? We’re not doing this because it personally makes us feel good. No, it’s bringing forward another way outta this madness and we have that WAY. So break with that outmoded way of thinking and start living for humanity.

6. “You can’t win.”

How do you know? Have you studied past revolutions? Have you studied the strengths and weaknesses of this system? Have you studied how imperialist armies fight and how revolutionary armies fight and how “insurgent forces” fight? The Revolutionary Communist Party has done this work and a lot more. It has developed a strategy for revolution and a doctrine for how to fight with a real chance of winning, once a revolutionary people in the millions, and the necessary conditions for revolution, have been brought into being. The outline of this is laid out in the statement, “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” We should dig into that statement together.

One thing it says in HOW WE CAN WIN is: "To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions. We need to build this revolution among those who most desperately need a radical change, but among others as well who refuse to live in a world where this system spews forth endless horrors, and this is continually 'justified' and even glorified as 'greatness.'"

The problem: this capitalist system of oppression and exploitation of millions of people here and around the world, along with the plunder of the environment. The solution is revolution.

Revolution requires millions of people who see or can be won to see the illegitimacy of this system and those who rule. The Revolution Club is organizing, NOW, for revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time with a real chance to win. We are Preparing the Ground, Preparing the People, Preparing the Vanguard for Revolution. What is needed is YOU!

7. “You’re going to get people killed.” / “The police are going to come down harder on me if I get involved in the revolution.”

What is actually worth living and dying and risking something for? This system kills and destroys people every single day, and gets people to take up its dog-eat-dog mentality and destroy each other. Why not put your life to something worthwhile? Getting rid of this system and emancipating humanity from this hell.

Yeah, if you step out of the life and get into the revolution, the police are going to hate it. They are going to fuck with you. We know all the dirty shit they are capable of—setups and murders and a whole court system backing them up. The police and the system they enforce would much prefer that you stay in your place, fighting over drug territory, taking revenge on other people in the same situation as you, going in and out of their prisons, always on probation or parole, always trying to stay low, on the run... and not causing any trouble for their system which keeps grinding you up and grinding up people all over the world. Children blown to pieces in wars for empire or washing up dead on beaches as their families try to escape war and poverty. Women killed in sweatshops that catch fire, or murdered for trying to go to school, or beaten and raped by men who consider them objects and property. Black and Latino people in the U.S. murdered by police, Rohingya people in Myanmar slaughtered...

So. What are you going to do inside this slave system? Bow your head and be an obedient slave? Or learn how to end the whole system of slavery and become a leader for the revolution to do that?

When you step into the revolution, you will not be alone. Every time the police try to take revenge on you for joining the revolution, you will have the movement for revolution at your back. We must mobilize people to support each other, mobilize lawyers to defend revolutionaries, raise money to fight cases, and most importantly bring forward more forces for revolution as we do all this. You stepping into the revolution now, putting on the T-shirt, living by and fighting for the Points of Attention for the Revolution—yes with all of the risks—inspires and gives strength to others to do the same.

8. “Black people will never get together.” / “White people are too fucked up.”

In saying that you are taking up the way the system wants you to think. Let’s look at this scientifically. It is the system that creates the conditions in which people are divided and not a predetermined human nature that says people are doomed to fight each other and exploit and oppress others. There are examples throughout history, even very recent history, where people from all walks of life have come together to fight the outrages of this system. People in times of acute crisis in society can have their thinking transformed and have their sights set higher and unite with others against the real enemy... this capitalist imperialist system and those who rule over it. Stop thinking the way the system wants you to think and step into the revolution.

9. “I have a responsibility to take revenge for my loved ones or I’m not a man...”

You are being played by this system that set up your loved ones to be killed in the first place and got you going after people who are just like you that this system rules over and oppresses. Give the lives of your loved ones some REAL MEANING by taking up the fight to get rid of this system that is really responsible. And when you start talking about being a "man" and not being a "bitch," this system has you played twice—now it has you trying to make your life count by dominating over and devaluing women.

Lift your sights and change what you are fighting for. Get out of that revenge shit that is just another form of “me and mine first” that is the way of life under this capitalist-imperialist system. Get out of that “man up” shit that keeps women enslaved and holds all of humanity back. Become an emancipator of humanity. Join the Revolution Club.

10. What does it mean to join the Revolution Club?

When you join the Revolution Club you join an organized group of people who are preparing for revolution—preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard leadership, getting ready for the time when millions can be led to fight, all-out, with a real chance to win. In the Revolution Club you get trained to become a leader for this revolution.

In the Revolution Club you live by a different morality. You live by and fight for the Points of Attention for the Revolution. You are fighting for a morality that stands for a world in which there is no more exploitation of the many by the few and no more oppression of one group of people by another.

In the Revolution Club you learn how to lead people to stand up against the injustices of this system and learn how to come together and fight together against the system and all the ways in which it comes down on people. You learn about and do that in a way that contributes to and builds up the forces we need for a real revolution. This means learn how to fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.

In the Revolution Club you learn about science—what it is and how to apply it to everything, including making revolution. This means learning about Bob Avakian’s new communism—and spreading this everywhere. You transform your own thinking and lead people to transform their thinking to start thinking about the interests of humanity first instead of “me and mine first” and to lose their fear of fighting to change the world. You struggle with people to break free of the system’s way of thinking. You learn—and learn to apply—the strategy for an actual revolution to overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system. You get into the vision and plan for the new society in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian (BA)—a society on the road to wiping out all forms of exploitation, oppression, and destructive conflicts among the people.

When you join the Revolution Club, you learn about and follow the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party. The most precious thing the masses of people have in their fight to get free is their vanguard party, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), which leads the Revolution Club and the whole movement for revolution. In the Revolution Club you learn about the Party and how you can make the leap to becoming a communist leader and prepare to join the RCP.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/storm-of-controversy-over-nfl-players-take-a-knee-protest-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Storm of Controversy Over NFL Players' "Take a Knee" Protest

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Sunday, September 24, more than 200 NFL players "took a knee"—got down on one knee—during playing of the national anthem, in a powerful statement against police brutality and the killing of Black, Latino and other oppressed people, and against social inequality; and as a show of solidarity in the face of the white-supremacist-in-chief Trump's disgusting racist attacks on Colin Kaepernick and other Black athletes only days before. The players' refusal to stand for the anthem was a wake-up call about intolerable injustice; it triggered widespread support across the country—and a storm of controversy and debate as well.

The following Sunday, however, the number of NFL players who took a knee or sat during the national anthem was far fewer than the week before. The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks stood out, with 30 of the 49ers taking a knee during the anthem, backed up by the rest of the team, and nine Seattle players refusing to stand. One player, Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders, entered the field wearing a T-shirt saying "Everyone vs. Trump" before sitting during the anthem, and small groups of players on three other teams took a knee. But the rest of the teams stood for the anthem.

The week in between saw an intense polarization ignite, with millions on one side standing staunchly with the athletes, and on the other side millions strongly opposed. That included angry America-First-ers and white supremacists ramped up by Trump.

Taking a Knee Spreads Far and Wide

The players' bold actions on the 24th spread far and wide. The same day—the start of the Women's NBA championship playoff—the Los Angeles Sparks walked off the court at the start of the playing of the anthem, and didn't return until it was over. The Sparks, along with other WNBA teams, had been protesting long before this, including in response to the hideous Nazi violence and murder—and Trump's tacit support—in Charlottesville. And many others throughout society were inspired to use their platforms to stand with the players and against Trump by taking a knee:

"America First" Backlash

The ruling Trump/Pence regime was livid. Between September 24 and 25, Trump posted no fewer than 12 tweets, each one attacking the players for being unpatriotic. One post said: "Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their country." The fascist propaganda machine—Fox, the talk radio circuit, and social media trolls—cranked out attacks, outraged that these wealthy Black men were "ungrateful" and unpatriotic.

CNN reported that the reactions to the NFL players' actions "have been blowing up the Internet." Clips of fans burning jerseys—and season tickets—went viral. An Ohio county sheriff banned his deputies from working the upcoming Cleveland Browns game; the Louisiana lieutenant governor announced he would boycott the next New Orleans Saints game. And after the Cleveland Browns stayed off the field during the anthem the first week, a fire chief in Ohio was forced to resign after this post: "[Pittsburgh Steelers coach] Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good Niggers. Yes I said it."

Delanie Walker, tight end for the Tennessee Titans, and his family received death threats after speaking in support of the anthem protests. He wrote, "The racist and violent words directed at me and my son only serve as another reminder that our country remains divided and full of hateful rhetoric."

Trump's massive twitter-storm was not just an expression of his racist outrage at ungrateful Black athletes. Enforced patriotism, flag worship, and honoring the military is an essential component of the fascist program of "Making America Great Again." Repeatedly Trump emphasized that the players must be punished if they don't submit: "Fire or suspend!"

While Trump is hated by many for the viciousness of his attack, many of those who support the players, and many of the players themselves, have been made defensive by the controversy created by his appeal to naked American chauvinism. Bob Costas, the veteran sports writer, expressed support for the players' right to protest, and to their cause, and then made the liberal Democratic argument that the players had to back up, and back down. "The idea of linking protests, no matter how legitimate the issue you are protesting, directly to the national anthem is not just offensive to the love-it-or-leave-it crowd. It actually causes ambivalent feelings, at best, among many people who are sympathetic to the issue but see the anthem as representing a lot of different things, including the country's ideals and aspirations."

Protest is fine, but you can't touch the anthem

What Costas was actually saying is, "Yes, protest is fine, but you can't touch the anthem, the flag, and the American chauvinism they represent—because it makes too many people—like me—'uncomfortable.''' And then he attacked Colin Kaepernick—who inspired this entire movement and is now being blackballed by the owners—essentially for being too radical; and called Marshawn Lynch "disgraceful" for sitting "disrespectfully" during the anthem. In response to this kind of pressure, a lot of the players felt it necessary to insist that taking a knee against the oppression of Black people was in no way meant to disrespect "our fighting men and women," or the flag; and have been won not to kneel during the anthem.

Why I BURN the Flag...

As Joey Johnson puts it in "Why I Burn the Flag..." at revcom.us, it has become essentially a precondition to be part of the conversation that people first say how patriotic they are, how much they support the military, how they are not dissing the flag. But, as Johnson continues, "Shouldn't someone tell these athletes, and people broadly in society—including the soldiers in the U.S. military—the TRUTH? Don't people need to know that there is not a separation between so many of the outrages they are protesting—police brutality and murder, mass incarceration, the oppression of Black people and other people of color—and the American flag?"

Bob Avakian has spoken powerfully to this urgent need to confront and break with American chauvinism in his new talk, "The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us":

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.

This is the challenge that confronts those NFL players who have refused to stand for the national anthem, a symbol of American chauvinism; and those who have backed them up. And everyone who is coming to hate and find intolerable the crimes of this system, and the even greater horrors openly promised by the Trump/Pence regime, has got to confront, and break with, the American chauvinism that the Trump/Pence regime and the rulers of this country are using as a key ideological weapon in maintaining their rule.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/american-crime-58-us-conquest-of-the-philippines-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

American Crime

Case #58: U.S. Conquest of the Philippines 1899-1902

October 9, 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 bodies of Moro insurgents and civilians killed by U.S. troops during the Battle of Bud Dajo in the Philippines, March 7, 1906

The bodies of Moro insurgents and civilians killed by U.S. troops during the Battle of Bud Dajo in the Philippines, March 7, 1906. According to one account, U.S. troops massacred at least 600 men, women and children in this one battle. Corpses were piled five deep, and many of the bodies were wounded multiple times. Photo from The National Archive.

THE CRIME: In April 1898, the United States declared war against Spain, launching the Spanish-American war. In August, Spain, facing defeat, allowed U.S. forces to take control of Manila. By the end of 1898, Spain was forced to cede its colonies of Cuba, Guam and Puerto Rico to the U.S., and for $20 million, the Philippines. 

In early 1899, when it became clear the U.S. had no intention of allowing the Philippines to be independent, Emilio Aguinaldo, who led the Filipino people’s revolt against the Spanish colonialists, launched a new war of independence against the U.S. imperialists. The U.S. war on and occupation of the Philippines lasted from 1899 to 1902. Over 126,000 U.S. troops were sent to crush the Filipino people’s mass uprising, and they waged war on wide swaths of the Philippine population as a whole. According to one account: “it became commonplace for entire villages to be burned and whole populations to be imprisoned in concentration camps. No mercy was accorded to Filipino prisoner, a large number of whom were shot.”

The U.S. occupiers tortured Filipino rebels, suppressed organizations of workers and peasants, burned crops and food supplies, and carried out mass executions, often by clubbing or bayoneting people to death. Filipinos who refused to pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag were sometimes imprisoned.

There was a conscious U.S. policy of massacres coming from the top. In 1901, American troops retaliated against the defeat of a U.S. garrison on the island of Samar by killing all males over 10 years old, and butchering many women and children as well. An American marine major reported: “General [Jacob] Smith instructed me to kill and burn, and that the more I killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that I was to make Samar Island a howling wilderness.” When the major asked what the age limit should be for the killing, the general said, “Everything over ten.”

It is estimated that between 250,000 and one million Filipinos were killed in this U.S. war of conquest—in combat and through disease and famine. The savagery of the U.S. war was captured in pictures of American soldiers standing on mounds of the skulls and bones of Filipinos they had massacred, piled in mass graves.

Torture carried out by the U.S. military included waterboarding. U.S. Lieutenant Grover Flint described how he waterboarded 160 people, and only 26 survived: “A man is thrown down on his back and three or four men sit or stand on his arms and legs and hold him down; and either a gun barrel or a rifle barrel or a carbine barrel or a stick ... is simply thrust into his jaws and his jaws are thrust back.... In the case of very old men I have seen their teeth fall out.... He is simply held down and then water is poured onto his face down his throat and nose from a jar; and that is kept up until the man gives some sign or becomes unconscious. And, when he becomes unconscious, he is simply rolled aside and he is allowed to come to.... A man suffers tremendously, there is no doubt about it. His sufferings must be that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown....”

The author Mark Twain summed up that in the Philippines, the U.S. had “buried them; destroyed their fields, burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out of doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining tens of millions....”

THE CRIMINALS

President William McKinley (1897-1901) issued the order to invade the Philippines. General Jacob Smith, who led the U.S. invasion of the Philippines, had earlier taken part in the 1891 U.S. military massacre of 350 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee. General Franklin Bell ordered the destruction of “humans, crops, food stores, domestic animals, houses and boats.” General Frederick Funston openly bragged about how he had personally hanged 35 Filipinos suspected of supporting rebel forces, without trial. Major Edwin Glenn reported that he had forced a group of 47 Filipino prisoners to kneel down and “repent of their sins” before he bayoneted and clubbed them to death. General William Shafter declared that it might be necessary to kill half the Filipino population in order to bring “perfect justice” to the other half. The entire U.S. military, according to one account, saw Philippine resistance to the American occupation “as an affront to white identity and white being.”

THE ALIBI

In January 1903, U.S. President William McKinley told the magazine the Christian Advocate how he decided to invade and occupy the Philippines: “They came to us, as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them.... I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was, but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died.”

Historian William Loren Katz writes, “Officers and enlisted men—and the media—were encouraged to see the conflict through a ‘white superiority’ lens, much as they viewed their victories over Native Americans and African Americans. The Philippine occupation unfolded at the high tide of American segregation, lynching, and a triumphant white supremacy ideology.”

The U.S. military carried out the conquest and “pacification” of the Filipino people under the same racist thinking and justification as their genocidal wars against Native Americans, with U.S. forces referring to the Filipinos as “niggers,” “barbarians,” and “savages.”

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

Despite McKinley’s claims, in reality, Spain had already “converted” the Philippines to Christianity (Catholicism) 300 years earlier when it colonized it. More to the point about what was actually driving the U.S. actions, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries capitalism was developing into imperialism, and the world’s major capitalist powers were increasingly compelled to operate on a global scale and battle with each other for control of key regions, resources, and markets, and colonies to exploit in the oppressed or “undeveloped” countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The Spanish-American War and the U.S. conquest of the Philippines marked the bloody rise of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. rushed to take control of Spain’s colonies to prevent other rivals from grabbing them. Seizing the Philippines was a critical step in forging the American empire, because it’s a gateway to and outpost in Asia, a country with people to exploit and resources to plunder.

McKinley himself pointed to the imperialist motives for the U.S. conquest of the Philippines when he told the Christian Advocate that the U.S. couldn’t turn the Philippines “over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable....” Senator Albert Beveridge spelled it out even more baldly in a January 9, 1900 speech: “The Philippines are ours forever.... And just beyond that are China’s illimitable markets.... We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world.... The Philippines give us a base at the door of all the East....”

Sources:

Vestiges of War—The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream 1899-1999. Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia, eds. (NYU Press, 2002)

U.S. WAR CRIMES IN THE PHILIPPINES,” World Future Fund

Manifest Destiny Continued: McKinley Defends U.S. Expansionism,” historymatters.gmu.edu

A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn (Harper and Row, 1980)

Torture Techniques at Guantánamo: ‘Communist Inspired’ ...or Developed, Refined, and Exported by the USA? Part 2: The U.S. Roots of Waterboarding,” revcom.us.

 

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

From A World To Win News Service

From the front lines of the battle of Hamburg against the G20

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A World to Win News Service. What follows is a report from supporters of the new communism gathered in the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group in Europe (RCMG) who were involved in the massive protests held against the G20 summit in Hamburg on 7-8 July. This gathering of the heads of the world's most powerful imperialist states, at a time of unprecedented crisis globally, represented a blatant affront and a serious challenge to the world's people that had to be met head-on. It was a major political event at a crucial juncture in Europe and around the world.

Dominated by the most powerful imperialist countries and accompanied by some notorious reactionaries, such as Turkey's Erdogan and India's Modi, it aimed to bring together the representatives of the most exploitive and oppressive rulers of the existing world in order to contend and negotiate with each other over how to prey upon the masses of the world and its resources. But the presence of the fascist Donald Trump signalled that this was more than the usual annual G20 event. The emergence of the fascist Trump/Pence regime at the head of the world's most powerful imperialist country has dramatic implications for people everywhere. The same deep contradictions that led to the installation of the Trump regime in the US are also at work in Europe, fuelling racism, xenophobia, misogyny and a more repressive political environment everywhere. This rightward lurch by the rulers is being expressed in the growth of fascist movements around the world, including the possibility of fascist regimes in Europe itself, even in countries like Germany and France where the dictatorship of the capitalist class has long been exercised in the form of social democratic regimes.

The significance of this G20 summit called for something beyond protest as usual. Many tens of thousands of people from Germany, other European countries and even beyond were expected to take part in four days of protests against the summit and all that it stands for, united to oppose some of the most brutal aspects of what the capitalist-imperialist system dishes out to people daily. It was clear that among those who attended there would be a large spectrum who recognise, to one extent or another, the need to get rid of the capitalist system itself, including some looking for a revolutionary alternative. All of this resistance and opposition was extremely important. At the same time, it is a fact that the merciless domination and exploitation of the overwhelming majority of people and nations on this planet by a handful of rich countries will continue as long as this capitalist-imperialist system exists. It is a scathing indictment of the criminal and inhuman nature of this system that in a world where humanity's basic needs could already be met, suffering, misery and ignorance stalk vast swaths of the human landscape.

On the stage set in Hamburg, the fascist Trump/Pence regime was receiving an official welcome and being given legitimation by the rest of the other heads of state, while whetting the appetites and fuelling competition from other imperialists, with Germany's Merkel seizing on the occasion to forcefully assert Germany's ambitions for a bigger role running the world. All this posed urgent responsibilities on those who understood this to greatly step up their struggle against this life-devouring capitalist world order.

Revolutionary communists took part in planning activities in Hamburg and in Berlin to prepare the anti-G20 Summit protests months in advance of the event and developed an understanding of the features shaping the political terrain and the nature and line of the forces aiming to protest the summit. The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group of supporters of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian in Europe called for an all-out mobilization to take part.

There was a firm understanding among the comrades taking part of the need to boldly take out the need and desirability of communist revolution and the importance of promoting the architect of the new synthesis of communism, Bob Avakian. With this goal in mind, the comrades wrangled with how this could be done in relationship to the major issues that the masses coming to Hamburg would be raising? The question that came into sharper focus was what kind of work to unfold among the masses? What is the relation between partial struggles and particular demands (for example, ''drive out the fascist Trump regime'') and the overall task of preparing the proletarian revolution? How do we further advance the communist work of propagating and fighting for the new synthesis under these circumstances? The political approach RCMG supporters and others united around was reflected in the slogans adopted for a main leaflet to be distributed massively in German and English: "Fight the G20 Summit of Exploiters, Mass Murderers and War-mongers! Help Drive Out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime! Humanity Needs Revolution and the New Communism!"

In Hamburg and later Berlin, during the latter part of June, two public meetings were held to discuss ''the Trump regime, the rightward lurch in Europe and the danger of fascism'' as part of the preparations for the G20 protests. Although the number of the people attending these public meetings was not large, they nonetheless helped to bring out the urgency of fully coming to terms with the dangers posed by the fascist Trump/Pence regime, making this part of the today's political discussion as broad as possible, and organizing to fight with this understanding. Posters with the slogans ''NO! In the name of humanity, We refuse to accept a fascist America!'' and ''Drive out the Trump/Pence Regime!'' in several languages appeared on walls in areas of Hamburg known for their concentration of youth and radical-minded people. Comrades were invited to make presentations of their views at radical street events. Several different leaflets were widely distributed in large numbers on topics such as the migrant crisis and ''Das Trump Regime, der Rechtsruck in Europa und die Gefahr des Faschismus'' [The Trump Regime, the Rightward Lurch in Europe and the Danger of Fascism].

During the tumultuous days of the G20 protests, the strong presence, resolve and visibility of a clearly multi-national force, with Avakian "REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS" t-shirts and banners with the three slogans in different languages became a recognized feature in all the major demonstrations. More than 20,000 leaflets were distributed and they were in the main eagerly received. Many curious to know who the RCMG supporters were and what they were advocating were introduced to communist revolution and the existence of the line, leadership and the strategy for the struggle to turn into an actual revolution. Several hundred copies of a pamphlet put out by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, HOW WE CAN WIN: How We Can Really Make Revolution, were taken by those eager to check out a how a revolution could be prepared and actually win in a country like the United States. The contingent was uniting with and encouraging the more radical sections of the demonstrators while striving to promote revolutionary communism as a real pole of attraction on the anti-G20 protest terrain. There were many discussions about the crucial significance of Avakian's further development of the theory of communist revolution on a higher and more scientific ground and the decisive importance of this for solving the problems of preparing, making and carrying forward an actual revolution aimed at the worldwide elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression and the behaviours and thinking based on them.

One important example of how this stand was translated into action came at the 6 July late afternoon demonstration named ''Welcome to Hell'' that brought together a variety of forces around the "black bloc" anarchists and other rebellious youth who had called for it. (Trump had earlier called immigrant neighbourhoods in Europe's big cities 'hell".) Riot police attacked the hundreds-strong frontline black bloc fighters because of their proclaimed intention to disrupt the G20. In the ensuing struggle, the RCMG people were able to successfully raise their revolutionary banners to regroup and lead several hundred demonstrators to continue marching into the city. This was possible because of the group's revolutionary stand and resolve on the strength of the political understanding they were propagating, and because they took responsibility for building unity as widely as possible among those opposing the system, despite the influence of entrenched anti-communism of the black bloc leadership on many of them. In general, it could be said that the week of anti-G20 protests would not have been the same without the determined presence and struggle of the RCMG activists.

The criminality of this system is rapidly becoming more clear and unacceptable to millions and many people are even questioning the legitimacy of this system, and the need and possibility of an actual revolution urgently needs to become the focus of attention of the advanced forces. In response to these protests, the Merkel government deployed a massive, deliberately intimidating range of force, including 23 helicopters and 32 of the world's largest water cannon. The Bundestag, Germany's parliament, is now discussing the possibility of outright police state measures to stop such protests in the future, including electronic control measures to confine potential protestors at home, and massively stepped up video surveillance. All this is an indication that even  Europe's essentially social democratic regimes intend to and are compelled to accelerate the rightward lurch despite growing opposition. Battles will surely arise around crucial issues like immigration and the need to help drive out the Trump/Pence regime. By joining and strengthening these battles and above all by bringing out the possibility of an entirely different world, today's embryonic communist forces can begin to transform themselves and the political landscape.

 

Fight the G20 Summit of Exploiters, Mass Murderers and War-mongers!
Help Drive Out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime!

Humanity Needs Revolution and the New Communism!

This G20 summit gathers the world's most powerful imperialist countries, flanked by reactionaries like Turkey's Erdogan and India's Modi. It will be highlighted by the arrival of Donald Trump, the leader of a newly installed fascist regime in the US. These are clearly not ordinary times. There is an urgent responsibility to greatly intensify the struggle and to seize upon the cracks appearing in the edifice of this life-devouring capitalist world order and put an end to it.

The summit organizers claim that the G20 has set itself the task to "shape globalization for the benefit of everyone". This is a sick joke to most people here and around the world, because capitalism can flourish only by grinding down the majority for the benefit of the few. This bitter reality is true even in the most "advanced" democratic countries but all the more so when extended to the whole world. The basic and bone-crushing truth remains: the merciless domination and exploitation of the overwhelming majority of peoples and nations on this planet by a handful of rich countries will continue as long as this capitalist-imperialist system exists. It is a scathing indictment of the criminal and inhuman nature of this system that in a world where humanity's basic needs could already be met, suffering, misery and ignorance stalk vast swaths of the human landscape.

Even if these rulers wished otherwise, the underlying workings of the capitalist-imperialist mode of production force them to exploit people and the planet on an ever more intensifying scale. They are driven by ever sharpening competition and rivalry between each other to use the most brutal forms of oppression and repression to uphold this mode of production and their rule.

The G20 will lead to an intensifying clampdown in Europe against "undesirables". They will continue to tighten their borders and brutally repel desperate migrants, even as they prepare to step up the bloody military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere that have driven millions from their homes.

The G20 summit essentially represents the outmoded strata of the capitalist-imperialist West, which has long ago outlived its place in history. The Western imperialists both fuel and conflict with the other historically outmoded social strata represented by Islamic fundamentalism, and this dynamic is pushing reactionary trends in large parts of the world. The imperialists are using this to prettify themselves as upholders of enlightenment, making it more difficult for people to distinguish their true friends and their real enemies. All this sharply underlines the urgent need for humanity to break out of and beyond this system.

The emergence of the fascist Trump/Pence regime at the head of the world's most powerful imperialist country has dramatic implications for people everywhere. The same deep contradictions that led to the installation of the Trump regime in the US are also at work in Europe, fueling racism, xenophobia, misogyny and a more repressive political environment everywhere. This rightward lurch by the rulers is easing the way for fascist movements and the possibility of fascist regimes in European countries as well.

It is urgent to actively support the ongoing struggle to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime in the US! There is little time to lose before this regime fully consolidates its power. This battle goes hand-in-hand with combating the rightward shift in Europe as part of an overall struggle to get free of capitalism and imperialism once and for all.

This year's G20 Summit is marked by intensifying inter-imperialist rivalry. Trump has made abundantly clear that he is willing to do whatever is necessary to rebuild US imperialist domination of the world. But the other imperialists cannot be allowed to use the ugly face of the Trump regime to hide their own horrendous features! Angela Merkel is trying to present herself as the "leader of the democratic world". Her partnership with the recently elected Emmanuel Macron is being heralded as an "inclusive, humane and democratic" counter-weight to the openly backward and vicious Donald Trump. But when Europe's political representatives talk about the need to take "more responsibility" in the world, what they mean is that Germany, France and the rest of Europe should pursue their imperialist ambitions more ruthlessly, including by means of war. While there are real differences among these imperialists over how to shore-up their system, these are differences among reactionaries. At a time when Trump calls to build a wall on the US border with Mexico, "Fortress Europe" already is responsible for thousands of migrants dying every year. And to keep the poor and persecuted out, imperialist Europe is now supporting the construction of such brutal migrant camps in Northern Africa that even German diplomats are comparing them to "concentration camps".

Confronted with the appearance of a seemingly unbeatable enemy, there is a strong tendency to accept ''the politics of the possible'' and to become resigned to seeking only to soften the most egregious blows of the system, leaving fundamental change for future generations. Yet some calls to protest the G20 point out that the system of capitalism cannot correctly address the problems humanity faces. There is even an understanding that it should be possible to have a world where women are not dominated, where the Earth's resources are not plundered, where people from all over the world cooperate in the common interests of humanity. Yes, all this is possible—but what all too few understand is that this can only come about through an actual revolution, not just changing the faces in power and "making the best" of a rotten framework. The need for revolution is ever sharper and more pressing, even if many people think that it was tried and didn't work, while others see it is as an impossible dream.

The US revolutionary leader Bob Avakian emphasized, ''everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.''

However, there is a vision of and a scientific approach to getting beyond a world of exploitation and oppression, of misery, hunger, bigotry, patriarchy and the squandering of humanity. This is the new communism, the re-envisioning of revolution and communism developed by Bob Avakian. It is a tremendously liberating and exciting breakthrough for humanity. It is the scientific way to understand the monumental problems that seven billion people on this planet face. It provides the comprehensive strategic orientation for building a movement for a real revolution, and for making a revolution that can actually win against this system's massive machine of death and destruction. It provides an outline of how we can create a society that meets people's basic needs while opening up whole new vistas for cultural and intellectual ferment and creativity... How we can actually uproot racism and patriarchy, including in people's thinking and values... How we can create an economy that is sustainable with respect to the rest of nature, and how we can build a society that takes as its starting point not ''my country'' but the interests of humanity.

We cannot be content with the prospect of protesting against these same rulers in the same ways year on year. Humanity and this planet cannot afford this! We must confront what humanity truly needs in order to do away with this system. People who know that the current world is intolerable have a serious responsibility not only to continue and step up their current resistance but also to seek out and examine the most advanced scientific understanding of how the world can and must be transformed through revolution. We need a thoroughgoing revolution—and the new synthesis of communism makes it possible!

Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group (Europe)

June 28, 2017

 

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

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Richard E. Frankel, Professor of Modern German History, on Trump’s Pardon of Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “To this German historian, the implications are ominous”

October 9, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Richard E. Frankel is associate professor of Modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is the author of Bismarck’s Shadow: The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898-1945. The following originally appeared at historynewsnetwork.org, website of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences at George Washington University.

In August of 1932, in the town of Potempa, nine Nazi Stormtroopers murdered a supporter of the German Communist Party, kicking him to death in his own apartment as his family watched in horror. Six were convicted with five receiving the death penalty. After the verdict, Hitler sent them a telegram in which he declared to them his “boundless loyalty.” Shortly after he came to power in 1933, he pardoned the killers. While former Sheriff Joe Arpaio never kicked anyone to death, his pardon by President Trump raises disturbing parallels.

Upon gaining power, Hitler immediately pardoned allies who’d perpetrated ghastly crimes against those deemed enemies of the nation. What do we make of Trump’s pardon of a political ally, a man duly convicted of systemic deprivations of people’s constitutional rights—people Trump never considered part of his America? As a professor of modern German history, this administration seemingly provides such unpleasant reminders of Germany’s dark past on a regular basis. What can German history teach us about this latest episode? How, for example, did the pardon of the Potempa killers help us better understand Hitler? What implications did it have for development of the Third Reich? And how does that knowledge help us better understand Trump and the danger that his pardon of Arpaio poses for the future of the United States?

Many Americans believe that our long-established legal institutions and traditions will withstand any attempt by Trump to undermine the rule of law. Ours, after all, is a government of laws, not people. But how much comfort should we really take in such traditions? Here, German history provides a frightening lesson. Germans, too, took great pride in the long-established tradition of the Rechtstaat—a state under the rule of law. Here, one may not agree with the law, but one could be confident that it would be applied consistently. What we see with Hitler is his determination to destroy that tradition as well as the remarkable ease and speed with which he was able to do just that.

On February 27, 1933, less than one month after Hitler became Chancellor, the Reichstag building erupted in flames. Blaming the Communists, Hitler suspended civil liberties and gave the police extraordinary powers to search and arrest. He then demanded death for suspected arsonist Heinz van der Lubbe. That arson was not a capital offense did not bother him in the least. After some early resistance, the Justice Ministry wrote the Lex van der Lubbe, retroactively allowing for the execution. Within months, the centuries-old Rechtstaat was giving way to a system in which the law and the will of the Führer were one.

When Hitler pardoned the Potempa killers and persuaded his Justice Ministry to compose the Lex van der Lubbe, he sent two clear messages. First, his pardon of the Potempa killers made clear the boundary of Hitler’s national community. Communists were excluded. The significance of the boundary that separates ‘us’ from ‘them’ is in the value that one places on the lives of those beyond that border. For some, their fate was of no concern. For others, say, Communists or Jews, killing them was, in fact, good.

With his demand for the Lex van der Lubbe, Hitler announced that in the Third Reich, the law would serve the needs of the national community. And it was for Hitler to determine what those needs were. Over time, actions within this lawless environment would radicalize such that torture, violence, and periodic murder grew more frequent and systematic until it rose to the level of genocide. Fortunately we’re not at that level yet, but at least with the German experience we have an example of where things can lead if left unchallenged. What should we take from that experience for our current situation?

What kind of person did the President first praise, and then ultimately pardon? Who is Joe Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona? Here was a man who regularly practiced racial profiling in his obsessive search for undocumented Latinos, terrorizing an entire ethnic community. And when ordered by a federal court judge to stop the practice, he refused, and continued to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens. He brought back chain gangs. His guards tormented and beat inmates mercilessly, at times to the point of death. He also boasted about operating a “concentration camp”—a tent city he built, where inmates would experience the 110-degree-heat of the Arizona desert without air conditioning. And to sum up his attitude toward the law, he dismissed criticism as “civil rights crap.” For not one of these instances did Joe Arpaio ever apologize, or even indicate any sense of remorse.

What message is Trump sending with his pardon of such a man? By pardoning someone who so brazenly and unapologetically violates peoples’ constitutional rights and ignores any judicial efforts to bring him in line, the President signals that the law is for him and those who think like him to determine. No court should be able to check that power. By pardoning a man who so mistreated certain populations in particular, he’s telling us that the law does not apply equally. Certainly Latinos receive a very frightening message that the President clearly does not feel the same concern for their well being as he does for other, whiter Americans within the boundaries of his ideal national community. To this German historian, the implications are ominous.

Where did such an approach to the law lead in Germany? Just one year after the Potempa pardons, during what became known as the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler had some 80 leading Stormtroopers and around 200 other people with whom he had various scores to settle arrested and shot without trial. Within days, Justice Minister Franz Gürtner, who’d already agreed to the Lex van der Lubbe the previous year, now approved a law that retroactively legalized the murders as an exceptional measure in defense of the state against treason.

Again, Joe Arpaio did not kick an innocent person to death like the Potempa killers did, though many people did die needlessly and agonizingly while in his custody. But in a healthy liberal, democratic society governed by the rule of law, should that really be the standard? Clearly Arpaio violated even the most basic standards of respect for the law and brought untold misery to thousands and thousands of people who had not been convicted of any crime. Potempa should not be the measure of what constitutes unacceptable behavior. We already have a clear example of our own in the behavior of Joe Arpaio and the approval of that behavior by President Trump. And that should be more than enough. Because once we reach the level of Potempa, it may well be too late to recover.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/refusefascism-taking-nov-4-out-to-organizations-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org:

Presenting Refuse Fascism at a Democratic Club

October 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From someone who is taking November 4 out to organizations

We had the chance recently to present Refuse Fascism's proposal for November 4th—for sustained protests that begin on that date and grow and persevere until the Trump/Pence Regime is gone—at a local Democratic Club. This is in an affluent and highly educated city with an active Democratic Club. The club's membership is active in Democratic politics and spans those who are more conservative Democrats and Hillary Clinton supporters to Bernie people.

A member of the local chapter was invited by someone he had recently met at a local cultural event and who had themselves been traveling to help campaign for Democrats in states where there have been recent contests. He did a brief presentation on Refuse Fascism and the call for November 4th drawing on the uncanny parallels and lessons from Germany and why we say Trump has assembled a Fascist Regime that is working to consolidate this in America and why the whole Regime must be driven out through non-violent mass mobilization from below. We passed out Refuse Fascism's broadsheet to the audience of 15-20 people.

40 minutes of discussion ensued as people asked questions and debated the proposal and each other since there were very different views among them. Many of the people were receptive and welcomed the proposal on the 4th—with questions about how to organize this in the brief time before November 4th—and wanting to know if we had been able to involve other organizations like Black Lives Matter and Indivisible. People thought the anniversary of the election is a good date to pick for this—harkening back to the Women’s March and the climate now 8 months later.  They wanted to know how we were planning on dealing with white supremacists who may attack the march or provoke violence. One person thought we needed to go to DC and occupy Congress.

There were those vociferously opposed to the call for the 4th who thought it preposterous & that the only way is to vote him out—and this was just ginning up people anxieties about Trump and over-inflating the situation. There is not going to be martial law and people should not let Trump get in their head—they should be keeping their focus on local and state elections.

Others thought that it was not out of place to discuss the possibility of martial law raising how many people here—when they heard about the Las Vegas mass shooting said to themselves “I hope it was not somebody Muslim—what would the situation be if this was an act of terrorism?”

People wrestled with the situation and each other—with one person raising that the danger is not just an incident that might precipitate a crackdown of some kind – but the deeper structural problems in our democracy—the shifts in the US population and the fact that soon 70% of the Senate will be determined by 30 percent of the population—as well as all the redistricting and gerrymandering the Republicans have been able to establish—that make it so that we cannot elect the people we want . There was discussion over going outside of the norms and the normal democratic process as needed.

The person chairing the meeting shared their own personal feelings that at the outset she worried this might be more conspiracy theorizing—but that the case the local Refuse Fascism speaker made contained things she could not refute—and thought this had been an important discussion.

There is much to follow up on but our host felt this had been a very productive discussion and one that they’d really not had for months—that this was a time for reflection and re-evaluation about what we are going to do to actually STOP this.

We think this is likely only one example of the kind of agonizing people are doing about the developments in the last 8 months and is a mini micro example of the kind of debate that the Refuse Fascism proposal for the 4th can provoke in society—and more importantly the change in the whole political atmosphere that is not only needed—but that could result from actually succeeding in the plans for the 4th—and putting before all of society the actual and practical and immediate demand for the whole of the Trump Pence Regime to Go.  This coming from the people of the US would mean a great deal to all of Humanity!

We think—as we follow up—we should be doing much more and that other chapters of Refuse Fascism should be reaching out broadly and presenting to organizations like this.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/510/10-reasons-to-disrespect-the-anthem-en.html#reasonnine

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/debut-showings-of-the-new-film-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

October 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

Coming Sunday, October 15

Debut Showings of the New Film

 

 THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America - 
A Better World IS Possible - 
A Talk by Bob Avakian

New York City

Sunday, October 15, 4-6 p.m. (doors open 3:45 p.m.)
Revolution Books
437 Malcolm X Blvd @ 132nd St. (take 2/3 to 135th)
212-691-3345  www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

 

Chicago

Sunday October 15, 2 p.m.
Revolution Club Organizing Center
1857 E 71st St., Chicago
Facebook event page

Wednesday  October 18, 7-9 p.m.
Chicago Temple  (First United Methodist Church)
Dixon Chapel, 2nd Floor
77 W Washington St. (@ Clark St.), Chicago
facebook event link

 

Los Angeles

Sunday, October 15, 6 p.m. 
Peace Center 
3916 Sepulveda Blvd. 
(between Venice & Washington Blvd.) 
Culver City, CA 90230
Parking available in back of building 
$10 suggested donation (no one will be turned away for lack of funds) 
Hosted by the L.A. Revolution Club
revclub_la@yahoo.com @revclub_la

 

San Francisco Bay Area
Sunday, October 15, 6 p.m.
Revolution Books
2444 Durant Ave.
Berkeley
$10 suggested donation (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
revolutionbooks.org 510-848-1196

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/freedom-is-not-free-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Freedom is Not Free:
Speech, Fascism, and the University as Battleground

October 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Tuesday, October 17, 6:00–8:30 p.m.
Austin Hall, Ames Courtroom
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

The Muslim ban; the resurgence of white supremacist movements; the attack on DREAMers; the return to punitive policing; the assaults on affirmative action, science and critical thinking:

Speakers will address how the university is threatened by these and other aspects of the assault by the Trump-Pence regime.

Confirmed speakers:

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government and Program Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Sunsara Taylor, Advocate for the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, a writer for Revolution Newspaper (www.revcom.us), and a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org

Nicholas Whittaker, Harvard University, ’19

The event is co-sponsored by Academics Against Fascism

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/trump-threats-to-nfl-protests-muzzling-black-men-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Trump’s Threats to NFL Protests: Muzzling Black Men Like Slave Days

October 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In Trump’s fascist worldview, the Nazis and KKK white supremacists in Charlottesville are “very fine people”… while the NFL players who protest the murder by police of people of color are “sons of bitches” who should be immediately fired.

 

Nazis and KKK white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: AP

NFL players take a knee to protest murders by police of people of color. Photo: Twitter/OaklandRaiders

 

If Trump shuts down the NFL protests, or if the owners punish the players taking righteous action, it will be a significant victory for fascism. It would mean he will have succeeded in silencing Black men. It brings to mind the binding and gagging of Black Panther leader Bobby Seale in a political kangaroo trial in 1969 and the literal muzzling—and worse—that slave owners perpetrated on “back-talking” slaves.

 

Depiction of Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, bound and gagged during his a political trial in 1969. (Image: © Estate of Howard Brodie/courtesy Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)

Instruments of torture that slave owners used to literally muzzle “back-talking” slaves.

 

This must NOT be allowed to happen.

This nightmare must end.

November 4: It Begins.

Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/taking-november-4-to-a-high-school-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

From RefuseFascism.org:

Taking November 4 to a Big, Diverse High School

October 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Yesterday we went to a big, diverse high school. This school had a recent protest against the rescinding of DACA. Three of us went at lunch, focusing on getting out fact sheets and stickers into the school. We had a couple of smaller panels with the indictments from Refuse Fascism, on Immigrants and the Environment, and a quiz we made up using those indictments. We also had a sign with Trump in the KKK hat. Even at lunch, it was clear there was a lot of interest from students. While students are more in a hurry on their 50-minute lunch hour, several stopped to talk, read the panels, ask questions, and get stickers. Some put them on. Even students who didn’t want literature wanted the stickers. Some students were asking about Nov.4, what’s it about, what’s going to happen.

When we went across the street to eat lunch, a student in there was taking the quiz we made, and said it was interesting. She told us that even before last weekend, several students in different classes had been refusing to stand for the national anthem, sitting through it. Some teachers supported them, others didn’t. One of her teachers did, and had a discussion about free speech. The student agreed with our urgency around the danger of the Trump regime, although she thought voting for candidates who would challenge him was important. She said she would talk to that teacher about Nov.4, about having a program based on the quiz or the broadsheet, and to a student arts organization she’s in about helping to organize for Nov. 4.

At 3:15 we went back, more in full throttle, with several panels, including the big Women/LGBT one, and the one with the 10 nightmares, a poster board that said “Nov. 4 it begins! Trump/Pence must go because...”, and a Trump puppet, and several people, including agitating on a bullhorn. It was quite a scene. Students were grabbing stickers, standing around in groups talking, signing the posterboard, whacking the puppet and taking pictures and selfies of themselves with it. At one point we asked the students to “take a knee against white supremacy” and a bunch of students did, by the posterboard with all the messages. A lot of the messages were versions of “fuck Trump,” but others were “you can’t have democracy run by fascists” and “trans people deserve to exist.”

Even some of the more conservative students engaged us. One asked what we thought of the so-called “free speech week”—which was really an attempt to have a fascist speech week at UC Berkeley. She didn’t think Milo is a fascist or Nazi because he’s gay and Jewish, but she thought even Nazis should have free speech. When I asked her how come Nazis have free speech but Black athletes don’t, she saw the contradiction. She said she was thinking of starting a conservative club. She took a broadsheet to read. We learned that November 4 is already generating controversy in the school. One group of white youth asked us, “are you starting a coup on November 4” and said that was going around on the internet. Refuse Fascism has refuted these lies. There was also an incident at lunch: as we were leaving, a couple of white guys pulled down posters we had put up on light poles, saying they couldn’t be there. At first we thought they might be school groundskeepers, but they watched us for a while from down the street and we thought they may have been trolls.

But overall, the response was tremendously positive. At least one student said she wants to start some kind of student organization that could take up November 4. Another student, when asked what she thought of all this, said “We are lucky to be in a time when we can stand up to a monster.” We have about a dozen contacts, and will get back to them right away.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/professor-ciccariello-maher-and-the-fascist-thought-police-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Professor Ciccariello-Maher and the Fascist Thought Police

October 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"Conservatives are the real campus thought police squashing academic freedom." This op-ed appeared in the October 10 issue of The Washington Post, written by George Ciccariello-Maher, tenured professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University. The professor has become the latest target of what he describes as the "coordinated onslaught" that's been systematically unleashed against progressive and radical scholars and academic freedom on university campuses since the Trump/Pence regime took power.

Following the Las Vegas mass killings, Professor Ciccariello-Maher posted a series of tweets addressing the question—"Why are these crimes almost always carried out by white men?" As he explains in the article, he was "diagnosing a sense of double entitlement—as white people and as men—that, when frustrated, can occasionally lead to violent consequences." And he continued:

My argument was not new, but rather reflects decades of research on how race and gender function in our society. To be both white and male is to be subject to a potent cocktail of entitlement to economic and political power, and to dominate nonwhite and female bodies. When that entitlement is frustrated, it can lead to what the criminologist Mike King calls "aggrieved whiteness," an ambient furor based on the idea that white Americans have become oppressed victims of politically correct multiculturalism.

In my view as a researcher and professor of politics, these tweets were neither provocative in tone nor controversial in content. Rather, the insight they provided felt all the more pressing now that President Trump has brought this aggrieved whiteness into daily headlines....But more and more, professors like me are being targeted by a coordinated right-wing campaign to undermine our academic freedom—one that relies on misrepresentation and sometimes outright lying, and often puts us and our students in danger.

What the professor was calling out—emboldened white supremacy and male supremacy—are, along with America First national chauvinism, the three pillars of the Trump/Pence regime's fascist ideology and program. To this regime's "ministry of propaganda," the professor's analysis was not going to be tolerated. In no time the professor saw his posts picked up and deliberately distorted by the Daily Caller, a rabid right-wing outlet created by Fox's Tucker Carlson. Soon thousands of vile and vicious threats were coming at Ciccariello-Maher. Then the "outrage machine" as the professor calls it spread the "story" like wildfire—including Steve Bannon's Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos' own website, David Horowitz' FrontPage, the Turning Point, and more. Fox News then stepped in, spewing out the completely false claim that the professor blamed the victims themselves for the Las Vegas killings.

Since the start of the Trump/Pence regime, Professor Ciccariello-Maher has been in the crosshairs of this fascist mob which has been aiming to drive him out of his position and his profession. And there are many other radical and progressive scholars around the country who are being threatened in the same way. There has been a fascist movement underway for decades targeting the universities, with its sights set on "taking back" the universities from the "tenured radicals" and critical thinkers who have, since the 1960s, been challenging the mythology of "American Greatness," and "America as a force for good in the world," used to justify American crimes against humanity without equal. In the eyes of this fascist regime the universities represent a serious obstacle to consolidating a new social order based on overt white supremacy, male supremacy, and America First chauvinism everywhere.

Some university administrators have stood by their faculty in the face of these attacks, and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has called on faculty and administrators to condemn and firmly stand up to these attacks. Drexel University has instead put Cicariello-Maher on "administrative leave"—in the name of protecting the safety of students, faculty and staff from threats. Whatever their intentions, this capitulation rewards and encourages these fascist goons. And it sets a dangerous precedent for other universities to submit to such threats, as well as to the increasing efforts by fascist state and federal legislators to threaten administrators with loss of funding if they fail to take action against the targeted professors. This attack on radical and progressive scholars across the country, and on the very atmosphere where critical thinking and dissent still has room to breathe, must be met by the most fierce, determined resistance.

Michael Slate interviewed professor Ciccariello-Maher on The Michael Slate Show on Pacifica's KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles in July, about the professor's resistance to previous attacks on himself and on other academics. In response to Slate's question about what's at stake in relation to these attacks, the professor talked about the need for spaces where people can learn to question the dominant narratives, such as blaming immigrants for unemployment and wages, etc. and learn the way the actual workings of the system are creating these conditions. And more, "We need to keep those spaces, not so we can simply educate people in better citizenship, but no, so we can actually interact and create militants who are gonna be able to fight this fight going forward... "

These fascist threats on the universities, on critical thinking and dissent, and the search for the truth underscore the urgency of driving the Trump/Pence regime from power. Students, faculty, and the universities as a whole have a critical and urgent role to play in bringing forward a movement from the campuses that joins with others around the country and takes to the streets declaring: This nightmare must end. November 4: It Begins. In the Name of Humanity, Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/trump-brings-slow-death-to-people-of-puerto-rico-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Trump Brings "Slow Death" to People of Puerto Rico
WE CALL "GENOCIDE"
In the Name of Humanity, This Regime Must Be Driven from Power

October 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On September 29, nine days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said, If we don't get the food and the water into people's hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide. ... the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of.” [Emphasis added.]

Now, 23 days since the storm, what do we see?

Eighty-five percent of Puerto Rico’s power grid is not operating and up to 90 percent of its 3.4 million people are still without electricity... over one-third without drinkable water... 90 percent of roads impassable... communications shattered. Most hospitals are open but depend on generators that break down or run out of fuel, causing frantic evacuations.

A team of volunteers in a remote area reports they can only provide each family with two bottles of water, a pack of smoked sausage and some Skittles each day. People are drinking from mountain streams in which corpses of dead animals are rotting or from polluted waters of toxic “Superfund” sites.

The health crisis is intensifying—5,000 dialysis patients have had their life-saving treatments reduced by 25 percent. People are caring for frail elders at home, without water or air conditioning in the tropical heat. Rare bacterial diseases are killing people. Essential drugs are in short supply.

The majority are out of work, consumed with survival from morning to night or trying to flee the island altogether. Day after day, people line up before dawn and wait for hours to pick through rotting vegetables in supermarkets or to get a few bottles of water, a bag of ice, a few gallons of fuel, or money from an ATM.

Overwhelmingly, people report that any aid they’ve received has come from volunteers or private charities, not Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

And how has Donald Trump, head of the richest government in the world, responded to this huge humanitarian crisis?

By blaming the Puerto Rican people, saying “they want everything to be done for them” and claiming that Puerto Rico was “already a disaster”—a basket case that can’t be helped; by complaining that Puerto Rico has thrown the U.S. budget “out of whack”; by staging disgusting photo ops, like tossing paper towels to people; and lying about the “fantastic job” he’s doing.

On October 12, Trump lashed out again, saying the problem is Puerto Rico’s “total lack of accountability” and threatening, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders ... in P.R. forever.” This after three weeks and having accomplished very little, as heat, fear, thirst and hunger stalk millions. In contrast, FEMA is still active in the Northeast U.S., five years after Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012.

Trump reinstated the Jones Act, which bars non-U.S. ships from Puerto Rico and is a major cause of high prices there, and an obstacle to relief effort.

Not only is the immediate relief effort endangered, but the Puerto Rican government is carrying $74 billion in debt to imperialist banks and hedge funds as a result of the systematic U.S. plunder. It is now on the brink of bankruptcy—of being unable to even cover Medicaid payments, pay healthcare workers, or provide other vital services. The Trump regime’s response to this imminent catastrophe? Proposing a $4.9 billion loan, which will drive the territory even deeper into debt. (Meanwhile, Trump asked for a $16 billion payout—not a loan—to cover the debt of the federal flood insurance program, which promotes construction of homes and small businesses in known flood plains in Texas and elsewhere.)

Nor has the U.S. committed to rebuilding Puerto Rico’s destroyed infrastructure, without which the great majority of Puerto Ricans, particularly the 45 percent who were already below the poverty line, will suffer drastic worsening of their lives and health.

Mayor Cruz rightly said that Trump’s tweets “Condemn us to a slow death of nondrinkable water, lack of food, lack of medicine, while you keep others eager to help from reaching us.”

So now a clear verdict must be delivered. What is going on in Puerto Rico is not a matter of “incompetence,” of Trump “not knowing” that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, nor of logistical problems. It is a purposeful manifestation of this regime’s fascist character and its hatred and contempt for the lives of nonwhite, Spanish-speaking people.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. “territory,” but it is also the heart and the homeland of the Puerto Rican nation, the source of the unique culture of the Puerto Rican people—the home that holds them together even as millions have had to move to the U.S. mainland. Its territorial (in other words, colonial) status was not voluntary—it is the result of the conquest of the island by U.S. imperialism in 1898, and the brutal crushing of repeated waves of popular resistance. 

Now, on top of this whole ugly imperialist history, the Trump/Pence regime is causing new levels of suffering and unnecessary death—and threatening to impose long-term devastation on the island, making it effectively unlivable for hundreds of thousands.

This is a wholesale attack on the very existence and national culture of the Puerto Rican people, and deserving of being called “genocidal.”

This massive crime against humanity is happening before our eyes. This cannot be allowed to continue. It is, and must be resisted by not only Puerto Ricans but by all people of conscience. Standing by as the regime carries out the cruel and racist strangulation of the island and people of Puerto Rico is not an option. All this drives home the reality that this regime must be driven from power at the earliest possible time.

November 4: It Begins. Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/see-and-share-this-talk-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Watch this talk and Q&A's. Share widely.

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

 

Bob Avakian:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!

The film of Bob Avakian's new speech addresses the most urgent question of the day: how to understand, and what to do about, the threat to humanity itself posed by the Trump/Pence regime. This talk—from the most radical revolutionary on the planet—makes the case for massive, sustained nonviolent outpourings to begin on November 4 in a compelling way. It traces the roots of the regime—the deeper and more immediate causes of its rise to power. This hour-long speech is full of substance, and heart.

What people are saying about this film...

To view the full speech, click 'Play' above. The film and all video clips are also available for download HERE

Read more

To view, download, and share the trailer and other clips from this film, scroll down or click HERE

To view, download, and share video of Q&A with Bob Avakian, scroll down or click HERE

How to download and share videos HERE.

 

 

The daily, almost hourly, headlines cry out with urgency. See—and share—this talk.

In addition:

  • Be part of the getting the trailer for the film—available early next week—out far and wide on the internet.
  • Show the film in classes, religious congregations, with friends, and more.
  • Do a short video about the talk, or video others. Post your videos on the www.revcom.us social media or email to: revolution.reports@yahoo.com
  • Go to film showings taking place across the country, or schedule your own.
  • Generously contribute funds to advertise this in a major way on social media. We are aiming to raise at least $5,000 right away. Donate here, earmarked for “social media promotion.”
  • Call people you know NOW to invite them to any screening in your area, or talk with them about the urgency of them seeing this.

Questions and Answers:

Q&A: Part 1

Q&A: Part 2

Q&A: Part 3

Q&A: Part 4

Part 1 of Q&A session

  • 0:00: What do you say to the late night comedians, the Stephen Colberts etc, who do some powerful exposure and ridicule but also run the risk of becoming like court jesters and, in this case, contributing to the normalization of fascism?
  • 11:10: If successful in driving out, or forcing Trump to resign, who will step in to take the reins?  What happens next?  And are these replacements prepared to lead this entire diverse country and its military?
  • 27:13: How is it possible to maintain a movement of that scale for a long period of time?

Part 2 of Q&A session

  • 00:00: We have this multi-national corporate news media that's fractured into a thousand pieces and even so, Refuse Fascism can barely get on air. What sort of strategies do you think we can come up with to get through this?
  • 11:30: Minorities have been in not a very favorable situation in this country to fight against everything that is going against them... because they're not in the land where they originally come from. How can we protect those who need to be on the streets fighting with us, how can we protect the ones that are being targeted directly? How can we get them to be on the streets?
  • 23:03: Could you speak to the role of students, including that there have been vicious attacks on critical thinking at known liberal or historically radical places, ie Berkeley, and how should we approach bringing students forward to the call of Refuse Fascism as well as unleashing them in that process?

Part 3 of Q&A session

  • 00:00: Unfortunately, as a Democrat it has long been determined that you vote for the lesser of two evils, right?  Either the Dems or the Republicans.  But it has gotten to the point where both of them are just as worse – one is cancer and one is HIV.  So you don't want to vote for either one of them... I know the system sucks, but what are you supposed to do in the interim?
  • My other question is as a revolutionary Christian, I acknowledge that Christian fundamentalists have been around spewing their venom for many hundreds of years... I believe that we do need this revolution.  I embrace it. But what I need to hear is how can you have other people of any religion so that they would want to embrace it also and not feel alienated because they are “Christians.”
  • 25:33: On fighting fascism and making revolution.  Can you talk about the difference and similarity between the situation we face in driving out the Trump/Pence Regime and a situation open to and makes possible for revolution.  Can one lead to the other?  What should revolutionaries do in the face of this?

Part 4 of Q&A session

  • 00:00: What do you think November 4 should look like and how do you envision the days following? Also, how we can overcome our own obstacles in reaching out broadly including to people that don't agree with the need for a revolution?
  • 14:46: I've been out, trying to tell millions of people that we need to drive out this regime before it becomes too late... and I know millions feel the way we do, but if they don't act, does that matter? We say we still have time but how do we know that we still have time before fascism fully consolidates? How do we know much time we have left?
  • 33:17: Do you think that we need to struggle for the liberation of all sentient animals that are being enslaved, raped, tortured and murdered by the billions each year as part of the animal agriculture, animal testing, leather, fur, and down-based clothes under this system? Do you think that liberation is possible under this system or does that require a concurrent struggle for animal liberation along with a broader revolution to get out of the system?

Trailer

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Clip: "What are we facing?"

Clip: "Order or Justice?"

Clip: "What Can We Do?"

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/510/10-reasons-to-disrespect-the-anthem-en.html#reasonten

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/lance-kendricks-taking-a-knee-for-puerto-rico-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

Lance Kendricks: Taking a Knee for Puerto Rico

October 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Lance Kendricks, a tight end for the Green Bay Packers, was one of the NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem on September 24. It was the first protest of his life.

Kendricks told a reporter that he was racially profiled by authorities when he was growing up in Milwaukee, and understands why other players started the protests. He also explained that when Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee as the U.S. anthem played last year as a statement against police murder of people of color, “I was one of those people who was like, ‘I understand why he’s doing it, but I wouldn’t do it.’ That’s how I felt about it.”

But Kendricks, whose wife Danielle is from Puerto Rico, was jolted to take a stand when he learned more deeply from his wife about the devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, the human suffering it is causing, and Trump’s sneering contempt for the Puerto Rican people.

Danielle Kendricks doesn’t know what’s happened to most of the 100 or so family members she has in Puerto Rico. She doesn’t know what’s happened with her 82-year-old grandfather, who was hospitalized for 10 days after the storm. She told a reporter, “You think about the fact that he’s just one person, and you have 3.4 million people on this island. It’s really devastating, because people don’t have access to basic needs: water, cash. The power is out, so everything they had in their fridge, they can’t eat anything.”

For Lance Kendricks, hearing Donald Trump denounce football players protesting police brutality against Black people as “sons of bitches” while barely acknowledging the crisis in Puerto Rico “broke the camel’s back.” It is very positive that someone in a prominent public position is jolted to take defiant stands in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, as well as against police brutality.

These protests must continue, and go further—not only involving more people, but going deeper. Enforcing patriotism, flag worship, and cult of the military is an essential component of the fascist program of “Making America Great Again.” As Revolution wrote last week, “Everyone who is coming to hate and find intolerable the crimes of this system, and the even greater horrors openly promised by the Trump/Pence regime, has got to confront, and break with, the American chauvinism that the Trump/Pence regime and the rulers of this country are using as a key ideological weapon in maintaining their rule.”

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/nfl-player-russell-okung-on-colin-kaepernicks-protest-en.html

Revolution #512 October 9, 2017

NFL Player Russell Okung: “I initially doubted the merits of Colin Kaepernick’s protest. I was wrong”

October 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On Wednesday, October 13, Russell Okung, an eight-year NFL veteran who plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, issued an open letter to his fellow NFL players calling on them to unify over the message that was started by Colin Kaepernick when he refused to stand for the national anthem in protest against police murders and brutality against Black people. (Okung’s full letter is available online here.)

Okung’s letter was a direct response to NFL president Roger Goodell, who sent out a letter to all 32 team owners stating, “We believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem”; to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said he would bench any of his players who refused to stand, and to Donald Trump, who has been tweeting attacks on the players who take a knee during the anthem.

Okung starts out by saying, “I initially doubted the merits of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and questioned his strategy. I was wrong. There is now no doubt in my mind that what he did last season was a courageous, prophetic, self-sacrificial act that has captivated a nation and inspired a powerful movement. If I had his cellphone number, I would tell him that.” Kaepernick began the protest last season when he was a San Francisco 49er quarterback—and this season, as a free agent, none of the teams have hired him.

In speaking about the current protests that are being made by players and teams in the NFL, Okung says that “As Kap’s message has now been distorted, co-opted and used to further divide us along the very racial lines he was highlighting, we as players have a responsibility to come together and respond collectively.”

NBC Sports reported that “Okung said he wanted to reach out to players because he feared the initial point of protests—racial inequality and police brutality—has been lost in the bluster of President Donald Trump’s speeches and tweets.... ‘I’m about shifting the narrative. We can’t be distracted by what he is trying to do,’ Okung said of Trump.”

Okung’s view is that the current situation—with players with some teams (in some cases including the team owner) standing during the anthem and locking arms, some staying in the locker room until the anthem is over, some taking the knee before the anthem and then standing during it, etc.—shows that “the will of the players who align with Kap’s message is being diluted. Rather than our collective voice prevailing in a way that spans the league.”

He points out to the players that the system of professional football has been designed to keep the players separated and divided while the owners remain unified in being able to have their interests served by the league. His letter calls for players to “transcend the ‘natural’ divisions that have been defined by the league and sanitized by a fictional narrative of competition above all else ... by open[ing] up a line of communication just between us, and be ready to respond with one voice as players.”

In September last year, Okung wrote a piece for The Players Tribune, “We See You,” in which he said:

The more I read about the controversy surrounding 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand during the national anthem, and his efforts to shine a light on injustice in this country, the more I think about Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

In 1968, in the midst of heated racial tension, Smith and Carlos used their platforms to change the world. At the Summer Olympics that year, Smith earned a gold medal in the men’s 200-meter dash, while Carlos won a bronze, and during the medal ceremony the two engaged in a powerful demonstration. With the national anthem playing in the background, they displayed one of the most symbolic gestures in Olympics history: The two men each raised a fist, showing their commitment to the civil rights movement.

I’ve always wondered if, at the time, they believed that their showing of solidarity with Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, and the recently assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., would even make a difference. But, as it turned out, a simple act on the world stage would surprise many, and show that change was needed.

The two competitors inspired millions around the globe and shed light on the oppression experienced by African-Americans in the United States. Their punishment, of course, would be severe. Soon after they took their stand, Smith and Carlos were expelled from the Olympics and made into public enemies. At home in the U.S., they received death threats. A moment of solidarity almost immediately became a swift burden. But when asked back then why he sacrificed the glory of the Games after earning a medal, John Carlos answered: “I can’t eat that. And the kids ’round my block can’t eat it. They can’t eat publicity, they can’t eat gold medals. All they want is an equal chance to be a human being.”

The protest started by Kaepernick last season is at a crossroads, and Okung clearly sees that when he says, “We can either wait until we receive our respective marching orders, speak up individually, or find a way to collaborate and exercise our agency as the lifeblood of the league.”

He’s issued a challenge to the players to make a difference, to act in unison against racism and police terror, in the face of attempts by Trump, NFL owners and others to shut them up. It will be a very good development if these players take up this challenge.